Archive for January 21, 2013


January 21, 2013



The debauchery eludes no evidence of a slain civil right’s leader holiday celebration on the eve of an historic Fifty-Seventh Presidential Inauguration.  Yet it is.  Olympic occasions such as these might call to mind dutiful citizens bound in prayer, reflection and sobriety.  Not so-in the city too busy to hate.  For the past few years, once a year, one party does it right.  Adult Skate- the spot where you find bodies fully clothed in dance of the finest soul and not where nudes frolic on eights.  The Tradition Edition provides Soulantans with clarity.  A rhyme for the reason.  The right to party.  After all, this is the city too busy partying during a three day holiday weekend to even care. 

Follow the wall of painted marching feet and a pair of roller skates down into the belly of the beast.  There you might discover unexpected impressions.  The once shady hole-in-the-wall has undergone a sub-level gloss.  Artistic interpretations-seemingly too innocent for the underground-align murals painted in primary bold and subdued hues.  Painted lines of symmetry play escort.  The walls speak.  Their message instructs each person’s activity.  Look no further than the wall adjacent the stage painted of dancing silhouettes for explanation.  Eye the painted dancers to the painted symmetric boxes to find the DJ headquarters.  The king-size DJ booth can handle a god-complex DJ and his twenty plus entourage’s exclusive roped-off experience.  Remember the former DJ booth propped high above the flying saucer dance floor, against a wall, by a step ladder with no roaming space and very little to if any breathing space?  The sober challenged provided many of laughs trying to enter the minuscule infirmity.  If only the black poll in the center of the dance space were removed then the space would enter into the echelons of upscale.  Even the bathrooms are polished a luster shine of their former shade.  Hopefully gone are the apocalyptic size cockroaches that crawled atop the old sofas exchanged for pest-free plush.  Although the Modern Jazz Quartet Concourse may look remixed it has not lost its license to dance.

The belly of the beast bops and bumps.  Bellows of boisterous bass lines signal all nations to groove. They get down-the house nation, the soul nation, the disco nation, the b-boy nation, the rock nation, the funk nation, the hip-hop nation, the indie music nation, the rhythm nation-a vast network interweaving and intermingling as one. 

DJ Kemit

DJ Kemit, in mid groove, spins vinyl on the one’s and two’s.  Yes, that is two turntables and a Bozak mixer.  Actually this is a 90% acetate party.  Records will skip.  Grooves will be scratched.  The crisp sound of vinyl will chirp.  This is organic and not archaic sound reproduction.

Producer Ralf Gum shakes maracas.  Vocalist Monique Bingham singsTake Me To My Love.”  The dancers go on and on and on and on and on and on as they try to catch up to 125 BPMs.  Enter Osunlade’sEnvision(Yoruba Soul Mix) who guests on the DJ of the hour’sTransformfor conscious clarity.   Cue Kenny Bobien to take the hand clappers to church with a classic Frankie Feliciano Ricanstruction rendition.  Feet dance.  Fingers snap.  Hips sway.  Smiles overtake faces.  Voices sing “Father.”

DJ Cullen Cole

Cullen Cole the chef of music culinary delights.  Nineteen-ninety’s house music is the menu.  Cullen serves that signature house sound with a kick and a spicy side of bang.  This concoction is not for the faint, those that play down the beat in their house sets, but for those that take the BPMs up a notch.  Cullen’s house music tastes better served hard than soft.  Adult Skate’s guests gather and feast on such delicate soul.  Oh my do they ever gobble up the tasty treats as wine glasses over flowing with golden bubbles are thrown in the air for a toast.  Cheers to underground house music!  It’s a bombastic feast of oral audio.  Cullen mixes; a Rhode organ for salt, saxophones for sweetness, and electric synthesizers for acidity, house music’s flavor combination. Not everyone can digest such delicacies.  Something erupts.  A foul odor chokes the air.  Is it bad gas?  Or someone serving hash for desert?  Whatever the culprit.  Mouths hack.  Neck scarves become oxygen masks.

Suddenly, the needle on the record skips.  Someone forgot to clean off the vinyl?  The dancers miss a beat.  The music jumps counts.  The dancers are thrown off.  Jaws drop.  The question-What would a DJ do?-hangs in the balance.  Hard-pressed visages confront unbelief.  A wreck will occur if something does not yield.  DJ Cullen stays the course like a blond-hair blue-eye Messiah.  He does not allow any casualties.  He eyes his flock.  He counts his sheep.  He rides out the storm and speaks, peace be still.   Dark clouds roll back.  The sun shines again.  The music continues its mission without distraction.  The dancers continue their dance.  All is well.  Listen closely.  The room breathes a sigh of relief.

