Erika and Paul are the co-hosts of That Aged Well, a podcast that examines 80s/90s pop culture through a modern lens.
The two have been friends for over 20 years, and were finishing each other’s sentences, and volleying back and forth throughout our conversation about their lost space. And, you’ll be pleased to hear, there was a higher-than-average amount of giggles and guffaws.
We met to discuss Vlada, a vodka bar in Hell’s Kitchen, NYC, which was THE place to be for a short time in the mid-00s (and, just as a little piece of trivia, I am in love with the fact that the owner of the bar was named Vlada Von Shats).
But, you know, as is custom with this show we also talked about a bunch of other crap.
Expect to hear flirting tips, advice for how to avoid audience participation, and how to spot the signs that you’ve joined a cult.
I- this is silly. Can I curse or is that bad?
K Anderson 00:04
You better fucking curse
Hello, I am K Anderson and you are listening to lost spaces. The podcast that mourns the death of queer nightline. Every episode I talk to a different person about a venue from their past, the memories they created there and the people that they used to know. This week we are joined by Erika and Paul from that aged well, a podcast that examined 80s 90s naughties pop culture through a modern lens. And it was really lovely talking to them. I always get nervous before interviews, especially when I’m talking to two people at once who have such a good friendship. And even though they were finishing each other’s sentences and volleying back and forth throughout the conversation, they didn’t exclude me so that’s really nice. God, I sound so pathetic. We met to discuss Vlada, a vodka bar in Hell’s Kitchen, New York City, which was the place to be for a short while in the mid noughties. But, you know, as is custom with this show, we also talked about a bunch of other crap. Expect to hear flirting tips, advice for how to avoid audience participation, and how to spot the signs that you’ve joined a cult.
K Anderson 01:54
We should probably start at the age old question for anyone who lives in New York City. When did you move to New York City?
We moved to New York City on probably the exact same day.
I bet I bet we did
sometime in August, August like 25th to 28th Sure. 1998. When we were freshmen at NYU, we were
in the same dorm.
K Anderson 02:17
Yeah, so 1998 so the Spice Girls bubble hadn’t broken yet. Nope. Nope.
Brittany was on her way out Britney.
K Anderson 02:26
What was on TV then for Felicity? Felicity.
And she stayed in the fictitious version of our dorm. We lived on 10th Street and Fifth Avenue and that’s where our dorm is named Reuben. She stayed in Calvin dorm that was on 10th Street and Fifth Avenue is
an enormous palatial suite that did not exist.
shoe boxes, and a men’s shoe box.
K Anderson 02:53
isn’t really like that in America then where you have like a dorm? What’s the like? What was Scott Foley’s? No not scoff?
Yeah, the RA the resident? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yes, they are utterly useless. They are not TV and movies will have you believe that their friends that they are there to like, assist you and guide you through the college experience. Yeah, ours were there simply to make sure we didn’t burn the place to the ground.
They are either on TV there otherwise are hot. And I never had one that was either. No, no, no, I
had there was a hot girl. I had a hot girl ra when? Yeah, I saw her once.
The real reason to do it is because you got free housing. Oh,
K Anderson 03:31
that’s what I was gonna say. Is it like when someone does the first aid course so they can get paid a bit extra work? First? Yeah. Okay, exactly. So so they just have complete disdain for you and keep their heads down when they’re walking through the hallway.
Yeah, they don’t want to deal with our shit their own shit.
Yeah, they’re like 19 Why do they even try to the 18 year old?
K Anderson 03:53
Yeah, that’s, that’s scary. Dude. A 19 year old in charge. Okay, agreed. So you moved in 98. But then when did you meet each other?
Probably like a week a week later? Oh, same drama school. Yeah. So we had probably at least one or two classes at the same time. Yeah. I don’t remember meeting you. Do you remember?
Do you remember meeting you?
K Anderson 04:18
It’s the best thing to say to someone, isn’t it? Like I have no recollection.
You seem like you’ve always had like a,
like a like a soulmate call.
I do. You know, I know. We met the first time because my roommate Jesse was in in our Theatre School. There were groups. So we were separated into like groups. We were not in the same group. My roommate was in group with Erika, and you were coming over to rehearse the scene with him. And he told me Eric is coming over she has really good posture. That was the identifying characteristic and you know what? She does. He was right.
It kid that’s the least interesting. About Me. Wow. Wow, listen.
You’re pretty dull.
K Anderson 05:08
So I don’t think I’m getting a good idea of your posture from here. Oh,
no, I’m hunched over this microphone. Yeah. There we go. This is my Theatre School posture. Exactly. Yeah, I’m now ready to play Ophelia even though I’m twice her age at this.
If only we were only twice if
I’m older than the nurse at this point.
Well, people died at 35. back then. So we’re basically dead.
K Anderson 05:37
In terms. Yeah, keeping it chipper, keeping the conversation live. And then so so Erika, you have no idea what your first impression of Paul was. Paul, what was your first impression other than double checking the posture?
I don’t, I don’t remember because we met very briefly. And then we we were like, passingly friendly, but we didn’t really know each other for a couple years. And I think we really became good friends. When we did eat it’s play together. That’s right. Because we did a we did a two person play together. And I remember thinking that, like Erika is one of those people that I you can take her into any situation. And you don’t have to worry about her. She will she will fit in she will be cool. And it has borne out for the following 20 years that you know, as you get older, you tend to like shed friends, you just lose them not for any bad reasons. It’s just like you become you know, whatever. And this one just sticks around. She’s always she always makes the cut. Somehow.
I’m just with you like a disease.
Yeah, it has no cure. Like a soul mate. Eric, I remember we said. Yeah,
I just remember I remember. The thing about Paul is he was so himself in college, like everyone else was putting on a persona. There were so many people in our school, especially who were like, you know, I’m wearing a scarf and sunglasses indoors. Very important. Coffee, I’m caffeinated and important. And you were never like that. You’re always like, no bullshit. authentically yourself all the time. And very sweet and very, just down to earth is what I remember about Gary. Nice. Thank you. That has not that’s that’s not borne out. Yeah. Sadly.
Yeah, I have I have gone steeply downhill.
