Gaiety Burlesk

201 W. 46th Street,
New York, NY 10036

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Gaiety Burlesk

This was one of several gay male adult theatres in the Times Square area and it operated from at least the mid-1970’s until finally closing in March 2005, and was demolished in 2007.

It was formerly known as the Orpheum Dance Palace and had a prime location on the second floor of a building on the northwest corner of Broadway and W. 46th Street, across the street from the former Gaiety/Victoria/Embassy 5 Theatre. It became the Kings Cinema, New Paris Cinema, Pussycat Cinema, Pussycat Theatre, present ‘straight’ adult fare before going gay.

The main entrance was on W. 46th Street up a flight of stairs. I recall going to see movies there in 1976 and during the break in the films, the ‘stars’ of the movie came on stage to meet their ‘fans’.

Advertised as the Gaiety Male Burlesk-‘The Only One in Town’.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 71 comments)

PatB
PatB on February 3, 2013 at 8:20 pm

I read with interest all the comments here and wonder if anyone wondered the same thing I did. How did Denise take being cooped up in that little cubicle all day long. From what I heard, she ran a very tight ship there. It was for different reasons I had to stop going long before it closed but it would’ve ruined it for me when women were allowed there. In fact even Denise ruined it for me even tho she kept a low profile. Jason, I hope to get a copy of your book.

xristo69
xristo69 on January 16, 2015 at 11:38 am

I was a dancer at the Gaiety 1976 – 1978. Read about my daze and nites of hoofing around NYC clubs until I crashed & burned from D&A: Gaiety, the Gallery, Flamingo, Crisco Disco, the Anvil, Hurrah, Studio 54, Paradise Garage, Ice Palace 57, the World, Sound Factory,… Homo GoGo Man, by Christopher Duquette available now on DonnaInk.com & Amazon.com

don’t you want to know what went on behind the mylar curtain???

Tony_Brando
Tony_Brando on March 6, 2015 at 7:40 pm

So, people are still talking about the gaiety theatre – I used to run the shows “high atop Howard Johnsons in beautiful midtown Manhattan.” Haven’t thought about the place in a long time but was thinking of an old friend – Robert B. (forgot his stage name) And yes, I know what went on behind the Mylar curtain. LOL

RMeitzler
RMeitzler on March 11, 2015 at 8:45 am

Yes Tony, seems people still are talkin about the Gaiety. I’d love to hear some more stories from you if you’re checking this on the regular… What a cool history this place has!

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on October 1, 2015 at 6:17 pm

Mid `70’s photo added to Photos Section. Photo credit Diane Worland.

http://www.dianeworland.com/

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 5, 2016 at 4:56 pm

A recent search on this site found that at least one of the three rooms that were once the Orpheum Dance Hall showed films as the KINGS, NEW PARIS, and PUSSYCAT CINEMA sometime in the 70’s and 80’s.

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on October 5, 2016 at 5:01 pm

Here is a marquee shot as the Pussycat Cinema.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on October 16, 2017 at 5:59 pm

March 4, 1960 photo added courtesy of Vintage Everyday Facebook page. Marquee behind the Howard Johnson’s.

