The belly dancer balances a sword on her head, while thumping rhythms echo behind her. Eyes wander from the dancer to the stylish patrons to the foreign flicks on the wide-screen. Club Roma simmers with energy and an eclectic flavor.
Created by promoters Franco Bucci and Avon Ver Duyn, Club Roma, a Euro-styled Sunday-night dance party at Mercury Lounge, offers a touch of continental sophistication drawn from the partners' international affinities.
The Australia-born Bucci moved to Cleveland with his family when he was only seven. A graduate of George Washington University in D.C., Bucci has a background in production and film, and a penchant for travel.
Bucci met Ver Duyn at the Aqualon when it was at its height. A native of Amsterdam, Ver Duyn has kept his hand in the club business since the age of 14, when he worked as a doorman in Amsterdam clubs. He's no stranger to dance music, having run some of Cleveland's hottest clubs, including the Aqualon, Whisky, and SmartBar.
Ver Duyn says it's all about "different cultures, being able to mix what is in Cleveland." He and Bucci share a passion for both life and art (he owns One of Each, an antique store in Shaker Heights); the mix of their two sensibilities gives Roma its edge.
"What I wanted to do with Roma was take a club scene and make it more than just a high-class frat party," Bucci says. "I wanted to bring production and art to the scene."
· The View premiered its rooftop patio to an amiable turnout Friday, June 9, as well-dressed urbanites and happy-hour refugees downed flavored Bacardi drinks and slung their bodies about the wood deck. The event went from rooftop party to a down-low basement jam as DJ team Impure and Go threw out tracks from old-school funk and soul to wide-ranging hip-hop anthems. Accompanied by the sounds of '60s and '70s funkadelic faves and Jamiroquai flashbacks, the scene was a combination of Valley of the Dolls chic and new urban glam.
· Finally, Nitty Gritty, Touch Supper Club's roving biweekly party, celebrated its fourth anniversary Saturday, June 10, at Bier Markt Bar and Restaurant, with guest DJ Russell Belicek from the All Good Funk Alliance doing his own spin on basement jams. The joint rocked with old-school breakbeats and the sound of fresh soul, turning an already packed dance floor into a gumbo of funk-based bounce.
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