Music News

Dance Music Scene Rallies Around DJ and Miami Beach Club Owner Behrouz

Megan and Behrouz Nazari
Megan and Behrouz Nazari Photo by Lito Vidaurre
Before opening the dance-music lounge Do Not Sit on the Furniture in 2013, Behrouz Nazari cut his teeth as a DJ in his hometown of San Francisco. By the time he had opened the South Beach venue, he was already a prominent figure in the U.S. house-music scene, spinning all around the country and abroad under the mononym Behrouz.

He and his wife, Megan, have played a vital role in fostering the city's nightlife scene, with Do Not Sit hosting top-tier house and tech-house acts from across the globe. Although the venue has faced obstacle after obstacle — including a pandemic shutdown and the City of Miami Beach threatening to roll back its last call — Behrouz and Megan have continued to welcome locals and tourists into the bijou nightclub.

So when Megan broke the news on social media that Behrouz had suffered a stroke just as he was about to play at a festival in Santa Barbara, California, the dance-music scene responded in kind with an outpouring of support. A GoFundMe campaign was started to help with his medical expenses and recovery, raising over $350,000. Donations have poured in from big names, including Carl Cox, Damian Lazarus, Nicole Moudaber, and Lee Burridge.

New Times reached out to Megan last week to ask about Behrouz's current condition, his road to recovery, and the current state of Do Not Sit.

New Times: Can you run me through what happened with Behrouz's health?

Megan Nazari: On the night of April 24, 2022, Behrouz suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke while he was about to play at a festival in Santa Barbara, California. He was quickly flown to a hospital in Santa Barbara, where a CT scan confirmed bleeding on the left side of his brain caused by high blood pressure. Doctors quickly induced a coma on Behrouz, and he remained in a coma for two weeks to allow the swelling in his brain to go down and for the bleeding to heal. While the latter procedures were successful, Behrouz ultimately lost sufficient oxygen to his brain, causing paralysis on his right side and speech impairment.

The next part of Behrouz's journey has been extremely difficult for him and his family. He has had multiple hospitalizations (almost five in total), just recently suffered a second stroke, and is back in the ICU in Los Angeles. As a result of this unforeseen medical trauma, Behrouz is experiencing some common but debilitating stroke effects, namely speech aphasia (inability to speak) and persistent severe right-side deficiency.

Have you been surprised by the support from the dance community?

I have been beyond surprised, and to be honest, we are blessed. To see names like Deep Dish, Carl Cox, Damian Lazarus, Nicole Moudaber, Lee Burridge, Kobi Danon, Disco Donnie, Guy Gerber, Flash Nightclub, Antonio from DC10, David Sinopoli of Space, and so many others come together to help Behrouz and our family, shows how much love and support there is out there and this is what our community should be representative of, not just the good times but also during the bad times, we come together to help each other.

I heard Deep Dish donated $12,000 toward Behrouz's medical expenses. How did that make you feel?

Sharam and Ali of Deep Dish have always been more than friends but like family to Behrouz. They grew together in the house music scene and have always been close. It's not just the money they donated but the emotional support and love they gave us that I will never forget. Sharam flew down to see Behrouz in the hospital recently, and Ali has made some beautiful posts about Behrouz and the journey he has been going through that is getting a lot of support in our community. I am eternally grateful to these guys.

Are you trying to return to Miami for Behrouz's recovery, or will you stay out west for the foreseeable future?

Our ultimate goal has been to get Behrouz back to Miami, so he is back home and close to his friends and everything he loves, more so our house that he spent most of the pandemic working on and restoring. The plan was to fly him back to Miami from LA [earlier this month], but he had a second stroke [a month] ago that crushed all hopes of getting him back to Miami in the near future. It's as if California doesn't want us to leave, but I'm manifesting that he will get the rehabilitation and medical care he needs to get him back home. We have to look at everything one day at a time. Stroke rehab is long-term and not a short fix, unfortunately.

Any challenges you've been facing in running the venue and supporting Behrouz?

The support we have been getting at the club these past four months has been so beautiful. Our staff has been our pillar of strength, from our manager Seif to our bartender Juan and many others. I don't know what I would do without these guys. Tears flow thinking of how they kept the club running all these months, given Behrouz and I have been here in [California] fighting this battle. And to so many of the customers and just the Do Not Sit community all over the world, sending me messages all the time, which give me strength and the love to fight this and be strong for Behrouz and my daughter, Thalia.

Also, a local Miami artist, Claudia La Bianco, created an art installation piece going out in the playa at Burning Man where everyone will come together pre-temple burn via Robot Heart to pray for Behrouz. Just little things like this, I can't thank everyone enough.
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Jose D. Duran is the associate editor of Miami New Times. He's the strategist behind the publication's eyebrow-raising Facebook and Twitter feeds. He has also been reporting on Miami's cultural scene since 2006. He has a BS in journalism and will live in Miami as long as climate change permits.
Contact: Jose D. Duran