Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Childhood A Go-Go

My ruminations on department stores and alcohol conjured a somewhat related childhood memory. At some point the Falk's Food Basket chain, of the cocktail lounge that would grill your steak fame, closed. I seem to recall this was caused by a tax problem of the sort where failing to pay your taxes leads to a problem. At any rate, the stores were sold off, but Falk's somehow retained the restaurants, which were naturally named Falk's Cocktail Lounge.

I recall driving by one or the other of the two remaining locations as a child and my mother sighing loudly and exhaling, "Go-go girls." I had no idea what go-go girls were, but they sure sounded like fun, maybe even like something I'd like to be one day. My mother's approbation only made these girls seem all the more glamorous. Even at that early age, I innately understood that anything that made my mother sigh was something really, really cool.

At around the same time much sighing would ensure whenever we visited her good friend Judy Kaplan. I loved Judy Kaplan. She always had candy, let me watch whatever I wanted on TV, and cooked crazy exotic food, the likes of which were never seen in our house, such as squash. Over the din of Laugh-In and sighs I could often make out the words "Marjorie" and "go-go girl." As I eventually came to understand, Judy's daughter Marjorie had dropped out of college and was shimmying her way to financial independence at some local watering hole (probably not Falk's, but who really knows). Marjorie Kaplan was undoubtedly the only Jewish go-go girl in the history of go-go girls, but there you have it. I only recall meeting Marjorie once, when she stopped by to visit her mother at the same time that we were visiting, and I indeed recall her wearing tall, white, patent leather boots. Go-go boots!

I had no idea what it all meant, but I was into those boots. I asked once if I could get a pair of boots like Marjorie's, and was disappointed when my request was met with only another a sigh and a definitive "NO." My parents often simply took me out to dinner with them rather than paying a babysitter (and as a consequence, although this is another story altogether, I have attempted to order a peanut butter and jelly sandwich at every upscale restaurant between PA and NYC). Although I spent some months hoping that one day we would patronize Falk's Cocktail Lounge that day never came to pass.

Go-go dancing originated at the Peppermint Lounge in the early 60s, when enthusiastic patrons did the twist on top of the tables. The term is derived from the French expression a go go, meaning in abundance, galore. Although scantily clad, go-go dancers are not necessarily strippers, no matter what my mother thought. By the time I was old enough to go to a bar, Falk's Cocktail Lounge was long gone. I have no idea what happened to Marjorie Kaplan and her white boots. All that remains is this abundance of memories of the sighs galore caused by the simple act of dancing on tabletops.

7 comments:

cattyandry said...

Hey! I get it now. I look forward to reading your blog... I will put it on my google reader so I won't need to link through fb!

Sandy said...

Now I know what to get you for your birthday! Go-go boots!

S said...

And yes, I'll have a few months to shop for them.

Elucidator said...

Thanks, Catty. Being put on someone's Google reader tells me I've really arrived!

Anonymous said...

i went 2 a strip jointat the insistence of a girlfriend at the time.white boots were not on the stage.but it was a bad experience.i was told by the bouncer that i was the only patron that wanted 2 pay him 2 escort me out of there.all the women were rubbing up against me.i thought i was going 2 leave with a skin infection.2 weeks later my girlfriend and i were in a local cafe,and she told everyone that I TOOK HER 2 THE STRIP JOINT,i coughed up my coffee on my shirt and had 2 go to the bathroom 2 clean my shirt.while in there I heard her say 'u should have seen all those girls trying 2 get him away from me'.tunsie.tunsie.tunsie

LVCI said...

If I'm not mistaken... later on this became "The Chicken Lounge"?

Elucidator said...

You may be right, LCVI. The Falk's in P'burg later became Marbles, which was owned/run by the same people who had the Chicken Lounge, so they could have both been Falk's properties. I did go to Marble's a few times. Alas, no go-go dancers.