Mrs Gaugin’s Pool Parlour

200px-sophietucker1917Some friends and I were at the All India Sweets restaurant on New Years Eve, prior to going to the Dreamweaver women’s dance at the Coast Plaza on Denman for a little end of year dancing.

At All India we were greeted by a doorman in ostentatiously brilliant semi-drag. Gerry Gaugin wore a gold brocade tunic with glittery piping, a fake jewel encrusted gold brocade turbanlike hat that he insisted we call a chapeau rather than a turban, big rhinestone earings and hands full of fake jewel rings.

I’m a big fan of femmes, and know that us girly gals and guys don’t get no respect usually, so I made sure to compliment Gerry on his fabulousness. Gerry was all campy queenly graciousness and chatted a bit about his wardrobe and where he’d gotten it made before seating us with our group.

On the way out Gerry asked about our plans and when we told him we were going to a women’s dance he told us that he had once been the proprietor of a women’s bar and pool parlour called Mrs. Gaugin’s Pool Parlour. Apparently, Gerry’s sister’s friend,  a lesbian, was lamenting that there was no place for lesbians to play pool, back in the 70’s, and Gerry had a bar for men that ran from midnight to wee in the morning at the time. So prior to opening the guys space, the women used the space from noon to 10 pm to play pool, visit, flirt and all the things we gals do. Since Gerry was often called Mrs. Gauguin, the space was called Mrs Gauguin’s Pool Parlour.

I did an internet search on Mrs Gaugin’s  (and Mrs Gauguin’s) pool parlour and didn’t bring up anything, so I’d love it if any women who were out in Vancouver in the 70’s might be able to fill in more details. Just log in and add them as comments to this story or email me at editor@lesbianquarterly.com

Gerry told us he has been with his partner 38 years and had a long career as a drag queen, performing at a place in San Francisco as Sophie Tucker for 11 years. He also mentioned having been proprietor of several queer establishments in town, including, apparently  Hamburger Mary’s.



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