I inveighed on Monday against the proposed dance-club-control ordinance. It involves ratcheting up requirements on establishments that feature music and dance, with the unitended (or intended) consequence that, for some, the cost becomes prohibitive.
Last night, I attended the RVAlution dance party at the Hat Factory. The bold banner proclaims in circus barker fashion, “Come One, Come All!”
Oh, and they do.
Each RVAlution (originated with RVA magazine and Gallery 5, among others) is the current scene’s defining experience — at least if you’re under, say, 30. A decade and change beyond that, I wore seersucker (for which I was fist-bumped by several in the crowd) and smiled the whole time.
Walking from the bus to the entrance, two Hat Factory kitchen guys were sitting on the steps, and one said to the other, “And you know, $60,000, that’s what they’ll have to pay just so you can dance in there.” This referred to the recent Style Weekly article about the plight of Strange Matter, which cannot get its dance permit before adding a sprinkler system to an old building that once housed the rambunctiousness of Twisters — without sprinklers.
Safety is one concern, to be sure, but isn’t there some interim stage, some special-use aspect for a certain period of time during which the establishment must show that it’s working on the improvements?
These are all questions for lawyers, Council and the chief of police. As the great philosophers Re-Flex put it in 1983:
"The politics of dancingThe politics of ooo feeling goodThe politics of movingIs this message understood?"
Me, I intended to catch some serious dance fever.
The title of the this evening was, with maximum appropriateness, “Dance Liberation.” From the mezzanine level, I watched the place beginning to come alive at 9 p.m. By 10:15, it was packed, and the joint was jumping.
I experienced nothing untoward, aside from an accidental nudge on my elbow that spilled some beer on my tie and a bit of ear buzzing later on. But seriously: Any event that manages to sneak in a remixed version of Enya’s “Orinoco Flow” and Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2,” serves Sno-Cones and popcorn, and features a tiger performing a demonstration with lighted nunchucks — oh, just watch.