Photos by Nate Miller
This past weekend, I went on an organized club crawl of Hollywood, California. I’d never been to “the club” before. Or any club, actually. Something you probably gathered from the fact that I just referred to "the club" as "the club."
Hollywood is—suspend your disbelief—lookist. Nowhere is this sad, solemn truth more evident than in “the club.”
Harris, the amiable young man who runs the club crawl I went on, explained to me, “If you’re a pretty girl in Hollywood, people just give you stuff. This is a way for, if you go with your friends and maybe all of them aren’t the hottest, you can still have a good time.” The “this” he’s referring to is the Hollywood Club Crawl, of which he’s a co-owner and organizer.
For a nominal fee, the Crawl offers plebes like you and I a “legendary night out in Hollywood,” providing unfettered access to four different clubs without the indignity of additional cover charges, waiting in line, or being judged for one’s appearance (or lack thereof). As Harris spoke, I looked around. No one in my periphery was “the hottest,” but they sure as shit weren’t uggos. I quickly realized, however, than in the context of where we were headed (a “fashion” themed nightclub one block away from Hollywood Boulevard), they may as well all be the Elephant Man.
Want to get into “the club” without the assistance of a man like Harris? Prepare yourself for a thoroughly debasing experience. Booking a reservation for a Hollywood club online, generally, entails sending them a link to your Facebook profile. If you’re “hot,” you’re on the list. If you’re “not,” you’re, uh, not.
Wanna just roll up on “the club” with your Entourage-esque consortium of bros? Unless you’re an MVR (Most Valuable [ALLEGED] Rapist) like Kobe Bryant, you’ll have to pay a cover and buy bottle service, which’ll run your ass anywhere from $300 to $3,000. Ladies night? Hope you don’t mind irreparably damaging your ego (and the friendship you share with your sorority sisters) when only the attractive members of your party are allowed entrance.
“The club” is shameless. “The club” is ruthless. Money, however, is America’s great equalizer. Give the Crawl, not the club, your money and they’ll give you personhood in return.
Curious to know how much cash one needs to drop in order to be treated like a human being? $20. Twenty. Fucking. Dollars. It takes 20 measly dollars to avoid irreparable damage to your self-worth. Ladies and gents, the Crawl is doing the Lord’s work. Well, they would be doing the Lord’s work, if the Lord existed. I’m inclined to say He doesn’t, though, because no God in His right mind wouldn’t smite a place whose claim to fame is a “world famous shower show.”
Harris grew up on a horse farm, which prepared him well for his current career. There were 150 people “crawling” that night, and it’s his job to lead them from club to club. The success rate of people making it to the fourth and final club is around 70 percent, mostly due to the fact that when people enter Boulevard3 [sic], home of the aforementioned shower show, they “don’t want to leave.”
I didn’t want to start. At 10 PM on a Saturday, I entered the Crawl’s first location, a “gastropub” (sigh) on Cahuenga. Rihanna’s “We Found Love” played overhead at a level I found aggressively loud; I would soon find out, however, that “aggressively loud” is actually “moderate volume” to this demographic. The chorus, with lyrics about “[finding] love in a hopeless place,” seemed appropriate.
Wide-eyed, enthusiastic youngsters did shots and caterwauled into the void. They were, I assumed, there to find love. Failing that, a handjob in the dark recesses of a nightclub booth would suffice. The likelihood of them finding love in this environment, however, seemed tantamount to that of finding Joseph Kony there.
An already weak-kneed bachelorette party, poured into skintight black dresses, bounced along to Kelis’ “Milkshake” and stared at their cell phones. A group of awkward young men whose aesthetics screamed “engineering students” puffed cigars on the patio, the smoke wafting around the faces of a sangria-drinking couple and their sleeping infant. Multiple grown-ass women shamelessly sported sashes, tiaras, and sparkles. Harris whooped for us to finish our drinks. The Crawl began.
One by one, the human livestock Harris was employed to wrangle filed out of the gastropub. A homeless man, who had set up shop immediately in front of the exit, was ignored en masse by this cavalcade of dancing drunks. The sidewalk filled with the overwhelming aroma of moderately priced cologne. A bro behind me murmured in amazement to his friend. “All these tall bitches,” he marveled. “Damn.”
The first stop was Couture, the aforementioned fashion-themed club. A smoke machine buzzed in the corner of the small, short-ceilinged room. Waitresses, wearing horribly dated [read: unfashionable] bustier/short-short combos, carted walkie-talkies around in their cleavage. Youngish professionals rhythmlessly bounced to non-music music, the lyrics of which expressed the singer’s desire for some unnamed party’s body. A woman scowled as she waited for a man to pour her a drink from the $450 bottle of liquor they had just purchased. I was bored upon arrival. I was not, however, drunk.
After Couture, we schlepped over to Boulevard3 [sic]. In a scene where clubs generally only exist for six months or less, the fact that Boulevard3 [sic] had been open since 2006 was an anomaly. The place must be good, I thought. Good is a relative concept.
The first thing I heard upon arrival was Lil Jon screaming at me from the PA system. The first thing I saw was a woman, wearing nothing but a bra and panties, writhing around in a bubble-filled pond. She was, I imagined, actively getting a yeast infection for my amusement and titillation. I appreciated her service.
Inside, a woman filled to the whitened teeth with dreams, aggressively popped and locked on an enormous stage. A man wearing stilts and a fedora popped and locked right alongside her. A shirtless man showed up and commenced popping and locking in an even more aggressive fashion. The crowd went wild.
I paid $11 for a gin and tonic. I got a swing ride from the bubble girl. I didn't make it to the forth location.
I, in spite of it all, enjoyed myself. Even though I could stand to lose a few pounds.
More adventures with Megan: