Goodbye to You, '80s Night (With Update)
It's the end of an era in Adams Morgan: The '80s Dance Party, which drew bachelorettes, retro-loving singles and generations of Madonna fans to Club Heaven for 15 awesome years, got the boot from the club this week in favor of a reggae and hip-hop night.
Promoter/DJ Neal Keller says he got word from the club yesterday, though he'd heard earlier through the grapevine that the club's owners were inviting promoters to offer proposals for events "every night but Saturday."
The '80s Dance Party's longevity boils down to a simple formula. DJs spun tunes that everyone could sing and dance along with, from Duran Duran to Kajagoogoo, INXS to Terrance Trent D'Arby, Culture Club to LL Cool J, without being ashamed. Music videos played on screens on the wall, shots were a ridiculous $2 during happy hour, which ran until 11, and the diverse crowd (from college students to older women on a girls' night out) was always ready to put their hands up and jump around to Cyndi Lauper.
Part of the reason for '80s night's demise is economic. Keller admits business has dropped because "there's been an economic slowdown, and it seems to have affected business across Adams Morgan." But, he adds, the owners also thought it was just time for a change in direction. "They thought the night was over the hill, and they were afraid the night wouldn't attract young, new customers," Keller says. "I pointed out that we have bachelorette parties coming in all the time, and we just had Comcast's 'Dating on Demand' show filming here, so we do get young customers ... but they just weren't very happy with the business or the night [itself]."
Keller says the '80s Dance Party hasn't found a new home yet -- "it's all very new, very sudden" -- but he's already had some interest from other clubs. Or, he says, he might turn the night into a vagabond "roving the D.C. club scene," popping up to throw events at different nightspots before moving on to another location.
For updates, check the '80s Dance Party's official Web site, www.80sdanceparty.com.
UPDATE: I've just received an official statement from the club disputing Neal Keller's account -- they say he left, and was not fired -- and announcing that they will not be doing a "reggae and hip-hop night," as Keller says he was told, but will be growing the '80s Dance Party into an '80s and '90s Dance Party. One thing that's not in dispute: It really did come down to declining attendance at the event.
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