Odd bit of History – Just Hanging Around
So there has been a story floating around for the past eighteen years about a weird party that was held at the Vertical Club. Back in 1988 we would rent out the gym to groups that wanted to hold private after-hours parties. In those days we needed the cash and as long as the place was cleaned up for the next morning, what the heck well, sort of. I got a reservation one day and a deposit for a Saturday evening after-hours social party. The check was from the National Leather Association. It was an odd name for an organization and I thought it was a group of people, or a hobby organization, getting together to craft leather goods. So, hear we go. I set it up so Dave Haavik, who worked for us at the time, was going to watch over the function and lock up the place. Diane and I were downtown at a party at some friend¹s condo that night. We were hanging out on the deck with a lot of people we did not know. I heard a comment over my shoulder from an unknown voice you wouldn’t believe what’s going on at the Vertical Club tonight! I turned to Diane and asked, ‘Did you hear that?’ She said yes and asked what was going on. I explained that we had rented the place and that Dave was over-seeing it. We decided we should check it out. We left and drove down to the Club. There were cars parked everywhere. It was packed. I was a bit surprised. A lot of leather was being cranked out that night. As were turned the corner to walk down to the entrance we saw Dave. He was looking kind of wide eyed. He ran up to us and said ‘Diane, I don’t think you want to go in there.’ He tried to explain that things had shaped up to be something other than a tame group of hobby fold dinking around with leather purses and belts. I was quite curious, of course, so I walked up to the entrance. The person at the door asked if I was a Slave or a Master. What the hay?! I had to politely mention that I owned the place and I was just checking to see how fast I was going to be out of business the next week. I walked in and what I saw made my jaw drop. I can¹t get into details in a blog like this, but I will gently tip-toe around some of the visuals. I was amazed at some of the creative ways people could use whipped cream and whips. Wow. My pumpkin pie will never taste the same again. And, I never dreamed that our finger-board racks could be used in such a different manner. The entire gym was sectioned off into theme areas with draped black plastic tarps hanging from the ceilings. The lights were changed out to blue tinted bulbs. Once I got my bearings and realized what was going on I settled into the back staircase and looked over the gym to gather my thoughts. There was no way I could shut this down. It was too far down the road. What was I going to do? Excuse me, could you put away your handcuffs and whips and leave the premises. Yeah, right. I had to ride it out (excuse the expression). I was ok for the moment, until I turned around and there was a short dude, in a diaper, no shirt on, sucking on a pacifier, giving me a wink. That did it! I gave a look that could have killed. I didn’t see that twirp for the rest of the night. Diane and Dave were hanging at the other end of the gym, taking in the views. I decided to check in with them. Not much was said. What could be said? This is going to take a day or two to filter out. Is this news going to get out to the community? What is going to happen to my business. Nothing I could do that night. As I was standing there I noticed the train that was parked next to the building was slowly moving back and forth. That was odd. Usually they park the train and that is it. I walked outside and noticed that the conductor and his buddy were hanging halfway out the window with a look of amazement. Some of the activities were taking place out on the entry-way. Why not? It was a beautiful summer night. I looked up at the two train dudes and asked What’s up guys? They didn’t know what to say. They were speechless. I smiled and nodded to them and invited them down for a peek. They didn’t expect that, but boy did they scamper off that train with a youthful bounce. So, here were two train yard guys, in their overalls, and big boots, hands in pockets, standing there with a look on their face that was priceless. I wish I had a picture of that moment. Throughout the evening I did get a chance to visit with some of the participants. One was a teacher, another a banker, then there was the attorney (that didn’t surprise me). People from all walks of life were engaging in a little past time pleasure at the so called hobby function. What was interesting about this after hours function were the strict rules. No alcohol, no drugs, and no disrespecting other people. They left that place spotless and everything in order. That didn¹t convince me to step to the other side, but I must say they were a great group of people to deal with. I assure you that we did not continue the business of renting the facility to certain hobby groups. Not that I have any thing against other peoples’ personal preferences, I just don’t think it is a fit for a rock gym. So there you go. A bit of odd history at the VClub.