||[Aug. 22nd, 2006|04:12 pm]
The Fly-By-Night Club, famous for their slogan ("Going out of Business in the Same Location for Over 20 Years"), is actually going out of business.
That makes me sad.
The Fly-By-Night Club is the yang to the Velvet Tango Room's yin. Where the VTR celebrates all that is elegant and charming, The Fly-By-Night Club celebrated everything that was garish and ridiculous about Alaska.
And believe me, there is a lot that is garish and ridiculous about Alaska.
No one went to The Fly-By-Night Club just for a drink; you went for the show. For 26 years, Mr. Whitekeys and the Spamtones (later, when Hormel threatened lawsuit, the Band Formerly Known as the Spamtones; Hormel eventually gave up) spent 2 and a half hilarious hours sending up Alaska, Alaskans, and especially tourists (oh, how we all loved to laugh at the tourists). They did parody songs about the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, about combat fishing on the Kenai (a woman in a costume that can only be described as a salmon tutu doing her best Evita and belting out, "Don't Fish For Me in Talkeetna!"), junk cars, duct tape, women's fashion (chanteuse, to stripper music, bumping and grinding as she layered on a full set of winter gear while the audience whistled, stomped, and yelled "put it on!"), slide shows of the hysterical typos in local newspapers....
And of course Spam.
Alaska is second only to Hawaii in its consumption of the mysterious, tinned "meat product" known as Spam. This makes sense, since Spam is a handy way of transporting protein that does not readily rot. But Mr. Whitekeys took this love of Spam to dizzying heights of absurdity. And depths. And lengths. People from all over the world sent Mr. Whitekeys pictures of that little blue tin: in Shinto temples, on the Kalahari, scubadiving off New Zealand, from the top of Mt. Everest. When Hormel, concerned that its homely little meat product was having its reputation sullied (?!), wrote its cease and desist letter, Mr. Whitekeys framed it.
It still hangs in the foyer of The Fly-By-Night Club. Or it will, until September 8, when all this riotous comedy comes to a halt. I don't know why the club is closing. Perhaps Mr. Whitekeys is just ready to retire. Perhaps the claptrap building there in Spenard (a neighborhood so seedy that a spousal murder in Alaska is referred to as a "Spenard divorce") has fallen into such disrepair that it's not worth the cost of repair.
But whatever the reason, this long-lived institution (and believe me, in Anchorage 26 years is a long-lived institution!) is coming to an end. If by some miracle you are going to be in Anchorage between now and close of business, line up early outside the door, get one of the last remaining seats, and say goodbye for me.
You can tell them that this woman you know on the internet used to be married to a guy who knocked Michael Landon on his ass outside a ski chalet in Colorado.