Shanghai: V-Nutz spins at an expat scenester bar

Posted by Bao on Monday, January 23rd, 2006
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Tonight DJ V-Nutz spins at a different club, a posh scenester bar with tasteful Orientalia on the walls and that fashionably dim red-orange lighting that makes the whole place look like it could double for an opium den. Here V-Nutz spins a mix of new and classic funk to a mostly Caucasian expatriate crowd, and though the dance floor is maybe one-fourth the size of last night’s club, the chunky grooves of funk that emanate from his platters don’t seduce the clientele and the dance floor stays empty. This is in stark contrast to the mostly Asian crowd last night, where c-walking Shanghainese b-boys and hip hurtling Shanghainese women crammed the large dance floor to dance to hip-hop, flossing as if to say who heard of Benjamins, it’s all about the Mao’s, baby.

It all happens in this giant city as if last night never happened at all – or maybe it would be more accurate that this evening was so different that the experience seemed set out to destroy any memory of last night, that blooming evening of joy-through-the-sweat-of-dance buried. Last night was my reminder that even imperfect worlds can be gorgeous and joyous when you have the right soundtrack and you are allowed the freedom to confess all on the dance floor. Tonight was like a reminder of the price of so-called progress and development of a city like Shanghai - those towers of glass and steel were built over the ruins of houses.

The low-key atmosphere and open bar has attracted well-to-do yellows and whites, under the red paper lantern lights that hang in a lazy arc above their heads they rub elbows to V-Nutz’s funk soundtrack. You can be of any race and be wealthy. But the people who walk around sweeping up and picking up empty bottles under the immaculately dressed hipsters are all the same color. Black hair, yellow-brown skin… same as it ever was. The Caucasian expats hoist their martinis and wave them in the air like they just don’t care, and the yellows who have come don’t seem to care either, because they haven’t come to question, they’ve come to belong. One wonders if all Chinese immigrants who go to America in the hopes for a better life are guaranteed the same level of entitlement and privilege, if all Chinese hopefuls will one day aspire to, and attain, the right to rub elbows in the most posh of American bars, drinking in front of bare dance floors, in places where the help looks nothing at all like them.

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