As usual for one of Jim Pirtle's parties above NoTsuOh on Main near Allen's Landing, this one extended beyond the night and into the morning. Local musician Greg Wood was there, upstairs near one of the windows. Sometime between five and six AM Sunday, he heard a commotion coming from the street.
"It sounded like the usual bum stuff," he tells Hair Balls. "I just thought it was some homeless dude yelling."
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Sadly, it was anything but. One of the party's guests lay on the street in a puddle of blood. Police believe the man fell or jumped from the building, either out of a window or off the roof. Wood said the man looked more like the victim of a mugging than a man who had fallen from a great height. "He was bleeding from his side, and he was kind of talking for a little while," he said. "But he wasn't saying anything when they put him in the ambulance." Wood added that he was standing near one of Pirtle's windows and that there was little chance the man could have snuck around him to jump.
And in fact, nobody can say exactly what happened, least of all the victim (described as a man in his 40s), who survived but has no recollection of the event.
For his part, Jim Pirtle is absolutely shattered. When Hair Balls visited last night, Pirtle's soundsystem was playing "Ghost Town" by the Specials, one of the bleakest songs of all time, and Pirtle's mood matched the song perfectly. While the guests at his downstairs bar were as merry as ever, Pirtle doesn't know right now if he wants to keep his long-running downtown "social sculpture" running. "I hate this attention," he said. Asked if this was the end of an era, he said it might very well be.
Or as he put it on a Myspace blog post that has since been taken down, "I don't want to do this anymore...I just want to wear a jump suit and have a metal detector and walk along the beach mumbling to myself and getting excited about finding a lost timex watch that keeps on ticking."