Friday, March 07, 2008

Variety is the staff of -- ouch! no hitting!

Well, tonight I decided it had been altogether too long since my last dance outing -- that was Feb. 14, which was an utterly delightful night to spend at Perversion at the Ruby -- so I layered my dancing shoes and dress under my work clothes and set out after hours to Hollywood. Traffic along Hollywood Blvd was just zany tonight. The weather's really warmed up in the last month, so lots of scenesters were out walking around and lining up outside clubs. Apparently the hot new thing to wear is a flimsy little dress that's sort of like a cross between a baby-doll dress and a bubble dress -- it essentially resembles a slip, but the hem is tucked under so it balloons out very slightly. It doesn't look like much of anything, but everyone was wearing one of those with platform shoes. Outside the El Capitan, there appeared to have been some kind of opening for the film "College Road Trip" -- lots of signs and lights were set up, and some platinum-blond fellow was having his picture taken by professionals with a young platinum-blonde lady on each arm. Perhaps they were the Hiltons. I don't know. I made it through all the kerfuffle and got a very nice parking spot directly across from the Ruby. But when I got to the door, the bouncer, who knows me, paused and said "You're here for Perversion, right? It's moved. It's at Boardners now." He very kindly gave me directions ("three blocks") and shortly thereafter I was off on foot, heading back toward the center of Hollywood and into all the traffic. Damn. I hate that it's moved, although it's been at the Ruby for at least a year now and that's a good long while as these things go. Still, I will miss the bartender who resembled Gaius Baltar, and who poured me the most sublimely ridiculous gin and tonics with, like, a teaspoon of tonic apiece. And I will miss Consuela the housekeeper, who always walked through collecting used cups with her stoically set face indicating that her mind was safely elsewhere. And the bouncers were friendly. Farewell, The Ruby.

Anyway, I walked to Boardners on foot, which took about ten minutes, which was ten minutes along a street I did not want to have to walk alone in a couple of hours; so after making sure of the club's location I walked back. It was pretty fun to walk along Hollywood Blvd. alone late at night, watching the skateboarders and the crowds and the dissipating El Capitan paparazzi (the Hiltons having left). I walked back along the north end and happened to glance down just as I was stepping across Ritchie Valens' star. Hee hee. It felt like a little benediction, a feeling that stuck with me as I retrieved the car and circled the block a couple of times until a street spot opened up around the corner. Unlike the Ruby, this place is very in the middle of things, which in Hollywood can be a little ridiculous. I was very lucky to find a spot. That's unlikely to happen every Thursday; Boardners is the longtime home of Bar Sinister, a Saturday goth night that I've been avoiding on the grounds that it looks way too crowded. It felt pretty damn crowded tonight, and I realize it was nowhere near full.

The club itself is lovely, though. It's a two-story complex, semi-outdoors: you walk in through this sort of alley and the first dance room is in a covered courtyard, with a fountain at the center. There was a bar at one end and a raised dance floor at the other, but the only dancers were writhing on the flagstones next to the fountain; the floor itself was empty. I realized with tremendous regret that this was my usual room at the Ruby, the 80s room. Inside is a longer, narrow space with a bar along one side, running parallel to a very narrow dance floor; this space was full of people dancing. I approached the bar and got a gin and tonic from a female bartender. I hate to perpetuate stereotypes, but the pour was terrible. Grumpily sipping my glass of tonic, I wandered up a flight of stairs and was mildly startled to find myself in an S&M play area. There was a bar up here too, specializing in absinthe drinks, with its own menu (most drinks are $20 apiece, a fact they're kind enough to note on the menu for you). I watched a ringmaster type in striped trousers flog a blonde lady against a wheel-type setup, and watched a couple of bosomy brunettes go at each other with paddles. The vibe in the upstairs room was hard to get a handle on. Some people were blase, some people were total frat boys ("Woo! Turn her around!"), and some people were very participatory and into it; one frat-boy type in camouflage shorts was smiling as a girl in platform shoes bound his wrists with pink tape. I watched for a bit, hoping to see someone cross some sort of line and be asked to leave, but it was difficult to determine where the line was.

Back downstairs, I returned to the 80s area and got a second drink from a male bartender, who poured me an outlandishly generous gin and tonic. I was so pathetically grateful I left him a ridiculous tip. The DJ played Kathy's Song, Destroy Everything You Touch, Wreath of Barbs and (randomly) Carolyn's Fingers, all in a lovely long set. I danced on the stage with a delightful young man who resembled Jesse Eisenberg, then took one more long, slow walk through the club before heading out to my car. Short visit, and I don't know that I'll be back. A nice place to go once, but not really large enough for me to feel really comfortable, and a lot of bubble-dressed tourists wandering in from other clubs. It might be time to find a new place to dance.


Kelly said...

I admire your ability to go dancing alone. I did that once, sort of (drove all the way to Dayton to meet friends who had already left when I arrived), but I was in college and it was an adventure. I don't think I would undertake such a journey now that I am old and grizzled. (Especially in L.A., with the horrid parking situation.)

I'm sorry you have to find a new spot to go!

AE said...

Going out alone really is like going to the zoo. Except with dancing. And gin. It's a completely different experience from dancing with friends, although that's fun too.