Posts Tagged ‘ATLANTA WEEKENDer’

HOUSE IN THE PARK 11 06.09.15

September 8, 2015


“HONK.” As sedans, pickups and 4X4’s slow to a crawl on I-20 eastbound at the ramp of Boulevard, the traffic on the World Wide Web stalls. Thankfully, no vehicles or servers, for that matter, crash. Finally!-And no not the CeCe Peniston classic-House In The Park Sunday arrives!

At a park, named after a U.S. president, on Confederate Avenue, thousands of feet stampede the green space. The festivity is less conservancy, more 4G. Posts and photos clog social media newsfeeds. Thirty-second videos go viral. Hit after hit. Likes accumulate. Tweets chirp. Memes abound. A song list is even cataloged on a blog. HITP 11 trends.

“After all house music is the black person’s alternative.” Replies the voice-activated “AI” when asked, “Is HITP the real Afropunk?” Uploads of Afro’s, locs, beads, and faux hawks be natural or extensions, crown heads of dancing kings and dancing queens, and their dancing princes and dancing princesses. Selfies of Tees, tunics, cowls and body paint are fit for fashion spreads. Just #blackfashionmatters.    

Dress and tags are only smaller numerators in HITP’s larger algorithm. There are four constant variables that play the most important part when coding the event’s success.

The Four Fathers. Salah Ananse, DJ Kemit, Kai Alce, and founding father Ramon Rawsoul stand tall and proud. Acetate. Polycarbonate. Gigabyte: Are their mouthpieces. Their voices eschewed from shiny hardware, transmitted by stereo surround-sound. Each bringing their distinct flavor, Salah: boutique house, Kemit: disco, Ramon: ancestral and Kai: every sound in between, makes PPL <3 HITP. 

Sunrays kiss smiley faces. Red, green, gold, and black jewels sparkle against the stark bulb in the sky. iClouds fly across the azure. The temperature feels not too hot, not too humid, and never too cold but just the right amount of cool. A fit-watch pixels display 85 degrees.

The balmy temperature is a shock, but not the music. As one girl whips and nae naes to a remix of Justin Timberlake singing “Holy Grail.” Everyone agrees House in The Park is the “Holy Grail.”

The Holy Grail that started ten years ago as an intimate gathering of friends, has massed into more than one large family picnic, but a technological boom. Far more than food trucks, the aroma of grilled meats, vendors, pavilions and tent city, there is no denying HITP’s digital footprint that stomps the digital world. Perhaps, next year, the drone that flies overhead will be used to film a virtual-reality live stream. In real-time, to all businesses, corporations and advertisers, HITP is where the money is.

words: aj dance

visual: toasted ink


September 6, 2015




“Yo! What up?”

“Deez Nuts 4 president!”


“Give me a huuugggg.”

Pearly white smiles sparkled underneath the halogens of streetlights. The heart leaped with joy during each warm embrace. Like hugging long lost relatives at a family reunion during Labor Day Weekend. Instead of ribs and slaw, long white tees, halters and pumps were the fixin’s.   A show of who’s who was in “lookatme” mode. Selfie time!!! Of course with friends. Conversations quickly turned to; weight loss, air flight trips and future hookups. The annual Atlanta Weekender festivities had already commenced outside, along Edgewood Boulevard, in front of addresses 485 and 483, respectively. The magic suspended in the air, straddled beneath the Waning Gibbous.

Following the pulsating “umpsh, umpsh, umpsh,” into the brick and mortar revealed no disco ball, or cat-n-mouse laser display that distinguished the obscurity. If not for the bar lit in the soft hue of carrot the room would be aphotic. Ahead, at the DJ booth the guiding light was found. The sonics eschewed from two JBLs. There he stood, the man partitioned from his gatherers.

The buzzcut he wore might have been new, but Kai Alce needed no introduction.  NYC born, Detroit raised, ATL transplant-an acronym for his N.D.ATL Muzik imprint-served as cultural virtues that crowned him “Atlanta’s Maverick of Distinctive House Music.” Although the DJ/producer/label owner resents titles and is laconic, he clearly spoke through the music. You “Can’t Hold It Back,” he suggested with a slight grin when playing the Jovonn titled track. The now-anthem ignited flames on the floor.   Blink and miss the horde of Distinctive-ites who canned-sausage the space in front of the DJ booth; hands on the floor, derrieres in the air, their feet swiveled in circles. That was the power of the four-count, a heavy bass line, and a repeated refrain.  

There she danced in the corner. Her dress sparkled as metallic blues shimmied against the speaker cabinet. Her beauty mirrored the portrait of the 1970’s Blaxploitation heroine projected onto the back wall of the room.   As her silhouette weaved in and out of shadows, she mouthed “Dance Like You’ve Been Here.” The DJ Beloved Remix of Miranda Nicole’s N.D.ATL Muzik’s recording debut played like a beacon to a siren’s prey.

The music skipped counts on UBQ Project’s “We Can Make It.” Visages appeared stunned?!? Folks, this was an all vinyl affair. Heedlessly, hunched against the wall and consuming prime real estate was a young man who pecked on not one but two smartphones. Stationed on the DJ wall, a drinking glass slid off and shattered jagged debris across the baby-powdered floor. Dancing up front, and center the DJ booth became unbearable. So dance space was traded back room for near the venue’s front door. Where the temperature felt cooler, the air breathable, and the cement floor fit to slide across.

