When the sun goes down

Beyond the columns of marble and granite of the city’s monuments lies the diverse pulse of night life in Washington, D.C. For GW students, the club scene offers another avenue for entertainment in the nation’s capital.

From Thursday to Sunday nights, students choose from a variety of hot spots in downtown Washington – from Lulu’s on M Street to Casbah on F Street. The clubs vary in music, theme and price, but at all if them college students are a main patron group and an important source of income.

With so many clubs, how do students choose where to go?

Many students rely on the clubs’ promoters to tell them what’s hot and what’s not.

But who are these people that turn campus sidewalks into palmcard mine fields and stop students on their way to class?

Paul Stevenson is a senior at GW and has promoted nightclubs for three years. Through his friends in the club industry, Stevenson was dragged into distributing and designing those notorious little fliers scattered on the ground on H Street and in front of Thurston Hall.

“I do it because I get to go out, meet people and network, all the while having a good time,” said Stevenson, an international affairs major in the Elliott School.

“The scene at GW is hit or miss, and you don’t know which nights are going to work and which won’t,” Stevenson said. “It’s not a job you rely on for rent or paying tuition.”

Most promoters are paid according to how many people show up on the guest lists they prepare, or by the total number of people who show up for a certain night.

“It’s entirely dependent upon how much (student promoters) promote, but most earn somewhere around $70-$100 per week,” said a promoter at southeast D.C.’s Tracks night club who asked not to be identified.

“The days of a nightclub opening its doors and having people

show up on their own are over,” said the promoter, a former GW undergraduate. “People need to be told where to go, and more importantly, why.”

“Promoting is a way to get behind the scenes of the club,” said Mahan Hosseini, a veteran promoter. “You learn how clubs are run and what kind of work is required to have a successful evening.”

For “Resurrection” night at Club Steel, promoting goes high-tech.

Phil Kightlinger (D.J. Shade) is a graphics artist and has used his skills to create a Web site to promote the underground electronic dance music that is featured at Club Steel on the night he spins.

“We try to spread the word about it as much as possible,” said a promoter who goes by the name Kangal.

“I mean, naturally we have to keep the regular clubgoers posted on current events, but we try to give our promo fliers and ads a kind of an invitational feel,” Kangal said.

In the end, where do all those colorful palmcards go?

“We shovel (palm cards) up off the sidewalk and send them to the Metropolitan Police Department for soliciting underage drinkers,” said Mike Gargano, assistant vice president for Student and Academic Support Services.

-Dan Gabriel contributed to this report.

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