Owner Adrian Oriolo, who´d been a flair bartender for three years at Albany´s Hard Rock, also claimed Pantera as a favorite. So was the bar all-metal all the time? ¨We mix it up,¨ said Oriolo, a handsome Argentine. ¨We play some Top 40, and, you know, people want to booty dance.¨
While the next band, Gaia, played, I talked with Marks, the door guy, who was an avid guitarist in his youth, and co-organizer Wiggins. While we talked I noted the stripper pole at the end of the stage. ¨You think anyone will get on the stripper pole?¨ I asked, noting its fundraising potential.
Wiggins laughed her way through the confession that she was taking pole-dancing lessons. I wondered what a 40-ish nurse could bring to the art. Before we could explore the possibilities, the bartender distracted us by jumping up on the bar and pouring a Jäger shot into the mouth of a female patron. The late hours had packed the place and the bartenders were obviously feeding on the crowd´s energy.
¨It´s like pulling teeth,¨ Marks said, when I commented that the numbers looked good for his charity. He said one big-breasted woman declined to pay a cover or become a donor. ¨Is it gonna hurt?´¨ he said, mimicking her. ¨I was like, Did it hurt when you got your tits done?´¨
So she had already suffered to make her contribution to society. I´m sure the lives of many could be improved by a fabulous set of implants. It really depended on the young woman´s plans for community outreach.
Before the evening was over, we were treated to a real flair show, where the night´s star performer, Mauro Garrido -- a national flair bartending competitor -- juggled bottles. He rolled them down his extremities, bounced them off his chin, and caught them on the backs of his hands. It was impressive with the lights on, but in the dark? That´s when things got really tricky.
The lights went out, and while a heavily tattooed assistant squatted on the bar behind him, Garrido tipped his head back, balanced a flaming bottle on his forehead and began juggling others.
¨Ooo, aahh!¨ went the crowd.
Then the assistant blew out a mouthful of 151 and the flame shot out toward the fascinated onlookers.
¨Ew!¨ went the crowd this time, as they wiped the spray of rum from their arms and faces.
Before I left and the cover band Vanity Killz took the stage for the cause, I talked with a couple of pretty faces.
¨Is it a long form?¨ asked 23-year-old Taylor when I asked if she and her friend -- both Bar Maniac regulars who said you could find them there ¨every night but Thursday¨ -- would participate in the night´s cause.
¨I have weak bones,¨ Angel said by way of excuse as she pushed a couple of feet of blond hair over her shoulder.
Taylor corroborated the story: ¨It´s true. She broke her feet -- twice -- by tripping over her high heels.¨
This was clearly natural selection at work -- and, like the genetic technology used to battle leukemia, it proved that science is a beautiful thing.