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It's late Saturday night. A club is raftered with Colombians, Venezuelans, Argentines, and Bolivians. There are Cubans too, primarily born in Florida. And there's also a smattering of Italians. Pepper the crowd with a fistful of Yanks and then stir.
That's the stew. It could be La Paz; it could be Caracas; it could be Bogotá before the wars or Buenos Aires under Perón. But it isn't. It's Doral, a 6-year-old city that takes its name from its developers (Doris and Alfred Kaskel) and its cue from its famous golf resort and spa.
Out in that city sits a joint called La Covacha. For the past five years, it has been the go-to place for expat Latin Americans looking to live a more hometown-style high life on any given Saturday night. The party that brings 'em in is called Fábrika, and it indeed represents the very fabric of these lives.
174 E. Flagler St.
Miami, FL 33131
Category: Historic Landmarks
Region: Central Dade
Spinning the frenzy is DJ Pauer, half of the same-named firm behind the bash (his partner in the project is photographer Claudia Calle). Born on the Caribbean in Puerto la Cruz, Venezuela, and living in Miami for 16 years, Pauer has handled the party's spinning since its '01 inception. Before it landed at La Covacha, Fábrika held forth at a succession of venues, including I/O, PS14, and Hard Rock; it even enjoyed satellite status at places such as White Room. But out in West Miami-Dade is where Fábrika has found its home.
And by home we mean the kind of place where folks of all stripes feel comfortable no matter their origin. That means, naturally, polyglots pumping world beats, be it the Italian hip-hop of Jovanotti, the polyrhythmic rock of Argentina's Bersuit, the ghetto funk (called "kuduro") of Portugal's Buraka Som Sistema, or the free French electronica of Phoenix. And putting it all into play is DJ Pauer, perhaps the most international of all Miami DJs.
But blasting a global soundtrack way out in Doral is only a portion of what this cat does each week. In addition to those fabled Saturday nights, he's also DJ-in-residence at South Beach's Café Barcelona. There he mixes it up '80s-style on Thursdays and world-wise on Fridays for a crowd that also comes from all four corners.
Making matters even better, DJ Pauer has just been recruited by the Gusman Theater's Margaret Lake for a series of Thursday evenings called "Flickin' Summer." It began August 20 and continues this Thursday for another three weeks. The event is a hodgepodge of happy hour, cinema, and dance party, all done up in '80s glam. The drinks are stiff but colorful; the flicks are Fame, Flashdance, and The Wiz; and the man making it shake is Pauer. You might be able to think of something else to do one of these given evenings, but it's highly unlikely it'll beat catching a kitschy-cool classic in the confines of downtown Miami's ornate Olympia Theater and dancing back through time.
As you might suspect, Pauer isn't strictly a DJ either. The spin man also plays the skins for the band Sóniko and has done so for seven years. And as Mr. Pauer, he produces a series of electro-cumbia-dub music with a slate of local singers, including Itagüí from Locos por Juana. Add the odd Rhythm Foundation appearance, and even nights at Kukaramakara (with Babasónicos this Saturday), and you've got the kind of internationalist only Miami can make.
DJ Pauer's current top five:
1. "Mayoral," Novalima
2. "Yah!" Buraka Som Sistema
3. "Spoiteresa," Mahala Raï Banda
4. "Mas Papaya," Sidestepper
5. "Lisztomania," Phoenix