Pulse of Go-Go, Promise of Peace Mingle at D.C. Dance Event for Youth
Monday, October 16, 2006
The teenagers started lining up early on the lilac stairs, arriving by Metro, bus and car and on foot. Word had spread: The Market Lounge in Northeast was playing go-go.
At the door, they waved their ID cards, and soon they were in the middle of a throbbing dance floor, 100 teenagers dancing elbow to elbow, holding up T-shirts honoring their dead homies and flashing neighborhood signs with their fingers: Lench Mob (Woodland Terrace), Choppa City (Anacostia), Simple City (Benning Terrace).
That's about the time at many go-gos that fights break out and someone winds up shot or dead. But here, the two police officers assigned to the event didn't budge, pretty certain there'd be no trouble.
These teens and preteens trained -- took lessons -- to come to this club.
They sat through two documentaries. They endured tough-love lectures.
They made a pledge: We will not come to go-gos to settle scores. We will not fight. We will abide by the rules and be respectful.
Finally, they were issued special ID cards that would get them into a series of "peace-gos." Saturday's was the first.
The city has been up in arms lately about youth violence, issuing curfews, ordering police to work overtime. This is an effort to end youth violence, too -- a novel experiment by Market Lounge and a community coalition.
Market Lounge, which normally caters to an R&B and hand-dancing crowd, sits above a small fruit stand in a commercial center where trucks carrying meats, dry goods and clothes rumble past.
The owner, Daryle M. Vaughn, 46, took a circuitous route to nightclub ownership: He was a NASA engineer.
He developed hardware and software used on the Hubble Space Telescope and on the battlefield during the Persian Gulf War.
But in the late '80s, his father took sick, and Vaughn stepped in to run the family business, a pool hall above a Florida Avenue fruit market. In 1999, Vaughn turned the pool hall into the Market Lounge, and two years later, at the urging of friends, began featuring live music, including go-go.