Lotus at The 9:30 Club – Washington, DC

Lotus 9:30 club

So, the last two days in DC brought some nice adventures.  Besides supporting Elizabeth in her conference presentation on contemporary versions of Jane Austen stories, I had a nice run on the National Mall and an eye-opening trip to the Newseum, a museum on the history of journalism.  Essentially, it’s a tour through American history told through the prism of media coverage.  I’m a total media nerd (my favorite course in college was the intro to Mass Media course I took with Dr. Jin Kim my freshman year at SUNY Plattsburgh), so this is now my favorite museum.  I spent six hours in there, and I still don’t think I did justice.  Nicole even said, “You can’t do this museum in one day.”  She’s right.

I met with Nicole for dinner preshow.  Finding a good Thai place was an adventure.  When I walked to the address, I learned they had changed locations.  Nicole was more on the up-and-up about DC cuisine than I, so she got to the new location.  However, since we hadn’t made reservation, the restaurant, Thai X-ing, wanted to charge us $40 per person.  We said screw that and went to a place a few feet away called BKK, which had a more welcoming vibe.  The Pad Thai was some of the best I’d ever had; you could really taste the peanut butter in the sauce.  More good conversation ensured; cats, my book, her work, good TV shows, our histories, why there is such a stigma against singlehood (a common topic on our CoSP group).  I also shared the story of how the Special Guest joke came to fruition.  I’m not the only creator; it was a group effort on the part of myself, Maggie, Gary, and Drew.

We parted ways at about 9, so I had an hour to kill before the doors to the club would open at 10, so I walked about a mile down U Street to get to this bookstore I found called G Books, which the description said was open till 11.  My plan was to geek out on some random books in some corner somewhere, maybe even grab a coffee if that was an option.  As I walked down U Street, I noticed a pattern: bar, nightclub, pizzeria, homeless dude asking for change, bar, nightclub, pizzeria, homeless dude asking for change, bar, nightclub, pizzeria, homeless due asking for change (rule of threes).  The bookstore was difficult to locate when GMap said “Arrived.”  I had to go down some stairs to get there, where I discovered a few things.  No café or even a corner to hide it, but there was a musty smell and a bunch of cardboard boxes and piles of books strewn about all over the place.  It was also closing at 10 p.m., just a few minutes. As I walked around, I saw not only books, but also handcuffs, dildos, and lubricants, and a few of the book covers had pictures of naked men on it and I saw the title, Own Your Gayness.  Conclusion: Craig’s walked into a gay bookstore.  G Bookstore, Gay Bookstore, makes sense. I have gay friends and family members, some of the coolest people I’ve ever known are gay, I’ve dated bisexuals, but I don’t fall under that classification, so there was really nothing there for me. I smiled at the clerk politely, said “thank you,” and left. 

I got to the club at about 10:15, where I was greeted by a line a mile long (or it felt a mile long).  The line moved ever-so-slowly, which was causing some widespread panic among my fellow concertgoers (“I hope they haven’t started yet”).  Some dude vomited into a garbage can.  One of his friends said, “I don’t think he’s done it in a while.”  His other friend said, “Neither have I, that’s no reason.  That’s not good.”  The Lotus scene reminded me of the vibe at the Disco Biscuits shows I went to in New York in my early 20s; a lot of those folks were rolling on ecstasy.  Not my bag, but whatever floats one’s boat.   I’m not a Biscuits fan either (as I discovered from attending the shows), but I’d be open-minded to Lotus.

Anyway, we got in at around 10:30, and they hadn’t started.  I bought a CD, as is my ritual at most of the smaller shows I go to.  I had never been to a show, nor do I really know any of their music, so I asked the dreadlocked merch clerk his recommendation.  He said Nomads is their most popular album, so I made the purchase.      

To say I was blown away by Lotus would be an understatement.  Their tribal beats and LED lighting were epic (people prone to seizures should steer clear).  I found myself dancing pretty hard.  During setbreak, I had a few conversations with some random dudes that began with, “These guys are sick.”  During the second set, I started to fall asleep (most of the shows I go to normally end at midnight), but I was able to rally together to dance it out toward the end.  Some metalhead-looking dude showed up with a stuffed octopus on each hand, presumably because he was rolling or he wanted to give the other rollers something to gaze at.  Another dude was making shapes with his fingers.  The crowd is a show indeed!

As I made my walk back to the hostel, the smell of pizza captivated me, so I stopped at a spot (I don’t normally do late night pizza postshow anymore, but I’m in DC, for phucks sake).  It was a bit of a wait, and late-night partiers are another show.  Some drunk girl was yelling, “You’re so rude” to the poor clerk behind the counter, to which she shook her hand.  I’m wearing a Grateful Dead shirt with a music-induced permagrin, staying quiet, and there was a dude with a ponytail and a beard who looked like he belonged at the show, and we were just sitting there, chill, in all the noise.  The clerk felt bad, and we were probably the most well-behaved people in that pizzeria, so she hooked us up with bottles of water.  This reminds me of a conversation I had with the barista at the Barnes and Noble café in Hampton, where she commented my Phish shirt.  She then talked about how she used to work at the Hampton Coliseum and how Phish fans were her favorite patrons because they were so nice and they tipped well (I had tipped this pizzeria clerk a dollar).

I felt good about myself and my representation of the scene as I walked home at 2 a.m. 


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