The site of a homicide this morning in Des Moines has a turbulent past. Police were called to 508 Indianola Ave. south of downtown at 3:36 AM New Years Day. An 18 year old died on the scene from gunshot wounds. It is the first homicide in Iowa in 2017.

The location of the murder has seen multiple shootings, noise complaints, under-age sale convictions and has plagued police in Des Moines for many years.

9 months ago Des Moines city councilman Joe Gatto told the Des Moines Register, “In the past three months, I’ve had more complaints on that building than anywhere else in the entire south side.”

A security guard was shot at the night club location last March by a customer refusing to pay a cover-fee.

“You have to sit outside at night and decide is that a firework or a gunshot, and it’s nerve-racking to have children. You want to go outside at night and play with sparklers, see the fireflies, see the stars, go on walks, and we can’t do that,” a resident of the Iowa neighborhood told KCCI last June.

Noting the victim was 18, the location was once home to gay night club Le Boi, which folded after a sting netted evidence of under age drinking and exploitation. Drake journalism student Alex Masica writes a scathing review of the night club titled “When Partying Goes from Classy to Trashy”:

Don’t try to deny it—college students like to party.

But why?

There are numerous theories swirling around trying to justify the acts of power hour, beer pong and Everclear. Whichever argument you choose to side with, it probably involves some sort of risk. Risk of drinking too much. Risk of getting caught. Risk of anything.

I have no problem with underage drinking—to an extent. In fact, I was a huge partier my first semester of college and my GPA from that semester can prove it. I went to the Dublin almost every night it was open and loved going to after hours. But that’s the culture of Drake’s social scene—you go out to the Drake-dominated bars and have a good time with friends. The bouncer can probably count on two hands how many people in the bar are actually 21.

What I do have a problem with, however, is when area non-Drake-infested bars cater to the underage people. Case in point: Le Boi. For those of you unfamiliar, it’s the newest gay bar in Des Moines and it’s getting out of control.

Not only is Le Boi proud of its reputation for being scandalous but the bar owners keep finding ways to attract the young, underage crowd to the bar. The bar’s newest addition is showers on the side of the dance floor where people “shower”—or dance in their underwear under a showerhead. Think of it like a wet t-shirt contest but for the gays.

If you’re connected to some of the gay men of Des Moines on Facebook, you’ll have no problem finding countless pictures of underage guys (both in college and not even old enough for college) running around in their underwear professing their homosexuality in some less-than-classy fashions at Le Boi.

As a gay man trying to break the stereotype that all gay men are provocative and, well, sluts, I find Le Boi’s antics hard to swallow (no pun intended). Apparently, the bar owner wants his bar to resemble one from LA for New York City. Let’s face it, people—Des Moines is not close to being either of those cities.

I used to like going to the gay bars because of their “hometown values” and acceptance of anyone who walked in the door. Walking into Le Boi feels like walking into a scene of Mean Girls and not knowing how to react.

We all know underage college drinking happens in college and it’s not going away any time soon. Socially drinking with friends is a time to unwind from the stress of the week and have fun before classes start again on Monday. When the drinking turns into softcore porn—complete with boners, booty popping and bathroom blowies—is when we should start to be concerned. Next time you drift away from the Dublin underage on a Saturday, be conscious of your actions. Not every bar condones slutty behavior.


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