Put on your panda suit and get ready to party like an animal with Pandamonium Fridays at the Gale Hotel's Rec Room lounge.
Spearheaded by the Gale's nightlife director Eric Hower and Miami's own DJ Affect, the weekly bash was inspired by the veteran spin master's recent Pandamonium EP.
"One day, I was finishing up the record and my friend was like, 'This is straight pandemonium,'" DJ Affect explains. "I wondered, Wow, why not play it up with panda?
"It was funny. We put out the first flyer on Instagram. We received positive feedback. That's when I discovered that a bunch of people were obsessed with pandas."
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On any given Friday, you'll find Rec Room barbacks in panda t-shirts, bartenders wearing panda ears and serving panda shots, and maybe even live panda drummers. "Yes, panda suits are welcomed," Affect laughs.
Though throwing a panda-themed party is, well, random, Affect suggests it gives grown-ass adults a chance to channel their inner 10 year old.
"Everybody loves to just be able to play into the theme," he says. "I kinda feel that one of the purposes of nightlife is having adults revisit their youth.
"Nightlife is that place, and I was like, Well, I'm gonna relive my childhood with this party."
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But despite all of the kookier panda-bear shenanigans, DJ Affect also has higher-minded plans for Pandamonium.
"Another thing I wanna focus on is preserving wildlife," he explains. "That's the whole twist on it. We plan on doing a charity event with live paintings of crazy-looking pandas while I spin to help raise awareness."
Not even a month into the party, Pandamonium has already been a success — though DJ Affect admits he was initially skeptical.
"To be honest, I spin a lot of Miami clubs," he says. "At first, after being an Opium Group resident for seven years, then working with MMG and LIV, I thought it would either be a complete hit or miss, and it went well."
Clubbers' curiosity may have a lot to do with it, but the DJ believes it's all about the jams.
"There are honestly no rules for the music. No labels. Anything goes," he clarifies. "I realized that ever since DJ AM passed away, there really hasn't been an open-format DJ.
"I wanna mix it all up and bring that into this room. I play everything from the theme song of Rent to Wiz Khalifa. The reason I like this party is because it's unpredictable."
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Pandamonium Fridays. With DJs Affect and Rico. Friday, September 26. Rec Room, 1690 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. The party starts at 11 p.m. Call 305-673-0199, or visit galehotel.com/nightlife. Ages 21 and up.
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