xristo69
xristo69 on January 6, 2018 at 9:10 am

In August, 1976, I was a sexually suppressed 18 year old young man raised in IBM suburbia whose only claim to fame was winning Prom King for my choreographed dance moves I acquired by studying ‘American Bandstand’ and ‘Soul Train’. I always wanted to be a go-go dancer, on display for the world to admire. On the day I escaped my parents’ scrutiny and claustrophobic home by entering Stony Brook University, I chose to troll X-rated Times Square to satisfy my homosexual lust instead of settling into dorm life. I was quickly approached by a humpy Italian not much older than me, who gently introduced me to my first man-on-man sexual encounter with the experienced hands of a professional male hustler. My one hour romantic affair changed gears as my new lover challenged me to follow his lead as a stripper on the stages of the Gaiety Male Burlesque, where I would satisfy the audience and Denise, the conservative Greek business owner, to become a regular dancer on weekends from Stony Brook. I wrote about my experiences being mentored by street savvy coworkers at the Gaiety who guided me into the new lifestyle I apparently welcomed and succeeded at for two years, making more money than an 18 year old still in college knew what to do with, where and how to dress for success, where and how to take drugs, and became entitled to VIP treatment at the best high-end discos and entrance to the most exclusive underground clubs, dancing to the best DJ’s and music, making me feel like my Prom King Trophy come to life. Homo GoGo Man: a fairytale about a boy who grew up in discoland, by Christopher Duquette was published by DonnaInk DP in Dec.2014, sold well on Amazon and BarnesandNoble, consulted on disco articles, exhibitions and projects. I will be reading the chapter “the Gaiety Burlesque” with DJ accompaniment of the music relevant and threaded through that chapter and the rest of my overextended disco experience (1976 – 2004) as well as silver mylar curtains, disco ball and lights reminiscent of the Gaiety (or any iconic club you want to read about in my book), at the BGSQD bookstore on level 2 of LGBTQ ctr on 13th Street, NYC, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, 7pm- 9pm. View BGSQD.com for details, or, review my YouTube ‘Homo GoGo Man’ by Christopher Duquette 845 337 7048,

xristo69
xristo69 on July 21, 2019 at 12:25 pm

To those who still reminiscence of the hedonistic sex-saturated Times Square of the late 1970’s, specifically the one iconic establishment that stayed in the business of legitimate homosexual entertainment well into the fascist Guilliani era, the Gaiety Male Burlesque Theater, run by an old-school, law and order, profit minded Greek divorcee, Denise, in the heart of historical Broadway, until the building was bought out, erasing any indication of homosexual desires the Gaiety excelled at, the ‘Harmony All-Girl Burlesque’ that was offering the live percussion beat to orchestrate the bump and grind by old-school cosmetically unaltered women doing floor routines before there were stripper poles, and the last vestige of American cuisine, an authentic Howard Johnsons diner offering its specialty: fried clams. All in a three story building on the prime corner of 46th Street/Bway. This blog is for you: I have shared about my blessed experience of exhibiting my suppressed sexual desire to be admired as a Gaiety dancer from Sept. 1976 (the day I was emancipated from my parents on acceptance to Stony Brook University) until 1978, when I made the executive decision that the opportunities of focusing on graduating from college with a Masters degree outweighed all the adulation I received as a well prepared, talented and popular performer on the stages of the Gaiety, and in private exclusive appointments where I was paid handsomely by the hour, never expecting to engage in any activity that endangered me legally, physically, or morally. I wrote about how those early adult years in a glamorous fantasy as I play disco music from that era, and have mentored vulnerable young adults who might use their youth and beauty for financial benefit with long-term emotional consequences in my first book, published 4 years ago and top seller every year by my risk-taking publisher, DonnaInk, Homo GoGo Man: a fairytale about a boy who grew up in discoland now available on every internet book site in a 2nd new and improved edition, with a more marketable cover. But as I disclose in my cautionary tale, I ended up so obsessed with the disco scene in NYC, that after a prosperous career and lifestyle balancing my addiction to disco, that by age 43, I was unemployable, bankrupt, and burning bridges with friends and family, leaving me to resort to work as a GoGo man, paid to dance in clubs in the tri-state area that my vintage 1973 Orange Volvo 1800ES Sportwagon could drive me to that probably were not expecting a dancer booked by an agency that was not a confused straight unprepared and uncoordinated twenty something twink but a seasoned naturally winning dancer who knew how to perform to an audience of strangers. These shylocks of flesh booked and payed me knew I had what it took to take my clothes off to present a well-toned body and the erstwhile charm to entertain people, not to mention my seriously pitch perfect ability to dance to the music. I was in such desperate drug denial that I believed I could retreat to old behavior (Gaiety dancer at 18 yrs.from upstate NY) with no regret. The salary enhanced my post-Gaiety booking fee (1976: $10. per performance. 2002: $150-$300 per night plus tips and narcissism enhancing crystal meth). I always followed the rules of the establishment I was dancing at. I never wanted to arouse more trouble than I was already in; driving under the influence, driving without auto insurance, carrying drugs across state lines, and prostitution. I had an expensive black leather doctor’s bag that a lover had given me as a gift from Tokyo twenty years ago; my Japanese Louis Vuitton. The sentimental piece of luggage that had taken me around the world on luxurious vacations was now full of stripper costumes that I would buy or make. I could procure props from that bag to dance and strip in a variety of butch looks to keep me and the audience interested in the old go-go man. I always wore expensive black logger boots to keep me grounded to a go-go cage, stage, or bar that I had to precariously stay cemented to. I could not afford to fall blinded by the spot or strobe lights of the disco. I had an authentic yellow construction helmet that I would wear with a red, white, and blue thong that paid patriotic respect to the American work ethic. I wore running sneakers, a jock strap, head band and a water bottle to portray a marathoner. I evoked lifeguard fantasies with a Speedo bathing suit, mirrored aviator glasses and a whistle on a lanyard. I had black Harley Davidson motorcycle boots and matching gloves that I wore with a sheer black Gucci brief with the label “G” embossed in rhinestones. With a navy thong, mirrored aviator glasses and a sleeveless security shirt, I would become a nasty cop S/M fantasy. A brown leather cowboy hat with ostrich yellow cowboy boots and a brown Gucci bikini made me look like an Aussie hunter. I had sophisticated costumes to feature in my pathetic dance gigs in desolate venues. No other dancer came with a bag of tricks like this old hoofer. I performed with a tacky form flattering hot pink bikini and glow sticks from the Dollar Store wrapped around my ankles, wrist and neck to dance madly to the electro-bubblegum of Madonna’s “Ray of Light, sucking on a lollipop”: I also came with my own CD music labeled with the track and my stage name: Xristo. I was the consummate performer in an era that did not appreciate anything more than virgin chicken flesh.

