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November 06, 2013 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2013-11-06

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According to Carlson, the main appeal at
the time was the live music. They went to Ann
Arbor's other popular spots, like the Union,
which used to sell alcohol. But even when they
started elsewhere, Carlson and her friends
eventually made their way to Rick's when
they wanted to dance. Whereas the other
bars cranked out radio songs and didn't have
a space for dancing, Rick's offered interest-
ing music and, according to Carlson, a "better
"They had a dance floor; they had the bands;
it was good," Carlson said.
As it turns out, Madonna isn't the only one
who forged a special connection at 611 Church.
On one of her Rick's nights in 1982, Carlson
started talking with a complete stranger. They
danced; heboughteher a drink. For months, she
saw him around campus, remembering him as
the guy she met at Rick's. Almost a year after
their chance meeting, the two began dating.
Karen and Mark Carlson graduated in 1984
and married in 1987. Twenty-six years later,
two of their three children are University
students. Carlson said her daughter Sara - a
senior in the Stamps School of Art & Design
- goes to Rick's with her friends, just like her
mother used to.
"And then her friends will look around and
say, 'Hey, doyou think our husbands are here?"'
According to Hesse, the general manager,
the live music started tapering off and then
'stopped completely about seven years ago.
Now, live performances only happen in rare
instances. The Business School band, for
example, plays a few times a year. But, as Hesse
explained, for a bar to host liveshows success-
fully, bands have to be booked consistently,
four or five nights a week.
The recognizable, respected bands the
Rick's management wanted to book started
getting tooexpensive, and there was also the
risk of becoming too niche. If Rick's booked
an '80s cover band, they ran the risk of losing'
customers who might not like sweaty 20-year-
olds screaming Michael Jackson covers.
So, in the early 2000s, Rick's started transi-
tioning into featuring DJs one or two nights a
week, and those nights becamethe most popular.
"And the local band market just dried up,"
Hesse explained. "So even the least expen-
sive bands were twice as much as a DJ. It got
to the point where it just financially didn't
make sense for us."
The switch to DJs allowed Rick's to cater to
a wider range of music tastes and requests.
Recent University alum Julie Ruppe
remembers Rick's the same way as Carlson
does: as a place to dance with your friends and
have a great time.
"I went at least twice a week," Ruppe said,
explaining that she usually went with the
group of girls she lived with, which includ-
ed members of Delta Gamma, her soror-
ity. Rick's even weighed into her decision to
live at "Chillard," a house on the corner of
Church and Willard.
"As long as you brought the right group of

"A lot can happen
at Rick's ... Some,
good, some bad
and some so utterly
life-changing that
you wake up every
day and just have to
smile at the mere,
thought of it."
people, you'd always have agood time," Ruppe
said. "It's just the only club on campus -if you
can even call it a club - where you can dance
with all your friends everywhere, and I think
that's-really fun."
Ruppe's advice to Rick's first timers like
us is to "expect the unexpected." Just last
year, Ruppe was at Rick's enjoying what she
described as "an extraordinarily delicious
vodka soda" mixed by one of her favorite
bartenders, and the all too familiar "Call Me
Maybe" started playing. On awhim, she decid-
ed to sing the song to a stranger. She picked a
random guy, serenaded him, danced for a few
more songs and put her number in his phone.
Three weeks later, she agreed to go on a
date with him, even though she didn't even
know his name. Having little faith that the
date would lead to anything other than a nice
lunch, she wore an "ugly hipster grandma"
sweater and met him at Sava's.
When she met her mysterious date, he
told her he was from Germany. She had just
returned from a study abroad trip to Germa-
ny, and they connected instantly. The couple
recently celebrated the one-year anniversary
of that first date in Berlin where they now live
and work together.
"A lot can happen at Ricks," Ruppe
wrote in an e-mail with the subject line
"Til Rick's do us part."
"Some good, some bad and some so utterly
life-changing that you wake up every day and
just have to smile at the mere thought of it."
And it's not only Rick's regulars who have
found love in the dimly lit basementbar. Jenny
Schwartz was a student in the School of Social
Work from2002 to 2004.As agrad student, one
of her favorite bars was Dominick's, and she
rarely made the journey to Rick's. One night of
fall 2003, however, her friends convinced her
to go. Recovering from a cold, the last place
Schwartz wanted to be was out on the town,
especially since she wasn't drinking that night.
said, "but Rick's back then was basically where
you drank and hooked up with random people.
It was notsome place you would go to meet the
future love of your life."

