Sunday, January 31, 2010

BREAKING NEWS: Mannequins Interior Shots

These are Save Pleasure Island Blog exclusive photos of the inside of Mannequins Dance Palace, presumably taken 16-months after the club closed. These were provided to us via email from someone named PI Fan.

There has been much speculation about whether the revolving dance floor is still in Mannequins or whether it was sold and removed. While it's difficult to see the floor specifically, one can see the smooth transition from the club floor to the dance floor. It's been my opinion that one could not remove the dance floor without taking down the entire club. But whether that is true or not, the dance floor could not be removed without removing at least the railings. As you can see, the railings around the floor are all still intact. My old home, that short railing to the left, is still there! Woe to anyone who took my spot, lol. Also noteworthy in this photo is the mannequin still hanging up high on the far side.

In this photo we see some of the junk that is apparently being stored in Mannequins. Beyond the railing one can see the main bar and empty shelves where bartenders Bobby C. and Gordo used to mix their deadly concoctions. If there is a restaurant planning to move in here (Orange County Choppers Backyard BBQ or WinterWonderland were rumored), nothing towards accomplishing that has yet to occur. Thank you PI Fan for forwarding. If anyone else has interior shots of any of the clubs, please feel free to send them to me.

Club Reports: ADH & TG

I was lazy last night, sticking to the familiar rather than exploring new options. First stop was Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney's Boardwalk Resort. There was a moderate-sized crowd on hand. It rarely looks crowded in there because the dance floor is so massive but it was a good turnout. I did not recognize former 8TRAX bartender Taryn (pictured lower left) partying incognito but fortunately she recognized me. I hadn't seen her since the PI Castmember Reunion last September.

From there it was over to The Groove at Universal's CityWalk. Now that's crowded! Even with the upstairs open, it was wall-to-wall down on the floor dancing to DJ AJ. (pictured upper left)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

This Weekend In Techno Town

It's a another techno weekend in Orlando so here are just a few of your options! Over at Club 57 West downtown it's DJ Joey Beltram visiting O-town for the first time tonight spinning House and Techno. The club is at 57 West Pine Street just off Orange Avenue. It's another "Saturate Saturday" at Vintage on Orange Avenue. Former Mannequins DJ Dominick Morrison plays House and Top 40 from his second floor perch. Entry is usually free before 11pm and while dancing space is limited, people will start dancing anywhere once they're fueled-up!

Resident DJ Mickey Bono plays hard-driving, fast-moving Dance and House music at Bliss Ultra Lounge tonight on West Church Street, just beyond the CSX tracks from Antigua. This is my favorite club in town right now and if you haven't been here, you need to try it out on Saturday nights! And don't forget Sunday night! It's another Service Industry Night at House of Blues in Downtown Disney West Side. DJ Richey Rich is the featured jock and while he may stick to Hip Hop and Top 40 during his Saturday night residency at Tabu, it will be House, Progressive House and Techno for SIN night at HOB! A reminder that next Saturday DJ Paul Oakenfold (GB) spins at Club Firestone Live.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Club Report: Why Not Lounge

Question: What are women called that are too old to be cougars?
Answer: Why Not Lounge customers!
Sorry, couldn't resist that. But OMG, the Ladies Night clientele last night at WNL was so old that Altamonte Springs EMS had to keep a crew stationed there! The vending machine offered Geritol and Exlax. But it wasn't just the women, it was the guys too. To be fair, there were some young folks in there girl was partying with her friends for her 21st birthday. It was really all age groups. The DJ and the live band played a mix of 70's & 80's hits as well as a few current songs. Have to give them credit for not playing any hits from the 30's! Check it out! It's located in the Clarion Hotel Altamonte Springs on I-4 & SR436 at Wymore Road.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

PI Update

When I left Chicago this morning it was 5°F. About three hours later I was standing in 73°F temperatures on sunny Pleasure Island! There's not a lot new on the island but since all of you feast on this stuff, this Blog reports even on the mundane. For instance, we previously reported on some new boards installed on the Waterfront Stage. Now nearly all of the boards have been replaced. We previously reported on the unique black paint on the new Mannequins side stairs. That has now been painted over with the standard issue rusty brown found on all the other railings around the island. Like I said, mundane. Just remember that you heard it here first! You can't get stuff like this from the Sentinel.

