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Raving at Blackbox Theater for Club Mythos Reunion Night

Reliving the glory days by traveling back in time at Blackbox Theater

Back in time, gun violence, post pandemic social scene, Optimist Hall, Waffle House
Aerin Spruill

When you overhear your favorite larger-than-life barber telling someone, “OMG! It’s going to be the party of the century!” while getting your hair done, you turn your head (not too quick) and listen.

I lifted my heavy head, keeping my platinum-blonde tresses dangling in the wash bowl, craning my neck in his direction to eavesdrop.

“What party is Arthur talking about?” I asked my hairapist, desperately. She laughed at my enthusiasm and told me everyone was getting dolled up to travel back in time for a Club Mythos reunion scheduled for Friday night at Blackbox Theater on East Sugar Creek Road.

As an old soul who revels in the gritty edges of nightlife, this sounded like the closest I’d ever come to taking a time machine to the jealousy-inducing stories of “the good ‘ol days” referenced, but never explained, by nostalgia-bonding old heads. Heart be still. I saved my 1,000 questions for Google and Instagram.

Color me ignorant, but am I the only one who didn’t know Andy Kastanas, renowned restaurateur and co-owner of Soul Gastrolounge, not only moonlights as a DJ but is touted as the Godfather of the EDM scene in Charlotte?! And, Mythos, which ran the corner of 6th and College Streets in the heart(beat) of Uptown from 1993-2004, was his brainchild! Sorry, not sorry, The Imperial and whatever it was before could never.

At 9:31 pm last Friday, thirty minutes post-reunion kick-off, I accepted the fact that I’d be adventuring to Blackbox alone to witness a slice of history and that I’d be learning what nightlife dreams deferred feels like today. I bought my ticket and searched my closet for the perfect ’90s rave meets Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century-inspired outfit.

Aerin’s Mythos outfit. (Photo by Aerin Spruill)

“Is there a rave going on at Blackbox tonight?” my Uber driver asked as we settled in. As if it wasn’t awkward enough, now I’d pegged him as a serial killer because I was confused about how he knew?!

I averted my gaze, noticing my chainmail bra jingling over my leather harness. Duh. I giggled, embarrassed, “Yeah, something like it.” To which he responded, “You never know what’s happening there,” with a tone of curiosity mixed with skepticism. Oh, hell yeah, let’s get weird.

The first figure I saw was Arthur! Clad in leather head-to-toe, sky-high platforms and sporting booty-length ponytail extension to compliment his already drool-worth silver fox coif as promised. I squeezed my trench coat closed as I embraced him for a hug, shielding my lackluster costume before being shuffled to the only proper entrance for a late-comer: general admission.

The walls vibrated and the magnetic energy spilled out of the entryway, pulling me closer as if I was being sucked into a wormhole. I took a deep breath and stepped through the door. Surrounded by furries, fairies and leather daddies, it was easy to dance like no one was watching — because no one was.

A giant screen hung behind the stage set displaying a montage of retro Mythos fliers, vintage film, and memories of partygoers past wearing everything from baby tees to themed costumes.

Inside the Mythos Reunion at Blackbox Theater. (Photo by Aerin Spruill)

It was a moment akin to the iconic whoosh in a time travel cult classic: strobe lights surrounding you, a tingly sensation in your arm hairs, and soundwave distortion bending around your heart palpitating to the bass. It was a sensory overload in the best way possible.

Bites from the Soul Gastrolounge food truck, seltzers, vapes, and the rare cellphone provided the ultimate juxtaposition to the relics of rave photography and syncopated synthesizers, snapping me back to reality, only to note that I’d been double-fisting drinks while transfixed for two hours!

If there was ever an occasion where the only response to FOMO interrogations was simply, “You had to be there,” this was it. Suddenly, the old heads reflecting on, “What a time to be alive” made total sense. The collective consciousness that was will never be, and yet, for one night only, the “myth” was real again.

If you missed this one and the one last December, here’s your silver lining: The boss himself, Andy Kastanas, teases a monthly series of upcoming events that act as odes to past nightlife delights. Here’s to hoping they will inspire nightlife owners to take notes from the past.

Andy Kastanas’ next reunion show at Blackbox Theater will pay homage to The Forum on Saturday, March 9

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