K Anderson 07:32
Brilliant. Was there. Did you like make any promises to yourself? When you were moving to New York? Like, I’m going to be different? I’m going to be like, a new version of me. Did you have a make any of those promises to yourself? Because New York is like, kind of Yeah,
I remember when, when I got into the theatre programme at NYU. And I really wanted to go, but obviously, it was a lot of money. And like it was not guaranteed to bear out with a lot of money in return. And I remember telling myself, then you’re going to be poor for the rest of your life. And you have to be okay with that. If you go to this school. So that was my promise to myself. When I moved to New York, and then I married someone who is fairly high up at Google, so that promise did not even. But I was prepared. I was prepared to be poor for the rest of my life.
That’s a big sacrifice. That’s amazing. I did not have that. I was like, I’m gonna be a star. Look at Worlds.
K Anderson 08:39
This university is just a formality on my way
to Broadway, I guess. With my presence.
Yeah, that was me. I was gonna be a star. I was gonna like take take on the world and become like this. I don’t know. I tried to think of who the who the equivalent to me would have been. Well, yeah, sure. Less talent, but Sure.
Well, I mean,
lowball me let’s get real Elaine Stritch. That’s really where that’s where I was going. Yeah.
K Anderson 09:12
This all means nothing to me.
The theatre queens will get it
K Anderson 09:18
Elaine Paige. The one that was in Chess, right? Yeah.
Okay, she was Yeah, so I know that pretty sure. The original Grizabella in London in Cats.
K Anderson 09:27
should we just keep throwing theatre references at you. So you can feel like lost on your own podcast?
K Anderson 09:34
Yeah, absolutely. Like I know Cats is a movie and musical and it’s about cats.
Yeah, these are all correct things that
K Anderson 09:44
that’s where the fact and for me hang on here enough. What do I know? Oh, ‘Memory’, right. Yes. Yeah. Not ‘Memories’. Correct.
Just a singular memory.
Which is ironic because the watching the musical feels like you’re having an aneurysm
watching Musical is something that I want to enjoy with the world. Like I want to, I want to take every individual person in the room be like, let’s just sit down and watch cats together alone in the dark room so you can watch cats and I can watch you watching cats.
I remember I saw cats when I was like 14 years old, you actually remember having the thought of like, I don’t think psychotropic drugs are going to be for me, I think I’m going to be able to do LSD and be okay with that.
I saw categories even younger than that. And then as a joke, went back to see cats and like my early 20s with a good friend. And I did not realise when I was a kid that the first act of cats and was with like a cat orgy, like all of the cats start, like, humping each other on stage. And I had a friend who had done the cats tour, and I texted him and I was like, just the is the end of the first act of cats. Just Just like a pile of fucking cats. And he’s like, yeah, that’s that’s
thanks, TS Eliot.
K Anderson 10:57
Like it’s supposed to be that.
Yeah. Or that. It’s like the cabbie I want to watch this pile on top of each other. And like, I mean, who doesn’t like watching incredibly, highly trained dancers these skintyte uniforms rub bodies. That is universally entertaining.
K Anderson 11:15
I mean, yeah, I mean, is it a way to end an actor? Sure.
It’s like in sketch comedy, like when you don’t know how to end it. Just have them. Fuck
K Anderson 11:23
yeah. And then they fuck, definitely when you’re doing improv. So so then you were in this show together? And how did the friendship develop? Was it like a ride or die? Or did it take a bit
we had a little, not a dip. But just Erika graduated a year before me because he graduated early. Right. So then there was kind of a year where we didn’t see each other very much. And then we randomly joined the same like, exterior theatre group. Like we I just walked in one day, and she was there as well. And then since then, it was to gather wherever we go.
It was ride or die. The funny thing is, I think the reason I don’t remember meeting you is because it feels like you’ve been my, like, closest friend for ages. Yeah, it just doesn’t feel like there was a moment in my adulthood when when you weren’t part of it. Yeah, but I do remember you walking into that Theatre Company, or and seeing you and was funny now, in retrospect, is that Theatre Company was a full cult. Oh, yeah. It was a disaster. It was a nightmare. And you peaced out early cuz you figured it out. You clock them immediately. And dum dum over here. It took me like, a year before I was like, Oh, this is a cold. I’ve joined a cult.
And I remember be like, I wasn’t good enough friend where I was like, doesn’t seem great. But will you tell me what happened? I want to get all the gossip without having to deal with the crazy.
K Anderson 12:44
Yeah. And so like when you say cult Do you mean like it was all around? Like one person? He was?
I mean, batshit crazy older. They were they weren’t even that smart. You know, I feel so I feel so stupid that I was like, I wasn’t taken in because I knew from the minute I was there that this was all the Oculus, but I was like I wasted so much time with these two people. It was like an older much older woman and her younger protege they lived in the same apartment. They slept in the same bed I believe although he was a homosexual. Yeah. Oh, homosexual homosexual and she was like, old enough to be his grandmother. Yeah, it is the creepiest craziest Harold and Maude situation. And these two decided when they start a theatre company and they bullied a bunch of genuinely very talented Yeah, like some of those people went on to like do really well into like submission is you know what? No regrets I enjoyed I enjoyed I enjoyed being part of that nonsense. Yes. It gave us some good
K Anderson 13:50
How fascinating I was gonna say like how did she convince that person to be her protege but I guess if you’re getting free rent and a bed to sleep in
I mean, to be fair, the crazy was coming from both sides. It was it was it was not a one sided crazy. It was a unit of insane.
Yeah, it was Norman Bates. Okay, so
K Anderson 14:07
let’s let’s not stigmatise mental health problems. good points, because these people probably it was about their ego and their
very good point. We should say when I say crazy, I don’t actually mean crazy. I just mean, bonkers egotistical. Yeah, to a level that is.
K Anderson 14:24
Oh, see, you see. Yeah, that’s the thing. Like, can we enjoy crazy in love anymore? Can we enjoy an empty cell? Yes. Because it’s like, Oh, hang on. But like, What? What is the word that we replace it with? bananas? And is it bonkers bananas?
We enjoy bonkers. Yeah. Bananas. Why joy? batshit. Yeah, just just the word batshit without anything else.
