The Act is an appropriate name for this nightclub that's a lot like a modern day Moulin Rouge. The famous Parisian cabaret house was originally known for its extravagant shows inspired by the circus -- and in here you'll find a similar mix of artful and naughty energy.
The Act is located in The Shoppes at The Palazzo. Go to the second floor of the elegant retail complex, between Barneys New York and Burberry, and look for an escalator that ascends toward a distinctive crimson glow. Once there, you'll walk down a red carpet, where stylishly suited doormen watch over the velvet rope.
Stepping into The Act feels like entering a haunted house of sorts. There are winding, eerily lit hallways. In an anteroom, you'll come across a bizarre gold statue and a couple of grandfather clocks. A painting of John and Jackie Kennedy adorns a nearby wall, and hanging from the ceiling is a strange chandelier with a carousel horse at its core. Such a sight will help prepare you for the equine man on stilts who trots through the corridors -- sometimes with a woman in his saddle.
This is just one of many intriguing characters you'll encounter while exploring the maze-like club. In a corner near a small bar (tip: grab a drink here because the one in the main room is usually packed), a scantily clad woman can be spotted writhing on a bed -- either in pleasure or pain. Who knows? Everything at The Act is ambiguous. There's even a unisex bathroom.
At this point, you may be feeling a bit disoriented. Amid old-fashioned wood floors, spooky-looking electric candles and floral wallpaper, it seems as if you've gone back several decades in time.
However, once you enter the main room, The Act is set up like a theater. A big square bar at the back boasts an antique cash register. Near the ceiling is a trim composed of creepy clowns. Plus, a large ring dangles overhead, where a woman in sexy lingerie swings about dreamily in provocative positions.
Various seating areas for groups partaking of bottle service lead toward the stage. A circular bench surrounds a small platform that is frequently occupied by dancing club goers. Impromptu shows commence atop it throughout the evening as well.
Dry ice creates an otherworldly fog that's illuminated by colorful strobe lights. Entertainers in imaginative, often gender-bending costumes appear all around you. The overall vibe is something akin to a masquerade ball.
Expect to be coaxed onstage, where two more rings hover above for additional aerial endeavors. Vivacious and lively, revelry is ever-present at The Act. That's the coolest thing about it -- the way the partying and the performances become intermixed. But do be warned, throughout the night the "acts" are likely to get more overtly sexual in nature.
With that said, the DJ-spun music is wonderful and very diverse. Ranging from Top 40 and house to hip-hop and techno, you'll be pleasantly surprised to hear songs like Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind," which is sure to have everyone in the place swaying sensually.
And if you need a break from the craziness, secluded tables and chairs await in an intimate space adjacent to the bar. There are other cozy nooks in The Act as well. A spiral staircase leads to the second level. Follow the candles up to discover a third bar along with more seating alongside the balcony.
At The Act, you're guaranteed an evening of eye-popping entertainment. The experience is sure to be a sensory overload, but in a really enjoyable and unforgettable way.
-- By Renée LiButti
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