|This year, if your cell phone goes off during Bingo, instead of a spanking for punishment, your body is daubed with bingo markets, at a charity-a-dollar daub. Photo by Rink.
The long awaited return of the Castroâ€™s longest running Bingo â€“ Revival Bingo â€”kicked off at Ellard Hall on Sept. 7 atÂ 100 Diamond Street and 18th in the heart of the Castro. The new home includes more space, more seating capacity, a big stage, and a brand new sound & video system (thanks to Dave the bear) with all players on one main floor instead of having to hang from the rafters at the old venue. There are now three professional video screens replacing the old board with colored dry markers.
A gaggle of nunsâ€”dozens reallyâ€”opened the show, carrying candles and acting rather solemn with slow, marching steps. But when the sound system played
â€śGonna Make You Sweat,â€ť the Sisters commenced to clapping and dancing wildly down the aisles, getting everyoneâ€™s energy up. Bingo Chairnun Sister Barbi Mitzvah welcomed the crowd and spoke of all the trials and tribulations involved in getting this version of Bingo up and running, a tedious process that took eight months, over 600 hours of work, and thousands and thousands of dollars. But it is well worth the trouble when we see the various beneficiaries receiving well-deserved funding help each month. Sister Barbi thanked Victor for being volunteer coordinator and thanked the volunteers themselves for coming to many a meeting and working the doors and aisles that night.
Barbi read off the official rules, which are required by the feds for some reason. Among them: do not bring alcohol or drugs into the hall â€śunless they are already in your body,â€ť added the Sister with a giggle. You must be 18 years of age. Then she read off regular Bingo rules, such as having to yell out â€śBingo!â€ť when your card is completed, and it must be screamed before the next number is called or itâ€™s dead. Before a round is considered closed, a Sister must verify if the Bingo is legitimate. If there is more than one winner, the money will be divided up equally. And most importantly, if your cell phone goes off or if you call a false Bingo, you will be punished. It could be a paddling or maybe having to kiss a nunâ€™s bum or making the miscreant walk among the crowd and get dauber marks on their personâ€”or some other proper disciplinary action. The dauber punishment is a nifty little fundraiser, because for every dollar bill an audience member holds up and donates, he or she gets to daub the poor loser. That night we stripped off this fellowâ€™s tee shirt and made him pass through the aisles to receive his penance. Itâ€™s all in good, clean fun. Well, fun anyway. And no fair calling your friends and making their cells ring.
There are different variations of Bingo, including making a cross, one finger Bingo (where everyone flips their birdie to illustrate), Sister Dana Bingo (a straight line across the bottom as if to imitate a nun passed out), and the long-winded blackout Bingo, where each square must be daubed out before a Bingo is achieved.
One of the highlights of the game is when some nun or a rowdy member calls out, â€śFree shit!â€ť and the crowd chants along with fervor. Then nuns draw tickets from a bucket and the lucky winners get prizes ranging from wines to porn DVDs to sex toys to toasters and more. Assemblyman Mark Leno dropped by to pull a ticket and dis olâ€™ Governator Ahhhhnuuuld, telling everyone to get out and vote this September, because there is too much at stake. Leno left, saying, â€śHave a great time, everyone, and always love your Sisters!â€ť Sound advice. Otherwise you might get smacked on your butt!