I think also like what you just did is good because you were like, I’m really saying incredibly, like egotistical. Like not there’s not a pathology See at play here. There’s just an incredibly overwhelming ego. Yeah. To the blacking out of everything else. And maybe that isn’t a mental health issue. I don’t know. But like, that’s how I perceive.
K Anderson 15:12
I’m sorry, we I got us to a place where we’re all like
those people deserve some level and fuck
K Anderson 15:26
it’s fascinating to watch there isn’t it isn’t eating those kind of dynamic, particularly
when you can just keep sending your friend and to deal with it and then get all the juicy bits when she comes out. Best way to do it.
K Anderson 15:37
She had a body cam or something.
K Anderson 15:44
Okay, so where does Florida come in here? And where are you still in the cold?
Good question. I probably was,
I think I think because Vlada was I don’t know if that happened, this happened for you or anyone else. But like I feel like in my 20s I went through like cycles of gay bars. So like I would have a year where I would go to boiler room all the time, then I would have a year to go somewhere. So Vlada was one of those for me, somewhere around 25 to 27, I think. And it was it was in Midtown in Hell’s Kitchen.
K Anderson 16:24
So So just to clarify, so you you went through periods where you were like, this is the bar and I’m going here every weekend. Yeah. And then all of a sudden, I was like, Oh, this is boring. I’m going exactly.
Yeah. Okay, cool. And it was it was it was one of those bars in that cycle. It was just it was a
it was a little higher end than the others. Yeah, like Boiler Room has a dive bar next to it. This Vlada was not a dive bar.
Yeah. It had a had a lounge upstairs. Our Lady J performed there a lot. Who now writes she wrote for transparent. And posts I think pose as well, like very successful. So we had seen her there. And it was kind of themed as like a vaguely Russian seems like
a vodka bar. Yeah, they had what I loved about Vlada is they had an ice bar, like the bar was made of ice, so that your drinks were always cold. And it was cold in there.
K Anderson 17:17
Yeah. And you loved that. I loved that.
New York gets like so swampy and disgusting in the summertime that you have no idea how delightful of freezing cold bar. Yeah.
K Anderson 17:29
But like what about in winter,
and winter, you’re dressed warmly. I run hot. So I always I would always rather it be like 50 degrees in a room than 80 degrees in a robe. I would like it to be cold. Someone was always cool.
K Anderson 17:45
Can you translate that into Celsius?
I really try to do that in my head just now.
I know Wait, I think I think why is it second?
Answer is we’re gonna be like, you know, like 100 degrees Celsius. Like negative 45 Celsius. Obviously, that’s
maybe like 25 to 30 degrees Celsius would be like, warm and pleasant. Right? Like a sunny day. Right? So
K Anderson 18:16
that would be like Erika is looking this up. We don’t need
anything. Erika is cheating is what she’s doing.
K Anderson 18:20
It’s not cheating. It’s using the tools of
Thank you. Thank you. brand spanking new friend. I would say it was roughly 50 degrees in that bar. Fahrenheit which translates to about 10 degrees Celsius.
Oh fine, but then you would fill it with people and it would heat up so it would just be super cold if you got there early and then it would like like the body heat would just kind of then it would be like a normal room. Okay.
K Anderson 18:48
This is not interesting to any
really longer Why
K Anderson 18:56
does America and how did you feel leaning on the
American system just not using the metric system? I don’t know. We are fuckers
K Anderson 19:06
what do you do? And you know, the weird thing is like we measure everything here in centimetres and metres. Unless we’re talking about height or someone’s dick size. And then that just all goes out the window. Yeah,
you would think for dick size you would want to stick with centimetres because more Yeah, like 25 centimetres is better than I have no idea that three inches I know that’s not right.
K Anderson 19:32
Yeah, and I don’t know like maybe it’s like an American influence like coming back because I don’t know maybe like Did anyone Okay, so I’m being I’m being honest. In this question. It’s gonna sound ridiculous. But before like online hookup sites and stuff Did anyone measure their penis
name have to have I feel like everyone did. But what they didn’t have a billboard system for it. Right, there was no advert there was no obvious place to power. Okay. So you would know, but it wouldn’t be like, you know,
K Anderson 20:08
you wouldn’t tell people repeatedly. Yeah, cuz
you’re a guy in Manchester 69 nine inches Baby, you know, like,
K Anderson 20:15
you wouldn’t base your entire personality, right? Yeah.
Or you would, but no one would know. That’s what
K Anderson 20:21
you were doing. Ah, yeah. So I was gonna say like, I think it’s like an important thing because like the majority of porn, at least at a time was made in America. And they would have had to like talk about their penis size a lot. So maybe, yeah, everyone looking at video covers, because they would buy VHS then.
And also like, well, like, the influence of pop culture. Like, isn’t there an Aerosmith song I whipped out my big 10 inch, like referring to like a 10 inch vinyl. But like the double entendre is like I whipped out my big 10 inch deck. So like, maybe it’s like there’s like pop culture thing about it’s easier to get into into a song in centimetres. It does.
fall out of the tongue off the tongue. I’m now realising because I didn’t think about the fact that like porn early porn was mostly American. So like, Did everyone in other countries just think that John Holmes was like a normal American ginormous penis? Or you all knew that was crazy. And crazy in this case? I mean.
K Anderson 21:27
Well, I’m just gonna look up, john. You too can just like, you can just entertain yourself. JOHN HOLMES
John Holmes is a porn star from the 70s. Yeah. Who is known for his I’m not kidding. I think it was like 12 inch penis. Yeah, like, like supernaturally ginormous penis. Oh, he was from the 70s. So you’re seeing a very hairy man right now. Yeah, is what you’re saying.
K Anderson 21:54
He’s not hairy. What are you talking about? I
thought I remember. So I only seen John Holmes once. In a film, but uh, but I remember him being very hairy. Maybe I’m wrong. Yeah, it was called. It was Marilyn Chambers insatiable. I remember watching it because it was like a classic. It was like people consider it a you watch it
for the art.
To think I’m crazy. But yes,
K Anderson 22:17
you did an episode on it, didn’t you?
We should we should? Ah, well, it would be the most vagina I have ever seen in my entire life
has not aged well. There are no people of colour. People
K Anderson 22:29
Well, I mean, but but but with a porn that could be less problematic than having people of colour there. True.
