View from the top of the Ace Hotel, OR, We were packed in like sardines

When last I left you I mentioned that I would share my experiences from a week ago at the Ace Hotel rooftop bar. I said I’d tell you about my experience with “clubbing.”

Working in a university provides an education and ease with many “twenty-something” cultural references and I can keep up with the language.  But I thought to be absolutely certain I was using the term “clubbing” accurately–I have a reputation to protect– I’d better check with another source.

Here’s what the Urban Dictionary has to say about clubbing:

“A favourite activity of the moronic majority, this involves being shunted like cattle into a converted warehouse… sadly not to be slaughtered, but to wear ridiculous trendy clothes, listen to crap eardrum-shattering music, try to pick up brainless members of the opposite sex, and generally stand around aimlessly in a desperate but pointless attempt to show how cool you are.”

Gheesh! A little harsh, don’t you think? We weren’t in a converted warehouse…we were at the top of pretty spectacular building.  We’ll get to “eardrum shattering” in a minute.

DSCN1863This shot is of the pool area and the bar extends from there to inside those gorgeous doors, with a larger bar and then out to another patio space.


There are no photos from our after hours party. There certainly was no room for me to take a photo. It was enough that I got myself in past the bouncers without making someone laugh.

I should have had an ear-trumpet, however. Free flowing alcohol probably contributed to some of the din; standing 18 inches from others in our group I still couldn’t understand more than a few words. I nodded enthusiastically from time to time and did my best.


No problem. I didn’t actually think I had the hearing of a twenty-five year old. I’m  also reasonably sure I was the only person eyeing the exits and thinking about crowd behavior if we had an earthquake. I always identify emergency exits, but in this case, there were too many people for me to strategize any reasonable exit plan.

I may have been somewhat out-of-place, yet I still had a good time. It was kind of fun to be in an environment that wouldn’t ordinarily have welcomed me and it is a bit of a hoot to know that I made it past the long, long line of hopefuls at the lobby door waiting for their opportunity to be invited inside. I was occupying crowded, but prime real estate.

At first I found the heavy, monotonous electronica really perplexing. I don’t know what a DJ actually does under these circumstances.  What I heard seemed to me a continuous loop of nearly indistinguishable pulsations.  A large screen reflected rapidly flashing images in sequence with each pulse.

Not my music. Not my crowd. But I enjoyed watching young people be young people. I’ve thought about my interpretation and the lens with which I made my judgments. I seem to remember that I was young once, too. It’s useful to think about that.

Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” has a permanent slot in my car CD changer. For forty years I’ve loved this concept album with its steadily synethesizer-punctuated  unusual sound effects. The band is often referred to as psychedelic or techno-rockers. The album is considered a classic, listed 43rd on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “500 Greatest Albums of all Time” (2012).

I’m pretty sure my parents and grandparents weren’t too impressed with Pink Floyd.

We stayed with the momentum for a couple of hours. Or maybe it only seemed like a couple of hours. And I was pleased to have made it through without causing a stir of embarrassment to myself or others.

It was very dark, so I don’t think anyone noticed when I had to scream over the crowd to get Jay’s attention and then use hand signals to indicate there was no way I could get myself out of the low-to-the ground overstuffed chaise that had saved me from standing in heels.

I think it was in my best interest that no photos were taken!

43 thoughts on “View from the top of the Ace Hotel, OR, We were packed in like sardines

  1. I would have loved to see photos …. you do know that admitting you struggled to hear in the club that age is catching up with you… for a long time now I’ve been very deaf in places with any background noise, and for years I’ve lip read… so I get away with being in such places as long as the person talking to me catches my attention… however because of this I tend to talk very loudly as my own voice makes me deaf and I can’t hear myself speak… so Linda always remains close and with hand signals and kicks on the shin reminds me to talk louder…
    DJ’s would probably turn up the volume if she didn’t do this… I can drown out the sounds they produce… lol

    1. I do completely relate to not hearing at all well when there is a lot of background noise. When friends want to meet for dinner I always insist we find someplace that is as quiet as possible or I might as well stay home. I think some of that hearing loss is a result of years and years of concerts and very loud music even at home. Notice that I’m doing my best to excuse it, rather than accept that it’s just a natural part of aging. I can live in denial if I want to! LOL! (I have a birthday this week…that might be part of my issue. ). 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, Rob!

      1. My excuse is years of shooting the army… not the 60s loud music and the head phones… nor age… happy birthday for whenever in the week. .. mine is Sunday

  2. The noise and the crush of the people …. even when I was 25 I would not have fit in. 🙂 And would have been eyeing the exits. Bar scene conversation….I wonder how many relationships have started or ended over conversations where one person is speaking…the other person smiling (or not) and nodding and getting most of the conversation from lip reading (when they can’t lip read). 🙂

    1. You know, that’s pretty funny, Colleen. Good question! How much outright misunderstanding takes place. Certainly nuance would be lost to all! I was never a part of any party scenes in my 20s. I had my first child at 21…party time was over. LOL!

