"I'm Chrissy. I'm a little bit Jenny and Terry, but tonight I'm totally Chrissy."
"No you're not, because then I have to be Janet."
"What about Tim?"
"Oh, he's definitely Jack."
"On second thought, Billy, you're Larry. Or maybe Mrs. Roper in a muumuu coming down the stairs and hankering for some whoopee."
Such are the trials of poor taste that occupy just the idea of Taylor, Tim and I going out by all accounts a weakly scripted affair of pratfalls and laugh tracks suited best for one-eyed nostalgia channel surfing in the nether hours. Wow, Three really is Company!, etc. Will there be fart jokes? You bet your hot bottom.
But not now. Tonight we are on a mission, a pilgrimage of sorts, to find real meaning in the recently triaged gay nightlife circulatory system, to fearlessly relay a path to the divine. The closing of Southern Nights last week sent shockwaves through the exfoliated skin of the same-sex, drink-seeking community, prompting invisible riots within the heads of those involved.
Some quick-footed scurrying saw most of the nightclub's staff swiftly re-employed, and both Thursday and Monday nights (both previously quite bankable) shifted a few power grids over to the Club at Firestone on Orange. A new era starts now. How exciting.
"I don't know if you guys smell that, but …" Taylor farts.
Not now, Taylor. A quick trip to the restroom, a quick trip Taylor and I used to make more than our share of back in the "day," reveals an unsettling development. No, more unsettling than that. It's the Justin Timberlake/gay-Mario-American-Idol short-brimmed fedora, and it's currently being painstakingly adjusted atop the heads of numerous bathroom-mirror lovers. It's the sort of accessory that screams "future embarrassment," begs for closet dust, then hides itself in a water-damaged box for all of eternity. In short, it's a travesty. Almost as much of a hideous mistake as the poor soul sporting both a loosened, striped necktie and a choker of puka-shell beads. This is where fashions come to die.
Like we used to.
"Hey Taylor, do you remember the time we came here in the middle of the day to fetch DJ Sandy's turntables?" I trip down a lane called memory.
"All barefoot, dirty-faced and ate up on E," he adds some shrubbery to my path. "Just so we could go listen to records at home?"
"That's when it was fun. When we still had livers."
These days, just the bounce of the bass off the cavernous, sweaty walls is enough to make organs slither down my leg. Amongst other things.
"I'm creating bass pockets of my own," Taylor farts again. Ew.
Somewhere in the middle of our methane mingle, we bump into former Southern Nights manager Cindy Barbalock and set in for the skinny on exactly what went down. Turns out that when the bar was sold last Thursday, the door was locked without any sort of telephoning around, and everybody was left high and dry. Apparently, the new owners are looking to turn the historic site into some potential failure involving the terms "upscale," "wine" and "bar," probably because nobody's ever done one of those around here. Apparently, also, the new owners are in the unlikely business of urine testing centers.
"I went in there and they were tearing down the show bar," Cindy rattles. "And I was looking at the mess like, 'gross!' Then he said, 'Yeah, I know. My urine lab is cleaner.'"
So, once again, that's what it all comes down to: flatulence and urine.
All farting aside, Thursday night at the Club is a gas. By midnight, shirts are already being removed and the better-torsoed folk are climbing atop speakers to throw their arms up to whatever it is they throw their arms up to. The general vibe is one of celebration among the ashes of what used to be, and a genuine if sweaty grasp on just what always will be.
For a minute, I even entertain some existential internal dialogue about regeneration and little cogs in bigger machines shaking things back to apparent normality in the time-space continuum. Like that maybe it really is 1995 and maybe I'm not really old yet. Maybe now isn't "now" at all, and therefore it's not so bad.
This, and I've only had one drink.
"It's like Purple Rain in here," I descend prematurely.
"Rhymes with 'rain,' anyway," snorts Taylor.
In the middle of the dance floor, the river of bodies parts to reveal Orlando's quirky drag superstar, Nazhoni, tonight sporting something like macramé on the back of (his) her head, and something like Margaret Cho catfighting with Patti LaBelle and Lil' Kim on the front. It's dancing to "Supersonic" by J.J. Fad, and rather necessarily, Taylor and I are thrown into odd leg re-enactments of the butterfly. This is our jam, yo.
And then the crazy-haired beast decides to speak. Well, not actually speak, but scream like a rooster or a red-dyed, ailing monkey.
"Shit! Fuck! Bitch!" is about all I can make out, because that's about all that's being said. I dare say she's even looking a little, well, a little big.
"I think she got the wrong Krystal's," offers Taylor, narcotically.
Oh god, we're funny.
Anyway, a severe exercise in personal behavior failure ensues, with Nazhoni standing in the middle of a flesh-mass, falling apart drag-queen style.
"This is what fags are all about!" she (he) practically explodes. "Lovin' and fuckin' and shit!"
And farting. Don't forget farting.