Revelers danced away the afternoon last Saturday, at the Second Annual Prom at the Boiler Room. Low levels of lighting and colored balloons across the floor added to the festive atmosphere as people from across the whole of Santa Ramona Valley drank, danced and partied as only we know how. Owner Joseph Styles explained why it was called a Prom, despite having nothing to do with any high school. It came, he explains, from his wife, Serina, who hails from Italy where they don’t have high school proms. And you also hear people talking of the horror stories of their prom, or people saying they wished they could relive their prom, so he decided to let people have that opportunity. “Just because we aren't in high school anymore doesn't mean we can't get dressed up and have a night to remember” he says. That was last year. But he decided to make the Prom an annual event, each May. And so, this year, he held the second one.
Styles bought the Boiler Room in May last year, after managing it for several months. The Prom must have been one of the first events he organized. The Boiler Room had been in existence for some time, in its original home in Northside, and was, as he puts it, “a known commodity”. After the people of Santa Ramona returned from their evacuation he wanted to expand to a larger place, but there was nowhere suitable in Northside so he moved it into a former factory that was available in Southside. The factory was refurbished but it still retains an industrial feel. You notice it as soon as you enter, with the metal staircases you take, whether you want to go down, to the dance hall, with its unfactory-like stage and bar, or up, to the owner’s office. Styles sees no disadvantage in having moved from Northside to Southside. The Boiler Room has retained the loyalty of its old Northside clientele and gained new ones. He says the Boiler Room is doing better than ever. He sees the mixing of Northside and Southside as something positive. “I am not one of those people who feel we need to recognize two sections of a city. We are all Santa Ramona Valley. I think that should be embraced." A lot work goes into Boiler Room events and Saturday’s prom was no different. But one person missed by Styles was his late Assistant Manager Jade Aura, not only because of her contributions to the success of the Boiler Room, but also as a close friend.
But Styles is insistent on naming Domi "Snow" Daylight and Heather Raveloe as crucial to the success of this year’s Prom. They both helped with the decor and lighting, and generally made the place look as good as it did. He says he could not have done it without them. He promises a third Prom next year. But before that he is planning to revisit some party themes, such as the Black and White Party, and in June he will be holding a Bikers & Babes Party in honor of Jade Aura. Joseph Styles claims that the Boiler Room is an escape for the residents of Santa Ramona Valley. And as long as he keeps it open, we can be sure, all of us – Northsiders and Southsiders – that there will be plenty of opportunity to escape.