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One Year Ago: Post from New Orleans – The Wizard of Oz

September 13, 2011


By ravengirl – reposted here by permission

I found myself smiling on the airplane heading home from New Orleans, and I suspect those around me who noticed might have thought I was just an unusually happy person or a bit daft.

They hadn’t a clue what kind of weekend I had just had.

Oh no. No idea.

The glitter was gone from my skin, the excess hair product to combat the humidity washed away in a huge oil slick on my shower floor. My black nails were chipped. All those necklaces were back in the jewelry bag, save for the Eye of Horus necklace I almost never take off.

But so much remains.

I am a veteran of several post-Glam Nation and Adam Lambert concert weekends like this: Rock My Town in New York City. Fantasy Springs, where the breathtaking acoustic Whole Lotta Love was born. Denver. Vegas. Albuquerque.

Each has been amazing, fabulous and fun in their own ways.

But New Orleans.

Well, there’s voodoo magic and a hell of a lot of booze to be found there. Mystery. Adventure. Fun.

That’s why I smiled.

I’m going to start backward a little because the most epic event of the weekend is what most of you, I suspect, want to know about. I don’t blame you. I want to know about it, too. I, too, want understand how it’s possible that so many of us from across the country were lucky enough to come together for an absolutely amazing night of liberation and glitter, how a magic man gave us all one last marvelous gift we will never forget.

Adam was there.

The OZ, New Orleans

It had been known for weeks that a French Quarter gay bar called Oz was going to host an Adam Lambert after-party. To me it seemed the perfect place. It was on Bourbon Street, so it was very New Orleans. It was in a gay bar, so it was very Adam Lambert.

But there were those of us who wondered, at least a little, how receptive the pretty boys would be when a troupe of women, some old enough to be their mothers, most looking nothing like the typical gay bar crowd, descended upon their black-lighted, half-clad, disco-pulsing turf.

How Oz-y would Oz be?

My hope was that the Oz clientele would not judge a broad by its cover. Many of us were children of rock ‘n’ roll, who simply grew up, held jobs, raised kids, lived responsibly. But we weren’t dead. And, I thought, we could still get our groove on with the best of them, if only given the chance.

Oz was our chance. But then, everything connected with Adam had given us the freedom to regain our sense of self, of empowerment and sexual liberation and good old-fashioned hedonism.

Here we were, traveling from all parts of the country for our second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, many concert, casting aside our usual lives, trading business suit for sequined tops, our Maybelline for Urban Decay. Our minds had been expanded, our vaginas rejuvenated. We were falling into the glitter. We were embracing the “us” of us, finding like-minded friends who understood this crazy Adam fixation of ours.

Most of us had likely always been liberal about the gay thing, but I suspect there were those of us who had never imagined championing gay rights and equality, prompted as we were by the narrow-minded idiots we came across who refused to accept the magnificence of Adam because he was “too gay.”

I suspect, too, that there were those of us that Sept. 12, 2010, night who had never imagined dancing the night away in a gay bar on Bourbon Street.

But we were there.

Thing is, my friend Mitla96 and I almost didn’t go. After the concert, we were exhausted, sweaty, dazed by the concert and by our earlier meet and greet where we hugged and spoke with Adam. Adam! More on that later.
We caught a very crowded ride back to our hotel on Dauphine from the ever gracious Muzicluvr1, who packed Mitla, RN_Tracy and her aunt tocooljo, Linda and me into her small car. Our beds felt pretty darn nice, and we were tempted to just stay in, relax – and tweet.

But it was our last night together in New Orleans. What might we regret by not going?
Turns out, plenty.

So we got our tired butts back out onto Bourbon Street, which by now was smelling of sour beer and sweet spilled Hurricanes, and walked to Oz. For those of you who were not there, Oz sits across the street on the corner from another large gay bar that I think is called the Pub, though we referred to it all night as “the other gay bar.” Bourbon Street is quite narrow, and because you can take your drink outdoors, the space between the two bars is a de facto bar.

As we approached, a shirtless young man with a hat pirouetted and leaped down the street, similar movements he had made with abandon in the balcony during the concert.

“Adam Lambert,” he sang merrily.

Out front, DallasGlitter and anthrogeekPF told us that Adam was in the other gay bar, and that explained the inordinate number of women hanging outside over there. He was with Tommy, Allison (smoking, I heard, tsk, tsk), Neil, Sasha, old flame and tank-top aficionado Drake, the “three queens” Adam had singled out during the concert and a pretty boy he had apparently picked out when he arrived at the bar.

Dozens of gawkers stood at the edge of the private caged VIP area, we were told, as if Adam and his entourage were an exhibit at the zoo. Boo, I thought. We’re here to have fun, he’s here to have fun. Stop staring and have fun!

