At this point, I just want to reflect on the last night at the Upstage.
Eleven years ago, I was going to Philly once every other month just so I could get a goth fix. I was unhappy with Babylon before it closed, and then after it closed there was nothing in Pittsburgh anyway. So, I'd go to Philly where I had a friend willing to put me up and I could go to his concerts as part of his new concert promotions role (Yes, that would be Patrick). And I could get dressed up and hang out with people and dance to music I liked.
Then, ten years ago, Ceremony started. It was like a Hallelujah chorus for my social life in Pittsburgh. There was a club with good music happening right down the street from me (I lived on Forbes at the time). Plus... there were all these people there who were ... GOTHS. I had never known there were so many in Pittsburgh; it turned out that we were all little isolated pockets of goth groups that had no knowledge of any others.
Thus, it was a time of great coming together. We were all so excited to see others in Pittsburgh, we forgot the goth snobbery and stayed friendly to all new people. We were also more casual, since there were the industrial folks mixed with the goth folks mixed with the weekenders, and we just didn't care. Punks were also welcome, since most of the older people hung out with the local punks. This atmosphere of acceptance and friendliness lasted for quite some time (and is mostly still about today), and made the Pittsburgh scene entirely unique in the world. It was an amazing time.
Between 1997 and 1999, I never missed a night (unless I was out of town). Even if I stopped in for fifteen minutes, I went just to talk to people. Hell, I even set my address in my .plan file to that building's address (3609 Forbes, I'll always remember that). I often went to the Upstage for 80's night as well. I will never forget those Monkey Boys.
As the result of conversations in that club, I started up pghgoth.com and maintained the local page until 1999 (I still own the domain). I also learned a lot about computers in that club, since a large number of people who go are geeks. I still miss Cath, Brandon, Christy and Megan, Bradley, Mikey, Jasin, Howard and so many others who were regulars that year who are no longer in Pittsburgh. Those were exceptional times.
Then I moved to the SF Bay Area for a couple years, though I made sure to attend Ceremony when I was back in town. I stopped clubbing so often because the first year I was in that area, I was too far south to really get to the SF nights on a regular basis. Plus, I was too busy with work and learning. I got out of the habit of going so often those years.
After I returned, the night moved to Saturdays, and then down to The Upstage (or did those happen together, I'm fuzzy on this detail now). I remember the last night at Laga, helping to carry Bradley down the steps at the end of the night. I was sad then, too. It was the end of our first great place to gather.
After it moved, I really feel like it started to stagnate. People stopped being so friendly, there was competition for the more limited space. The music kept being turned up louder and louder, which was also hard in that limited space -- so conversations were harder to keep up. Of course, my life took a more busy direction, and since I was no longer used to going out every week, I stopped going a lot myself. But still, even when I went, there were still a lot of people from upstairs going and I could hang out with them for at least a little while. I invariably always took a moment to look at the mirror and remember the Monkey Boys and the old days.
And now, that too is gone. Ten years of my life at that place, and it's now apartments and will be office space. It almost feels like it's erasing those experiences of my life away. I know it's a sin of nostalgia I'm committing for this emotion, but I'm sad about it all. Life and things should change and redefine themselves so that progress can happen, but my sentiments don't like it sometimes. It's the end of an era, and with change of location comes change of atmosphere.
Anyway, I am hoping that the population of the Last Night will continue into Pegasus' first nights with Ceremony. If that's the case, then perhaps the stagnantion our scene has been suffering the past few years can leave. And hopefully we can retain our friendly and accepting culture through the new place. I would be happy to see the scene revitalized by this change, despite my nostalgic sentiments.