“Peeps Can’t Dance : Or Can They?” read the message from local musician Mike McHugh that arrived in my inbox last week, inviting me to a “groove-oriented show at The James Joyce. The challenge will be,” the email went on to explain, “to see if we can adhere to the ‘Dancing Not Allowed’ policy.” It’s just like the movie Footloose, I thought to myself. I was in.
The city’s reluctance to dish out dance permits, in a passive-aggressive attempt to clamp down on saucy downtown shenanigans, has always seemed a tad counterintuitive to me. I mean, it stands to reason that if you’re at a bar where dancing is not allowed, that pretty much leaves cocktails as the primary form of entertainment. And while, as opposed to Kevin Bacon’s tormented Ren in the film, I don’t know that the Good Book needs to be brought into the debate, I think the logic behind the dancing-leads-to-trouble argument absolutely deserves to be challenged. But in the meantime, this “I dare you not to get funky” taunt had me intrigued. I’ve never met a dance floor I didn’t rip to shreds, and I’ve been known to get down in inappropriate spots-cages, stages, the middle of the street. In fact, I find the prospect of being in a cozy drinking establishment while listening to quality live music that I may not dance to wholly unnatural and exquisitely torturous-akin to staring at a giant hot fudge sundae, spoon in hand, but under orders not to eat it. This would be a novel experience for me, an exercise in willpower.
And so I made my way-sans my boogie shoes-to The James Joyce, ready to hear some good music, drink a pint or two of good Irish beer, eat a few peanuts, and check out the peeps dutifully refraining from getting their groove on. The music got going shortly after I arrived, and the peeps behaved. But as the night wore on, the music grew groovier, and it grew harder and harder to keep my toes from tapping, until, eventually, I must confess, I caved. Does this make me a criminal? I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure Kevin Bacon would be proud.