Face Lift

The mammoth remodeling project that transformed dominant Oak Lawn nightspot the Village Station into the even larger juggernaut Station 4 was given a much ballyhooed grand opening over the holidays. (Station 4 because it's the fourth incarnation of the Village Station.) But now that the out-of-towners have gone home and the holiday crowds have died down, the real nightlife denizens can get a closer (more sober) inspection of their new big gay dance-club digs. They knocked out a wall, added a front balcony and a no-smoking room, strung up an eerily mechanical lighting rig and covered everything else in shiny plate metal surfaces. Plus there are few spots in the club you can stand without your internal organs reverberating from the new sound system. Overall, it's really nice but not as totally phenomenal as you might hope.

Then walk upstairs and pass through the doors of the new Rose Room, and you'll probably say out loud, "Oh, so this is where the money went!" What used to be a cramped, red-curtained den with a stage a foot off the ground and one overworked bartender is now an enormous cabaret with a real backstage area, two levels of seating, a lounge toward the rear, a much larger bar and--best of all--bathrooms. No more climbing back into the dance club to pee; also no more ducking in front of the spotlight for fear of suffering the wrath of a raging drag queen whose light keeps getting blocked. The show has evolved along with the new performance space. The "girls" work in more choreographed group numbers befitting the higher stage. Edna's Angels moves to Wednesday nights from JR's next door, while Valerie Lohr's new talent night moves over to JR's on Tuesdays. All the favorites from the old cast are still there plus a few new additions. Make sure to get there early on Fridays and Sundays for Cassie Nova's savage opening monologue. Marvel at the statuesque beauty of Maya Douglas. Any token straight boys in the room still gush at Krystal Summers, "Dude, that's gotta be a real woman!" And the eyes of Whitney Paige sparkle as bright as they always have, but now they have some stiff competition from the twinkling-light backdrop of the new, improved Rose Room.

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Jay Webb