The fog on the windows are a dead giveaway that something steamy is going on inside. Stepping off the frigid sidewalk of Washington Avenue on a sparse corner of the north loop district, a cluttered entryway opens to the colorfully festooned Clubhouse Jäger. This is not your ordinary night at a bar. This is Menergy. The third Saturday of every month, Menergy is the hairy, thrusting brainchild of Cizetta, a production comprised of DJ Grandmother Grant and "video fun" artist Time Squid.
Taking in the ages and attitudes in the room, it's like Too Much Love after the braces came off and the acne cleared up. Brazen confidence runs rampant and appropriately lurid antics ensue in front of the speakers, while the throng at the bar is content to see if their list of must-see indie films matches up with that of their potential make out partner for the evening. Farther back, past the tables that have become piles of DIY coat checks, through a narrow hallway and the dartboard zone, one steps out into the backyard of the clubhouse where smokers chat and huddle around a cozy fire pit. A flavorful melting pot of numerous social circles bubbles and brews, there is no "in" crowd here. Accounted for are the social animals of most known Minneapolis species that wouldn't be caught dead in Block E: from the fashion junkies to the art freaks, the ex-band nerds turned blog gods, DJ's, writers, designers, accountants, b-boys, singer/songwriters, guitarists, grad students, filmmakers, and Facebook kingpins.
The soundtrack of the evening could be Giorgio Moroder, Donna Summer, Chromeo, Cassius, Daft Punk, unearthed Italo disco gems, or the latest trend in the world of mashed up blog style heat, but the point is, the music is only a backdrop for this party. Grandmother Grant holds down the resident spot with rotating guests- and on Saturday night it's the Sexbots' turn. The duo weaves between electro tinged hammers and vocal-driven house that keeps the floor buzzing. The DJ's have their booth, but dancers face each other and make eye contact with friends ad strangers instead of turning into trainspotting drones.
Attendees understand that this event warrants not just their attendance, but also their participation. Guys look the part, strutting their own Menergy theme based on their unique individual mojo. Dudes in cowboy hats, suits, painted on jeans, bandanas and wetsuits are all there to get into it. The novelty this evening is the debut of a locally produced 2009 men's calendar featuring jauntily shot nude guys (Time Squid and Grant among them) with all naughty zones cheekily covered with something appropriate for the month's background. While the event's theme would suggest any amount of homoeroticism, the crowd is entirely mixed, open-minded, and all are welcome. If anything, the name Menergy keeps the squares and the homophobes away from some of the sexiest women in the city. The savvy ladies of Menergy are on a mission to have their way with boys' night out, unleashing a secret estrogen-charged lava flow over typical nightlife clichés. Hands are thrown in the air, and consensual Cancun sandwiches shamelessly grind on between smiling faces that know better but are giddy to do it anyway.
It's refreshing to find a party in Minneapolis that brings people together for reasons other than to see and be seen or simply witness a musical performance. The reason to go to Menergy is that you are some kind of sexual Tyrannosaurus with better taste in dental floss and urgently need to contribute your flavor to a waiting cauldron of magic. Anyone who doesn't have the gumption to dive into the proceedings headfirst will be left wondering what they missed behind those foggy windows.
The next Menergy will take place:
Saturday, February 21st; Clubhouse Jager, 923 Washington Ave N. Minneapolis
To purchase your own 2009 Men's Calendar, e-mail here.
-- Jon Hester