I went into Oz, taking my own advice, the throbbing disco beat beckoning me and flipping my head back to a time when I actually used to go dancing. Decades ago.

And so it was again that night.

The place itself is not swanky. It’s rather rundown, with a small dance floor bathed in flashing lights and a wrought-iron balcony above available only to VIPs. A large wraparound bar is strong and wide enough for two men clad in briefs (one with fleur de lis print!) with suspicious bulges to dance upon. Put a dollar in their briefs and they do some pretty crazy stuff with those bulges. I was a little too mesmerized by them, though I knew I wasn’t the target audience.

Mitla and I met up with Muzikluvr1, RN_Tracy, nolaglitter, terrib90, tocooljo, Linda and others inside. We saw suz at one table working on her amazing videos – and catching glimpses of the dancing bulges. All were having a great time, especially Tracy, who I don’t think ever stopped dancing, even when she was sitting at the table at which we held court, and tocooljo, who became the favorite among the gay boys.

She had a scarf around her neck that she used to wrap around the boys as they danced. And danced. And danced.
After three vodka rocks, I was dancing, too.

Then came word that police were massing outside – OK, maybe two or three cars with lights on. We learned they were there for crowd control as Adam prepared to take his leave of the other bar and head to Oz.

I was already thrilled with the notion that we were partying in the same block as Adam and his pals. But this! No words.

We watched as he came striding across the street, like the pied piper leading his mice. It was a parade complete with police escort and a big burly body guard with a rope of red hair down his back.

Adam was wearing a gray shirt and residual glitter, and he looked totally in command of the situation. Meanwhile, those of us in the bar, women and pretty boys, squeed together.

OMG, he’s here!

Immediately, he and his entourage were led behind closed doors upstairs to the VIP area and the balcony over the dance floor. We could see him up there, chatting away with his peeps as we chatted away with ours.

It was a parallel party.

When the remix version of Adam’s If I Had You came on, it seemed more than appropriate to get up and dance. I spotted tocooljo at a table, grabbed her arm and said, “Let’s dance!” Of course, she was happy to oblige.

I recall nolaglitter and terrib joining our little dancing scrum, and at some point I became aware of a tall, dark-haired rock star dancing with us. Us! Not the three queens. Not Drake. Not pretty boys. Us!

He had that surly Elvis curled lip and his eyes were both fierce and slightly glistening with the benefit of three hours of cocktails, and I remember thinking how perfect it was: Adam dancing to his own music with his own fans.

How must that feel to him when it felt so amazing to us?

Adam at OZ, by @terrib90

Tocooljo grabbed her scarf and wrapped it around his neck, and I realized that Adam had just cut in.

Others on the dance floor began circling around Adam, but he was so tall you could see him above them all. This was fine and glorious until a huge throng of people I had not noticed before in the bar infiltrated the dance floor, their cameras and cell phones poised for a picture. Adam was swept away toward the back of the floor against a wall, but he kept on going, commanding us to dance, bitches.

It seemed like the crowd was swallowing him up, but you could still see his hands raised and that curled lip. I was about three feet away from him, and if you have taken a look at terrib’s great photos you get a sense of my vantage point.

I, more used to recording events with words and not images, feebly attempted a too-dim shot from my cell phone, forgetting that I had my camera with me. Fail.

I became aware that Sasha was next to Adam as was the big body guard, making sure that no one was getting too close. When the song ended, the three of them disappeared through a back door, back up to the VIP section, leaving us to sway and bop, jaws dropped, eyes gleaming, wondering, did that just happen?

The whole New Orleans experience had been like that. Mitla, my cohort from FS, had expressed an interest in going, and I was totally game. But then she couldn’t get off work. And then she could. And then she couldn’t. And then, what the heck, let’s go.

Getting the meet and greets was equally amazing. I had seen news about the new Adam fan site through a twitter on my Blackberry, though I couldn’t access the site itself, as I traipsed around an Army surplus store with my kids looking for a military duffel bag – not exactly the ideal place to squee.

Mitla was home and saw the information on the meet and greets, and she was able to nab two of them before they sold out in minutes. She DMed me with the news. Army surplus store, kids be damned, I squeed.

I am not one of those who has ever gotten to meet or greet Adam before now. My closest encounter came after the Glendale, Ariz., Idols concert where I was three deep in the crowd at the buses. As I saw the top of his head approach, and fearing this opportunity was about to pass me by, I took my Rolling Stone magazine and reached with every inch of my arm, sweaty armpit and all, across the heads and shoulder of those in front of me and hoped for the best.