At some point in time, when professional photographers dipped in and out of space-pockets trying to capture the perfect snapshot of a dancer doing a burpee in harem pants: time, place and space framed an apex. The music abstract yet concrete. The conductor inseparable from the conduit.  The curator indistinguishable from the virtuoso.   A casual encounter turned fanatical dance.



You can take Theo Parrish out of Chicago but taking Chicago out of Theo Parrish presents an entirely difficult challenge. Born in the nation’s capital, bred in the Windy City, the DJ/producer was influenced by Chi-town’s first and second generation house music provocateurs. His first DJ gig and production work came early, age thirteen. Thereafter, the young musicologist would study in Kansas City where he received a degree in Sound Sculpture before calling the Motor City his home since the mid 1990’s.

Chicago played theme on the Sound Signature C.E.O.’s opening selections. Peven Everett cooed “How Bad I Want Ya,” a sentiment Theo posed to the crowd before slaying the dancers with Steve Poindexter’s genius “Computer Madness.”

Say Parrish, and the name resounds around the world, synonymously with techno/house. Theo’s music is badass: never mollified for the masses yet ballsy enough to challenge the bullocks of the underground. His left field verbose is taste acquired. The palette of his international worshippers: his native land not so much. Those who understood Parrish’s quiddity were those left dancing: those who failed translation made there way outdoors for a smoke or next door.  


Inside the restaurant guised dance space the music played Afro, deep, and slower at 124 beats per minute. At DJ Kemit’s Soul Makossa party, bodies gyrated and writhed from the DJ Booth to dining stations in the back of the rectangular space. Yet, there was ample space to join in the spirit of dance.  A far cry from earlier when people stood in line to get in the door. Percussions elevated Elements of Life “Children of the World.” The beat crawled to 120 BPM on Hiatus Kaiyote’s “Breathing Underwater“(DJ Spinna Galactic Soul Remix). The thumps packed punch on Steve Silk Hurley featuring Sharon Pass’ “The Word Is Love” (Silk’s Anthem 7 inch Mix). The classic pulled the salt and pepper hairs onto the floor as the music danced down memory lane with vintage Col. Abrams’, “I’m Not Gonna Let.”

“YEAAAHHH!” The moms and pops yelled to the Shuffle It Up Mix. DJ/producer Alton Miller spoke to the age forty and over, Detroit style. “I’m so going back to check out Theo next door.” Said a thirty years young Jersey resident.


The snare hissed. The beating of congas beat faintly in the distance. The strings of an acoustic guitar plucked ever-so-gently across a romping bass line that straddled over four counts, then dropped as the rhythm crescendo into a melodious movement that guided dancing sneakers across the craters on the floor.

“THEO!” A high-pitched voice yelled. Arms besieged over the booth’s wall. Then the house lights shined brightly. Pupils were enlarged. A motley of colored visages that once danced in shadows was now exposed. No one cared. The people danced on. The music played on.

A bearded guy dressed in all black appeared next to Theo and gave him the cutthroat. Another security chief, this one with his facial gestures buried beneath a ball cap, bolted to the DJ booth and told the maestro to “stop.”

“I can’t.” Theo lipped back. “The record ain’t finished playin’.”

The crowd “booed” the burly guards: they “yayed” the DJ. Complying with security’s demand, the music stopped. As security walked away, the sneaky Theo pressed play. A four-count thumped. Security turned around and told him to cut the music. For a second time the music was hushed.

“Look. He mad (sic).”

With his back towards the dancers, Theo cursed underneath his breath. His hairy arms swung out, half-heartedly, to the sides in anger. The “I Want to Go See” type on his tee said it best. Theo was going to see, something, somewhere. Sadly it was out the venue’s front door.

The second night of the Atlanta Weekender closed with less of a bang and more of a swift-kick in the arse. If Atlanta is grown enough to host its own version of a holiday Weekender then Atlanta needs to step it up with a 4 am or later bar closing time. Atlanta, the time is nigh. Please, quit stopping the music.

words by aj dance

visual by aj art

JAMIE 3:26 02.09.12

September 4, 2012

JAMIE 3:26

With that said, the people would have loved MORE Jamie 3:26.  Here is to next time and hopes of more Jamie. –AJ Dance 


In Space2 sharp sounds from synthesizers slice the air over a choppy drum beat that renders the crowd, Mercyless.”  Already a sizeable mount of foot soldiers conquer ground.  The soldiers dance hard, almost too hard.  Fists pump the air, legs wobble around in semi-circles and feet stampede the concrete.  The scene resembles a pre-HITP fundraising party and not an HITP 8 after party.  Earlier that day at the park, had the people not filled their bellies with enough sweet house music treats and much dance?  The culprit, Salah Ananse feeds the crowd leftover goodies, songs not played earlier at HITP 8.   It’s after midnight.  The crowd turned monsters, munch on everything in sight from refrigerated potato salad-by the way, left out all day in the hot sun-to meatless rib tips.  Just joking.  Actually, the charismatic crowd rollicks as they munch on a cornucopia of soul music with joviality.  From Fred Everything to Atjazz, soul music emanates inside the environment.  With attempts to rekindle the anthem spirit from earlier in the day, the one song repeated at the party from the park, MJ’s, “Thriller” (Black Motion Mortarfied Mix) plays for eight minutes, that drags on far too long as the night’s guest headliner tweaks wires, sets up hardware and cues music before he opens with……

