[ Electricity buzzing ] [ Dinging ] -I've been bowling since I was knee-high to a curb.
When I was a child, we lived right up the street from a bowling alley, and I could ride my bike there and we could bowl three hours for $1.50.
-It's where I go to not worry about anything else -- the stress from bills, from work.
Nothing bothers me when I'm there.
[ Indistinct conversations, pins crashing ] I bowled at Mahall's for 15, 20 years.
I decided to come back last year.
I just had a feeling that it was a safe place.
Almost a split.
[ Chuckles ] I'm bad luck for him.
I better get out of here.
-Well, I was very hopeful.
I like to see the good in people, whether or not it's truly there.
But no matter what the situation, Mahall's -- that's -- that's my place.
[ Chuckles ] ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ Bowling definitely brings people together.
It creates communities where people that wouldn't normally be together are together.
But here, if you're more different, you're not different.
-Bowlers are superstitious.
Are you standing in the right spot?
Are you throwing over the right arrow?
-Luck has a lot to do with it, but skill doesn't hurt.
-Mahall's is steeped in tradition, almost like it never left the '60s.
But it was time for a change.
♪♪ [ Pins crash ] -Come on, baby!
You know it!
-Come on, kids.
[Indistinct] Look at that!
[ Cheers and applause ] -Oh, nice shot, John!
[ Scattered clapping ] Nice and easy.
-There you go.
-Good girl, Michelle!
-Good job, girl.
-Two weeks in a row.
[ Indistinct conversations ] -Where is Sy DiFiore?
-Is it Miller time yet?
[ Laughter ] -Did you push reset on that one?
-It just reset itself.
-You can turn off the triggering.
turn off the trigger on 17, 18.
-What the hell?
-This lane reset.
-What, 17 or 18?
-Ah, [bleep] Well, I'm gonna have to go look.
We are one of the oldest sanctioned bowling alleys in the state of Ohio.
Over 40 years, I've just taken these things apart.
They're like my -- my babies.
I like to say I could tell you where almost every one goes.
There they go.
Back in the day, you were lucky if you got a team opening.
That's how popular bowling was.
And it was a cheap way to go out and have a few beers with the guys.
You've never worked at Midland Steel, did you?
-No, I didn't think you did.
-I bowled at -- -I'm talking about way back in '82, your 300 game.
That wasn't on Our League.
-It was on a Friday night league.
-Friday night league.
Ever since the '70s, all your blue-collar jobs went down, so the league started going down.
The money's not coming in like it used to be.
Back in the day, we'd be full of people.
Why we can't get more...
I don't know.
-The old-time all, uh, worked here and stuff?
-He was working here in '82.
-When did you start bowling here?
-Oh, I don't know.
I can't even remember.
-[ Laughs ] -It was that long ago?
-So that was like a little fence.
-We need to rebuild that fence.
-That could be cool.
-Well, where that bump is.
-That would give us some, like, proper outdoor space.
-Mahall's, in the economy of Cleveland, had gone through decades of loss of population and decline.
Man, I wonder -- has Kelly's, like, looked at these for... -No.
-...inspiring the designs?
-When we took over, we salvaged this place.
You know, Mahall's was barely hanging on.
We saw what was working in Brooklyn, and we thought, well, it could work here.
We'll add music.
We'll add art, good food.
There'll be sort of a meshing of the new and the old.
-Mahall's used to be a bowling alley with a bar.
And now it's a bar with a bowling alley.
With the new setup, there's, you know, a lot of young people coming in, and it's, like, the in place to be.
-These bands are bringing in millennials, whatever you want to call these guys that are drinking all these fancy beers.
-They're really working on changing things now.
But some people weren't happy with that.
-You know, there was nothing like the camaraderie that we had.
I think it personally alienated the leagues.
20 years I bowled.
And the new owners came in and it's like, "Well, we're not gonna cater to you."
[ Indistinct shouting ] -Tie game.
-They did support this business.
I recognize that.
But there were moral objections to sharing a space with people that were so very different from them.
-What the hell is about to show upstairs?
Did you see it?
-A drag show.
Not my thing.
-You don't know unless I ask somebody else.
Who else would I ask?
None of these guys would know about it.
Goose, you're the one to ask, right?
-Within a year, we lost half the leagues.
-I mean, they want to continue bowling, but they'd definitely prefer if all of this change wasn't happening.
♪♪ ♪♪ -Thank you.
Have a great day.
