Tuesday, May 11, 2010
THE LIMELIGHT: CHURCH OF COMMERCE
I was carousing with a friend over the weekend, and we passed by what used to be infamous Limelight club on 6th Avenue. Built between 1844-46, this Gothic structure began as The Holy Communion Episcopal Church. In 1983, nightclub impresario Peter Gatien turned it into a throbbing shrine to decadence. Early on it was a place to hear New Wave music and later, a stage for 90s club kids to show off their sartorial creations. In 2001 the Limelight shut its doors and briefly reopened as Avalon.
It's now the Limelight Marketplace, with over 60 shops to rummage through. We popped inside this Church of Commerce out of curiosity and vague disgust. You can buy a dress for your dog now and pose for your free commemorative photo. The sign by the photo area says, "Get your 15 minutes of fame!"
As shocked as people were about the initial de-sanctification, this desecration seems worse. While I never danced at The Limelight, (I moved to New York after it had closed) I used to read about it in Spy Magazine as a bored teenager on Whidbey Island. I dreamt of crazy parties, outrageous behavior and creative, glamorous creatures of the night.
Now this hallowed club ground is filled with dull, boring, unoriginal motherfuckers who would never have set foot in there before. It's wholesome family entertainment now, because shopping has become an American religion. Perhaps this Church of Commerce will become the new consumerist Mecca.
Here's what I don't get:
What the hell happened to New York club culture?
Why is it no one wants to dance in NYC anymore? And don't tell me it's because people have no money. They seem to have oceans of cash to buy stupid, usless shit.
Why is it no one wants to put on ridiculous clothes and let loose underneath some flashing lights? Doesn't anyone need the DJ to save their life anymore? Or is it just that credit cards and air conditioned malls are fulfilling that fantasy now? How did we get to a point where we'd rather spend money purchasing clutter over an evening of getting sweaty on the dancefloor? What's the point of having a closet full of shoes if you never dance in them?