So many parties, so little time. This year WMC is offering up more than 150 club nights, pool parties, in-store events, boat parties, and other shindigs guaranteed to empty your wallet. With so much to choose from, it's easy to miss out on the sights that make Miami such a unique place. Art Deco buildings dot SoBe, while the Beach itself is demarcated into several islands that can leave tourists fumbling through their maps. Meanwhile a panoply of languages float in and out of the ear, turning a visit to a restaurant or a cafe into a lesson in cultural exchange. And forget about driving: It's best to leave your rental car at the hotel and walk from club to club. So while you're standing in line, mean-mugging the doorman because he told you the guest list is closed, take a look around and check out the city that doesn't need a conference to spice up its life, yet is all the better for it. Now, back to our regularly scheduled program.
Wet Grooves '03 Pool Party: You can't have an event in Miami and not throw a pool party, and it's even better when you hire DJs who can spin music perfect for a dip into sun-soaked hedonism. An annual tradition, this year's Wet Grooves bash boasts big beat giant Tall Paul and bad boy playboy Armand Van Helden. Judge Jules, Donald Glaude, and DJ Skribble also add to the soundscape, with hometown heroes Ivano Bellini, JP Rigaud, and DJ Armand representing MIA on the wheels of steel. Wednesday, March 19, at noon at the Shelborne Beach Resort, 1801 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $20 to $40. Call 305-531-8416. -- Kevin McLaughlin
Third Annual Rest, Relax, and Recover BBQ: If you need to rest, relax, and recover, the first thing to do is get some sleep. (No, disco naps do not count.) Next, head over to this poolside event led by the lovely sounds of Phil Weeks, Llorca, Alexkid, Fred Everything, and a handful of others who specialize in melodic, soothing house sounds with tempos that won't drive you out of your mind. It's the perfect setting for chilling on a pool chair, taking a swim, digging into some barbecue, or simply hanging out with your new friends. Thursday, March 20, at 1:00 p.m. at the Fairwind Hotel, 1000 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Free admission, $10 all-you-can-eat. Call 305-531-0050. -- Mosi Reeves
Masters at Work: Miami's own swinging singer/songwriter Raul Midon returns to town with Little Louie Vega's Elements of Life Band. This stellar lineup of global players and DJs includes smoking sonero Domingo Quinones; soulful Cape Verdian singer Anané; DJs Vega, Kenny Dope and Kevin Hedge of Blaze; and a corps of Latin sidemen. They'll blend the beats of the African diaspora from salsa to bossa to jazz. Opening acts include B.O.P. and DJs Yellow and Gregory. Thursday, March 20, at 2:00 p.m. at Opium Garden, 136 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $25. Call 305-535-5535. -- Judy Cantor
The World of Drum & Bass Part V: Always the highlight of WMC week, this drum and bass party has consistently risen above the slew of overhyped bashes and is now regarded as the place to be for those in the know. Dispensing with attitude and ego, DJs like Grooverider, Shy FX, AK1200, and several others will simply knock you on your ass with some of the heaviest drums this side of the Congo. No fancy gimmicks, no star-studded entourages, just the rough and raw beats that have kept their style fresh since the early Nineties. Thursday, March 20, at 9:00 p.m. at Billboardlive, 1501 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $20 to $25. Call 305-538-2251. -- Kevin McLaughlin
Chicago vs. Detroit: Let's get ready to rumble! Representatives from Motown and the Windy City, arguably the two most important cities in the growth of America's electronic music scene, square off with a night of straight-up dance cuts. Chicago's Jesse Saunders, CZR, and Lady D, and other originators and up-and-comers will try to wax down the Detroit spinners like Suburban Knight, DJ Genesis, and Minx (Women on Wax). This party combines over twenty years of experience that are guaranteed to stir fond memories, impress the purists, and shake the floor. Both cities are known for tough beats and little patience for the unprepared. Come ready for war and hear the sparks fly. Thursday, March 20, at 10:00 p.m. at World Pie, 1906 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Call 305-695-8869. -- Kevin McLaughlin
Shore Thang: Last year, people who attended Astralwerks's annual label showcase simply called it "off the hook." You can expect similar results this week with a lineup that includes super-hot DJ/producers like Harvey, Miguel Migs, and Mauricio Aviles. Meanwhile Norway's Royksopp, house diva Lisa Shaw, and Kentucky's VHS or Beta will be supplying live performances, leading to a conflagration of sounds so scalding you'll need to jump into the pool to cool off. Bring a pair of swimming trunks. Friday, March 21, at 2:00 p.m. at Nikki Beach, One Ocean Dr., Miami Beach. Call 305-538-1111. -- Mosi Reeves
Southern Fried Records Showcase: For one night, Sky Bar has a virtual lock on tastemaker-approved, Billboard chart-assisted dance stars. Mantronix, Mutiny UK, Dirty Vegas, Telepopmusik, Basement Jaxx, Felix da Housecat, and of course, Moby. How's that for a killer lineup? Bringing them all together is the skankster himself, Fatboy Slim, and his long-running label Southern Fried Records. Friday, March 21, at 6:00 p.m. at Shore Club, 1901 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Call 305-695-3100. -- Mosi Reeves
Ultra 5 Music Festival: It's inevitable. At some point during WMC week you'll find yourself at Ultra, mad and frustrated because there's a gazillion people around you dancing, yelling, laughing, running into you, and at you. When this happens, sit down on the ground (or lie down if you're really tired) and relax to the amazing sounds of the Streets, Underworld, Sasha and Digweed, DJ Craze, Sander Kleinenberg, and dozens of others as everyone tries not to step on you. Don't you feel better now? Saturday, March 22, at 11:00 a.m. at Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd. Tickets cost $55. Call 877-714-7668. -- Mosi Reeves
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Aquabooty: During WMC you'll probably hear way too much deep house. But next week you won't be able to find it anywhere in Miami but at Aquabooty, rightly billed as "Miami's infamous deep house party." Out-of-towners looking for an authentic Miami experience should add this event -- with resident crew DHM and guests DJ Harvey, Fish Go Deep, and others -- to their to-do list alongside Le Spam at Hoy Como Ayer. It's one of a handful of places where the city's freaks can come out and not get harassed by the Diesel-clad glitterati. Saturday, March 22, at 10:00 p.m. at the Room at Maze, 1290 Eighteenth St., Miami Beach. Call 305-534-9975. -- Mosi Reeves
Infiltrate 5.0: For the past five years, Infiltrate has posited itself as an anti-WMC event that, ironically, takes place during the week of WMC. A conceit, to be sure, but one that takes on real relevance when you consider how little hip-hop is being programmed during the conference despite its growing popularity in South Beach clubs. Still tonight you'll find artists who haven't gotten much play during the rap industry's controversial takeover of SoBe, like J-Live, Cyne, Little Brother, Otto Von Schirach, and dozens of other true schoolers and electronic musicians more interested in beats and flows than bling and bluster. Backing them up are DJs Peanut Butter Wolf, Egon, DJ Kaos (from Ghost Cauldron), and whoever else can clamber onto the decks before closing time. Saturday, March 22, at 10:00 p.m. at Soho Lounge, 175-193 NE 36th St. Call 305-576-1988. -- Mosi Reeves