Posts Tagged ‘miami’
I am so ready to get out of the cold and into the sun I practically sprint to the airport! On my flight are 3 lookalike Crobar types with multiple tattoos and piercings, sweatbands on their forearms, orange skin and enough hair gel on them to stock a beauty supply store. They are wearing their shades *all throughout the flight*, because Tiesto coolness is 24 hours. One of them sits next to me and orders copious amounts of vodka cranberries while listening to some kind of Progressive shit from his iPod. He turns out to be a very nice and cordial guy, and for a moment I berate myself for being such a judgmental prick. Not everyone can be a Househead, right?
Early evening me and my man check into the Riande Continental Hotel on 18th and Collins. We have the misfortune of being in a hallway full of obnoxious spring break kids, every second running up and down the hallway screaming. For the rest of my trip we will be inundated with frequent door slams, random girlie squeals and garbage all over the hall. (And this is supposed to be a nice hotel.)
We start off the festivities with the very exclusive invite-only Tommy Boy Records party at the Hotel Victor. Very proper, all big name people hobnobbing about. We meet up and see Terry Hunter, Leonard Part Sixx, Wayne Williams, Kenny Dope Gonzalez, Louie Vega, Bob Sinclar, Armand van Helden and Anane to name a few.
Next up we walk all the way over to the Unified Records party at Segafredo Cafe. Very casual, mostly Chicago heads meeting up. It is good to see all my friends, and we stay at the outdoor restaurant for a few hours deciding on what to do next. Not many evening options that Wednesday night.
We decide to pay a visit to a good Miami friend of mine Lenka (aka Angelina), an exotic dancer at the nearby Club Madonna. I’ve known her from years of coming here, and no trip is the same without a visit to my very funny and very crazy Czechoslovakian friend. (I used to go to Miami for years before going to the Conference, and every time me and whatever boyfriend I had at the time always got lapdances from her.) We get to the club and she is sporting a $4000 wig that makes her even prettier, and we catch up on our current lives with the wine coolers she sneaks us from the dressing room. Rees befriends a guy called Matt (from Alabama), who hands us his bottle of vodka to drink from. As you all know, drinks in Miami are disgustingly expensive. (A jager-bomb is $14-$16, a bottled water is $8-$10.) Imagine my bill at the end of every night.
Around 5am we meet up with our earlier Chicago heads at the Catalina Hotel for more drinks, and that’s when the night gets a little fuzzy. We go to one guy’s spot down on Ocean drive, then eventually end up at my hotel. Everyone (and the number of “friends” has grown) goes swimming in my pool using borrowed clothes from Rees and mine’s suitcase, moochorama is in full effect and it is 1pm in the blaring hot sun before everyone takes off. Good riddance!
Miami is constant walking from party to party, and my job is 10 times harder because I am lugging both 5 Magazines and 5 cds. Thank God Rees is with me, we are like 2 backpackers struggling with all this product. Up and down Ocean Drive, Collins and Washington, up and down all day and night. My heels are retired to my closet within the 1st day we are there, and I stick on my beat up Pumas for the rest of the trip. Fuck being sexy I got work to do.
Today is the last minute party Sean Smith put together with my help at a very nice spot called Templo. Hector Lopez, DJ Ronnie, Matt Dubspun, Craig Loftis, Stacy Kidd, Shannon Harris and Rees are booked to spin. To my surprise there is a nice little crowd populating the dancefloor and we have a wonderful time. The owner Julio is a short Cuban man and is sweet and cordial.
Throughout the night I notice a giant Shrek looking guy with headphones around his neck lumbering around the club. Just as Craig Loftis gets off and Rees is about to play the closing night’s set, we see Shrek up in the booth DJing! What the f*ck??? And he’s playing PROGRESSIVE. AND TRANCE. He tells Rees that “These are my turntables, and I want to play now!” It turns out he’s the owner’s friend, and as we go and complain to the once cool owner, he passively shrugs his shoulders and tells us to wait it out. We are in shock. Everyone is running out like cockroaches, Shrek is literally scaring them away with his brand of I-don’t-know-what-music. We are helpless to do anything. It’s our fucking party, our fucking DJs are on a schedule, but the owner’s giant baby friend wants to play! Rees is having a serious menstruating fit, and I tell him to calm down we can’t blow up the club they’ll know it’s us. We’ll just leave. Eventually a whole gangload of us depart (not without a few “boos!” and middle fingers aimed at the offender, because we’re classy like that) and go right next door to Eman and Spider’s New York party.
