Your Best Nights Begin Here
Tour New York City with Twiz Rimer
The Best Nights section will take you on a local’s tour and journey through the eyes and personal experiences of artists, photographers, bloggers, musicians, etc., showcased in a different city every month. The month of June brings us to New York City, where we meet Twiz Rimmer and tour the best nights of this beautiful city.
Tour of NYC with
Twiz, you are from southern Florida originally and moved around a lot. Can you tell us about your background and what lead you to NYC?
Hello! Yes, I was born in the early 80's and raised in Stuart, Fl. though beautiful, I knew from a young age that I needed to get the hell out of there and find my "real" family - the homosexual family, duh. Florida just was not cutting it, and I could not wait to grow up and be a gay! I had a brief stint in boarding school in NJ before hitting up an all-women's college in Boston (this was a trip for sure), followed by grad school in San Francisco, where I spent a riveting three years, three months, and 9 days before realizing that NYC and the east coast was in fact, the place for me, though I did feel special during my time in San Francisco. Anyways, it seems as if I blinked, and I'm now in my 15th year here in the city.
You have a background in art and psychotherapy. Can you tell us about your career path?
My God, where do I start? In my first 30 years, I was fortunate to consider myself a career student, traveling from city to city and collecting various degrees. This enabled me to network all over the country with people from all walks of life, creative, smart, and interesting people. I studied painting and drawing at the San Francisco Art Institute and momentarily was quite successful before the great depression of 2008/9 shut all that down. During this time, I started a moving company called Schmuck with a Truck, LLC, which specialized in small moves, and mostly only catered to the queer community - and was really just a glorified side hustle; however, it too enabled me to be able to meet so many new friends! At the time, I simultaneously went back to grad school to get another degree in Art Therapy from Pratt, which was absolutely amazing, however stupid, because the government tends to first cut all funding to the arts and mental health programs during times of great economic hardships. LOL. While studying, I found myself working in production because I had a truck, free-lance of course, which all in all (for the sake of a short story) landed me a show on VICELAND. It was a lovely miniseries that followed one of my nearest and dearest and me on an epic nonbinary/transgendered cross-country road trip, which was also a bachelor party. I have been told from many letters and DMs that it actually reached many people, from opening the minds of those blinded by religion to giving hope to many of today's trans youth who struggle with identity and existing in our society, so this makes me the happiest.
While in San Francisco, you worked at the Lexington Club, a legendary Lesbian bar that is now closed. You mentioned working there was almost a celebrity status. Can you tell us about your experience there?
Oh man, this bar was so amazing; it truly was—so many fantastic stories. I feel so privileged to have been a part of it. It was just a simple dive, with a crap pool table and dollar margaritas. The space became a central landmark for LGBT queer women in an already iconic queer city. I was in my mid-20s when I started hanging out/ working here. I was one of the first full-time bouncers! I only checked IDs, and somehow everywhere I went or traveled, I was recognized as an employee of the Lex. I never had to wait in line and always had a free drink in hand. Remember, this was a time before online social culture was a thing, or at least baby stages. Facebook was still for college, and MySpace was still for bands. We (queer women and trans people) had to go out to meet each other.
Jägermeister is involved with the Lesbian Bar Project. With so many great Lesbian Bars closed or in danger of closing, can you share some thoughts on the program?
The Lesbian Bar Project is amazing. What's not to like? It was one of the saddest things to hear when I found out the Lex was going under. The rents were being raised, and along came social media, and online dating, limiting the amount of foot traffic. There just wasn't enough of us to keep the magic financially going. The Lesbian Bar Project celebrates and supports the remaining lesbian bars/queer spaces in the USA, and I hope it helps new spaces to open. Some of my best memories were pulling up to the queer club and meet like-minded people and lovers. In these spaces, not only do I feel safe, but I am among friends and family who will not discriminate against me for who I am or who I am attracted to; not that all regular (straight) bars are full of unaccepting a-holes, it's just lovely to be with people who are on the same page, and truly fit in.
You've described yourself as a "Unicorn" and jokingly the "Paris Hilton of Queer Socialites." What do you mean by this?
LOLOL. Well, I think a lot of people know the term "Unicorn" by now, not the bisexual definition, but I'll explain. When I was young, I never really met any people who identified as I did… hence the "Unicorn" identification. I felt like being nonbinary was like a myth during this time; there was barely any language to describe someone who identified as anything other than male or female. I was trying to figure out how to describe my gender identity. Currently, I identify as gender variant and trans masculine. It took me many years to figure this out. I was born AFAB (assigned female at birth) and thanks to some fairly epic genetics, I grew to be almost 6 feet tall, 175 lbs., naturally grew a solid mustache, and I have Tourette's Disorder which totally helps me stick out like a sore thumb. Everyone on the planet thinks I am a cisgendered man. I have never taken testosterone. When I was a young gun homosexual, I felt enormous pressure from the world around me to transition to male; however, after a few tweaks and some time, I discovered that I didn't have to choose male or female and that I could in fact be whatever the f**k I wanted to be, and could just happily swing back and forth across the blurred gendered spectrum that we all know and love today.
Now, as for the "Paris Hilton of Queers" over the last 20 years, I had one hell of a queer agenda driven by the lack of the existence of social media and FOMO. I made it my mission to attend every QUEER event, every party, and every social gathering. It was like a JOB. I just wanted to be a part of it all and never miss anything. But it was great; I ended up hosting a handful of events, and making all sorts of memories, and networking for things/events that would come to fruition later in my adult life.
You had a TV show on VICELAND. What was the show like, and your experiences?
