The D-Cap 2015: 5 Alive and Dreaming of Detroit

I got home a week ago from what was once again a truly amazing time in Detroit. It all came and went so fast and there was a lot of other stuff going on, so I’m not sure I’ve had to time to think about how sad I am that it is over and we have to wait 51 more weeks to be back. Oh well, I’ll grow up.

We flew in on Spirit, having had a great experience with them last year. This year, though, I saw what all the fuss is about. Last year we must have had a new plane or something, the seats on this flight were totally cramped. Jennifer got up to pee at one point and I accidentally knocked some old guys seat twice (on the second time I was being careful to avoid it and I still knocked it anyway) who looked quite upset at me. So in case that old man is reading this, I am sorry that I disrupted your slumber not once but twice. Our flight home was delayed about an hour and a half. All in all I would still fly spirit, but next time I will probably pay extra for an exit row seat.

On Friday I continued my annual tradition of meeting up with my Ween friend Max, who lives in suburban Detroit, which we have done every year I have gone to the festival. We went to this awesome dive bar called Cutters and had a great burger. Later on Friday we went to Populux to see DBX and Stacey Pullen, not bad for the opening night. At one point during DBX’s set, I started talking with a guy next to me and we were both saying “ummm….we still have EVERYTHING left. This is fucking awesome”. The club Populux used to be a rock venue called Magic Stick, which I assume is a play on the name of the bowling alley beneath it (Majestic). I’ve been burned by so many after parties in Detroit that I was worried about how this would be….but it was great! They had 6 pillars in the middle of the floor that all had LED lights that went with the stage lighting. Sound was great. Plenty of bars, good beer selection, nice smoking deck area, I couldn’t really ask for more. Had a blast at this party and was happy that it ended at 2, last year we went a little too hard on Friday and I didn’t want to do that again this year.

Saturday we got up and headed out for lunch and to get our wrist bands, we left the hotel around noon. We took the people mover to Greektown and went to one of the worst restaurants I have ever been to in my life, The Parthenon. I’ve walked past it many times before, we went mostly because we just wanted to not be wandering. It was cheesy inside, with greek imagery decorations but that was honestly the best part of this place. Do me a favor and never ever go to this place should you find yourself in Greektown, Detroit.

We then walked to Hart Plaza, where our eyes were filled with horror. It was not yet 2:30 and the lines for wristbands was terribly long. Luckily I had one wristband on the guest list, so I went in that line, which took about 15 minutes. They let me step over to the will call people to get the other one, I would not have waited and some of my friends didn’t end up getting in to the festival until 8 or 9, and I heard tales of people waiting as long as 5 or 6 hours. The line was so long they didn’t know where to put people, apparently. I could go on about this, but there’s no point. Paxahau fucked up, and I hope this is the last we’ll see of the ticketing company they used, Flavorus. Major slops to Flavorus. I was already on the fence about this but next year I’m just buying a VIP ticket and that’s that.

The first day of the festival was pretty fun. I spent pretty much all of my time at the Red Bull and Detroit stages, with a brief visit to the underground stage for Cell Injection. I was very happy that the Red Bull stage had some artists I actually wanted to see, that hasn’t been the case in a few years and it’s a seriously prime location. That first day we sat on the grass for a while, gazing out at the river, listening to Kenny Larkin and Kerri Chandler. I hope they keep it this way next year. The best act I saw there the entire weekend was Octave One, who played Saturday. They closed the Detroit stage Monday last year but I had gone down to get lost with Jeff Mills, I’m glad I caught a good chunk of their set because they are REALLY good. Would see again.

Spent the last few hours Saturday at the Detroit stage, with Floorplan, who I enjoyed just fine but not as much as I enjoyed his set as Robert Hood last year, and then Carl Craig with Mad Mike Banks and someone else (sorry I didn’t catch your name, someone else). It was a really great set, I gotta say dancing to Jaguar, the classic Detroit song, to close out CC’s set, while gazing back at the GM headquarters was truly a highlight of the weekend. It was nice hanging with my friend Max the entire time Saturday too. He has come on Saturday the last few years, normally we hang for a little bit and then head our separate ways, but he followed along this time and as a keyboard player, he was loving Carl Craig’s set just as much as I was.

