So I'm minding my own business, lounging in my triple-XL Underoos, crunchin' on a big bowl of Cocoa Puffs and watching a rerun of the Squidbillies that I'd taped off Adult Swim, when the PHX's Zooey Deschanel checks in with me via land line.
"Hey, Kreme, whatcha doin'?" queries the Jettster, as I cradle the receiver while spooning some milk-chocolaty goodness into my craw.
"Studying quantum mechanics and string theory," I tell her as I munch. "Whaddaya want?"
"Don't you wanna do the damn thing?" she replies. "I hear that new gay club is bangin'. We should check it out."
"Which new gay club?" I wonder.
"Um, I think it's called 'Homey,'" she says. "You know, like homeslice, homedog, Homey the Clown."
"Homey?" I wonder. "That's weird. I haven't heard of any new gay place named 'Homey.'"
"Well, that's what it's called," she informs me. "I'm looking at the flier right now. It's spelled H-O-M-M-E: 'Homey.'"
"You moron," I bark. "That's French for 'man.' It's pronounced 'ohm.'"
"Whatever, Mr. Know-It-All," she huffs. "You say 'ohm,' I say 'homey,' so what? Anyhoo, tonight's the first night of that new StraightNoChaser deal called 'One.'"
Correct the J-unit is, as Master Yoda might say. Homme (www.phoenixhomme.com) is a nearly year-old gay club just west of Central Avenue on Camelback Road, which has begun to garner a buzz both in and outside the world of dudes-who-like-dudes with its BS West-style two-for-one drink special on Wednesday nights, its chill atmosphere and tight lil' dance floor downstairs, and its jam-packed upstairs with its mural of the Golden Gate Bridge and Castro Street signs from San Fran. It's the work of former real estate broker Jeremy Johnson and business partner Terry Walters, who've taken over what was formerly a bit of a dive and jazzed it up with modern decor, fresh coats of blue and red paint, and cool touches like a roof that sparkles with glitter, and paintings from Phoenix pop artist Glenn Allen.
I'd been by the watering hole once before for that sweet hump-night 2-4-1 special and chatted with Johnson, a laid-back fella who seems pretty stoked by the new joint.
"As soon as the light rail's finished, it should be great," chortled Johnson at the time. "We had a backhoe in the parking lot for an hour earlier. So it's not great right now, but as soon as that's done . . ."
"Yeah, I don't know how businesses survive with that shit going on," I told him. "How long has this house been around, anyway?"
"Since the late 1800s," stated Johnson. "We've even got a ghost here. All the bartenders actually have seen him. It's an older gentleman, black coat, with a big mustache. For the past 23 years, it's been a bar. But before that it was a magician's show place. Apparently, a couple of people were killed here. One shot over here, one stabbed over there. Originally, though, it was a house that some man built for his family."
The background is interesting, but for the purposes of Jett and I, Homme is a fresh party palace on the scene, one with a core gay audience, but with crossover appeal to hipsters of all sexual orientations. Indeed, that's the reason promoter Joe DiPadova of StraightNoChaser fame has teamed up with Homme's hommes for "StraightNoChaser Presents: One," a soulful Friday night of dance music, deep house, Afrobeat, brokenbeat, and Paradise Garage classics spun by DiPadova and pals. As DiPadova related during the Kreme crew's recent outing to Pink Sunday at Camus ("Think Pink," July 27), One is DiPadova's attempt "to unify, and bring together the gay and straight crowds, which have been on different paths musically for a while now."
As my grandmamma used to say, the proof's in the banana puddin' along with the Nilla Wafers. And this past Friday night was all the proof needed to show that Homme and the DiPadovites can pull it off. It was tighter than Mo'Nique's thong in that bitch when the Jettster and I finally arrived, long after I'd finished my Cocoa Puffs and put my britches on. There were plenty of himmersexuals hims that dig hims but there were plenty of breeders in the house as well, and loads of cute shawties. See, het shawties love the gay clubs 'cause they know the fellas won't be rubbin' up on 'em. Or at least, that's what they think.
