in Duluth ends promptly at 12:30 a.m. The
bars shut down,
the guests are herded out, and everyone streams across the
bridge to a seedy little Wisconsin town called Superior.
There, the drinks are cheap, the bars are free and there's
even some ethnic diversity (whew!).
favorite spot was a sleazy, now-defunct club called THE
COVE CABARET. It sat on Tower Avenue, across from a
strip joint and a heavy metal bar called The Pacific Club.
The "O" on the Cove's neon sign occasionally burnt
out, so locals referred to it as "The Cave." Every
night, the baggy-jeaned DJ spun a danceable hip-hop mix.
Guests danced on a platform with electric tiles that lit
up in different colors, like the old game SIMON. Sure, the
DJ always played the same songs in nearly the same order.
And most of his records were a season behind the rest of
the nation. Nobody minded. It beat the country-alterna-lite
blend on Duluth radio.
The Cove's best-kept secret happened BEFORE 11pm. It wasn't
the boogie-down dance party, or even the Wet T-Shirt Wednesday.
It was a great American pastime, a game that's unabashedly
nights a week, the pierced and goateed DJ Wayne transformed
from Puff Daddy purveyor to middle-American Bingo caller.
Instead of saying "Yo, yo, yo," he calls out "B-7!"
and (the gamers' favorite) "O-69!" to a whooping
crowd of motorcyclists, gambling addicts and small-time
drug dealers. Occasionally, Wayne wowed spectators by choosing
Bingo numbers AND scratching funky hooks on the ones and
twos AT THE SAME TIME.
its untimely demise, I urged visitors to stop by The
Cove for this rare convergence of Bingo and basslines.
Two dollars bought you two beers (American-label only,
of course) and five Bingo cards. During my second indulgence,
I won the $25 round, which I blew on an elaborate Perkins