Thursday, December 22, 2005

Can't I Live While I'm Young . . .

A friend of mine told me I needed a little culture in this space. So, a week ago I ventured into the Long Beach night to check out a bit of the scene in Long Beach. My wife and I made our way to Alex’s Bar, where we’d get to see the premier of the ‘Gong Show’ capped off with a friend of ours performing a fire hula-hooping show. I also wanted to prove to myself I’m still young, can party on a weeknight, and make it back to work the next morning.

Surely, my $26 would get through the evening, so, we left our place at about 10:30pm, deciding against stopping at an ATM machine first. Alex’s is just about a mile or so from our place, so it was nice to find a place that has live music just down the street. Though it looks small from the front, Alex’s is quite large inside, with a small stage, large bar, and some pretty cool tables and chairs. Some people looked like they were having too much fun the chairs with wheels, so we found ourselves a little nook on the far side of the bar, opposite the door. That’s one of my policies when I go out: get away from the door, for some reason people always congregate by the door, and the patrons of Alex’s were no different.

Ah, the patrons you ask? Mostly younger than me, but I didn’t feel old by any stretch of the imagination . . . I’m pretty ‘hip’ as they say. Also, I assume everybody is looking at me because I’m so good looking, not because I was the oldest dude in the joint. It was just a good old Thursday night in Long Beach, when the student population kicks off the un-official beginning to the weekend.

The ‘Gong Show’ was more like ‘Battle of the Bands’. Considering the cover charge was only $3, I thought the music was pretty decent, and since I really came to see the fire and friends, I saw the music as an added bonus. Basically, each band played until the crowds ‘chants’ of ‘GONG-GONG-GONG’ cued somebody to hit a gong, which cued the bands to stop. Only one band made it through all three songs, which was fine, because I just wanted to get to the fire.

Man, I sound like a pyromaniac!

So, we had a few drinks, and of course I lost track of my $26 and ended a few bucks shy of a final beer. Thanks to a friend, that problem was erased and the beer was flowing again!

Finally, the fire . . .

Imagine girls spinning in fluorescent glowing hula-hoops spinning around to dance music. Now add to that more girls spinning with fire-hoops, and balls connected to chains that are also on fire, and you have one hell of a wild show, and easily the best entertainment of the night. During their performance, Alex’s was the quietest I heard all-night, as people stood in wondered amazement. (My friend teaches this performance art, and as soon as the website is available, I'll put up a link)

Family, friends, live music, good drinks, fire, and hula-hoops . . . that’s Long Beach for you.

Kosher Ham

PS – I made it back to work the next morning . . . no problem.

PPS – Even though it might make you feel old listening to it, I thought the title was apropos nonetheless . . . so enjoy Alphaville’s ‘Forever Young’.

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