Last Saturday, New Times Broward-Palm Beach Calendar Editor Mickie Centrone went to Gallery Saturdays Presents "Art/Heart" at the Green Room in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
Green Room might be the coolest hipster bar in Broward County now -- and winner of this year's Best Cultural Turnaround -- but the "grand opening" in July 2010 was the antithesis of that.
At that time, the door guy turned away a very popular, downright lovable local DJ -- who had a set there just a couple days before for a death-fetishists' wet dream of a burlesque show
by the Reckless Dames -- because he was wearing Chuck Taylors. After five people with similar sneakers walked past, the sticking point became his baseball cap, and then his casual sports jacket. Once they were removed, the door guy mumbled: "He's wearing poor people jeans." Note: alternating between watching a burlesque show and dancing every few songs was not ideal either.
But the space formerly known as China White wasn't destined to be another Voodoo or Art Bar. Something
miraculous happened -- Green Room has done a
It turns out that the crisp,
collared-shirt-wearing bros will escort their fancy ladies somewhere else, and muscular
shoulders are in the minority. On Thursdays and Saturdays, Green Room
caters to the indie darlings, and it has just launched Black Friday, a dance night for
the darker-music-and-vibe-loving folk. (Karaoke on Sunday where the gays
took over didn't last very long.)
Self-circulating positivity now fills Green Room: Saturday was beautiful. Maybe it was because some of the sincerest musicians in South Florida played the bill, the fact it was all for a charity, or maybe it was because a third of the crowd wore their Chucks and baseball caps comfortably. Maybe it was because the whole indie art scene* was there, and the upstairs was open, who knows -- but the night was 100 percent successful. Upon arrival, a few local musicians gushed about it being their first time upstairs.
Green Room, keep the upstairs open. Lock the bar up if it can't be tended. Keep it open for the couple who made-out in the spot right after you turn the corner at the top of the stairs. Keep it open for the anxious girl in the tight black dress and goth-mesh stockings and black boots who peered over the balcony to find
her friends probably a boy.
Earlier in the night, Green Room's beautiful chandeliers were lit up, so you could saunter
around and check out the artwork. It also had a schizophrenic crowd: There were guys in full-on suits and women in homecoming-style dresses mixed in with the tattooed regulars. A bartender informed a reliable source that the crowd was there for Piper's 2001 High School Reunion. Artists wore name tags.
On the screen behind the stage, there were flashes of artwork as well as the names of artists throughout the night, and, when Ryan Alexander started to perform, there was a backdrop of adorable penguins. Soon after, a woman with orange hair down to her ass wearing a hippie-meets-Middle European dress entered the
dance floor. There was space around her as she began gyrating her ass -- for the
crowd, for Ryan Alexander. She licked her finger, then flipped her hair with
that finger; Licked her finger, then flipped her hair; Licked her finger again, then flipped her hair. She bent down, and shook her high-in-the-air butt
Alexander is just that nice of a guy that he said to her: "Thank ya for dancing, darling," while the rest of us pondered her occupation. She kept bending over, circulating her pelvis. She jumped on stage, sat for a few, jumped down. At one point, she turned and looked up at the balcony and gave an arm-pumping middle finger to some of the people up there. She thought they were laughing at her.
It was all soul and comfort when John Ralston performed. All three men upfront wore plaid (the drummer was not) -- it was flannel-meets-Rockwell rock. They wooed us with choruses of ooohhhs and awhoooaaas (pleasant harmonies). When "Gas & Matches" came on, West Palm Beach music-prophet Steev Rullman said, "This is a song I wanna sing."
The dance portion of the night was way more pleasant because it it was a private event -- admission was $5 . It was full of kids who enjoy alt tunes and the fluidity of
movement. Skinny, flannel-wearing males surrounded by ladies in fancy sandals had plenty of room to do their lawn mower, teapot, Igor, as well as Ian Curtis dance moves.
Random Detail: "U R Being USED" was written not only with ghost-grey-white lipstick on the bathroom mirror but also in permanent black marker on the flyer taped to the napkin dispenser (in the wheelchair/handicap accessible stall).
Random Detail 2: Sweet Bronco frontman Chris Horgan took Ralston on his first trip to LaSpadas before the show.
Overheard in the crowd: "John [Ralston] has a bubble butt." "I see some chicks from the Band of Horses show."
Best dance move: The "Imaginary Electric Ball" done by two males. With their hands paralleling, each male acted like the other was his source of electricity. The men moved like there was an invisible ball -- like the one that lights up when hands go over it, between them.
Still figuring out: Are hipster bars antisocial? You go anywhere else and strangers are meeting strangers.
*Broward art scene.
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