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The day's changed but the beats are the same

As if we didn't have enough "Phat-N-Jazzy" fun this year, the long-running Tuesday-night hip-hop and downtempo tradition is moving to a Monday -- just this once, mind you -- to help ring in the new year at The Social (formerly known as Sapphire). This is the first time that "Phat-N-Jazzy" -- celebrating its eighth anniversary in February -- has experienced a New Year's Eve treatment.

"In the past, there's been nothing for the regular 'Phat-N-Jazzy' crowd to do," says the night's longtime guru Gerard Mitchell.

Now there is.

Packing as much homespun entertainment as possible, the "P-N-J" New Year's Eve bash features the usual suspects on the turntables, plus two sets of live performances by the "P-N-J" extended family. Joining resident jocks BMF and Mitchell for the party will be regular contributor MC Swamburger, as well as turntable athlete SPS, and terminally funky ensemble Beef Wellington and the Fantabulous Family.

Swamburger says to expect the usual beats and boasts, in addition to "some new joints and some New Year's treats," meaning a few timely covers. The verbal gymnast also plans to distribute premaster CD-R copies of his latest album project, Anti-Box Per Diem. (The stunning CD is a futuristic hip-hop masterstroke, blurring the lines between pop, rock and rap.) In fact, Mitchell promises a host of freebies for the first hundred or so through the door, including a rare BMF comp and other Eighth Dimension Records goodies. That's one reason to get there early.

Revelers also will enjoy rare access to free "Super Dag Daddy" martinis, champagne and draft beer until midnight. Now you have two reasons to get there early.

-Mark Padgett

Three bands, five bucks, BYOB ... Will's Pub

With club ownership down the Orange Avenue corridor changing hands like, well, Monopoly money, it's easy to feel a bit overwhelmed amid the mélange of new downtown music halls. Why not stick to a more familiar stomping ground, one just outside the hubbub?

Will's Pub continually flaunts its "screw downtown" mantra and this New Year's Eve is no exception. One of the more affordable destinations (only $5 for admission), the musical menu at Will's promises more alcohol-fueled anarchy for your beer-drinking bucks, but if beer's not your gear this year, patrons are allowed to BYOB (liquor only, though).

In keeping with tradition, for this year's throwdown the newly nuptialed Will once again has booked ska-core scene stalwarts Bughead and mutant metallers Gargamel! for his "New Year's Eve Bash."

Inebriating audiences with its unpredictable, alcohol-fueled concoction of punk, reggae and ska, Bughead is celebrating a milestone of sorts in 2002. It was 10 years ago in the sleepy town of Fort Myers that guitarist Nathan Adams and bassist Jason Powell hooked up to form the foundation of what is now known as Bughead.

With the band motto of "Drinky! Drinky!" it's obvious Gargamel! knows how to mix it up. Sounding like the bastard sons of King Diamond and Mr. Bungle, Gargamel! juxtaposes influences from just about every genre of music. One of the higher profile bands in Orlando -- winning this year's Orlando Music Award trophies in both the "Hard Edge" and "CD of the Year" categories -- Gargamel! has packed nearly every club in town with its schizophrenic live sets.

So buzz on out and find out the reason why Will has asked the potent combo of Bughead and Gargamel! back for a sixth consecutive appearance on New Year's Eve. After all, it's a tradition.

-Micky Michalec

Tired of the typical? Make a game of it

Don't think STP is worth the $100-a-head price tag? (You're not alone.) Or maybe you're just not into counting down to 2002 in a sweaty, crowded club. But staying home and watching Dick's ball drop doesn't do it for you either.

Fortunately, several area bowling centers offer a night out for alley cats, with the customary champagne, party favors and buffet accompanying the sound of pins crashing, most of which come at a reasonable fee. The motif is pretty much the same all around: food, swirling disco lights, door prizes, a cash bar, etc. And you'll want to make reservations -- some lanes sell out beforehand while others up the price for walk-ups. Bringing the kiddies? A few are admittedly more child-friendly than others.

