By Forest Riggs
If you’ve ever had a fantasy of living a salty life on the high sea as a pirate, cabin boy, prostitute or stow-away (or just all of these combined!), your dreams are getting a little closer in the Gulf of Mexico and on Galveston Island. The creak of the rigging, the pop of the sails, late night bouts of rum, singing sea shanties to a crying concertina and more — all sailing into Galveston, April 5 through 8.
Once again, the tall ships will dot the Gulf waters around Galveston, as the Galveston Historic Foundation (GHF) welcomes the arrival of the participating ships in the Parade of Ships. The Tall Ships 2018 Race Series, stretching over 17 days, will visit Galveston harbor on Thursday, April 5. The race will include visits in the ports of Galveston, April 5 through 8, the first stop and led by Galveston’s on sailing ship, Elissa. Then it’s on to Pensacola, Florida, April 12 through 15, and ending in New Orleans, Louisiana, April 19 through 22. At each stop, visitors and viewers will have an opportunity to witness the great ships in action. There are opportunities to tour the magnificent sailing vessels of yore and even sail on them (for a fee).
“What shall we do with a drunken sailor? What shall we do with a drunken sailor?
Shave his belly with a rusty razor, earlie in the morning!”
— Traditional sea shanty
As fun as that sounds, I doubt it will happen. But then again, you never know — Galveston is full of surprises and unpredictable happenings.
The island is preparing for the parade, with GHF presenting tours and educational programs at the Texas Seaport Museum, at Pier 21. Check out Galveston Historical Society on line for viewing and event information GalvestonHistory.org.
On April 5 beginning at 12:30 pm, all participating ships will muster at East Beach. The parade will begin heading west along the Seawall at 1 p.m., with the Tall Ship Elissa leading the parade. At 2 p.m., the tall ships will make a turn at 35th Street and head back to the East Beach area. At 3 p.m., the parade ends and the ships take down their sails and head into Galveston Bay. The fun and celebrations along the Harborside Drive piers will last into the night. The boats will remain in port until April 8.
Though there are several viewing parties planned along the Seawall on April 5, no doubt the very best and certainly the gayest will be at Rumors Beach Bar (3102 Seawall Boulevard), where the salty party will continue until closing time. Sharpen up your razors and see if you can trap someone who needs their belly shaved!
Overheard on the Island
Setting the record straight (or queerly truthful), it has been a long winter. A lot of “stuff” has come the down the pipe on our tiny island; talk, stories, crap and even some falsehoods. Here are the biggies:
• “Rumors is closing and Todd is broke!” That is false!
• “A drag performer went on Facebook to talk smack about a Galveston resident and is being sued!” That one is true!
• “A good friend and bar patron (to all the bars) is personally on a mission to ‘shut down Lafitte’s!’” That is false!
• “23rd St. Station is ‘going straight!’” That is false!
It seems that a few queens have nothing to do but spread lies and rumors. I say, if you want to know…ask somebody who really knows!
April is upon us and the island full of tourists and visitors. Fortunately the weather has been beautiful and makes a day at the beach a fantastic adventure. April is great month to fall in love…everyone and everything is “doing it.”
The bars are full of fun-loving patrons, the drag queens and illusionists are putting on some pretty fantastic shows and, of course, the drinks are flowing. Hats off to our local bartenders that go above and beyond to make sure everyone is happy!
The Tikki bar at 23rd Street Station (1706 23rd Street) is up and running for the spring and summer and, so far, has been a real draw. The LGBTQ community loves to sit in the sun, sip cocktails and enjoy some friends and great times. If you are lucky, you might visit on a day when the barbeque pits are smoking and food is flowing. Check it out! Todd at Rumors is planning some fun and new events that will certainly bring back that “Pre-Ike” socializing that was so fun and prominent before the hurricane. Dessie Love Blake, entertainment director and Queen Supreme, has some very special guests and performers coming from all over the USA.
Over at Robert’s Lafitte (2501 Avenue Q), Jada and her performers are bringing down the house. If you want to see some real and traditional drag, visit Lafitte’s — a true island tradition where the fun never ends!
So happy sailing, happy spring, happy belly-shaving and, most of all, happiness to you!
Forest Riggs, a resident of Galveston is no stranger to the adventures of life. A former educator and business owner, he enjoys Island life and all that comes with it. He says he is a “raconteur with a Quixotic, gypsy spirit.” He has written for several newspapers and magazines as well as other writing pursuits, including a novel and collection of short stories.