Went back to the hotel to recharge for a little bit, and then we went back to Populux for Carl Craig’s Detroit Love party. I have to admit, I was a little underwhelmed by the surprise guests (none of whom had been announced – so I assumed really big names). The DJ who was on when we got in at 2 was so so, I had a hard time getting in to his set for a long stretch though. Carl went on at 3. He was wearing a tunic. It was cool.

I had not planned on going on my friend Grimace’s techno tour, despite it being a highlight last year. I just thought I could use the sleep. But our roommate Jenny took my endorsement of the tour on Facebook to mean that we were going, and we didn’t want to leave her by herself, plus Grimace was gracious enough to let Jennifer and I on free because he had already broken even (and I gave him a free wristband to the festival, fair trade I think!). So we got our asses up at 9:45 and made it down to Hart Plaza for the tour, and I’m really happy we went.

A few of the places we went last year, but many were new. Additionally, we had a lot more time at the Underground Resistance techno museum/exhibit 3000 than we did last year (it was one of our last stops and we were already way late last year) and to make it even better, we got a tour from Underground Resistance’s John Collins. This was a truly amazing experience. The rest of the tour included some stops to get out and see the inside of an amazing building (The Fisher Building, right across the street from the original GM headquarters) and some outdoor “art parks”, essentially blocks of abandoned buildings taken over by artists – graffiti and otherwise. I’ve heard about places like these, but it was really something else to actually be there. It was very inspiring to see them making something great out of nothing. .

The tour wrapped up around 2:30, we went to get some Thai food which was thankfully a million times better than the shitty greek “food” from a day earlier. Took a nap and didn’t make it down to the festival until around 8, I don’t think I’ve ever showed up that late. Oh well. This day at the festival was kind of a blur. I was really only at the Detroit stage, I went underground for a bit but it was so hot and sweaty even above the stage that I didn’t even consider going down the ramp. Ryan Elliott was someone I was really looking forward to, unfortunately Jennifer really had to go to the bathroom and the portapotties were extraordinarily gross on that day, so I missed probably half of his set. We ended up finding a dominos with a bathroom, and then peed in the alley, at the same time. It was kind of romantic. Went back to the festival and caught some of Matthew Dear and then headed back to the hotel as soon as he was done.

After a quick rest break at the hotel, we went to No Way Back, a party at a gallery and definitely the most unique party I’ve been to in my 5 years in Detroit. I could tell on the ride out there we were going somewhere different, we had to get on a highway! It wasn’t just another downtown club. We got there just as a bunch of Minneapolis people were headed off to another party. It was a very strange vibe, to be honest. It was confusing at first. I wasn’t sure where we were supposed to go. But once we got in there I was really blown away. It was crowded, but no where near as bad as The Works gets. There was actually a little room to dance, and it didn’t feel like it was a million degrees somehow. There was also a cool chill out room with some trippy music. I found myself watching a lot of people dance at this party…one of the many times I thought to myself “God damn I love all these people. They are so cool!!!!!” I also really enjoyed watching Mike Servito and Bryan Kasenic in the chill room DJ. I love watching these world-class DJs twiddle with their knobs and buttons, they are ALWAYS working on doing something. This party really blew me away in all the best ways.

Jennifer and Jenny were not comfortable there, though, and wanted to leave after about an hour. I decided to go with them because I was very confused at that point and I was truthfully not sure if I could find my way home as we were in a very unfamiliar part of town. When we got back to the hotel I regretted my decision a little and considered going back, but I didn’t make it back and later on I definitely was not too upset about that. I was bored so I trekked back out with our other roommate Carissa, who thought she could get us in to a party at the Leland City Club. She was talking with her friend outside, trying to get us in, but nothing was working. While this was happening, a big black Movement van pulls up. A big muscly guy gets out and looks around. I didn’t think much of it. Then Boom: SKRILLLLLLLEX!!!!!!

Everything went silent. It was like time stopped. Skrillex walked in with a posse of about 20 girls and Carissa ended up getting in with Skrillex. Even though that meant I was left outside, I gotta say, that was a totally baller move. I’m glad I got to see that! I tried figuring out how to walk the 4-5 blocks back to the hotel, but I was very confused at that point and hopped in a cab, but not before I saw some probably drunk cabbie keep an uber car full of passengers pinned in between other cars for 5 uncomfortable minutes, while yelling out the window about how uber was killing his business. Drunk cabbies have nothing to do with it. Yeah ok.

