The flier says it all. Please e-mail us if you need a ride, help finding a ride or have any questions.
If you have ever walked into, or even within a few blocks of the store “Twisted” on 7th st., you should be sure to check out their creepy blog and see if they have posted pictures they have taken of you.
Fed Up Queers will be having our first meeting sometime in the near future. If you are interested in getting information about future meetings, please keep a look out here, or better yet, e-mail us here and let us know to send you meeting information!
Stay Safe. Stay Fabulous.
Fed Up Queers
Last night Fed Up Queers had our first (of many) actions and we are going to call it a success. A group of 5 Fed Up Queers met at 11 P.M. outside of Norman Jones club “Discovery” and we started displaying our fabulous signs and handing out information to people who would stop for it.
Here is a picture of the actual area, so that you know exactly what we are talking about. At the corner of Cantrell & Jessie Rd., we handed out this information. To get the full fabulousness of this flier, please imagine it on a really amazing colored paper. Maybe it was called ‘angry lava’, we don’t remember.
As they turned the corner to get to Discovery, they started to see our signs along Jessie Rd. If you look at the picture, you can see that a set of train tracks goes across Jessie Rd. and we were lucky enough to have a train park there for almost the entire time we were there (11-midnight). This made it very easy for us to give out information, as people were already stopped and many folks had rolled down their windows to ask us for directions to the party. Around 11:50, the train finally left and getting people to stop for us became much more challenging.
It is at this time that a very, very upset Norman Jones drove up with 2 people who appeared to be police officers, however never let that be known who they were with and no one remembers ever seeing any identification. At first the security folks gave us many different instructions on where we could be and what we could doing. They said that we had to stop obstructing traffic and we could no longer hand out information. Then said that we could not display ANY images (including text…) on public property, without a permit. Overall, they seemed to be very confused at what laws we were actually breaking and when asked, told us to look it up for ourselves. While one Fed Up Queer was talking to one of the security guards, Norman Jones came up behind them and physically took the stack of fliers from their hand, which (we know you are reading this, Norman) will be the last time anything like that is ever allowed to happen again.
We decided that we would just leave, as we had already given out around 400 fliers to folks in cars and our night had gone well. This was our first “No to Norman” action and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for our visits to the NOrman Discovery/Backstreet complex.
Stay Safe, Stay Fabulous.
On June 5th, 2009, Discovery will be having their “live from Amsterdam” party and Fed Up Queers will be there in full (and fabulous) force. You will find more information below about Norman Jones, Discovery and his very dangerous monopoly.
Frequently (Un)asked Questions:
Who is Norman Jones?
Norman Jones is a horse breeder, well-to-do drag queen and currently the owner of 4 bars in the central Arkansas area. These bars are Discovery/Disco, Backstreet, Off Center and 610 Off Center. He won the title of Miss Gay America in 1973 and then proceeded to purchase the pageant, which he owned until recently. Norman Jones has had his thumb on the pulse of gay Arkansas for some time now, and owns almost every outlet for Queer and Trans young folk in Arkansas; he has created a pretty powerful monopoly in the process.
Well, isn’t that just business?
Sure, when someone invests in business, they ought to try to be successful. But Norman based his entire business on the social life of an oppressed group, and actively created a monopoly on opportunity for that group to meet one another and build a community. We believe that anyone who profits from of an oppressed group to which he actually belongs, particularly in an especially unwelcoming area, is in turn obligated to that community. His failure to that obligation, we believe, amounts to nothing less than exploitation.
Isn’t providing a place for community enough?
Norman Jones’ businesses provide a very important need for the trans/queer community of Arkansas. They are places that at least ‘feel’ welcoming, places where other young people in the community are made available. But we believe that charging $15 for folks under 21 at Backstreet, for instance, and limiting the function of the space to simply dancing and drinking is unacceptable. Backstreet is the only one of Jones’ establishments that allow folks 18+ to enter, and the high prices and carding policies make his establishments inaccessible to a large portion of the Queer/Trans community in Arkansas. He strictly forbids anything political from his clubs, including brochures for sympathetic organizations inside or outside and even safety information left in the bathroom. We see this as a great disservice to our community.
