The PALM BEACH PSST by Michael Alicea on ICTV1
I remember my 21st birthday party. Well, sort of. Like most people do when they reach "legal" status, things go a bit fuzzy soon after the shots start flowing - and that's pretty much right after the stroke of midnight on The Day itself. People come out of the woodwork, and it won't be like that again until the next landmark birthday comes around. (For you youngin's, that's 30. Start planning now.)
Respectable's 21st birthday party took me back - I won't say how long - to the blurry memories of my 21st. The 500 block of Clematis was a sea of people, all of them hardly recognizable in the haze, jumping and twisting with the music blasting from the street stage hosting the best of local talent and, surprizingly enough to many, A Flock of Seagulls. The Flock closed out the show with a romp through their hits of the Molly Ringwald era, and more.
Respectables itself has metamorphosed into a cleaner, sleeker image of itself. The stolid booths are gone, replaced with Miami-style lounges and cushion-y delight, which follow the function of the space much better than those cathedral-like wood cells ever did. The walls are awash with some of the brightest art I've seen on those walls for some time. On the east wall, in particular, the art of Amanda Valdes - who I met by accident while gushing over the artwork with a friend right in front of her, wouldmnn't you know - is both stark and amazingly cheery, although it's pretty much a landscape of skulls and brokedown dolls. Stunning, really.
The outdoor area in the back remains much the same, but as it was it could be totally different and I just couldn't see it throught he mass of people scattered everywhere in the space. The heat from the crowd was stiffling at times, however, and that too takes me back to the glory days of Respects almost 18 years ago. (Ugh... I just dated myself.) Back then, the line to get in almost went around the block, and the doormen were careful to count how many came out, so that the exact amount of people could then walk in. (Well, unless you knew Rodney, like I did, and then all bets were off.)
Hopefully, this transforrmation, both inside and out will resurrect Respects to those days not so long gone. Sure, the place still sees its share of great crowds and awesome talent, but I long for the days of packed house, long lines. This place, if nothing else, deserves that for it's 21st birthday. For us, Respects is the gift that keeps on giving. Pix by ICTV1's Michael Alicea, JR Davis and Neil London.