Brother Johnson’s, “Stomp.”  The song is played like it has never been played before.  Drop the EQs.  Punch the bass line.  Pitch the highs and let the mids ride.  Stand by the speaker to hear secret rhythms and unheard melodies escape that leaves the listener entranced with an ear-struck experience.  The song is deconstructed to its fabric core to reveal hidden elements that creates a 3D soundscape.  Drums talk.  Horns blow before eyes.  Guitar strings pluck fingers.  A symphonic vision emerges and comes to life right in front of the eyes. The high definition sounds play with the outer ear. The middle ear vibrates with repercussions of joyful noises.  Utterly, the experience leaves the listener breathless.

Atlanta’s house and disco heads wishes came true.  Two days prior the 1st Annual ATLANTA WEEKENDer’s start, e-vites announced the return of Jamie 3:26 to close out the four day festivities. At the same venue, three months earlier, Jamie put a chokehold on the city’s house and disco community.  The people wanted more, so much more that the size of the WEEKENDer’s closeout attendance proved so.

How does Jamie do it?  Do what?  Know when and what songs to play at the right time.  The party’s surprise, perhaps the best song played, arrives like a New Establishment.  The 1985 sing-along classic from the British New Wave Band Tears for Fears with “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” (Timmy Regisford & Adam Rios Mix) oozes with enough R&B soul to rule urban radio.  Sleeping feet awake to life, “hoots” and “hollers” shrieks the atmosphere like the first of morning yawns as arms grasps the air and the balls of the heels playfully bounce up and down as if stretching after a full’s night rest.  The feel good house treatment, even more shakes off the slumber when a rousing keyboard solo electrifies the song’s ending.

Out comes the baby powder.  Enter the hardcore house dancers into the room.  Immediately they stake dance floor real estate.  A dance circle forms.  Here comes their fan club ready to marvel at choppy arm punches, sporadic hip thrusts and staccato foot stomps.  The talented two-some dance harder than anyone else.  These cats don’t play.

Four-count thumps pump harder as a haunting voice appears out of thin air.  The voice croons of sleepless nights and the hearing of voices calling her name.  Thiwe’s vocals on Black Coffee’s, Crazy (Manoo & Francois A. Deep Journey Mix) meanders over the thumps until a keyboard riffs escalates the copyright into euphoric heights.



The music continues as the night’s hours march off into the aphotic.  Honestly, not much is recalled from the party.  The reason being is not from mild-altering substances but from the six hour dance marathon that you took part in earlier that day.  Your feet are tired. You are so exhausted that you want to fall asleep.  You wish that you could stay longer.  However, you have a twelve pm flight back to the UAE.  Unfortunately, your time in Atlanta is drawing to an end.  A sudden smile crosses your face.  What a weekender.  There was so much deep, soulful and meaningful house music crammed into three days that has left you with an overwhelming natural high.  As you say goodbye to Space2, the place where your adventure began, you come to the realization, Atlanta is on to something and this is the start of something huge.

Photography by AJ Dance

HOUSE IN THE PARK 8 02.09.12

September 3, 2012


Gone are the days when House In the Park was intimate, sitting at quaint public city parks where 500 people gathered.  Today, House In the Park has become a behemoth must-attend event for house heads, non house heads and soon to be house heads from around the world.  It groups with the likes of large music festivals, think Music Midtown, DEMF or Bonnaroo.  The event has grown so large it could easily sit on a 700 acre farm somewhere in Georgia or on a meadow in the city’s largest park overlooking a pavilion with a giant stage where the Fab 4 can DJ.  Get ready!  In the near future, if HITP continues its exponential expansion these ideas might consider further exploration but for now we’ll settle for two pavilions at its latest incarnate, Grant Park.

HITP’s footprints have danced the city far and wide for the best green space with amenities.  Eight years earlier, Candler Park with no electrical outlets played host.  Thereafter, home for six years was Perkerson Park in the heart of the city’s Southwest Capital View community.  Amazingly, during that time span something happened that every event planner prays to experience.  The phenomenon called growth plagued HITP at such an unprecedented rate that PP had to be abandoned for greater green space.  So, off to the city’s east side where the oldest and fourth largest park named after engineer Lemuel P. Grant seemed a more suitable fit.

Home to the city’s only zoo, civil war-esque Cyclorama, swimming, and recreation facilities the 131.5 acres is somewhat a tourist trap.  Grant Park sits between Cherokee Avenue and Boulevard SE where Confederate Avenue begins or ends depending on one’s view.  Yes, this is the park where the guy jogs wearing a Confederate flag.  However, on this day HITP’s house music freedom flag waves for all to behold.

Already, the park is abuzz with various makings.  Picture perfect blue skies while birds chirp songs of joy.  The morning temperatures announce another noon day scorcher.  Fresh air travels to and fro delivering lively scents of burning charcoal.  Famous chicken sausages and green veggies sizzle on grills.  In the not so far away distance, a soundtrack of classic house music and old-school hip hop emanate from a portable device in the smaller of the three pavilions transplanted between pavilion 1 and pavilion 2.    To the left, several vendors assemble a massive tent, and to the right muscle men carry folding chairs and folding tables.  Jovial moms push little ones in high-tech strollers as little girls run by giggling.  Boisterous voices thunder across the pathway to greet love ones with cherish bear hugs.  The scene embodies one giant family reunion. This is love in the park.

