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Let's face it... morbidity is in right now.

Luxx on Grand Street
That's a separate piece altogether. I want to try and keep this local if I can, and not veer off into a political tangent about public grief, useless patriotism, and the Doctor Seussing of the American flag. I... Will... Not... Go... There... (although god, I'm so so tempted).

But, you know, you think perhaps you're safe in your little enclave across the water. You try to ignore the encroaching unaffordability of your neighborhood, maybe even harboring yourself in the strange dimensions of southsouth Williamsburg (again, yet another story, as the Goy examines the depths of Ultra-Orthodoxy) and switching to the J.

But then, you meet your friend at Sweetwater for a beer, for a goodbye as he heads back West where the girls are a different, easier type of neurotic. You walk in, and you realize with shock that you've just used the words 'benign' and 'Sweetwater Tavern' in the same sentence while talking to a friend.

And, all of a sudden across the street, this building with a new fašade, and a boutique inside... its just right there. I guess I don't get out enough.. It was all lit up, too, announcing itself.

And Sweetwater, benign. Quiet. The music tamed down to an alt-rock level and the patrons, looking every bit like lost, post-dot-com crew. Unemployed in glasses, tired of playing pool.

This is all anticlimactical though, I guess, because last Friday night I went to Luxx to see Antibalas.

It used to be a low key kinda local establishment—basic dance floor surrounded by mirrors with a bar at one end and a little stage on the other—house music played, pretty latino boys played percussion, and all the beer was from major american breweries except the corona—as long as you liked the music and shook your ass everything was okay in there. The beers were cheap, too. It closed, though. It closed for a while. Right in the middle of a good time.

It came back though—the result, perhaps, of some misguided trust fund money or a desparate attempt to justify an education. It's got a lump of something spread across the front like so much margarine, and then, after they check your ID, you go inside... a hodge-podge of tackiness - crumpled mylar slapped to the ceiling, plastic orbs from Industrial Plastics nailed to the wall, and this awful wall paper... Dear god it hurts. Make it stop, it brings back secreted childhood memories of Grandma's macaroni picture frames, of four foot Jesus paintings. And Corona's five bucks a pop, served with attitude.

The bar is, I might add, now disco-lit—alternating red-white-blue or something just as annoying—buying my five dollar Corona is an exercise in headache-evasion...

I can't afford to live here anymore. It costs too much on too many levels, but yet I stay, because I can't make myself leave, because I still like it here despite it all. Because some of the new establishments have made it fun to play 'look at you look at me', even if they do still pale in comparison to the grand loft parties of yore. And to my knowledge, none of them ever sent flyers across the East River that said "Just take a cab over the Williamsburg Bridge!" No, not until Luxx (yeah I really did see this - on the ground)...

It's fifty dollars for a flimsy skirt in that boutique and fourteen dollars for dinner (though that restaurant I have to admit does have a nice garden), seven dollars for a mixed drink and five for a Corona. And six more, the next morning, for that protein-juice concoction to cure it all on your way to the L.

That's a lotta dough—and about all I can really say about that is that the return on my investment isn't so hot these days, especially when I go to clubs like Luxx. It was insulting in there, and that's the last thing I need right now, what with all the other pollution going on in this neighborhood—how'd you like a brand new condo right next to Radiac? It's yours for the taking, you know. And the Domino Sugar factory is only two blocks away.

-- Dori Mondon

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