The Glass Nickel on Atwood is warm and cozy, a perfect place to sit back for a pint and a pizza pie. It seemed like a typical Saturday night when I walked in -- that is, until I saw the man wearing nothing other than a neon green leotard and a wolf mask.
I followed him downstairs and found a small crowd gathered in the basement, most huddled by the bar to get free bottles of PBR. "You can have free beer as long as you sign the waiver," a heavily pierced woman told me. I noticed a camera, mounted on a tripod, slowly scanning the room.
This, in fact, was not your usual basement party. Madison sex-punk quartet Screamin' Cyn Cyn and the Pons were using the beautifully tattooed, pierced, leotarded, and studded people of Madison in their latest music video. Produced by In the Clouds Motion Pictures, the video for the appropriately titled "Drinkee" will undoubtedly be gracing YouTube in the near future.
When you have the option of being a music-video girl, what do you do? Join the dance line and start shaking your ass? Or take your cue from those around you and pretend like you are too cool to notice or care that you are being filmed? I chose the latter and carried on.
By midnight, the PBR had all been drunk and the camera stationed in the middle of the room had been replaced by a hand-held variety. The focus of the party shifted away from the bar and toward the standard band kit in the corner, forgotten about until now. The band members materialized from the crowd and took their places.
"Cynthia's feeling under the weather. I'm drunk enough to die," said singer Shane O'Neil. He scratched his bare belly and adjusted the red suspenders holding up his cut-off jean short-shorts. Guitarist Cynthia Burnson stood next to him with haughty allure; the rumpled drummer Steve Shah looked like he just got out of bed; and bassist Christian Burnson simply took his shirt off.
O'Neil's corpulent sexuality, matched with his literal in-your-face stage presence, makes him interesting to watch. I liked the keytar slung over his shoulder, but I doubt the sweaty eye makeup melting down his face will look good on film. Nevertheless, the camera was rolling, and the crowd was ready to rock.