We were there: Le Bingo

Photographs by Devin Elijah

The time is 7pm. The venue is (Le) Poisson Rouge. There is a concert playing in the main space, but the action is about to happen downstairs in the Gallery Bar, where Le Bingo, a weekly gay bingo night hosted by nightlife star Murray Hill and former TONY staffer Linda Simpson, is just getting started. Every seat in the house has been filled, and by the time the number-calling starts, some groups in the back are even huddled on the floor with bingo cards ($2 each) in their laps. But can you blame them? With free admission, $4 drink specials, a full menu of bar nibbles (tater tots, quesadillas and nachos!), and Murray Hill's nonstop comedic banter, this place has to be the most hospitable—and hilarious—party in all of Greenwich Village on Saturday night. "You just can't make this stuff up!" squealed Pam, a neighboring bingoist, as new winners repeatedly took the stage to be lampooned by MC Hill ("Oh, you work in a home for adults with disabilities? So you've met Linda before?") before claiming their one-of-a-kind prizes.

Speaking of which, here's a quick rundown of some of the treasures taken home: a wind-up singing baby doll, matching his-and-hers umbrellas, a doggy tote bag with matching doggy coin bank, a Hannah Montana T-shirt and a gleaming set of red porcelain novelty dice—which we snagged for ourselves during the second round. Throughout the two-and-a-half-hour event, a wheel of fortune was spun to determine the next $4 drink, and boy-lesque dancer Taylor Derwin drifted through the room in flowing white gown and massive Afro wig, flaunting the prizes suggestively. While the distractions were many, a hush would immediately descend every time Linda began calling out the numbers. By the last round—in which the winner of must cover every single number on his or her board to take home the grand prize—the room was concentrating so totally that you could have heard a pin drop. Unemployed lawyer Scott took home the bag full of cash ($234 to be exact), but nobody held a grudge. The competition was friendly, and, after all, there's always next Saturday!