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By Derick Braun In rounded neon letters, the word “DANCING” shines from one of Mad Planet’s windows unto the southwest corner of Booth and Center Ave, beckoning all Riverwesters who crave a Friday Night Retro Dance Party and the nostalgic glamour that is naturally associated with the 80s and 90s. The building is unassuming; appearing […]

By Derick Braun

In rounded neon letters, the word “DANCING” shines from one of Mad Planet’s windows unto the southwest corner of Booth and Center Ave, beckoning all Riverwesters who crave a Friday Night Retro Dance Party and the nostalgic glamour that is naturally associated with the 80s and 90s. The building is unassuming; appearing more like a shack than hipster bar, but the ambiance inside is delicious kitsch.

The bleak paintings of aliens, the dark mural walls, and multiple archways may suggest some campy mix of space mod and pseudo-emo chic which probably bears heavy on the eyes during the day or periods of sobriety. Luckily, Mad Planet is the ideal venue for those who enjoy cheap beer, strong drinks, and an eclectic mix of nightly entertainment to distract from the surroundings.

Beyond the alternatively retro 80s/90s night on Fridays, the bar boasts frequent weekend specials and the occasional live band. Nevertheless, the place remains the premiere place for nostalgic dancing and choice musical cuts, ranging from the Clash to Deee-Lite. While the night usually begins slow, by 11:30 the dance floor is packed and the bar crowded. Cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon are easily spotted everywhere, even after the $1 special concludes at 11 PM, while all other bears remain reasonably priced. By closing time at 2 AM, the throng of dancers had their casaba suitably rocked and the groove driven deep into their heart. While the Superbowl Shuffle won’t fly so well, as long as one swings around like Courtney Cox on a Springsteen stage, there is no worry about fitting in.

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Perhaps the best aspect about Retro Night at Mad Planet is the crowd, an unpretentious mix of Goths, gays, and party girls all grooving side by side on the moderately sized dance floor. Throughout the evening, one is bound to see an array of outfits, from straight up (downtown) 80s gear, to the latest nostalgic wear from American Apparel. Yet, dressing the part is never mandatory, as a majority of the patrons arrive in modern, casual clothes, equally ready to get down with poofy prom queens and brave men in short shorts. A pool table, seating area and outdoor deck offer freedom from the consistently full dance floor

While one will have to go outside to truly enjoy a retro bar night where smoke would pervade the room like Prince on a Sheila E. album, the smoke free environment has made it easier to dance late into the night without doing the Cabbage Patch to circulate the air. The music is loud and people are dancing with themselves (among others). With retro night Friday’s as a regular Friday night occurrence at Mad Planet, dancing with oneself has rarely felt so fun.


About the Author
Derick Braun is a graduate from Florida State University, with B.A.s in Art History and Creative Writing. He spends most my time figuring out how to meld communication mediums between visual and written texts, resulting in lots of time theorizing, critiquing, and writing.

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