Dance all night.

God, my breath must smell like Dentu-Creme. I opened the Columbus Dispatch yesterday to the real estate section and read this:

Randy Carr didn’t bother with a home inspection before buying the century-old Victorian brick house on Neil Avenue. “I didn’t hire an inspector to find out what was wrong with the house,” Carr said. “I knew everything was wrong. The insurance company wouldn’t cover it.”

Hmm, sounds like a real wreck, I thought, reading on. (Sometimes, on Sunday morning, you need to look at the real-estate section before you move on to the news.) And then the dawning revelation: I not only know this house, I’ve been in this house, I’ve partied in this house, I’ve been impressed by this house, and whaddaya know, it was falling down all around me:

Although (former owner Corbett) Reynolds had tackled some roof repairs, exterior painting and interior remodeling, he hadn’t been able to keep up with the maintenance of a huge house.

“Corbett’s trick was to paint everything black — the walls, woodwork and ceiling.

“If the ceiling started crumbling, he would tack up a piece of plywood and paint it black or something very dark. Then he filled the room with his art. People would come in and say, ‘What a great house.’ But what they were looking at was his art.”

Count me among those fooled. I dimly recall a restored-to-Victorian-perfection house, with parlors and butler’s pantries and everything fussy fussy fussy. (A friend of mine rented the third floor, but he was friends with his landlord, and it seemed that every time I visited I’d end up walking through the main house on one errand or another.) One day I came over and the place had gone bipolar — gone were the horsehide couches and glass lamps and all the Victoriana and in its place was black. He’d painted the walls black, the ceiling black, the woodwork black (the woodwork!), and filled the room with Warhol prints lit by little spots. It was jarring, but very cool. I recall thinking, “Someday someone will have to strip that woodwork and will curse his name,” but until then, hey, it was his house and he could do what he wanted with it. Who’d have ever thought all that black was hiding water damage, the same way black pants hide a fat ass.

Corbett, the original owner, was an artist and something of a partying visionary. He owned an abandoned movie theater on the west side, which he rechristened Rudely Elegant and opened as a nightclub. Then it closed, and he went to a schedule where it would only be open one night a month, for an invitation-only theme party. I thought it had something to do with his liquor license, but after I attended the first one I think it was more about the preparation needed.

The first one was the Red Party, held in February. (Link warning: Main page is OK, subsequent photos may be NSFW or homophobes.) The space was filled with dancing bare-assed cherubs and neon hearts. Then came the White Party, the Colors Party and the most infamous of all — the Black Party, which was all about leather. I might still have the flyer for that one, which featured a nude Ohio State cheerleader in a black mask and a black rooster. (It was the Chinese Year of the Cock, which would have made it…1981.)

Needless to say, while no one made me feel unwelcome at these events, it was pretty obvious they were not aimed at my demographic, so I never stayed long. It was always worth the cover charge just to see how they’d decorated, though. Googling around, I see that Wikipedia gives Reynolds shared credit for inventing the circuit party, which the Red Party was.

The real-estate story in the Dispatch didn’t mention any of this. I guess it would have been a tangent.

So, bloggage:

As everyone knows, Peggy Noonan gets on my last goddamn nerve. Which is why I’m singling out this blue-moon rarity, a column of hers I actually like. It’s about what the 9/11 victims said when they were able to make phone calls in their final moments:

Something terrible had happened. Life was reduced to its essentials. Time was short. People said what counted, what mattered. It has been noted that there is no record of anyone calling to say, “I never liked you,” or, “You hurt my feelings.” No one negotiated past grievances or said, “Vote for Smith.” Amazingly –or not–there is no record of anyone damning the terrorists or saying “I hate them.” …This is what I get from the last messages. People are often stronger than they know, bigger, more gallant than they’d guess. And this: We’re all lucky to be here today and able to say what deserves saying, and if you say it a lot, it won’t make it common and so unheard, but known and absorbed.

And that seems like enough to leave you with now. Have a good day.

Posted at 11:11 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

16 responses to “Dance all night.”

  1. mary said on September 11, 2006 at 12:01 pm

    It looks like PETA has the same opinion of Steve Irwin that Alan has: “It comes as no shock at all that Steve Irwin should die provoking a dangerous animal,�? PETA’s Dan Mathews tells The Scoop. “He made a career out of antagonizing frightened wild animals, which is a very dangerous message to send to kids.�?
    Does Irwin’s career as a naturalist impress the animal-rights group? Says Mathews: “If you compare him with a responsible conservationist like Jacques Cousteau, he looks like a cheap reality TV star.�?

    I would concur.

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  2. Danny said on September 11, 2006 at 1:19 pm

    It looks like PETA has the same opinion of Steve Irwin that Alan has…

    Strange bedfellows. Alan probably jokes the acronym is People Eating Tastey Animals.

