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O.C. Clubs | WANNA DANCE?

An Eyeful at Club Atlasphere

May 27, 1999|ZAN DUBIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Club culture is nothing if not reliable. The details may differ, but, regardless of night, venue or music vibe, you can usually count on observing certain dimly lighted, amusing escapades for added entertainment.

The parade began early on a recent Saturday at Atlasphere, which each week brings hip-hop and house to the Seaport Marina Hotel in Long Beach. Casey Bauer Wheat of Huntington Beach is the head promoter.

A small bevy of shapely ladies wrapped in super-tight, super-short skirts got lots of attention, especially because they kept mincing across a still-empty, spacious dance floor in treacherously high, come-hither heels to disappear into a door leading behind the club's stage. Ooh, mystery!

The bevy also inexplicably exited the club entirely and returned--about three times in one hour--slowly and elaborately pulling on their fluffy, fake fur-cuffed jackets as they left and flouncing them back down on leathery banquettes when they returned.

Naturally, one or two uninhibited souls danced alone, with feeling, while the crowd took its time to warm to the idea. This started even before the TV monitors, another club must, started to flicker futuristic Japanese cartoons, the kind with the equally ubiquitous saucer-eyed superheroes.

The cranked-up music had begun, of course, courtesy of Melo-d and Curse, deejays from KKBT-FM (92.3 the Beat), who didn't blip out the profanity or racial epithets in the urban tunes they spun. Independent deejay Matthew LaCapria rotated mainstream house in the club's smaller room, which glowed cool with small blue lights and a huge photo of rat packers Frank, Dean and Sammy sporting huge grins and cigarettes.

And what would a party be without somebody taking off something? That loopy activity was provided by an animated chap who removed his T while hopping around one of the banquettes in a way that distantly recalled the moves of blues man Rod Piazza, who has played the hotel's cabaret-style lounge.

When Five Degrees of Soul, a funky jazz band, played later in the evening, the twentysomething crowd--finally warmed up--got down to the beat. The vibe turned very sensual. And that, for certain, is one of the things you'll see no matter where you go in clubland.

BE THERE

Atlasphere, Seaport Marina Hotel, 6400 Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach. Saturdays, 9 p.m.-2 a.m. (562) 434-8451 or (949) 580-5889. Cover: $10.

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