By Tim Pompey
celebrated at Paddy’s
The TV series Glee has created a nationwide phenomenon. Avid fans who
follow the show are nicknamed “gleeks.” Glee songs are posted online
every week. And the Glee cast was even featured in a recent issue of
Like the show American Idol, Glee features young singers trying to
escape obscurity. In Glee’s case, that obscurity is their existence at
William McKinley High School, where athletes and cheerleaders are in
and Glee singers are not. Cheerleading coach Sue Sylvester runs her
glamorous “Cheerios” like a squad of storm troopers. Glee club director
Will Schuester has to duck and run amidst their numerous assaults.
Still, week after week, he rallies the troops, and week after week, the
kids deliver their songs.
At the center of all this hubbub is chorister Chris Colfer, whose
gayness has been both an emerging discovery and a musical highlight.
His melodic voice, sharp wit, and vulnerability provide the show’s
heart and soul.
Perhaps this explains why Glee has become a Tuesday night staple at
Paddy’s in downtown Ventura. Known locally as the spot where the LGBT
community can gather, Paddy’s features a long bar, pool tables, a big
screen TV, and a relaxed atmosphere. Like the old Cheers on TV, it’s a
place where good friends can hang out. “Everyone is welcome,” says
bartender Dennis Romero. “When the gay community gathers here, all the
bias is left out.” Romero likes to think of Paddy’s as “just another
bar” where people can feel at home.
DJ Michael Kohli describes his Tuesday Glee gatherings as a “fun
experiment.” Kohli started it as a one night event last September to
watch the opening show, then gather on the big dance floor adjacent to
the bar for some after-Glee entertainment. But what was originally
intended as a sole night of entertainment has stretched on for twelve
weeks and drawn huge crowds for guest appearances by Britney Spears,
Carol Burnett, and John Stamos.
Michael Kohli is the music host (and Breeze writer) for the Tuesday
night gathering of Glee watchers at Paddy’s in downtown Ventura.
Bar patrons Koa and Steve are big fans of the show. “I like the
renditions of the songs they cover,” says Steve. Indeed, Glee is known
for its outrageous musical numbers and big-time dance moves. Koa
appreciates “all the pizzazz when they sing.”
Tonight is the end of the fall season and features the episode titled
“A Very Glee Christmas.” Arch-nemesis Sue Sylvester, a snarling school
Grinch, steals all the presents purchased by Glee clubbers and fellow
teachers and defiantly stacks them in her office. As usual, the Glee
chorus tries to sing those presents back under their tree.
And therein is the appeal of the show. There’s always hope when
different people with common struggles use music to change the way
folks relate to each other. As the episode ends, even Sue has to admit.
There’s something about a Christmas song that melts even the stoniest
heart and brings people together.
It seems simple enough. Where there’s a bar and a TV, friends will
gather. Or sing. Or sing along, because where there are friends,
there’s also music, and music creates friendships. And where there is
music and friendship, Glee seems to thrive. As the show proves tonight,
whether gay or straight, everyone loves a good song.