"So, who are you here with?"
"I'm here with myself," I reply. It's Tuesday, and I'm sitting alone at the end of the bar at Blue Ice (22 Broadway). I'm a stranger in a strange land -- it's Goth/Industrial Night -- and I'm being outed already.
In my pastel-colored cardigan and blue jeans, I am the pink sheep in a herd of knee-high boots and functionless wallet chains. But trust me: Deep down, my heart is black. I worship Roky Erickson, and my extensive collection of Skinny Puppy records would make Ogre blush. Unfortunately, real life isn't MySpace, and I can't disseminate my general interests and music preferences in a customized profile for all to see.
So I'm feeling a bit like a leper as Dude, clad in a black shirt, black pants and black hair dye, is talking to me with a weird lisp and eyeing me like I'm a narc.
But maybe I'm just being paranoid.
Because this club night feels more out of place than I do. The Broadway bar is better known for its Top 40/hip-hop/reggaeton/salsa-dancing events than for its draw of spooky kid types. Truth be told, though, Blue Ice on Tuesdays has been a regular hangout for the goth-lite for the past couple of years, and bartender Kristi Johnson can attest to that.
Johnson is well-known in the scene, having formerly bartended at the Church and at the now-dead Deadbeat Club. She's been working at Blue Ice off and on and has seen the pale-faced crowds swell and shrink. Especially the latter of late. Tuesdays have been better, she admits.
The crowd tonight is definitely sparse, just a handful of regulars spread throughout the roomy club. But the people who are here are diverse enough -- as evidenced by the biker couple seated just a few feet away from the kid in the Juggalo hoodie -- to make things kind of interesting. The only common thread is that everyone's dressed in black. Except me.
"I love this night," Johnson says. "Goth people are so laid-back. Let me tell you, they tip well and are very polite."
Johnson is optimistic that the dark army will rise again. She's hired on DJ Niko to spin regularly, and he's even more confident that with a little promotion, the night will soon attract all sorts of misfits and social outcasts. "I'm trying to do a night for kids who don't go out to clubs," Niko says, "like the kids who are into hard rock and metal, kids who like all kinds of rock music." With his more mainstream mixes of Nine Inch Nails, Garbage and AFI, that seems a much more accurate description for the night than its current, admittedly vague billing as a goth/industrial outlet.
"It's not a dance-music night," he adds. "We're trying to break away from that. They have the Shelter and the Church for that. I'll play fucking hair metal if they ask me. What we're really trying to do is to create a rock night. I just want everyone to have a good time. They don't need to dance -- just have fun."
Scout report: Last year, Colorado-based DJ Brian Howe launched Air 81, an XM-radio satellite show. He later teamed up with the Loft to broadcast it live every Tuesday from the Five Points locale, but the self-proclaimed "BPM Party Plane" has, well, crashed and burned. Club Scout stopped in a couple of Tuesdays ago and found the club to be pretty vacant, except for the two-member staff -- one member of which politely explained that Howe had canceled the weekly gig because "the crowds just weren't coming." Air 81 is still on the air, however, and can be accessed online at www.djbrianhowe.com or on Friday nights on XM channel 81.
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