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WANNA DANCE?

Metropolis: It's an Il Wind That Blows Hot and Cool

July 28, 1994|ROSE APODACA JONES | Rose Apodaca Jones is a free-lance writer who contributes regularly to the Times Orange County Edition.

It seemed last week that all of the county's club-crawling denizens were at the opening of Il's House at Metropolis, a once-a-week hip-hop affair promoted by "Beverly Hills, 90210" star Brian Austin Green and his vinyl-spinning compadre, Tony Stewart.

More than 2,000 hip party-goers age 18 and over cruised in and out of the club that Wednesday evening. The place was almost filled to capacity before 10 p.m. Even around midnight, 200 to 300 patrons crowded the entrance, vying to get in. Amazed Metropolis employees were heard saying the nightclub hasn't seen this much action since it opened late last year.

So what gives?

Attribute much of the enthusiasm to Green's decision to bring Il's House down from its original installation at Bar One in Los Angeles--something about a fallout between Green and Bar One's owner over the direction of the club. Much of that club's patronage hailed from the 714 area code anyway, according to the actor.

Count Green fans among the pack that showed up on opening night in Irvine. Throngs of young women with glazed, star-struck eyes and armed with pocket cameras flocked to Green, or at least tried to. They grabbed at his hand to kiss it, yelled out his name, giggled giddily over catching a glimpse of him and tried their darndest to just touch him. Some in this pushy bunch looked to be in their mid-20s, but they apparently still subscribe to Tiger Beat.

Green took it all in stride, noting that it's the fans who make the show successful. Still, it was fortunate that the majority of folks had a grip on reality and weren't fazed by the presence of their celebrity host.

The dance floor and any space nearby stayed thick with revelers possessed by the talents of deejay Stewart. This guy's got the Midas touch when it comes to hip-hop. He brought out plenty of familiar favorites, current and old school, as well as a mix of lesser known numbers. As long as Stewart's there, Il's House may thrive even without a teen idol on hand.

Besides bringing his club to where the regulars are, Green wanted to grace Orange County fans with a taste of what's up. "You guys have awful clubs down here," he commented between photo ops with girls. "There's nothing going on in Orange County."

Cynics who earnestly agree with this opinion might still object to hearing it from this trendy teen scream. But his statement was supported with a night that any promoter would envy, not just because it boasted one of the more fashionable crowds, but because it genuinely raged. Hate to admit this, but with all the stylish scenesters crowding Metropolis' fabulous interior, it didn't even look like an Orange County gig.

The key now is to maintain the excitement. It's a challenge to bring back the masses every weekend, let alone on a weeknight. And cost is a factor. Metropolis charged $5 at the door for patrons 21 and older and $8 for those 18 to 20 when Il's House premiered last week. But a ridiculous, flat $10 cover went into effect this week.

Add to that bar selections that don't come cheap in the later hours: domestic brew, $3.50; import beer and wells, $4 to $5; a glass of wine, $4; soda and bottled water $2. (Happy hour half-price specials for all beer, wells, wine and appetizers last until 10 p.m.)

Green hopes to keep them coming with occasional performances of his rap act, Il Styles A Rhyme (which the club was named after and which Stewart helps produce), as well as from his pals the Pharcyde, Baby Face and even a few rap attacks by Stewart.

With last week's showing, it's no longer an issue of whether county clubbies want this sort of party. It's whether they're willing to pay for it.

* IL'S HOUSE

* At Metropolis, 4255 Campus Drive, Irvine.

* (714) 725-0300.

* Wednesdays only, 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.

* Cover: $10.

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