Hot Pink Perdition

The night crew checks out an after-hours hot spot

"You're 26 and you work at Hot Topic?"

"I'm a musician mostly," he assures. "I sing in a band called Silence of Sound. Used to sing in a band called Victims of Ecstasy. Heavy rock with sequencing. You know, programming, little extra layers of stuff we record in the studio and bring to the live show."

Victims of Ecstasy. Like Michael Jackson's accusers. The love that dare not speak its name in open court.


Heleit Hackett, 21, introduces herself, slurping a vodka-cranberry, slurring her consonants. Tomboyish with short two-toned hair, she explains her name is Israeli and means "halo." She's a fallen angel, natch. Comes to Hot Pink for the music.

"It's just something I can dance to," she replies. "And I don't have to worry about hip-hop guys rubbing up against me. I totally love '80s pop and New Wave. And electroclash stuff like Dirty Sanchez."

Heleit's pre-med at Arizona State University. "I'm the future of America," she tells me. "I'm going to make a lot of money someday."

"Out to save mankind, eh?"

She looks puzzled. "Have another drink, Heleit, the world's your oyster."

As she staggers off, a transvestite the size of a defensive tackle passes us. Now here's someone I want to talk to. Jett and I follow her to the women's room where he disappears inside.

Jett slithers into the jam-packed chicks' baño in hot pursuit. I swallow a mouthful of Absolut, turn around abruptly and almost run over Kristen Wright and her pal Ian Walden, both 23. Kristen is heavily tatted, with Japanese flowers and snakes up one arm and a large heart on her back. Has on a beige tube-top thingy, showing plenty of skin.

After she gets over the shock of almost getting flattened by a fat man the size of a Coke machine, she says, "I made this, actually. It used to be a slip."

Looks like a tablecloth. "This your boyfriend?" I inquire about Ian.

"No, uh, yes."

"Here's an easier question: This is supposed to be an '80s-inspired club. Is that why you come?"

"Well, the '80s were fucking awesome! If I had my way, I'd be a teenager in the '80s. A Madonna clone."

Jesus, I hate Madonna, no matter what the decade. Gap-toothed, talentless bizz-atch. Gets uglier with each passing year. Wouldn't fuck her with Jett's strap-on. "Tell me, if you guys dig the '80s, why aren't you dressed more, well, '80s-style?"

"Whadaya mean?" asks denim-clad Ian, Mr. Pugnacious. "I'm totally '80s. Check out the tee shirt." He opens his jacket to reveal Huey Lewis and the News.

"Huey Lewis, huh?"

"The heart of rock 'n' roll is still beating," he says. "They're my favorite band."

"My heart goes out to you," I say, "it really does."

Jett returns, empty-handed. "I lost her."

"You lost her? She could've passed for Warren Sapp in makeup! How'd you lose that?"

"She got past me, what can I say?"

"Never send a lesbian to do a man's job."

"Or do a man," she cracks. "Hey, look who's here."

"It's the Nordic princess of the pole!" I declare. Earlier, Jett had elbowed me in the ribs so I wouldn't miss this babe in action.

Turns out she's Christine Kastensmith, 24. A Lisa Kudrow look-alike with body art, she's got tats on her chest, up and down one arm, even on her feet.

Christine's a Realtor, and a twin. She and sis Jennifer call themselves The Real Estate Twins. Clever.

The last time I met a beautiful, straight woman in this town, she was a Realtor. Had to promise to let her sell me a house to get her phone number. "You really a twin?" I ask, hoping to avoid a sales pitch.

"Fraternal, but we look enough alike to be identical." At five-eleven and heels, she's hovering over me. I resist the urge to ask if I can go up on her. "I've been here every night since it opened. The crowd is so different. I feel like I can make a total ass out of myself and nobody cares."

I intone sweetly, "You could make a total ass of yourself in a freakin' church, and no one would give a javelina's pattootie."

"I'm not used to the attention. I got really chubby when I was married. But my ex-husband cheated on me. Left me for a 19-year-old girl. So I was like -- fuck it -- success is the best revenge, and I lost 90 pounds."

I ask about the '80s thing. She recalls the decade fondly -- the fashions, the socks with heels, the neon, "and most definitely, the music."

Allie Cat revs up some Blondie, which is okay. But if I hear any Boy George, I'm going to slit my wrists.

"You going to interview me?" asks a voice from the darkness. Mario, a dark-haired boy in a sleeveless black tee shirt inscribed with a tribal-style eagle, introduces himself. Mario's English is sketchy, but he keeps kissing my hand, so what's a big fella to do?

"I sell this on eBay," says Mario, rubbing his chest.

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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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