Downstairs, DiPadova is rippin' the decks a new one with a sound system at his command that could blast a hole in the side of Camelback Mountain. And upstairs we hear that our gals DJ Mamastrosity and DJ Brazilia are holdin' it down, though we never make it up the narrow staircase because the second floor is crazy with people and because there's no Crisco in the closet to grease my sides should I get stuck. DJ Santos helps out DiPadova on the tables later on, and DJ Mark Chai does right by the ladies up above. On the same flo' as the J-girl and me, there are a number of artists doing their thing live and uncut, including the inimitable Banding Hendrix, jokerman Tariq Sabur, dauber JB Fail, and bad boy Matt Brown. We take a tour of the art in progress, then head over to the bar for some imbibing, beginning with a couple of mini "Dum Dum" martinis, in the flavor of your fave Dum Dum Pop, which is then used as the candy "olive." I go for blueberry, while Jett demands watermelon, and we chase 'em with vodka-Red Bulls. Not exactly Cristal or nothin', but it scratches the itch, all the same.
We spy the ubiquitous Tiffe Fermaint, looking more and more fly these days as she prepares to leave for La-La Land in late September. And on the dance floor sweatin' up a storm is my man M3. Robert Sentinery of Java is present with a booful ebony-skinned lass, taking pics for next month's issue. Luscious fashionista Lisa Jacobs is modeling a vintage dress. And nearby us is this handsome cat named Ian running around shirtless, snapping images with his digital camera. Seems Ian has his own nightlife blog, www.ianwelles.com, with loads of photos from his after-dark escapades in the Valley of the Sun. We ask the hot boy how he caught the blogging bug, and dang if he doesn't tell us.
"I put it up about three years ago as a hobby," Ian explains. "All of a sudden, I found I was posting all my pictures online. They're all there now. You can see everyone who's around me when I party. It's like Napkin Nights, but more localized. I do a different place each night."
Ian, who's from Sac-town originally, is soon back at it, clicking away, when Jett and I witness this foxy, Mediterranean-lookin' femme whose glandular endowments are being, ahem, admired by the aforementioned Ms. Fermaint. Jett's eyeballs lock on those puppies like a pair of heat-seeking missiles, and I try to make her heel, to no avail.
"Jeez, Jett, you're worse than a man," I gripe.
"I can't help it, Kreme," she mumbles, peepers still glued on their quarry. "Maybe it's that tee she's got on, but they look really, um, natural."
Of course, we approach, and discover she's named Nicky, and is the proprietor of Mint (www.myspace.com/mintvintage), a vintage-clothing store located at 1319 East McDowell Road, inside the furniture store Red. Nicky's tight, black wife-beater reads "Lucky Girl," and she gets no argument from us on that. Her posterior has been poured into a pair of stylish Jordache jeans circa 1980, and, well, Jett's most impressed.
"How did you end up owning your own place?" inquires the J-unit.
"I'm a photographer, and I was buying stuff for my models," she relates. "But I liked wearing the clothes myself, and I ended up with big stacks of vintage stuff. After a while, I had collected so much, I had to sell some of it. So I made a store. It's a lot of fun."
"So what do you think of Homme and One?" I ask.
"I love it," she says, her eyes widening. "I like the mix of people. And I like how dark it is in here. I feel like a kid in school at a house party."
House party, indeed. I know Jett would like to corner Nicky for a little "risky business," but my throat's drier than Barbara Walters' personal plumbing, and I'm not gonna leave poor Nicky to deal with my horndogged sidekick alone. So I pull the J-unit along with me, back for another round of Dum Dum martinis and vodka-Red Bulls. Jett takes off to throb with the rest of the crowd on the dance floor, while I suck them back as fast as my pie hole will allow. On one end of the bar, I see this cutie giving me the gaze, so I grab my Dum Dum and saunter over with all the savoir-faire I can muster, and quickly learn to call her Norma. But Norma wasn't making eyes at me, she was just amusing her friends with an array of funny faces à la Tracey Ullman.
"I just need to get a leee-tle bit drunker," she confides. "This is my last night of freedom before I go into school on Monday. I can't be hung over. So I have to drink as much as I can tonight."
"A woman after my own heart," I tell her. "What's your major?"
"Finance," she says, scrunching up her face, suddenly.
"What's that?" I wonder.
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"My angry girl finance face," she tells me.
"Is it anything like your 'Oh' face?" I ask, thinking of the classic gag from that movie Office Space.
"What?" she says, not hearing me over the music.
"Oh," I say, smiling. "Never mind."