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5/27/2004

Happytown > Happytown

Nancy's Guys & Dolls closes

 

We could blather on about the closing of Nancy's Guys & Dolls, the little concrete-block box of a bar nestled in a parking lot where Robinson Street turns into Crystal Lake Drive, but that would be dishonest. See, we, um, well, we didn't go there much. We should have, because it's actually only a long stumble from our house, but we just never did.

We made it over May 22 for the closing party, though, and we realized just how endangered bars like Nancy's have become. You walk in, you sit down and you order a drink. Then you wait until someone you know shows up, or you start talking to the guy next to you about lawn tractors, DUIs or the water pump that went out in your van last week so you had to ride the bus, even though you don't know the damn bus schedule and don't have a watch. Or whatever. Nancy's was so utterly unpretentious it's what pretentious people aspired to a year or so back, when slumming was the new clubbing.

But the city bought the property from owner Nancy White for $615,000 earlier this month, in preparation to widen the road. That officially put an end to 35 years of 7 a.m. happy hours, a damn shame on its own. There aren't many corner bars left – one reason society feels more cold and distant every passing year – let alone corner bars that cater to shift workers getting off in the morning and in need of a belt.

We did get to chat with Dee Dee Clingerman, named the best bartender in Orlando by this very publication in 2001 (an honor that led to Men's Journal penning a squib about Clingerman and the bar in January 2002, we might add). She's turning 70 June 1, and was having an early party Saturday to celebrate. She's been tending bar since she was 13, and has no plans to quit now. "I'll find something," she says. "I've only had to fill out one application in Orlando since 1964."

Primping is not a crime. Just the same, we were inexplicably caught crimping our own hair at this year's fourth annual Hair Peace extravaganza recurring May 22 at its awkwardly oversized home, Tabu. Thinly veiled, lightly sheared and rinsed as a charity event – profits were set to flip to the Downtown Orlando Marketing Authority (who?) – the shorn showcase reminded us of what Orlando is really about (hair, hair and more hair) while showcasing the talents of three of the city's better salons.

Frankly, we've never been fans of the pageant lifestyle. JonBenet washed heavy across our wigs, leaving us curtsied and cursing stage mothers for years on end. But the underappreciated, if ubiquitous, presence of Sam Singhaus in the character of Hedwig (avec angry inch) made the whole affair somehow worthwhile, himself howling the titular theme song to an audience of Tabu types who either got it (nervous laughter) or didn't (homophobic jeers).

Considering that this was Tabu's free-entry-if-you're-early night, we were easily bullied in our thoughts that everybody looked like the kids you hated in high school because they hated you. But when Shine (the salon on Park Lake that, full disclosure, does our hair) took the stage with a chorus of "Nobody Does It Better," eschewing pretense, shaving a hairy man's other hair and generally having a ball throwing shit in the face of the silliness inherent in events of this sort, our fears were gone. Two other salons played overstatement in the wake – one with Mardi Gras feathers (not hair) and the other with another tiresome Dangerous Liaisons tribute featuring a girl in bubble wrap blowing bubbles – to desired effect. If we could say it was all for a worthwhile cause, we would. For now, we'll just say it was a good hair day.

We've seen this before, somewhere. We can't quite put our fingers on it, but WESH-TV's investigation – touted as an "exclusive" on their web site – into Orkin's tendency to rip off their customers rung a bell. So did the characters WESH-TV interviewed: Collier and Peggy Black, Elizabeth Allen, Wayne Cowart, Harry Shevin. Why is this so familiar?

Oh yeah. Because we did that story last September. And then, a few months later, the Local 6 Problem Solvers aired their "exclusive investigation" of the exact same thing.

We shot an e-mail to WESH news types about their "exclusive," and they kindly removed the word from their website. And it didn't appear in the actual reports or promotions. Still, we take issue with "investigations" that don't uncover anything that hasn't already been investigated.

And while we're on the topic, we couldn't help but notice that the Orlando Sentinel's May 23 profile of Doug Vanderlaan, the Jacksonville native who managed to get Bubba the Love Sponge kicked off the air, was a regurgitation of a story ("Doug and Goliath") that ran in these pages April 29.

Those wacky PETA folks are at it again: This time, they sent us a bucket of blood! Seems the animal-rights folks take issue with the way KFC handles chickens; something about sawing off beaks, breaking wings, live scalding – you know, all the ingredients that go into a bucket of that greasy goodness.

It wasn't a real bucket of blood; dude, that would be gross. It was a fake minibucket adorned with a satanic-looking colonel bearing a striking resemblance to another well-known colonel. Inside we found a packet of fake blood, a fake broken bone, and a little plastic chicken with its little plastic throat slit.

But don't take our word for it. Get your own bucket of blood May 31. PETA will be handing them out beginning at 3 p.m. in front of the KFC at 6217 International Drive. After that it's hot wings for everyone!

Semi-regular feature

Who, What, How and Why: Ask Ian the I.T. guy!

Q: My band really sucks. We play a lot of Creed covers and people tell me I sing like Rob Thomas. We desperately need to snag a coveted Best of Orlando award. What's the best way to cheat, as we sure aren't going to win honestly?

A: Sucky band guy: You might cheat on your lover, you might cheat on your taxes, you might even cheat on your diet. But you will not be able to cheat on the competition for the most coveted award in Orlando (besides the Latin Grammy).

How do I know this? Because I personally have built the online voting software, from the ground up, to ensure you can't. Even the most l33t h4x0rs will be befuddled and mystified by my foresight.

Diebold, this ain't.

With 2048-bit encryption, challenge-response security protocols, and my own patented CrapDetect Smart Agent system that utilizes autonomous AI to detect all hair-metal and cover bands, as well as whiny collegiate coffeehouse singer-songwriters, it will be a cold day in hell before my databases are 0wnz0r3d.

So work on making better music, and try next year. Or just send in a bunch of paper ballots – those dorks in Editorial don't do any fact-checking, so you could probably slide a few extra votes in that way.

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