I woke up in a strange bed last week on Wednesday, surrounded by empty baggies, wondering where the last five days of my life went. That's a sign of a good Winter Music Conference. But as fun as it was, this year felt like a routine compared with others. For outrageous spontaneity, you had to visit places like the teepees at Nikki Beach during the free BBC Radio One party on Friday, March 5, where shirtless kids from Michigan, who never knew techno parties could be more expensive than designer drugs or that South Beach had more tow-away zones than parking spaces, rampaged with a raving, reckless abandon.
The next afternoon I cleared my thoughts for a rendezvous with a member of the techno vanguard, Richie Hawtin, a.k.a. Plastikman, who met with me at the Clinton Hotel. What does WMC mean to me? It means getting to hang with people who bent my mind as a kid with music. We talked about tripping, aliens, and the value of not selling out ("priceless"). But the truth is Hawtin was a reminder of what a disappointment the conference can be for true enthusiasts. He didn't really delve into his Plastikman material during his sets at the Ultra Music Festival on Saturday, March 6, or two days later at Privilege during the M-Nus party. It's what I really wanted from him, but Hawtin was here to mingle and mix, not open minds, so I guess I'll have to attend MUTEK in Montreal from June 2-6 if I want to hear the good shit.
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At one point, I did take a break from whoring myself out to "dance music" to catch the week's best showcase: a private concert at Pearl Champagne Lounge on Tuesday, March 9, where Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, and Biz Markie performed their classics. Slick Rick adorned himself with twenty pounds of gold chains served to him on a silver platter by a fine, long lady.
But before I could enjoy the old school, I found myself at the DanceStar USA Awards at the Bayfront Park Amphitheater, where there were too many garbage nominees to list here. As Carmen Electra's microphone cut out on her for the umpteenth time, I was standing at the bar, talking to a British DJ named Pandora. She recognized DanceStar's producer, Heidi Kelso, standing behind us, and she recommended I give Kelso my card. "Oh no, he might try and sell me a subscription," Kelso said. Well, if she would have attended to her duties instead of insulting me at the bar as she waited for booze, maybe the sloppy awards show wouldn't have sucked so bad.