Lydia Lunch and her spoken confrontational words are festering on-stage at Washington Square, and the scene is totally, completely downtown: the regulation black-on-black ensemble, the dangling cigarette, the attitude problem. The crowd, punk types and assorted interesting characters you never see anywhere else, is yelling out something encouraging, along the order of, "Yeah, that's right, fuck the pigs!" It's like a revival meeting for the undead, the unblessed, conducted by a Satanic evangelist. Miss Lunch, formerly of Teenage Jesus and the Circle Jerks, seems to be pissed off by just about everything, a state of affairs that doesn't seem entirely unreasonable. The anti-abortion crowd is working on her nerves ("Nobody tells me what I can do with my fucking body..."), the off-the-pigs revolution is not moving along fast enough, and the divine being himself is just another pain-in-the-ass: "God was the first cop, and I hate fucking cops. All this eternal father shit. I tell you what the eternal father is, he's just like all fathers. The eternal fucker."
A bit more Lyd-chat, a meaningful glance in our general direction, a summoning forth of pure venom: "Let me tell you something else I hate...the real fucking enemy in this country. Fucking white conservative males. That's why I support the NRA. We need to get more guns so that we can blow these fuckers away." An itchy, uncomfortable sensation of anomie seeps up the spine. Somehow white male and man-about-town Michael Morrison, a fan who distinctly flies in the face of the cliches associated with the Lydia Lunch set, remains unfazed: "Have you ever heard her records? I have to say that I find them didactic but entertaining. This is didactic...but not entertaining."
Didactic but not entertaining. Things I fucking hate. Two nightlife categories that keep cropping up all over the place. Like walking into Garrick Edwards's one-nighter, "Bootlegger's," temporarily occupying the Semper's space on Tuesday nights, and having a good time ruined by three young black wanna-be club hoodlums. The very white, sniveling little middle-class jerkoffs under the mistaken impression that the "posse's" pride dictated the immediate kicking of our ass. Or standing at a urinal at The Whiskey and being forced to confront attitude from a washroom attendant, the guy asphyxiating himself on his own fabulousness, going on at length about his name being on the permanent guest list of some ultra-exclusive club. Or discovering the most intensely vital street club - the deli around the corner from the Cameo, music blaring, Coral Gables lamb chops and pimply boys buying MD 20/20 - and being called "Sir" by the patrons. The Beach, one big leer, one big House of Pain. It's enough to make you want to go to the Grove.
Same story, different neighborhood. Mall town, CocoWalk, and it's the Swamp Bar outside Big City Fish, gonads on parade at Hooters, international-theme boutique foods at Tu Tu Tango. Things like Drunken Shrimp and Barcelona Stir-Fry. Waiters who walk up to you and stamp their name on your menu. A packed room, people friendly, nice enough, no fuckers who need offing. Refreshed, on to a pit stop at the Old Grove/Grateful Dead-ish The Connection on Commodore Plaza, which turns out to be one of their closing-night soirees. Tavern in the Grove, full of college kids/rasta man wanna-bes. A place called Secrets, more college kids, lingerie shows, a band doing very ambitious U2 covers. 3131, nee The Village Inn, the kind of gay bar our relatives might feel comfortable in. Televisions blaring away all over the place, bright lights, the unacceptable side of homosexuality slumped over their beers. Not vital. Xisle, formerly 32 Grand and Coconut Grove Cinema, vaguely downtown, Keith Haring-ish decorations, young kids, rough music. Sort of a cross between Beverly Hills 90210 and an alternative night at a Holiday Inn lounge in Boca Raton.
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Then again, there's lots to kind of not hate as well. The jazz version of Ugly Kid Joe's "(I Hate) Everything About You," as performed by local cabaret singer John Head. The Workout For Hope '92 AIDS benefit at the Fontainebleau last weekend, a horde of healthy specimens madly aerobicizing - an oddly diverting tableau. The Subtropics 4 Festival, always cutting edge and always welcome, which opened this year with a reception at the Wolfson Campus for some of the featured artists: new-music composers Steve Reich and Pauline Oliveros, dancer Randy Warshaw, et al. A Health Crisis Network benefit dinner following Thursday night's performance by the dance group Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane & Co., put on by the Miami Light Project.
And plenty of things to not hate in clubville as well. Energy at the Cameo, pulsating techno, laser beams knocking around in the back of your brain, fun on a let's-cut-out-the-small-talk-and-get-right-down-to-the-basics-level. Conceptual celebrity sightings, like actor David Keith and companion at an Avenue A party. The one-nighter "Giant Step," a Tommy Pooch/Spo-Dee-O-Dee/Danceteria co-production at the Institute, reportedly a trial run in anticipation of the partnership possibly taking over the space. A "Club Bachelors" party at 5th Street. An Ubu Raid party on NE Second Avenue. An "Un Birthday Bash for Warsaw's George Nunez" at, appropriately enough, Warsaw. "Lush," a Michael Capponi/Gary James presentation at The Butter Club, featuring "laughing Hare Chrisnas [sic]...the whole fucken [sic] planet and all the ones that know." And "Shelter," opening tonight, Wednesday, at the Paramount Plaza.
A recent rash of late-night possibilities, despite the well-known fact that nothing clever is ever said after 2:00 a.m. Such as the new after-hours club Uptown, nee Eclipse, suitable for those with more than conversation on their minds. And "Beach Ball," last weekend's one-nighter at Torpedo. Major fun, from the look of the invitation: "After Hours Bounce With Us!!! Special Appearance By Sweet Pussy Pauline. Doors Open 4am Until???" Really, an idea whose time has come, a credit to this fair city.
It really is a great town, and somehow the sheer nonfuckedness of metropolitan life keeps coming up at the most unlikely places. Like, for instance, Regine's at the Grand Bay Hotel, local glitz institution and a nightclub that inspires all sorts of cozy memories. The Eighties, Miami Vice-style dealers, and fun rich people without last names. The time the boxer Alexis Arguello, in his heyday as Mr. Nightlife, insisted we join his entourage for an evening of high jinks. Drunken dancing with socialites in conga lines, everyone screaming Ole! in unison. In a frenzy of nostalgia, we dropped in recently for a glamour fix, but curiously, nothing happened to us. At all. In the end, time really is the biggest fucker of all.