Bingo is no longer only held in church basements and community centres. With participants being heckled and fondled by the Living Well’s drag queen, and breaking every conceivable fashion rule at the Bovine Sex Club, it ain’t exactly your average night at the Legion anymore. Reporters Jen Belanger and Krissy Gordon investigate.
By Krissy Gordon
If Grandma plays bingo at the Living Well bar she’s more likely to come home with a dildo than a dabber. Every Monday night at around 9:30 p.m. the bar, located at 692 Yonge St., hosts Dirty Bingo, where players can win a variety of naughty prizes including bongs, bar tabs, tattoo and piercing gift certificates and last, but not least, vibrators.
The master of ceremonies is a cheeky, foul-mouthed drag queen named Shirely.
She is guaranteed to make customers blush, as she insults them and asks personal questions about their sex lives.
I met Shirley on Monday, January 7, when I went to check out Dirty Bingo for the first time. The bar was already packed when I arrived. Shirley helped me find a seat next to a scary-looking wooden chair, equipped with straps to tie your arms and legs back in a “spread eagle” position.
Shortly after finding me a seat, she came around again, handing out bingo cards for two dollars each. On her rounds, she took great pleasure in fondling several of the customers, including a red-faced boy sitting near me who appeared helpless as she rubbed his legs and chest.
As the first round began, Shirley continued to shock customers with her potty mouth.
When she caught someone talking on a cell phone, she demanded to speak with the person on the other end. Once on the phone, she asked someone’s very surprised brother: “Do you have a big dick, sweetheart?” (Mental note: Do not call Mom from here). After this episode, many wide-eyed audience members wisely turned off their phones.
On a break between rounds, Shirley announced that the bartenders would be giving free pap smears on the pool table.
The “X Husband” round was the climax of the evening. (This can also be the “X Wife” round depending on the victim Shirley chooses). In this round, players had to get an X pattern on their cards in order to win. The N column is not used in this pattern, so every time Shirley called an N the victim had to remove an article of clothing.
The X Husband that night was a regular customer named Sean Adams, who was celebrating his twenty-fifth birthday. In no time Sean was showing us his birthday suit and was forced to parade around the room collecting money for charity.
The proceeds of Dirty Bngo go to a variety of charities. On the night I was there, Shirley announced that Dirty Bingo had hit the $50,000 mark for overall earnings in its five and a half years of existence. For January, all proceeds will go to Easter Seals, an organization which assists children with disabilities.
Although most of the people at Dirty Bingo were in their twenties, everyone is welcome to play.
“Anyone can have a good time here, as long as they check their politics and inhibitions at the door,” says Heather Paterson, the Living Well’s general manager. Clearly, this event is not for the faint of heart.
By Jen Belanger
If your heroes include Jerry Springer and Ron Jeremy then you’ll fit right in on Trailer Trash Bingo night at the Bovine Sex Club located at 562 Queen W.
You can’t miss the heaps of junk plastered on the sign above the dark entrance to the Bovine. Old bike tires, twisted sheet metal, Christmas lights and tin cans can be found hang overhead. And look our for those baby toy dolls about the bar. Yep, this is where you can find the men showing off their stained wife-beaters while playing a round of, uh, South Park Pinball?
Trailer Trash Bingo Night was created over two years ago by DJ Richard “Recreation Vehicle” Vermeulen and former manager Megan Whiten. The pair wanted to offer a night of free bingo mixed with cheesy punk rock and metal.
“It’s about fun, drinking, partying and about not taking yourself too seriously,” says Vermeulen, who plays everything from Johnny Cash to AC/DC. The event, held the first Wednesday of the month, caters to a crowd of 20-40 year-olds.
“You can dress however you like and no one bats an eye,” he says. “It’s where the normal and freaky-freaks hang out, yet I’ve never seen a fight.”
The game starts off slow but picks up as people dressed in khakis and American flag dresses, begin to fill the barstools and the back room. This week they’ve run out of bingo chips, so cups of nickels, dime and pennies are distributed.
Fuschia Fury (Lizz Dexik) and Mandra (Andrew Robertson) were filling in for hosts Trixie and Beever, who are on vacation. Sporting a high leather skirt and a tight T-shirt with “Porno” written across the chest, Fuschia has a blast hosting bingo.
“The night is about beer spillin’, hillbilly trash,” Fucshia says with a laugh as she adjusts her bleached-blonde hair under her American Graffiti hat.
Fuschia has known Mandra for years and their on-stage chemistry is one of their favourite things about the night.
“We play off each other,” says Mandra, pulling up the collar of his white blazer. “It’s bad humor but we make it funny. We make people do stupid things, I’ll go around the audience and hump people’s legs. If that doesn’t work then we get one of our friends drunk.”
Managers Graham Fielding has worked at the Bovine for three years and says the bingo nights draw in many thrill-seekers.
“People see the name and wonder what it’s all about,” he says. “Most of our business is through word-of-mouth.”
Loyal customer Oliver, 32, saw the flyer for the bingo night in the men’s washroom.
“I’ve been coming here for the past eight years,” he says. “When I heard of trailer trash bingo I thought of torn jeans, spitting tobacco, Burger King, Taco Bell and stained tank tops.”
Sex toys, adult videos, nude playing cards, even bongs are in the goody bags, sponsored by the Steamwhistle Brewery.
The smoke-filled, dimly lit bar is the perfect atmosphere to win sexual toys or drug inducing, er, devices, listen to corny rock or country or find your own hero. Bingo turned bad. Anyone got O-69?