May 2 2012 01:31 PM

Popular '80s-era club night makes a comeback

clubidsandiego
Trevor Watson and Lyn O’Rourke at Club i-D in the Mississippi Room
Photo by Larry Moffat
In the early '80s, San Diego didn't have a bustling music scene like it does now. Most live-music bars were country western, so people hungry for new sounds were limited to UCSD's alternative radio station and venues up in Los Angeles.

For Lyn O'Rourke and Trevor Watson, that wasn't going to cut it. From 1981 until 1989, they ran Club i-D, a weekly club night with a freewheeling vibe and a focus on new-wave. Though it was held at multiple venues over the years, its most famous location was The Mississippi Room at the Lafayette Hotel in North Park, where the line to get in would stretch around the block every Monday night.

"I'd say a lot of people didn't make it to work the next day," says Tim Mays, owner of The Casbah, who partied and occasionally booked shows at Club i-D before opening his venue in 1989. "It was the only place in town that was playing all the new music back then that was coming out."

Club i-D is having a comeback at the Mississippi Room on Saturday, May 5, as part of the hotel's weekend-long Rock the Boulevard party. Just as he did 30 years ago, Watson will set up his turntables in the room's clamshell-backed, 1940s-era bandstand. The event will also feature DJs Vaughn Avakian and Wendy O'Rourke.

During Club i-D's heyday, Watson would spin tracks by iconic acts like Talking Heads and Kraftwerk, but also mix things up with cuts like the Hawaii 5-O theme and Japanese kabuki music. On the parquet floors, the crowd was eclectic: New romantics with glitter and shoulder pads grooved with punk rockers in chains and spiked hair. Tom Cruise even stopped by to sing "You've Lost that Lovin' Feelin'" for a scene in the film Top Gun.

"There was no door policy," Watson recalls. "If you wanted to be part of the family, come on in."

In 1985, Watson and O'Rourke launched a biweekly magazine, Revolt in Style, running band interviews along with photos of club-goers—presaging the club photography at current hotspots like Voyeur and El Dorado.

Though they charged $5 at the door, Watson and O'Rourke say they weren't doing it for the money.

"It was always all about the feeling, and it felt good," O'Rourke says. "The reunion is about recapturing the moment and reigniting that flame again."


Calendar

  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28