The Lava Bar opens in Kenmore Square, and construction begins on Davis Square's
Grrrl Talk by R.J. Grubb
Okay, so we ended the year in a bit of a funk. Big deal. There's so much
happening this month that this is hardly the time to lament the dearly departed
First off, downtown's U-Turn (199 State Street, Boston) turned out to
be the Big Surprise of '98. With its Saturday-night promotion "Herturn,"
the club attracts a steady crowd of dykes into its two-floored domain every
week. Of course, being the only nightclub for dykes that's open on Saturday
doesn't hurt business. In any event, the ladies definitely appreciate the
Saturday-night option, as evidenced by their sheer numbers. So practice your
parking skills in trying to find a spot around Faneuil Hall or cough up $10 to
park in a garage. You'll be glad you did -- when DJ Mabelle spins, it
doesn't take long for the room to become a hopping den of strobe lights and
sweat, the likes of which have been sorely missed. As reported a few months
plans to open daily for lunch and dinner, but manager Debi Saltzberg is
still working out the kinks. Once she does, look for a major grand-opening
party. Call (617) 685-8026 for more details.
Don't spend it alone
Celebrate Valentine's Day with the fresh new trio Side Order, a spinoff from
Sistahs of the Yam (including percussionist Kera M. Washington, bassist
Laurie Goldsmith, and vocalist Ifé Franklin), for an "Evening of Rhythm
and Muse" at SomePlace Else, 212 Hampshire Street, Cambridge. Poet Gail Burton
will also perform to the accompaniment of Washington's chops. (Warning: it will
be Burton's only East Coast appearance this year, so don't miss it.)
Cover $7. Call (617) 876-9330.
LAP'M (Lesbian AIDS Project of Massachusetts) officially kicked off
"Dyke Nyte" at the Midway Café (3496 Washington Street,
Jamaica Plain) January 7. This is where you'll run into long-lost pals.
Opening night was so packed with JP locals that pints of beer were passed
overhead from hand to hand while everyone shouted over the music and mingled
together. To keep everything interesting, Grand Opening!, our favorite
silicone supplier, assisted with the festivities by offering up a gift
certificate for the winner of the free raffle.
The new spot this month is Melinda Ancillo's "Lava
Bar," which is housed in the penthouse suite of HoJo's in Kenmore
Square. Opening night was set for Sunday, January 17, after One in
Ten went to press, so I can't say whether or not she did. In the meantime,
die-hard club kids will remember Ancillo from Chaps, where she worked
security for a few years. Although "Lava Bar" is Ancillo's gig, it's definitely
a collaborative effort. For one, not only will U-Turn's
Debi Saltzberg be mixing cocktails behind the bar, but Denise Russo from
Upstairs at the Hideaway will help out, too. Plus, Ancillo booked DJ
Kris Kono, who spent the summer spinning at Vixen's in P-town
and still plays those Connecticut monthly parties, "Club Lucy."
Basically, Ancillo's betting that Kono can keep us happy and relaxed.
For now, Kono is holding back on her house faves and instead plans to deliver,
in Ancillo's words, "some soft, sexy tunes" to enhance the lounge ambiance of
the bar. In other words, expect a very relaxed and quiet atmosphere. The room
holds about 300 and comes complete with red-velvet sofas and a redwood bar in
an L-shaped room. Check it out every Sunday from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., at
the Howard Johnson Hotel in Kenmore Square, 575 Comm Ave, Boston. Cover $5.
Call (617) 267-7707.
Of course, Lava Bar's current Sunday competitor, SomePlace Else, kicked
off the year in full force by bringing back the crowd-pleasing duo Bitch and
Animal January 10. After their last gig in November, hungry fans
bought up all the band's promo tapes -- at $10 a pop. (If you missed Bitch and
Animal this time, don't despair -- I have it on good word that they'll be back
soon.) In the meantime, circle February 21 for a double dyke bill with
Atlanta's young crooner Sonia Tetlow and local folk diva Faith
Soloway and Band. Together, these innovative singer/songwriters promise to
rock out with an evening full of satiric, saucy tunes. At 7 p.m. at
SomePlace Else (Ryles Jazz Club), 212 Hampshire Street, Cambridge.
The West Coast word is that everything is running smoothly for our hometown
dyke maven, Hannah Doress, while she operates Hanarchy Now Productions
from its new bicoastal locale in San Francisco. Doress recently met with
filmmaker Alison Austin, who coordinated the daylong "Tranny
Fest" in SF, which celebrated its fourth successful year last
November. After consulting with Austin, the ever-zealous Doress began planning
for New England's first "Trans Film Festival," which is currently
slated for May.
Lastly, the owners of the oft-mentioned, though still unseen, Diesel
Café successfully navigated the Byzantine maze of municipal
licensing last month and were granted a parking variance and billiards license
from the city of Somerville. Construction has begun for the café at 257
Elm Street, in the heart of Davis Square. After two years in the making, it
looks like Diesel, the café that guarantees to tweak the café
boom grrrl style, finally will open in the spring.
R.J. Grubb is a writer living in Somerville. Got news? Let her know about
it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Respond to this article.