dispatches from the pop scene...minus the corn syrup.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Throwback: Goodbye To The Rhythm Of The Night

This year has brought about abrupt endings and new beginnings, but perhaps the one goodbye that's particularly kick in the old nostalgia pants is the upcoming closing of Pittsburgh's oldest surviving gay bar—and my '90s haunt—Pegasus.

I was a bit sad to hear that after 29 years that dive's shutting its doors for good on December 6. Interestingly, the Pittsburgh Tribune Review notes that "the nightclub also was where Wexford native Christina Aguilera entered 'teen night' talent contests." That would have been around the time of my hanging out there regularly—she must've blended in with all the other skanked-out drag queens/hookers.

The first time I ever climbed down the dark stairwell to the underground (literally!) club was in December 1994—nearly 15 years ago—when I was home on Christmas Break during my first year away at university.

I wasn't quite "gay" then. I was in that brief gray area in-between or something. A group my fellow co-eds who lived within about a half hour drive from each other all got together, and our 18-year-old friend Todd wanted to go to Pegasus to meet up with some guy he had just started seeing. So off we went!

Todd had the cassette single for Corona's "The Rhythm Of The Night," and we played it about 10 times on repeat on the way there.

I think the thing I remember most is getting the worst case of butterflies in the gut that felt like they were flying up my throat as we walked in the Liberty Avenue entrance and descended the stairs into Pegasus. It's the type of feeling you only ever get when you're young and 20 and slowly but surely walking into something you know there's never going to be any return from.

At first, I kind of took shelter at the underage bar as soon as we got there. It took about 45 minutes before I ventured onto the dancefloor. But venture I did. And it was great!

My old Pegasus jams:

I started going back whenever I could. There was always someone driving a car full of us into Pittsburgh on Tuesdays and Thursdays (under 21 night) over the next year-and-a-half from IUP.

MoogaBoo and I were good pals by then, and we practically spent the entire summers of 1995, 1996 and 1997 at Pegasus. It was good times—many hearts were won and broken, many drinks were downed and there was always some really good Eurodance to groove to.

Here's a trashy pic of me (nice earring) circa Halloween 1995 at the club (note to self—making that face is fucktard-tastic):

Below is my "Thanks For The Memories, Pegs" playlist, comprised of songs either heard for the first time there or that were played regularly. But, surely, they're ones that will always remind me of more footloose and fancy free days:

1. "Another Night" - Real McCoy
2. "The Rhythm Of The Night" - Corona
3. "100% Pure Love" - Crystal Waters
4. "One Night In Heaven" - M People
5. "U Sure Do" - Strike
6. "Don't Give Me Your Life" - Alex Party
7. "Total Eclipse Of The Heart" - Nicki French
8. "Dreamer" - Livin' Joy
9. "Do You Wanna Party?" - DJ Scott & Lorna B
10. "Always Coca Cola" - Un Disco In Lattina
11. "I Luv U Baby" - The Original
12. "Run Away" - Real McCoy
13. "Magic Carpet Ride" - Mighty Dub Katz
14. "Turn The Beat Around" - Gloria Estefan
15. "Don't Make Me Wait" - Loveland
16. "The Bomb! (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind)" - Bucketheads
17. "Open Your Heart" - M People
18. "Everybody Be Somebody" - Ruffneck feat. Yavahn
19. "When I Think Of You" - Whigfield
20. "Be My Lover" - La Bouche
21. "Close To You" - Fun Factory

Throwback: You Can Depend On Me

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  • At 11:35 PM, Blogger Paul said…

    I love these type of posts :) Love them. Can't wait for the D;Luv autobiography. Love the playlist - one of the best 90s compilation albums ever there! THE PHOTO!!!! :) Nice shades :)

  • At 11:47 PM, Blogger Michael said…

    Wow, I thought I was the only person who knew DJ Scott feat. Lorna B! Theirs is the only remake of Sweet Dreams that I've ever liked. I had totally forgotten about Do You Wanna Party. But now it's stuck in my head. Guess I'm going to have go dig out the ol' CD single.

  • At 2:18 PM, Blogger Moogaboo said…

    Such good memories of the place with you. Really, it's the first thing I think of when I think of the 90's... which probably explains why my college career was so drawn out. I'll be there to kiss it all goodbye on 12/6!

  • At 8:31 PM, Blogger Dan said…

    You know I love these posts. the mention of "Rhythm of the Night" prompted me to blast it from the windows of my big pickup truck as I drove through campus to meet up with my wife and child at the coffee house. Not quite the same, I daresay. ;)

    Now I have to start piecing together that playlist you have at the end of the post. I have a good start!

  • At 10:40 PM, Blogger Mike said…

    That's the best playlist ever! I need to burn all 21 of those stunning anthems on a disc. Fabulous post.

