Photo by James BunoanHaving never been one to shy away from free drinks, polite conversation and a place to rest my head, I packed up the Civic of Love a few weeks back and hit the 101, barreling toward Berkeley, home of faithful Clubbed! readers—and, in the interest of full disclosure, my dear, old friends—Tom and Maria. Seven hours later, upon arriving at the adorable hippie hotel they share with about 79.4 other kids, I was greeted with a round of lazy bear hugs and directions to the keg. Seasoned partiers that they are, the keg was already on ice. In the bathtub. Of course.
And the Berkeleyians? They were supernice! Sure, they might have put the keg in the bathtub, a direct violation of the "Whatever You Do, Don't Put the Keg in the Bathtub" rule, but them smart kids can't be counted on to know everything about everything, right?
Later, while contemplating doing a keg stand inches away from an insanely hot girl who had just dropped trou, I found myself aching for more parties with supernice people—only perhaps parties back here in Orange County, which is a little closer to home, you know, and where the kids put their kegs in the back yard.
Note: there's never a line to pee in the back yard.
But they don't exist, I thought, sighing. Parties where everyone would be kind and respectful? Where the hipster lays down with the bro? Each with an ever-warming 12-pack of Miller High Life tucked under his arm? A willingness in his heart to discuss such high-brow topics as politics, art and music? Get real, I told myself. These were art-school dorm parties I was dreaming about, a concept foreign to our environs.
A week later, with my trip to Berkeley but a fading memory, I received word of an event taking place at the Spurgeon Building in Santa Ana. "Inside the Spurgeon: His and Hers," as the after-hours art-gallery show was called, was being held in conjunction with "Ground Flor," an electronic house-music showcase featuring DJs Post Midnight, Tzara, Rob Roy and Reddevil and special guests gTT, Constant Flux and Simes. Remembering the Spurgeon's classic, beautiful interior and its artists'-commune appeal, I donned the most artsy-fartsy of my wardrobe and cruised over.
The Clubbed! gang and I parked across the street, and we were soon met by thumping bass sounds increasing in intensity as we climbed the staircase to the open-air atrium on the second floor. Zeroing in on the bar, we passed clusters of hip-haired twentysomethings huddled beneath Teresa De La Torre's impressively suspended installation before encountering Chris, the shy, ironically tuxedoed bartender. With a $2 lemondrop martini in each hand, we headed back inside the building for some exploring—and minutes later, upon following the faint strains of acoustic guitars and bongos to a black-lit room, lost our friend Janine to the two people meditating on the floor.
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Returning to the atrium, I met Marty, an aging hippie from Eagle Rock who preached positivity and asked if I was aware that I held the power to captivate others just by speaking. "This is Andy," he said, introducing me to his friend. "He's from the Midwest." Smiling at Andy, I could tell he was captivated. Hell, with my newfound confidence courtesy of Marty, I didn't even have to talk.
By night's end, guzzling a tasty concoction of vanilla-flavored rum, gold rum and soda, I could not help but gush over all that was going on around me. There was the infectiously likeable Marty, delivering sermons on kindness; art geeks sharing silk-screening tips; a 12-pack of Corona in the corner; and a tribe of hipsters, hippies and frat kids on the dance floor. Fearing my imminent hangover, I could only pray I was still dreaming. But then I spotted a flier for next month's event, grabbed another drink, and made a mental note to invite Tom and Maria. It's only fair I repay the favor.
"Inside the Spurgeon" and "Ground Flor," held at 206 W. Fourth St., Santa Ana, (949) 824-3743, touches down next on March 6 and will feature "Ancient Themes," a group show, and special guest DJs Ziba Z, George Sabroso and ediT.
I've actually never done a keg stand! Join me in my first! Invite me out! firstname.lastname@example.org.