      1. Like you, I never had (or wanted) any party scene. It was too much chaos for me. Today we were in a crowded bar/restaurant for lunch and I was nearly claustrophobic by the time we left. I am still okay with having missed this scene. 🙂

    1. Great song reference! 🙂 I can only imagine the 1980s in NYC–oh boy! I have always loved concert going, but my age and corresponding responsibilities never did quite line up with the broader party scene, and I think I wouldn’t have fit in very well at any decade anyway! Sounds like you may have had a little more fun! 🙂

  3. I knew you would make the best of it … and I would love to be in the minds of the youngsters when they saw you. 🙂 Gotta love the definition from the Urban Dictionary! Cheers to your effort!

    1. At least my son’s friends were very welcoming and a bit amused that we were more than willing to stay! I think I gained some points for being a good sport. I did laugh that “despite my party girl exterior [not]” I really didn’t have many opportunities for such events. That made one friend laugh very, very hard. I guess I made my point. 🙂 The Urban Dictionary definition really did make my day, Frank!

  4. I’d love to read side-by-side reports of that club that night – yours next to a twenty-something’s! It would be so interesting to see the different perspectives and the different focus each of you would take. I think it’s so interesting to, in a way, go back to where we once were, even though it’s somewhat changed. 🙂

    1. Side-by-side reporting would be very interesting! I would like to understand what the “music” contributes to the experience. If it had melody (I didn’t hear any) I wouldn’t have felt as disturbed by the volume. I enjoy my music loud if I’m not trying to hard to communicate! 🙂 I would probably really enjoy a conversation with either a DJ or young person with a strong musical context. I might learn something, and I’d welcome that. There has to be something to it–I think! Ha!

  5. What a hoot, Debra! I’m not sure I would have been allowed in, but, I do know I would have needed help getting out of the chaise. I had trouble getting on a revolving stool at the phone store last week. 🙂 Tom had to lower it and my nose touched the table, and, well . . .
    I’ll still start dancing if I hear Iron Butterfly’s In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, which my parents did not appreciate, from a time I could dance to the entire song (song?) and not gasp for breath. Ahh, you have me breathing lighter, my friend, and appreciating you all-the-more.

    1. Penny, You really gave me a chuckle with the picture I imagined of you on the revolving stool. We are occasionally really humbled, aren’t we? LOL! I also really relate to your memories of music from the past, including Iron Butterfly! How can we not smile and dance (at least sway a bit!) to music tied to our much younger selves. I think it’s a great gift that we humans can almost immediately be “back” to a special memory when we hear certain music. I suppose if I take that thought to its extreme I will have my son’s lovely wedding occasions to recall next time I see strobe lights! hahaha!

  6. I’ll echo your words . . . Not my music. Not my crowd.

    Last week, we watched a concert filmed at Red Rocks ~> British Floyd performed all the songs from Dark Side of the Moon. Stellar!

    1. Oh I’m so glad you saw that PBS show! I have it recorded and hoped it would be good. British Floyd is coming to Los Angeles in May and I actually considered it. LOL! I decided this was not something I needed to do right now, but I was tempted. I drag my poor husband to too many things that are not his thing! LOL!

  7. An adventure. We all need some of that, where we take the leap of faith from our comfort zone. I’m sure I would have deadened my hearing aids and did a lot of nodding and smiling.

    1. I’m sure that I enjoyed myself more because we were part of a larger party than had my husband and I been on our own. But I do think that it was a bit of an adventure to conduct my own sociological study. Thank you for stopping by, Narble!

  8. Debra, I never thought about always finding exits because of earthquake potential. Very good to know. The Urban Dictionary is the best, and it sounds like it captured the event pretty well. I SAID…..IT SOUNDS LIKE……. 🙂 You and Jay were adventurous, and that always makes people cool in such crowds.

    1. I think we were at least ‘cool’ with Jonathan’s friends, Andra. He really wanted us to be a part of the gathering and I’m glad we didn’t stick out too badly–or didn’t think we did. Ha! I have to admit I’m a bit compulsive with how I always identify exits and have a thought about what I’d do if we had an emergency. I don’t think I’m alone, but most of us just don’t talk about it. We are constantly reminded that we WILL have another big earthquake, so it’s impossible to ignore that. I’m a complex human being, aren’t I Andra?! I can party with the best of them while all at the same time doing disaster planning. If only that were a marketable skill. LOL!

