Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ain't Nobody's Bizness

Ain't Nobody's Bizness
Ain't Nobody's Bizness

Location: 2900 East Broadway Boulevard, Tucson, Arizona, USA

Opened: 1994

Closed: October 2011

Here's what clubfly said in its brief description of Ain't Nobody's Bizness:

Type: Lesbian Bar/Lounge

In a nutshell: Tucson's best lesbian Bar with pool table and nightly events. Check out the links before for their daily happenings. Happy hour Wednesday - Friday 2pm - 8pm...

Ain't Nobody's Bizness interior (2009)
This short review is from lonelyplanet:

In a shopping plaza, this has long been Tucson’s favorite lesbian bar. Escape the chaos around the pool tables and on the dance floor by heading to the quiet room for a long get-to-know-you chat.

The Biz's popularity as a womyn's space was formally recognized, too. In 1999, she won the "Best Lesbian Bar" award from Tucson Weekly:

Bars have historically been central places for gays and lesbians to meet and "The Biz," as it's affectionately referred to by regulars, is no exception. The Biz is Tucson's lesbian Cheers, but with hip music, a good dance floor and an Amazon attitude. There's always a familiar face and something going on here, from Latin night to karaoke to the occasional drag show. Even on a slow night, it's a place to play pool or darts, talk, drink, dance and otherwise appreciate Tucson's vibrant lesbian community. 

When was the last time you heard of a lesbian bar having an "Amazon attitude"? Shows you how much lesbian culture has changed in the last decade or so--and not for the better. But I digress.

The Biz also won awards in 1998, 2000, and 2001.

Then like many lesbian bars, Nobody's Bizness started to increasingly "diversify." But it's like the tragedy of the commons: you can only pack in so many sheep before the grass stops growing. Then you no longer have a commons. In the same way, you can only admit so many men, straight people, and/or assorted "queers" before you no longer have a lesbian bar. We see the beginnings of this transformation in this review from Frommer's:

Located in a small shopping plaza in midtown, this bar has long been the lesbian gathering spot in Tucson. There are pool tables, a dance floor, and a quiet, smoke-free room where you can duck out of the noise. Lately, this bar has also been doing nights for gay men as well, so check the schedule.

You start with "nights for gay men." Then, predictably, Nobody's Bizness became a "gay and lesbian" place. From gaycities:

Hot gay & lesbian nightclub

Nightly specials including erotic dancers, Karaoke, Hip Hop, go-go dancing, L-Word on big screen TV, and open mic night. Relax and light up a cigarette out in the back patio area, or enjoy the wii lounge. There's a lot going on at The Biz; large Latino/a crowd.

TripTutor confirmed the same in October 2009:

It Ain't Nobody's Bizness if you're there - but "the Biz" has plenty to offer gay and lesbian nightclubbers. Originally planned as an upscale women's club, the bar now attracts an equal crowd of gay and lesbian nightcrawlers, and, of course, some straight people looking for a place to dance.

is from 9 p.m.-midnight Mondays; Drag show is from 9:30 p.m. Thursdays with $2 pitchers of Bud and Bud Light; Latin music is at 9 p.m. Sunday nights. Music on Fridays alternates between hip-hop and Latin, so call ahead.

By the time Andrew Collins reviewed The Biz for, the transformation was more-or-less complete. Now there weren't just a scattering of gay men on certain nights, or even an "equal" number of gay men. On the contrary, we now have "plenty of guys":

This popular spot just southeast of the University of Arizona in eastern Tucson opened initially as a lesbian bar and is still one of the most popular women's hangouts in the Southwest, but these days it caters to a more mixed-gender crowd, drawing plenty of guys most nights. Karaoke Thursdays, Go Go Fridays, and Latin parties on Saturdays are among the regular theme events - There's also a popular Sunday beer bust.  

Unfortunately, in the real world, "plenty of guys" plays out as plenty of predators--especially in a bar that's still nominally identified as lesbian. It's no wonder we start seeing reviews from safety conscious women who are noticing this. Like Lauren W. in March 2011:

I went early, around eight pm or so, and stayed for about an hour total. My suggestions are 1) go with a friend or a group, 2) get there as late as you can and 3) don't let a creepy tall psychotic guy try to buy you a drink or play pool. He's funny, but don't.

Contrast this to the review by Crystal T just two years earlier, in March 2008:

I love to dance. No matter your sexual orientation Latino night on Fridays is always a blast here. No cover charge. Girls if you don't want to be bothered by men trying to take you home like me this is the place to be!

Consistent and growing objections about the staff rudeness and poor service no doubt contributed to the Biz's decline as well. Not to mention the noise complaints. But then I don't think the problems are mutually exclusive. When lesbian bars no longer look out for the comfort, safety, or well being of their women patrons--well, that just goes hand in hand with deteriorating quality overall.

When the Arizona Daily Star finally announced the Biz's demise on October 21, 2011, the news was almost anti-climatic:

Ain't Nobodys Bizness, a popular gay and lesbian night club on East Broadway, has closed. According to a Facebook posting, the club closed Monday. Attempts to reach the owners were unsuccessful.

Photo: Nobody's Bizness exterior; interior

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know that comfort or safety were issues with patrons there. Thanks for an awesome article. I miss the biz. - shorty


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