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Night Spies

We are at the Underground Wonder Bar.

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After I get off work, I like to come here and hang out with the jazz musicians, and sometimes I sit down and play a bit of piano myself. For such a little corner of the city, this place sees a lot of action. I've always played music on the side--that's what's kept my balance all these years of working in the nightlife. The life is rough, the hours are brutal, but it's also lucrative--if you save your money. I've been a professional bartender for 19 years. Before that I was working as a secretary, which was horrible. I took a walk one night and got hired to lie topless in a coffin and play dead for an MTV Halloween party at Limelight. I was asked if I would go naked, but we settled on painting my body white and my wearing a thong. I had hideous makeup and this big, ratted wig with cobwebs. People thought I was a dummy; they would come up to me and pull on my nipples, and this hand would come up out of the coffin and I would whack them in the face and they would be horrified. That was my first experience in the nightclub business. It was a good beginning.

--Nanette Cichon, bartender

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