But let me start from the beginning...
As much as I love NYC, and I love it passionately, I hate the parking. The
parking industry in NY is just so unfair and corrupt. They make so much money daily. I'm sure it cost a fortune to own a small 1000 square feet of parking space in NY, but there's no doubt in my mind you'll earn double of what you spent in less than a year. Shoot.. Im parking in the street. I'll only be a second. I'm getting a falafel at the falafel spot on McDougal.
I'm addicted. I just can't stop eating these things! I arrived and was parking until the attendant said $50! I told him that I couldn't afford it and left. I then saw Tyrone Francis who said "Park in the street." And so, as God would provide, there was a space right across the street. He went and stood in that space for me so no one would take it. God is good, ain't he?
When I got to the door, I could feel the energy. People were standing on line, some were just standing outside smoking cigarettes and talking about Larry Levan and old times. Seemed like everybody had a Garage Tee shirt on. I can tell that some people haven't seen each other in years. The hugging, the love, it was a beautiful thing to see. It was clearly a reunion here. And I'm not even inside yet. There's Mark Williford standing next to Ron Lester. Mark passes out flyers. You can always count on seeing him at a party passing flyers out. And before the nights out, he'll be inside that party. LOL. And Ron is passing out his business cards. He's a party promoter. Random thought: Mark, Ron and I touched on this subject briefly. Why is it that those of us that have been here as early as Buttermilk Bottom, Loft, Garage, or even Shelter days get so angry when new people try to get involved in our scene? I'm sure you've heard someone say with an almost irritated tone or anger in their heart, "I remember when they used to......" or "We used to come to the club every week, now y'all act like......." or "This party is cool but back in the day.......". Why do we alienate new people so effortlessly? If I was new I wouldn't want to be a part of "Y'ALL'S" scene with that attitude. Can I help when I was born???
So I go to Reese, the guy with the guest list, and he very politely says, "Josh I'm afraid I don't see your name." So I slapped him as hard as I could and told him to look again! LOL. Just kidding. I kindly thanked him and walked back outside of the line. If I had the money to pay, I certainly would have. Truth is I just didn't have it. So I text Joey to let him know I was heading back home. He graciously sent someone down to get me. Wasn't that nice? Joey was DJing at the time. I honestly thought that he would see the text later. I was standing outside watching the lady in the white tutu and the lady with yellow hair.
There was a guy there that had nice physique dressed in a skin tight oney. It was like a muscle shirt and tights jumpsuit. He looked like he was a super hero. It honestly looked nice. Of course I couldn't rock that. Can you see me coming to church with that on? A little bit of stomach meat hanging out the bottom of the shirt. Pants rising up by the ankles revealing my tube socks? No. But this guy somehow pulled it off.
I see Aziza who wants to take a picture with me. That always feels so good. To know that God used me to do something that makes people want to take pictures with me. I'm grateful. I got in and immediately the sound system was probably the best sound system I've heard in years. "Relight My Fire. Your Love Is My Only Desire" the crowd sings. And there's Joey and Dave(Depino) killing a united set. THIS IS FRIGGING BEAUTIFUL. Joey Llanos is a cat that's both new and old. He relates to both crowds.
He worked at Garage from 79-87. He's been in the booth with Larry.
(That's Joey in the center with the red tank, kneeling one over from Larry wearing
a yellow tank.) The staff was all hanging in Brazil!
He's seen everything from a-z in terms of Dance music culture in NYC. And has earned the right to be one of the very few that can respectfully throw a Garage party. Dave Depino is a living legend. Here's Dave playing at the Garage!
Very much under rated and unsung in my opinion. Years ago I heard him play at a club called Trax. And he was amazing then. Tonight is the first time I've seen him in a while. He looks great. And sounds greater. You cab catch Dave in the film Paris Is Burning.
I go in the booth and here are these two guys with all of this love exuding through their
Joey gives me a VIP pass. I thank him and go back to the party. Catering entrepreneur
Cheryl Payne is standing there blocking my path. She ain't leaving till we hug. Her husband of 40 years, Martin, who is an awesome DJ, is standing there with camera in hand. Love has a way of exuding. These people have the right spirit. I'm feeling really good at this point. I saw DJ Kervyn Mark when I walked in. I'm thinking, lemme go talk some trash with Kerv. We're standing there talking, chopping it up, and laughing. And Dave or Joey plays D-Train!!!!
"With the love I have inside of me We can turn this world around We can live through all eternity And we'll never touch the ground." OK. It just got serious. And the crowd is electric. Everybody knows the words. This is like a concert. Ok... Let me calm my 43 year old self down fo I have a heart attack. I go to get a drink. Random thought: Where is Tracy Fortson when I need her? I enjoy throwing a few back with her. But she's not here so I'll have a beer. DJ/Producer Lou Gorbea is on the dance floor! I don't think I've ever seen him dance. I always love it when a real DJ like Lou can enjoy himself to the point of dancing.
Kat Ayala was there.
Now if there's anybody that I would want to see dance it would be her. She goes into a trance like spiritual place. Tambourine in hand.
Listen to me y'all, this music is very serious and real for a lot of us. And for some it's just music and something to do on the weekends. But for people like Kat, and myself, the music breaths and speaks. It nourishes and gives life. It can be encouraging and life changing. And if you're blessed to have the mobility of your
limbs, you can actually dance with it and to it. And that's what I get when I see Kat get down. It's quite different. I met some guy who is a supporter of my music. He was telling me what records he bought and all. But the music in the club was loud. So he was yelling. In his excitement a little bit of spit flew out his mouth and landed on my lip.
