Some great expectorationsAt last, we may be getting the nightclub we deserve. At least, we got rid of one we didn’t need.
Itaewon embraces inclusion, so everybody fits in here. But for years and years one of its clubs, Vivace, defied that ideal. Vivace was a basement club right in the middle of the action, with a high-profile entrance in front of the Hamilton Hotel. It had big, glitzy signs and high-profile doormen.
We would tell you what the club was like inside, if we knew. But the fact is, we don’t know, because we were never allowed inside. We suppose we could try to make something up, but this is not the New York Times, and our editors here are annoyingly scrupulous and attentive.
Why weren’t we allowed inside?
Vivace always had a no-foreigner policy. It was there, evidently, to provide the more xenophobic of Koreans with a way to go dancing in Itaewon without getting AIDS.
Vivace died a couple of years ago ― good riddance ― and the space fell into disuse. Party organizers would rent it out now and then for raves, but it still reeked of its prejudiced past.
Now it has been reborn, though, as Limelight. One of the new owners is Chung Hee-jin, the woman who brought you Geckos and Geckos Garden. She says she wants to make Limelight’s expansive space a place “for the people.” She plans to draw them in with plenty of offbeat and risque entertainment.
A lineup of theme nights is already in place; Sundays will be live music night, Wednesdays gents’ night and Thursdays ladies’ night.
Itaewon Wanderings visited the club last Saturday and found it bathed in a positive vibe and packed with heterogeneous revelers. Even the staff was ethnically diverse. A lovely Filipina took our drink order, while two of her co-workers, scantily-clad Russians, were on the dance floor moving as if they’d sold their souls to Terpsichore.
As for the patrons, they were likewise multicolored and from all over. The club was a regular United Nations, except that Libya wasn’t heading its Human Rights Commission and if a massacre began Limelight’s security guards would have tried to stop it.
On Sunday we returned for the live bands. We got there late, so we only saw the Korean band Big Cat, which has a small singer with a big voice. Her vocals on a rendition of the Hendrix classic “Little Wing” had the crowd enthralled and Jimi grinning in his grave.
Limelight will host its inaugural gents night tomorrow and ladies night Thursday. But instead of giving away drinks, it will be dishing up cake.
Tomorrow it will be cheesecake, Ms. Chung says ― the gents will be entertained by topless dancers. Really. We thanked her, in advance, for the mammaries.
On Thursday, Limelight will vie with two bars that already have popular ladies nights, Helios and the Loft. Instead of booze, though, patrons will get beefcake. Male exotic dancers, that is.
Here’s some advice: If you go to Limelight tomorrow or Thursday, unloose a good spit just outside the entrance ― even you ladies ― to defile the memory of Vivace. Don’t worry; you’ll be making more once you’re in.
by Mike Ferrin
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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