But many people think what’s happening at The Back Door is culturally transformative, its diversity and ideology There’s also a proud queer tradition of rejecting the mainstream, embracing those who violate norms rather than striving for normalization.(For this reason, many LGBT people reject the queer identity for themselves.)“It goes to some function of the other — that’s why we use queer,” says Back Door co-owner “Smoove G,” who was part of a team that opened the space in 2013 at the urging of community members.— interrupt themselves to throw their heads back in an impassioned sing-along — HELLO FROM THE OTHER SIDE — then pick back up — Where did you get it?Where a young black woman can then sing some obscure white metal-rap that for one hot minute gets people slam dancing to the oldies.That’s a clever detail about this weekly event at The Back Door bar, presented by Misfit Toy Karaoke: People often dance.Not in the typical karaoke sailor way, swaying while shouting misheard lyrics.The typical rhythms of Back Door karaoke require the KJ to make split-second set list arrangements based on the tempo of attendees.If people are tired and need reviving, that’s a good time for Coley D to unleash her powerhouse vocals. If her voice doesn’t bring you back to hot asphalt streets where the album poured from every slow, jacked-up convertible, then you may at least remember how this early neo-soul music of the 1990s redefined possibilities within a genre.
On the heels of a gay-rights movement that has achieved so much integration it can scarcely maintain its own existence, then, the only space left for LGBT activism and counterculture may, in fact, be queer.
A tall white guy sings Rihanna, his wide eyes earnest, reminding patrons that they are “beautiful, like diamonds in the sky.” There’s a visit from rising rock star Diane Coffee, whose electric howl through Bowie’s “Rock ’n’ Roll Suicide” sounds like Little Richard on acid, but perfectly pitched.
It’s the kind of scene where friends in conversation — Is that a new shirt?
In the way, rather, that treats the performance — sometimes stunning, sometimes butchered — worthy of a trip to the dance floor.
One minute this looks like a cluster of singular peeps in a house-music trance, the next there are ballroom-style couples twirling to a 1970s power ballad.
But Bullwinkle’s — a Bloomington nightclub from 1976 to 2006 — did its part to push the boundaries of art and acceptance in the Midwest.