Eating My Words: Stonewall: From Full Guts to Glory

The Stonewall Rebellion was one of at least six remarkable events in 1969. This week, I’m pairing those events with dining advice.

Let’s start with man’s first walk on the moon. I remember sitting with my parents and girlfriend and watching this drama on TV. “If man can walk on the moon, I can fuck women,” I thought to myself. An equally fanciful, worldwide myth is that the moon is made of cheese. My favorite pig-out cheese for years has been Drunken Goat, a firm, aged chevre in a purple, wine-soaked rind. It used to be cheap and hard to find. Now it’s everywhere and expensive. Please eat it.

Next up is the release of Andy Warhol’s film, “Lonesome Cowboys.” I went to see it at Ansley Mall with my girlfriend. The Atlanta police showed up, seized the film, and ordered everyone into the parking lot. Gay cowboys remind me of barbecue. The best in the city is at B’s Cracklin (2061 Main Street). The owner-chef raises his own heritage hogs. Pick your sauce: vinegary-mustardy Carolina-style, and not-too-sweet, tomatoey Georgia-style.

Federico Fellini’s masterpiece, “Satyricon,” was also released here in 1969. I saw it with my by-now-surely-worried girlfriend at Lenox Square. The movie is a Freudian adaptation of the western world’s first novel, “The Satyricon,” by Gaius (really!) Petronius. It satirizes the Greek taste for sodomy and the cult of Priapus, the god famous for his gigantic penis. The story includes an infamously weird banquet. Fast-forward many years and I’m writing reviews of weird food as I write my doctoral dissertation on the obsession with huge dicks in pop culture. When I think of big dicks and weird food, I think of Beijing Kabobs (5090 Buford Highway). Much of the food here is very challenging taste-wise but among the least so is the skewered ox-penis. An ox has a 2.5’ penis. Alas, you don’t get the whole thing here; just grilled chunks of junk. If you feel cheated, get an order of lamb balls.

I remember the Stonewall Rebellion not so much from actual accounts of it, but it did stimulate long-overdue reporting about gay life in New York. I remember photographs in Life Magazine of slender men sipping cocktails in shadowy bars. I have no idea why, but the most memorable sentence from that story claimed that homosexual men are obsessed with sneakers. Since I did not relate to that, I couldn’t be gay and my girlfriend was safe. Later, of course, I heard the story of Stonewall’s Amazon queens. I married my girlfriend. That lasted five years. My coming out was largely shepherded by drag queens in Augusta. (You learn a lot helping a queen steal ladies’ clothes from unattended laundromat machines.) As I’ve recounted many times my mega-gay epiphany occurred at Hollywood Hots. Lily White performed the Flying Lizards’ version of “Summertime Blues.” Suddenly, it occurred to me that being an outlaw was going to incur incredible creative freedom. When I think of Stonewall, Lily White, and sneakers, I think first of the Gallus and the Silver Grill, but they are dead. There are lots of gayish places in Midtown, but for revolutionary style without regard to sexual orientation, I have to go with Staplehouse (541 Edgewood Avenue). I can’t recount the whole story here. Just know that its cuisine is a gorgeous outcome of a broken heart. We relate, right?

Finally, 1969 was also the year of Woodstock and the Manson murders. When I think of acid rock and blood, nothing edible besides mushrooms, straight people, and rare prime rib comes to mind. I still like Highland Tap for that stuff (1026 N. Highland Avenue)