I started writing this over a week ago. I got busy with work and other things so I put it aside. As I write this, it’s about 2 and a half weeks after I got back, so the memories are not as fresh. But I will do my best to recollect them.

After I got back from seeing the Skriddler outside, we just shot the shit in the hotel room, drinking beers, laughing like crazy. This was a very good time. I should do stuff like this more, after parties are overrated!

I’m sure most of you reading this know what happened with our friends, their squirt guns, and some off duty Burnsville cops riding a pedal pub. Hearing about what happened made the weekend….unusual to say the least. I found out what happened Saturday night after getting back from the CC party. Most of the day Sunday, I was just kind of pissed off. I posted about it on Facebook and was super aggressive towards anyone who said anything to the effect of my friends deserved what they got. But as the day progressed, I knew I had to take police brutality much more seriously. Just posting about it on Facebook is not enough. I should have done more before it happened to people I know. I went downstairs with Jennifer right before we went to bed so she could smoke, and I was putting those feelings into words, to tell someone else what I had been feeling for the previous several hours and I barely got any words out before I started crying uncontrollably.

We couldn’t sleep that much, so we ended up getting our shit together and going down to the festival earlier than we had any of the days. I got down there around 4. After continued discussions on Facebook both pleasant and unpleasant, it came to me that I should write something and submit it to City Pages to see if they would run it (which they did, you can read it here). Once I decided that, almost everything I wrote came to me in full form, while I was at the festival. The things I would write kept running through my head all day, until I went to bed at around 8 AM Tuesday. It was very surreal. I always get sad at the festival on the last day, but tears were running down my face most of this day, and not just because the festival was ending.

Anyway, the festival was as crowded as I’ve ever seen it. Which, I’m happy about because I want the festival to be a huge success and don’t mind them booking the mainstream acts for the main stage, but it also got to be a little too much at times and I ended up not seeing a ton of Minneapolis people, or only seeing them once or twice. Monday got to be a little uncomfortable as it was humid as hell, and usually the crowd is quite thin on Monday but that was not the case this year. We spent a lot of time in the grass by the Detroit stage, a new favorite chill out area that we discovered last year. One of the highlights of the day was seeing Nick Bjeloprovitch (I know I got that wrong!) up on the Detroit stage as he was helping produce the KMS day. Readers of this recap post last year may remember me mentioning Nick and having some strong emotional reactions from a conversation we had via text because he couldn’t make it. So a year later, it was really amazing to see him up there, being a boss man!

Just like the rest of the weekend, I spent most of my day at the Detroit stage. For a while I was dancing next to a dude in a wheel chair who had made his way up front. There are always several people in wheel chairs up front dancing, almost always at the Detroit stage. It’s amazing connections like this, being able to share something like this with someone who I wouldn’t be crossing paths on an ordinary day that make Detroit so amazing to me. I did go down to the Underground stage to catch a bit of Ben Sims set. It was really hard to walk away at 10:30, but I knew I had to. 2 years ago Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May played while Zak was playing the underground stage. That’s a no brainer. But I’ve been wanting to see them since I saw them at the KMS 25 year party 3 years earlier.

When I got up there, it was a serious struggle to get up front, even taking my usual side path to get to the grassy area. I had never seen that stage so crowded, and that makes sense because these guys closed the main stage 2 years ago. I hung out with Jennifer and some other Minneapolis people by the grass for a bit but then I had to try to work my way in. I did not get very far, but at least I was up close and right in front of the speakers. It was hard to see them because their table was right at the edge of the stage, but I had an amazing view of their bongo player Bruce, who Grimace told me is a regular guest of Derrick’s. He was extremely entertaining to watch. The whole set was great, even while they were having some technical difficulties at the start. It was such a celebration. I always try to close the festival out with a Detroit artist, the year Zak played was the only year I didn’t do that.

I was hoping to connect with some Minneapolis people during the set but it proved to be very difficult, several people told me they even tried to find me after I made a facebook post requesting their presence. But towards the end, Nick happened to walk over to the side of the stage where I was, and luckily he spotted me in the crowd and I saw him up on stage. We communicated via hand signals about how amazing the set was. I believe both of our heads were exploded or something like that. After a very difficult and emotional day, this connection with Nick was like a cannon of happiness. It took everything bad, put it in a little compartment to save it for later, and for the rest of the set (about 20 minutes), it was nothing but smiles. It really turned me around in a way I didn’t think was possible. This was seriously one of the greatest memories I have ever had at the festival, and I get really happy just thinking about it now, a few weeks later.