The noonday’s festivities kick off sharply with the internationally acclaimed DJ Kemit of Spread Love assuming musical duties.  As the band Rufus plays backup, singer Chaka Kahn wastes no time taking lead on “I Know You, I Live You” that draws singing voices and dancing sneakers racing to pavilion 1.  Next, DJ Kemit throws in a classic for all the old-school house heads with Ten City’s Devotion.”  After another round of oldies but goodies and Afefe Iku’sBody Drummin”, DJ Kemit logs off as music ambassador as the next musicologist logs on.

It’s the DJ with the dreads that proves new songs can be just as addictive as old songs.So Addictive(The Layabouts Addicted to House Vocal Mix) by Benedetto & Farina featuring vocals by Sandy Spady, laid back vibe ushers in a refreshing cool breeze that the dancers warmly welcome.  DJ Salah Ananse’s ever eclectic persona takes the vibes deep back to 1997 with gospel legend BeBe Winans “Thank You” (Masters At Work 12” Mix) that brings Sunday morning church service and the crowd to the park’s pavilion.  Keeping things classic, Chic’s “Dance, Dance, Dance” storms P 1 which is packed with sweaty bodies.  Once again, the tone cools down a bit with the disco-esque bouncy grooves from the UK’s Layabouts featuring Seattle vocalist Portia Monique on the sing-along Do Better.”  DJ Kemit AKA MC Kemit hops on the microphone and announces a Salah Ananse exclusive that pounds from the speakers.  An afro beat comes to a thrilling climax as 1990’s “hip hop on an R&B tip with a pop appeal/feel to it” pioneers, Bell Biv Devoe sing “She’s Driving Me Outta My Mind” on their platinum hit, “Poision.”  What a surprise as Generation X sings along and jumps off into dance hysteria.  The song that receives the “MOST CRUNK” award goes to one of the most recognized song’s in the world, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”  This ambitious undertaking remixed by South African sensation Black Motion (Mortarfied Bootleg) equipped with an afro house beat, brass horns and Vincent Price’s famous cackle is without a trace of MJ’s theatric chops.  The remix builds to a climatic peek with Vincent’s howl that raises the roof off the hinges as the afro beat slams on the heads of the crowd that sends bodies into frantic fits of rage.  Fists pump the air as mouths drop agape and feet stomp the concrete.  The Afrique Electrique founder known for his production/remix skills sets the bar high with another handcrafted standard this time with Goyte’s featuring Kimbra “Somebody That I Used To Know” (Salah Ananse Mix) one of the countless interpretations of the Top 40 smash that now thumps with an afro house kick accompanying its lullaby inflection.  “Do You Have It?” The questioned begged by DJ Spen presents LeRoyal, Baltimore’s up and coming urban/pop sensation, remixed by Maurice Joshua, told the people to say “Yeah” if you have the key to life, love.  On the grunge front, Salah drops another goodie, his rework to Nirvana’s, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (Salah Ananse Mix) that was last years HITP 7 anthem.  A tribute to the late great Fela’s afro beat rounds out one of the most diverse, eclectic and impressive sets of the day.  Salah rocked that fresh face house music mixed with an alternative vibe of unpredictability that shows the crowd love and the crowd responds with more of the same.

“How many of you were at the Paradise Garage?” The master of ceremony shouts into the microphone and asks the crowd.  The crowd roars like lions.  To both pavilions, old-school heads rush in droves as DJ Kemit rewinds the hands of time to yesteryear.  A fellow well know old-school head raises a crafty constructed Paradise Garage poster that travels the pavilion.  Time rests somewhere between the years 1976-1987 as the group Chicago’s “Street Player” takes the dancers to the land of FM radio and disco roller rinks.  The crowd can’t get enough as DJ AKA MC Kemit announces a future surprise.  Then it happens, a song plays that causes the people to respond like wild animals in summer heat.  BT Express’ “Peace Pipe” smokes and burns receding hairlines and salt and pepper follicles completely bald.  After a well-rounded tribute of old school classics, DJ Kemit switches gears and brings the vibe back to the present.  The Yoruba Recordings catalog Is on full-blast as Yoruba label mate Afefe Iku’s Re-edit of the mega platinum selling rock band Radiohead’s,“Everything In Its Right Place” takes the listeners on an ancestral journey of deep rhythms and tribalism.  Yoruba Recordings label head Osunlade’sEnvision(Yoruba Soul Mix) tingles the air.  By design, DJ Kemit segues into two songs from his recently released long player titled,Everlasting.”  The first single Transformshimmers with Osunlade singing lead vocals while Spread Loveshines with Atlanta’s Sepesenahki on vocals, the theme to DJ Kemit’s acclaimed ectopic party with the same moniker.  “Go pick up the album at Moods Music or on the web at ……, “announces compere Kemit.  The former Arrested Development DJ is in pleasure mode and is on the prowl to please every lady in attendance.  The lovelies are serenaded with not one but THREE offerings; from DJ Zinhle featuring vocalist Busiswa Gqulu with My Name Is,” to Teddy Douglas presents Margaret Grace with God Created Woman,” to Verna  Francis, “Earth Is The Place” (Restless Soul Peaktime Mix) that has the ladies singing, “Cause I’m a woman.”

