It's rare to have to walk through an Arby's parking lot to get to your nighttime destination, but such is the path to Mixtape at Milk Bar. "I hope you're enjoying our lovely scenery," says a bemused bouncer at the door, an entertained expression on his face. Once inside, Milk's weekly is a haven for devotees of the '80s and '90s alternative movement.
See also: - Slide show: Mix Tape at Milk - DJ Maladjusted's devotion to vinyl attracts record geeks to his vinyl club nights - Slide show: Motown Tuesdays at Beauty Bar - Best New Club 2012: Beauty Bar
DJ Slave1, Tina Berger-Everroad, is playing a New Order track when we first walk in. One or two people are stationed at bar stools throughout the first room, and the lone occupant of the dance floor looks like she might be a soccer mom rolling for the first time. Next door, DJ Roland is getting ready for his set, and a few people have started to filter in -- someone wearing what can only be described as a spiked face muzzle, a woman with an intricate black and white face paint design and more combat boots then you can shake a stick at.
There's a steady stream of people beginning to fill both rooms, and while each are distinct and cater to both goth and retro crowds, there is no sense of separation, natural or forced. Folks are moving between the two rooms enjoying differing kinds of music seamlessly. The lone dancer from the first room has been joined by plenty of other dancers, pulsing to Depeche Mode and David Bowie, courtesy of DJ Slave1. When Berger-Everroad starts spinning Erasure's "Chains of Love," the whole room sings along to Andy Bell's opening croons.
The number of people here has grown steadily all night, and by midnight, both rooms are buzzing with drinkers and dancers. The dancing in here is different. It's turned into a dance party for the individualist -- as much of an oxymoron as that might be. Instead of interaction with the people or friends around them, each dancer on the floor is doing their own thing, with their own agenda.
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At parties like Beauty Bar's Motown Tuesdays, most dancers rely on movement and eye contact with a partner, or group of partners. Here, no two people are mirroring each other's moves -- instead, people are energetic, but zoned-out -- some even have their eyes closed. This music is like some sort of religion here -- it's what these folks believe in. This is one of the places where they can worship with others who feel exactly the same way.
This is somewhat confirmed by DJ 0N1X -- Jared Tabb is filling in for one of the usual Saturday night DJs who comes on after Slave1. "I was a club kid. I grew up listening to this, and I never stopped," explained Tabb. It seems like most of the people here would probably say the same thing.
For more photos, visit our full slide show.
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