Friday, April 19, 2024

Nuevo Laredo’s “Boystown” 1987

Nuevo Laredo's "Zona de Tolerencia" 1987. L-R Marge, Nick, Roland, Margaret, Corky, Louis, Andy
Nuevo Laredo’s “Zona de Tolerencia” 1987. L-R Marge, Nick, Roland, Margaret, Corky, Louis, Andy

We all fit into one cab. The driver charged us $20 for the six-mile drive from Nuevo Laredo to the legal brothel hood, Boystown, which was slightly less than we had spent on three hotel rooms for the night.

They used to have horse racing in Nuevo Laredo, just across the border into Mexico and a four-hour drive from Austin. Then the track was converted to dog racing, with its less overhead. I used to love to go to NL to bet. Some people went for the $25 scripts for roofies or speed or the $4 bottles of tequila. But back in the ’80s there was no place closer to Austin where you could bet on horses or dogs, so that’s why I’d do down there three or four times a year. Matamoros had better ropa usada places, where forklifts used to drop bundles of used clothes in the middle of the room and you’d spend hours hoping to touch gabardine.

The picture above, which was taken by a Mexican photo boy, who sold it to me for $5, was during a trip in early ’87. I know this because the guy on the right, Andy, lived in the big building on Baylor near 9th, where I lived with Suzee for a few months. Eeyore’s 1987- when was that?- was when I went to live somewhere else. I think I talked Andy into driving down, then Nick heard about it and rounded up a posse that packed into his old shitmobile. They were wimps and stayed on the American side, those three SXSW founders and the local queens of music and film. Andy and I got a room in NL for $5. There were huge bugs everywhere and when the gang came by to get us, Margaret started screaming and all these scary looking Mexican guys came out of their rooms.

Boystown itself was rather uneventful- one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time, but ends up being a dud. But at least we got this cool picture. And Margaret got laid. jk.

Hell, there were a bunch of those uncomfortable kinda times at the Chronicle, where nobody made any money so we’d glom onto any freebie with food. Remember the time Lee Harvey Oswald’s daughter was our waitress at the Texas Chili Parlor and she was so rude after we pulled out the voucher? (She was nicer after we tipped in cash.)

By far the worst time was when we all showed up for the free buffet at a media anniversary party at the Sugar’s strip joint. I mean, we all walked in on about 10 table dances going on simultaneously, us in our scruffy t-shirts and jeans, and it was perhaps even more embarassing and uncomfortable as when my dad took me to “Straw Dogs” at age 13 or so because “Midnight Cowboy” was also rated X and it wasn’t so bad. I guess we were thinking it was still the days of Tempest Storm and we were not ready with how strip clubs had, um, progressed?

So, we’re all looking at each other, like ‘do we just turn around and leave?’ and, of course, Nick goes right to the food and fixes himself a plate like we just showed up at Steve Chaney’s place. I recall we stayed about 10 minutes and slipped out. I think we were all scarred for life on going to strip clubs after that. I know I was. We didn’t say a word in the car as we waited about 20 minutes for Nick. He came out  with cookies wrapped in a napkin, so it wasn’t a total bust for us.

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