Expectedly, every woman arrives implacably dressed and ready to impress.  Actually, HITP is a tour de fashion.  Every hair-do possibly imagined is sported by the ladies.  Afros, braids, curls, extensions, faux hawks, locs, natural, and twisties bop and weave around the park.  Every hair color is spotted on tops of heads from blonde, blue with purple roots, pink, red and brown.  Hair hangs cropped, short, shoulder length and down the back that can rival any famous hair show.  Vibrant outfits of every summer color electrify eyes.  Every hue of bare skin provides orectic temptation.  Accessories of sneakers, kneepads, belts, neckwear, ear wear, eyewear and church hats compliments bare skin against sweat- stained clothes.  Actually, wearing one outfit is not sufficient.  Yes, a second change of clothes is needed as several people change T-shirts, sundresses and shorts for the next DJ.

Ramon Rawsoul beams those pearly whites.  A million dollar smile flashes in the sun’s embrace.  The HITP founder stands aplomb to lead the congregants to the Mother Land.  The sojourners cross the Atlantic Ocean and arrive at Jo’burg’s townships on the continent called Africa where African rhythms are explored.  From the likes of Manoo’s,Kodjothe tribal banger to Zakes Batwini’sWasting My Timethe sounds of South Africa’s house music plays loud and proud.  From there Ramon gives his parishioners a glimpse at his stomping grounds back in Chicago, Illinois with a classic Chi-town acid house music track.  Then it’s time to get serious with Jill Scott’s vocal prayer “Hear My Call” (Pablo Martinez Mix).  Someone somewhere must have danced to the rain gods because in the midst of the tribal excursion raindrops descend upon the park.  To tease the crowd, Ramon plays Kerri Chandler’sRain(Atjazz Mix) the soundtrack to the precipitation.  The refreshing shower that lasts a mere ten minutes does nothing to divert the people’s attention in the park.  As the rain clouds roll away, sunny skies reappear and dance to Ceramic featuring Aisling Stephenson’s Broken Dreams(Ian Friday ‘Tea Party’ Vocal).  Unsung, Atlantic Starr shows up with “Send For Me” (Master Kev & Tony Loreto) that makes the hearts of old-school die.  One observer notes, she has died and gone to heaven while one house head proclaims, this is paradise.  How important it is to play new songs that young people can relate too.  A team of young girls, holding hands, walks through P 1 and mouths Goyte’s anthem “Somebody That I Used To Know” (Master Kev & Tony Loreto Mix).  The song that plays for the second time at the event marks one of the many music standouts of the day.  The anthem also wraps up Ramon’s time on deck.  Thanks for taking the pilgrimage to the lands of South Africa to explore the deep tribal sounds of house music.  Musical exposure is a key concept at HITP.

Kai Alce is his name and music is his game.  When the mixologist plays people show up in droves to experience the master at work.  Always the final installment of the Fab 4, Kai wraps up the party with old-school meets on the horizon anthems.  From classic disco, Brainstorm’s “Lovin Is Really My Game” to classic house, Kenny Bobien’sFather” (Ricanstruction Mix) there was something played for all peoples.

Of course, an event of this magnitude will have a few issues.  It all started during DJ Salah Ananse’s set.  At various times and in various spots within P 1 dance circles formed for the elite of dancers to battle and show off fancy footwork, hand stands and pop and lock art forms.  Honestly, when the pavilion is packed with bodies in motion, there’s not much room in the pavilion for open mouthed bystanders to besiege cropped circles to watch b-boys and dancers prove crown.  HITP needs all the dance space it can conjure.

During DJ Kemit’s illustrious set, there was the mishap fire incident when a fire extinguisher is needed within fifteen minutes or the park and party would have been shut down.  Inside the pavilion, people took the matter into their own hands chanting “The roof/The roof/The roof is on fire/We don’t need no water/ Let the …..(well you know the rest).  Yes, the people mentioned the undesirable right in front of families and small ones.  “People HITP is about family.  Let’s respect the kids,” announced MC Kemit.  At that time, someone had the brilliant idea to throw water into the air until MC Kemit laid down the law and had a come to Jesus meeting with the obnoxious.

By the time Kai Alce assumed music duties, P 1 became so crowded that for the first time ever at HITP crowd control was needed.  Outside of P 1 a HITP female volunteer stood with yellow caution rope in hand to let one to two people into P 1 at a time.  In effort to find additional space P 1 was abandoned for P 2.  However, both pavilions overflowed with people like cellulite trapped in spandex on a hot day.  In P 2 the hysteria chants of ATL vs New York vs every other city represented at the park was nauseating.  SECURITY.  We need security in P 2 fast before the zoo animals get out of hand.  Actually, the city’s zoo is at the other end of the park.

Once again, HITP set out to exceed expectations and that it accomplished.  From its latest stomping grounds to the music played the event was not only the summer’s hot sauce on collards but the fatback to the event of the year.  What a beautiful experience to behold and witness.  Also, words to the wise, next year, please don’t submit the DJs a request list.  The Fab 4 need not be told how to do their job.  These cats are the very best of the best.  They know what music to play and how to play music.  All four professionals played a diverse work of art that well-represented genres of music that ranged from house, classics, to soul. Please keep in mind, this is not the NYC Weekender, nor the Chicago Weekender, nor the Detroit Weekender, nor the San Francisco Weekender or the London Weekender.  It’s not even the Old-School Weekender or the New-School Weekender.  This is the ATLANTA WEEKENDer and HITP is house music.  So Atlanta standup.  This is your time to shine.  Be it the music that unites and not divides.  House music conquers with LOVE!

