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WANNA DANCE?

Odyssey Reprising the '80s; Can Tomorrow Be Far Behind?

August 05, 1993|ROSE APODACA

So what could possibly strike next in the ceaseless regurgitation of anything retro? Try the '80s. As the '70s run their course in every mainstream nightclub and on just about every radio station, pop-scene pushers are moving on to the next decade, and Orange County is uncharacteristically on the crest with the Odyssey every Saturday night at Club 5902 in Huntington Beach.

(L.A.'s 1984 nightclub, served up these last months by the folks behind Club 1970s, has been temporarily closed despite its huge success.)

Veteran club-goers might recall the original Odyssey in L.A., where dance fiends who refused to sit out just because disco had been publicly pronounced dead could congregate. Way back then (such a stretch to remember), disco emerged with its 6/8 beat, not as a black woman in stilettos and a wrap-around dress, but as a skinny, pale-white Englishman with too much black eyeliner and clad as something of a Gothic pirate. There, Donna Summer took a back seat to Adam Ant.

Fortunately, no one is showing up at the new Odyssey in such gear. But there are signs that patrons, mostly in their 20s and early 30s, do remember those years. To the tunes of Visage, Sparks, the Flying Lizards and others, many of those on the floor act out the lyrics in overly theatrical, new romantic style--not unlike moves last seen in a Sprockets skit on "Saturday Night Live."

Spinning the bouncy Eurodisco and New Wave blasts are DJs Beej, Mr. X and Bumper, who played at the original Odyssey club. This short trip back to the '80s is the creation of Beej and partner Gary Blitz, who introduced the '70s rage to county clubbers last year with Disco 2000, the still-popular Thursday night program at 5902.

As with most decade retrospectives, the playlist for Odyssey cheats a little. The musical style of the '80s actually began about 1978, according to Blitz, so the playlist will include selections from that year through 1985. And although hits from Talk Talk, Dead or Alive, Bananarama and the B52s get play, this is no KROQ flashback party. Early Madonna and Prince get mixed in. Emphasis is on danceable ditties--so don't bother requesting something from Fear, even though vintage clips of that and other punk bands run on the dozen or so TVs throughout the club.

Only a month old, Odyssey is still developing a following. Currently, it's an odd mix of hot and not. Last Saturday, there were only about four dozen folks there at 10:30; an hour later that number had tripled. To woo them in earlier, the bar offers $2 wells, wine and domestic beers until 10 p.m.

Considering the current state of nightclubs, where everyone is essentially doing the same thing, this is one alternative that shows potential.

*

Grab your skates! Beej will be host to an all-night roller-disco party at the Fountain Valley Skating Center on Sunday, Sept. 5 (it's Labor Day weekend) from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Call (714) 550-4775 for more information.

Rose Apodaca is a free-lance writer who regularly contributes to The Times Orange County Edition.

* ODYSSEY AT CLUB 5902

* 5902 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach.

* (714) 254-7400.

* Saturdays only, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.

* Cover: $5.

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