Founded in 1972 or '73 (sources differ), Jewel's Catch One in Arlington Heights is widely recognized as the first "large sized" gay disco in the US dedicated to the black LGBT community. (The city's other gay discos had a rep for being less than welcoming to revelers of color.) Now it's being sold, reports Frontiers LA, because "after 41 years, there's no reason to stay if the kids are not interested. And I'm not interested in chasing them to find out what they want to do, either," proprietor Jewel Thais-Williams says.
According to its website, the club has hosted filming for everything from Beaches to BAPs to Cold Case, and the LA Sentinel adds that it's been "a haven for entertainers, artists, progressives, gays and people who appreciated diversity including Sammy Davis Jr., Warren Beatty, Melba Moore, Phyllis Hyman, Freda Payne, Chaka Khan, Sylvester, Weather Girls, Rick James, and Esther Phillips, to name a few," but the Catch has also been much more. It hosted many fundraisers for AIDS benefits over the years and contributed money to nonprofits that benefit the LGBT community; Thais-Williams also cofounded Rue's House, the nation's first nonprofit to provide housing for women and children with HIV/AIDS.
The "huge" club space, the clinic building next door, and the parking lot used by both businesses will be sold together. There isn't a formal listing yet, but Thais-Williams says she's talking to some interested buyers. "[Y]ou have to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em and it's time to fold and move on," she says.
· Historic Jewel's Catch One Disco is For Sale [Frontiers]
· Mapping Los Angeles's Groundbreaking Role in LGBT History [Curbed LA]