That is that there’s a minefield,
there’s a dynamic there. Yeah, we haven’t really delved into Yeah, but it’s it’s a it’s considered like, it’s considered like one of the like, you know how like Debbie does Dallas. Yeah, one was what? Insatiable was another okay. And Marilyn chambers was like the, for lack of a better like analogy, the Meryl Streep before. Like, like everyone loved her. What I liked about her is when you watch her films, she’s a normal looking woman. This is not someone with like, who would who hadn’t done any alterations to her finger. Or if she had like, you couldn’t tell if she just looked like a normal lady who really enjoyed fucking, and I appreciate that. Fair. Now. Did
K Anderson 23:16
anyone look like they had enhancements in the 70s?
Good question. I don’t know. I’m guessing that was pre like, like a boob-splosion of the 80s where everyone just had those enormous tips. After a while
K Anderson 23:29
I find it felt like this is okay. So this is something I know nothing about. And I’m just gonna go on and on about it. And you’re gonna have to humour me. But I find it fascinating that in the 70s there was that period where porn was starting to be taken like seriously.
And it was done in theatres and couples would go Yeah, yeah, that’s, that’s amazing. Reagan ruined everything over here. The 70s
were on such a good, good tilt. And then Reagan came in and fucked everything up.
K Anderson 23:57
I mean, not in the good way. No,
K Anderson 23:59
Yeah, it’s just really like, I was reading about Boys in the Sand, which was the takeoff of that wasn’t about Joe dalesandro. Right? tetra dalesandro I think someone Yeah, it was it was naked man.
Yeah. What do you need?
K Anderson 24:15
That Yeah, I was in as soon as I found that. And yeah, just watching it like somewhat people went to the movies to watch this like in like, non ironic, or like, in a way that they weren’t going there just to like, suck someone’s dick and they weren’t interested in the film.
It was like slightly less seedy. Yeah, I
don’t know. I appreciate the home ness to being home now of pornography. I don’t know if I would enjoy like seeing porn with like a group of people. It’s possible that you might not but I guarantee you there are plenty of people that would. I just here to like to talk. I’m just here to like for the folks who would prefer to
see you here to represent.
K Anderson 24:55
I kind of really appreciate the fact that if you wanted to get off in Mississippi In the 70s, like you had to put the work in, like, now I can just like flip open my laptop and look at porn. And I’m done in five minutes. But like, then you had to, like, have intention to go out and like, get it off? Well, yeah, I
mean, it required a little bit more planning. Yeah. And now it’s not special anymore. You had
to like a magazine, like mailed to your home address, or you would have to find a place that sold the magazine that corresponded to whatever it is you wanted to see. And like buy it in from a human being.
I mean, when we were young, the quest for porn that started whenever you started sprouting hair, like just to like kind of understand it to a certain extent, obviously, there’s a sexual component to it, but like literally like it was like,
we all knew, like whose dad had the porn. Yeah. And we’d go to their house when the parents weren’t home and we’d read the porn stash of like to get who did. I mean, now in retrospect, bad for sure.
K Anderson 26:03
Isn’t it funny? How, like, little got you off? Like my parents had like a joy of sex book. And there was like, like, one picture with one picture, and you’re like nudity in it? Oh, yeah. I could just look at this page all day there now and be like, did I need something? Do I need something new? Exactly.
And did that joy of sex book have something that corresponded to what you were into? Or were you looking at like, hetero?
No, just the scientific bisection of a penis? Vinci. There was, we had a Huckleberry Finn book in my house. And I don’t even remember there’s a scene Huckleberry Finn, I don’t really remember it, but where there’s, they’re like seeing some like circus or something. And like they’re seeing, and it’s like platformers. And now just like a performer, like, dressed up as like a tap animal. And he’s performing and there was this copy of it had a drawing of the guy that and he was naked, and he was like, it was from behind, he was on all fours. And like, it looks like he’s kind of like, running on all for is kind of so it’s an action shot. And you could see like the shadow of his balls, and
K Anderson 27:14
this was a half animal half man,
it was like but it was it was a full human that had been made up with makeup and stuff and costuming. Okay, so
K Anderson 27:22
this isn’t your story about how you got into beastiality then
Hey, guys, it’s this is not me coming for okay. But I remember like, I bet if you went home and took that Huckleberry Finn, and like, you know how you if you let the book drop open over to the most open page, I bet you were good, because I remember being fascinated by it. Like, even before I had fully, like, sex was sexually fascinated by it just being like something in my brain being like, I’m very interested in those plums, I would like to know more about.
K Anderson 27:53
And so would that page have weird stains on it? No,
this was before. Like, I think, I think I was literally pre sexual when I when I discovered this. And then once I was sexual, then like, you know, imagination could get you further than a shadowed illustration of a ball sack.
Because the problem with relying on like someone else’s porn that you find is you’re now seeing what they’re into. So what they’re in to sort of de facto becomes part of you. What are my brothers tables
gonna do for me? Nothing.
K Anderson 28:26
I feel like Erika, you might have a story about your friend’s dad’s porn and how that’s influenced you?
That’s a good question. Um, what he was very. He there was a variety. I remember that. I like the man had so much pornography. He was a single dad. I should mention like, so. You know? Not much time for dating, I imagine. Yeah. And so yeah, I don’t I don’t know. I couldn’t say for sure that his his port influenced me that much. Except the idea that like, Oh, you can keep a tonne of porn. As an adult, that’s something you can do. You can just do that.
Is that what your spare room is for your apartment that you won’t let me go into.
And that is how I got my sex done.
K Anderson 29:13
Okay, so ice bars and condoms. I don’t know how we got here. But we did somehow. And so do you remember the first time you went to Florida?
I don’t remember the first time I went there. I feel like I went there. Like I said like a bunch over that year to two year period. Deb round to 2005 2007 and probably. Erika, do you remember the first time you it
was your birthday was it was my birthday? I had never gone there. It wasn’t like that it was tucked away. But it was on the second floor. Well, it
was there was two floors to it.
That’s what it was. Yeah. So I think I probably walked by it a bunch and didn’t clock that it was a gay bar at all.
Yeah, it wasn’t like hugely obvious.
