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Off-Topic: Going to the Go-Go


It's been a while since we had an off-topic post, so we welcome this guest missive from Serge Fabergé


This very photo appeared in the social media of Terry Farley, top Acid House spinner and apparently all-round good bloke, and the fact that it was the first female DJ at the Whiskey A-Go-Go warranted a bit of investigation.

The superbly cool young lady is one Joanie Labine and it seems she basically invented go-go dancing and style. She was the DJ at the Hollywood club, starting in 1964, during a run of appearances by Johnny Rivers, when the club first opened. Due to a lack of floor space the booth was a suspended glass-walled arrangement. Joanie was up there, bopping and being spectacular, which made patrons think it was part of the show leading management to not only keep her on but to flank her with a couple of other girls up there. Joanie is credited with creating the fringe dress/white boots look that became a literal uniform.

And there Joanie fades into the history of the Whiskey. Within a couple of years the Doors were the house band and the club was a cultural hub of a different sort and has remained so until fairly recently. LA punk, then hair metal reigned, and even through the '90s when the club hosted touring bands of the grunge scene. Your humble comrade was once punched by an angry young woman at a Jesus Lizard show there, as '90s a moment as it gets. (It was a glancing blow, no damage to the golden visage and the punch was a haymaker that missed its target so all in good rock & roll fun.) It sadly sunk into a sort of pay-to-play graveyard of hopes. Post-pandemic who knows what next? So let's take a moment to revisit the world famous Whiskey A-Go-Go at one of its most stylish peaks.


A final note of potential interest: There's a human gene named in honour of the club, or at least the dance style it launched. The ether-a-go-go-related gene, is so named because should you knock out a fruit fly that carries a mutation in the gene, its legs will twitch much like a dancer in the club.


#1960s #offtopic #music