After that party at God knows what time, we head over to Ouzo’s to meet up with Aaron Dae and Francisco at this strictly Philly party. One of my heroes Robbi Trunco is playing. He’s the one who made the drag queen anthem “Cunt” and “Walk for Me”, and it was a surprise to see that the man behind the songs was a very friendly straight man.
It’s only our 3rd day in Miami and everyone is looking worn out. Running around from party to party is exhausting. In the afternoon we go to the 2mybeat.com party, which is essentially the West End Records/Blaze Imprints guys…. Kevin Hedge, Louie Vega, Spinna, etc. 5 Magazine donated 300 magazines and they put them all inside their free gift bags. This is great promo for us because the party is ridiculously huge, held outdoors inside a tent along the beach. When we get there Eric Roberson is singing (known for “Change for Me” and Spinna’s “Butterfly Girl”). Aside from hustling my product, I meet up with Terry Hunter at the party to get his new releases, with specific instructions to give them out only to the important DJs.
It is early evening when we leave the tent and tiredly walk over to the CodeRed/Traxsource party at the Whitelaw Hotel. Held in a tiny all-white lobby, the party is in full swing with sweaty, happy dancers that are feeling the Gospel sounds. Ultra Nate is spinning, and I had no idea Miss Thing could get down on the tables like that! Despite the constant hairstyle changes, she is unmistakable in her Vegas-style-big-lashes-full-blown-stage makeup. Outside we run into my friend Inaya Day, quietly sitting alone while getting bubbly on a glass of Patron. I just want to sit down and relax but I still have a full night ahead of me.
Later that night I am to host an all-female DJ party called “The First Ladies of House.” It is at this pretty club on the strip called Indra, and the promoters are husband and wife team Andre Soul and Keesh Future. As we pass out magazines with the initial approval of the sketchy owner, he later comes up to us and flips out because there are Chicago’s Unified Records party fliers all over the club, even inside the bathroom. I mean they are everywhere. He thinks we did it, and no matter how many times I try to calm down the very coked up and mean owner, he keeps saying “Get out! Just get out of my club!!” Eventually everything works out when he realizes we weren’t the culprits, but by then there is a salty taste in my mouth.
The one DJ that really stood out to me at this party was the event’s headliner, Minx. To me she bumped up the energy of the room by 10 fold, that sister can truly get down.
After a few hours we leave the party and walk up and down Washington to look for more parties. We run into Jeff Craven of Large Records at a very crowded pizza stand, and he expresses disappointment at the lack of vibe at any of these parties. I agree with him for the most part, and that is probably what pushes people to search all day and all night for the next, hopefully bigger and better party. He points us towards Lisa Shaw’s party a few doors down, so as instructed I tell the doorman I’m a good friend of hers and we swing right in. The club is almost completely empty, so 1 shot and 5 minutes later we leave.
The final party stop is the Deep party at Gem. It is still packed with people everywhere, but by then I am numb to people and music. My right leg is cramping and I have shoulder strain from my magazine-weighted bag. I want to sleep. At the end of the party as we limp back to the too far hotel, I order some fried shit from a fluorescent-bright food stand. I don’t even know what I ate, something. Good night.
I will probably have to say that today was the day with the best parties overall. After waking up at an early 3pm, we head over to Andre Soul and Red (from NY)’s party at Yuca Lounge. They are having a freestyle dance contest, and I vowed not to miss it this year. You can tell a New York party the minute you walk in: their dress is baggier, more casual, no Miami sluttiness, just a down and dirty look that says dancing is what they’re about. The dance contest is off the hook, the showstopper being a very big and very drunk gay man queening out to Chaka Khan and Mary J. Blige’s House song “Disrespected.” He runs and rolls around the room crashing into people, throwing random items around and nearly knocking a disco ball off the ceiling. I don’t know what was funnier: watching this out-of-control, oversized queen prance around or watching the audience duck and run for cover.
Next up we go to ChicagoSoundSource’s party at a sushi restaurant. They were supposed to have it on a hotel rooftop, but at the last minute the hotel didn’t have their permit together, so the party was relegated to a tiny eatery that had the promoter and the DJs upset. While listening to Lego’s set, Craig Loftis calls me and tells me to get my ass over to the Cyberjamz pool party, held at some rich guy’s pool house. After filling up our bags with yet more magazines and cds at the hotel, 5pm me and Rees take a cab to this pool party that everyone is raving about. When we get there, I see what they mean. Free food, open bar, a hot dance floor with amazing DJs, a live drummer, singers and an all around great vibe. Now this was a party! Not only that, but we have some Chicago southsiders actually in Miami this time, as we partied with Angie, Greg Winfield, DJ Ronnie and DJ Boxx to name a few. Kevin Hedge and Josh Milan from Blaze and Barbara Tucker are some of the illustrious guests at the spot. There are 2 guys in white robes and shades partying their asses off, literally arriving at the party wearing nothing but their robes.