And so I just thought it was like a vodka bar. Never. I’d never Robin
Yeah. And then for my, let’s say 25th birthday, there was a drag queen there that was performing and I saw this dragon was performing and this was a pre drag race, Bianca Del Rio that was performing and I think I had seen her before, in a different bar
you had because you had told me about her,
okay. And I liked her and I was like, Okay, this is on my birthday. I’m gonna like, this is where I’m gonna have my birthday. This year. We’re all All my friends are gonna go we’re gonna see Bianca Del Rio who’s so funny. So we went there and she was she had the the upstairs like a lounge, small performance space. So she was up there performing. First I think she’d record with you first.
Yes, yeah. So we were there as a group. It’s a it’s packed there. Yeah, hundreds of people in this room. She could have picked on anyone. Just want to say so she gets on stage and she’s she says, I don’t remember how she starts it. But she’s like, I’m gonna bring up some volunteers but I’m gonna call them out. They’re not volunteers. And I think I was like, couch in a corner. I could not have been more tucked away. And when she came, she’s like, I saw this girl. When I came in. She looked like Velma Scooby Doo. Where’s Velma? Velma, are you here? I know you’re in here, bitch. You were wearing glasses. You had you had a black and white shirt. And I was like, oh my god she’s talking about so I like got up off the couch that I was sitting in in the corner and I was like, Is it is it me? And she’s like, yes, get up here bitch. And I go Okay, so I’m like, I’m game. It’s my friend’s birthday. Yeah, how terrifying could this be? Could this get
you can put Erika in any situation and she is okay this bears out my earlier statement.
And then she volun-tells another girl to get up there. Tourists voluntary I love
that as a that was some portmanteau. That was intentional or not, but very good.
She like she drags up this tourist who I English might have been her third language. This poor woman probably wandered into that bar and was like what is what is that? What is this America? Is this What’s happening?
K Anderson 32:06
Where are those 12 inch dicks I was promised. Yeah, exactly.
And then she has the two of us lip sync against each other to Black Velvet by Alannah Myles.
K Anderson 32:19
But like you just did she know this.
Here’s how I know fate is a thing. I understand that. That there is a universe with a purpose in it. Sure. Because even though that song is way before my time, I fucking love black velvet.
It’s a great song. Probably
listen to it. 1000 times. I know every lyric Mississippi
in the middle dress.
K Anderson 32:45
And then what happens because I know that line as well. Then what happens? Kenny Rogers? Kenny Rogers trauma? I need to listen to this. Yeah, okay.
And obviously, this other woman this poor tourist was like, what’s happening? What’s happening?
K Anderson 33:01
I’m just gonna sway.
And so I think I feel like you know, when you’re, you’re kind of embarrassed. And you’re like, Okay, I have two options here. I can I can run and hide. I can like fight or flight. Right? Yeah. Or I can lean the fuck into this. Yeah. And just be a part of this situation. So I decided to do the latter. Yeah. And I was like, I’m gonna give God the black velvet the likes of which as far as never. Yeah. And I luckily I was wearing layers. I had like a like a kimono top on top of like a tank top. And so I like started taking layers off. I don’t remember. It was like a blackout. There was one point I was like swinging my shirt. I think I threw it into the crowd. I don’t know. Yeah. And Bianca Del Rio. At one point, I looked at her and she had this look on her face of like, bitch, what do you do?
Erika, Look, she’s being very nice by saying this other this other woman competing with a tourist didn’t know English didn’t know the song. If this had been a drag race lip sync would have been gone down history as Erika opened up her mouth and swallow the other woman. She was she was on the ground. She was wearing a bell sleeve at one point and was like gesturing up. I mean, it was you would have thought she knew it was happening.
It was a blackout. I don’t really remember that much.
K Anderson 34:25
And so Bianca was actually just looking threatened in the following week. You had her gig?
No, it was more confused. It was more like I had an intention of bringing these two women up here to kind of mock. I can’t mock this because it’s so sincere. That I’m just gonna seem like a monster.
I think what you’re saying is you have successfully rendered Bianca Del Rio briefly speechless.
I will say this, and this is this is not her brand at all. So I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing this. But Bianca hugged me afterwards and said that was amazing. Good job. Yeah. And I was like,
thank you. dining out on that 15
years drag race and I was like, Oh, that was that was a moment. She doesn’t say that.
She meant that. Yeah. So Erika had that with Bianca that night and then I don’t know, I think maybe she asked you why you were there. And you said it was my birthday. Because then she pulled me up on stage. And just started reading me for fun and profit. I guess. The only thing I really remember about it is that she was like, I was wearing like a green shirt. And she said something like, Oh, you think greens a good colour on you? And I was like, Yeah, like, great. And she was like, no one’s gonna fuck you. And I was like, oh, and that some very nice young man in the crowd I did not know was like, I’d fuck you. Tonight. Yeah. So whoever that was.
Thanks, community. That’s what having a community Yeah, exactly.
K Anderson 35:59
Can we talk about? Yeah, for me is picking on the audience. Because for me as an audience member, that is the most terrifying thing ever. Where’s it on your scale?
Yeah, I hate it obviously. likes it. No,
K Anderson 36:14
no, no, there are some people who are like, yeah, I want to be the centre of attention.
Oh, I suppose if I go to a show ahead of time knowing there’s audience participation. I’d like I’m like sweating before I even get there. already sweating, and panic. And I try to make myself seem as small as possible, so that I won’t
K Anderson 36:32
see this. See, this is what I was going to ask like, what is the right tactic? Because if you’re avoiding eye contact and trying to be as small as possible, that might make them pick you more, rather than just being confident like what is it about the audience that performers hone in on?
I think you have to be unmemorable. That was Erica’s problem when she walked in Bianca Del Rio elector and said Velma from Scooby Doo. So like, she was like, that is a good hook. Right? You have to be Yeah, like it’s it’s the perfect time to be a cisgender straight white guy who’s five foot 10? Where they can’t they can’t find the one rainbow coloured Guppy in the school, right? You have to be generic. And I think that’s the way to avoid it. Like it because if you start acting, if you really start making it, then they take draws their eye right? Or if you’re like, oh, me, me, me that draws their eye. But if you’re just like sitting there calmly, maybe I don’t know.
