Fire Alarms And Dirty Disses In My Horrible Club Night

Photo by Richard Burrowes
Photo by Richard Burrowes

On Friday night, I took some friends to Marie's Crisis piano bar (59-Grove Street) to show off how popular I am there. The coat check/door guy always plucks me off the line and gives me a big welcome right out of Hello, Dolly! But there was some new schmo in his place. I waited my turn and as I finally got inside, he haughtily instructed me to go back out and close the door on my face and wait some more. He was one of those condescending "What I need you to do..." gnomes, and four lesbians who observed this couldn't believe it was happening. For a musical place, his tone was off-key!

I guess the guy didn't know I've written up the place for decades, put it in various Best of NYC issues, talked about it in articles and documentaries, and just shot a scene for a prime-time series about Broadway! On finally being deemed admissable, I traipsed past him without checking my coat (which I've never had to do there). Snap.

Next was a stop at Josh Wood's Horse Meat Disco bash at Stage 48 (605 W. 48th Street), where the second you get in, you're forced to check your coat, and there's no way around it. (But can you get it back? That's another issue.) The two-level club is sleek and flashy and was filling up with circuity types, plus rival promoters checking out the scene. But when I eventually went to get my coat and leave, the coat check guy said "Can't do it now. Maybe later." Huh? Was this a Bunuel film? I guess they were too busy getting new four-dollars from people to care about ones they'd already nabbed.

As I waited and waited, ear-piercing fire alarms went off and I panicked, certain it wasn't just the latest techno song. I insisted they get my coat and someone finally did, after which I trudged through the dark club (the houselights had gone out along with the sound) and desperately tried to find an exit. Even with the alarms sounding, the security guys were being picky about which way you could get out. As fire trucks approached, I was bundled up and moving on in horror. It was apparently a false alarm--they're happening a lot in clubs lately thanks to druggie and/or mischievous people--but it still wasn't exactly what I'd call fun.

Shattered but still conscious, I went on to Copacabana (268 W. 47 Street), where the doorman looked down and told me I couldn't come in without shoes. "But they are shoes--they're surgical shoes," I informed him. "You can't come in," he repeated. "So no one who's had surgery is allowed entrance?" I thought. "Imagine the lawsuits!" The guy then realized I was there for the gay Penthaus party and the entrance for that was actually a few feet away.

There, co-promoter Justin Luke saved me and brought me up to the rooftop lounge, which was filled with partying young twinks as 30-ish lawyers looked down on them from the upper level. It's an energetic bash--a big hit--and seemed to be ending my night on (finally) a good note, until some guy came up to me, beaming. "You're Al Franken!" he insisted. Oh, yeah. The Senator from Minnesota goes to twink bars in New York. I wanted to pull a fire alarm, but instead calmed down, got my coat, and rode home on my non-shoes.

Photo by Richard Burrowes
Photo by Richard Burrowes

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