By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
Basti, Lorie, and Jefferson still seem to instinctively know just what works — when, where, and why — and capitalize on it without breaking a sweat. Yet for all of their cool, they are undoubtedly three of the hardest working operatives in the business.
"Folks don't realize what it takes to keep a weekly party going," Lorie says. "From staying on top and booking the best new bands and maintaining close ties with and bringing down the world's most notable DJs, to something as simple as décor. It takes a lot of work."
Lorie, in fact, says this amid the bustle at Ecco, a downtown Miami eatery that he and Barbara and Brian Basti just opened with two other sets of partners. Like Poplife's parties, it's in a hood that had long since seen its day. And like other Poplife ventures, the joint is an immediate success, crowded with the usual suspects (mainland hipsters) as well as Miami's white-collar contingent, all of whom seem to become instantly hipper the minute they cross the threshold.
And beyond all the expansion into venues, Poplife has also of late branched out its promotion effort, lending its sheen of cool to LIV on Wednesdays and Rok Bar on Thursdays. But still, the main event is the Poplife party itself, which moved last year to White Room, just around the corner from PS14.
Poplife was part of White Room's roster from the venue's get-go. In fact, White Room itself almost was a Poplife property, but Lorie had other plans then. And when White Room owners Luis Fonseca and Rene Rigau expressed interest in nabbing the spot, Lorie handed it off. "I've known Luis for 16 or 17 years," Lorie says. "And I knew he and Rene were looking for a space. At the time, I had too much going on to give it my full attention. So I set up my friends."
And they, in turn, turned to Poplife to brand their Saturday nights. "Aramis and Ray [Milian] used to spin in my back yard before the days of Poplife. So I like to think it all started at my house," Fonseca says, laughing. "It is only natural it ends up at White Room some years later."
Ten years later, to be exact. For this week will mark a decade of the party people making the place to be. Traditionally, the tenth anniversary is aligned with tin or aluminum; in modern times, it's all about diamonds. And both make for a nice metaphor of the brand.
Think about it: Like a tin can, Poplife is a conveyance for something refreshing, be it bubbly or loaded. And like diamonds, it sparkles in a way only something truly organic can sparkle.
But metaphor-stretching aside, there'd be no tenth anniversary if the Poplife people didn't maintain their uncanny ability to change before the times and to think on their feet. "It is never just about hammering the same routine party," says White Room's Rigau. "It's always changing, evolving." Indeed, it does: Poplife is here for today, and for tomorrow.