I felt a tug, as if I had gotten a fish on the line, and pulled back the magazine to see Adam’s squiggly signature. It was a thrill.

Now I was getting to meet him, have a few seconds to say anything to him, hug him, get him to sign something and have my picture taken. I had gotten over my nerves for the most part, until hours before when I made a grievous msicalculation and used too much anti-frizz product in my hair, giving me the look of someone who has not shampooed in five weeks. Ugh.

I was so fixated on that that I did not rehearse anything to say. So when it was my turn, I babbled something about being a journalist who has interviewed everybody from governors to convicted child killers but I was more nervous meeting him than them. I honestly don’t remember what else I said but I know it was nothing worthy of a reporter.

Oh well.

Adam smiled brightly, spoke sweetly. He held me in his eyes and I did not melt. I noted that despite his makeup I could see that his facial hair comes in dark. His hair was perfect, as was his black-colored liner. He was tall, thin, with legs that seemed to stretch on for miles and boots that looked like the ones he wore in that photo where he’s being shot from below a floor of glass – before he was famous.

I didn’t smell a thing, dammit.

What was most thrilling, though, about the entire weekend was the people I met, the women who I felt like I had known forever. Powerful women who had found someone who made them feel good about themselves and about the music. For a weekend, it was all about us – not our kids, not our jobs, not our wrinkles or our debts or our dreams deferred. In that crazy world of acceptance and love that Adam has let us dwell, we were there, together, having one helluva time.

No wonder I was smiling.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. September 13, 2011 12:52 am

    that was amazing! glad you wrote it down and share’d it with us! Once in a lifetime experience O love NOLA have been several times but adding Adam is more than perfect. thanks you for share’n

  2. September 13, 2011 1:45 am

    What an amazing job articulating the feelings and capturing the spirit of an epic night in NOLA. I loved every bit of this and love that you can put the words down on paper and nearly recreate the magic that happened that evening. You make me want to laugh and cry at the same time. It was an evening and an adventure I won’t ever forget and it’s difficult to believe a year has already passed. Can’t wait for Round 2.

  3. Diane permalink
    September 13, 2011 10:07 am

    Really amazing story…loved it.

  4. September 13, 2011 10:48 am

    I LOVE that story! I have read it at least twice!! My friend and I were in New Orleans also but somehow being so busy before the trip, were totally out of the loop about what bar Adam would be at, the Adam party, as I’ve heard it called, etc. Instead we left the concert and went to the casino – and lost I may add – and boy were we disappointed when we later found out about all the goings-on after the concert. But the concert was fantastic. We made the journey from Michigan, kind of a last minute thing and we don’t regret anything! It was so worth every minute, every penny spent, every time we got lost in the city and the sweltering heat. We would do it again in a heartbeat. We did have a close encounter – found out that Adam was having his beignet (sp) at a little place about two doors down from where we were having lunch, at pretty much the same time. Again, we were clueless. So close but yet so far!!!!
    It’s all good!

  5. Mary S permalink
    September 13, 2011 10:58 am

    Gawd!! My heart soars with this story! Thank you so much for the repeat!! I can feel the vibes of this powerful man, but also a deep connection with my empowered Glamsisters. Adam has brought out the best in me, and I love that there are others who share this enlightenment. So frickin’ beautiful!!!!

  6. September 13, 2011 11:09 am

    I love New Orleans and when I heard Adam was going to perform there…well, there was no way I was going to miss it. It was not my first GNT concert but it was by far the best because Adam was on fire with the voodoo spirit that night. His performance of Sleepwalker was UNF. Watch it on YouTube and see if you don’t agree. Feel the attitude in that performance. The concert, the Oz, all the stuff that happened later…OMG, it was a surreal and hot night is NOLA. I’ll never, never forget the experience or the look in Adam’s eyes that night.

  7. September 13, 2011 11:31 am

    Ana Glam you are so right, the feel of that show, the whole vibe, it was amazing…….seemed like it was over so fast. I remember 20th Century Boy ROCKING and then my friend caught a drumstick! So fun. I’m going to You Tube now to watch Sleepwalker…………..just wish I would have experienced it all………(oz, etc)

  8. September 13, 2011 11:48 am

    I can’t imagine being in the same room with Adam let alone dancing with him to his own song. I love the way you described your state of mind. God, just to touch him!!!!!!!

  9. September 13, 2011 9:20 pm

    this story gets me everytime i just love that these amazing fans got to see and spend a few seconds with ADam makes my heart sweel with happiness for them.

  10. EllieG. permalink
    September 14, 2011 6:09 pm

    OMG! Thank you for reviving the amazing night we had there! Yep, was there too and I don’t think I will ever forget it! It was surreal and magical! Voodoo! 🙂 ❤

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