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19th Ave New York, NY 95822, USA

Losing the Lizard Lounge and The Church

The time was Labor Day weekend, 2005.

I had traveled with my dad and brother from a small town in Oklahoma to Dallas Texas, to visit my uncle. After an unmemorable start to the three day weekend, Sunday rolled around with my uncle grinning like he just saw his first pair of boobs. He pointed at me and said “I just got off the phone with Angela. And we are taking you to a place that you wont want to leave.”

He was so certain about it, that he bet me his Tron arcade cabinet, and Kiss pinball machine. He did not even ask that I wager anything in return.

He held a bit of my intrigue. But I have been misread in the past. So I was thinking of how I was going to make space for a pinball machine in my room.

After a Marvelous drive past what looked like a Disco Ball erected amongst unique and typical skyscrapers, and around the spot where Kennedy lost his damn mind, we pulled up to the black front doors of some building with a neon lizard on its side.

We had arrived.

The door man asked for I.D.s, my uncle tipped him, so my (then under age) brother could partake in the night to be. The doorman unhooked the velvet rope and said “Welcome to The Lizard Lounge… Just like the movies.

I heard 80’s music coming from my right. I peered into the room, to see a bar crowned by TV screens. TV screens ran along the walls. They were even in the corners of the room.

Lights flickered and moved in all directions at once, as the rhythm of “You Spin Me Round” by Dead of Alive synched to the beat of my heart.
As my attention started to shift towards the ocean of people that surrounded me, my uncle broke the spell I was under, and said “You have not made 10 feet past the entrance. Walk around. Explore.”

I took his advice. And I took in all of my surroundings.

I looked around at the leather clad couples in the lobby exchanging licks (in more than one way). I waxed poetically with patrons joking on the outdoor patio. I breathed in the night time air on the rooftop as I gazed at the still magnificent skyline. And I then made my way into the main room.

As I stepped through the hall a choir literally began to sing. A large video wall behind the DJ turned him into a silhouette. And the fog that filled the dance floor carried the people with it as they all sang in unison to the music; “Hey Now. Hey Now Now. Sing this corrosion to me.”

Just like the movies.

Later on as Angela and I were the only two getting into the night (my uncle and dad seated at the balcony pleased to see me smiling, and my brother afraid of getting kicked out.) I asked Angela “Does the DJ take requests?” She responded by taking my hand and dragging me up to the booth, where I met a now long time friend (whom I would later spin with In Oklahoma when we brought him to our own short run goth show.) DJ Joe Virus.

As a small town darkling/rivet head I had collected my share of Hot Topic Goth compilation CDs. And I wanted to hear a song I enjoyed dancing to in my room thump in this one. So I requested “Document” by Assemblage 23. Joe screamed a triumphant “YES! I will play it right after this.” Angela told him it was my first time. He welcomed me, and asked what I thought of the place. And he told me to add him to Myspace. Just like the movies.

As Angela walked away from the DJ booth my request was morphing out of the song that was already playing. Angela and I found a spot on the dance floor, and in seconds got lost in the eery electronic ambiance that engulfed us.

When the pulsating beat to my song hit a break, my head tilted back, I opened my eyes, and saw a dark room illuminated by blue lasers, and a huge video screen. Then my eyes fixed on a chandelier that was smiling down on me from directly above my sweat beaded brow. And I knew I had found myself… Just like the movies.

I am proud to now live in the area. And proud to say that The Church is one of the top three reasons why I moved.

Thank you to all The Church staff for keeping The Church alive. Thank you to the congregation for keeping The Church legendary. Thank you uncle Jerry for seeing that it was never “just a phase”. Thank you Joe for inspiring me to pursue music in all the ways that I have. And Thank you endlessly Don Nedler for your endless sacrifice.


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