It was a scene straight out of an 80s hair-band video. Stacey an attractive, sophisticated-looking girl with glasses and tied-back hair seemed oddly out of place amid the bar full of tattooed arms, loose tongues, and loud mouths. This was a Southern Flaw/Trapped by Mormons show, after all hardly the subtle, acoustic tuneage made for a coffeehouse-type like Stacey. But she was different just too hot to be some innocent college girl there to watch a friends band. It was like at any minute, her glasses would come flying off, her hair would come down, and shed be up on the bar doin the Double-D twist.
Well, she kept her glasses on, anyway.
And her short, ruffled skirt. But that was all. And Stacey wasnt alone in her bare-chested exploits; she was one of the half-dozen dancers who shaked and shimmied on Saturday, January 29 the first night of live music at Gumwrappers Bikini Dance Club (3233 N. Ocean Blvd., Fort Lauderdale).
We know what youre thinking: either Bands, booze, and babes Im so there! or That sounds like some sleazy rock n roll frat party forget it. But youd be mostly wrong on both counts. First off, Gumwrappers may not be Blue Martini, but its classier than many of the run-down dive bars to which local showgoers have grown accustomed. The bands performed roughly 20 feet from the center dance pole, which has its own small, single-dancer stage. Girls typically jiggled two at a time, one on the center stage and the other on the rectangular platform behind the bar. Above the bar stage, a plasma TV screen played videos of nude girls oiling down and doing unnatural things to a stuffed monkey. It was impossible for your eyes to wander too long without focusing on some manner of fleshy fixation.
The show was put on by Fort Lauderdale-based promoters By the Way Inc., which had been booking bands at the Saltbox on Fort Lauderdale Beach until the venues liquor license was revoked at the end of January. BTWs music director Garo Gallo said he wants to make Gumwrappers a regular venue for Saturday nights while continuing to explore other clubs. He believes that by rotating bands among different venues, the audience will grow. I want to get these bands exposed to as many people as possible, Gallo said.
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But its the exposure of other things that makes Gumwrappers rock shows such a novel idea. And heres the kicker: the night was a boon to the clubs business quite the opposite of the usual rock-show-as-money-pit scenario. Its great better than I expected, general manager Dean Garrow said during the show. The turnout on a normal Saturday night doesnt even compare. The bands were equally impressed. Even before the show, Southern Flaw frontman Bobby Johnston was enthused about playing at a topless bar. This is like in the 60s, when bands played go-go clubs, he said.
Granted, some of the dancers were a little more full-figured than our skinny-as-beauty perception allows. But hey at least they got something to shake, right? Besides, when youre trying to balance your viewing between the band and the girls, you dont have time to differentiate between the dancer and the pole. Not when youre trying to figure out what to stick in your gumwrapper.
Oh, right just what the hell are gumwrappers? Some kinda kinky oral sex trick? A raunchy euphemism for pasties? A dental damn?
Its a slang term for money, cash, Garrow says. And for once, thats something a venue can equate with local rock bands. Will it last? Well keep our pasties crossed.