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After Hours

BY JOHN LINNCONTRIBUTOR

Nightlife in January tends to be pretty slow – especially after all the clubs and bars across South Florida shot their proverbial wads on much-ballyhooed New Year’s Eve celebrations.

But when I glanced at all the happenings on this, the last weekend in January, I thought to myself, “There must still be a tad bit of juice left in this withered ol’ nightlife phallus called SoFlo.” Indeed, there is. A peek at this weekend’s events reads like a crash-course in weekend excess. You can ink up and rock at the Gold Coast Tattoo Expo, indulge in a booty-grinding good time with Rakim and Kid Capri, get ‘experimental’ with three-chord deviations by way of the Queers and find soulful salvation with supreme minister of sound, Gnarls Barkley.

For something more upbeat, if not equally freaky, seek out The Grandest Show on Earth, a circus-themed trance/drum ‘n’ bass party at Scene, Sound, Stage (2480 Hammondville Rd, Pompano Beach) Saturday night at 10 p.m. Local DJs X Phactor and Rabbit vs. Mad Hatter spin tracks that top the BPM charts – perfect for grooving to the flickering of strobes.

Single sophisticates may want to search for love (or at least a night-long facsimile) at Blue Coyote (6861 SW 18th St., Boca Raton). DJ Shalomar of Club Boca fame will hold a ladies night Friday at the joint to help the uninitiated women of Boca overcome their latent agoraphobic tendencies – a philanthropic effort, no doubt. Expect dance floor-grinding to tracks by Sean Paul and beer-bongs aplenty.

Me? Well, I’ll be checking out Nocturna, an old-school Goth monthly starting 9 p.m. Saturday at the Mental Ward (1931 S. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale). I’m not what you’d call Goth, just “Goth-curious.” Besides, “old-school” Goth – the sort that will be in full effect this dark eve – includes early 80’s, post-glam bands like Souxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division, and the Cure. Those are acts even outsiders like me can appreciate. Here are more details on the events mentioned above:

Gold Coast Tattoo Expo: Friday, Jan. 26, noon, Saturday, Jan. 27, noon, $15 admission. Broward Convention Center, 1950 Eisenhower Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, 954-765-5900

Rakim with Kid Capri: Saturday, Jan. 27, 11 p.m., $28. Revolution, 200 W Broward Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, 954-727-0950

The Queers with the Heart Attacks: Saturday, Jan. 27, 9 p.m., $10. Churchill’s Pub, 5501 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, 305-757-1807

Red Hot Chili Peppers with Gnarls Barkley: Wednesday, Jan. 31, 7:30 p.m., $59. BankAtlantic Center, One Panther Pkwy, Sunrise, 954-835-8000

»RESTAURANT PICK

The World is Your OysterDelray oyster bar sets the mood

What: City OysterWhere: 213 East Atlantic Ave. Delray Beach Contact: (561)272-0220

BY LISA LUCASEXECUTIVE STAFF WRITER

Oysters are notorious for being an aphrodisiac. And according to the manager of City Oyster on the strip in Delray Beach, this is indeed true.

“Who knows? It seems like customers get pretty romantic after a round of oysters,” manager Rayan Elkhatib says.

Of course when you’re chasing the succulent shellfish with a Martini or two it’s not hard to feel the sting of Cupid’s arrow.

Smack dab in the center of Atlantic Avenue, City Oyster is a large open bistro straight out of a Toulouse Lautrec painting. A long wooden bar and cozy booths line the mirrored walls, while the outdoor cafe has ten tables in perfect position for watching the crazy parade that rolls nightly down the avenue.

“Thursday and Friday nights are really hopping,” Elkhatib says. “This is more than a restaurant, it’s an event. People start with a couple of drinks and appetizers, and they wind up dancing on the bar.”

City Oyster offers a full range of raw shellfish – East Coast oysters flown in daily, lobster, shrimp as well as fresh fish dishes. They’re $2.00 per oyster, all served with three dipping sauces – ponzu, shallot mignonette and traditional cocktail. Appetizers like crispy calamari and crunchy salt and pepper rock shrimp start at $8.00, while entrees like Chilean Sea Bass Saffron or Sake with Sesame Seared Tuna run $24.00.

For those who quiver at the thought of raw seafood, City Oyster dishes up an array of exotic salads, down-home sandwiches and wraps. There are chicken wings, grilled chicken breasts, pork chops and dry-aged New York strips aplenty, which at $33.00 is a real budget-stretcher but still yummy nonetheless.

Happy Hour is from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily, and it’s a dollar off any cocktail, wine or beer. They don’t take reservations for parties of less than six, so get there early. Have a drink or three at the bar, and maybe by dinner time you’ll be ready to suck down some oysters. After that…who knows. You may get lucky!

City Oyster is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. to 11 pm. The bar remains open until 1 a.m.Lunch and dinner menus are available at www.bigtimerestaurants.com.

»MUSIC PICKS

Muse-Sick

BY ANTHONY A.CHOMANSTAFF WRITER The spring semester is off and running – well, more like stumbling out of the drunken fog courtesy of last semester. But hey, let’s not get too critical. For some lucky denizens of FAU spring means the final hurrah, as they will soon be leaving the safe, homely thickets of academia behind and joining the real world. However, for those with time left to serve at this institution of higher learning, I offer some different advice.

Ignore all the calculated maneuvering and jockeying for a parking spot for a second, and open your ears and listen. Hear anything? If you are one of the analytical beings on this campus you might despise – dare I say detest – what your ears perceive.

The year in music for 2006 was one filled with delectably-grotesque concoctions. No matter your taste in music – be it hip-hop, R&B, country, alternative rock, indie, electronica, trip-hop or that most loathsome of genres, emo – you cannot look at yourself in your iPod’s reflection without a few chortles escaping your lips.

Despite what bands your friends may unabashedly flaunt on Myspace, the current state of music and pop-culture in general is DOA. Right this very second, someone somewhere is feverishly pounding keystrokes and posing for self-snapped portraits, anxiously awaiting new friend requests and comments.

What’s this got to do with music? Everything. Take a moment to mull over your top friends or buddylist and more than likely you’ll know a gaggle of wannabe musicians. What you don’t know, or at least subconsciously may refuse to admit, is how badly these faux-artists suck. They’ll post bulletins and send mass-emails to the world announcing their next gig, or worse yet, the debut of an album most likely made with ProTools or some other do-it-yourself software.

The music world was turned on its ear recently by the loss of two, true geniuses – the Godfather of Soul, Mr. James Brown, and Atlantic Records mogul Ahmet Ertegun. The true artists of music are passing on to that big recording studio in the sky, in their wake leaving a fond wish upon our current symphonic offspring – crank up that originality. Here are this writer’s music best bets for this week (you won’t mind blowing your drinking money on these tunes):

The ShinsWincing The Night Away (Sub Pop)The Good, the Bad and the QueenThe Good, the Bad and the Queen (Virgin)TV On The Radio – Return to Cookie Mountain (Interscope)The DecemberistsThe Crane Wife (Capitol)NAS Hip Hop Is Dead(Def Jam)