On that night, trying to get out of a con-
versation with another Rick's goer, Schwartz
started talking to a stranger in a Cornell hat.
He was a law student from New York who had
just broken up with his girlfriend of six years.
They talked all night, he walked her home and
she gave him her number.
"They always say that you're going to
meet someone when you least expect it,"
Schwartz said.
Nearly ten years later, the two are married,
have three children and live in West Bloomfield.
Hesse, the general manager, also attributed
the lonigevity of Rick's to the consistent pattern
of top-notch employees.
Like Lily Pike, a 2008 graduate from the
University.Pike joined the staff her junior year,
partially to pay off a car payment she couldn't
afford, and partially just to get in the place.
"I wasn't 21 yet, and I had been going to
Rick's since I was 17," Pike said in a phone
interview. "I had changed my hair, so my ID
didn't work anymore. I needed money, but I
knew if I wanted to be there, I'd need to work
there. Because you can get in there - without
drinking-- if you work there."
But, as she found out, being part of the sober
population at Rick's is - surprisingly enough
- a bit different.
"Everyone's wasted, and you're sober," Pike
said. "You see guys whipping out their dicks
and peeing on the bar Y-" ,
We stopped her: You actually saw that
"Oh yeah," Pike said. "They don't want to
wait in line for bathroom, so they pee right
next to the bar. I've seen guys getting kicked
out constantly for that."
And when the bouncers aren't throwing
out the urinary exhibitionists, they're trying
to keep one of the most inebriated crowds on
campus under control.
Easier said than done.
"One time, we had to take a guy out, and he
grabbed onto my shirt and wouldn't let go,"
said Roth, a Rick's bouncer. "And he tore the
shirt off me."
But overall, Roth says, the employees at
Rick's do a decent job of keeping anarchy to a
minimum, and that "very rarely have I seen
one of my co-workers have to, like, punch
someone in the face."
And as for what Rick's looks like after last
call and once the lights turn on, it's certainly
not for the faint of heart, or the sober of mind.
"It's a mess," Pike said. "You see purses left
behind, heels of shoes, jackets, cell phones.
Cheap stuff and really expensive stuff, sur-
rounded by puke."
But as the old saying goes, from the stinkiest
puke comes the sweetest love. Or, at least that
was the case for Pike. A co-worker-turned-
manager, Matt Dedes, added another hyphen
to his title in 2009: boyfriend.
"He was so sweet," Pike said. "He,used to
walk me home every night after close."
After months of just being friends, Pike took
a sabbatical from Rick's for an internship in
Washington; D.C. Once she came back to Ann