Luckily Jennifer came and held my hand as the festival came to a close, I’ve never been afraid of being a lone wolf at the festival, but that would have been the first time the thing ended without being able to hug someone I know. Phew! She’s a lifesaver! The bongo player Bruce came up to the front of the stage at the very end, his bongo had the Detroit D on it, and a chant of Dee Troit broke out, the first time I have heard that since my first year there. It was a perfect way to end the festival.

After the festival, we went back to the hotel for a little bit. I had been planning on going to The Bunker’s party at The Works, and thanks to taking it easy on Sunday night I felt as fresh on Monday night as I ever have. This was perfect because it wouldn’t be a real movement weekend without at least one visit to the Works. Mike Servito and Derek Plaslaiko were playing a b2b set for 4 hours, and I got in to the Works shortly after 2, right as they were starting. This was one of the most fun parties of the whole weekend. It helped that there was a big Minneapolis crew there, and I had not seen them enough or spent enough time with any of them so I was very happy to get this little victory lap in.

The music was really great, while there I decided I had to interview both of them as they are both coming to Communion in the coming months. In the several weeks it has taken me to finish this god damn monstrosity, I actually have already interviewed them and I am in the process of putting it together. Derek said there were some technical difficulties at the works, I was having too much fun to care much about that. I had a nice little conversation with Mike, my new favorite DJ for the time being until next year in Detroit at least. Check out this set from last year’s No Way Back, I have listened to it 4 times since I downloaded it a week ago.

Left the works at 5:45, didn’t quite make it till the end, but close enough. Had a little hotel party before finally hitting the hay at 8. I was actually very happy our flight got delayed by an hour and a half, we would have been cutting it pretty close otherwise. On the flight home, I wrote out on paper what had been running through my mind about the police back in Minneapolis. I slept for 13 hours when we got home, and the first thing I did when I got up was write it all up and send it to City Pages.

This whole thing weighed heavily on me for days after we got back. I decided I need to do more. A lot more. That weekend after we got home, it hit me that I think I would be able to help out Detroit a lot more than I can help out Minneapolis. This place has been my home for 31 years. It inspires me to no end, and even a month ago I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. But I have been heavily considering moving to Detroit. I’m not sure if I can change the world, but I’m pretty damn sure I can change Detroit. They have many struggles, yes, but the opportunity there is endless and frankly they are on the upswing. There was much talk about their bankruptcy, there was very little talk when they got out of bankruptcy just a year later. I am not 100% certain on this, and it wouldn’t be until late next year at the earliest…..but I’m considering it and taking it very seriously. I think and hope that it will happen. And when it does, I will make sure any place I live has an extra bedroom so anyone and everyone can come visit.

Well, there you have it. Nearly 4,000 words of street trash, and you just read it. Jokes on you.

Until next year,


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Detroit 2014 – The D-Cap

Well here we go again. Another year in Detroit that leaves me fully satisfied and inspired like nothing else can. I knew this year would be a special and unique one for me. The initial line up announcements were great and my girlfriend would be coming with me, which I was both very excited and a little bit nervous about. I will explain later! If you want to read my D-cap from last year, which was my favorite year at the festival in the first 3 years, here it is. There are links there for the 2012 and 2011 editions, but I won’t post them here because let’s face it, I am lazy and so are you.

As I said, I was very excited to be going with my girlfriend Jennifer, and I was excited that it was her first time so I could show her. I was also nervous because I am a friggin crazy person and I like to have it all and then even some more while she likes to have some relaxation time and even at shows in Minneapolis doesn’t like staying on the floor that long. There were definitely some problems when we were there. Times when we were both pretty pissed off at the other one, and reasonably so. But we were both there for each other when we absolutely had to be, and I had a really great time experiencing it with her and being there for her first time. We both understand that it will be like this if we both go again, and we’ll deal with it as best we can! I can definitely credit her for pushing me to do something unique this trip that I may not have done otherwise, and there was a point at the festival, at around 9 or 9:30 Monday that I may have totally lost it if not for her. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it! So with that said, here’s the weekend in chronological order:

