Weekend Open Thread: Prince in Laguna’s Boom Boom Room


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The passing, or transition as somebody put it, of Prince brought memories of the Boom Boom Room. The people dancing at the funky synthesised music at this nightclub got louder and wilder whenever a Prince tune was played. The crowd became almost militant, shouting while dancing, and their exuberant gayness swept the few straight souls joining them in solidarity, just in the dancing, mind you.

This explosive outpouring of emotions is explained here by this person:

“If you were a kid growing up in the ’80s—maybe let’s say you’re gay too—this is what you first learned about sex: It will kill you. You don’t have sex yet; you don’t even really know what it is, but you know that it is lethal. That somehow it leads to the men with the skeletal bodies and the blotchy marks on their skin that you see on the television, the men who don’t look at the camera and are alone….But then, one day on the radio, a song blows those doors open….On one side of your childhood, there is Reagan and AIDS and nuclear war and the yelling Christians. And on the other side, there is Prince.”

Another person’s experience:

“…I didn’t want anyone seeing me dancing in such a queeny fashion to these songs, and I didn’t want anyone looking at me in general. I was a biracial child, often criticized for not being black enough, and I was going to grow up to be gay – though I didn’t know this yet, or even the language to question being straight. I didn’t want to be stared at in my confusion, or to be reminded of how I had no idea what was happening to my pubescent body…

…In recent years, long after I figured I was gay, I started buying Prince on vinyl: five albums have gotten me through writing this: 1999, Parade, Controversy, For You, and Around the World in a Day. Prince was so ahead of me in my own understanding of what it means to be black in this country, to have a sexuality and gender expression at odds with the white men who try to tell everyone else how to behave – and to embrace what is amorphous, not easily categorized, beautiful, and yet unknown.”

The Boom Boom Room closed as the booming real estate market in Laguna Beach took over. The people who danced there, surviving the reluctance to acknowledge their humanity, are thankful to Prince and many others who accepted them.

This is your weekend open thread, discuss this or that or anything in a reasonably nice way.


About Ricardo Toro

Anaheim resident for several decades. In addition to political blogging, another area of interest is providing habitats for the Monarch butterfly. http://www.orangejuiceblog.com/2013/12/caterpillars-crossing-in-a-city-at-a-crossroads/