Young Queer and Trans people of Arkansas turn to his establishments to fill their need for community, but in return for their $15, they get the social-nutritional equivalent to cotton candy.
Aren’t his clubs, besides being social outlets, also safe spaces?
Because his establishments are supposed to be “gay friendly clubs,” Queer and Trans Arkansans naturally see them as safe spaces. We believe this is a false sense of security. Many people have had unwelcoming, even discriminatory experiences from both security guards and patrons in his establishments.
One person we talked to has experienced harassment in the bathrooms and dance floor at Discoveryfrom security guards for a gender presentation that was not in the ‘norm’. Another person, who identifies as a bear cub, was asked to put his shirt back on by security guards; however, the other shirtless, stereotypically “beautiful” people were not confronted at all (Needless to say, he did not put his shirt back on).
One would think that Norman would treat the performers at Discovery & Backstreet like royalty (as this is the reason many people visit his establishments), but this is simply not the case. We spoke with a former performer at Backstreet who says that “if you aren’t willing to sell your soul to Norman Kristie’s Inc., don’t even try to get in.” She heard Norman refer to a lesbian identified woman as a “fucking dyke” and told us of atime where a performer wore a “Got Midol?” shirt and underwear covered in (fake?) blood; Norman thought that was a “laugh riot”. Her overall feeling was that performers of color are “treated like hired help” by Norman and remembers hearing him make offensive comments towards people of size and color. It appears that not even people who are working for Norman and are bringing in customers are treated with any dignity at all.
Norman owns places where Queer and Trans folks happen to go, nothing more.
He probably just donates money to fund politicians and causes on his own, like any business owner would.
The only non-profit he is known to donate to is his own, Helping People With AIDS, HWPA, which we believe to be another of his shams. We have not been able to find any person or organization who is familiar with HWPA’s work. We believe that this “non-profit” that Norman has created is just for legality and is being used as just another part of his empire.
Two phone numbers are available for HWPA, the first one leading to a voicemail message that mentions all of his bars, but makes no mention of HWPA or its services. The second phone number has no voicemail and continues to ring forever without any answer. Both of these numbers have been tried repeatedly on Tuesday, the only day that HWPA is claimed to be open. Throughout the week as well, we have not ever been able to get a response.
There is also no evidence of financial contribution to political campaigns, not even to oppose Act 1. We’re still digging for information, but the opaque nature of his non-profit leads us to believe that we won’t find any inspiring success stories. We want to know how a non-profit which has no obvious presence outside of papers registering it could be seen as valid help for people with AIDS? You can’t even call them.
Why should I care?
Overall, we feel that Norman Jones and his for-profit empire, while it may have started with good intentions, has become corrupt and is being used to exploit Queer and Trans folk across the state. We are fed up with the overall sense in the community of Norman being some sort of leader, as it is clear that he only wishes to lead himself to your wallet.
What can you do?
Stop supporting his establishments! Don’t stop at just not visiting Discovery, Backstreet, Off Center or 610 Off Center, but tell your friends not to go!
Let him know you are fed up! Feel free to call him at 501-666-6900, let him know you are fed up with being treated as nothing more than capitol gain for his empire!
Find other spaces or make your own! You don’t need Norman or his establishments to have fun! Host a house party, play your own music and let everyone enjoy it!
If you are fed up with something in Arkansas, let us know! Here are some ideas for projects that we are interested in working on.
Creating a survey on police violence/harassment, specifically towards the Queer and/or Homeless folks in Little Rock.
Creating a database of safe houses/spaces for Queer/Trans/Gender non-conforming young folks to go, when or if they are kicked out of their house.
Hosting a Trans/Sex Worker self defence class.
Put together and offer workshops on street art/wheat pasting/stencil making/other mediums that we can use to fuck shit up.
This list is wonderful, but we need more ideas. We also need to get folks together who are interested in working on one or all of these issues! Let us know!