Kai Alce

Kai Alce goes in deep.  The local legend’s musical statement sounds off focus and more sporadic at intervals.  Orchestrated strings climax to a dizzying high.  Questions swirl around the room, “Is it time for disco?  One answers in grief, “If so, it’s time to leave.”

Actually, the NDATL label head keeps it Strictly Rhythm with Hardrive’sDeep Inside.”  The intro sounds of warm pads, minus drums.  Sixty seconds later, the kick drum kicks at 124 BPMs.  Pearly whites flash.  All are happy.  The mismatch of songs and beats continues.  Such happenings keep the crowd frantic but on their feet and guessing.  What’s next?  Donnie’sOlmec Save Us.” (Yoruba Soul Mix)  Yes!  Black Rascals featuring Cassio Ware, “So In Love” (Shelter Remix)?  Yes!  As time approaches 3 am, Kai Alce pulls out the freedom season’s anthems, Kemitic Just’s, “I Got Life” with Terrance Downs on vocals and the ladies anthem “Earth Is The Place(Restless Soul Peaktime Mix) by Nathan Haines featuring Verna Francis.  Too bad the room is nearly empty of souls that have evaporated into January’s cold night’s air.

This tradition edition felt far removed from a MLK celebration.  Had it not been for DJ Kemit sprinkling into Cullen’s cuisine-let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia-those gathered might have forgotten what this occasion marked.  Other ingredients amiss were classic soul, disco and afro-beat.  House music out shined them all.  If you were not a fan then you were chopped.  True fans, actually, left the party high.

Perhaps, Dr. King might not have endorsed this debacle of behavior.  As one darling eloquently commented, “That didn’t stop her from lighting a BIG one.”  SHM.  It’s just another night in the city too busy partying to even care.

Words and photography by AJ Dance


January 20, 2013


A sports fanatic dream is when salty snacks, fiery hot wings and cold brews-that makes guts proudly flop over waistlines-are cast in pretentious hierarchical displays in every supermarket grocery store.  These are the flatulence, oops, festivities leading up to the big game.  The super of all bowls.  The daddy of all daddies.  The well…one gets the ruckus that captures the world’s short attention span and limited IQ every February.  Hey look.  Even, Tambor joins in on the action. 

Tambor’s 2013 season is set to kick-off with a big bang of athletic proportions.  The stage is set.  Ready. Go.  The playing field’s turf is polished smooth.  Ready for the throngs of dancing feet to run, tackle and crush rhythmic grooves.  The LED Pro performs laser light theatrics worthy of a celebrity wardrobe-malfunction half-time exposure.  The sub woofers so bombastic could host a bowl game.

It’s game time.  The players are onstage.  The starting lineup….    

DJ BE #2 Center

DJ BE wins the coin toss.  He plays first.  Jersey number two kicks off the music into the playing field.  No one catches it.  So the center drives the music hard up fifty yards on first down.  Tambor secures home field advantage.  The hype builds.  Only the stadium is completely empty.  Hush.  The silence is deafening. 

Tambor’s season opener is off to a slow start-a very slow start.  The first and second downs appear as stop and go, slow-motion resolutions.  Slowly souls trickle into the stadium.  It’s early in the game. There is no need to sweat bullets-yet.  Back to the action. 

The offensive lineman works hard.  He travels four yards deep to the twenty-five yard line.  First down-and-ten.  He assumes eye formation.  Thirty….Thirty-five….Forty.  It’s fifteen yards on the first down.  The number two jersey works Arnaud D featuring Heidi Vogel’sGreen & Yellow into the mix.  There are eight dancers in the box.  Will he gain more?  He turns sharp and makes a rough transition.  He drives the music into harder territory, increasing the beats per minute with pulsating thumps, but is tackled at thirty yards.  Man, this crowd is tough.

[And now a word from our sponsor.  The first quarter was bought to you by Bozak.]

Tambor’s season ticket holders arrive.  Some dance.  Others stand on the sidelines. Some sway from side to side.  Others converse.

On field, team Tambor appears disjointed.  The players opt to wear various primary hue Tambor tees instead of sporting their unified manly blue Tambor jerseys.  Talk about confusing.

Pre-midnight, DJ BE leaves the game and is replaced by…

Jose Marquez Guest Headliner Halfback

Jose Marques arrives in the stadium with playbook in hand (CD holders) and is pumped to score touchdowns.  The halfback’s adrenaline pulsates at full-throttle.  A bead of sweat sacks his forehead.  He is all testosterone.  The runner segues into a boisterous consumption of deepness.  Followed by, African drums bum rushing from the sound system and onto the playing field to work a snap.  The drums transform the game.  Jose runs a punt.  The music goes deeper and deeper into the trenches of the field.

Yes! Team Tambor hosts the debut performance of southern California’s, Jose Marquez.  The rookie sensation is no stranger to athletic competitions, having three solid years of playing experience, he has performed around the globe at notable events as Djoon (Paris) and Miami (WMC).  The headliner sports a black Kazukuta Recordings tee and blue denim that stands out amongst his teammates.  All eyes and ears are tuned to the player, determining his next move.  What will he play?  Where shall he take the music?  Will he score?

First Down.  Second and ten.  Jose gives eye formation.  He runs the music to the seventeen yard line.  The music fumbles.  Jose continues to play hard.  Afro house treads into progressive deep house.  It’s another fumble.  Fumble after fumble fails to win over the crowd.  But Jose uses no time-outs.  The crowd responds defensively. It’s the first-and-ten.  The music goes out of bounds. It falls on deaf ears.  Feet stop dancing.  The dancers cut the field.  Somehow they seem let down.  Conventional wisdom tells the sports minded when the fans disappear trouble is a strategizing.  The referee calls…

“INTERCEPTION.”  (The music turns over.)

DJ Stanzeff #1 Quarterback

Wait one minute.  Sounds like a bootleg, but it’s not.  It’s Elements of Life featuring Josh Milan’sChildren of The World!”  There is play action at 124 beats per minute in F minor.  Eye formation looks to the left and then right.  The QB, DJ Stanzeff, knows the game is in trouble.  So the team leader brings pressure up the middle.  There is tight coverage on every side.  It’s a twenty-nine yard punt.  Wait another minute!  What a hit!  DJ Stanzeff breaks free at the forty yard line.  Jersey number one is in the zone!!! “That guy just dropped a load of bass.”  Zone coverage is deep with beats.  This is a COMEBACK!  The game is saved.  Nice job on execution.

The dance floor sees the most action of the night thus far.  The dancers are back in the game.  They frolic at full force.

Team Tambor runs the play.  Yes, Tambor “goes for it.”  DJ Stanzeff steps up on the line of scrimmage and makes the play!  The dancers scream.  It’s a first down.  Twenty…Twenty-five…Thirty…Thirty-five…Forty!!!  The music sweeps up the south side.  First down-and-ten.  Play action.  Snap.  Spot.  It’s a throw.  DJ Stanzeff catches it!  TOUCHDOWN!!! Kem featuring Chrisette Michelle’s “If Its Love” (Frankie Estavez Fusion Club Thumpin Remix) nails the coffin shut!!! The referee confirms.  The dancers go mad displaying acrobatic stunts.  There are handstands in crop circles, speaker whores kicking a foot to the speaker, and bodies rolling around on the floor in sweeping motions.  This is the game’s money shot.

Stanzeff continues with another bootleg this time from Jill Scott.  There’s a yard to the twenty-one.  Could this be red zone play?  Stanzeff is given a thirty yard try.  Unfortunately, there is no score.  The quarterback continues the momentum moving into afro beat territory.  The beats per minute increase to 126 with The Muthafunkaz,Oh I (Miss You)” the Atjazz Love Soul Mix that runs out of steam at the thirty yard line.  The D major song couldn’t quite make it to the red zone.

[And now a word from our sponsor: Fusicology.]

It’s the fourth down.  What will Team Tambor do next?  They have two options.  Team lead Stanzeff makes a split decision.  Jose Marquez is back in the game on the line of scrimmage.   Jose comes back strong-perhaps with a bit of vengeance.  Jose kicks a field goal playing Floetry’s “I Want You” (Osunlade Remix).  For the first time, the crowd responds with vocal praise. 

Two downs later the music is turned back over to Stanzeff who resumes play mode with Japanese producer Namy’sFrom Now Onwith Josh Milan on vocals.  The crowd plays ballet and keeps two feet on the field.  Then there is the repeat play of Arnaud D featuring Heidi VogelGreen & Yellow.”  The vibe ebbs.  The remainder of the game is quiet, if uneventful.

What a tough game for team Tambor and guest.  Jose Marquez seemed unable to make the cut. The southern Californian failed to make one touchdown to win over the crowd.  Game stats reveal Jose received little playtime.  Perhaps, had the halfback secured additional play time, he might have won over tough critics.  Here is to hoping, next time, team Tambor fans will show up in droves, won’t railbird, but join in the festivities with unbridled fanaticism. 

Back in the rear corner of the arena, the air feels lonely.  In the funk of left-over hazy oxidations, a shadow is made out of the blue.  There stands the game’s would be hero texting.  Hopefully the message is of better news.        

Words and photography by AJ Dance


January 1, 2013

2013 Calendar