Do you have a Giant Eagle card?
You can hold it right at the bull's-eye.
I've always had the inkling, you know, that I wasn't really where I was supposed to be.
When I first came out five, six years ago, I was in my 50s.
[ Laughs ] Thanks, Al.
I understand it's hard with the voice and everything, especially if they knew me beforehand.
I used to be called "Goose."
There's a handful of people that are still allowed to call me that, but I'd prefer not to use it anymore.
[ Metal clanging ] ♪ Mmmmmmm ♪ -So let's do some role playing.
You're gonna try to use your preferred pitch.
Welcome to Wendy's.
How may I help you?
-Oh, I definitely have to have a milkshake and some French fries and... Back in the '50s and '60s, being transgender was not accepted in the majority of the country.
People didn't talk about things like that.
That's why my true feelings were pretty much kept sheltered, you know, for most of my life.
But as time has gone on, it's becoming more and more acceptable with society.
And I've discovered that, you know what?
There's a lot of people like me in the world.
♪ A while ago, I met a lass ♪ ♪ With silver hair and lots of sass ♪ ♪ At once I felt that I already knew her ♪ ♪ We talked at length on that first day ♪ ♪ She had an awful lot to say about... ♪ -♪ Doo-doo-doo-doo-doo ♪ ♪ Doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo ♪ ♪ Doo-doo-doo ♪ -You ever do the ponytail thing there?
The ponytail with the hair.
Oh, it's already there.
Okay, you got it.
You got it.
Stay away from the man bun, though.
I don't like those suckers.
-No, I don't like a man bun.
You could bun mine, but how cute would that look?
-Oh, he's got the shot!
-She gets bent over on the spare, too.
-Michelle, that was... -At least it looked good.
-You gotta go on the... -Hey, gentlemen!
And I use -- use that term loosely.
-How are you?
-Most people are extremely accepting.
But for those individuals that knew her as a man, there's an adjustment that one has to make in their perspective and thinking.
[ Pins crash ] -Oh, Jim, almost a double.
-But you still see that guy in him.
He's not -- [chuckles] he's not fooling nobody.
-You know what they say -- if it walks like a Goose and it talks like a Goose, it must be Goose.
-♪ Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh ♪ ♪ She is me ♪ -You know, I've never walked a moment in Michelle's shoes to understand what she's had to go through.
But if you keep talking about it, and if it's constantly in everybody's ears, there's always gonna be people that are offended by it.
-Most people will just say they agree with it, but inside, they think it's creepy.
-I want to think that what we're doing here is a good thing.
We had this image of bringing all of these people together.
And I'm a strong believer in the fact that people can evolve.
But...change is hard.
-I'm sure there are people that say stuff behind my back, but I'm definitely an optimist.
I look at things through rose-colored glasses.
You just have to be yourself.
Sometimes it comes with consequences.
♪♪ -So we have a couple renovations that we're in the early stages of planning.
If ever there was an opportunity to expand the music room to accommodate a higher capacity, then this would be the time to do it.
So I wanted to talk a little bit about that.
I wanted to talk about the bathrooms.
You know, to our customer base, or our trajectory, or whatever you want to kind of factor in, does it make sense to consider gender-neutral bathrooms now?
-Is it a law?
-It's a choice.
-It's a choice.
-But so there's still -- if you have a family and you don't feel that way, there's still an option for that.
So it just opens the door of someone feeling comfortable.
-It's kind of like when you go to the gas station and there's one bathroom.
-Yeah, but a gas station, you got a lock.
You ain't letting no pervert come in there.
-It's one bathroom.
Why are you so... -I'm sorry.
No, wait a minute.
There are perverts in this world, and some people -- and I'm not saying everyone's a pervert, but I think people that want to experiment more with different sexualities could be more perverted.
-Science does not agree with that one, Kurt.
-It's just, you know, you don't understand it.
So people, when they don't understand things, they project things that aren't really there.
No, I agree.
I can -- I can -- I can change my feelings.
I mean... -You know, the world keeps turning, man, you know?
-Kurt, you're part of the -- you're part of the new wave, whether you like it or not.
-I don't want to ride this wave that far.
-Yeah, you do.
-I'm not riding this wave to the end, though.
I don't know.
I might bail.
I think you... [ Indistinct conversation ] ♪♪ -It's a fine line.
You're allowed to feel the way you want.
But we have the right to be who we are.
I mean, that's what this country is based on.