I feel like you have to wear like khaki pants.
And you have
to look like you’re there to sell them a whirlpool? Yeah.
Or do their taxes.
Yeah. Hi, my name is Keith. I’ve been a CPA for 15 years. Where do you hear my story about the tax out of the 2017? That’s, that’s the energy you want to give out?
The I will kill a dinner party energy. Yeah.
K Anderson 37:57
All right. Cool. I think I mean, I think I can achieve that. So next time I go out.
That’s the goal. Okay. That’s a goal.
K Anderson 38:04
And so what was it about Vlada that that made it become the hot ticket for Oh, God, I just had hot ticker. That’s ridiculous. The place that you went to for for that year?
Um, well, I think so. In New York, there’s different, obviously just in different neighbourhoods in all cities. But like, like one of the bars I mentioned before the boiler room that was in the East Village, so that was like a divey bar kind of like you’re going to get like a little more artsy, grungy kind of feel to it. And then like, if you go to the West Village, then you’re getting like a slightly more mature gay like it’s kind of a very, very traditional gateways money goes up a bit. The money goes up a bit in the in the in the West Village and then so I feel like Vlada, in Hell’s Kitchen, you’re kind of getting the like, Hell’s Kitchen. It’s kind of like Chelsea where you’re getting like the the, the hottest and the stupidest at the same time. So like when you’re in your 20s you’re like, hot and stupid words. For now, right? Yeah, not worried about long term here. I just want to look at Hot dudes. And I feel like that was a really good spot for like, I’m gonna see some very generic looking attractive men. In Vlada, which, you know, in your mid 20s,
K Anderson 39:21
you’re like, Okay, on the menu. Yeah. So hang on. So the entire reason that you went there was to look at men. Yeah.
Like good friend, Adam was who I went to most of these bars with and we used to tease each other. Like, I love him. He is one of my best friends in the world. And we would be like, we would be like, we have to stop talking to each other because no one else is talking to us because they think we were on a date. So we have to we would have to like turn around and face away from each other for like, okay, turn around for 15 minutes. Let’s see what happens.
Who would pull first your
Adam, you know what it was? It was it was a dice roll. Each time we I think we both had our nights where we you know, we got we got it done.
K Anderson 40:00
Cuz I hate that whole thing about like, hitting on people in clubs and like starting conversations, like, Hey, I’m really interesting. And I’m going to like, win you over in 30 seconds total em, how do you resist the temptation to just run back to your wing man and be like, I hate everyone, let’s just talk to each other.
Oh, I was not I also was not good at that. Again, we would turn around for 15 minutes and then just turn right back around. It was like it was a contest to make sure that we Okay, you have to like Watch yourself be I think what we? Yeah, exactly. Like, like, try like you’re here to try to. I mean, I’m joking about like, I’m only there to look at guys. But I was like, trying to find a boyfriend or whatever. And like, you never know, right? And it was kind of before the big advent of like, online dating and stuff. My husband, I got together with my husband, before I had a smartphone, which he will happily tell you disgusted him when he saw that I started flip phone, we started dating. So I’ve never had like any kind of like Grindr profile or anything like that, because I was with him when that all
K Anderson 40:57
came out. So you just don’t understand modern gay culture?
Not really. I’m kind of like an I’m an I’m an old if
K Anderson 41:05
you don’t like, advertise how many inches? You’re decades online?
I have never. I’m not gonna say never. I’ve never had an online profile where I had any naked photos of myself. whatsoever.
Is there? No, there are no nudes of you anywhere on the internet.
I think my husband has some nudes in me. But those are not on the internet. Those are on his private devices.
K Anderson 41:29
Can I just, I probably shouldn’t be sharing this with you. Someone got in touch with me. I’m going to the other day and said someone’s taking your nudes and putting and putting, like, posted them online. And I was like our shed. And then like, I mean, it wasn’t really that bothered, because my nudes don’t have like, my, my face in them or anything. So like,
right? It doesn’t because you’re smart.
K Anderson 41:48
So it doesn’t really matter. Like they they put pictures of my face, and then pictures of me nude. And so it’s just like, Well, you know, yeah, that could be anyone. So like, so at first I was like, Okay, well, I’m gonna have to like report this because it was on Twitter. And I’m gonna, like, say that this can take this down. And then after that, I was like, hang on. Did anyone like these pitches? So I went back. Yeah, I looked and like, I mean, the profile wasn’t a popular profile or anything. But I had five love hearts and everyone else had nothing. So I was. I’m good.
Take the compliment.
K Anderson 42:29
Okay, so I made that about me when I shouldn’t have so you are flirting with?
No, if it’s about like naked pictures, please.
K Anderson 42:38
We’re not gonna swap pics at the end of this conversation. No, no, no. And so, so flirting. I do like to find out from people what their techniques were.
Oh, okay. I believe that I was a good flirter if someone else started the conversation. So I was very bad at the initial approach. Because like you like you said, it’s it’s it’s very awkward. And it’s very unnatural, like no matter to go up to a stranger and be like, Hi, my name is Paul. Like, I think you’re attractive. Like it’s hard to do that smoothly. But once the conversation was started, I was able to do pretty well. Because I could I could kind of
you know, you can banter. I can banter exact. I can you know what, I I’ve seen you banter and I can confirm that he is very good at flirting. No, thank you.
K Anderson 43:40
What would you give him out of 10 there?
I gave you like
a cry. You’re like, well, you’re flirting was good.
You can’t fix a fundamentally broken person. But other than that,
great job. You did well with what you have.
Now, honestly, nine, nine out of 10
Thank you. Thank you. Yeah, I netted myself a fair number of dates from the bars. And I think, honestly, like the theatrical training kind of came in, because it was like, it becomes like a bit of a performance. No one is being themselves when they’re meeting someone the first time and you’re flirting, you’re trying to present the best side of yourself. So what I would notice is that people like who were more nervous or less adept at that kind of thing. They would like stop smiling. And they would they would make a joke and immediately apologise. Oh, that’s so sad. When that happens. I like or like, make a joke and then say, I’m just joking. I like those. Like, the anxiety starts to take over. And and I i think what I almost always had going for me was that I had a friend at the bar with me. I wasn’t alone. And I was comfortable talking. So I was like, I’m gonna have a conversation with this person. If it doesn’t go well, my friend is literally five feet away. I’m just gonna go talk to them and I know I can talk to them. So the stakes were lower. So I think that’s about if you turn a bomb with someone, and then you’re continuing to be in the same bar as them. Like, that’s
K Anderson 45:20
kind of awkward.
