Back in the day when ‘Coal was King’ here the Grand Midway Hotel, along with a few of the other local hotels, was a brothel!  We’ve had endless ghost stories pop up about prostitutes working here as well as ghost coal miners still hanging around here.  It must have been a hard life.  Old timers describe the start of Windber like the Wild West.

Often psychics when visiting the hotel the first thing they mention is the sexuality.  It is in the air.  It is in the woodwork.



Hotel royalty Videssa D. placed flowers in the hotel dining hall.  She just wanted to do something nice for the building, as was her way.  This was during our first season here.  Then she flew home, back to California.  That next morning she work up shocked to see a man dressed as a coal miner standing at the foot of her bed. She described him as seeming nice, that he simply seemed to be saying ‘thank you’ to her for her flowers gesture. Then he vanished.



Recently, in celebration of the spirit, several poets from Chicago and Pittsburgh set up a brothel-like evening here, but with poets who you could buy and then they’d take you upstairs to a private room where they would read to you.  What a fun night!  Here are several of the period photos taken that night by local photographer Jason Bafile.

(Poetry Bordello, Grand Midway Hotel)

(Margaret Bashaar)

Post-Poetry Bordello Bliss and Thank You
by Margaret Bashaar, Monday, March 25, 2013

The first performance of the Midway Poetry Bordello took place this past Saturday evening at the Grand Midway Hotel in Windber, Pennsylvania. A gathering of the finest poetry whores and performers graced the Hotel’s stage, along with the best group of poetry johns a madam-in-training could ask for.

Blair – You are the finest host, friend, master of enchantment, and creative being I could ever hope for in my life. Your support and generosity this weekend were boundless, and your enthusiasm was infectious. Thank you for giving me your trust and the keys to the building for an evening. And for existing in the universe in a place where we could find each other.
Susan – Thank you for making the trip all the way out from Chicago, for trusting me enough to help create this event, and for being game when I said “well, the place doesn’t have central heating and it’s an hour and a half from Pittsburgh, but it’s really really amazing!”. You’re one of the hardest-working, dedicated poets I know, and I truly look up to you.
Juliet – Performing and spending the weekend with you was a delectable delight of the highest order. Susan and I are going to fisticuffs over you/Zylphia. I can see it coming…
Jason Kirin – You were born to be a poetry whore, my dear. And a performer. And a cupcake baker. And a warm and lovely person. I was constantly amazed at how much you put into this weekend.
Heather – From the moment I met you, I was delighted by you. Your performances were somehow even grander than your pies! I hope you and the corset spend much lovely time together
Crystal – My traveling poet sister, I missed you as soon as you walked out the door Saturday night! You were a vision, truly, and one of my favorite poets, always. I’ll see you walking soon. But hopefully not in the snow!
Carolyn – After so long of orbiting in similar circles t’was a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance – and quite a trip to do so on stage! ♥ from one demon-wrangling poetess to another.
Mandy – Thank you for the banter, the boobs, your gorgeous voice, and jumping spontaneously into poetry whoring. I hope to see you making a trip to Chicago some time soon! Thanks for keeping it classy with me, and I can’t wait to work on your poetry!
Tommy – Your Lobster Opera was truly inspired! You brought such joy to the stage, per Amoeba usual. More Poetry Bordellos need lobsters. And Tommy Amoeba.
Jason Bafile – I was truly, truly impressed with how completely you took to the theme and made it a part of your photography sessions. Your artistic photography is always spectacular and so very well thought out. And I’ve never seen a photographer quite so well-dressed before! I certainly hope you got to be on the other side of the camera more than once.
Kelly – I’m going to work so hard for you at Atrocity. And you can even put me mostly nude in a fridge for 15-30 minutes if you like. I’m not being hyperbolic when I say you are one of my favorite artists. As with Susan, I am always amazed at how much you do and how skillfully you do it all.
Autumn – I simply adored your performance, and am so glad I’ve gotten to know you better over the past year or so. Thank you for being willing to come out on your birthday, no less. You’re always so creatively glamorous. And quite a trooper.
Tony – thank you for spontaneous bass-playing on the third floor after having worked all weekend! More bass-included poetry orgies in the future!
Kyle – Best. Manservant. Ever. I’m going to get you a vest and then it’s ON. I shall dress you up and we shall rock many a Hotel dinner party, m’dear!
Adam – Thank you for the beautiful, beautiful light paintings on Friday night, and for being such a sweet friend, always.

What’s next? Well, we’ll see you at Kerouac Fest in August, for those lucky enough to get an invite to the exclusive, long-weekend arts event, and poetry whores do love to roam. Perhaps the Midway Bordello will make a stop in Pittsburgh at some point in the not-so-distant future. Until next time, lovelies…

(The Mad Poets)

(The Beans)

(The Madam)

(The Local Clients, come to check out the scene)

(The Diva and her Musician)

(A Bold Woman of the Wild Frontier)

(Jim Lee, from the future, back in time)

(The One Margaret Calls ‘The Grecian Goddess’)

(The Quiet One)

(The New Young Arrivals)

(A Man Named Alistair)

(The Women are Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know)