[ Dinging ] My problem is with folks who are actively aggressive and discriminatory against transgender individuals.
We're not going away.
I feel good, considering the amount of Budweisers I had last night.
I always have fun bowling.
My motto is, as long as I drink every beer put in front of me, I'm good.
And that was accomplished.
We've been in the championship game the last three years, and we've lost every year.
So I want to win one.
[ Chuckles ] ♪♪ I was one of eight children.
My father was Archie Bunker, except more prejudiced.
I was raised Catholic.
I remember being in church, closing my eyes, and praying that God would make me a girl.
But she never did.
You know God's a woman, in case you didn't know that.
I would cross-dress in my 20s and 30s.
There was a group called Paradise Club, would meet at a hotel and everybody gets dressed and just hang out and BS.
That was my release.
But I couldn't do it in the house because God forbid if I got caught.
And this is my mom, the beautiful woman.
We talked about it once when my father passed.
I was getting catalogs here and packages.
And one day I just said, "Mom, you know, I cross-dress."
And not in a mean way, she's like, "I'm not stupid, you know?"
From that day on, every time a catalog would come, she'd look at the catalog and say, "Order me one of these, will you?"
[ Chuckles ] Mom, I know, would love me no matter what.
And I know she'd be proud of the woman I've become.
The rest of my birth family, I feel, doesn't care about me anymore.
I mean, it is what it is.
That's their loss.
I have more family that's not necessarily blood, you know?
I've been in this house since I was in fifth grade, so walking out that door the first time dressed was one of the hardest steps I've had to take in my life.
But I wouldn't trade it for the world.
It's -- It's liberating.
[ Welding torch crackling ] -So how'd you bowl last night?
I wasn't paying attention.
-161, 160, and 150 something.
-That's pretty good for old-guy you that don't bowl too much.
[ Hammering ] Do they still teach the kids welding in schools anymore, or...?
-I doubt it.
-Somebody's gotta do the welding.
Suppose they could just go buy another $200 dolly, or you could learn how to weld, right?
Well, it ain't like it used to be, Tim.
The phone's -- everybody's in the damn phones.
-There isn't as much of community at all now.
People keep more to themselves.
Everybody's looking at their phone.
It's a different kind of fun nowadays.
-Well, just gotta come down to boy meets girl, hopefully.
-Now you don't know what's gonna happen.
Girl meets he/she.
She meets he/who/ha.
Don't know what they are.
-Makes it more exciting, doesn't it?
-[ Chuckles ] I'm glad I'm not... -I'm more okay with lesbians, 'cause that was a big thing back in the '80s.
-[ Laughs ] -Trans is a -- it's a -- and -- -Well, you gotta be crazy to do that to your body, for one.
I mean, that or you're really out there, so I... -Well, it's accepted in a mainstream way.
-And what kills me -- insurance paid for it.
Insurance paid for Michelle's operation.
-And I can't even get an MRI approved for my shoulder.
I gotta jump through all these hoops.
-Well, that testosterone has to go.
I mean, they gotta get the estrogen injections.
-I got shots for testosterone.
I told you that.
Remember when I was getting shots?
Try to boost it up.
-You're just opening a can of worms.
I forgot about that.
[ Chuckles ] -Ah.
I don't know what to tell you.
The country's going to hell in a handbag.
How'd your weld turn out, anyways?
-Turned out real good.
It's ready to go back into service.
Looks like we'll get another 50 years out of that one.
[ Piano playing ] [ Choir vocalizing ] ♪♪ -All right.
As I said in our warm-up, we will go through the parts so that it's fresh in our ear, 'cause I think we'll be a lot more successful then when we perform.
Wear something with a pocket so that you can put your lyric sheet in it.
-Shove it in my bra.
-[ Snickers ] -You could shove it in your bra.
I don't -- We don't judge... that much.
Let's work on each song a little bit.
And then we're just gonna start running and running and running and running.
So think about your own journey as a queer person.
And what would this have meant to you before you were completely comfortable with yourself?
Because there will be people there who aren't out and/or are not comfortable.
And this is going to make a huge difference.
-♪ In a world full of people ♪ ♪ You can lose sight of it all ♪ ♪ And the darkness inside you ♪ ♪ Makes you feel so small ♪ ♪ And I see your true colors shining through ♪ ♪ I see your true... ♪ -I think it sounds good, though.
Sounded really strong.
-We got this.
[ Chuckles ] -Yeah.