It is, but I just want to get myself wrapped around the axle. I mean, I’m gonna sound like such an asshole.
Have you ever bombed though? I
don’t think I’ve I’ve never just been knocked around. Like I bomb. Oh, it means like, I’m getting going into like a spiral around somebody, like this thing is dragging you down? I can’t. So I, I can’t think of a time where I like I think many times where like a conversation didn’t pan out. But But like, I never have left it one of those situations feeling like oh my god, I accidentally made like, an anti semitic comment to a Jewish person. And like, like I have, I have deeply offended this person. No, I did it intentionally like I’ve never. I made a good joke. And for some reason, they wouldn’t laugh. So I, I think flirting for me. Like if I was in the right mindset, I could actually have a good time flirting and talking with people because I would low stakes. And like, what’s the worst that can happen? I don’t go on a date with this person, which I wasn’t going to do 15 minutes ago before I met them. So like, it’s really I’m not losing anything. And then that kind of weird confidence that apparently I have where I’m like, I’ve never bombed into conversation once in my whole life. Do you want to hear a funny story about some of the worst flirting I’ve ever been on the receiving end? Yes, please. You know, this story
is a good one.
I went I went on a couple dates with this guy. I actually met him in a bar. They approached me we flirted with a couple of dates. He was a very nice person and know that he
K Anderson 47:02
was not for me. Never call someone a very nice person. He.
And he he had called me he had he and I and I was very, like, if someone approached me in a bar, I’m going to be nice to them like it when I was when I met my husband on like a dating on like, OkCupid dating website. If someone like came to me, and email me a nice email, I would always respond to them. Because like, that takes guts to do it. And I don’t think you should be an asshole to someone who’s just trying to say, Hey, I think you’re attractive. Like there’s no need to be an SL. So he pushed me in this bar widford a little bit. I wasn’t super into him. But he was like, oh, let’s go on a date. I was like, What am I again? What have you got to lose? Just go on the date with the guy like you don’t know what’s going to happen. We on this date. It wasn’t good. I was and I said I was like I you know, I like I had fun. But like, I don’t really think this is this is a romantic, romantic future. And he wore me down to take a step get a second date with him. At which point I was like, My God, man have a bit of self respect. Like I’ve told you, I’m not interested. And you’re not letting this go like so I was I finally like, Okay, fine. We’ll we’ll go out again. So we go out again. And we’re in a bar, a different bar and Jim bar in Chelsea. And I had just done a short movie, a short film, and the trailer had just come out. And this guy was he was so sincere in everything. He said it was not. He wasn’t snarky. He was he was so sincere. But like, it was so uncomfortable. Because he was like, Can I see the trailer of the movie on I didn’t have as we know, now, I didn’t have a smartphone at this point. But he had a smartphone. And I was like, yeah, it’s the name of this. You can find it on YouTube. So he looked it up. And he watched it. And again, it’s been like a noisy dark bar. Right? So like, how can you really see anything on your phone? And he looks up at me? And he says, with complete sincerity? Do you know how in the country, you can look up at the night sky, and you see all of the stars. And in the city? You can’t see any of the stars because of the ambient light? Well, you are a star that I see in the city.
K Anderson 49:11
And then you got engaged and now you’re married.
My husband and I like it was so sincere and it was it could not have been the more wrong thing to say to me. I want it it was like I became a turtle and like went into my shell.
How long into the second date was this? This this? We had had dinner?
This was after dinner we were at a bar. Okay.
All right. At least I’m picturing him doing this like 10 minutes. No, no, I appetisers arrived just like you were one of the stars in the firmament.
K Anderson 49:43
But it’s also like, that’s not something that you just like come up with. I think he practised that beforehand.
He had exactly it. I truly believe in my heart. He meant it to compliment me and to flirt with me. But it was a burn. It was like you’re not You’ve been, you’ve been on a date and a half with me and you still think this is something that you should say to me like, I am not a super sincere person. There’s a lot of sarcasm coming out of every pore of me all the time. Like, it feels like you’re not really listening to who I am. If you’re gonna say this to me, no, this
sounds like there’s like a hopeless romantic. Yeah. And there is someone out there for this person. Yeah, but it is not you.
K Anderson 50:24
So what we haven’t talked about yet is Erika, your flirting style. Yeah, I want to get some tips from you.
Yeah, I am. It’s a little I’m trying to remember. So honestly, it’s been a minute. But I feel like I
always remember you inviting people on hot air balloon rides as your opening line. Is that not accurate?
I would just go to the bar and lift my shirt. No, I feel like oftentimes I was too shy to initiate. So I don’t know if I’ve ever initiated in my life. Maybe I have a couple of times. But I so I would have been inebriated to the point of Okay,
K Anderson 51:09
or you would have just come off this stage from a black velvet lips and can your endorphins up to the roof
at that place was like I was with her. She’s my hall pass.
And so so usually someone starts flirting with me. And I just try to match their energy as best I can. And I it’s weird because I this may not happen to men as much as it happens to women, but I immediately go to humour and try to be like clever. And but then a little voice in my head says men don’t like that. You might want to tone that down.
The men are the funny ones. Erika women aren’t funny. Funny,
popped up. It’s like this. Yeah, it’s this really fucked up like patriarchy. That’s like running through my brain. That’s funny that’s running through my brain. That’s like, Don’t Don’t be too funny. Men don’t like that. Don’t be too clever. So it’s a it’s like a little tug of war happening in there where I try to be bubbly and effervescent and vivacious. And then five minutes later I shut down. It’s very attractive.
You’re bowling strikes my friend.
It’s a very attractive it works every time.
K Anderson 52:27
Oh, okay. So it’s just like just malfunctioning CPU overload. Yeah. Yeah, it’s
so awkward. I sometimes I’m excellent. And you know what, when I’m excellent at flirting is when someone is out of my league. Honestly, and I’m not kidding. I’ve been hit on sometimes by like, very attractive men.