Sources continue to say that the Adventurers Club snack & beverage Cart is going to be enlarged and moved downhill....but my sources don't know when or where to. No further progress on the demolition of the old towers holding the Harley Davidson Store signs. They're going to remain until, sources say, the Harley store moves to the West Side where Mickey's Groove is currently located. Other source-based information: The Mannequins dance floor is supposedly still in the club. Also, the reason the RRBC facade was freshly painted where the sign used to hang was because Tom Staggs who took over for Jay Rusulo was to tour the island and they didn't want him to see the paint scrapes and gouges that had been left behind. OK, that's all for today!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Club Reports: Champaign-Urbana

Up in Chicago for a couple days so took this opportunity after a long gap to visit my old college town of Champaign-Urbana. Basically all my old bars are gone. Back in the day, Boni's (upper left) was always a popular club playing Top 40 and Rock but now it's a bunch of store fronts. I think rock club Second Chance burned down during my senior year and now there's a restaurant there (upper right). The very first bar I ever went into (at age 17; the drinking age then was 19) was in what was called T-Birds (lower left). It was famous for glasses of Olympia Beer for 30-cents. Looks like it's a comedy club now. Interestingly, the T-Bird logo is still on the sign but otherwise the club is long-gone! The Giraffe Disco (not pictured) is also long gone. It had an awesome acrylic-plastic dance floor that lit up to the music in various colors. About the only thing I spotted that was still in business was Kam's. We called it a pick-up place; now they call it a hook-up place. Same difference, I think. But country music? Not back in the day, no way! Oh well, it was nice to see Champaign-Urbana again.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Pleasure Island Reunion

Back on September 27th former Pleasure Island cast members held a reunion to talk about the good old days on the island. (See article that date.) Well word is spreading abut a reunion for former Pleasure Island patrons to take place on Saturday, February 13th at Atlantic Dance Hall. This is not limited to Mannequins or 8TRAX or Motion, etc. fans. Everyone is welcome no matter what club you used to hang out in. Will post more details when I get them. Admission is free.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Club Reports: Tabu & Bliss Ultra Lounge

About the only good thing to come out of the PI closure was that it forced me to explore new club options including the offerings in downtown Orlando. I'm increasingly impressed with Tabu Nightclub with its mainstream Hip Hop and Top 40 format. It's really not all that different from what you heard at Motion or hear at ADH. Saturday night DJ Richie Rich kept the crowd moving as music videos played behind him. RR leaves the Hip Hop behind though when he spins House music at Sunday Service Industry Night next weekend (31JAN) at House of Blues.

But if you liked Mannequins then by far your best Saturday night option in Orlando is Bliss Ultra Lounge featuring Techno/Dance/House music skillfully weaved together by DJ Mickey Bono. The club and dance floor were tightly packed; there was no reason to go anywhere else. There were several songs that came on where several people in my group of 14 looked at each other and said "Mannequins!" You can hear an hour of his great music every Friday evening at 9pm ET on

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tonight In Techno Town

Orlando's DJ Jimmy Joslin will be spinning House and Dance music over at Tropics Bistro in Indiatlantic near Melbourne for their Carnival night. This is a great opportunity to see him live for those living in the Space Coast area. I've seen Joslin a number of times at House of Blues or opening for big name DJ's such as Tiesto (NL) and he knows how to warm up the crowd with his music.

The 3rd annual Ocala Dance Festival begins today at the Ocala Shrine Hall in (guess where?). The flyer says that there is going to be 17 hours of music beginning at noon today and running through 5am tomorrow morning. DJ Baby Anne of Orlando is the headliner and she will coming on around midnight tonight. The bass queen spins a lot of Breaks-type music but she can do it all!

Closer to home, DJ Mickey Bono of Beat Thrillerz, K5 and will be playing House and Dance music at its best at Bliss Ultra Lounge downtown beginning around 10pm. Free admission until midnight per their flyer.

FLAG COUNTER: It's been 6 months since the Flag Counter was added to this Blog. In those 6 months alone it has counted nearly 17,000 visitors! As you can see, visitors come from all 50 states & DC and I'm not sure how it counts our international visitors. I think the Blog remains banned on Disney servers. Everyone wants to know what is happening with our beloved Pleasure Island. Unfortunately, it remains as much a mystery today as when it closed. They need to reopen Mannequins & 8TRAX! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the latest news & rumors!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Club Report: The Groove (70's & 80's Night)

It was a fun night at 80's Night at The Groove last night as the wacky band Switch played 80's music and DJ Doc Wells (originally from 8TRAX) spun a mix of both 80's and 70's! OMG, when he put on one of those Bee Gees songs from Saturday Night Fever, it was like was being transported back to 8TRAX itself. It was kind of a small crowd though....disappointing....however a new cold front passing through Orlando was bringing pretty heavy rain and thunder with it and that likely kept people at home. Switch is a good band and they're fun; not so sure though that it makes a good fit into this club. But it is something different. We'll see how this goes as Universal's Mardi Gras brings larger crowds out to CityWalk next month.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Great News for 8TRAX Fans

