October 1985: The Village People play 219

villagepeople219Believe it or not, there was a time when America didn’t quite understand that the Village People were, by design, exaggerated gay stereotypes of the “macho” straight ideal.  When America figured it out, the record label’s PR team spent time and money desperately trying to convince audiences that the band wasn’t really gay.

Feeling dismissed by a band they made popular, many gay men tuned out on the Village People for good.

In October 1985, SSBL Milwaukee hosted over 600 American and Canadian athletes at the 9th Gay Softball World’s Series. The Awards Banquet, held at the Crystal Ballroom at the Marc Plaza Hotel, featured PrideFest favorites City Of Festivals Men’s Chorus as well as Mamma Rae, who performed “Somewhere” from West Side Story.

Later that night, the Village People returned to Milwaukee for a special Series 9 performance at Club 219. Only three of the original six Village People were still part of the production, including Felipe Rose, Alex Briley and Glenn Hughes.  The band had recently adopted a new look to go with their new album, “Sex Over the Phone,” which was banned by the BBC due to its controversial subject matter (paid phone sex.)

The Village People played to a full house — almost too full, as it turns out.  During the concert, someone reported the venue was over capacity.  A city inspector showed up, but did not shut down the show — something that made the audience very happy!

The band broke up shortly after this show, but have reorganized several times, and have played Milwaukee many times over the past three decades.

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