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As the curtain goes up on what may be his final act as a nightclub owner, Daniel “Hollywood Breeze” Clayton shows up in a collarless red-leather jacket and black ostrich boots. It’s one hour before the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board will issue its Oct. 1 verdict on whether his Bladensburg Road club, Deno’s, will get back its liquor license, suspended in August after eight people were shot outside (“Breeze’s Last Shot,” 9/26).
“I’m prepared for whatever they’re going to do,” Breeze says, as he stands in the hall outside a seventh-floor hearing room, accepting kisses and good-luck wishes from passing municipal employees. He predicts that the board will restore his license but ban go-go music from his establishment. “And that’s gonna mean the last leg for the go-go industry,” he says.
An hour later, ABC Board Interim Chair Charles Burger confirms Breeze’s fears. After struggling to draw audiences to go-go shows without alcohol, Deno’s faces the opposite challenge: The liquor license is provisionally returned, but with “no live or recorded go-go or hiphop music.”
“Certain music draws a violent element,” Burger says. “They may only represent a minority, but the consequences of this minority are unacceptable.”
Burger says that banning the club’s signature offering was one of the board’s most difficult decisions. “Outside of the victims themselves,” he says, “what has been victimized is the ability of people to enjoy themselves without interference.”
“What can I do?” Breeze says afterward, as he hugs some elderly supporters. “Nothing.” Sarah Godfrey