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Home / Articles / Music / Nightgeist /  Reports from the scene
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Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010

Reports from the scene

The Jumping Turtle can't jump to the music anymore, Edgartronic calls it quits, Enrique experiences a sex-doll tale sans action and we chronicle Noble Experiment

By Seth Combs

Photo by James Norton

Yeah, yeah, we had pics of hipsters making out with Pabst cans and some girl-on-girl action. But how could you not love these two, uh, hairy lovebirds spotted at the grand re-opening of Flying Panther Tattoo & Gallery during the Valentine’s Day weekend? While the prospect of spawn might yield something looking like a cross between I’m Gonna Git You Sucka and The Hebrew Hammer, I’m happy for now that these two finally found someone to share their Afro pick with.

—Seth Combs

Locals Only

San Marcos joint The Jumping Turtle has lost its entertainment license and subsequently the ability to host live bands after a brawl broke out at the club in the early-morning hours on Saturday, Feb. 6. Four people were injured, including two stabbings, and two people were arrested, a Sheriff’s Department spokesperson said. According to a story published in the North County Times, the city of San Marcos suspended the venue’s entertainment permit on Tuesday, Feb. 9, for failing to maintain a safe environment. The NCT article quoted San Marcos City Manager Paul Malone, who said the “incident posed a serious threat to the public health, welfare and safety of San Marcos residents.” All shows at The Jumping Turtle have been cancelled. CityBeat’s calls to Jumping Turtle owners Matt Hall and Laura Mouradian were not returned by press time.

Ubiquitous scene DJ Edgartronic, best known for putting Air Conditioned Lounge on the map with his “Boombox Thursdays” night, is calling it quits, at least temporarily. “The fact is, it’s hard to keep visible and relevant (and try to be the best at what you do) when you’re juggling a career, personal life and family,” Edgartronic says on his website. “I’ve realized I’m only human and I can only do so much. So, the DJ life is getting put on hold.” He says he may be back, but it won’t be for at least a year.

Indie-rockers Recordable Colors will celebrate the release of their debut album on Saturday, Feb. 20, at The Ken Club, with Mia Valentine and Canton Mudders opening. On Friday, Feb. 19, Steve Poltz will play with both of his bands (The Rugburns and The Cynics) in celebration of his new LP, Dreamhouse, with special-guest collaborators Mojo Nixon, Anya Marina, A.J. Croce and others. And metal band The Long and Short of It will play at The Ruby Room on Saturday, Feb. 20, to celebrate the release of their new 7-inch single, “Welcome to Gnarlsberg.” Archons and The Grids will open.

Correction: This story originally reported that The Long and Short of It's new 7-inch single is "Turtle Island 2012."

—Seth Combs

Club Chronicles

From refurbished dives to the shiniest clubs, we scout and then rate the newest nightlife destinations. Grades are based on a five-bottle rating system with one bottle being poor and five bottles being a must-go-there-now.

Two’s a coincidence; three’s a trend. At least that’s what they tell me—to which I always like to reply, “Yeah, but three’s also a crowd.”

So, should I declare Noble Experiment (777 G St., Downtown) the grand culmination, and certainly the most deferential so far, of a speakeasy theme that began with Downtown bars like Vin de Syrah and Prohibition? Or, should I declare it a Johnny-come-lately taking advantage of the nightlife trend du jour and people’s misguided, romantic notions of what was, actually, a very depressing era (pun intended).

The truth is, it’s a little bit of both. Noble Experiment is located next to Neighborhood, an eatery best known for its burgers and microbrews; it’s not inconceivable that most people seeking it out might never find it due to a secret door that ranks up there with chameleons and Navy Seals in its ability to blend into the surroundings. Once inside, standing within a dark, narrow hallway, you’re greeted by a hostess who’ll check for your reservation (which you will have made, no shit, via text message to a phone number I’m not at liberty to disclose). Turn to the right, past the coat rack and the small picture of a New Orleans speakeasy, and then it hits you.

Hundreds of gold skulls line the left side of the wood-paneled interior (favorite politically incorrect line of the night: “It looks like they hired Pol Pot’s decorator”) of what used to be a two-story loft. At the bar, sincerely polite mixologists who look like extras from A Clockwork Orange work diligently, stirring, shaking and chipping away at specially made ice that, reportedly, melts slower. The cocktails are pricey, forsaking the ’30s-era—and today’s—need of frugality, but when you’ve hired drink maestro Sam Ross (who made Milk & Honey the go-to bar in New York) to oversee your menu, then the concoctions will always be unique, even if your palate isn’t necessarily mature enough to appreciate them.

To call the place Noble Experiment is a bit of a misnomer. This is a formula that has already worked at places like Milk & Honey and Bourbon & Branch in San Francisco. The fact that San Diego is a bit slow to the roll in almost every capacity of what’s vogue in other cities is forgivable. And Noble’s flaws—you can’t stretch your arms out on the back of the white leather booths without hitting jagged gold skulls—are minor in comparison with its strengths. It’s not a novel concept, but when there’s nothing else like it in the city and you can only entertain 40 or so people at a time, the novelty of Noble will not run its course anytime soon. 


4 bottles

—Seth Combs

The Enrique Experience

It takes a lot to drag me out of the house on a Sunday night, but a simple craigslist post titled “Sex-doll staged reading!” did the trick. The venue was Chula Vista’s 60-seat OnStage Playhouse, the playwright was 23-year-old Encinitas native Kevin Armento, and the play was A Companion Piece, the tale of Leonard, a lowly computer tech who’s meeting his online love in person for the first time—only problem is, he has a dirty secret, which comes in the form of an anatomically correct sex doll named Rosemary.

A fan of musical theater, I’ve never met a singing cat, tortured mask-wearing opera aficionado or gravity-defying witch story I haven’t liked. A reading, however, is just that: actors standing behind sheet-music stands emoting lines, as a narrator describes the action. “Leonard sneezes. She pulls out a Frisbee. (Wait several beats.) He sneezes again.” No glitz or glam, no razzle-dazzle, no tap-dancing felines and no actual doll. For a perv like me, it was like Jaws without the shark. The meat-and-potatoes, though, was the story itself, which, like Armento says, “walks the line between nuance and tedium.”

Originally intended as a radio play, the poignant take on 21st-century relationships got a little heated when the interaction between our hero and the doll took place. “He takes her top off, exposing her lifelike breasts with nipples. He takes off her underwear. His hand moves down her thigh….”

Inspired, I headed down the street to my favorite Chula Vista dive, Dock’s, which houses its own sexy doll, Dumpster Dolly, a salvaged mannequin that, according to the staff, is available for rent by the hour and is always dressed for the holidays (in this case, red slinky top and matching “Fuck me” skirt). Her hooker wig was off to the left. Her eyes said, “I’m a lady,” but her fiberglass cooch said otherwise.

I smell a sequel.

—Enrique Limón

A second reading of A Companion Piece will be held at OnStage Playhouse on Sunday, Feb. 21.