Last night was the first taste of Spring we've had in Baltimore after a looooong, cold winter, and there was a clearly festive spirit in the air as I wandered around Mt. Vernon. After seeing Jacques Tatti's The Illusionist at The Charles (a film very much in the spirit of Jean Renoir), I ambled over to Dionysus to have a beer and discovered that a DJ night, Proper, was shortly getting underway in the upstairs bar. I had a couple beers downstairs while things warmed up, and then proceeded through the secret door to discover a very "proper" house night indeed, one that had a very lively, and friendly, underground vibe.
When I first sat down at the bar there was a conversation underway about the origins of rap, sparked by the passing of Nate Dogg earlier this week, that was straight out of High Fidelity. I wound up talking with the bartender for a bit, as well as the fellow sitting next to me who told me his girl had just left him, and that he once had been addicted to crack, but now had cleaned things up and owned two restaurants. A tattoo of barbed wire strands wrapped around his left forearm, and I think (I can't be sure because it was dark and the brim of a cap was pulled down low on his forehead) he was wearing something sparkly at the corners of his eyes. I turned him on to Strongbow Cider and we commiserated about broken hearts and making music. Clearly, Proper attracts an interesting crowd, and I saw everything from blissed out hipster kids to girls in cocktail dresses. While standing on the edge of the dancefloor a guy asked me "what do you think of this?" and I said "It's great, no douchebags." Really, what more do I need to say?
The tunes were on the pop side early in the evening, when I heard the likes of Michael Jackson and Radiohead remixes, before it settled into nice smooth flow of house (of course, it helps to keep the flanger on in smoothing out those mixes) that was moving people out onto the dancefloor. I left around midnight, as I'd had my fill of beer and was looking forward to other weekend activities, but I will definitely be back to check this scene out properly.