By 8pm it is time to go. I had promised Aaron Dae I would check out his Philly party, so we leave the residential area we’re in and run up and down the streets looking for a cab. About 20 minutes later we get to Aaron’s party at the Beach Plaza Hotel, and it is still in full swing. The music is awesome! Brian Tappert , the guy responsible for Traxsource is beating it, everyone is drunk and burnt and still going going going. I get big bear hugs from Parrish of the Groove Junkies, and promise him we will check them out later at Blu.
[I, like many others in this trip have completely lost my voice. There is something about this warm weather that renders the vocal chords vulnerable, and I swear to God every fifth person I spoke with had the same raspy squeak that I was reduced to by the 4th day of the conference.]
For some strange reason, we end up back at the ChicagoSoundSource party, I think it’s because I wanted to hear Craig Loftis and Stacy Kidd close out the night. I decide to have dinner there, and instead of having a nice, peaceful, overpriced sushi dinner, I get a million friends sitting at my dinner table and yakking away. Sigh. Please can I just drink my green tea in peace? Afterwards we get into a car with Craig Loftis, Greg Winfield and his friend Terry to go to Andre Soul’s party at Ouzo’s. Before that we spend a full hour driving all over South Beach and Downtown Miami looking for an open liquor store, but none is to be found.
The Ouzo’s party uses all 3 rooms this time and it was jamming! Spinna was playing in the main room followed by the always excellent Karizma. Wayne Williams and Sadar played downstairs, and I of course was flitting everywhere. Jamie 3:26 is there and looks just as full as I am. He has a flight to catch in a few hours, so we agree to take a cab together. But by the end of the party he is nowhere to be found. “Did he fall down in the bushes?” I wonder. Anyone who acts like me at the end of the night should be worried about. Jamie-less, we hop in a cab with female DJ Ray Prasad of Toronto and head back to our hotels.
The last day for us. We are beat. Today we are taking it easy with only 2 parties on the agenda. The first is right next door at the Shelbourne Hotel. Terry Hunter and cohorts are throwing a HUGE poolside party with Jazzy Jeff, Biz Markie, King Britt, Mark Farina, Spinna and Common is hosting. There are 4 entrances, and the guest list line is chaos. Once we get in, it’s like being inside an MTV spring break party. Don’t get me wrong the party was off the hook, but just not my style with the whole hiphop flavor of it. Spilling titties, posing muscle heads and nonstop microphone action is not for me. Plus it started to rain, and a frizzed head is up there with flying cockroaches in my book.
The last party of the trip: The Unified Records party, a huge event at Gem with 3 rooms featuring top DJs and a live performance by Steel Vybe. I am the host for the evening (I’ve been hosting their Miami parties for the past 3 years). Mike and Brian tell me that I have to get up on the mic and announce Steal Vybe. Normally stage time is thrilling for me, but just like what happened last year, I have no voice. Luckily the sound guy is brilliant, and when I finally get up and talk, my voice sounds nice and clear. Steel Vybe puts on a wonderful show, very very deep and soulful House Some of the DJs are Terry Hunter, Spinna, Ron Carroll, Wayne Williams, Vic Lavender, Flx, Greg Gray, Mario Romay, Sadar and Mark Grant. The party is awesome, everyone knows this is their last night, so the dancefloor stays packed until the very last hour.
Staying true to form, I am one of the last people at the venue. It’s over, it’s done, and the airport will be calling my name soon. Outside the club I am drunkenly lamenting my ridiculous bar tab this whole trip. Terry Hunter is listening to me ramble until Quentin Harris comes out of the club (with a shirt on!) They do their DJ/Producer bonding thing and I forget what happens after that. I take a (sigh) cab back to the hotel and get some wannabe sleep. And because I’m drunk and bored, I pick a fight with Rees to entertain our annoying neighbors.
+ MONDAY (the airport aftermath)
Nothing like delayed flights indefinitely. Please can I just get home? Thankfully I am not stuck in one of the 400 flights canceled this past week. 5 hours delay, a 3 and 1/2 hour flight, plus Rees is missing his luggage. But we are home. Miami was fabulous, I can’t wait to do it again
And you know why? Because warm weather means light, airy, SLUTTY clothes! Yeah! As I procrastinate-pack a few hours before my flight to Miami, I am delighted that my suitcase will make the 50lb. weight limit. Mags, cds, 5 million business cards, hair, nails, tan, check.
