Sunday, August 25, 2013

Vanquish the Night

Ramblings Post #234
Giving advice is easy. Because from the area of detachment, because from the outside looking in, there exists a clarity that can't be seen from the angle of involvement. It's why companies hire consultants and why people go to therapists. Or ask friends. I get asked for advice a lot. I generally try to let people talk themselves into a circle, until they can see they're own answer they've been actively avoiding. But even with the best advice, there lies a problem. The person giving it isn't involved. 

I attended the first night of Spanky's birthday festival, held at the midtown super club, Vanquish. I had never been to Vanquish or it's sister club, Reign, before this event. I arrived around 10pm. This is my stream of consciousness BB message to Spanky, as stood in the line...something I used to never do.

Really? You've got me STANDING IN LINE? No RSVP Line? There are bars I can see from here with no line, no cover. Isn't this just the best? All this Atlanta going on, we the black people crush into one spot. As though we'd been trained. The term 'ridiculous' comes to mind. Funny, were dresses always this short? Any you need the email to acknowledge the RSVP? They have no list. And there goes $20. And you got to be [bleep] me. This is it? This is the whole thing? Oh, and I have no idea where you are. Upstairs bar? Nope. Main Floor? Too crowded to tell. 

I'm getting old.

There is something about going to the club. The cover charge, the nasty looks because I look interested but I'm not the male model she wanted to pay attention, the long wait at the bar, etc. Clubs in Atlanta have gone from glitzy to relaxed earthy and then back, so I've seen it all. And it's not that I hate clubs, I've had some great nights out and about. It's just that now I can only really take this kind of experience, this wanna be glam over the top party, in small doses. So keep that in mind when I reading this.

Vanquish. From the back corner by the DJ booth. My spot.
So, then. Vanquish. Super club. Midtown.

The club is basically one big room, with a bar in the back and front left wall. It contains what looks like furniture from your aunt's house in the middle, and sleek magazine style furniture in the glass enclosed "private" areas. And an upstairs bar with a glass window wall that overlooks the dance floor of the club next door. And a sound system that vibrates your soul. And a light system that might cause seizures. And a tiny little dance floor the size of a kitchen.

If you go back to my stream from earlier, this is what I meant by the 'this is it' comment. From the way I've heard people talk about it, I expected movie-style accoutrements, with women in cages hanging from the ceiling, or people breathing fire on little podiums. Mermaids in a glass tube, waitresses on stilts, tigers, shark tank under the floor and paintings happening on balconies as the party raged below. Um, maybe I expected too much. 

Spanky's party was in the back corner, and I'm going to be completely honest, once I got there I found a spot and sat down. The place was packed, I mean what is the occupancy rating packed, and I really wasn't up to having to fight my way through the crush again. From my perch on the couch in the back corner, I saw everybody I needed to see. As the people worked there way over to wish Spanky her happy birthday, I said hi, gave a hug and promptly sat back down. Spanky had purchased a bottle for the 'table' and it came with various juices - orange, cranberry and pineapple. If you mix just those three together, they're awesome. I was content. I gratefully watched the purses.

Waitresses in little black dresses. DJ was alright, good mix of new and old school. Comfortable couch. I was set.

And that would have been the end of it, snuggled up in a corner trying to avoid brain damage. But as the night wore on, the crowd thinned and the DJ kept going back in time, one of Spanky's girlfriends (who I'd never seen before) popped up with the birthday girl's ex-paramour in tow. I don't think he ever really went away, but that's another story. He sprawled out on the couch next to her as I watched from across the table. (I found out later she'd asked the girl to go find him.) The music was too loud for me to hear, not that it was my business, but I was expecting the worst. There was some conversation, some pointed looks, then he just got up and left. No yelling, no hint of animosity, just got up and walked away, didn't even look back. And Spanky dissolved into tears.

It was nice to see her girls rally around her as she got emotional. A few minutes later her crew took charge and walked her out, the whole scene happening as though I was the season finale on one of the many reality shows that now infest the city. After they'd loaded her into the car in and disappeared, and I walked one of the other girls to her car, I called to leave her a message of encouragement. I was surprised when she answered her phone, but by then she'd fallen into subdued defeat.

It was a bad end to a tolerable evening.

Should you go? Sure, it is an experience you need to have. If only to know why you wouldn't want to go back. There was a time in my life I would have enjoyed this... in small doses. You might be in the time period of yours.

Barkeep, hey barkeep....hey! Man, forget this, I'm just going down the street. 

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