2006 Reunion, Goodbye Buzz

Friday night I met with a large handful of old friends at Dr Dremos, just as we had done a year and a half previously before I left DC for Los Angeles. I didn’t get to spend a lot of time talking to many people there, but it was a blast to be around the people who used to play such a big part in my life. We ordered one pitcher after another of exotic domestic beer (Purple Haze and Brooklyn Brown come to mind) and talked about the events of the last 18 months of our lives. I can’t great it is to catch up with friends after a year of not seeing them at all. Unfortunately I wasn’t smart enough to coordinate a big group photo, but here’s one taken by James which he posted online:

After spending a few hours at Dr Dremos we went to check out Buzz at Nation for the last time together. Buzz, for those who don’t know, is the most legendary and long-standing club night in DC history. For almost the last ten years the same party has been at the same venue in SE DC, an infamous venue called Nation. This summer it’ll be torn down to make room for new development, which will dramatically change the face of nightlife in Washington. Most clubs have moved to nicer areas in the Northwest quadrant of the city while Nation has managed to maintain success in the heart of the ghetto of the nations capitol. From the balcony at Nation you have a great view of the capitol building which you can’t see from any other clubs I’ve ever been to around here, ironically. I share countless memories of that venue with most of my friends, and I think that even though we rarely (if ever) go there anymore, we’ll all be a little sad to see it finally go. I don’t think any of us can say that we didn’t spend enough time there, though. Here’s a photo from Buzz on Friday:

Published on April 11, 2006

V is for Vacation

Last night I checked out V is for you-know-what with Kevork and Mark at the Uptown theater in Cleveland Park. I hadn’t been there since seeing Star Wars Episode 3 on the giant screen that’s only matched by Mann’s Chinese theater in Hollywood, so it was a fun time. The theater was nearly empty at 10pm on a Tuesday night for some reason, so it was especially interesting hanging out in a huge empty opera house turned movie theater. Oh yeah, we also saw a movie there. I didn’t know anything about it before seeing it, but I really appreciated the writing of the film, especially the dialogue of the masked character, played by Huge Weaving (the Wachowski siblings must be raging fans of his).
The night before that I caught up with a collection of childhood friends that I went to elementary school with. We hadn’t seen eachother in a long time and it was great to see them again. After all this time they seem more to me like the people that they were when I knew them than I expected them to be, so everything was very comfortable and natural.

I’m listening to Boards of Canada now and about to pass out in Reston. I can look over the top of my laptop and out the window to see the serene lake illuminated by gas street lamps. Beautiful surroundings!

Published on April 6, 2006

QBert @ Sonar

I went with Kevork and Eric to Sonar to check out Qbert tonight, the second time I’ve seen him at that venue. The last time was probably about 3 years ago, but I don’t think his performance has changed very much, although I still can’t say that it isn’t really impressive. It remains a 60-minute skratch solo, but this time included some juggling and two-handed stuff not utilizing his QFO turntable/mixer invention. Russell (DJ Stretch, the first guy that I picked up DJ’ing from) opened for him and it was great to see him and catch up. He’s living in Baltimore now again; I’d like to find time to hang out with him again, but I don’t think it’ll happen before I leave.

Tomorrow is Monday and I have many things to get done tomorrow that I couldn’t do today because of various places being closed on Sunday. In the evening at 7pm I’ll meet with Gene!

Published on April 3, 2006

Moving on to DC

I’m in Charlotte international airport waiting to board a flight to DC and just finished watching King of New York with Christopher Walken (a gritty, stylistic, film noir 1990-rendition of Robin Hood featuring Lawrence Fishburne and Wesley Snipes).

I’ve spent the last two full days on the border of Florida and Alabama, near Pensacola, at my familys winter house. It’s been more relaxing than anything I can remember and I was spoiled the entire time by my mother which was great. I’ve missed her a lot over the last year and to spend time with her has been a great luxury for me. She cooked all my meals, always making something special, and I really enjoyed her company. During the stay in Pensacola I got back to some of the parts of America that I’ve nearly forgotten about. Miami was very different in that it was more a WMC vacation, which I’m used to by now, but in case you aren’t, it involves a lot of music, beaches, mojitos, and meeting new people. Pensacola seems like a different world by comparison, and it’s interesting for me to remind myself that they’re actually both in the same state. Where Miami is hip and international, people wear Dale Earnhardt (or however you spell it) shirts in Pensacola. I went into a convenience store to pay for gasoline with my mother and we saw a guy with a chain around his neck with a large golden fish hanging from it. Immediately my mother starts with the inquiry – it was great. The guy quickly indicated not only that it was a fish local to Florida, but that Florida is the fishing capitol of the world. Now that I didn’t know. The guy, like apparently everyone else in the south, was very friendly and talkative which was pleasant. There’s certainly something to be said for southern hospitality, which surely isn’t only a legend.

