Gaylord Guenin: Lenado has a secret club and it’s mine-shaft dirty |

Gaylord Guenin: Lenado has a secret club and it’s mine-shaft dirty

Gaylord Guenin

A fair number of us in Woody Creek and Lenado tend to look upon Aspen as having become terra incognita, a place no longer worth exploring. What happens in Aspen is generally ignored here, and we go about our desperate lives in our quiet backwater of a community pretty much unmoved by the glitter and glitz of our internationally renowned neighbor.

But the word out of Aspen a couple of weeks ago sent a shiver up the spines of those who are members of the Council of Lenado Elders. In truth, it created a rare moment of panic.

What transpired to so unnerve the Council was the announcement that the Roaring Fork Tavern, one of Aspen’s most delightfully disgusting clubs, had been sold and was going to become some sort of upscale and private drinking palace. The subterranean Roaring Fork Tavern, no matter how much renovation it undergoes, seems an unlikely place for hip yuppies and Hollywood types to hang out.

As a friend pointed out to me, “It could take years just to fumigate that place. Christ, I’m guessing there are diseases lurking in the walls down there that only the hardiest of hard-core drinkers could tolerate. You bring in a bunch of pampered twerps who have been weaned on imported bottled water and you could have an outbreak of some bizarre disease that would make things such as Ebola, AIDS, SARS and hepatitis look like epidemiological jokes.

“Sanitation wasn’t a priority in the Tavern.”

The new owner of the place said the joint will not have a name, nor will it advertise contact information. He was quoted in a local paper as saying, “The people who need to know where it is will find it,” perhaps simply by following their noses. He also stated that the club “has Hollywood backing,” which could be the kiss of death. As I recall, Aspen’s Planet Hollywood also had “Hollywood backing”!

The place was scheduled to open New Year’s Eve, stay open for a few days and then shut down for a week or so to complete the remodeling. I don’t know if that happened or not, nor do I particularly care. I assume that the “people who need to know” already know.

One feature the new owner touted in the paper was the fact that there will be “private booths with movable screens that close to create privacy” and to allow the occupants, one must suspect, to greedily snort great piles of cocaine without being forced to share with others. Sharing, in case you haven’t noticed, is not a major attribute of the nouveau riche.

The most puzzling line in the story was the one that stated, “Exotic fish will be on display in small tanks.” What the hell sort of attraction would that be? There are banks and dentist’s offices that feature exotic fish in tanks. I’m guessing that “exotic fish” is some sort of buzzword that refers to really weird and immoral activity.

“What we’re trying to do,” the new owner explained, “is revitalize the nightlife and bring in a hipper, metropolitan crowd. We want to bring back the excitement and the energy that’s been lacking since the good ol’ days of Mecca.” He may be intent on bringing back the excitement and energy he finds missing in Aspen, but it seems rather selfish on his part to do so in a private club that will not be open to most residents. I don’t know, maybe in this usage “Mecca” also is another mysterious buzzword?

At any rate, all of that news sent a shudder through the Council of Lenado Elders because they have operated a secret and extremely exclusive club for many years (long before the Caribou Club came along) in an abandoned mine shaft in Lenado. In some respects, their club is about as dingy as the Roaring Fork Tavern was and, for that matter, the clientele more or less approximates the RFT crowd.

But when it comes to exclusivity, the Lenado club has no peer, unless you want to toss in that super-secret organization known as the Illuminati, a group so clandestine and covert that you don’t know you are a member until you are one. Lenado’s private club is much like that.

As with the new joint in Aspen, the Lenado club also has no particular name. Originally it was called Club Earwig but that was dropped, as the Elders believed it would create confusion when the Caribou Club appeared on the scene. For a time it was known as The Club, but in time it became known simply as “Club,” a change generally attributed to a period of overwhelming apathy in the village. So if someone asked where you were going, your response would be a terse, “Club!” If you didn’t know what that meant, you were not privileged enough to know. So there!

And what of membership? As with the Illuminati, you don’t know you are a member until you are one. The first indication of membership would be that huge amounts of money were being transferred out of your bank account without your authorization.

In some picky circles, this might be seen as “identity theft.” The Elders simply see it as a means of avoiding lengthy and often boring membership meetings. And because of their hacker skills, they never have to worry about a drop in membership.

For the record, the Elders decided just to ignore this new Aspen club; however, they did vote to look into that business about “exotic fish.”

This is the 300th article in a two-part series devoted to the community of Woody Creek, a place where even the Trailer Park’s laundromat requires membership.