-We got this [bleep] [ Chuckles ] -Like, we hung out Sunday night and most of Monday, and then didn't see her again while she was in town.
She left Wednesday.
She [bleep] broke up with me over Facebook Messenger.
-[ Laughs ] -She's like, "Really?
I'm like, what the [bleep], man?
-I'm still looking.
-I'm not even looking anymore.
If it happens, it happens.
If not, [bleep] it.
-That's the best part about the weather.
The legs come out.
-[ Laughs ] ♪♪ ♪♪ -This one's not gonna work over there.
Good luck, young guys.
It's been fun.
Been a fun season.
Nice shot, Sy.
-This is it, sports fans.
It's experience against the youth.
It's for all the marbles, the big enchilada, the Holy Grail, right.
That last game of the year.
-Yeah, I'll take it.
♪♪ -Chris had a 220.
-Oh, no, no!
What are you doing?
-Eh, it don't look good.
They got two more, though.
Come down here to see Michelle bowl.
-He's hiding behind that score table.
He won't come back and talk trash.
-Well, you see him.
He's, like, protected.
♪♪ -Her and I had a couple -- or him or whatever -- we had a couple heart-to-hearts, you know?
The girls, when they were bowling down here, she used to creep them out if she'd go into the bathroom.
So I finally said something, like, you know, "You're making these girls nervous, you know?"
-Was she upset by that?
-No, no, no, no.
[ Stammers ] No, no.
-Oh, there's a nice curl there.
You wearing a bra?
-Of course I'm wearing a bra.
-You don't always wear a bra.
-Every respectful woman does.
-Get out of here.
You didn't always wear a bra.
-Smell good, too.
-It's a battle.
-It's all right.
You miss, you miss.
It's all right.
Hey, let's keep focused.
♪♪ -You're switching up.
-I'm trying something.
[ Indistinct conversations ] Yes!
[ Indistinct conversations continue ] [ Rock music playing ] -Hey, DJ.
-Michelle wants to buy me a beer.
-Joe's buying our beers tonight.
-[ Bleep ] Oh, you're buying me a beer.
-I don't give a [bleep].
-Just let... -No, put it on hers 'cause she... -I'll buy it.
-...owes me for beers.
-I'll buy this bitch a beer.
-Thanks, ass [bleep] -You're welcome, bitch.
Don't leave pissed.
-[ Chuckles ] -Thanks, Michelle.
♪ Throw the ball like you know how to ♪ ♪ If you know how to, that's the question ♪ I think I got an idea here.
Let you know when I throw it.
That's a good ball.
We are up five more.
Throw it in, Don.
Finish it off.
Stay there a little bit.
Atta boy, Don.
♪♪ ♪ It's been a long ♪ ♪ Time coming ♪ ♪ It's going to be a long ♪ ♪ Time gone ♪ Let's see if we can finish it in style.
Throw another strike.
-Hey, that's all you, Joe.
-It's all me.
-You guys are coming back next year, right?
Feel like at some point I'll be you.
I'll be here for 20 years.
-[ Chuckles ] I think we won.
I did not bowl my best, but it was enough.
♪ We are the champions, my friends ♪ ♪ And we'll keep on fighting till the end ♪ That's it, all I got.
-Well, at least you're humble, Michelle.
[Bleep] -[ Laughs ] -I never liked you anyway.
-[Bleep] you, Brian.
[ Chuckles ] -[ Speaks indistinctly ] -What?
-Don't ask me.
-We won, Don.
-Oh, I didn't know that.
Didn't you hear me saying, Don?
Were you not paying attention?
-No, I wasn't paying attention.
-I -- You wouldn't be the first one not paying attention to me singing.
-See you next year.
-You had a good run.
-That was fun.
That was fun.
♪♪ -The Indians have banged out the season high 12 hits now in the game.
They had 11 hits... -Come on, Carlos.
-So they were in Kansas City that the Indians lost.
They also had 11 hits tonight.
An even dozen.
And perhaps more to come.
-Nothing's gonna stop me from bowling.
To know that when the chips are down, that you can come through.
I was giving myself a pep talk -- "You know you can do this.
You got this."
And I did.
It's empowering, I'll tell you that much.
These two on the sides are my favorite.
It's just so dreamy.
It's -- It's like it's not real.
I know it's not that old person that we won't name, but Michelle is truly beautiful.
She is powerful.
And she is someone to be reckoned with.
♪♪ ♪♪ [ Indistinct conversations ] -The champions have to... -I had the same split.
