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Oh, to Be 17 Once Again

Well, here's your chance. At Seventeen, '70s disco is pumping, and memories come thumping back too.

October 12, 2000|HEIDI SIEGMUND CUDA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

There he is, with his puppy dog eyes and button-down shirt. Donny Osmond. Isn't he a dream? Well, that's how we viewed him in the '70s anyway. The smile that made a million hearts flutter is now background for posters advertising Seventeen, Hollywood's latest dance craze.

Every Friday night at Goldfingers, Seventeen promises a chance to relive the decade that brought you the pet rock, feathered hair and that all-consuming pastime, washing down Pop Rocks with Coca-Cola. It delivers an innocent good time from the era that brought you "Good Times." That memorable theme song even makes its way onto promoter Apollo Starr's turntable.

Starr's adventures in Hollywood night life currently include Camaro at the Viper Room, where he's the resident deejay, and Make-Up, where he's resident photographer. (If you haven't witnessed one of his photo shoots at the monthly club, you must. Imagine a youth from the Inland Empire who discovered drag the day before posing in Mommy's clothes. It's simultaneously amusing and endearing.)

Diversity of the Crowd Is Almost Surreal

The Seventeen concept is simple: Play the worst tunes of the '70s and people will come. But who knows where they're coming from. Starr didn't send out any mass mailing, and these are new faces. The diversity of the crowd is almost surreal. I saw a man who was a giant--in the real sense of the word. There were cute girls who didn't quite have it yet making fresh debuts on the scene. I even saw a burly guy with neck tattoos wearing a sweater vest.

Here's the best news of all: It's a guy-meets-girl dance club, without sleaze and a bad deejay. Well, let me qualify that. If you venture to Seventeen, you will be subject to Barry Manilow belting out "Copacabana." Rod Stewart will ask if you think he's sexy. (Lemme hear you say yeah!) And Olivia Newton-John will take you to Xanadu-oo-oo. You'll sing along and, perhaps surprisingly, hope to be whisked onto the dance floor.

And as sure as Britney Spears will be rocking a Czech Republic disco in the year 2020, the kitsch gold of the 1970s will sweep you off your feet here. Just from the freaks there's "Super Freak" by Rick James, "Le Freak" by Chic and anything from that super-cool queen freak Blondie. "Call Me" is of course a Seventeen staple.

Rocker Coyote Shivers warmed clubgoers to Seventeen's venue, Goldfingers, where he nurtured a disco vibe that grew into the Saturday Night Finger promotion. The small dark club had been lukewarm for a spell, however. Its Yucca-corridor location made Westsiders go "Yuck!" and its quasi-dingy decor didn't help. Its old name, Hell's Gate, fit the location.

Well, now Black Sabbath is in vogue, hell's looking better and better, and Goldfingers is gaining steam. The red-hot Cadillac Club moved in on Thursdays. Dayle Gloria just started promoting Kro-Bar, a cheap rock night on Tuesdays. Goldfingers already scored Taime Downe and Ricky Vodka's first joint promotion, Sunday's Kingpin, also a rock night. Throw in Shivers and Starr, and the gang's all there.

Goldfingers is now close to rekindling the spirit of Small's K.O., which is a very good thing. The closing of Small's a few years back left a hole in the heart of the Hollywood scene that has been only partly filled by the Burgundy Room. Small's smelled like rockers out on last call. (Please pause for a moment of odoriferous silence.) With the addition of Seventeen, Goldfingers acquires a little more of that stank.

BE THERE

Seventeen at Goldfingers on Fridays, 6423 Yucca St., Hollywood, (323) 962-2913. 21 and over, $5 cover.

Heidi Siegmund Cuda is The Times' Club Buzz columnist and a writer-producer at Fox 11, KTTV-TV.

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