Hearsay: Wednesday, August 15, 2002
High Times

Pablo and the Hemphill 7 have become HearSay’s favorite fun-time band (thanks for the Mexican High-Grown, guys — it’s coffee, not cannabis). The vibe Pablo et al created inside the Black Dog Tavern last weekend was spay-see. Performing “Walking on the Moon” by The Police (not one of HearSay’s fave bands — ’cause Sting is such a peckerhead) probably helped make the celestial mood. There were funky, multi-colored lights all around, plenty of shiny, happy people getting their dance on, and — get this — Rastas in the audience! HearSay can’t remember the last time it’s been to a music venue and saw a religious pot smoker. Your columnist welcomed the diversity. Could have been the Black Dog, could have been Pablo, could have been a mix of both — whatever it was that accounted for the cool, party-friendly social experience, it was transcendental. Made HearSay feel like it was back in a bar in New York City but not really. Thanks, mon.

You’re Our Weiner!

Clubs should be more than places where music is played, beer is drunk, laughs are had — they should be or at least aspire to be institutions, places people (read: customers) think about, possibly long for, on waking up and getting the morning started right with that speedball. Clubs should be, in short, places people actually care about. The Wreck Room is one such institution. HearSay knows because HearSay cares about this dive — if, for anything else, its fun quotient.

Every month for the past three months, the Wreck has been running a “Jackass of the Month” contest. Now let that marinate. You would think, what with the way the Wreck attracts ir-“regulars,” that this type of contest would be some sort of insider’s game. It’s really not. Sure, club personnel have to know who you are to hand you your award — dinner at Fred’s, $25 bar tab at the Wreck, trophy (!) — but you don’t have to do much or even hang out there very long to get nominated. (For some people — HearSay’s not saying names, CarlPackGrahamRichardsonJohnPrice — achieving jackass-hood is as easy as showing up.) Thing is, you can’t intentionally try to win the award. Whatever you do to earn your nomination must at the very least be something you wouldn’t want a lot of people knowing about.

The upshot of all this is that the “contest” fosters a familial vibe around the club. It’s all in good fun, no one gets hurt, and contemplating jackassishness gives us day-drinking patrons something to do when we’re zoned out watching what Black Dog Tavern owner and Wreck Room ir-“regular” Tad Gaither considers “the worst tv in the world” (because it’s usually tuned to golf or some bad ’70s sitcom rerun). If more club owners were interested in creating bonds with customers they’d follow the Wreck’s lead and do something to get more jackasses in the door.

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