Posted by: Orlick | February 6, 2008

Culture Club Dance Club – New York, NY

179 Varick Street
New York, NY 10014
(212) 243-1999 Culture Club Dance Club
Category: Night Life
Neighborhood: Manhattan/SoHo

It’s easy to see how a place like this can be so polarizing with the reviewers on Yelp.

This is perhaps the most amazing cross section of humankind in the states. And what was I supposed to expect when I paid the $25 cover to get into the Culture Club with 11 pirates from Ireland?

First of all: who are the people in this club?? Where do they come from? Surely they can’t be our daytime bosses, purveyors, salesmen, children’s teachers, or the men who climb up the telephone poles. Where does the transfer into the real world occur?

Are these meatheads from Staten Island? They approach (nothing in particular) with a seriousness – as if surveying the floor for new prey. Have you ever seen a bunny rabbit survey for prey? One suddenly stops and in a moment of seizure, breaks out an arm pointing Elvis Presley maneuver – the King Himself would have done a double take. His hair slick and black, chops and all. This man idolizes the king – does he know it? This makes me wonder to myself – which movie did these guys see to make them act this way? Whose pop culture fault is this? It makes me want to destroy every television set and movie theater in America because of the influence they have created. In his 3rd person, which character from Swingers is he? The one who packed heat in the parking lot? Why did I love that movie more 8 years ago, and now loathe what it has created for these 30-somethings?

One 5 foot tall street soldier. On the prowl for a dancing partner. I see him looking around – though not desperately – on this night, this man gained my utmost respect. Striped polo down to his knees creating an immobilizing visual effect. He bounces his head a bit, looks around. Total conviction in his movements. A little bounce bounce bounce. He gives a few nods whilst bouncing, looks around, and then it comes! Hand up to the sky! BAM! Out to the side! BOOM! Then a sharp criss-cross of the legs – whip whip! Clean. Cutting. Enthralling.

A girl comes and dances alongside, he doesn’t grind her like his brethren, he shoots his hand into the air! Bam! One to the side! Boom! And then a shakeup. Oooohhh. He concentrates so hard on his movements, a level of austerity I could never reach.
He steps on a perch of the stage, peering out into nothingness. His moves are exitential, there is no other purpose other than their own execution. His movements are his function. They are his work. They are his reward. I see him pace up the aisle away from me. My heart suddenly goes longing. And my neck gets longer. Peering around the corner, I make amends with myself never to miss a beat. A few minutes later my relief as he marches to the fringe of the platform again. He has arrived. Now, the most amazing part of this night comes, but no one but me sees this display! Head bobs to the non-stop music of celebration. Head bouncing patiently. Then I realize: He is waiting! He is awaiting the feeling! The bounce is him counting time! He counts and I await. I alone this time. I look around and I am the only witness, how can this be? He bobs more, and then! The hand goes upward! YES! My eyes light up. Boom to the side! OWW! Then a series of body movements would make Michael Jackson take notice (and not because of his boylike stature): he makes a leg kick! criss-cross! wiggle-down, another leg kick, he pounds the skies with his finger, then out to the invisible man in front of him, more wiggles! A series of moves, it must have lasted a good 30 seconds. And no one else saw it. I look around for someone to celebrate with, but it’s only me. It was as if it was only for me. I saw dolphin giving birth, a quarter land on its side, lightning strike my finger, a circular rainbow. There in front of me was this mind blowing magnificence – and it was entirely mine.

Darting through the crowd like mice were at least 4 bachelorette parties. Not really sexed up, one-night bride-stand type of crews, but short hokey girls with matching shirts and buttons who liked to pretend they were. Is there a guide to this? The brides stand out by wearing a sash or a hat from a party store and they all seemed to be prepared with some overtly subtle game created to tempt the bride and the men who play. One group, with t-shirts of a wonderful less-than-army green, was ostensibly tearing up the floor. They seemed like the only other ones in the club who saw the ridiculousness that I was more than appreciating here. They were having fun mixing in by flailing arms, legs, and bodies all around. They were fun! Then I fell in love. They summoned the 5 foot dancer… I melted. They had seen the same thing I had, and they grabbed it by the horns! A couple of them grinded around him. Did they touch him? Nah, they were aware. They contained him for at least 2 songs. He barely noticed them. What was his purpose? That man was a testament to the allure of dance. They payed him attention until their own light became too bright to share. Here’s to those girls. They knew the story.

I would guess 90 percent of people there are tourists in one way or another. No matter, by the end of the night, I became one too.

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