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Photos for this report are online at
Most of our usual gang was either out of town or doing a fondue party
for New Year's Eve, so we rounded up a small rag-tag bunch and found
what entertainment we could ourselves. We kicked things off with
fruity drinks at Trader Vick's where the hotel was hosting some kind
of vacation bible study for teens. However, none of them were
studying in the basement bar. Instead it was half-full of tourists
and others looking for a quieter NYE party. A small band cranked out
vaguely island-flavored cover tunes, trying to get folks to dance
along. A fun but somewhat expensive appetizer for the night's
We hit Echo Lounge before the opening act and got cheaper, less
decorative drinks and settled into the back room for conversation and
random bursts of dancing to the jukebox. Familiar faces drifted
through, many Star Bar regulars chased out of their traditional haunt
by Romeo Cologne, mixed with other old acquaintances I'd almost
Speaking of, either I hadn't seen Shannon Wright before or I'd
forgotten. She does noisy, howly tunes and bangs out disconcerting
racket on her guitar backed up only by drums (what is it with
two-piece bands lately? I feel sorry for bass players.) I could have
enjoyed it, if it hadn't been so melancholy. I was in the mood for
something more festive.
After a countdown to midnight, The Forty Fives delivered the festive
fare I desired, with their Cavern Club era high-energy go-go-GO. The
place was only a bit more than half full, but everyone was shaking
almost as hard as the band. Excellent stuff. But some of our
followers preferred to philosophize in the back room, occasionally
getting up to shake booty to the disco and funk the jukebox cranked
out. Fun moments that made me wish I could be in two places at once,
both the main and back rooms of Echo, as well as the Star Bar. Heck,
why stop there, I wish I could have joined the degenerates that
headed down to Florida, and those that headed to the Bahamas, and...
But with recent cat expenses and nursing duties, we were stuck in
town in a singular existence, and since I can only be in one place at
once I opted for the Rock*A*Teens' final show.
They came on after a short break and cranked up their usual stuff,
featuring a few tunes off each of their CD's, even reaching back to
their first release. Speaking of, I looked over and spotted Kelly
Hogan in the crowd standing impassively despite the long, excellent
set. But after a break, R*A*T returned and called her up on stage for
a reunion of sorts, the first time they've been on stage together in
god only knows how long, and rumor has it the last time as well.
Unfortunately the rest of my party was too pooped, and intoxicated,
to party much more so I only caught a bit of the encore before we
headed out into the night in search of a cab home.

So now it's a new year. I ran into several degenerates on New Year's
Eve who were glad to see the old year pass. It was a tough one for a
lot of us. I spent most of the year looking for work and broke.
Long-time friend and fellow degenerate, DM, passed away. Few of the
things I wanted to accomplish got done. And, in my opinion, the
country as a whole continued a downward slide, both economically and
politically. So let's hope 2003 brings an upswing on all fronts. I've
resolved to make my personal fronts swing positive, and as long as I
stay employed and SW can put up with me I think I can manage to save
a few bucks, get the T-bird running reliably, get off the couch a few
times a week, and plan my escape from the country. Hope the rest of
you can achieve your goals for '03!


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