Fruit Loop Run Tours Downtown Phoenix's Gay Landmarks
Marshall Shore, the Valley's Hip Historian, has a penchant for history, specializing in the unknown, the weird, and, come Friday night, the queer.
The Fruit Loop Run, a brainchild of Shore and Roosevelt Row, is a walking tour of once-open gay clubs along Roosevelt Street, a thoroughfare steeped in vibrant homosexual history. Phoenicians are encouraged to arrive in their campy best -- a call-back to the drag shows that used to color RoRo -- for the free event, which starts at 6:30 p.m. November 15.
"The Fruit Loop Run takes us back to an era when 'I Will Survive' by Gloria Gaynor was building popularity to gay anthem status, [and] the best way to hear about [the] community was word of mouth," Shore writes in an e-mail. "The Valley has a reputation of paving over history and losing those stories."
He cites bars like the Captain's Table, Kaye's Happy Landing, Cruising Central, and the 307 as mainstays during this period of revolution and relentless partying. Though their doors have since shuttered, the buildings have ushered in a new kind of gay club, including the now-closed Amsterdam and the popular Bliss/reBar.
The tour starts at 220 East Roosevelt -- today, The Dressing Room. It continues clockwise around the Loop, ending at the site of the long-gone 307, where, depending on the mood and the quality of DJ Paul Raia's spinning, actual dancing in the streets is highly probable this Third Friday.
Throughout the 1970s, Phoenix Police took to referring to this area, roughly designated as Roosevelt and Portland streets between First and Third streets, as "The Fruit Loop." The anchor of the area -- and era -- was the 307.