Ken Marino hit on us.
Ken Marino hit on me once back when he was like, and, yeah, he’s a comedian, American comedian. What would he have done that? If she was a party down? He was in party down. Yeah.
He’s like a big in like, oh, American comedy project.
K Anderson 53:03
Yeah. Okay. Carry on. Sorry. So he hit on you.
Sorry. So, yeah, if someone really attractive hits on me, it’s almost like this isn’t actually happening. Yeah,
this is gravy. Yeah,
this is this is this is a freebie. So I’m just gonna go with it. And I’m excellent in those situations. So like, if someone like a 10 or it’s like it’s on me, I have new version of me emerges. That is like so much better. Yeah.
Yeah, maybe. Maybe it’s like, you’re like, you know what? I’ve already won tonight. Because simply because you have hit on me. Yeah. So I can’t like it. Can’t you get to that? What what’s the worst that could happen in place? Yeah. Like, I don’t get to fuck Ken Marino, which I didn’t think I even had the chance of literally 15 seconds ago. So here, here we are.
K Anderson 53:46
I check in with Ken Marino’s legal team before publishing this conversation.
I’m sure he’s married by now. Yeah. But I remember being with a girlfriend and she, like a two incredibly attractive men started talking to us. And she shut down. She’s very beautiful. She’s tall blonde. I do believe there’s so many things about her that like are like traditionally attractive. And she shut down so hard. Like she could not believe that these two men were hitting on us and I was like, This isn’t happening isn’t even real. So I was gonna go for it. And
yeah, I’m having a hallucination right now. Let’s have fun.
I’m gonna be my best self right now.
K Anderson 54:31
And so how did that end? He went home with the two of them and she was left at the bar.
No, fortunately, neither. Neither still neither lie. Anyway, my son is gorgeous.
When I said you were super Dell at the beginning of this
and never tell anyone who his father looks like Brad Pitt.
Yeah, you know, you know that heart song. All I want to do is make money. That’s actually about that.
K Anderson 55:03
I listened to that song recently. It’s so problematic.
It’s so it, they, she, she sexually, she under false pretences gets this guy to impregnate her, and then goes back and is like, FYI, I’m married. You mean nothing to me, but this is your son.
Yeah. Sent to it.
Oh my god, I haven’t listened to it in like a day. Yeah,
K Anderson 55:24
like, Ah, you know, the whole moral panic about like exposing young people to gay characters and trans characters and everything. But like, this is what I was listening to when I was a kid, some woman who’s just going off to like, fuck some guy and then yeah, pregnant and then never tell him about it. Remember that Ace
of bass song? is another baby is another baby.
K Anderson 55:46
It was happening a lot in the 90s. Yes, it was a thing that happened. All these kids who were like in their 20s. Now I just don’t know their dads because
their mom was a pop star slash harlot. Yeah.
K Anderson 56:03
Okay, so we are here to talk about Vlada, you wouldn’t know that from the conversations that we’ve been having. But so before all these interviews, I like the online and try and find information about the bars. And the funny thing about Vlada is that, like, all their socials are still there. But there’s not at any point like, oh, Hey, everyone, we’re closing. It’s just kind of like stops at one point, like, Do you know anything about how it closed? or What happened?
We were talking with my husband about this. And he said he thought there was a flood. Which I mean, I I don’t know.
I also look, I don’t want to be I don’t want to be stereotypical here. But was it a friend for the Russian mafia? Is it possible that there’s a Brighton Beach connection? Yeah. And that’s why mysteriously flooded and closed.
K Anderson 56:53
And you got to Russian mafia because of vodka.
Yeah, because it was a Russian themed bar. Yeah.
Yeah. And we are stereotyping Russians. Absolutely. He said, he said he thought was Sunday with a flood. And then I remember when it closed, because I had, at one point in my life gone there so often that I was like, Oh, my God, a lot of clothes. Like it’s a part of my history or whatever. And it I don’t think anything went into the space. No, it must have something that’s been the space by now. But like, I remember, we went there, around there. And it like it was still shut, it was still a lot, but it had been shut down. Or you might walk past it. And I was like, Oh, that’s where all those performances used to happen. And like, all that stuff, and it was kind of sad, but it moves so fast in New York to that, like, I feel like there’s it you know, I’ve been out of the bar game for a few years now.
K Anderson 57:42
And is that is that a symptom of marriage?
Yes. Yeah, a symptom. Now, we get all of our single friends like to refer to us as boring and honestly, they’re they have a point but it’s up to a marriage is a symptom of literally like, if I’m married, and I have an apartment, and I have liquor here. And I’m not like we my husband and I do not have an open relationship we are monogamous. So it’s like it we’re not even out fishing for just fun for the night. And then if I go to the bar, I can’t really hear anybody because it’s so loud and it’s so hot. It’s so packed. I know I but I might, I might as well have a hump on my back at this point.
K Anderson 58:28
And counter arguments. You won’t see Velma from Scooby Doo lip synching to black velvet in your house.
That is true. That is what you lose. You’re missing out on I think what I have to do is put on black velvet and shove Erika onto the stairway and to see what happens.
K Anderson 58:47
To Doom Doom Doom Doom, Doom Doom doom. Is it triggered something in you?
Do you have any memories from Vlada or from your own queer scene that you want to share? Well, if you do, please get in touch. I want to create the biggest online record of people’s memories and stories of queer clubbing, go to low spaces podcast.com and find this section share a lost space and tell me what you got up to. You can also find me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as last spaces pod. Find out more about that aged well by visiting their website that aged well.com where you can also find their social details and I will make sure to include them in the show notes. And of course you can find their show and give it a listen on all good podcast platform. Lost Spaces is not only a podcast, but a concept record as well. I have been writing songs about queer venues and the people who used to live their lives there. And we’ll be releasing songs over the next year. You can hear the first single, well groomed boys, which is also playing underneath my talking right now on all streaming platforms. If you liked this episode I would really appreciate if you subscribed, left a review on your podcast platform or just told people who you think might be interested in giving it a little listen to. I am K Anderson and you have been listening to Lost Spaces.