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Wednesday, November 23,2011

Hidden Camel makes a comeback

Get ready for DJs, dancing and Tuesday night drag shows at the revamped club

by Jon James

Oade’s Hidden Camel in REO Town has turned over a new leaf to become Lansing’s newest gay bar. 


Ryan Acker, the general manager of the Hidden Camel,
describes the new venue as a “pub/dance bar.” He says that the idea is
to provide a comfortable space for patrons of all ilks.


“There have been failures with other alternative bars in
the Lansing area,” Acker admitted. “(But) we’re going to give our best
shot to listen to what the customers want.”


The changeover started with a makeover: new floors, some
new decor, unboarding the front window, some black paint. But the
beautiful mural on the wall of the dance room remains blessedly
untouched.


While the remodeling isn’t finished yet — the bathrooms
are still being touched up and the grill isn’t fully running — there is
space to dance in, a DJ to dance to and tables for those not in a
dancing mood.


Acker says that he sees the club as a new, affordable
hangout for Lansing. The venue doesn’t charge cover, except for drag
nights, and then the entire cover charge is used to pay the performers.


Acker says it’s “a nice spot to go if you only have a couple bucks and you want to have a couple drinks.” 


The plan is also to serve affordably priced food for
lunch and dinner, and to provide an evening dance venue. Acker says he
envisions workers from the Board of Water and Light building under
construction across the street stopping by for lunch, another crowd
coming in for happy hour, and the dance crowd checking out weekly
events.


His goal is to create an inclusive dynamic that will set
it apart from other Lansing bars. He says the Hidden Camel is trying to
“create a space for not only lesbians or gays, but for everybody. I
hate to put a label on it.”


Acker is planning a number of weekly events, some of which are still to be determined.


He also said there has been conversation with the Family
Motorcycle Club next door about collaborating to bring in live bands to
play on the Camel’s stage. 


However, Tuesday nights are set as Drag Night.


“The first thing I thought about doing,” Acker says,
“coming from Key West, where the drag shows are really big, was having
a drag show.”


To celebrate the opening two weeks ago, the bar kicked
off with the first of what will be a series of weekly drag shows
starring the Camel Lips: drag queens Delicious, Asio and D’Nisha Grey.
Their combination of comedy, dance routines, audience interaction and
allure had the crowd engaged and thrilled. There were a few kinks to
work out as far as spotlighting and timing, but it was evident from the
bills being stuffed into the drag queens’ clothing that the show was a
hit.


REO Town is not exactly the first place one considers
when seeking a drag show, but Acker is confident that the area will
serve them well.


“Remember what Old Town was years ago, and how amazing it
is now,” he says. “I think that’s what’s going to happen with REO Town
with the Board of Water and Light going in.”


Oade’s Hidden Camel


1210 S. Washington Ave.,  Lansing


Hours: 11 a.m.-midnight Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday


(517) 482-4937

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