Making Sex Look Cool

Filed in Advertising, News by on March 1, 2009 0 Comments

"As founder and creative director, Popovic says what he's always hoped to do is simple: "I want to make things look cool."


In the world of nightclubs, getting different cultural factions to party together is about as difficult as bringing the Serbs and the Croats to the same table. Pittsburgh has its share of black clubs, gay clubs, and big hair clubs and sports bars, but night spots where elements of these different lifestyles come together are few and far between. For the past seven years, Metropol in the Strip District has been our best shot at achieving a progressive urban mix. For almost a decade the venue has held up well, doing its part to keep what there is of a dance scene in this city simmering. Recently, however, Metropol owner Robin Fernandez decided it was time to raise the heat. In an effort to generate some new excitement and take Metropol back to the edge of what's happening nationally in the club culture, he initiated the idea of "Sex and Violet's," and hired the South Side-based team of Ideahaus to carry the concept through. For the past four years Popovic and Jarzynka have comprised a business called Ideahaus. Expanding on the traditional advertising agency structure, the young partners call their firm "A Creative Communications Group". As founder and creative director, Popovic says what he's always hoped to do is simple: "I want to make things look cool." With the blessing - and the bankroll - of Fernandez, Ideahaus recently began a campaign to both develop and package Metropol's Thursday night theme of Sex & Violets as a product, and also to follow through with advertising and marketing it. "In the big picture, it isn't just sex for the sake of sex," Popovic, 29, says of the concept. "It's tasteful. It's presented in such a fashion that it's OK, it isn't pornography." Jarzynka, 25, takes up the explanation: "There's an appreciation for sexuality. The environment is created where you can be comfortable with whatever your sexuality is, "he says. In other words, in the hangover of the Bush/Quayle "Family Values" harangue and in spite of the terror of the AIDS epidemic, nights at Metropol are designed to celebrate the appeal of, well, sex. If you're uptight about the human body or too feminist for the idea of flirting or think voyeurism is only for the vulgar, you better stay home on Thursdays and make love to your mate because Sex and Violets is not for the monogynously minded. An appreciation of more than one sex might also help you enjoy Thursday nights in the Strip District. "We have a constant theme that runs through Metropol," Jarzynka says. "It's make no judgments. We want to see people dance together, drink together, party together." "We wanted to reinforce the fact that Metropol makes no judgments: That's not just an advertising campaign, it's a social battle cry. Metropol has always been a sanctuary of sorts for whatever your lifestyle is in conservative Pittsburgh, which tends to be very judgmental," Popovic explains. Actually, many conservatives would choke on their martinis at Metropol on Thursdays. The evening begins around 8 p.m. with a projected videotape of the making of Sex and Violets print ad, a session which features a lot of people without their clothes on. Popovic, however, refers to this as "living art, with classic black and white nude shots." Around 10:30 p.m., more scantily clad people beginning dancing on the stage, the bar, and the club's signature towers. Usually by this time, the patrons have also started to cut loose. "There are some very interesting looks," Jarzynka say. "There's gay men dancing without shirts, lesbians dancing together in a variety of get-ups, still a lot of ties, lots of big shorts, leather, some flannel. It's multi-racial and multi-preference; there's a little bit of everything." At midnight, the techno house pulse stops for 10 minutes while a brief show is performed. "It's the piece de resistance." Popovic says. "We have drag queens, strippers, dream sequence sex fantasy skits - it varies." According to Jarzynka, in the beginning the show lasted for a half hour. Since it cut too much into the dance time, it was shortened. "But people respond very well," he says. "We have a lot of talented people." People, it seems, are responding well to the whole concept. Thursdays that once drew 250 people are now attracting 600. Popovic and Jarzynka guess the mix is about 40 percent straight and 60 percent gay. "To be at Metropol for Sex and Violets on Thursdays is nothing remotely like Pittsburgh," Popovic says. "It's like being in a whole other city. April 7-13, 1994; InPittsburgh Newsweekly

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