Sean Smith (Smooth Agent Records) is throwing a last minute party this Thursday and I agreed to help him out. For those of you going to the conference stop in and show some love. It’s free!
Wednesday afternoon I have another meeting with Terry Hunter to hear the music he’ll be putting out for the WMC next week. (Miami in 5 days!) The shit he has is HOT… stuff with Terisa Griffin, Glen Lewis and a remix for Leonard Part Sixx’s new track. I’ll be helping run his newly revived T’s Box Records, and I can’t wait till all his music is finally released. So for this year’s music conference I’ll be busy passing out the magazine, the 5 Magazine Blended CD, and Terry’s new tracks (keep an eye out for them.)
I’ve also booked a last minute show at the Park West, so my weekend is shot. I’ll be dancing for one of the contestants in the Miss Continental Plus beauty contest… Miss Continental is the biggest and most prestigious drag queen contest all over, the plus version is for the “ladies” who are on the thicker side. Thousands and thousands of dollars are spent on gowns, swimsuits, surgery and of course the talent portion of the show. The dance numbers we perform in tend to be very elaborate and showy, all with the objective to frame the queen and make her look like a thousand bucks.
Oh and Miami, here we come!!!
Okay so I’ve been on diary hiatus for quite some time. I really really wanted to give you daily updates of my time in Miami for the Winter Music Conference, but I was too busy running around trying to hit up every damn party there was! Now I know why they call it the Winter Conference, because quite frankly Miami aint as warm that time as it’s cut up to be. There’s sun, but the wind be blowing some cold ass nipple hardening air.
Quick recap: I got to hang with lots of my girls and guys such as Lugo Rosado, Indiana Chris (eternally looking for the next party), Skendar (came with 1 bag the size of a girl’s purse, that’s it), Lego and Aida (thanks for the rides!), Dave Sabat, Kenny Ray, Marcello, Unified Records, Wanda, Alphonso and Pea (she got to meet my stripclub girlfriend of many years Angelina of Club Madonna and see her flexibility talents). Many many more but those pop up in my head. The next issue should have all the pictures, but saw and spoke with lots of our favorite House personalities such as Maurice Joshua, Stacy Kidd, Wayne Williams, Osunlade, 3 Degrees, Louie Louie, JoJo Flores, Tortured Soul, Alix Alvarez, Mr. V, King Britt, Rich Medina, Ron Carroll, CeCe Peniston, Frankie Knuckles, Dave Morales (had his shirt open at his party, be still my beating heart), Timmy Regisford, Gene Hunt, Vic Lavender, Ron Trent, Barbara Tucker, Andre Harris, DJ Spinna, Dave Harness, the Groove Junkies, Jellybean Benitez (I know he’s done so much more, but I’ll forever know him as Madonna’s former boyfriend who first played her music at the Limelight and blew her up), Dennis Ferrer, Karizma, and so many many more.
I hosted 3 parties, and the most important one… the Unified Records Party at Rain which closed out the conference… the one where I actually had to get up on the mic and introduce all the fabulous DJs/singers such as Tony Humphries and Robert Owens… I had by then lost my voice. GONE. The flaming and very drunk bartender at Rain insisted I try his “magic throat potion”, but all it did was make me even more mute. So thank you Alphonso of I Love House Music Wednesdays for being my voice and making people think I’m really a drag queen.
Favorite parties were of course Shelter and the Jump N’ Funk event. East Coast heads just be *dancing*.
Upon my return from Miami, I immediately had to jump into tech and dress rehearsals the whole week for my dance show, so I was locked into the Harold Washington Library theater for hours and hours on end, capping it off with great shows for the GI Alliance (congrats to my very good friend Jen whose company it is) 5 year anniversary dance concert. Saturday was the last show, and I was WIPED OUT. Early Sunday morning and going on no sleep for 2 weeks… flight to… YEY! NEW YORK CITY!!!
I get to stay here in a subletted apartment on the Lower East Side for most of April so I can dance, write my new show and get-away-far-far-away from painful Chicago, sort of relax, and enjoy my muse called New York. I haven’t gotten a chance to spend a lot of time here like I used to do pre-magazine days, so I’m soaking it all in. So far I’ve checked out the House Dance Conference (monthly event for dancers), the 3 Degrees party at the Sullivan Room last night, and the Shelter tonight! I’ve taken dance and gymnastics classes, had a DOPE massage from one of those Asian massage places (no happy ending), hooked up with my old dance teachers and friends, met some really cool people, and I’ve only been here a week. And not one drink, even when I was at the clubs. If only I could live here for a year. Or two.