Head Spins: Mark Leventhal

This keen-eared classicist boasts a mental musical encyclopedia.

If you've been to any club on South Beach over the past decade, you've swung to the beat of Mark Leventhal. Okay, maybe not any club, but any club that mattered. In fact, Leventhal not only has spun at almost every club you've ever been to, but also probably spun there before it became the place you went.

What's more, Leventhal was intimately involved with many of the major happenings that made South Beach so undeniably swingable from the get-go. That includes bringing in scaffolding to the old Aqua and running the strip's own version of The Hollywood Squares, or pirating the radio airwaves in a fly-by-night action. And, yes, Leventhal was part of the team responsible for some of the longest-running one-nighters in South Beach history. There was Hercules, which racked up seven years at Lua and then Chaos; Home Cookin', which held sway for nearly a decade, as well as a little Monday throwdown called Fat Black Pussycat, where Leventhal's moxie got him tapped to succeed Carlos Menendez. (How do I know? I brought him in.)

This was long before the nights when everybody and their MILF became promoters, of course, when parties started organically and no one needed to second-guess each other over overpriced bottles of French piss water. It was an era that was all of that and then some, and it wouldn't have been close to much without Mark Leventhal.

And as if handling so many hot spots wasn't already more than most spin jockeys even get to dream about, Leventhal also happens to be the man to call when something extra-special is needed for a private do. Back in the proverbial day, his most loyal corporate client was Conde Nast, which kept him clocking close to 10 years, playing everywhere from Vegas to Aspen. And just last week, he was snagged by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, who convened on the Beach for one helluva blow-out closing party.

Which means Leventhal has been there, done that, and will continue to do it as long as people have beats to keep and nights to crawl under. Remember that the next time you hit a hot spot, and honor the man who's keeping it heated.

Mark Leventhal's current top five:

1. "Never Too Much," Luther Vandross

2. "My Mind Is Playing Tricks on Me," the Geto Boys

3. "My Dick," Mickey Avalon

4. "Say It Loud I'm Black and Proud," James Brown

5. "Ain't I," Jay-Z

 
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