THOSE WHO command the Ship of State must try to live the right life, But we propose a New Year's toast to those who steer the nightlife:

Performer and procurers, restorers and revivers,

Who make the after hours warm for weary 9-to-5ers.

First, New Year's cheer to all our peers, a doctors' musical college:

Sasfy, Scantlin, Demento and a few we can't acknowledge;

And fond farewells to gone but not forgotten local fauna --

The Wolves and Armadillo's and the BBQ Iguana.

The Twist & Shout's still MIA, Dakota's decor molted,

Bosco burned, Flutes lost its cork, the Chamber's doors were bolted.

Iron City dropped its cue, but Trumpets picked it up,

Roratanga Rodeo opened for the anti-yup.

15 Mins. survived its term, the 9:30 made 10,

Damien, like the Duke of York, marched out and back again.

Here's to the Birchmere's 25th and Broad St.'s bare beginnings,

To racetrack devotees, we wish you legal underpinnings.

'90 ended not with Big Bang (delivery date uncertain)

But with a whimper, as the Slickees rang the final curtain.

Saffire rode the "Middle-Aged Blues Boogie" to a Handy,

Proving you can be too thin, but not too rich -- or randy.

Thanks to those who plan the shows by playing hire and seek;

IMP and Cellar Door, G Street and Chesapeake,

And to the larger venues and the stadia that host

The noise boys: Cap and Patriot centers, Merriweather Post,

Lisner and McDonough, Smith and Ritchie, RFK,

Wolf Trap, Carter-Barron, Fort Dupont, WPA.

Here's to places you can warm your wineglass by the grate,

Olney Ale House, Tabard, Normandie and Iron Gate.

Raise a glass for local brews and the fresher kegs they auger --

Dark Horse, Wild Goose and Oxford Class and Hero's Victory Lager,

Sisson's stout and the Maerzen beer from D.C. brewing scion

Gary Heurich. Hail, Brickskeller and Ha'penny Lion.

Macho nachos to ancho honchos at Tila's and Santa Fe,

To Rio Grande, Hard Times three and Tequila Sunrise Cafe. NIGHTLIFE

Cajun glee to Allons-Y and likewise Little Red,

Toast and jams to Jello Boys and all the living Dead.

(The local deadhead movement keeps the rhythm long and loose;

The Train of Thought runs on apace, though back of the Caboose.)

A "Rockit!" to the moon for Cerphe and Diana Stegnato;

A glory train for Steuart Smith, for Gatton, Principato,

Filipiak, Fath, Kennedy -- so many hands to fret,

That Washington's developed its own Kirchen cabinet.

And if we were a Carpenter, we'd thank our lucky stars

To have two handy Johns along to guide us through the bars.

A hand for those who grind out shows for fans still underage,

A good ol' boys' Network -- Fraidy Cat, Wrathchild and Kage.

And to the clubs with elbow room for such exuberant acts --

Broadway's Max and Hammerjack's and the refurbished Zaxx.

A gentler hand for Food for Thought and one for Mountain Jack's

Where entertainers generally only wield a sole acoustic axe.

To the reggae beat Awakening, Black Sheep, Bim Skala Bim,

To the sui generis Pheromones and (still) Root Boy Slim,

And Washington's own Frankenstein of reggae, Skatley Crue.

To the nouveau pool halls, Shootz and Breakers, Norman's Cozy Cue,

And to those rooms still carrying the flag of Duke's jazz nation;

Blues Alley, Cate's, Eugertha's, One Step Down, Takoma Station.

And to the world-beat dance rooms where they rock till it be morrow --

Synergy, Ritz, Roxy, Kalabash and Kilimanjaro.

Yes, it's an oxymoron, but what else can you say?

It's a rock 'n' roll establishment, the new Hard Rock Cafe.

Toast the 21st Amendment, Wolensky's and the Tombs,

The Dubliner and Flanagan's; to Steve and Luka Blooms.

To the Newkeys and the Nighthawks, to Holly & Kathy & Lou;

To Scarlet O and Betty, Esmirelda and her loo.

To the golden-oldie discos, Pall Mall, Club Soda, Deja

Vu and Studebaker's. To Derryberry & Alagia

And the Johnsons (both Amazing and Red-Hot) at Sunset Grille;

To Clyde's, to Durty Nelly's, Nathan's, Tuscarora Mill.

Thanks to forward-thinking record fans Joe Lee, Skip Groff;

We would salute Fugazi but City Paper scared us off.

E.U. and Trouble Funk (both groups), Chuck Brown and go-go inc.;

It may have fallen on "Da Butt," but they won't let it sink.

A black-tie toast to "Slava" Rostropovich -- hail, good fella --

To Helicon and Hesperus and to La Rondinella;

Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, Beyond Words, Disappear Fear,

OHO, Hard Travelers, Dogs Among the Bushes, Phantom Gear.

Just desserts to all stuffed shirts, and may they bare their shorts

To GNP and Capitol Steps, Missing Lynx and ComedySportz,

Chip Franklin, Art Divittis. To KB and Cineplexes,

To bartenders, waiters, chefs and cooks and busboys of both sexes.

To Boogie's, which outdoes Dream Dresser when it comes to flashy --

The food is '50s fantasy, the clothes are gold-card trashy.

Allusive cheer to Hemingway's, to Dylan's and the Library,

Childe Harold, Afterwords, F. Scott's, and Hamburger Hamlet -- to brie

Or not to brie. (Yes, we admit, this line is kind of cheesy,

But who told you that this much rhyme and remembrance was easy?)

To Eileen Joyner, Vicky Keating, Steve Erwin, Brandywine,

Sara Landymore and Stephen Wade, Linwood Taylor, Jr. Cline.

Here's to rockabilly bands, the Wanktones, Go Cat Go,

Plum Crazy, Redeemers, Blue Dots, Pink & Black and Kid Pharoah.

The Smith Sisters, Hanson Brothers, Sanford and Lena, Tom and Nils,

The landlocked Yacht and River clubs, Tako and Austin grills.

To Harry & Sam's, to Charley's Crab, to Duke's, to Joe & Moe's,

To Whitey's and Fatty's and Pat & Mike's and Paolo's and Tony & Joe's,

Captain White's and Colonel Brooks's. To the Bayou and both Grogs;

The Beggars and the Choir Boys, Big Bugs and Cravin Dogs;

The Folkal Point, the Weathervane, the Potter's House, Folk Alley,

The Ferrymen, Seamus Kennedy, John Lyon, Martin O'Malley,

Pennywhistle, Papageorge, Kevin James, Larry Coneen;

Billy Keystone, Billy Kemp, Tommy Conwell, Tommy Keene.

Side by Side and Back to Back, Nancy and Fett, the Irish Geeks,

And all the other thousands who've helped pass these many weeks,

We wish you joy, Kent Jordan's flute and Andrew White a-horning,

Good season seats at Camden Yards and great play in the Mourning.

Finally, to the editors who struggle to restrain us,

We never entertain bad thoughts -- they always entertain us.

Now, if we've left you off this list, don't feel bad -- and don't brag --

It's just a New Year's Eve joke -- leave the Doctor holding the bag.