I had a checklist of things to do in Pensacola which inlcluded some routine shopping which took me now only through K-Mart, Walmart, and Best Buy, but the local mall. This was where it really got disturbing. I had to get some A/V cables which I couldn’t find at other stores so I went to the local mall looking for a Radio Shack which I was told I could find there. That place brought back a lot of vague memories, but more than anything I felt really uncomfortable and dirty in a place that hopeless and depressing. I walked around for a few minutes after finding the Radio Shack to further explore the mall and how I felt about it before I couldn’t take anymore and had to leave. When I got outside the sun was shining and the weather was beautiful, as if I was being told ‘see, you really don’t want to be in there’. Best Buy was more fun but I was appalled by how expensive all of the movies and music were. I’m used to paying less than a dollar for the same thing overseas. K-Mart was really trashy and Walmart was overwhelmingly large. I couldn’t believe not only the size and scale of the store, but also of all the items. Everything seemed much larger than I had remembered it, including the people in the store.

I’ve now boarded the flight to DC and soon I’ll be back home, in the place that I grew up. My mama insisted for me not to drive my car from Pensacola to Washington, so she very generously offered one of her cars to me for the week or so that I’ll be here. I get to pick between a pair of Mercedes – life is so tough. I can’t wait to catch up with friends and the rest of my family; mostly importantly my sister and father, but I’m also really looking forward to catching up with my step father in Alexandria. I think my time here will be rich and exciting. Maybe my friends haven’t changed much at all, but I think my interpretation of them might. In South Beach I ran into Randy (DJ Proxxy) who I used to see all the time in DC clubs, usually in the DJ booth, either controlling the lights or the music. I stepped into the Chelsea, next to the Astor, and saw him almost immediately but didn’t say anything. When he recognized me he ran over and started talking a mile a minute – I was sure that he was on drugs, so I just nodded until he started to slow down and then excused myself. I don’t think I’ve seen him like that before, but maybe a year away has affected my selective memory.

I think that by the time the next three weeks are over, I’ll be happy to return home to China.

Published on April 3, 2006

This snoring is so loud I can't hear myself think

I have to share Isaacs (that’s for you, Sara) living room with Marilyn and she’s snoring so loudly that I can’t sleep at all. If I tried to comically imitate it, it still wouldn’t be as loud as she’s really snoring right now – this is ludicrous. And just a moment ago I was brushing my teeth and she knocked on the bathroom door when I said I’d be out in a minute. I rinsed my mouth out and opened the door and she’s standing there looking like she’s got golf balls in her mouth (sick from too much alcohol). Now the snoring is following a rhythic cycle like music – for a bar or two it’s quiet and subdued, then it’s loud and in the aural foreground, easily defeating the puny air conditioner running at full blast.

We weren’t sure what party to go to tonight so we hung out here drinking until finally leaving for World of Drum & Bass in downtown Miami at nearly 2am. When we got there we saw several people leaving and asked them how it was. They were pretty much accurate when they said that there weren’t enough people there and the MC’s wouldn’t shut up. We tried to go in but the cover charge (even at 2am) was $30 and Isaac couldn’t reach Craze’s cousin who evidently could’ve escorted us in. We decided to wait around for him to call back while I excused myself to piss on the side of the stupid club and noticed all of the side doors open. I walked right in and barely got looked at by anyone. I walked through the service entrance, through the VIP area, past a security guard covering the VIP entrance, and into the main room where MC Skibadee was blabbering a mess of sounds that I couldn’t identify as any language I’ve ever heard. The place was occupied by about 600 “I’m wasted and paid $30 to get in so I’ll sit here and bob” people and I got bored standing there for five minutes, so I walked outside. I told Isaac, Sara, and Marilyn how we could walk in, but only Sara came with me the second time. We walked in the same way but this time I was confronted by a security guard who looked at me for more than a moment but didn’t stop me when I walked right by him. We left the mediocre party when Sara got a text message saying that Marilyn got busted trying to walk in. Then I made the realization for the first time in a few years that I don’t really even care to check out any drum & bass DJ’s at all, save for Photek or Zinc. I suppose my musical tastes have changed a lot in the last 5 years. Now it mostly just sounds like senseless noise to me.

The last few days have been fully sweet, but I haven’t written much at all about them, not for lack of interest, but lack of time and internet. The wi-fi signal that the household routinely jacks from their neighbors has been down for more than half a week. Aside from some lost contacts due to me losing my phone list scribbled on scrap paper, I don’t think that the internet and the beach are meant to be good friends anyway. Hopefully tomorrow will be a full beach day, including frisbee and sunburn, and maybe weather that allows tossing of the ‘bee (please not too much wind tomorrow; today was wind tunnel beach day).

Sara and Isaac have been fully awesome beach hosts since I’ve been here. It’s been a pleasure to hang out with them. I’ll put some earplugs molded in the shape of Absolut bottles that Kevork gave me in my ears and try to sleep now.

