At GayBingo, we discover that you can’t spell ‘Motown’ with the ‘mo
BALLS IN THE AIR
GayBingo at The Rose Room
inside S4, 3011 Cedar Springs Road.
Jan. 16 at 6 p.m. $25.
GayBingo is clearly the perfect assignment for this series: Sitting down with a marker in one hand and a beer in the other playing an old church lady’s game? Heaven.
Or is it? Being a novice with a competitive spirit might work against me. And with prize money on the table, I needed to bone up on winning some scratch for my favorite non-profit — me.
To get some tips, I called Jarvis Cummings, former president of DFW PrimeTimers who hosts a bingo tourney for the group’s members each month. With his expertise in the game, I was sure he was gonna make me into a bingo shark.
"Oh, we just play regular bingo for two or three hours and enjoy each other’s company and socialize," he says.
Hmm. This might not work. The fuzzy fellowship is warmin’ my heart but it ain’t doing much for my wallet.
With some prodding, Cummings assures me in a kindly voice to keep my wits about the game. His gang plays calmly as members buy in. Their pot may not be more than $20 at a time, but he reminds that they may not be as cutthroat as the GayBingo peeps.
"There is no winning solution and money is not a big deal. We’re a congenial group," he says.
Dead end. However he did mention that everyone brings snacks and drinks. That sounds a whole lot better than forking over some bills for a cocktail. Soda and coffee may sound lightweight, but caffeine can still give you an edge-buzz.
But GayBingo — this month with a Motown theme — is a lot different than playing in a living room. Crowds, drag queens and music make it a more raucous affair. My concentration could be thwarted by such distractions. I knew there were only two people to talk to that could give me what I need: Patti Le Plae Safe and Jenna Skyy, who host the event.
"Know how to read a number and a letter at the same time" is their first piece of advice. Yeah, I walk and chew gum.
"Probably the most important tip is: don’t lose. You’re sure to win if you don’t lose. And you can’t win if you aren’t present."
Spoken like true P.R. reps. Skyy and Le Plae Safe are the faces of GayBingo, a monthly fundraiser that benefits Resource Center Dallas. With pots that sometimes exceed $1,000, this is serious gaming, and the ladies keep it all in order.
As I prep, I figure my usual Cheetos Sustenance Plan should come in handy for three hours of seated fun. But Le Plae Safe thinks I might need more protein for optimal game play.
"Eat more chicken. I saw that on a billboard somewhere. But of course we have food, those lovely Buli Boys serve hot foods from their menu," she says.
A few bottles of Stella can really cramp a man’s style after too long so Skyy gave me the lowdown on not missing out when nature calls.
"We have the highest technology — and by highest, I am referencing 1978 as the standard — bingo machine that illuminates called numbers. If you run fast and push hard, you’ll catch up. Plus, it is a gay bar so you have better odds of scoring in the facilities. Just have someone watch your card or go at intermission," she says.
Now that’s a handy tip!
I expect to yell out many times upon numerous victorious cards and I’ve begun yodeling as a vocal workout. Interestingly enough, all three experts had their take on claiming the win.
"One should yell ‘gaybingo!’ as though their water just broke and it got in their Louboutin shoes," Skyy says. "Get up off your happy ass and scream ‘gaybingo!’ cause I am deaf and getting too old to hear everything," Le Plae Safe adds.
Cummings keeps it a little on the down low: "There’s no screaming. Just say ‘bingo,’" he says.
Where’s the fun in that?
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 15, 2010.