The words legend and icon are used free and easy nowadays. You can’t pick up a newspaper, click on some website, or turn on a TV without reading about something or someone that is a legend or iconic. To say the words are overused and misinterpreted may be an understatement.
In the case of Robert Mainor, the words legend and icon are not enough to describe the late owner of the oldest gay bar in Texas. Trailblazer, hero, pioneer, entrepreneur, pillar of the community, and showstopper are a few adjectives that can describe Mainor, who passed away on Friday, July 3 at 83.
A celebration of life will be held at Robert’s Lafitte, the bar he made a legend (a word not used lightly), on Sunday, July 24, starting at 2 p.m. Mainor loved Hawaiian shirts, and attendees are asked to wear one to the potluck celebration. Bring your favorite side dish and/or dessert. Guests can share remembrances of Mainor.
The original Lafitte’s opened in Galveston in 1955. After a brief stint as a bartender there, Mainor purchased the openly gay bar in 1969, renamed it Robert’s Lafitte, and made it a safe haven for the island’s drag queens, along with an ever-growing gay community. He often took to the stage himself, performing as Robert “the mouth” Mainor.
Mainor, born in Houston, developed the show biz bug early in life, and while in high school was a featured baton twirler at football game halftime shows.
Robert’s Lafitte became known for its hysterically outlandish, raunchy puppet shows. Annual Halloween productions of The Rocky Horrible Picture Show have continued the tradition of risqué adult entertainment the bar is famous for.
Scott Butler, Mainor’s nephew, has managed the bar for the past several years. When asked if any changes can be expected with his uncle’s passing, he replied,” Not a damn thing. Robert made this place an institution and I’m going to do my best to keep it at that.”
Butler added, “I hope this Celebration of Life isn’t a sad occasion. He (Mainor) would want us to have a good time.”
WHAT: Celebration of Life for Robert Mainor
WHEN: Sunday, July 24, 2 p.m.
WHERE: Robert’s Lafitte, 2501 Avenue Q, Galveston, TX 77550