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The sprawling Club 5 complex is arguably the city's, most prominent gay bar.
Club 5 has its detractors ' a common complaint is that its location south of the Beltline is too far from downtown ' but owner Ed Grunewald deserves credit for running what sometimes seems like a community center for Madison queer folk, with cocktails and a jukebox.
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For example, early every Monday evening, and each third Saturday of the month, the dance floor is taken over by the Dairyland Cowboys and Cowgirls, a queer country line-dancing club that has met at various Madison venues since 1993.
Last Saturday saw about 20 dancers stepping to tunes by Hal Ketchum and Faith Hill (and, improbably, to Enya ' it is a gay line-dancing club, after all).
After one dance, Janesville's Ron Collins, towering in boots and cowboy hat, was panting. And what brought him to the Dairyland Cowboys and Cowgirls in the first place?
The pageant contestants had already paraded about looking pretty in eveningwear. Midwest Leather contest, and the winner of that event is in the running for the title of International Mr. It was another Saturday evening in Madison's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender-themed nightlife, not much different from any other ' except that the drag queens were wearing leather.
They had sweetly answered questions about helping their communities, and the panel of judges had carefully evaluated them as they stood on the stage. Held earlier this month in the cramped confines of the Barracks , the leather-bar component of the rambling south-side gay nightspot Club 5 (5 Applegate Court), the pageant had ramifications beyond the city's borders. Outside the Barracks, in the cavernous main room of Club 5, another dance party was afoot.
Only one question remained: Who looked best in a studded leather jockstrap? But there's something funny about Madison's gay nightlife.
There certainly are gay bars here, as in most cities, but there are fewer of them today than there were just three years ago.
And although leather competitions and throbbing dance music can be found by those who seek them, they are not, as in some cities, at the core of the gay nightlife experience here.
In fact, the gay nightlife here sometimes seems not to have a core at all.
Madison has just three manifestly gay bars, compared to the 21 Milwaukee gay bars listed in the most recent issue of Outbound Magazine, the Green Bay-based gay entertainment periodical.
Outbound reports that even Green Bay itself, half the size of Madison, boasts five gay nightspots.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating