Tuesday, February 20, 2007

a brief history


The party was in bushwick, which, as a neighborhood, is nothing but a large, lonely, pile of bricks hanging on the edges of Brooklyn’s heart. There is nothing there but huge empty warehouses and dusty bodegas and houses and apartments that no one ever seems to go into or come out of. My set was from 2-4am. I’d brought a deep crate of house, techno, and dirty electro to play. I was nervous and excited and slightly drunk when we got there. It was about 1am or so. This was on Saturday.

When I finally hit the decks the party was still filling up. Lots of people were just standing on the dance floor, swaying with the music but without committing to a full movement. The DJ before me was playing classic party jams that everyone remembered. 80s flavored disco and bootleg mashups. I told him to raise the pitch to about 120 and I pulled out a few records. My first tune featured a manic church organ over a stomping house beat. I wanted to establish that I was dropping the soul early on. I wanted to be sure we were clear on the matter. Make no bones about it, this was going to be a real hip shaking affair

I was playing for a crowd of hippies, freaks, art geeks and street preachers. Most of them had the burning man festival in common, where they had shared each others madness, bonded under the hot sun, lost their minds in the wavy heat, rising up from the desert sand. There were people spinning fire from long, dangerous chains. Cute girls twirled in glowing, neon hula-hoops. They were taking donations at the door. The proceeds went to saving some forest or endangered animal or some shit. There was a makeshift bar set up with vodka, whisky, rum, and beers. I got free drinks all night.

By the middle of my set the dance floor was filled. People were bending and twisting on rhythm. I upped the tempo and pushed into some banging Chicago joints. I clocked the faces and saw smiles on some, focused intensity in others, and a lost, blankness in a few. Someone came up and to me and told me to take a bite of what was in their hand so I did. It was a cookie. They smiled and patted me on the back and hissed the words ITS STRONG into my ear then walked away. I eased into some dirty electro and could feel the crowd about to go mental, so cued up a hot acid bootleg I scored online a few years ago. I knew it would slay them good. I was trying to draw blood. At one point there was a breakdown and every body raised their hands to the sky and smiled and a guy in an orange hat pointed at me and mouthed the words “you da man,” and I breathed heavily, sweating, and took a bite of a large chocolate that someone had left next to my drink. I ended it on a techno note and my last record was met with much applause and fanfare. I’d won ‘em over. As I packed up my records to head out from behind the booth the mushrooms from the chocolate started kicking in. It was fucking magnificent.

The next day, still sort of high from the night before, we went out to brunch. It was the first time in ages and it tasted like the last meal I would ever eat.

Last night I worked at the bar and talked to strangers about movies and literature. Towards the end of the night I started in on practicing a new shot. It took a few tries but by the forth one I got it right. It’s a sweet little vodka based number, I'm going to bust it out next time someone, likely a group of pretty girls, ask for a shot that’s “kind of sweet and fruity.” After we closed we did a few whiskey shots and smoked cigarettes at the bar in the near darkness. It was me and my homeboy who does the managing most nights. We shut the gate then went to his house for a few more beers and to talk philosophy, hip hop, and television shows. At about 5am I headed home. I’d left my phone at the bar.

I woke up at about 11 and crawled to my desk smelling of whiskey and sweat. I composed a few emails. Made up a couple marketing plans. Replied to a few people. Drank some orange juice. Sighed.

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:gray matters: by jkg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at downtownalleys.blogspot.com.