241 Southbridge Street
David Marshall, who had invested in the Mailbox and other gay bars, went on to establish Club 241 at 241 Southbridge Street, which quickly became one of the centers of gay life in Worcester for over a decade.
A lavish opening party took place on September 9, 1987, with invitations that looked like passports and entry tickets that looked like boarding passes.
Club 241 advertised heavily in the Boston gay press. While the club tried to maintain some of the more intimate community-building aspects, such as a “sing along with Walter” at the piano on Sundays, a “pasta night to raise money for selected AIDS projects” on Wednesdays, and karaoke on Thursdays, the 241 also featured standard fare for big dance clubs, including male strippers on Mondays and dancing until three a.m. on the weekends. The dance group Black Box performed there in 1995. Jordan Sorrell (Rich Guskey), the first Miss Gay Worcester, hosted the Saturday Night “Striptacular,” with the tagline, “Anyone Can Enter—Anyone Can Win.” Weekly prizes were one hundred dollars, and the grand prize was five hundred.
In her column “The Roving Eye,” the drag queen Kandi Kane reported in 1996 that the “North East Calendar Men” appeared on Friday nights at the club: “Some of the hottest guys in New England and they take it all off.” These professional strippers were not eligible for the Saturday night amateur competition.
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