Saturday, December 08, 2007

RIP Spundae

This is the flyer for Circus' Hollywood New Year's Eve event. I'm not trying to promote it. In fact I wouldn't be caught dead there. I haven't been back in years since the club did a freefall into "uncool" oblivion. Last I heard the place is a complete dump not known for its music, with an even uncooler crowd (i.e., older Asians dressed in sweat pants) who are painfully obvious about being drugged out of their minds while being annoying, (i.e., talking loudly and falling over themselves). No one wants to be around that.

But when I heard that the Circus location (6655 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90038) is going to be torn down and replaced by a condo development...

"2007 - Gene La Pietra says he’s likely to sell his four-acre club compound that includes Circus Disco and Arena for about $62 million. He says the new owners will probably raze the venues and use the land for a mixed-use, housing-and-retail project." - City Beat

...I suddenly had a pang of nostalgia. I have lots of fond memories of the old Giant, and Spundae at the Circus nightclub location. How do you describe a place that was your favorite hangout in your 20's? It's like writing a teenage love letter. It was an immature love that was sappy and full of whimsy. But I loved it.

When I think of that place being torn down, I can't imagine it. The place where I danced with all my friends on the giant dance floor, smiling and nodding to one another and getting sweaty. The place with the awesome outdoor area where we sat under the stars and laughed, and had what we thought were deep conversations. The place where I would long to go back the entire week after feeling abused Monday through Friday at a grueling office job. The place where I felt the most alive in my 20's and felt I was sharing something momentous with everyone around me. How can that place be torn down and vanish forever? The demolition of this nightclub symbolizes the end of an era for me and fills me with sadness and longing.

My house in the canyon was the meeting place where a group of friends would gather, have dinner, play charades, listen to music, and finally get ready at that friendly hour of 10. Then we would pack up in 2-3 cars and head out in typical LA swingers style (the movie, not the lifestyle) all following one another to the same location, always almost missing the exit. (I only remember this little trivia because last week driving that same direction I almost missed the same exit and my husband reminded me that we always used to miss it back in the day.) We found a coveted parking spot in the residential streets that only locals knew about. The night was full of promise.

The bouncers would stare at my ID and at my face double checking to make sure I wasn't underage. Oh those were the days! It used to annoy me to no end, but now I never get carded which reminds me that I now look my age.

Someone once said that I had a posse. I laughed at the ridiculousness of it. But looking back whenever we went out, we were surrounded by friends. Friends that dressed up like Devo to the club one year for Halloween just because it was a dream of mine. Traveling in a posse we always made sure everyone was okay, that everyone was safe (hey it was Hollywood 10 years ago), and everyone had a good time.

When we got too hot we would go outside. When we got too cold we'd go inside. When we had to pee we'd stand in a long line outside the restroom with a view of the dance floor. Although even this little chore was sometimes fodder for random entertainment. Oh the characters in that place! Life is sometimes stranger than fiction.

I started going there when I wasn't even a bride yet. I introduced my then boyfriend to this new frontier. He loved the electronic dance music and later became an expert on EDM. I enjoyed the music, but loved the whole experience even more. In the end I came away with a husband, that same boy I introduced this scene to and we've grown up together over the years (new careers, purchased a home together, had a daughter together, enjoy Yoga together). Some of the same friends now are married, have kids, are homeowners, moved away, are big wigs at corporations, and one is a crime writer for a newspaper. There's also one friend who I learned was murdered and as far as I know the case remains unsolved. We had not been in contact for many moons, but his death still haunts me. Everyone loved Mikey. I think of writing his mother a letter and sending her a photo of Mikey in happier days surrounded by his friends in the outdoor courtyard of the same club, with a big smile on his face.

When I heard the news of the demolition plans, the pang in my heart made my mouth ask my husband if he was interested in going there one last time with me before it gets torn down. His response? "No way! Believe me Rose, it's better that you have a memory of the club from when we went there. You don't want to see it for what it is now - a dump." I know he's right. In memory everything seems cleaner and nicer and more fun. But it is the end of an era and I can't help feeling a bit sad and nostalgic at the same time.

6 comments:

Clifford said...

About a week ago, I had this sudden, uncontrollable urge to listen to the CD from "Groove". I'm unsure why that occurred but maybe this answers it! Listening to "Heaven Scent" spun me right back into this club where we all shared many, many special moments together.

Thank you for introducing those fun times to me. I can't remember the last time I actually saw this club but that's irrelevant. Those nights (and mornings) we spent dancing away are forever ingrained upon my heart.

Annie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rose said...

Hi Cliff,
You get a gold star for being the first one to comment!

Heaven Scent - old skool Digweed...good times, good times. I'm misty eyed just thinking about it. Do you have any photos???

Thanks for sharing and being a part of it all.

Rose said...

Annie!
Glad to see you're alive and doing well. Congratulations on the birth of your daughter! She's adorable.

i.romero@yahoo.com said...

Wow its kinda sad to hear what Spundae has turned into...oh well, thats club life!

Hey all! Glad to see you're all alive and well!

--Isaac

Clifford said...

I found one photo. I'll email it to you.

ohmigod a lot has changed since then . . . I feel like I'm in the "Way Back" machine!