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New Year's Eve

Hotel Congress, Dec. 31

There was this gorilla, see, and he was walking a dog with a cat on top of it. A little mouse sat, or sometimes ran around, on top of the cat. You had to be there.

It was that kind of a New Year's Eve celebration at Club Congress--over-the-top zany antics in an array sufficient to drive out all the awful realities of 2004, and party like it's 1999.

In retrospect, the '80s were full of mindless fun like that--remember? Many in the capacity crowd at Hotel Congress remembered it well. They danced laughing in The Room to The Talking Heads, The English Beat, Berlin and other forebears of alternative rock. Knockout, lit soft sculptures of bright stretchy fabrics heightened the party atmosphere, along with the more traditional accoutrements of uber-tacky hats and noisemakers.

In the club, waiting for the Zsa Zsas' set, the floor churned with gyrating, bouncing, trick-stepping and faux breakdancing until it got too crowded. Predictably, the real party people arrived at 11 and stole the show with their outfits: A Robyn Hitchcock-on-the-way-to-Elvis Costello look; a Debbie Harry-meets-Madonna look--the theme was fun, fun, fun, and the dancing could've gone on all night, or until that point at which the alcohol consumption overtook the capacity to dance it off.

The Zsa Zsas flooded the stage with glitz around 11:30 p.m. and played, if not exactly the promised new wave set, at least one full of songs the mostly older-than-30 crowd knew well enough to sing along to. In a short and confusing break just before the magic hour, they distributed cards on which guests were to write requests as the waitstaff tried valiantly, if unsuccessfully, to put a champagne glass in every hand. Auld Lang Syne, balloons cascading from the ceiling, long kisses to lock the moment and the new year rang. With Tucson's new liquor laws, though, the Zsa Zsas were just getting started.

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