Arbor, she went to Rick's and saw Matt. They
set up their first date the very next day. And
now -
"Now we've been together for five years,"
Pike said. Just last month, Pike ("finally," she
said) convinced Matt to come with her to Bos-
ton, leaving behind the bar they both loved to
start a new life together.
"I guess he couldn't handle the constant
river of puke, scantily clad angry girls cold in
line, nor the deep and dark cavernous habitat
of Rick's," Pike said in an e-mail. "It's good
for a night or two, but not for a lifetime. Love
found there, on-the other hand, is for a lifetime.
When told about the influx of stories we've
received aboutcouples finding their loved ones
at Rick's, Hesse chuckled.
"I met my wife here," he said.
His experience, like the others, wasn't
something he had planned for or sought out.
It was 1997, and Hesse - a senior at the time
- was working on a particularly slow Sunday
night. His friend showed up on a double date,
and one of the girls started talking to Hesse.
In fact, she ended up talking to him more than
her date.
A month later, they went out, and another
month after that, they became serious. They've
been married for 16 years, the same amount of
time Hesse has been with Rick's.
But Hesse has also experienced a different
type of love during his time as general man-
ager. He described the outpouring of apprecia-
tion he gets from people who "live and die" by
Rick's. He said getting people out the door on
graduation weekend is always a struggle.
"The people make Rick's what it is," he said.
"At graduation last year, I had so many people
shake my hand and girls giving me hugs say-
ing, 'Thanks, it was the best senior year ever."'
For Ruppe in Berlin, the other Rick's
- memory that stands out as much as the night
she met her boyfriend was on her very last
night at 611 Church. It was right after gradu-
ation, and Ruppe was there with 15 of the
girls she lived with. Vitamin C's "Gradua-
tion" began to play.
"We all put our arms around each other and
just started crying in the middle of Rick's," she
said. "It was our last night all together, our
last night at Rick's. Everyone's graduating and
moving different places, and it'sjust a very ste-
reotypical moment and also very fitting that it
was at Rick's."
It's not necessarily for everyone, especially
if you're not the dancing type. But the legend-
ary bar offers its fair share of surprises. Maybe
you could meet the love of your life at Rick's.
Or, like us, you could just end up dancing on
the stage with your closest friends and leftover
pasta. Or, you could walk in, pay $6 for a shot,
look around and leave (we did that one night,
too). In any case, the basement of 611 Church
has been the setting for endless late-night
tales, Ann Arbor history and its fair share of
real-life meet-cutes.
Here's looking at you, Rick's ...but not when
the lights are on. No one wantsto see that.

statement on the street: How do you get ready for a night out?


"You're supposed to have a set of failures, but you've
organized yourselves in such a way to be
successful from the get-go."
- KEN FISHER, president of the University Musical Society and
an advisor ofMUSIC Matters, about the club's newly-announced
$50,000 endowed scholarship.
"We need to go 100 percent every single play, and some
plays we didn't do that ... so they came out with the win."
- JAKE RYAN, redshirt junior linebacker, on the Michigan football
team's 29-6 loss to Michigan State on Saturday.
"You can even ask the site to conduct a survey that will
determine whether or not your pictures make you seem
bone-able to complete strangers."
- EMILY PITTINOS, Daily Opinion columnist, on experimenting
with OKCupid, a dating website.

"Sometimes on our floor
in Markley, we throw
shower parties with a
bunch of us - play some
music, rage in the shower."
Ryan VanDagens,
LSA freshman

"I make sure I have a hype
playlist ready for all my
friends. Sometimes there's
a new song I've heard that
might be hype that week."
Kayla Nwokeji,
LSA junior

"Take a shower, shave if
I need to, and then put on
some nice clothes like a
dress shirt and spray on
some cologne - Lacoste."
Soumith Inturi,
LSA sophomore


According to The New
York Times, a recent
analysis of data by NASA
found that "one of every
five sun-like stars" has an
Earth-size planet circling
at just the right distance
where liquid water could
exist. The next time you
feel alone in this world,
think about the t ther
40 billion potentially
NASA/AP Photo habitable planets.

After being lost for at least 70years, 1,500
pieces of art taken by the Nazis were found in
a Munich apartment, according to CNN. The
art, valued at more than $1 billion, includes
pieces by Matisse and Picasso.



A vote on Monday ruled that the Senate will
consider outlawing discriminationbased on
sexual orientation and gender identity in the
workplace, according to The NewYork Times.
Amendments to the existing federal law will be
proposed in the next few days.


A Halloween party
at Arizona State
University featured
two girls in the
sexiest costume
to date: just
heels. According
to Gawker,
commenters on
the story suggested
the women were
strippers hired by a

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