We got in Friday afternoon, earlier than advertised. We had been warned and warned and warned by people to not take Spirit Airlines, but not only did we not have any problem, we got there EARLY! We were delayed taking off just a little bit, and they say it takes almost 2 hours to fly there, so that’s why we got there early, but it was worth the price. I paid about $140 more after checking bags on Delta last year, and that stopped in Chicago. We get in to the hotel and we were asking if we could get on the 9th floor, the lady checking us overheard Mike Spillers say they were in 922, so they put us in the room right next to them, and we had some friends in 920 and just a bit down the hall the other way. It was pretty great. I am serious when I say I’m about ready to put in a reservation to stay there next year. People keep talking loft and that sounds nice, but I don’t wanna deal with all that. If you get a loft, you’ll get a lot of visitors who overstay their welcome. On Priceline we got the room for $760 for 4 nights, that’s a gad dang steal! 

When we got in, we heard that Roger, who stayed with me last year, booked a last minute flight and needed some floor space, and luckily we had room. Roger is literally the coolest person I know and is the only person I’ve stayed with more than once in Detroit. He’s a lot of fun to be around and especially beneficial at a music festival, and I told him when we left that if he brings his air mattress with him I always have space for him somewhere! I met up with my buddy Max from the Detroit area, as we always do on Friday when I get in. We had dinner at Slows, and if you’ve never been there I recommend you try it! Had an amazing pulled pork sandwich and some local beers. Interesting huh? Wish I took some pics.

Got back to the hotel and people wanted to go to the TV Lounge, which I was not really in to cause we would be going to the Electric Deluxe party later that night, but everyone else was going and I had to get over my attempt at frugality that seems to happen every year. There’s no reason to let money stop ya in Detroit. I’m glad I went because it was pretty fun and I had never been to TV Lounge before. Really good venue, I’ll definitely be back. Unfortunately everyone we were with wanted to go back to the hotel after about an hour and the music was just starting to get pretty good in my opinion. Oh well.

We were at the hotel for a bit then went to the electric deluxe party at the works, which was thankfully not that crowded when we got there. We knew it would be a somewhat early night as we had a tour to be on at 10 the next morning, but it was great to see Zak there for the third year in a row. He’s probably the only person I would brave the back room of the works for at this point, and I was up front from when he went on until we left right around 2:30. I could’ve stayed a liiiiitle longer but not much, and Jen wanted out so we left, but Zak was crushing it, and it seems almost redundant to say stuff like that at this point. It’s always been nice seeing him in a room with people from different cities, and this was no exception. The works is a pretty good venue when its not like three times as full as it should be, and it wasn’t too bad this night, maybe because we left when we did. 

The next morning we woke up bright and early to get to Hart Plaza by 10 for the Detroit Techno Tour, led by Andrew “Grimace” Virden (currently of Minneapolis, formerly of Detroit) and Carleton Gholz, which is something that Jen really pushed for and I’m glad we went. She really wanted to do some kind of tour of Detroit and I had heard about this tour but at first I was bristling, because I wanted to make sure I’d have plenty of time at the electric deluxe party the night before and to maybe go to the CLR party Saturday night, but it hit me that I’ve seen all that stuff before and i’ll have plenty of chances to see them again. Anyway, we had an awesome shuttle ride to Hart Plaza and talked Stacey Pullen and the Detroit techno documentary Hi-tech soul, and ended up there a few minutes early. The bus was not there but we met most of the rest of the people on the tour. It turned out that the driver who was supposed to drive the bus just didn’t show up to work that day, and we ended up waiting a little more than an hour for a bus. It was annoying at the time, but while we were waiting Dan Bell came out to the Detroit stage to soundcheck his live set later that night, and that wait actually pretty enjoyable, so I’m gonna call it a wash if not an advantage to the delay side. 

The tour eventually started and we got going quickly. The main guide Carleton is a true scholar of Detroit and its various musical movements, he seemed to have something to say about something we were passing pretty much every where we went. He was a realist about the problems facing the city, but also very optimistic, and I left the tour feeling the same way, in fact I am feeling a lot more optimistic about Detroit’s future than ever before. There’s going to be some more hardship ahead for Detroit and a lot of tough decisions made. But I see a lot of opportunity and I know I am not the only one. There’s a lot to be proud of, and a lot worth fighting for. Detroit’s not going anywhere, I can promise you that! 

