By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
La reina de la noche, the queen of nightlife, is out there somewhere. In the shadows just around the corner from the long lines, noisy clubs, and pompous velvet ropes, she blossoms like an unexpected rose in the barren desert in the hours between 12:00 and 5:00 a.m. Just as suddenly she disappears, before the trampling feet of transparent frippery pummel her. She has eluded us since we were old enough to gain entrance to the 18-to-come/21-to-swallow establishments that agitated our fantasies of adulthood. Party all night and sleep all day, right?
Since entering the glamour world we have only heard of her like some mythical entity. Arriving fashionably late to functions and missing her by mere moments. We know that she has been here, but instead we end up repeatedly finding a Dante's Inferno sodden in bad music and dirty rolls.
We go tonight rummaging through the maze of plastic -- money, people, and breasts -- for her beautiful petals. Holding to the hope that a symbol of purity and decency can be found in the crevices of some dark liquor-spewing hole. The perfect evening calls to us like a siren.
Clubbed, having recently set out to reclaim what is left of his essence and soul, makes his rounds sans companions on a Friday evening to patronize small gatherings and altogether avoiding novice nightcrawlers. The weekend warriors are part of the food chain, necessary to complete the formation of a thriving club social caste system, but too much of a bad thing can get worse, so going where no one knows your name offers a timely reprieve. The Gables Pub will do.
It's a scene as familiar as the movies -- at least the ones full of University of Miamikids. The bartender, Clay, is plucked from any one of your favorite sitcoms about ... well, bars. Nothing too exciting going on here. It's safe to say that our nightlife flower is absent on this night, but the atmosphere is as pure as it can get. The green and orange frat boys chug down pitchers and the twentysomething dames cuddle together like ol' gossip hens. No reina de la noche, but no harm either in sticking around and shooting some pool with the neighborhood boys.
Clubbed's strange presence goes unnoticed like a lone trucker at a pit stop in Shreveport looking for the head. "Right over there, fella. You been driving long?" Yes. The endless highway that leads into the chasm of this empty existence keeps racing those white lines on the road toward me faster and faster. Here in Pleasantville they may not understand such ramblings. Too hypnotized by the Budweiser streamers that decorate the walls. But there is peace here.
Peace isn't on the checklist tonight, however. Clubbed moves on down the Route 66 of the "social activities or entertainment available or pursued in the evening" to catch a glimpse -- if only a fleeting one -- of the queen. Most of the people you run into will lie just to make you envious. They will claim that they drank from the same glass as the night-blooming beauty while dancing the nocturnal ballet in bliss's grasp. When you are not present, you will always have missed "the best party ever." The truth is they were just wasted and ended up in a heavy-petting session with some heavily siliconed being of indeterminate gender. That date somewhere in between Lorraine from Kendall and the thin Puerto Rican kid at the White Party. Whoever "she" was, "she" was not la reina de la noche. Not even close. No matter how many Mind Eraser shots you slurp.
The cool winter air that has been tickling the thongs lately is perfect for finding her. That magic moment has to be out there. The right mix of fresh Northern blood and tourists from around the world looking to escape the cooler climates make for ideal conditions that will allow a wonderful instant to spring up from this nothingness. Sexual fantasies, vaguely familiar people, and lots of alcohol tend to work, but we digress again. We needn't consider the same old same old when looking for (insert harps and strings here) our "rose."
The music resonating from inside Rain suggests that we may be closing in on something. What? We are not sure, but there is shining hope. Eighties diva Shannon sings "Give Me Tonight" and it pumps as the soundtrack for our episode of Please Stop the Madness And Let Me Get Off. Scattered throughout the nightclub are various familiar faces -- Ingrid Casares (former Madonn -- oh, forget it), Guru (Keith Elam) of the rap group Gang Starr, and ex-Canes basketball star Johnny Hemsley -- all perhaps with the same quest in mind. Craig Stevens and Ducis Rodgers of the tabloid news station WSVN are on hand as well. The newsmen could be out to get the big scoop on our illusive desert flower. A lead story could be in progress! The cameras must be near!
A moment of internal glee follows but is short-lived when the DJ goes into a mix of Now That's What I Call Music! - Volume 10selections. Entertaining enough and echoing the selections of the new 103.5 (WMGE-FM), but for now we must continue our search. The night is getting older and we fear that our time may be closing. Something is still out there.