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  3. alex said on September 11, 2006 at 3:20 pm

    PETA doesn’t give a damn about the treatment of animals. All PETA cares about is flaying bourgeois pigs. Steve Irwin did more to elevate consciousness about animals than PETA ever will.

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  4. Danny said on September 11, 2006 at 3:25 pm

    Alex, word, brutha. Word.

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  5. mary said on September 11, 2006 at 4:05 pm

    I’m no PETA fan either, but every time I saw Steve Irwin, he was almost getting bitten by something large and carnivorous. He was a showman, primarily.

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  6. Danny said on September 11, 2006 at 4:38 pm

    I understand and think that it would be easy to assume he was a showman. I mean, look at his on-camera personality. Who could really be like that? Thing is, all of his mates are saying he was really like that, it was not an affectation.

    The other thing that really swayed me into the Irwin camp was the interviews I’ve seen with him. Some in which he had tears streaming down his face as he talked passionately about what wildlife conservation meant to him. He truly believed that his sole purpose for being on this earth was to help save wildlife and that the best way to accomplish that mission was to bring it up-close and personal to us.

    I agree we can’t have our children wrangling poisonous snakes, but that talk can be handled at the dinner table along with the all of the other critical life lessons.

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  7. mary said on September 11, 2006 at 5:25 pm

    I think the ideas you say he was trying to get across could have been done without wrestling snakes.

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  8. Danny said on September 11, 2006 at 5:33 pm

    Yeah, you’re probably right. Growing up, I liked Wild Kingdom, but it was the only show around then. But Croc Hunter was a lot more entertaining and probably got more people watching. Maybe more people caring. Hard to say.

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  9. nancy said on September 11, 2006 at 6:00 pm

    I read a story about Irwin that called him “Marlon Perkins for Generation X,” and maybe that works. To be sure, he upped the ante both for personal involvement with the animals and stupid pet tricks, but at the same time I can see the other side. I don’t know too many zookeepers who aren’t also conservationists. In fact, there aren’t any. (Can you imagine your local zookeeper saying, “Eh, screw the lowland gorilla. We’ve got a few in captivity, they breed well and Rwanda needs the timber trade. Cut down the trees, and we’ll take care of the ones we’ve got. It’s the new white man’s burden.”)

    I also get the feeling this particular accident — stabbed in the heart by an animal who, if it struck anywhere else on his body, might have given him only swelling and redness — was pretty rare. Still, I never cared for all the croc-taunting and snake-grabbing. I’ll leave it at that and let him rest in peace.

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  10. Nick E. said on September 11, 2006 at 6:11 pm

    Can we skip the croc guy for a minute and give Nance a round of internet applause for her next “fine lines” entry: “all that black was hiding water damage, the same way black pants hide a fat ass.”

    I’m still trying to clean coffee off my monitor after that spit-take.

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  11. brian stouder said on September 11, 2006 at 6:22 pm

    I agree we can’t have our children wrangling poisonous snakes, but that talk can be handled at the dinner table along with the all of the other critical life lessons.

    But – I heard that his 8 year old daughter is in the process of having her own TV show put together, which will be along the same lines as her late dad’s show.

    With any luck, that won’t come to pass

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  12. Danny said on September 11, 2006 at 6:31 pm

    Yeah, I thought that was kinda weird too, Brian. I really don’t see how it can come to pass now. Little Bindy Sue has got to be missing her daddy so much. It would be a real bad mistake to put her on TV at this point.

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  13. mary said on September 11, 2006 at 7:17 pm

    I think we’ll be hearing the phrase, “he would have wanted it that way,” any day now regarding her having her own tv show.

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  14. brian stouder said on September 12, 2006 at 8:56 am

    Hey – speaking of dance parties – didja see this story?

    an excerpt

    Richard Branson threw a lavish Mad Hatter-themed 21st birthday party for his son Sam at his Oxfordshire estate on Saturday, and invited Paris Hilton to attend. The partying heiress agreed and wanted a starring role in the party dressed as Alice, according to reports.

    When Branson found out, he ordered the 60 waitresses who would be serving at the party to also dress as Alice, according to the London Daily Mail, which says he pushed the prank further by pretending to mistake Paris for a waitress and ordering a drink from her.

    The bash was attended by the U.K.’s A-list, with such guests as Princes William and Harry, Kate Moss, and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. “It was one hell of a party,�? a source told the Mirror. “Paris found herself looking more like Tweedledum as she was surrounded by dozens of other Alices.�?

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  15. Marcia said on September 14, 2006 at 8:44 am

    I feel the same about Noonan. Every time I read her, I berate myself for increasing the pressure in my head. That particular column hit the spot, though, and it must have been that sort of writing that fueled her career, because God knows she doesn’t turn out much worth reading now.

    Victorian Village tour is this Sunday. Good time for a trip to central Ohio.

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  16. Marcia said on September 14, 2006 at 8:45 am

    P.S. The sewing table is gorgeous.

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