Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Last call

Sweet Lips

Paul Bentley and Sweet Lips arriving outside the Kokpit for one of Sweet Lips' Hangings.
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Dear Loyal Readers,

After 39 years of writing this column and outliving almost everyone that matters, I've decided this is the last time I will honor you with my wit and wisdom. 39 years ago, Luscious Lorelei (Paul Bentley) and Bob Ross decided they were going to start a paper. I told them that I was going to write a gossip column. We sat down at our dining room table and wrote the first issue of the B.A.R. I wasn't paid, so I considered it free publicity. To set the record straight, Mr. Marcus started after me. I am proud to say that I am the oldest living original writer for the B.A.R. I never thought I would be the only one left.

Things were different back then. Everyone was more together. If someone said they were having a party or putting something together, all they had to do was make a call or tell me, and everyone would show up. We knew that we had to stick together if we were going to get anywhere. Most of us were used to being harassed by the police. I learned to have a tough skin and keep a sense of humor. It's been a long time that I've been able to read my enemies and tell the truth in print. It didn't always make me the most popular queen in town, but you always knew where you stood with me.

All of a sudden, I wasn't only writing for me. I was writing for Lorelei, Mame, Maxine, Greta Grass, Jimmi "Mair" Quinn, Jose Saria, Kenny Allison, Robbie Robinson, Ronnie Lynn, Pushy Phillis, Gladys Bumps, and any other person who was having fun and making a difference around town. My column has always been a group effort, and I always fought for the underdog. Thanks to my spies who have never seen a watering hole they didn't like, and who remember the most titillating details, I was constantly supplied with interesting tidbits. If the spies didn't keep me busy, I had more than enough friends, vicious queens and bad bar owners to talk about. You know who you are.

I want to say a special thanks to Mark Leno, Wayne Friday, Cat Cannell, Donna Sachet, Ron Ross, Steve Suss, Steven Rascher, Coy Ellison & Sal Meza, the San Francisco Imperial Court of which I was a founding member, and all the good people (including Bob Golovich) of the Tenderloin, Polkstrasse and Hayes Valley. You keep the old times alive, and I am proud to have told you off, served you a drink and shared in your life.

My life has been good. I worked with Sally Stanford at Valhalla, and have had cocktails with Carol Channing and Billy Holiday. Paul Lynde once tried to insult my portrait at my old bar the Kokpit. People know the wrath of Sweet Lips when you mess with my portrait! I am happy to say that my life has been good, it was a little wet, but it was good. Now remember, I like to drink vodka, so drop by Brookside Nursing Home in San Mateo, and bring a straw. Don't stop sending your dish and dirt to, because I love gossip.

Yours Truly,

Czarina de Turk and Portland and Empress of Puerto Vallarta

Sweet Lips

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