The lights were dim but fluorescent in Cure Lounge and the music was loud on Friday night. The DJ spun from his booth overlooking the joint where people once shook their hips, nodded their heads and, if so inclined, got jiggy with it. Just a couple weeks ago, the lounge would bring in between 250-300 people on its nights of operation said Miller Thomas, the general manager, but on Friday night it was a ghost town.
Three weeks ago, Cure was shut down for three days, effectively putting them out of business for a week, for violating the terms of their entertainment license. They can have a DJ and serve alcohol, a combination famously conducive to toe tapping and booty shaking, but dancing isn’t allowed at Cure. After multiple warnings from the city, it was their own clientele that got the place shut down because they just couldn’t sit still.
“We posted signs, maybe 20 or 30 signs throughout the lounge that said ‘no dancing please.’ Beyond that, I can’t stop someone from moving their hips short of saying you’ve got to get the hell out of here,” said Felix Page, owner of Cure.
The explanation for the requirement is the wonderfully vague standby: public safety.
I felt very stupid asking this question, but it needed addressing. Just how severe, how egregiously criminal, was the dancing?
“People stand by the tables where they’re sitting and they move their hips,” said Page. “I guess you could call it dancing, but it’s meaningless. Who does that affect? Who’s harmed by that?”
The Future Boston Alliance, a new nonprofit founded by Karmaloop CEO Greg Selkoe, has come into existence to address just this kind of issue with the aim of furthering the city’s cultural and entrepreneurial landscapes. But the organization’s claim that Boston is being hurt by its occasionally outdated outlook on life has been met with both praise and criticism.
Notably from the Boston Herald:
The new “Future Boston Alliance” claims it wants Boston to become “a city that says yes more than it says no” and that actually sounds terrific to us. But they’ll have to campaign for more than 24-hour gyms and, like, just letting the kids dance to keep our attention.
But it isn’t an issue of just, like, letting the kids dance. When you don’t let them dance, the effect can be damaging on the people who want only to run a business.
“So we had a violation of the entertainment license,” said Page. Shutting down “put maybe 50, 60 people out of work for this really meaningless crime.”
“It’s a very narrow window of opportunity. Nightclubs do business Friday and Saturday, when they close you for the weekend, that’s 100%. These are mostly young people who really depend on that money. It becomes a real hardship as well as putting us out of business.”
Standing outside the club on Friday night where the muscle had no one to keep out or let in, Thomas added that they’d likely cut much of the staff early in the night.
However, the club’s entertainment license is lacking the D word. Why didn’t they just get the right permits to begin with?
“Originally we applied for the license, we applied for dancing patrons,” said Page. “They told us that dancing would be restricted for six months, at the end of the six months, they said no anyway.”
‘They’, insisted Page and Thomas, is actually just one person. Patricia Malone, the director of consumer affairs and licensing in Boston “rules who can do things and not do things,” said Page.
All my questions about the definition of dance, what makes a dance floor a dance floor and the like, I was told to ask her.
I’ve reached out twice and have yet to hear back.
But whether the order comes from they, she or the royal we, telling people that they cannot dance is a waste of time.
By Dave Eisenberg, Re-posted from BostonInno.com
Photos by Ariel Shearer
File Under Boston Area Nightlife