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TABC and Metro Vice comment about raid of The Mad Marlin

By February 09, 2016

AUTHORS NOTE: THERE ARE MANY NEW ***alleged***FACTS COMING TO LIGHT BEING PUBLISHED ON SOCIAL MEDIA BY THE EVENT'S PRODUCER AND NEW TITLE HOLDERS...I am currently preparing an editorial to talk about this event, my public and private (on the record tho) treatment by the event producer, and what I consider the poor treatment of anyone who attended this event by the producer AND most importantly the poor treatment of the venue and San Antonio Metro Authorities by the event's producer. Please stay tuned for a special Week in Leather report.

TLJ Reported Sunday morning about the Raid of The Mad Marlin, which occurred Saturday, February 6 at approximately 10:30 PM central time. The bar was hosting a leather event in the basement of its bar at the time the raid occurred. According to Lt. Raul Salinas of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) the bar owner was in fact aware and had previously communicated with TABC Inspectors that they were aware the basement area of the bar was not permitted to serve alcohol. Salinas stated during our interview Monday morning, that “during the previous inspection the owner was made aware that all he had to do was file a request, and that the request to permit would be provided at no cost.”

Salinas further continued “TABC never stated the event had to end or that the venue needed to cease hosting guests in the basement.”  He also stated that at no time did TABC witness "any lewd activity that would have led to closure.”  TABC did not stop the event, but noted during our conversation about the timeline of the incident that “during the incident in question a woman made an announcement to the crowd with the misconception that TABC & San Antonio Metro Vice (SAPD) were shutting down the event. It’s simply not true, at that time the crowd simply could no longer purchase drinks.” Salinas, concluded his interview by directing us to SAPD Vice who was also present at the time of the incident.

One eyewitness told us that after the announcement they "left right behind Lipps (Larue). Our girl is mid-transition, and we just can't afford any trouble."

SAPD was not as forthcoming with information as TABC was. When I questioned them about existing laws that might have led to the citation or arrest of patrons who did not present the same as their ID’s, the SAPD information office's response was “There are no laws…”. During a follow up question about TABC’s alluding to SAPD later shutting the bar down completely, I asked if any citations or arrests were made and their complete response via email was "no arrests were made and 11 citations were issued", by SAPD Saturday evening, leading to the bar's closure.

Was this what our community views as a "raid", no, this was a lawful presence of local authorities enforcing the rules and regulations. So at the end of the day it sounds like there were a couple of things that occurred that led to the abrupt end of the event and the phone calls to TLJ Sunday morning spurring our original report.  First and foremost, both bar management and event producers not taking immediate  calm and collected control over the situation provided the opportunity for someone, identified by TABC as "a woman announced that TABC was present and individuals who did not match identification may be incarcerated". Salinas described this as "A misconception". One I certainly believe created the fear that caused attendees to flee the bar.  

Per the event producer's own FaceBook post about the evening's events, the event venue’s owner had 30 days during which he had a no-cost opportunity to secure the proper permitting at no cost but failed to do so. So where does the fault for the abrupt ending to the evening lie? Does the responsibility lie with the event producer for scrambling to find a new venue for his event and not thoroughly vetting it for permits & licensing?  Does the responsibility fall with the venue for selling liquor in an area that was not licensed to do so or for allowing too many people into its spaces, thereby raising the attention of VICE and TABC and thus causing the closure of the well publicized event? Did the venue misrepresent the space to event producers? What can event producers do to ensure this doesn't happen in the future to their events?

Next, there are lots of theories about tips from other owners, potentially continued investigations stemming from prior investigations and we may never know who or what actually led to the raid and closure of The Mad Marlin last Saturday. At least not unless someone with better connections to the SAPD This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. What we can conclude is that event producers and venues must be diligent in their responsibilities to attendees and patrons no matter how mundane or unusual they might be.  

You still with me? Good, cause now I would like to bring to light the entire reason for my first report. There are a few reasons actually. The first, as long as men and women feel that they are not safe for presenting or performing however they feel while there are police in the building, I will continue to offer timely, and yes, sometimes incomplete stories to let my readers know what is happening in this community in a timely fashion. I will do this job without hesitation and without worry that I will be coerced by community members who are unwilling to answer questions once conversations have started. I will not be browbeat into including unconfirmed facts about someones personal information.

I know the power of clearly presented fresh information even when that report lacks what to some may seem are key details.  The capacity for these initial reports to create awareness and conversation intended to build a platform for the larger conversation regarding the entirety of the situation.  Which brings to my next question. Why in the 21st Century do we fear arrest in a city where there appears to be a growing police diversity program and (per my questions to SAPD reportedly) zero laws against drag, trans, or performance presentation? If there was no threats of arrests by the police what CAUSED people flee the bar Saturday night?


Due to questions raised by the author at the end of this report, this article was published by The Leather Journal in the OP-ED section and not Local News.


Vonn Tramel

Vonn Tramel has been a kinky "friday night femme" since she was 17.  She found the Leather community in 2007 and began her Leather Journey in 2008 after attending a Cigar Play Class in Long Beach, CA at Pistons Bar. A meeting with Dave Rhodes in May of 2008, changed her path for better or worse when she filmed and photographed the 2008 West Coast Olympus Contest, then International Olympus in Chicago that year....the rest they say is her-story. 

Edit: In 2012 she was approached by Dave to join The Leather Journal as it's Webmaster with business partner Bryan Teague.

Most misspelled word: Leahter (Sad but true)