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Five more movie nightclubs we’d like to visit

Five more movie nightclubs we’d like to visit (photo)

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Last week, we told you about Silencio, David Lynch‘s new nightclub in Paris, based on a spot first featured in his 2001 film “Mulholland Drive.” Our excitement over this new venue got us thinking: what other fictional nightclubs deserve to be converted to real working establishments? Fertile ground for a list, says I.

So here we go. The list is entirely subjective and based on only one rule: no real places. Since this all started with a director taking a fantasy and making it a reality, this piece had to work the same way. Picking places that really existed would be cheating. Hence you won’t find 2001 Odyssey Disco from “Saturday Night Fever” below; it was an actual Brooklyn dance club (at 802 64th Street) spruced up with a little movie magic (the production brought in the signature light-up floor).

In one case, someone already has granted our wish and made one of these places. But it’s in Morocco, so for the time being, it’s going to remain a pipe dream. But that’s fine. If reality was exotic and exciting as the worlds depicted in these movies, we wouldn’t need to go to the movies in the first place. And now raise your glasses, for a toast to these great movie nightclubs.

Club Obi Wan
From “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom” (1984)
Directed by Steven Spielberg

I love that this is a movie nightclub that operates entirely on movie logic. Kate Capshaw’s Willie Scott is doing her show in 1935 Shanghai, and then she steps inside that dragon’s mouth and suddenly we’re transported into “Gold Diggers of Indiana Jones.” Dozens of tap dancers on an enormous set of stairs, all performing inside this tiny dragon head, in a space that none of the audience in the nightclub can see. Truly, this is a place where anything goes. Plus, show up on the right night at Club Obi Wan (yes, we all get the reference George Lucas, thank you) and you might get to sit at the table over from Indy himself; maybe you could invite him over and then give him something very exciting on the Lazy Susan.

The Silver Sandal
From “Swing Time” (1936)
Directed by George Stevens

Here’s another hotspot from the 1930s, which was clearly the Golden Age of Movie Nightclubs. With America suffocating under the Great Depression, movies lured audiences with tales of decadent escapism, replete with impossibly opulent nightclubs. These places look so expensive you wonder if the star could even afford to drink there. There are a lot of super-cool 1930s movie nightclubs — “Hot Voodoo,” anyone? — but if I’ve got to pick just one, I give the nod to The Silver Sandal from Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ “Swing Time.” It’s just so grand with that cavernous ballroom, enormous dance floor, swooping staircases, and iconic art deco design elements. Boozing it up in a tuxedo while you take in an evening’s entertainment by Astaire and Rogers? There isn’t a single way that’s not awesome.

The Cell Block
From “Cocktail” (1988)
Directed by Roger Donaldson

See, this one could only exist in the movies too. The Cell Block, a jail-themed dance hall where people pay a massive cover to… stand around quietly and listen to the bartender recite poetry? Hooooookay Hollywood screenwriters, whatever you say. Of course, the guy serving the verses and vodka is none other than Tom Cruise, and let’s face it: if you heard Cruise was tending bar in town, you’d show up. Plus, Cruise and Bryan Brown’s mixology floor show, complete with bottle tossing, hip shaking, terrible-looking Turquoise Blue drinks, is super cool. (admit it: you’ve tried to copy their moves at least once. C’mon, just fess up. We all have.) Of course it takes Cruise and Brown about ten minutes to make one drink, and they seem to be the only two bartenders serving a club with hundreds of customers. Wait, why do I want to go to this place again?

Rick’s Cafe Americain
From “Casablanca” (1942)
Directed by Michael Curtiz

Obvious? Yes. But how can I leave off the most famous gin joint in all the world?
Granted, having to share the space at the bar with Nazi officers is a major downside. But Rick’s Cafe Americain is the site for one of romantic movies ever made, and everyone, man or woman, who’s ever seen the film has fantasized about going there in 1942 and falling in love at the roulette wheel while Dooley Wilson’s Sam sings “As Time Goes By.” How many “beautiful friendships” have blossomed metaphorically at Rick’s, over date nights at the local repertory house? More than I can imagine; it is one of the signature locations in all of the movies. And, hey, if you do happen to find yourself in Morocco, be sure to visit Rick’s Cafe Casablanca, built in 2004 as a monument to Humphrey Bogart’s joint. It’s got a bar, a full menu, and, of course, a piano player. He takes requests.

Hot Traxx
From “Boogie Nights” (1997)
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

It’s no 2001 Odyssey Disco, but it’ll do. Plus it has porn stars. Hot Traxx is the Odyssey-esque club that serves as the setting for the amazing opening to Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Boogie Nights.” Maybe it’s just the vibe bleeding off the endless long take that Anderson uses to capture the scene, but the place looks so freaking cool; the lighted floor, the stage, the Christmas lights hung throughout. Clearly Maurice (Luis Guzmán) has excellent taste, which is why folks like Jack Horner (Burt Reynolds) and Amber Waves (Julianne Moore) like to hang out there. And since Rollergirl (Heather Graham) can wear her skates in there, you know their dress code policy is lax. Good atmosphere, good tunes, and you could do the hustle with John C. Reilly’s Reed Rothchild while Mark Wahlberg buses your dirty dishes. Sign me up.

What movie nightclub would you like to visit? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter and Facebook!

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.


IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.



IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on and the IFC app.

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