New Times is currently holding a DJ contest to coincide with the imminent arrival of this year's Winter Music Conference and the Ultra Music Festival. The winner, to be chosen by yours truly and Jonathan Zwickel, my counterpart at New Times Broward-Palm Beach, gets to spin at Ultra.
But fret not if you're a rocker or hip-hopper: We're looking for all types of spin doctors, from jungle and IDM specialists to house, trance, pop, and rap DJs. No matter what kind of music you play, you must know how to mix and blend two records at once -- train wreckers and music "programmers" need not apply.
Prospective disc jocks from Miami-Dade and Broward counties can mail their entries to Miami New Times, ATTN: Mosi Reeves, P.O. Box 011591, Miami, FL, 33101. The contest ends Monday, February 28, so get your mixes together and bring 'em out. Good luck.
Speaking of mixing, local nightlifers may have noticed that there are now three cool parties in downtown Miami on Thursday nights (as well as the oh-so-chi-chi Grass and, over in Little Haiti, the venerable rock club Churchill's Pub). Which one is better? As a respected "journalist," I figured it was my duty to conduct some research. (Please don't try this at home. After bouncing among three nightclubs in one night, I was so drunk that I had to abandon my car in some parking lot on NE Second Avenue and take a taxi home.)
At 10:30 p.m., I went to the Pawn Shop Lounge (1222 NE Second Ave., Miami), which launched D'Lux on January 27. Pawn Shop is one of the more interesting nightclubs in Miami. It draws a mixed group, from the hip, too-cool-for-college crowd that frequents I/O and Soho Lounge to the hip-to-be-squares and glitterati who hang out on South Beach. Though I got there relatively early, I found a respectable number of people standing around in packs, aimlessly chatting, and a flurry of disco lights whirling away, flashing on no one in particular, as the DJ played everything from broken beat to radio-hop à la 50 Cent's "Candy Shop."
D'Lux currently has ten (!) party "hosts." Most of them were recruited by Joel Meinholz, a fledgling promoter who throws Chocolate Sundays at Purdy Lounge and Takeout Tuesday at Buck 15, and is working with Pawn Shop Lounge to draw people to the club. Not quite promoters, these "hosts" are hired to invite their friends and associates to the club.
"I like to think of myself as an ambassador," says Jake "Shift" Jefferson with a cheeky grin. Shift, who not only produces hip-hop records as one half of the group Climber, but works at Adidas Miami on South Beach, is a representative of Pawn Shop Lounge's ideal demographic (or at least one of them), making him a potentially valuable "host." "It's not about the quantity of people, it's the quality of people," he says.
An hour later, I left Pawn Shop Lounge, just missing the hordes of people whom, according to Meinholz, came there shortly after my departure, and drove several blocks over to The District restaurant, where venue co-owner Aramis Lorie and promoter Josh Menendez have thrown their weekly getdown for the past several months (and earned a write-up in the New York Times). The District immediately won my vote for "best Thursday party" when I learned that it has an open bar until midnight. This policy wasn't limited to Bacardi or some bullshit wine cooler, either: I ordered a madras (cranberry juice, orange juice, and vodka -- try it sometime, it's good) and a Kamikaze shot for free, and only tipped the waitress a dollar!
Unlike D'Lux, I have been to The District before, and I remember it catering to a seasoned, working crowd. On this night, however, I found nothing but young kids romping all over the place. It seems that the party has evolved from an after-work location for urbane professionals to a hangout spot for the college students and twentysomething hipsters who frequent Lorie's Poplife event on Saturdays at I/O.
"Thursdays are beautiful," Lorie remarked. He acknowledged that the party has "evolved" since it began last summer, and now attracts a crowd that's "independent" of the restaurant. But he says those same people often come back during the day or evening to sample The District's lunch and dinner menu. "It's a restaurant first," he says. "It's closed at night, so why not throw a party?"
Last but not least, there's Spider-Pussy, which recently moved from Liquor Lounge over to House (2041 Biscayne Blvd., Miami). I got there just as the club was peaking at around 1:30 a.m., and everyone was dancing as promoter Andrews Lorenzana spun The Smiths' classic "This Charming Man," Miss Kittin's "Requiem for a Hit," and Mount Sims's electroclash chestnut "How We Do."
Which party is better: D'Lux, The District, or Spider-Pussy? They're all good, if you're into the alternative thing. "I think it's better that it's all together, because you can bounce around," says DJ Lolo. "It shows how much this area is getting better." I didn't tell her that if you're going to go club-hopping in downtown Miami, you better designate a driver or take a taxi.
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