A Brief History of Get Booked
In 1987 “Bright Pink Literature”, owned by “Las Vegas Bugle” publisher Rob Schlegel and his then partner John Mendoza opened in Las Vegas. By 1993, Schlegel wanted to devote more time to publishing, and he and Mendoza decided to sell the store.
In March that year, Wes Miller, Ed Uehling, and Marlon Tinana were in San Diego visiting the Hillcrest district. While rummaging through shops and bookstores, Wes mentioned off-handedly it would be fun to own a bookstore. Ed and Marlon said, “We know a bookstore that you might buy.” It was “Bright Pink Literature.
Wes and Marlon decided to buy “Bright Pink Literature” together. At that time the store’s location was a 600 sq. ft. retail site in the same plaza that today houses Piranha. In order to let the community know there was something new in town, they changed the name to GET BOOKED. It opened May 15, 1993. Marlon went on to open the Cave dance club in August 1993 and Wes purchased Marlon’s share of GET BOOKED in late 1994 making him the sole proprietor of GET BOOKED. At the same time, Raul Mangubat moved to Las Vegas from New York City and became the General Manager.
Raul G. Mangubat – “Mr. Get Booked”
Since 1993 GET BOOKED has undergone numerous changes. The product mix has expanded to include more than just books. Under Raul’s management the store grew dramatically. Raul suggested moving the growing enterprise to it’s current home next door to the then Buffalo, now Quadz, in June 1996. At that time, the space was 900 sq.ft. This created the opportunity for GET BOOKED to include video rentals, clothing, pride gifts and other GLBT related merchandise. In late August 2001 Raul moved to the Bay area and Donald Kauffeld assumed the role of General Manager. At about the same time. Wes became devoted to the company’s two internet shopping experiences: www.GetBooked.com and www.Videos4Gays.com. These online e-commerce sites are more than just another gay website. Wes enjoyed infusing the sites with the same types of excitement and high-energy that one finds in the GET BOOKED store of brick and mortar.
The physical store underwent another exciting phase of growth – a 350 sq.ft. addition making it 1250 sq. ft. was finished in February 2002. GET BOOKED is no longer just a bookstore, but is Las Vegas’ Premier GLBT Retailer. The storefront even features fabulous window displays – that often rival department store quality!!
November 2002 was marked by two events. Donald Kauffeld left Get Booked to pursue his career elsewhere – though he is still around helping Wes with video information. Additionally, Dennis McBride (Las Vegas’ Historian) has arranged for early GET BOOKED records to be added to the Gay and Lesbian archives housed at UNLV.
With Donald leaving, Wes assumed the role of General Manager.
2003 has been an exciting year of growth and improvement for Get Booked. This year marked the 10th Anniversary of the store’s opening!! Customers flooded the store with more than 600 anniversary cards. They were hung everywhere – in the windows, on store fixtures and on the walls. Various greetings and messages thanked Get Booked for a decade of excellent service and growth while others encourage continued success and growth.
A new and improved website was launched during the last quarter of 2003 and remained online until 2007. Get Booked arrived on Facebook in 2010 and continues to use Facebook for announcing events and gay issues. Be sure to “Like” us at www.Facebook.com/GetBookedLV
Get Booked launched a much smaller more boutique type of website in 2013 to offer the more unique items not available elsewhere on the net.
Why The Name GET BOOKED?
There’s a very interesting reason why the name was chosen. It’s actually a cute play on words. During a Metro round-up of Las Vegas gays Wes Miller was falsely arrested near the store location. This occurred on June 25, 1992. It was a sting operation with undercover detectives posing as hustlers. They lured gay men away from the protection of the community at Angles (now known as the Icon) and Gipsy, busting them without saying why, handcuffing them, and “booking” them into jail. With only $1.75 in his pocket, Metro realized their embarrassing mistake in arresting Wes and the charges were dropped. These kinds of sting operations targeting the gay community in Las Vegas ceased not long after. The Bugle (Las Vegas’ Gay and Lesbian bi-monthly newspaper now called QVegas) hailed Wes as a folk-hero in their issue immediately following the arrest. “GET BOOKED is how I responded to that experience…” says Wes. “…it is a statement that I helped play a role in ending that kind of police behavior.” The name stands today as a reminder of times when gay bashing was more common in Las Vegas. Wes is always quick to point out that now times have changed and that “the police are very friendly to our operations now. In fact, I recently had lunch with several officers at their new sub-station on the strip.”