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Bumping at the Pink, Individually

April 09, 1998|HEIDI SIGMUND CUDA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Billy Idol had the right idea when he wrote, "If I had a chance, I'd wanna dance, and I'd be dancing with myself." It was nothing personal, it's just that dancing solo allows one the opportunity to really get into the music without the hindrance of factoring someone else's movement or agenda into the mix. To top it off, it eliminates fear of rejection, without compromising any of the fun.

At Bump, a new Wednesday night "speed garage" dance club at the Pink in Santa Monica, this attitude's in full force. In part, it's linked to the music. Those clever Brits, never short on developing new terms and sonicscapes to keep the dance club flames a-flickering, have come up with this latest rage--speed garage, a marriage between techno music, heavy drum 'n' bass and sci-fi elements.

Whether it's your cup of techno tea or not, it's absolutely infectious. On a recent Wednesday, neither the doorman nor the bartenders nor those waiting in line to use the loo could keep from tapping their feet or bopping their heads. If a hearing-impaired alien popped in for a bit, he/she'd think everybody had gone batty. There was a dread-locked dancer moving in acid-flashback slo-mo, roving around next to a Gucci'd-out diva, who, with eyes closed, appeared to be taking first place in her own private "Star Search."

The Pink, which has become the Westside's flagship club for all forms of electronic dance music, is sort of a second home to those involved in this culture, and it's such an unpretentious space (little more than a brick bar with a dance floor, raised deejay booth and a coed bathroom) people are comfortable from the get-go.

Those populating Bump, a partnership between a new media company, Green Galactic, and Gratitude promotions, are folks who were reared at warehouse raves and seem to feel an immediate connection with the music.

Watching people stream into the club and out onto the dance floor is a sociological experiment in postmodern abandonment. Most enter alone, strutting to the music, of course, and then quickly head out onto the dance floor, securing a corner to themselves, where they dance for hours on end. Bump's house deejay, DJ@Large (a.k.a. MacEwan Patterson), keeps them occupied with seemingly endless fast-paced beats. But every so often, the music slows down and enters an eerie "Star Trek" meets "Twilight Zone" zone before he brings it back up to full-throttle again. As hinted by Patterson's moniker, which utilizes cyberspace's ubiquitous @ symbol, it wouldn't be surprising if most of the dancers had Web sites to call their own.

"This form of electronic music appeals to Internet community geeks," says Susan Mainzer, a partner in Bump. "They connect with what's going on here."

If the dance floor is any illustration, Bump seems to appeal to cyber-lit Deadheads, skaters, the pocket protector set, boarders, surfers, fly girls, B-boys and everything in between. It's not industry heavy (a nice change of pace for L.A.), which gives the promotion a feeling of sincerity.

Perhaps the most interesting element is earmarked through the music, how this cross-generational and cross-cultural mix of people is seemingly relating to the music together, while still interpreting it individually.

BE THERE

Bump at the Pink on Wednesdays, 2810 Main St., Santa Monica, (310) 392-1077. 21 and over, $5 cover.

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