WEEKENDer Epilogue

After dancing on the concrete and sweating outdoors for several hours, you find out there’s an after party that you must attend.  Off you go….


Words and Photography by AJ Dance


September 3, 2012

Photography by AJ Dance

KARIZMA 31.08.12

September 1, 2012


Launch Control:  Atlanta, we’re set to blast off.  All systems are ready to go.

In the Sound Table, the people stand on pins and needles.  An anticipatory buzz ignites the air aflame.  

Time: T minus 3 minutes.
Launch Control (LC): KAI, Technics 1200 right arm has needle.
KAI: Attached.
LC: KAI, Technics 1200 left arm has needle.
KAI: Attached.
LC: Pioneer CDJ 1 tray press open.
KAI: Open.
LC: Pioneer CDJ 2 tray press open.
KAI: Open.
LC: KAI, vent 1 speaker control power on.
KAI: Power on.
LC: KAI, vent 2 speaker control power on.
KAI: Power on.
LC: the Sound Table reports spacecraft is go.
Mission Director: Karizma Kaytronic is go.
LC: the ST – FTS bat one and two heater controls heaters off.
the ST: Off.
LC: Karl Injex, pressurized first stage LOX tanks to relief.
Karl Injex: Pressurized.
LC: Karl Injex, top first stage LOX to 100 percent levels.
Karl Injex: Up and down, 100 percent.
Time: Ninety seconds.
LC: KAI, hydraulic external power on.
KAI: Power on.
Time: Eighty seconds.
LC: RCO, report range go for launch.
Range Control Officer (RCO): Range go for launch.
Mission Director: LC (Viera), you’re go for launch.
LC: Roger.
Time: Seventy seconds.


Atlanta’s acclaimed DJ/producer/remixer Kai Alce proclaimed, “Its A New Day.” The mantra interwoven through a soundscape of current mid-tempo grooves ends in the record crates of vintage house music sounds.  It’s been noted the NDATL label owner has been on an old-skool house music tip lately and his followers are all smiley faces.  Mr. Alce slices and dices mellifluous beats that drive happy feet mad to the restaurant floor to dance between dining tables and around seating guests.  Warm cheers serenade the cozy environment that patronize dining companions munching on the last bites of oxtail tacos while clicking cocktail glasses of Blackfoot Confederacy atop candle lit tables.  Finally, after an eternity, the full bellies abandon their stations as the wooden oblong dining tables are evacuated onto the outdoors back patio or stationed alongside an exposed brick wall.  The transformation from delectable eatery to decadent dance club signals the countdown to……..

 Time: Fifty seconds 

After Kai wraps up an astonishing set the party’s way over due special guest DJ, Karizma steps foot into the DJ booth.  Ready. Set…….

Launch Control: We interrupt this blog to bring you a very important announcement.  T minus to launch off is approximately thirty seconds.  The ATLANTA WEEKENDer, Afrique Electrique or Distinctive cannot and will not be held responsible for what will take place to your body, mind and soul.  Please, prepare to be possessed by strange rhythms that will descend upon you like bolts of lightning.  Your life will never be the same.  As a matter-of-fact, within the coming week you will experience severe withdrawals from the seismic shift that will take place.  Brace yourself.  Get ready for the ride of your life.  You are about to launch off on Space Shuttle K2.  AKA Space Shuttle Karizma Kaytronik.  Your destination and mission: To seek out uncharted rhythms and to dance on unexplored worlds. 

LC: T minus 10 seconds, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,


For anyone’s guess what occurs next could not be possibly conceived or imagined.  All it takes is for one switch of a button to launch the party’s booster rockets into space that sends the shuttles red glare bursting into the air.  The travelers packed into the thin vessel stand frozen-in animated positions with stunned visages-completely suspended in space and time until…….a jolt is felt.  A thump is heard…… that signals the arrival of some unknown orchestrated philharmonic ready to pounce on the heads of the people.  Split between several seconds, calmness gives way to chaos.  Quiet anticipation gives way to boisterous recollection.  A whirlwind of activity electro charges the atmosphere as Karizma Kaytronic presses play and sends the room into static shock.  The environment is shocked with piceous particles ready to manifest in ectopic explosions.  A seismic shift occurs.  The travelers don’t expect such force.  Nor have they experienced such blithe.  Suddenly, people’s feet seem to detach off the floor, somehow able to defy gravity.  Strange rhythms pulsating from several speakers command the floating bodies to dance in mid-air.  The moonwalk has nothing on this.  With force, the sacred grooves possess every soul within sight.  The strange rhythm slam bodies against walls, drops bodies to the floor, and makes bodies roll on the floor.  One individual even wants to scale up a wall.  One being that vibrates violently, runs around in circles and dances as if overtaken by a secular ghost.  Clothes fall apart.  How can they not?  A left suspender strap hangs loose.  A red hat falls off one dancer’s head, flies several feet in the air and lands somewhere on the other side of the ship.  Not one body or article is safe from this spatial anomaly.

