Obituary: RIP Bob Tomasino of Oil Can Harry's

Bob Tomasino has passed away... killed by a 17 year old drunk driver... this past Friday night. Bob was the owner- and Heartbeat- of the country dance club Oil Can Harry's. It is a shock and leaves those that knew him speechless. 

The history of Oil Can Harry's goes back long before many of us were even born. Did you know that OCH was a burlesque hall in the late 1950's- early '60's? It survived the Summer of Love of '69 and survived Disco Fever of the 1970's... it survived the tumultuous decades and ravages of AIDS of the 1980's and '90's... it became a community meeting place for all of us. A safe haven for fundraisers and parties. Bob always made sure the event was to help support the "Gay" community. Period. He was never afraid to say the word. If it didn't help the community, then it wasn't allowed in.

For many years I begged and pleaded with the West Hollywood publications and club rags to do stories on Bob, OCH or country music as the 'hook.' I was always met with the same answer, "The community isn't interested in Country." Today, I respond, 'Bullshit! Your just lazy." Now, all the great history and knowledge that Bob had of the community is gone with him.

To all you 'youngsters' that are now just discovering OCH, just think when you enter through the doors, how many cowboys, muscle men, drag queens, celebrities have entered before you and are no longer with us... check out the 'Belt Buckle Memorial' that's in the front bar corner... I met John Stamos there once on a night out with his girlfriend... many straight people go there just to have fun and let their hair down. Celebrities go because they know that no one will bother them... Bob, you will be terribly missed and I know we will see you and so many of our dear loved one's passed on the dance floor in spirit!

Cheers, to the ghosts of Oil Can Harry's!

Bob's Friend


  1. The other night I had to get into an altercation with someone who could barely walk that was trying to get in his car; He was a hot guy about 20. I took down his license and threatened a citizen arrest. He lunged after me and luckily I carry mace (which I didn't have to use). I scared him w/ it though and he walked away from his car. He was BEYOND DRUNK. And I'd do what I did all over again to save his life and others. Do not, do not, do not drink and drive; and that includes pot and other drugs too! Everyone feels invincible when younger, but you're not. Be responsible, please. Ending a life over drunk driving is criminal. RIP

  2. That was a beautiful eulogy. So sad that it had to be written. Oil Can Harry's has stood as a beacon for gay people of the valley and all of Los Angeles, and I hope it lives on in tribute to Mr. Tomasino.


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