Oh My God!
I truly felt faint. I let him finish because I didn't want to be rude. But I didn't want his spittle to somehow seep into my skin and get in my blood stream. I was having all kinds of thoughts. I ran to the bathroom as soon as he was done. Literally. As I was running, I said maybe 20 Hail Mary's. Random thought: Why would you hug me with your shirt off and you're soaked in your own sweat? And would it hurt to bring deodorant and soap with you if you know that you're going to sweat like that? Two things happened to me: 1. I was sitting next to a brother who was smelling like an apology. And we were only sitting next to each other. 2. Another guy wants to take a picture with me. So he put his arm around me and his arm pit was resting on my shoulder. Now I'm smelling like I'm musty!!! So I thought about something Glenn Thornton told me. "I just spray a lot of cologne on my shoulders." So I go to the bathroom and the bathroom attendant has cologne there. So I tip him and grab my favorite cologne. Issey Miyake. I spray it on my shoulder where the guy put his armpits. Now I smell like musty cologne. Nice. Can't catch a break. Vanessa Cooper walked in the place. She's a part of Louie Vega's crew. She's always positive. Kinda strange seeing her not working and without Doris and Quinnie.
But her energy is perfect for this party. Joey is playing the funkiest cut ever recorded at this very moment. "Take A Chance" by Pleasure. You'd really have to be grown to dig this record.
The bass player!! WHEW! As I look around I'm noticing something interesting. Everybody is 40 and up. Hmmmmm. OK. Maybe not everybody but this music is so good that it can reach children. Why aren't there more new people? What did or didn't we do? Ron Lester said something that I won't forget. He said Classical music has been relatively the same for hundreds of years and it's full of young and new talent. The crowds are growing. And the genre is prospering. I'm here at the Garage Party! This is one of the finest Soulful parties that NY will see, in my opinion. And let me be clear. This party is packed. The party is successful in terms of attendance. Joey and Dave are killing their sets. But as a genre, we must pass the torch. It's a little frightening to think that no one is there to grab the torch. They already ran with someone else's torch. How do we pass the torch? I'm glad you asked. Play this music in the house like your aunts and uncles did when you were a kid. Let them play it. Ask them "Which one of these songs do you like most?" Jersey was in the house. I ran into Rescue Poetix and Diana(Virgo Positivelady). Dave Shaw was there with a Paradise Garage shirt and all. That brother is someone who, when I was still learning how to play a keyboard, was already a seasoned player in the music business. Dave was an A&R person at Warner Brothers for years. He looks great and still very much doing music. Random thought: Dave shared some things with me that he's dealt with recently and I must say that because a person is smiling and looks good, does not mean they're feeling good. I congratulated this man on rising above his storm. It's one thing to go through something and have everybody on Facebook wish you well and cheer you on. But it's another thing to deal with it yourself and cheer yourself on. Dave was out and about and upon seeing him you wouldn't know that he'd been though anything.
Ray Vasquez & Miriam Benado are floating around. It's always good to see them. I'm sure I saw Cindy Harden and Sandra Phillips somewhere in here but I'm about to bounce. I'll see them at the next one. Right before I leave, I bump into Jose Garcia. A true gem. Always good to see him. I even saw DJ's Richard Vasquez and Donna Edwards. All of this talent under one roof. Too much. Tonight I saw all types of people from back in the way back to the present and everybody was happy and smiling. There were Asians, Blacks, Latinos, Whites,
Gay, Straight, fat, skinny, beautiful and more beautiful.
This is a Garage party.
It says it on the flyers. People have on Garage Tee Shirts. One guy had the Paradise Garage Logo tatted on his arm. And who else could rock the Garage jams better than Dave Depino and Joey LLanos?
And by the way, if you just answered that question with another DJ's name,
you're a real hater and you should seek assistance with your issues.
Random thought: I saw a DJ outside of the club when I first arrived earlier. We have mutual respect for each other. So we embraced and talked briefly. I said "Yo, where you going?" and the DJ replied "This ain't for me." Now he and everyone else has every right to their opinion. But check this out, I didn't ask for it. Why did you have to say "This ain't for me" as opposed to answering my question? I asked "Where are you going?".....
And it's things like this that poison our scene.
It's this very thing that keeps us divided. And in my opinion,
THIS IS WHY SOULFUL HOUSE MUSIC HAS LITTLE TO NO NEW
OR YOUNG PEOPLE.
After our meeting, and after hearing what the DJ said, I knew immediately that I wanted to be inside. LOL!! Sure we've all heard classics played a million times. But I will never get enough of them. I love the new stuff too. As a matter of fact. My career is based on new material I have coming out. So I need for people to embrace the new stuff. But I love the old stuff too. What's wrong with that?? If you don't get anything else from this last paragraph please get this, your opinion is only yours. Don't get pissed if we all don't go with you. Haven't you all heard? We's free now. We can all have our own opinions and still love each other and be happy. There's actually room for everybody to do their own thing. I embrace it all. Doesn't mean that I enjoy every party that goes on but I'm not going to hate on it. Especially on social websites. OK. Enough of that. Let me grab another falafel before I head home.....
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