Let’s back-up.  Just who and what is this strange phenomenon called a Karizma Kaytronik?  Perhaps a look into the house music’s history logs can provide additional insight.  Karizma Kaytronik hails from Baltimore, Maryland USA, the city better known for its crime-ridden statistics and cable television police drama than its music.  Every so often a life force shows up bearing talented gifts.  His name happens to be Kris Klayton.  Over time, Kris’ government name became Karizma the stage persona that won the world over with unmatched DJ skills and signature productions crafted under several monikers.  To explore the mind of Karizma his name must be defined.  Charisma is a gift of power that is divinely bestowed upon an individual.  The power that Karizma possesses when he plays music is unequal to any rival.  Some DJs can play music.  Then there are DJs that can actually PLAY music.  The latter are the anointed ministers of music (hence Karizma’s brother in rhythm DJ Spen) where Karizma Kaytronic falls.  The in-demand DJ/producer/remixer doesn’t cue a CD and press play or cue some laptop software and press enter, he takes a beat and pulls an a cappella out of his a$$ and creates spontaneous smash-ups.  These live remixes rock the global community of house mongers from the US to Croatia.  To create spontaneous remixes is no wee task as a veteran goes through mind boggling hours and years of practice to pull off such a craft.

So what’s the fuss?  It all starts with the Freddie Hubbard, “Little Sunshine” interpolation, sampled by the likes of Pepe Braddock, Trackheadz, Jask and DJ Spen, that explodes in the ear drums of the listeners.  Several seconds later, an, “Heeyyyy,”  “Ohhhhh” resonates and commands its place on board the ship.  The unexpected yet surprising vocals cause rapture.  Look up in the air, it’s a meteor, it’s an unidentified flying object, no it is songbird Jill Scott’s, “Golden” flying to the rescue that makes this supernatural smash-up the journey’s soundtrack.  Stop!  Someone’s heart just exploded.

On one hand, Karizma is a humble gent with a clever persona when in conversation.  However, once behind the musical controls, out comes the world revered DJ’s other personality.  Kaytronic, Karizma’s alter-ego, takes over the ship’s music controls and flies the people at warp speeds to uncharted territories.

Kaytronik’s first stop transports the travelers to the realm of Planet Old-School where time travels backwards and forwards simultaneously.  The recently re-edit old-school anthem of Rufus & Chaka Kahn’s,Live In Me remixed by Karizma’s brother in rhythm DJ Spen, commands the star power that keeps the crowd zoned out in euphoric mental states.  Time continues its retrograde as BT Express’, “Peace Pipe” the 1970’s war protest anthem has the crowd “smoke it on up.”  Another house music classic from yesteryear recently interpreted for the current year, Kerri Chandler’s, Rain (Atjazz Mix) keeps the crowd all buzzed dancing animatedly in mid-air; as GQ, “Disco Nights”-the song that most DJs are playing as of late-warps minds back to a time of swinging bell bottoms and dancing platform shoes.  However, it is Saint Germain’s, “Rose Rouge” from the year 2000 that takes the exploration to new heights.  On the time lapse planet, writhed bodies fall to the ground, roll on the floor, and cause substantial damage to anyone standing in their way.  Minds become twisted with strange debacles.  This 2000 space odyssey loses all control and goes mad.

Once again the lodestar, with a press of a button, vaporizes the travelers into thin air where their bodies land on another unknown surface.  There are certain DJs that can unleash the BEAST.  Not all DJs, honestly not that many, can awaken the slumber of the beast.  Every so often, perhaps every blue moon, the beast is unleashed that strikes.  To witness its attack is bar none.  Shhhh.  Quietly the dancers watch their every move on this ramshackle planet that resembles an apocalyptic scene straight from a nightmare.  Hold on just for one minute.  In the distance, there appear several frightening beast-like forms that resemble dead zombies from a certain iconic music video.  A closer inspection reveals their ghastly movements interpret the dance moves danced in that certain iconic music video.  In the background the shouts of trumpets blast to the forefront of the mind.  It is the opening sequence to Black Motion’s interpretation of Michael Jackson’s opus, “Thriller” (Mortarfied Remix) the bootleg with that afro-house beat that has the monsters dancing.  Quickly the travelers join suit and dance with the otherworldly beasts with smiles on their faces.  All is well on this planet.  Truth be told, music is the universal language.

The dancers beam back on board Shuttle K2, and are fixated on French-ster Rocco featuring C. Robert Walker on vocals with, I Love The Night (Louie Vega Roots Mix).  In the DJ booth, Kaytronik doesn’t play around, nor does he expect the dancers to play around on the dance floor.  His music comes off boisterous but not pretentious.  The beats play hard, not fair.  Karizma is no joke.  Nor is he for the ballerina types that prance to fingers that snap softly at 120 beats per minute or below.  Folks, this IS your father’s house music.  That Baltimore, Chicago, and Detroit shit that pioneered house music’s movement in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, a time when the beats were allowed to be pitched up, or jacked up to its fullest furor to deliver seismic jolts to the heart.  So if you like to play patty cake beats then get out of the cockpit because things are bound to get HOT!