Published on March 28, 2006

Drunk & Sunburned

No, I just woke up. But that seems to be the theme here in South Beach. Maybe more like: “drunk, sunburned, and wearing enormous stupid sunglasses”. When did Jackie O. glasses come back in style‰?ö Everyone but me is wearing huge sunglasses that cover the top half of their face – it’s fascinating.

The day before yesterday Kevork was suposed to arrive at 3pm from DC but his flight was diverted to the Bahamas because of a storm. That evening the weather wasn’t very nice, so I learned how to play Hold ‘Em poker. It wasn’t very difficult though, as I think the variations from normal poker aren’t that extreme. I played with three other players who’ve played a lot and beat them all. It was glorious. We want to have a rematch but the weather has been too nice to even consider staying inside and playing poker. We went to the Remix Hotel the day before yesterday to catch Enfernos showcase at the Serato Scratch booth which was unbelievable. I’ve seen several other showcases in the last few days; Jazzy Jay, Shortee, etc, and none of them even came close to Enfernos. He had a bunch of outboard equipment though, including two laptops, a micro-Korg, two midi controllers, etc. He’s performing it again today and I’ll check it out and get some more photos and video.

Yesterday we went back to the Remix hotel and met up with Kevork and Sondra, the Premiere Talent queen (manager of a booking agency). We went to their hotel room at the Avalon and checked out Kevorks DVD that he just finished, called Mixmasters, which is based upon the party of the same name that happened here last year. He also brought a bottle of special coffee-flavored Petron. We took 3-4 shots before heading outside to eat and then walking around. Later in the evening we went to the Stones Throw 10th Anniversary Party with J-Rocc and Peanut Butter Wolf. It was badass – JRocc was great, and I got to meet some new DJs that I hadn’t known personally before, like C2C and Birdy Nam Nam. Lil Mike of BNN is a big cocaine-head which was kind of disappointing. I think by this point we were all already wasted. That afternoon we bought a big bottle of Smirnoff vodka and half a dozen smaller bottles of Snapple which I carred around and dispensed out of my backack. The bottle of vodka, and us, were basically killed before the sun went down. After the Stones Throw party ended we went back to Isaacs house where the skratch Gods had an informal session in a house party. BNN’s manager was tore to pieces and fell onto the couch and couldn’t get up. So naturally everyone starts drawing on his face, putting cigarettes in his mouth, mousse in his hair, etc. I got plenty of photos and videos of the retarded shenanigans. Crazy B and PFel cut it up proper, I got video of that also but I’m not sure how well it came out since it was really loud in the room at the time. At some point in the evening we (me, Dave, Tay, and Mike) got on scooters and cruised around looking for a party on 7th street which I don’t think we ever found. I think we got on the scooters and started cruising when the objective changed from trying to find this place to just driving around and being crazy. Dave pulled up next to a Suzuki GSXR 600 and revved up the engine on his 100cc scooter – it was badass.

There’s a DJ battle at the Wyndham shortly which I’ll go to to check out. Isaac and Eric are judging and SPS is competing, who I’ve never seen before. I’m more interested in seeing him than anyone else that’s competing. I don’t know what’s happening afterwards, if not checking out the Scratch Academy than maybe going to Ultra. I don’t know if that’s in the cards; I won’t go if I can’t get in for free, and even then, I’m really only interested in seeing Tek Dubz (Photek & Craze with MC Armanni) and the enormous crowd. I haven’t heard great things about the party otherwise, though. Generally the super massive parties doesn’t appeal to me so much unless it’s thrown by Ultraworld.

I could keep writing for an hour but I’ll stop now, and make a more solid effort to write here at least once a day! I’m leaving for the battle with Isaacs girlfriend Sara in a few moments.

Published on March 26, 2006

WTB: Flip Flops

12 hours ago I arrived in Miami and was picked up by Isaac and Sara. I was really beat after spending the entire day on airplanes, but I had a great time catching up with them and talking until late at night. It’s great to be back in South Beach – the weather is flawless and not like anything I’ve seen in 6 months. I was surprised to find that LA was much colder than I’d expected, but there’s nothing like that here. I need to find a new pair of flip flops here since I left my good pair in China.

At 2pm we’ll go to the Remix hotel, I think to catch Erics showcase. I saw a video of it online and it looks pretty inventive – it involves a drum machine and sequencer in addition to foot pedal and turntables. C2C is supposed to be there tomorrow, I’m really looking forward to that. Last night I saw the 2005 DMC World Supremacy DVD where Isaac got beat out by this Rafik-like guy who did the same routines over and over. I don’t know what it is with German turntablists and all the weird beeps and tones – I guess that’s really popular there.

Last night I had a slice of pizza larger than my head. We took a video of the first bite. It was delicious!

Published on March 24, 2006

Back in LA

I arrived a few hours ago. Haven’t met Eric yet, but I’m with Candyce and Melody listening to music and catching up. I’ve been up for almost 24 hours but I’m not feeling very tired. A few minutes ago I spent 5 minutes browsing through a gas station convenience store, just looking at everything. Culture shock!

Published on March 21, 2006