Volume 2 #1 (January 6-12, 1999)
Punks in tux: "Punk Rock Prom" offers chance to play dress-up
BY KEN GAILLOT
Everyone knows the punk rock fashion code: lots of piercings, spiked and/or brightly colored hair, and formal evening wear.
Formal evening wear? This weekend, punk is dressing up.
"It's thrift store chic," says Sluggo's bartender Jeff Trier. "A lot of mismatched tuxedo parts, colors that don't belong together, crazy evening wear, long gloves. It's fun."
This Saturday, Sluggo's in downtown Pensacola hosts the annual Punk Rock Prom. For each of the past three or four years ("I kind of lose track," says Trier), Pensacola's punk scene has gotten fancied up, jammed to leading-edge music and partied til the wee hours.
"My feeling about the whole thing is that it's for all those people who didn't go to their real proms, or if they did go, they felt like they just didn't belong there," Trier says. "This is fun because it doesn't matter. You can be whatever or whoever you want to be, and it's fun."
You can be whatever you want to be -- if enough people vote for you. In often hotly contested races, people vote for categories like Prom King and Prom Queen, with the winners announced at the end of the night. To liven things up, people can make up new categories of their own.
Trier placed a close second in last year's race for Prom Drunk. He tied with another contestant in votes, but lost in the runoff.
"It was decided by who could drink a beer faster," he says. "Of course Mr. James Miller won. Actually he's reigning Prom Drunk for two years in a row."
The event attracts many local musicians, and some not-so-local. Last year's prom attracted Soul Coughing's Michael Doughty, who wrote most of his band's current album El Oso during an extended stay in Pensacola. (Hence the song "Pensacola" on the album.)
The Punk Rock Prom includes, of course, punk rock for musical entertainment. This year, Drip and Bright Eyes will play the prom. Drip, from Athens, Georgia, is a longtime Pensacola favorite with their Femmes-on-Valium sound. Omaha, Nebraska's Bright Eyes is the new project of the former Commander Venus.
Prom attire is the ultimate in do-it-yourself formal wear. Some participants attend in traditional tuxes and evening gowns, while others scour vintage clothing stores for more personal statements. Some people don't bother to dress up, but Trier says it's worth it.
"The more people get dressed up, the more fun it's going to be," he says. "It's a good night to be goofy chic, you know. Kind of a goofy fashion statement. I'm going to be dressed up."
The Punk Rock Prom takes place this Saturday night at Sluggo's downtown.