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The Fly-By-Night Club, famous for their slogan ("Going out of… - The Fucking Bluebird of Goddamn Happiness [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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[Aug. 22nd, 2006|04:12 pm]
[Current Mood |nostalgicnostalgic]

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.

From: akdidge
2006-08-23 12:28 am (UTC)
Mr. Whitekeys is just ready to retire.

That's one of the main reasons. He decided he didn't want to deal with the 80+ hour weeks when it was busy and decided that he and the other co-owner would sell the place. The new place (Players House of Rock) opening up is going to be dedicated (unofficially) to hockey (the Aces away games will be televised here now) and monday night football.

If you're interested in the article (unless you haven't seen it) can be found here.

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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-23 12:30 am (UTC)
Thanks. Being this far away now, I don't usually see the news from AK.
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[User Picture]From: roninspoon
2006-08-23 03:30 am (UTC)
July 31st, 1980 is remarkably close to the date that I moved to Anchorage. The name of the club didn't ring any bells and I couldn't remember it until I followed the link and saw the picture of the airplane tail sticking out of the roof. That I remembered.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-23 10:36 am (UTC)
Iconic, it was.
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[User Picture]From: moropus
2006-08-23 12:10 pm (UTC)
How could you possibly sully or slander Spam? I mean, it's Spam. So does Hormel know about the song or the email refered to as Spam? Does anyone really know what's in a Spam? Yeah, I got Spam. I like it cubed, and scrambled in eggs. I also like it sliced and fried. Yes, I admit I like Spam. I still don't know what it is, and like sausages, I think most people are happier if they don't know. I suspect the ingredients are the same.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-23 02:58 pm (UTC)
Hormel suffered a short bout of taking itself much too seriously. They apparently got over it!
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[User Picture]From: dweezel
2006-08-24 12:43 am (UTC)
You know, I always wondered what that plane was doing in that building. But Spenard was like South East DC, better to be wondered about from afar. I never saw the show while we were there. Of course, I didn't do a lot of my own thinking either, but that's another story. I really miss Anchorage sometimes.

And of course, I truly love Spam. It is a great food.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-24 01:54 am (UTC)
Sounds like you are working through some things. It didn't show - I thought you were very independent back then.

I'm sorry it never came up; I would have urged you to take it in.
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[User Picture]From: dweezel
2006-08-25 12:29 am (UTC)
No heavy things, I've just come to the realization that I spent a lot of time following others instead of thinking on my own. Mostly because I am inherently lazy. All on me, no bashing. This is the first time I've been on my own ever and it took me a while to realize that I could just do whatever I wanted without checking with someone. And that if I wanted to do anything, I would have to come up with it on my own. I do regret that I didn't get into the whole nature thing until after I left Alaska. What a waste. But still love Spam. You know there's a whole Spam festival somewhere and they make all kinds of dishes and carvings. I think it's been going on for like 18 or 20 years or something. Did Hormel go after them as well? Can't remember where it is, I saw it on Food Network one night. ANyway...
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2006-08-25 12:38 am (UTC)
Hormel probably left them alone because it was wholesome, and The Fly-By-Night Club was gloriously seedy.

Getting to actually go hiking in Germany was great, but also made me want to cry. It's so much harder to get to these days.
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