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Welcome to Their Nightmare

March 14, 1991|ROSE APODACA | Rose Apodaca is a free-lance writer who occasionally contributes to The Times Orange County Edition.

The disco nightclub NYC, otherwise dubbed by the county counterculture as the Newport Yuppie Club, is now occasionally home to a different kind of crowd. Last month the Newport Beach club drew more than 600 people for its debut of Cafe of Nightmares, a monthly showcase of alternative expression, art and music.

The event, which reconvenes Wednesday, was organized by Charlie Yoon, co-owner of Black Market Art Gallery. The gallery is across from NYC and holds its own evenings of offbeat entertainment every Friday night on a smaller scale.

Yoon saw the need to expand the events to a larger space and format than he can offer in his gallery. He also wanted to rouse county artists and musicians toward redeveloping an alternative scene in an area that was once home to the Cuckoo's Nest, the infamous punk haven.

"Basically, I'm trying to unite everyone and start something positive . . . to shake the complacency and conservatism that exists around here," he said.

Cafe of Nightmares is an eclectic batch of original bands, performance poetry and art, modern dance and recorded funk and punk music. The format will stay consistent from month to month, but the featured artists and bands will change.

Sculptors and painters will create during the evening, either under spotlight or nonchalantly in the crowd. Works by local artists are installed especially for the night and exhibited throughout the club. And the Fitzgerald Modern Dance Troupe--which last month performed a four-part dance, titled Enigma, while wearing only white cloths tied around their waists and literally crawling the walls--will present a new performance this month.

Gothic overtones characterize the Cafe of Nightmares, with the two dance rooms transformed into "chambers," and a "voice of God" introducing the acts over the public address system. But no specific genre of music or art is targeted.

Diversity may be a dream come true for members of the local counterculture, who usually trek outside the county to see alternative bands or to meet people who are not obsessed with MBAs or BMWs.

"People aren't going to burn out on it, because I'm not worried about capturing a big, mainstream audience," Yoon said.

Last month's debut had problems with pacing and energy, mostly the result of scheduling too many acts in too little time. So this Wednesday's show will begin earlier and move faster, organizers hope.

This month's edition will feature bands Johnny Monster and the Nightmares, the Pivot Foots and Face Value, plus painter Doug Boyce.

What: "Cafe of Nightmares."

When: Wednesday, March 20, at 8 p.m.

Where: NYC, 1670 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa.

Whereabouts: Take the Costa Mesa (55) Freeway to Newport Boulevard. The club is at Newport Boulevard and 17th Street.

Wherewithal: $5.

Where to Call: (714) 645-6830.

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