  • At 1:07 AM, Blogger musicdivaSF said…

    I love these type of posts also. It makes you go back and see what you have kept and see what type of dance music you were to at that time. Thanks for the video post also.

  • At 9:22 PM, Blogger tyler said…

    kitten - this is almost as misty as when the singer from LaBouche died.

    this made me think of the time when I went to the meanest gay biker club in boston - me and my BFF were scared to go in and mingle among the muscled bikers - but once inside those queens were singing along to the 12" remix of La Gibson's Shake Your Love. They bought us pints of Bass and offered us a ride on their hogs. No pigs, their bikes.

    Ahh...sweet pre-internet memories!

  • At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Michele said…

    Insensitive!!! The old drag torch song that was on a virtual and torturous repeat for quite some time at one point in the 90's... told you I'd remember. Arggh. Now that frigging song is stuck in my head for the day, along with images no God-fearing lesbian should ever have burned into her brain with excess Captain and Coke residue. (RIP Pegs. :( )


  • At 4:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    love the post and the vivid memories of the whole "walking downstairs into the forbidden for the first time" you evoke-for me it was orlando and "the edge's" thursday disco (re:G-A-Y) night.....and getting over it the first time i heard the pwl remix of kelly marie's (it feels like) i'm in love and dancing my a** off.

    what a shame-i had so much fun @ pegasus....thanks for bringing up fond memories

    oh my GAWD-almost forgot about the gate that kept the innocent babies away from the sleazy old men.....

    ah, to be on THAT side of the gate once more.....

    with the closing of the grid here in cleveland last year and now pegasus i guess the era of the gay club (at least in the midwest) is a thing of the past....

    wish i could make it for the grand closing...hope you get a chance to send them your track listing to play at closing time!


  • At 10:35 PM, Blogger D'luv said…

    Paul, thanks! D'luv autobio is coming someday -- If only in my own scibble for my cat to read.

    Michael, yeah, I made my friend who was in school in L.A. go buy that single for me back in '95, because I sure couldn't find the damn thing in Pennsylvania!

    Moog, many, many great memories that will live on in the music in our minds...if not our endless '90s playlists!

    Dan, lemme know if you need any help with the playlist ;)

    Mike, ditto (see above)! And thanks.

    MusicdivaSF, thanks much. It's bittersweet to write about. Where did 15 years go? It all went by in the blink of an eye, it seems.

    Tyler, xo.

    Michele, I have absolutely *no* recollection of this "Insensitive" song!?! All I can think of is Jann Arden?

    Kyliedawg, thanks for commenting! It's been awhile! Yeah, I don't know if it was clear what I meant in the post, but I took shelter at the under-21 side of the bar...or, as you put it, the bar where the babies were shielded from the oldies. Ha ha!

  • At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Michele said…

    It was something like: ...some advice for me, on how to be, insensitive...

    There were a few wannabe queenlets on rotate who used to sing that song every week for a stretch of time. Tuesday night shows I think? I'd say somewhere around '96 to '98-ish. I seem to recall there was even once when two ladies performed it the same night. That was a scandal.

    I am flooded with memories right now. I may tear up.

    Yes, I was a mid-week Liberty nightlife fixture for a while back in the day. It was a different world during the week, to be sure. Everyplace was virtually empty (except for Thursday night Karaoke at Images, of course) but I was there, quiet and SHY and drinking it all in -- and drinking it all.

    I went to the afterparties, too. I had a friend who used to get me in over the Saloon. So sad. So true. I learned a lot about life during that young and innocence-stripping phase.

    I loved the grande dame queens the most. They always touched my hair and said it was beautiful, and they loved my skin. I'll tell you this, when a queen compliments you (and not in the queen way -- you know what I mean) they will make you feel gorgeous, because they absolutely mean what they say, and they don't mince words either. If you deserved it, they'd shred you too just as handily. It was because of the queens that I always felt safe downtown in the middle of the night. They were tough as nails and loyal and like mother hens watching over the young chicks.

    Ah, the Cage. I loved going in with the sleezeballs. I just felt cool that I was old enough to get in. My friend Eric used to make me lick the back of my hand before getting the glowing blacklight handstamp so I could hurry up and transfer it to him. That actually worked. Ha.

    Favorite Pegs quote: "Look at the Wall of Flame!" - my aforementioned high-heaven flaming friend Eric, looking twelve years old, illegally in the Cage, commenting giddily on the spectacle of Vogue playing on the dance floor, blissfully unaware of the irony.

    Also, I always puzzled at the random "dungeon" chain fragments dangling from the ceiling. Sexy?

    Thanks again for the memories... wow.



    PS Did anyone else laugh their ass off contrasting the actual Liberty Avenue with the Queer as Folk Liberty Avenue? hahahahahaha No wait. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA --Babylon. Someone find me an onomatopoeia guffaw.

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