Yes, as I stated above, I had a show on VICELAND, which followed my friend and me embarking on a bachelor party road trip. It is a docu-reality miniseries told from our unique points of view, Tuck, a sober transman who used to perform in adult movies is getting married and I, his best man, am taking him on an epic trip across the country with a bucket list of things to do before he ties the knot! It was a magical once-in-a-lifetime adventure both on and off the screen. Wish I could have seen more come out of it, we were so excited to spread both disability awareness and trans-visibility to the masses. However, I received some wonderful feedback from people all over the world about how we impacted so many people's lives. It really was very unique. We had no idea what to expect going into it, and I was really moved by some fan mail I received. I guess it was very helpful to see someone like me on the television. Looking back at it, it would have been a game changer for me as well.
You used to be a familiar face in the community and host of parties. What has changed from then to now? What has changed in the community with parties and Venues?
Well, for starters, I’m not getting any younger, not that I’m old yet, just life started to get in the way. School, and work, and relationships, loads of travel. My priorities started to change. Netflix and chill became a thing and well, I fell into that, hard. A few years back, early and mid-2000s really, I befriended so many people in the community, loads of DJs, bands, and promoters, and I always rolled with a great group of people, so I guess through queer networking, we would bring in a lot of other folks. I may have aged out of the scene, but honestly, I think a lot of spaces started to close, and events began to dwindle, or change, which is not a bad thing, change is good, and new scenes are great. There are so many queer subcultures existing simultaneously, and no matter how hard I tried, I guess I couldn’t be part of all of it! I think that many of the queer spaces and monthly events have become super mixed and accepting of everyone under the LGBTQ+ sun community, seems to be much more blended, which I love I don’t see too many spaces that cater solely to lesbian identified people and the queers
You told me your favorite way to drink Jägermeister was with a PBR. You have a great story to go with that. Can you share your story?
Ha. I'm not much of a beer drinker anymore; I prefer something fancier; however, back in 2004, I had just moved to San Francisco and coincidently rented an apartment next to the Lexington Club. I walked in, saw some queer kids, and I courageously decided they would be my friends. I ordered a PBR and bravely approached them, even though I was totally nervous and may have been screaming inside with excitement. I invited myself to sit down and immediately had a violent Tourette spasm consequently sending the table flying across the floor, along with everyone's beers. I was mortified but made some joke about how no one could get mad at me because it would be discriminatory; however, I offered to buy everyone a shot of Jägermeister as an apology for taking over their space, conversation, and ultimately their drinks. Everyone smiled! I met one of my closest friends that day! Jägermeister and PBR were a staple in our lives for many years! She even came home with a Jägermeister
chilling Shot Tap Machine one day; it was in our kitchen for years! Aww, I miss SF.
During COVID you went off the grid and traveled. As you came back, you described new bars/clubs and parties opening and some closing. What is the community scene like now in NYC?
I'm sure that everyone was/is affected by the existence of COVID in some way, shape, or form. I was super fortunate to be able to travel during the time. I drove cross country with a travel trailer, my girlfriend, and our two cats before moving to Argentina for the winter. About a year ago, last May, we decided to head back to NYC. I mean, everything shut down during COVID; most small businesses were struggling to keep their doors open. A few were able to stay open due to crowdfunding within the community, but not all were so lucky. It's now late spring, 2022, and places have been open for a couple of months, with most restrictions lifted, I am happy to say it seems as though a few new places have actually opened.
What would be your perfect day out in NYC? Food, drink, sights? What would you do with one day in the city?
Man, it's New York! There is so much history and so many places to see and things to try, from pizza and hot dogs to speakeasies and Michelin star restaurants, not to mention museums, parks, and attractions! I could tell you a whole week's worth of things to do and eat in my neighborhood alone, but I guess if I had to tell you what I would do in just one day, it would start in Brooklyn. Let's say it's a weekend. Bushwick has a lot to offer; you can get a tattoo or walk and shop for vintage clothes at L Train vintage. If it's a rainy day, I might catch a movie…and if it's nice out, I'd probably drive my motorcycle or hop the L train to McCarren Park in Williamsburg or walk down to Domino Park...or take the Ferry to DUMBO, where I’d head to an OG farm to table restaurant that is super involved with the local arts community, and queer owned!
Basically, my perfect day in NYC would be sunny and include eating and walking and heading to a number of establishments. The list goes on. Pre COVID, I was much more active in the nightlife scene, and after a couple of years of most things shutting down, I am a little out of the loop, so honestly, after a day of walking and crunching, I would most likely be on my couch with the remote, but every once in a while a friend of mine might be DJing which would get back out.
Any advice to the new generation in the community to grow community, parties, nightlife, etc.?
Honestly, I think the kids are doing great, given the fact that we have all still struggled through being socialized and living in a very heteronormative society, which obviously presumes through social institutions and policies that people are heterosexual and that gender and sex are natural binaries, so once we've explored and found our own spaces, social or safe or brave, the rest is all growth from there. The gay boys, let's say 25 and under, seem to be doing great despite all that crap. Their eyes are wider than ever. I'm learning new things from the younger crowd every day. They have access to so many new types of outlets that didn't exist when I was in my youth through my early twenties! Everything seems so much more fluid which was something I struggled with growing up. Like I said earlier, I have actually already noticed some new parties/events and spaces popping up post covid, and I'm excited to see where they go! I guess, keep on keeping an open mind, spread awareness, and love at parties, on social media, and in education. Try not to do too many drugs! Hangovers DO get worse when you're older. Be smart and safe, and most of all, have all the fun! And don't be afraid to go out and meet some like-minded folks in real time! Cheers!
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.