NIGHTLIFE IN SANTA FE
[Thanks for and to several compliments on my website (notably chock full of interesting stuff) and my first blog posting about dancing, I think I’m ready to get regular about this thing. While in my youth I used to have trouble prioritizing inspirations, as I got older it got to be more of a yes or no question. Now at my venerable age, I’ve got to balance the time and attention I give to several weighty priorities.
My multi-tasking isn’t doing several things at once, but rather synchronously. I seem to turn focus like a searchlight from one obsession to another, largely by sheer will-power—and calendar-power. If I’m going to blog, by golly, it better be on the calendar. So, for the moment, I’m going to mark Thursdays for new postings. Keep checking in on me!]
Regarding nightlife and dancing in Santa Fe NM, as I mentioned before, for the past few years the Rouge Cat had been Santa Fe’s more or less gay dance bar. To my horror, without any fanfare or folderol, soon after my first posting it closed. In fond memoriam of the Rouge Cat, here’s a cursory history of my dancing venues here in Santa Fe.
On visits in the late 70’s, I’d go to the Senate Lounge, a venerable bar just around the corner from the bus station. It was my first experience of a “mixed” bar. By the time I moved to Santa Fe for real in 1983, the Senate was gone, and being in a relationship, I didn’t go out very much. Still, there were a few dance occasions at a great place called Club West on Alameda and another called El Paseo on San Francisco Street. Then came the Cargo Club followed by Club Luna on Cerrrillos (or the other way around?). After that my partnered years became a blur, and by the early 90’s I didn’t know from night spots.
Once single again in those early 90’s, I danced at the Club 414 on Old Santa Fe Trail, where I first encountered Oona’s disco wildness. I found myself dancing on a table, starting a tradition of six or seven tables along one wall as go-go boy stands. Within a year or so the action moved to the Drama Club on Guadalupe Street, with a stage where we danced like wild people and had great holiday parties for hot, shirtless frenzies. It reigned for a few years, only to be replaced by the same owners’ Paramount, a glitzy space on the corner of Montezuma and Sandoval. That was a glorious institution for several years hosting Oona’s regular Wednesday Trash Disco, and life was exceedingly good. But it closed; they tore it down, dug an enormous hole, and built the new Santa Fe County Courthouse. Sic transit gloria.
With the passing of the Paramount, there was a drought for some time (years?) until Oona started dance nights at the lounge at Rainbow Vision, a gay retirement community, now called something less vivid. There was a little stage where I shook my beauty with vigor and sweaty abandon. Then the entrepreneurial Paramount owner opened the Rouge Cat, and the dance scene got a new lease on life. For about four years.
Since my first posting, dancing this year was really difficult, with an occasional youth party at Molly’s Kitchen with electronic dance music (EDM, which I’m trying to appreciate) or a couple hugely appreciated Trash Disco nights at the Palace Restaurant. That is, up till a month or so ago when there was a revolution in Santa Fe’s nightlife. Maybe it had something to do with the election of Javier Gonzales as the city’s new mayor?
Suddenly music events started happening all over the place on the weekend nights, and walking around the (old) downtown almost reminded me of the (old) French Quarter. What’s more, wonder of wonders, two new dance bars have opened! First the Skylight on San Francisco, a huge place with a gallery overlooking the dance floor, and then the Blue Rooster, a reincarnation of the Rouge Cat, now as a self-proclaimed gay bar, with the familiar dance floor downstairs and Oona presiding on Saturday nights.
You’d think I’d be in hog heaven, but last weekend it was cold out and I wasn’t really feeling like driving downtown. Instead, I realized that with that great Pandora online music system it was no problem. I pulled up a “cumbia colombiana” station and danced shirtless and in slippers in my living room for a good hour and a half. Dancing with eyes closed, I peeled away a half century and was once again in the mad third room of La Casa de los Marinos. Maybe tonight I’ll pull up Greek and visit the Gin Mill, but on Saturday I’ll be at the Blue Rooster. Promise.