The music was mostly funk and R&B. Combined with the dazzling light display, an evening of a New York experience was had by all once you entered through the doors of the old BG lounge.
It was located in the Lima Plaza, just a few doors south of the old movie theater. The name, BG lounge, was derived from the initials of its owner, Bob Gould, whose business savvy was beyond reproach in recognizing the importance of making everyone feel welcomed, wanted and needed.
At its peak, it was a place to be seen and attracted a nice ethnic mix of people who would travel from as far away as Fort Wayne. The music alone was an attraction because most frequent visitors were people who grew up listening to the heavily endorsed R&B and Motown sound of radio station CKLW.
Through this art form called music and this place called the BG lounge, people who likely would have never socialized were able to grow, learn and laugh together. Whether you were a dream seeker, a style enthusiast or just had a desire to show your moves on that lighted dance floor, which actually lit up below your feet, the BG lounge was the place to do it.
Most clubs and night spots, today and in the past, never had a need to expect large crowds before 8 p.m. At the BG lounge if your arrival was later than 8 on a weekend, it is likely that you would wait in line to enter because of fire codes prohibiting overflow crowds. That line, filled with anticipating customers, would sometimes stretch 100 feet through the concourse of the Lima Plaza.
It is not at all unusual to pass someone on the street and have them say, “I remember you from the old BG lounge days.” I was there the night the soft rock group The Association, noted for its songs “Cherish," “Along Comes Mary” and “Never My Love,” stopped in after a Fort Wayne engagement.
The BG lounge was a place of elegant style with a mix of high and low chairs, accompanied with soft barrel chairs.
It was a time when style was at the forefront with ladies in their finest and guys in their platform shoes dancing to the sound of Roger Troutman and the Zapp Band bellowing out their big hit, “More Bounce to the Ounce.”
If you were more into the kind of dancing that you’ve grown to appreciate watching the television show, “Dancing with the Stars,” there was room for that as well. I learned that dance style well with a couple of lessons and watching a lady who would become a regular dance partner with me, Teresa Silone.
I never knew much about her except that we danced well together with all the dips , lifts and turns. Sometimes, at the conclusion, we would get a smattering of applause, as often the dance floor would open up just for the two of us dancing to the sound of “Boogie Wonderland.”
Picking up dance steps seemed almost second nature. Now, however, my dance moves appear to be frozen in time, locked into those glory days of the Old BG lounge.
It was there that I recall seeing Jerome O’Neal busting a move on the dance floor and Vince Koza taking a jab to the ribs from his future wife Holly. By the way, what did you do, Vince, to deserve that jab?
There was teacher Frank Peppers releasing some high school stress on that lighted dance floor, and of course there was always rubber legs Bob Lepo taking his artwork to the dance floor.
The music, the dazzling lights and, most of all, the people, made a night at the BG lounge most enjoyable and social. For Lima, during the early 1980s, the BG lounge on weekends transformed the Lima Plaza into an event.
The BG lounge could have easily survived a big name change. Are you shocked to hear that? Oh yeah, it could have been called the BW lounge. You know... Boogie Wonderland.
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