Faster than the speeding light she’s flying Trying to remember where it all began She’s got herself a little piece of heaven Waiting for the time when earth shall be as one And I feel quicker than a ray of light Then gone for someone else shall be there Through the endless years

When Madonna accepted her very first MTV video award for her performance in the video “Ray of Light”, she alluded to the fact that it was ironic that she should finally receive the Man-on-the-Moon trophy after all her other genius videos she produced and prodcast over decades on that station when all she really did in the award winning video was “dance her crazy middle-aged ass off like a mad woman”. I was born the same year as Madonna. I sometimes identify myself with her. Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT a Madonna wannabe. After all, I am a butch gay man. But here I was, a middle-aged hoofer, dancing like a crazy mad man to “Ray of Light”. Only I was no longer receiving a Prom King trophy for my performance. I was dancing like a mad man to pay for the drugs to keep me dancing. I was staying alive one day at a time. I wrote a 2nd book in one month after submitting the improved 2nd edition of HomoGoGoMan as an epilogue to document the struggles I have encountered and lessons I have learned recovering from the physical, mental, emotional and social stigma I have endured and surpassed by employing the singular characteristic every human being has been tempted and tested with good and bad results: euphoria. DRxug of Choice: Pick your Poison is published by my artistic mentor DonnaInk, available on most every internet book site, and again is a cautionary tale that I warn against some of the archaic medical community standards followed today to treat “mental disorder”, while promoting the still minority of current science and therapy available to those that are willing to take responsibility for their desire to achieve nirvana free of strict doctrine, medication, and social stigma for the very public record that is freely accessible to the general public containing any and all medical attention (meds, ER, rehab,…) as defaming as a criminal record. I will survive. Christopher Duquette. . www.facebook.com/authorchristopherduquette. You tube ‘Homo GoGo Man’.

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