Hot Pink Perdition

The night crew checks out an after-hours hot spot

The dance floor at Hot Pink squirms like an orgy with clothes: Women and men, women and women, men and men and a number of more complicated combinations gyrate together -- humping, grasping, petting each other to the cyberpunk snarl of Billy Idol's "Dancing With Myself."

Blue and red lights pulsate, illuminating ecstatic mugs. Weird tables with no legs hang from the ceiling at Boom, 1724 East McDowell, which morphs into HP on Friday nights. Most prominent in the place is a platform with a stripper's pole up the middle. Right now, it's holding five or six gals fused into one thrusting, perspiration-drenched organism.

"This is better than porno," I tell Jett, who's in full "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" mode this evening. "Is everyone here on E?"

"Nah, not everyone. It's 'cause the drinks are $2." We lean on the faux-stone bar, scoping the crowd, two connoisseurs of sin. DJ Allie Cat drops some Peaches, and the Fellowship of the Pole disentangles itself. Folks abandon the dance floor, kicking empty beer bottles on their way out.

"People seem to groove harder to the old school than the electroclash," I yell into Jett's ear.

"Yeah, I think for some of 'em, it's almost nostalgia music," my lipstick lesbo pal replies.

Devotees of electroclash say the movement is a riff off old school, but I think Jett's more on target. Once you hit your 20s, you always long for what was poppin' in your single digits, whether it was Smurfs, Ms. Pac-Man or leg warmers. Electro-cash is stackin' some cheddar based on that concept. For the moment, at least.

"Hey, Kreme, check this guy out," says Jett. Before us is this white Urkel-lookin' dood, dancing as Mr. Idol ordered, sucking on a vodka tonic the size of a Big Gulp. Sporting gray cargo pants, tennis shoes and short spiked hair, he gives the name Mike: thirtysomething hair stylist and would-be Lothario whose lower lip is pierced.

"What about the tongue?" inquires Jett. The gal gets all serious when it comes to piercings, like her very existence depends on where they put the frickin' holes.

"My tongue works well enough," he brags. "I don't need any help."

"Why are you here tonight?" I ask.

"Cheap drinks," he says, smirking. "And cheap girls."

I hear Adam Ant singing, "You don't drink, don't smoke, what do you do?"

I gesture to his arm. "The jelly bracelets mean anything?"

"Girls give 'em to me," he says, smiling. "They must like what I do."

Uh-oh, the Ladies' Man. No wonder he's not on Saturday Night Live anymore. He moved to Phoenix, painted himself white and shrunk to five-two.

"And the one around your neck?"

He laughs. "That's what I choke girls with."

"Hook up a lot here, do you?"

Beaming, he boasts, "I'd say I make out a little bit." Jett's standing behind him, holding up two fingers an inch apart.

"Not afraid of Hepatitis C?"

"I have lots of bags in my car. I wear one when I take a girl home."

"Any advice for approaching the opposite sex, Casanova?" I ask.

"I just use my moves." He does a little Ed Grimley dance for us. "Don't use lines. Just dance and say, 'Hi.' Girls don't like lines."

Still behind him, Jett's holding up those two fingers again, in case I missed her size hypothesis, and she's gagging herself with the index finger of her other hand this time.

Enough of Elijah Wood. Jett and I do a walkabout; Duran Duran plays in the background. We step into a better-lighted bar out front, where the bartenders wear CBGB shirts tight enough to show off their pecs. TV screens on either end have some MTV-style cartoon on.

"You'd think they'd have on something dope from the '80s: The Hunger, Repo Man, Scarface. Episodes of The A-Team would be cool -- Pity the fool!"

"It's more '80s-inspired," chimes Jett.

"If someone offered me some blow, I'd feel better about this."

"We'd all feel better if that happened, yo," Jett says.

I acquire a refill of my Absolut rocks, and we step to the patio, an L-shaped concrete playground surrounded by tall wooden fencing.

The first guy I see is enjoying a vodka-Red Bull with his buds. Aside from the occasional Mohawk, the crowd in this club looks more dressed down than dressed up: Converse sneaks and jeans, instead of '80s-style Cyndi Lauper-esque skirts or MC Hammer threads. But the vodka-Red Bull guy, who turns out to be Jim Louvau, 26, is at least dressed differently. He's rockin' black trip pants and black shoes with white stars and a Mormon missionary shirt (white and short-sleeved with skinny tie). His hair is bleached, shaved in the back like Vanilla Ice, with long bangs. Ears are pierced so wide you could stick a cigar in each hole.

"This club reminds me of the old Atomic Cafe," offers Jim. "Hasn't been a club around like that since it closed down."

Jett swoons whenever Atomic Cafe's mentioned. A post-goth paradise lost.

"I work at Hot Topic, the one at the PV Mall, but I didn't get my clothes from there," he adds proudly.

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2 comments
Ella Birt
Ella Birt

this article still rocks! i was trying to illustrate to my husband, 9 years my junior, what Hot Pink was like compared to today's dance nights. this article did a great job of that - and, i can see how your writing has grown over the years Stephen. we are lucky to have you in the community.

 
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