Music to Your Ears
By Amy Dalness
The Disco Balls Come Down—The bar door was wide open when I arrived at the Albuquerque Mining Company (AMC) one bright Sunday afternoon last October. Peering in, I saw a small gaggle of men in cut-off jeans and high-top sneakers, armed with brushes, rollers and buckets of paint.
"Is Midnyte here?" I asked, carefully stepping in the room—double latté and voice recorder in hand. A jolly-looking man turned from his paperwork and extended his hand with a large grin. "I'm Midnyte. Please, come in."
I was there to hear the story of AMC—its history, its life, its future. In October of 2006, AMC turned 20. Twenty years of dance. Twenty years of pride. Twenty years of climbing fences, tribal-house grooves, high style and Throbbing Thursdays. I sat down with Midnyte, the 10-year manager of AMC, and DJ JoJo Pineau, AMC's resident DJ, on the back patio and listened as they regaled me with tales of AMC's triumphs and losses; beginning with the building's first use as Embers Steak and Sirloin in the early ’80s, its gutting and transformation into AMC by Dennis (Sam) Gibson in ’86, and the repainting of the floors as we spoke to prepare for the big celebration in '06 [see "Platinum Anniversary," Oct. 12-18].
But a feeling of impending dread hung over the conversation. In some ways, the 20-year celebration was like a cautious pat on the back for a job well done—so far. Midnyte made it clear they intended to be around for another 20 years, but ...
Then, with no notice or fanfare, Midnyte got the call around 9 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 17, that AMC was closing, says DJ JoJo. "The shoe just dropped. There was no notice of anything." When the announcement was made to the crowd, the dance floor was quieted by tears. "I feel kind of lost. Now all we've got are memories," he says.
As far as what's happening with the space, no one knows anything, says DJ JoJo. He does know that it won't be a bar. "We had a killer sound [system] in there, and they didn't want that," he says. Instead, AMC's sister bar, Foxes, will inherit the system.
DJ JoJo had DJed AMC's popular Throbbing Thursdays for nearly the life of the club, and he plans to provide the same fabulous night of dancing at a different location. "Within 15 minutes, I spoke to Pulse and we're going to move the party down there," he says. "People who go to those kinds of venues get into a very set routine, and they're like little programmed robots," he says, half-joking. He posted scouts outside AMC on the Thursday night after it closed to direct those robots to Pulse. "We didn't want to miss a beat."
Here's to 20 years, AMC. It's sad to see one of Albuquerque's oldest gay clubs shut its doors, but the building isn't what made AMC great. It was the friendly faces, the perfect Cher look-a-like, the safe atmosphere where hundreds of Albuquerque's queer and questioning made peace with themselves, and the dance-until-you-drop attitude that made it great. Keep doing what you do best, AMC. Location is always temporary.
Mondays on the Mic Hosted by Kyle Ruggles at Tractor Brewery Wells Park
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