  9. Well done on getting through that experience without permanent eardrum damage! Yes, it helps to remember we were once young and listened to music that may be odd to other generations! Shame there were no photos… 😉

    1. Ha! I really did think about using my cell phone for photos, but I excused myself from that since it was dark and I was really not wanting to call attention to myself. Funny, I doubt anyone would have noticed. Everyone was more or less in their own little world. I think I’ve probably already damaged my hearing through the years, accelerating the aging process by always enjoying loud music. I know I’m not alone in that. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Lisa. I am sure we had a much better time because we were there for my son’s wedding reception. Had we been on our own, I would have balked the minute I saw so many people! ox

  10. One of CFL’s mantras is “make younger friends.” With his mindset, and the fact that we do things like ride bikes, hike, and brew beer, we often find ourselves in the company of much younger people, often in a bar. In our small town, we don’t have many choices of venue, so if we want to go out, we’ll find lots of people half our age! We do, however, shy away from the loudest places and prefer one local place where music we actually recognize is played at a somewhat manageable audio level and many in the crowd are near our age.
    I really do enjoy having younger friends, but I’m with you: a place that’s crowded, thumping, and short of emergency exits is not my kind of place.

    1. I think CFL has a wonderful attitude to remain open to experiences and time spent with younger people. Prior to working at the university I was with grade school children and I wasn’t sure that I would make the transition well. As it has turned out I have so much respect for the students and learn from them all the time. Now noise isn’t something we need to bond over, however. LOL! I like loud music–if it’s music I enjoy in the first place–but I no longer have the capability of conversing in those environments. Something in the middle, not too sleepy and not too lively, is optimum. At least now I know what I’m “missing” when we’re home Saturday nights. hahaha!

  11. Congratulations for experiencing it all and surviving the experience, Debra. 🙂 I think my mother would have had a very similar reaction if she’d been invited to the fledgling night-clubs which were all DH and I had in our student years. In your place I would have had an exit-strategy planned from the beginning, if I could even have got DH through the door in the first place! I think we’re turning into a couple of old fogies. 😉

  12. It’s fun to think back to much earlier days and think about what constituted as our enjoyment and entertainment, isn’t it, Perpetua? I am quite sure this was the first time in my life that I walked through a “screening” with a bouncer to verify I had the credentials to be inside–in this case, a room key! It was fun to see what all the excitement is about. We often drive by these places and see all the young people lined up waiting for their entrance at a time of night we are returning home from somewhere else, very eager to go to bed! We are a couple of old fogies as well, and I think that’s a much safer way to live at our age. LOL!

  13. Somehow, Debra, I think you were a natural there. Blended right in with the “clubbers”! But I share the same predicament you described. I can’t hear/understand conversation even in restaurants. . . Frankly, I believe all the other “younger ears” would have the same problem… As for your lack of photos, I am personally disappointed in not seeing you in your shimmering micro mini dress with a plunging backside. 🙂

  14. Sounds like an earth shattering experience. But I can’t get over that you didn’t take any photos when it started to get interesting… :-). Love the photos you did take, though. And I loved the definition of clubbing in the Urban Dictionary.

  15. Your last paragraph cracked me up Debra. It’s been awhile since I’ve been clubbing. I would have had to be on the dance floor or else I would have pasted out (not from alcohol) but from past my bedtime on the lounge chair.

  16. This really made me laugh! Recently there was a Movie about the Beatles I was all excited about it I told my Don Oh I just loved the Beatles lets watch it! It started out fine the old songs I loved etc. Then all of a sudden some very strange images starting appearing I guess it was during their LSD or something, I could not watch or listen. It was quite an eye opener either I am now just a old fart or ? I still like to hear some of those hip hop music but usually can only take one song! You are so brave my friend! So glad for even just the experience! Love Deb

  17. Sounds like a great evening Debra 🙂 I take it that you and Jay decided not to dance to the music? I used to love going to Heavy Metal gigs which could be pretty loud. Sadly a lot of bands have now priced themselves out of the market for me. But I can still enjoy the throb of heavy oil engines for free 😉 I also find the background chatter in a bar can sometimes make it difficult to hear what someone is saying to me so I have become adept at the old saying…”I ‘eard that! – Pardon?”

  18. Never ever really enjoyed clubbing or the party scene. Too much coming at me and I guess I dont really enjoy being that close to people I dont know. The people watching aspect is fun tho. I was forced to be in a Club environment on the weekend, lasted about an hour, the noise… Gah! Good you got out with your hearing in tact. 🙂

  19. Dear Debra, I’m glad that you found yourself enjoying parts of this experience. I admit that I’d never even have tried to go because of my hearing problem and also because I’m claustrophobic. But yes, I do remember being young–and Elvis. My parents just grimaced when their favorites were Cole Porter and Hart and Hammerstein and Rogers and Gershwin! And so the baton passes. Peace.

  20. I can surely relate, Debbie. Lisa’s fine feathered friends at her wedding reception were a touch ‘exotic’ for me, but it was fun trying 🙂 That Urban Dictionary was surely never young! (but it does have a point 🙂 )
    Many thanks for stopping over at mine. Have a lovely Easter (in case I don’t make it back!) Hugs 🙂

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