Sunday, September 09, 2007

Washington DC: Street renovation near Dupont Circle; An Apex visit

Recently I strolled P Street in Washington DC, between 23rd St and Dupont Circle, where street and curb reconstruction has, according to local media, disrupted local businesses. The old underground bunker underneath Dupont Circle has been proposed as a possible “adult entertainment” area for some businesses displaced by the Washington Nationals Baseball Stadium and extensive real estate development (condos and office buildings) bear the stadium. The land between the Capitol and Anacostia River Waterfront just became too valuable.

Last night, for the first time, I visited the Apex, at 22rd and P, on a Saturday night. Some time back, after Velvet Nation “circuit party” (that’s a bit of an exaggeration, compared to Palm Springs) club was closed by stadium-related “Monopoly” style redevelopment, Apex replaced it’s “ladies night” (a term that the old Washington Senators used for ball games on Thursdays at the old Griffith Stadium) with a drag show and dance. It actually works, particularly well in the no-smoking environment (I no longer have a cough on the Metro ride home – and that is at risk as there is talk of eliminating after midnight weekend service on Metro). The show this time was about “The O in Ohio” (a recent indie film about The Buckeye State) with the star from Toledo, not Cleveland, and many jokes about the overpriced Pennsylvania Turnpike (I still like the four tunnels). Now, when you consider that the NBC Soap “Days of Our Lives” mentions a number of cities in Ohio all the time (besides Salem, which is near Youngstown), and especially the N-S highway 13 that bisects the state, I think that a drag show could well have impersonated the female stars from the show (Belle, Kate (Katrina), Bonnie, Mimi, Jan, some of them has-beens; on that show most of the villains, besides Stefano, are women).

The dance started right at midnight and was allegro -- “gay and lively” which is what my piano teacher called that speed mark before the first word changed meaning. The clubs have had trouble building up their crowds recently; some attribute that to the smoking ban. But at Velvet Nation, the Blue Room was always hopping before 11, and the big floor opened at midnight. I do miss it.

Actually, the best club was Tracks, back in the 90s. There was one huge dance floor with observation balcony, then a smaller floor, and the sand castle volleyball courts. I remember Tracks having a benefit for SLDN in 1994. Why can’t there be a license for a club with dancing (just no nudity) in the stadium area? These clubs always did well because everyone knew the crowd would build up quickly and that their “friends” (or maybe “glances”) would be there.

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