[ Whistles ] Well, you want your money now?
And then I had a few thing-- wor-- 500 words to say.
-I think -- Let me talk, or -- -Let's hear it.
Do you ever have a thing where you regret that maybe you shouldn't be doing something?
And that's what I'm having a thought about right now.
[ Laughter ] Here at Mahall's bowling alley, anything that doesn't deal with bowling and fun is irrelevant to me.
So everything I do here is about becoming a better bowler.
And that's what I am here for.
To me, life is like bowling.
There is more than one way to live one's life.
While I don't agree with addressing a different gender that one was born, or have a gender operation, I support that person's right to do so.
It is impossible for me to be anyone else than myself and other people themselves, which make it possible for them to take action that is right for them, but not for me.
So, okay, stealing a line from Bob Hope, thanks for the memories.
And I'm near the door if I'm gonna get killed.
[ Cheers and applause ] -Sy, that was 499 words.
-You came up short.
[ Laughter ] [ Indistinct conversation ] ♪♪ ♪♪ -Come here, Kitty.
Come here, baby.
So Mahall's sent an e-mail out to the members of bowling league that because Mahall's is marching in the parade, asking if anyone wanted to come out and help support our community and myself.
It would mean a lot to me to see some people from the league, but I have no high expectations.
I'm 99% sure there won't be anyone over the age of 30 [chuckles] coming from the bowling league.
-Just kind of... right over there.
-I was hoping you would have a float with a bowling alley on it, and then I was willing to throw a bowling ball, 'cause I don't walk real well.
-What about you?
You gonna march with us?
-Well, there's except-- no, there's a difference between accepting them and -- and promoting.
Accepting and promoting are two different things.
I mean, look at -- I accept Michelle.
But you can't buy [chuckles] my thinking off.
What -- I mean, I'm sorry.
What do you think of the subject?
-I believe in tolerance because I want people to be tolerant of me.
That's what America is about.
You know, if I treat you nice, I hope you treat me nice.
And if I throw rocks at you or whatever, you know, you know, you're gonna do the same to me.
-Right, but I'm just saying, the lifestyle -- do you promote the lifestyle?
-If you go to this parade, you're promoting the lifestyle.
-[ Sighs ] Uh... [ Laughter ] -If you guys want to just come and grab your size.
For everyone who's going, we'll meet in 10 minutes by the van.
We'll have another car here.
All right, I'll see you at the starting line in 20.
-He's not coming.
Well, he was here.
He's just homophobic, so... -Let's go.
-♪ It's all right ♪ [ Vocalizing ] ♪ Little darling ♪ ♪ It's been a long, cold, lonely winter ♪ -You actually demean yourselves... [ Band playing ] -Hey, Michelle!
Free bowling and drinks at Mahall's.
Free bowling and drinks at Mahall's.
-Show me what the future looks like!
-5-0, free bowling.
-I need two of them.
[ Cheers and applause ] -Christ loves you enough to die for you.
-The only better thing for me than going to heaven is seeing you in heaven with me.
-♪ Jesus loves me, this I know ♪ ♪ For the Bible tells me so ♪ -Whoo!
-At this time, I'd like to bring to the stage the Cleveland Transgender Choir!
-Happy Pride, everybody.
[ Cheers and applause ] Do not ever, ever be afraid to show your true colors.
[ Cheers and applause ] -♪ To let them show ♪ ♪ Your true colors ♪ ♪ True colors ♪ ♪ True colors are shining through ♪ ♪ I see your true colors ♪ [ Cheers and applause ] -[ Shouts indistinctly ] -Whoo!
-How you doing, Sy?
I'm doing all right.
♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ -Hey!
[ Cheering ] -Hey, Michelle!
How are you?
How are you?
-Give Michelle a hug.
-Can I have a hug?
-Oh, that's... -Y'all gonna make me cry.
That's all right.
-Won't be the first time today.
[ Laughter ] It won't be the last.
You gonna walk with us for a minute?
♪♪ ♪♪ -Oh.
-You hit 'em.
-You got Mahalled.
-I figured you did.
-Go ahead, Kurt.
-Age before beauty.
-Come on, Kurt.
-That's the shoulder, isn't it?
-All right, thanks.
[ Indistinct conversations, pins crashing ] -[ Clapping ] -Kurt!
That's not bad for an old broad.
I mean, guy.
♪♪ [ Pins crash ] ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