First the setting: Crazy Duck is an oddly shaped and confined space with a huge fake oak tree in the middle of it separating the bar area form the dance floor. It has brick walls with everything else painted black and lots of purple neon lights everywhere. The staff wears large rectangular pins that scroll digital words across themselves and, to my delight, basically throw the subtext of their purpose right out for you to read in English. The gorgeous bartenders for instance would have "I am a sexy Korean girl" scrolling over their breast while the bussers had their scrolls in Korean, though I imagined it said something to the effect of "may I get that?" It looked a little bit like a set from a Joel Schumacher Batman movie.
The clientele are mainly foreigners and local girls and Korean hipsters (who dress exactly like indie rockers in the States, haircuts included), and, eventually, military guys. I am not trying to turn this into a bash because I do respect what these men and women do but I have noticed that, at least over here, once the military guys show up, and start ripping their shirts off and getting drunk and testy, someone is gonna get in a fight. And it's usually started by the guy with his shirt off daring you to make eye contact. After a couple hours I could feel the energy in the place boiling into some kind of dust-up. Then, surprisingly, it came to a head in the best and most entertaining fashion possible.
By around 2:30AM the bar was still rather packed and I didn't get to see what started the event but suddenly the middle of the floor around the bar was opened up into a chanting circle and two Korean guys were taking turns doing their breakdancing moves while three military guys looked on with their girlfriends and everyone else cheering it on all around them. The Koreans would tag team going in and out, one doing pop n lock moves and the other performing daring back-flips and amazing head spins. The military guys had one move: take their shirts off, then on again, then off, and flinch at their breakdancing opponents menacingly then go back to their comrades for a reassuring backslap. This tit for tat went on forever and every time, the better of the two Korean dancers would smile, came back into the open circle and start doing some of the best breakdancing I've seen since Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo. Finally, almost as the final nail in the coffin, a latino military guy, seemingly not even involved in the dance off at all, and wearing a Boston Red Sox Youkilis Jersey I might add, just steps into the circle, rips his jersey off and flexes letting out a scream. Not a dance, or even a flinch, a scream. The whole crowd, even the girls with the military guys, lets out a quiet whimper of embarrassment for the guy. He shuffled back to the edge. Not missing a beat, the back-flipping Korean dancer did a head spin over to his opponents, got up with a twist, and gave them a thumbs DOWN right in their faces. Everyone cheered in approval. The better dancers having won, the defeated left in a gruff, shirtless, and the music started back into a new song. The bar floor filled back in immediately like nothing had happened.
I haven't a clue what brought on this whole thing. It could have been any single number of things considering all the different conversations and people in the bar/club. What impressed me was how it was settled. It was like international relations meets the set of You Got Served. And honestly? Why the hell not. It's all energy expenditure, it serves the purpose of defining a clear winner and loser, and, the opposite sex (or same depending on your cup of tea) is thoroughly impressed. It's just as good as a boxing match only ten times more fun, in this humble reporter's opinion, to watch. Just imagine King Jong Il and President Lee Myung-bak meeting for a summit, putting on some Jurassic 5, and settling the differences between their two countries with a pop 'n' lock competition. All the members of the inner circle and Korean Congress around them cheering them on. If the US Congress debated bills like this, I would watch a lot more CSPAN.
I want to open the newspaper and see the headline that says: N. Korea tells S. Korea- You Got Served! It could happen. Anythings possible.