Anyway, our first stop was at Motown, which was a crowded tourist trap at the time we visited. It was pretty cool to see but we didn’t have time to do more than take a few pictures and move on. Our next few visits were just drive-bys, we saw the bluebird inn, a famous jazz club where all the great jazz musicians of the 30s and 40s played, sadly all that is left is the external frame and at least the sign is up still, which is more than could be said for most of the places we visited on drive-bys. The last two stops on the tour were my favorite, the first at the Underground Resistance techno museum in a totally nondescript building in the middle of the city. Inside they had all kinds of memoribilia and photos from the birth of techno, including a copy of the Techno: The New Sound Of Detroit album that started it all, as well as the original drum machines used by UR, Saunderson, May, Atkins, Fowlkes, and more. There were some people from the Berlin club Tresor on the tour (they told us they would put us on the list if we ever came!) and I was standing right behind one when he saw a picture of UR playing at Tresor in the early 90s, that was pretty cool. In the basement was an awesome record store where I hear you can hear Mike Banks spinning if you go at the right time. I definitely would like to go back some time when I have more time, as the tour started late and we only had about an hour for the last – and best – two stops, it had to be done this way. I will be back next year, I’m sure of that!

After that, we went to United Sound studios, where P-Funk recorded all their hits and a ton of other bands recorded. Granted, I didn’t go to Motown, but I think this one is more up my alley than that one would have been. We paid $5 for an abridged tour, and we got to see all the studios as well as the room where many of P-Funk’s gold/platinum records were hanging. It was pretty surreal to be there, definitely up there with the time I got to go inside Abbey Road studios in London. With that, the tour was over, and it was something I was so, so glad I did. I didn’t feel like I did anything differently other than leaving the EDLX party a little early. I’d heavily consider going again next year even if it’s pretty much the same exact itinerary, it was that good.

Went back to the hotel for a bit to recharge and then we headed down to the festival, got there around 5:45 to catch the end of Anthony Shakir’s set at the Detroit stage. Then went down to the underground for a while to catch some of Brian Sanhaji’s live set, which I was really digging. Jen really did not like it down in the underground, so we ended up going back up to Detroit and then back down several times, which was ok with me. Caught pieces of DJ Minx and Black Asteroid doing this, and also some of Simian Mobile Disco when Jen wanted to see all the stages. I was at a festival in London in 2007 that Daft Punk headlined, with LCD Soundystem opening. LCD played at the same time as Simian Mobile Disco, who I was just getting in to. I decided to watch LCD but then I saw LCD twice more in the next few months, and I’ve been trying to see SMD since then but never been close. We watched about 20 minutes of their set and it was the only time I spent at the beatport stage all weekend. Beautiful sights over there, some sets I definitely wanted to see, but it was all about the Detroit stage this year.

Every year I’ve spent more and more time at the Detroit stage, and I’ve had so many great experiences over there, Daniel Bell last year being the most memorable. Well DBX this year did not let down, definitely a new notch on the memory journal.  He did some remixes of a bunch of his songs, which included some hilarious live pitched-down vocals. I’ve been thinking about doing live sets for some time, and this pretty much confirmed to me that I need some kind of mic with effects. Now I just have to actually do it….so we’ll see. It wasn’t quite the 15 person Minneapolis dance floor beat down we did last year, but it was tons of fun, all kinds of Minneapolis people up there in the mix. After DBX finished we went down to the main stage to check out some of the UR live band, Timeline. It was very good and a unique sound for the festival for sure, but I needed something a little harder, so we went back up to the Detroit stage and watched Stacey Pullen close it out, and that was a very good decision. I think that may be the first time I’ve seen him, and I’ve been sleeping on him. Definitely going to be seeking him out next year!

We had decided we were going to go to an afterparty, and got tickets to the CLR party while we were at the festival. This turned out to be a terrible idea. We got there around 1:10, and the line was extremely long and they weren’t letting many people in. By the time we got in at 2, it was ridiculously crowded and packed. I’m really pissed I fell for it and paid $35 a ticket. Jen is claustrophobic and couldn’t handle it, I am not claustrophobic but it was even too much for me. We left and got in a cab to go to another party cause we are dummies and didn’t realize it was right around the corner. The cabbies never start their meter so you have to ask how much a ride will be. This guy said $10. After we took off we got a call from some friends who were doing the same thing and they said DON’T GET IN THE CAB!. Too late. I gave the guy $5 anyway, my standard cab tip in Detroit. The next party was also super packed so we just went back to the hotel.

