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Barfly - Everybody Wang Chung at MF Room

What really goes on in the back room at MF Buckhead

Wednesday September 29, 2010 04:00 am EDT

It was a scene straight from a mob movie. Walk through the pristine sushi restaurant — straight-faced servers quietly cleaning up remnants of sashimi to your right, sake-bombed couple making out at the sushi bar to your left — and you reach a door where a tall, dark and handsome man in black is waiting with a big stick. Don’t be alarmed (or turned on), he’s just going to scan the hand stamp you received at the hostess stand. Yep, this isn’t Hollywood; it’s Atlanta, and instead of a drug cartel, prostitution ring or assassin operation going on behind the guise of a swanky Asian eatery, there’s a “flashback dance party” going down, where the only illegality is some of the guests’ dance moves.


We walked into the intimate MF Room to the sound of “I Wish (I Was a Little Bit Taller)” by Skee-Lo (not to be confused with Cee-Lo, who would never name a song some dumb shit like that). Mike Bryant, one of the promoters of the new weekly event, informed me that “anyone is welcome to Flashback Saturdays as long as they’re dressed right.” I scanned the room and landed on a middle-aged lady in a tie-dyed muumuu of some sort, complete with matching headpiece. I bit my tongue.

Rebecca Whelchel, the stunning events specialist at MF who could be straight out of the aforementioned mob movie, referenced Johnny’s Hideaway when I asked her for a crowd comparison. That felt more accurate, and her point was proven later when an older man chatted me up and informed me he was out with his cardiologist. I guess you can never be too cautious, especially when you’re getting down to “Groove is in the Heart” at the ripe ol’ age of “he’s older than my dad.”

It was apparent that the people in this crowd had left their inhibitions at the hostess stand with their requested e-mail addresses. As I observed everyone having the times of their lives, I coincidentally spotted a couple channeling the actual “I Had the Time of My Life” scene from Dirty Dancing. The glassy-eyed male twirled his short-skirted buxom blonde around the dance floor with such force and fervor that I knew my posse and I were about to get a full viewing of her ass. We made a bet: If she’s not wearing any underwear, we take tequila shots. Not a minute later, I was quenching my thirst with Patrón (or what I believed to be Patrón). A tip of the shot glass to you, Commando Barbie.

I thought I might just people-watch and tequila-shoot from my self-designated VIP area for most of the night, but the energy of the crowd beckoned me to dance. It didn’t hurt that I was feeling inspired by the moves from New Kids on the Block’s “Hangin’ Tough” video, playing on multiple flat screens throughout the room. We hit the dance floor and were instantly welcomed by the eclectic crowd of black and white, young and old, coordinated and spastic. A cute guy beckoned me over to his group of three, one of whom was donning a vest, but I didn’t judge — maybe he, too, had fallen victim to the New Kids nostalgia.

“Are you girls European?” their ringleader asked.

What the hell was that supposed to mean? Was this a jab at my dance moves? Maybe my limbs were more uncontrolled than usual, but I thought I was in a dancing “safe place.”

Turns out he was asking because of my “fair skin” (still an insult?), but I did tone down my moves a bit. I didn’t need my fair-skinned ass turning Flashback Saturdays into Flash Your Back Saturdays to the unsuspecting patrons.

That would not have been a happy ending.