No Context: Santos Party House


Santos Party House
Thursday, June 26

I’m aware this Santos Party House thing requires some wishful thinking. Named in the style of your average teenager-run punk basement in Iowa City, located directly on the Mudd Club/Dave’s Luncheonette axis, and painted in nursery school–type primary/secondary colors inside, the place obviously hopes to be infinitely more gritty/comfy/casual that the speculative multi-million dollar endeavor it almost certainly is. There are at least 10 or 20 different definitions of what’s cool battling it out at SPH, from the multiple, impenetrable door lists and scantily-clad female clusterfuck entrance ritual to smoking hot merch girl wearing the house merch, on which yet another objectively attractive woman is pictured. Moby is in the building. And downstairs, guys with bucket hats, ponytails, and Hawaiian shirts are break-dancing, to the eventual delight of the 50-person cipher that howlingly circles in around them. At one point, a midget with a shirt that said “Little Jimmy” on the front and “Think Big” on the back got in the mix and krumped, and nobody blinked. The bar serves champagne in actual champagne flutes, parties of two argue over who’s paying while waving bills of such high denomination I had no idea such currency even existed, and onstage, Moby is DJing.

To my burgeoning catalogue of socially normative dances I will now add the maneuver I witnessed a couple times last night, which involved women who appeared to be dancing but were actually ordering drinks back over their shoulders, while seemingly unaware that their wildly gesticulating dancing hands contained actual objects that were hitting other people: a platinum credit card in one hand, an iPhone in the other. We’ll call this one the Young Media.

Not knowing where else in this city people go to dance, this is definitely the club to which I would go should the urge strike. On this particular night, puffed huge by the Maclean/Moby double bill on an otherwise sleepy Thursday night, the place looked a bit like someone’s parents had gone out of town. But the total piecemeal and seam-showing mix of ambition, outdated cool, probably pretty admirable profit margins, etc. does not at all trump SPH’s basic brilliance as an ersatz hang out spot. In a neighborhood where my next bartender, just down the block, sadistically poured Grey Goose in response to a request for a vodka soda and then gleefully charged 28 bucks for it, I’ll take the place with the krumping.