The Oviedo Bowling Center will let you bowl amid swirling disco lights for $30 a pop, $22 if you're under age 18. AMF Longwood Lanes has a similar deal for $40 per couple. Airport Lanes in Sanford sounds fun -- yes, occasionally fun can exist in Sanford -- with moonlight bowling and money prizes at $30 per person (18 and up only, please).

Brunswick Wekiva Lanes in Apopka offers more family friendly fare, featuring three separate parties throughout the day, all with pizza and by-the-lane reservations ($100 for the midnight party, $50 for the evening, $30 for the afternoon -- not bad, considering you can split the fee with up to five friends). Then again, you'd be hanging with your kids on a night traditionally designed for intoxication. At least that's how we see it.

For the adult crowd -- at least the 18 and ups -- Colonial Lanes is offering a night of colored pins and drink specials. A few pluses here: One, it's downtown. Two, it's only $25, making it one of the more affordable New Year's Eve shindigs.

-Jeffrey C. Billman

Biker-bar stunts rev up the action ante

We are intrigued by any event involving the words "Wall of Death." So, in honesty, we were a bit let down when we found out that Boot Hill Saloon's New Year happening wasn't what we thought. Not to say the event's not worth sampling -- quite the contrary. But when we read, "Rhett Rhotten and his Vintage Motor-cycle Wall of Death," we had visions of Evel Knievel-esque plunges into flaming walls, perhaps with a midnight countdown to boot. Sadly, we were wrong.

There's no wall or any real likelihood of a death or, at minimum, disfigurement, though bar owner Art Gehris insists, "It's dangerous, OK?" Rhotten -- not his real name, of course -- will ride his bike inside a huge barrel. "Think a beer barrel, and multiply it times 100," explains Gehris. It's about 50-feet wide and 20-feet high, with plenty of room for Rhotten to do tricks both solo and with accompanying riders. Though we're having trouble picturing it, Gehris promises the barrel will accommodate 100 to 150 spectators.

The show, which occurs every two hours from noon to 10:30 p.m., will probably be a good draw. After all, Boot Hill in Daytona Beach is an unabashed biker hangout. And, it's free. It's not just a New Year's thing, either -- Rhotten will be riding outside the club daily through Jan. 1.

If you do head there for New Year's Eve, stick around after Rhotten wraps up for free food, champagne and a cover band. It's sure to amount to a classic drunken biker countdown. Best of all, the Boot isn't charging a cover all night.

As the Boot's slogan declares, "Order a drink and have a seat. You're better off here than across the street." Across the street, we'd like to note, is a cemetery, so they're probably right.

-Jeffrey C. Billman

Six-pack of clubbing fun at Wall Street Plaza

Wall Street Plaza will pop the cork on New Year's by unveiling three renovated nightclubs and a five-day block party (Dec. 28-Jan. 2), culminating with post-game Citrus Bowl festivities. Guaranteed to be on hand to accept the victory trophy: the winning team's coaches, players, band and cheerleaders.

The three new clubs, the Tuk Tuk Room, The Globe and Slingapour's, were bought last summer by the owner of three other Wall Street taverns, One Eyed Jack's, The Loaded Hog and the Wall Street Cantina. The Tuk Tuk Room and Slingapour's are Asian-themed clubs, complete with a pool room, sushi bar and furniture imported from Morocco. The Globe, a European-style cafe, got its name from its previous owner, Yab Yum Inc.

Plans call for Slingapour's to host bands four nights a week on its own stage, but a temporary outdoor stage will be set up for the five-day bash on Wall Street, the pedestrian-only alley connecting Orange and Court avenues.

Organizers are hoping to capture the holiday spirit by producing snow from a machine on loan from Budweiser.

Wall Street's five-day lineup: Friday, Reunion. Saturday, catch the Citrus Bowl parade, followed by Quasi Mojo. Sunday, it's cover band Curb 60. Each of these shows will cost $5. On New Year's Eve, Ruby James will open followed by soul-rock favorites The Joint Chiefs. That show will be $20. On New Year's Day, party with Tennessee and Michigan coaches and players as Wall Street Plaza hosts the post-Citrus Bowl party. Court Avenue as well as Wall Street will be blocked off. ESPN will even sport a giant Jumbotron screen. Admission is free.

-William Dean Hinton

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