John Waters, '50s jams and cutting a rug at Lithuanian Hall

Like clockwork, every couple months, someone e-mails me asking for suggestions on cool places to go dancing.

Baltimore doesn't have enough clubs and dance halls, but there are a few places where you can cut a rug -- if you know where to look.

Last Friday, jmgiordano and I hit up Lithuanian Hall, which has long been a mainstay for hipster dance nights. Pablo Fiasco has been holding Tighten Up! there on the last Friday of every month forever.

One of the newer dance nights at Lith Hall is called Save Your Soul. It's held on the first Friday of every month, with '50s and early '60s music from the local DJ collective Charm City Summit.

If you want to get a parking spot near Lith Hall, you have to get there at 10 p.m. If you've never been before, you'll be required to buy a yearly membership (since Lith Hall is technically a private club), which costs $5, and then pay $5 to get in.

Lith Hall will be practically deserted until 11 p.m., when a stream of hipsters, art students and dance maniacs will pour in ...

Last Friday, we were sitting at the bar when John Waters walked in and grabbed a bar stool near me. How cool is that? He's pushing 65, and splits his time between Baltimore and New York, but Waters still knows where to party.

DJs Pietro, Action Pat and King Gilbert were spinning obscure '50s and early '60s vinyl. I'm talking about stuff like Otis Redding's "Shout Bamalama," The Nobleman's "Dragon Walk," Elmore James' "Stranger Blues," Gene & the Jeanette's "Hey Lover" and King Coleman's "Down in the Basement."

Whew. Just hearing those tunes makes me sweat. When you get parched, you can moisten up with a few big bottles of Lithuanian beer, which costs $3.50. Since it's a private clubs, all the drinks are cheap cheap cheap.

By midnight, the dance floor was chock full of kids, grooving old school style. And there was Waters, holding court from his bar stool in the thick of it. I felt like I was part of something special, one of those rare scenes I'll tell my children about some day.

(The imposing outer facade of Lithuanian Hall scares away everyone except the fearless. the fearless come to dance. Baltimore Sun photo by Karl Merton Ferron)

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