More homage to Rufus & Chaka Kahn is paid with “I Know You, I Live You” that comes to an abrupt stop in mid-song.  From the mouth of one disgruntle traveler spews four letter obscenities that hurls toward the DJ booth.  However, all is well as the next song starts that has the once cursing traveler now singing, “Tell Me/Would You Like/If The DJ/Brought It Back” at the top of her lungs with a smile on face.  The broken beat music segues into A Tribe Called Quest’s, “Award Tour” as the travelers scream in holy panic.  Additional old-school hip hop rounds out the trip that makes for a safe return to the Sound Table.


WEEKENDer Epilogue

The Sound Table’s lights come on.  One glance around the space reveals dishevelment.  What happened?  You question where you had gone?  You check your watch to find three hours has passed.  Really?!?  Had that much time lapsed?  For what was three hours seems like a mere three minutes.  Had you really been gone that long?

Later that morning, at your Studio Suite at the W Hotel (downtown) after a bit of sleep and slumber you find that your passport has been mysteriously stamped with a K2 Shuttle Mission ensignia.  Now that’s golden!!!

 Words & Photography by AJ Dance



August 31, 2012



You are an international house music dancer stationed off the Persian Gulf coast on a T-shaped island in the capital city of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. You’re all set and ready to leave. Passport: Check. Electronic Ticket: Check. Luggage: Check. Dance sneakers: Check. You whisk through the security check- point gate in Terminal 3 at the Abu Dhabi International Airport. The Jetway is the new international catwalk where you waste no time flaunting your signature swagger as you board Flight 75 on EDM Airlines: the premier airline for electronic dance music enthusiasts. You smile. You count the seconds before your fifteen hours and forty-seven minutes direct flight overseas is set to commence. Your destination point is Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America.

This is your first visit to the newly crowned jewel capital of deep & soulful house music in the southern region of America. Also, this marks your first visit to the 1st Annual ATLANTA WEEKENDer. From all over the world, die-hard house heads are embarking on a spiritual pilgrimage of all things deep and soulful for a four day journey starting with Afrique Electrique, Distinctive and ending at the Mecca, House In The Park. So sit back and enjoy your ride because this promises to be one extraordinary journey.

Finally, you arrive at your destination a bit exhausted and slightly jetlagged. Upon arrival at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport at the International Wing you’re whisked off in a cab to your Studio Suite at the W Hotel (Downtown) for a comforting disco nap. There is so little time to sleep as you have much to see, do and hear before the night’s first spectacular that starts promptly at 8 pm.

By taxi you reach the destination of historic Edgewood Avenue intersecting residential Boulevard. The district bustles with a variety of cosmopolitan sights, sounds, and smells. A male bike rider bikes wearing only Speedos, police sirens angrily whirl at passing cars as the smell of greasy fried foods tickle nose hairs.  You arrive at Space2’s door at exactly 8:30 pm. You reach for and pull on the golden door handle. It won’t budge. After a few more attempts at opening the door, you realize the establishment isn’t open to the public. You peek inside the storefront windows to find the lights are on. The lifeless room waits in complete silence. Several giant-size speakers and subwoofers sit patiently on the floor, waiting to be assembled, in hopes to perform their duty. How odd, the invite stated an 8 pm starting time. From your left pants pocket a smartphone is produced and checked only to find the event’s starting time has changed to 9 pm EST. You check the restaurant next door to find hipsters nibbling on grilled frog legs with carrot celery salad and sipping White Tigers. There’s no sign of music playing anywhere. So, it’s off to the pizza joint across the avenue.

After devouring a king slice of “Americanized” pepperoni pizza, you see the door open to Space2 and the lights turn off. The deep drops of heavy bass thumps are heard across the street over sporadic conversations and explicit rap lyrics bumping in the eatery’s background. Off you run to the space where you are the first guest at the party. At the front door that you tried to enter into earlier, you are greeted by and meet the masterminds behind the Atlanta Weekender, visionary Salah Ananse and his no nonsense wife Nina Ananse. You receive your ATLANTA WEEKENDer wrist band. The challenge is you must wear the green and blue metallic color ID all weekend to every event for admittance.

Scanning the room, Space2 has an intimate rugged appeal with one bar perched alongside the room’s left brick wall where you order a Square One Orange Rye. The room is dark. No disco ball or flashing lights dance across the floor. There are no special decorations that offer theatrics besides the ATLANTA WEEKENDer poster hanging behind the DJ set-up on a platform stage where Miranda Nicole and Stephanie Cooke will later perform. In the music box, the only sign of life emanates from the voice of Sunshine Anderson proudly singing, Force Of Nature (Blaze Roots Mix) that blasts from four speakers positioned around the place.

The venue slowly takes its first breath and comes to life. A few human heartbeats swagger into the room. The women wear summer dresses dyed with vibrant colors as men dress lazily in jeans and white button down shirts. They come ready to dance. As the people fill the room, you shake sturdy hands as salutations commence. Surprised visages lead to jovial conversations of your ostentatious pilgrimage.

“Ouch,” did you hear that? DJ Plus1’s mixing is a bit rough. Anyways, the music picks up pace as DJ Roland Clark the international in-demand vocalist/producer slams the beats on the still empty room. The beats are a bit too hard and the BPM’s a bit to fast for starting off the party. So a dancer suggests that you check out the restaurant next door where one of the most impressive house music parties is set to jump off.

Words & Photography by AJ Dance