Listen up 8TRAX fans! I am now authorized to tell you exciting news about 80's Night at The Groove: 70's Music!!!! 8TRAX was sorely missed when Pleasure Island closed in September, 2008. CityWalk was quick to capitalize on it in many ways and one of them was by introducing 80's Night at The Groove last January featuring former 8TRAX DJ Doc Wells! The result has turned Thursday nights at The Groove from just another so-so evening to a popular new night, especially during tourist seasons. My only disappointment was that they left out the other half of what really made 8TRAX great and that was the 70's anthems. I'm told that 70's music has now been added! So come on out, support this night and help it continue to grow. Relive the 70's, relive the 80's and relive 8TRAX! (This Thursday the wacky 80's band Switch also joins the fun at The Groove as they will every 3rd Thursday of the month.)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Pleasure Island Then & Now

Pleasure Island Then:
Hey, isn't that faithful reader and Mannequins regular Ken doing the Electro beginning at 1:38 into the clip? Hey, isn't that Mannequins regular Frances "The Pony Tail Guy" crossing the screen around 4:19? And hey, isn't that Ralph from Disney Security breaking it up around 5:35?

Pleasure Island Now:
Hey, aren't things just so much better now?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

DJ Robbie Rivera Tonight!!

DJ Robbie Rivera (USA) is finally playing Orlando! Taking part in the opening weekend for the new Deko Lounge out by UCF, Rivera is long-overdue for a concert in the Orlando area. This event is tonight! A lot of people are off tomorrow for MLK Day so this is a chance to see him live. A couple of his recent hits include Girlfriend, the even better remixed Girlfriend 2008 and Back to Zero. Currently receiving dance club play is Closer To The Sun.

Club Reports: Universal CityWalk

Universal CityWalk was jammed last night despite some light rain showers passing through the area around 10pm. After all that cold weather I think people just wanted to get out! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has been added to entry wall signage as we move to within just a few months of its opening at Islands of Adventure. A construction wall has been placed around Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs as its conversion to a Fat Tuesday frozen libation bar begins. The wall is kind of drab and it could sure use some Walt Disney visonary signs to dress it up!

CityWalk proves that it's at least as family-friendly as Pleasure Island with its Cigarz cigar bar. And the new Fusion Bistro Sushi Bar stays open until 2am. Just what you need at that hour!

The Groove was crazy packed last night with $2 Gummy Bear shots in the Red Room fueling constant Hip Hop and Top 40 jams by DJ AJ. It was difficult to move!

Meanwhile over at the Red Coconut Club it was just as crazy crowded as DJ Doc (8TRAX) made it through the night without a single Hop Hop song, relying instead on Top 40 and Oldies to keep the packed crowd happy! And it makes sense not to be playing the same formats in both TG and RCC.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Club Reports: Pointe Orlando, Opa, PI, ADH

When FAO Schwartz closed down that pretty much doomed Pointe Orlando as a place to go shopping. It's been reworked into a place with mostly restaurants. A few shops remain along with the theaters. I personally think that as long as they charge to park in their garage, places are going to struggle. I reported on BB Kings Blues Club back in December (above right) which does draw well with the 30's-50's upscale age group. Next door at Opa's Greek-themed restaurant and bar it was crowded standing-room only in the front bar area while the rear restaurant area was mostly empty during my late-evening visit. Lots of napkins on the floor but I didn't see any broken plates up against the walls!

Pointe Orlando does bring good memories of club life past. The still-empty Metropolis was one of the first ultra-lounges in town featuring thick carpets, deluxe pool tables and Top 40/Hip Hop DJ-driven music. Across the way was sister club Matrix which featured techno dance music, go-go girls and a huge dance floor. Justin & Britney were spotted here back during their days together. Both gone and not replaced....again, I think it's that parking charge.

Who says there ain't no night life on Pleasure Island? Celebrate Tonight played the Cupid Shuffle/Twist combo song followed by a dance contest, enjoyed by these girls from Western Iowa. Acoustic music on the deck outside Paradiso 37 had some takers seated nearby. Word on the island remains that the waterside club buildings are all coming down....but when....nobody knows. An island source did tell me that the tiki-hut building outside AC...that place you can buy popcorn and drinks and such, is going to be enlarged and moved downhill to a new location.

There was a moderate crowd at Atlantic Dance Hall during my Friday night visit featuring DJ Tony Z. I don't recall whether I took that left photo for the girl in front or for Hathaway Brown (Adventurers Club) in the back. Line dancing to the Superman song above right.