Monday, December 8, 2008

Tucson GLBT Business Being Gay Bashed

(The following is an E-mail the Observer received from Robert Rowley.)

For over 20 years Dave Huff and Frank Shepis have owned and operated GLBT nightclubs here in Tucson, first IBTs on 4th Avenue and for the last several years Woody's at 3710 North Oracle. Dave and Frank have been two of the biggest supporters of GLBT causes in this area the entire time. Dave and Frank, for all but the first few years of its history, have sponsored the huge Jello Wrestling event here in Tucson. They have always sponsored Pride in the Park and Tucson Pride, have year after year fielded AidsWalk teams and held fundraisers for several other charitable causes including TIHAN among others. Woody's was the site of the first Hurricane Katrina benefit in Arizona. Dave and Frank, always at the forefront of the Equality movement and GLBT politics have had people such as Rebeka Lieberman (daughter of Sen. Joe Lieberman), Tom Volgy and others in to their clubs. Aids testing, voter registrations and more have gone on at Woody's and IBTs when they owned it. Dave and Frank have been there for all of us all of the time. Now they need our support.

Woody's, prior to Dave and Franks ownership, was a biker bar of ill repute. Dave and Frank came in, cleaned it up, improved it and have done what they can to insure a fun and safe environment for their customers. Next door, on the South side of the building, is Joe and Vicky's, another club who have been around for years. Since opening Woody's the management of the low rent apartments on the North side of Woody's, Laurence Court Apartments have done all that they can to close Woody's. The current manager is on record as berating Woody's to her tenants, making homophobic comments to Woody's customers, asking tenants if they know what kind of bar Woody's is, threatening her tenants because of their going to Woody's, becoming irate with Woody's staff when her tenants have been chased out of the Woody's parking lot wherein they were drinking, drugging, harassing Woody's customers and etc. For some time now she has used a couple of Tucson Police officers as her weapon of choice, complaining anytime Woody's was busy or obviously have great business. Neither Joe and Vicky s nor the biker bar which was located where Woody's is now were ever complained about. Only Woody's and only because it is a GLBT establishment.

A couple of months ago Woody's was "Red Tagged" by TPD because of yet another complaint made by the anti gay manager of Laurence Court Apartments during a Wine Tasting in the early evening. The entertainment was a Jazz musician. Being red tagged means one must go to court and, if found guilty, closed. At the court hearing the prosecution didn't have their case together, the judge was pissed off and rescheduled the hearing for this Wednesday, December 10th.

Dave and Frank have always been there for me just as they have always been there for the GLBT community and so I am asking your help. This court hearing could close Woody's and so I am asking you, all of you, to take a little of your time and show up in court in support of Dave, Frank and Woody's this coming Wednesday at the Tucson City Court at 2 pm., courtroom 9 on the second floor. The Tucson City Court is located at 103 East Alameda. The more who show up in support of Woody's, the better. This is obviously a case of a homophobe and her pet officers trying to close a business simply because it is a GLBT establishment. Please help fight this by being seen and showing the judge that we support Woody's and all GLBT businesses.

Thank you for your time in reading this and I hope to see you all there on Wednesday.
Happy Holidays.

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