I think I may be done with afterparties from here on out. We left the Sunday night one pretty early too. I will go see some detroit people or to some bigger venues, but I’m done with all the overcrowded, hot, sweaty messes. That said, I’ll still go to Old Miami because that’s not to be missed, and it’s only $10! I did like the TV Lounge so I will go to parties there, other than that, I’m going to have to really, really, really wanna go before I buy a presale ticket. I’m sure I will end up at some but like I said, I’ve come to the realization that I will be able to see pretty much anyone if I wait a year or two, the real rarities are at the festival anyway.

We were hanging in the room next door and I went to sleep, and when I woke up at 9:30, Jen was not back in the room which was odd but I figured she had just passed out next door. It turned out that she had dropped her key card in here and slept on the floor over there. Whoops! Not a hot start on the day. I didn’t want to knock on the door over there and wake people up so I didn’t. Instead I rode around the people mover by myself and then went to lunch at Le Petit Zinc, which turned out to be a disaster. I know the service is terrible, but it’s a really nice spot and the food is great. I have had my last meal there, though. I went to eat with Jacob Hoffman and Andy Fargo who were staying at a hotel over there, and Andy noticed that they gave our food to the wrong table, and then brought their food out to us. When I told the waitress that I had the wrong crepe she said “yeah that didn’t seem right to me”. Well thanks for putting it on the table! It was actually pretty funny, Katie, Stephanie, and Aya joined us about 45 minutes after we ordered, and they got their food BEFORE WE DID! By the time ours was ready, Jen had been up and upset at me for going so far away, and I can’t really blame her, so I got mine in a box and walked back to the hotel. So yeah, never again, I say! 

We went to the festival around 5:30 again, we walked past the Detroit stage but it sounded real funky so we went back. Turned out to be a full live band, not so much on the electronic music side but I wasn’t about to complain! Good stuff. After that was Kevin Reynolds, who turned out to be a highlight of day 2. Every year at the Detroit stage I find something I didn’t know about before that I really loved, last year it was Dan Bell and Ryan Elliot, this year it was Reynolds. He played a really funky/groovy (I hate using the word) live set with a live trumpet player. Jen liked sitting on the grass near the big ring and I danced by the front corner. It was a pretty good arrangement. We caught up with Andy Fargo and followed him down to the main stage to catch some of Marco Carola’s set, which was pretty awesome for a main stage set, and this wound up being the final time we would spend any amount of time at the main stage. About an hour total between the live band the night before and Marco. We checked out a bit of Speedy J and Lucy’s set but I was really not into it, so we went back up to the Detroit stage.

It was easy to stay up there because there was this crew of break dancers that were my favorite Detroit people all weekend, easily. This one guy in particular had a hat and shirt that said crew leader professor bird. We first noticed him because there was a little girl breakdancing in the circle and he was copying all of her moves and it was just about the cutest thing ever. Then he ran the circle, as people came in, some of whom were pretty good, he was constantly mocking them and sassing them back. At one point a young white girl got in the circle and he came in and snatched her phone out of her back pocket and started pretending to talk on it. We watched these guys for probably a total of two hours throughout the day, and at some point Jen just walked away and I chased her and asked her why she left, she said because we would end up staying there all day if we didn’t leave, and she was right. Even after we left I found myself continuing to peek over there and talk about them. Eventually they left. PHEW!

So yeah honestly spent pretty much the whole day not including Carolla and a few trips wandering around the festival at the Detroit stage to this point, and I was more than alright with that! Delano Smith was up next and he was someone I was really looking forward to. It started out very laid back, almost a bit too much laid back, but I went to the bathroom and by the time I came back he was dropping some pretty banging techno, which I was not expecting out of him, but it was great nonetheless. Definitely one of the best sets of the weekend. Caught some of Mike Huckaby which made me wish we had just gone to his afterparty the night before, and then went down to see Robert Hood, who was one of the two acts I really wanted to see at the festival. Personally I loved the set but I know a lot of people did not. There were some odd choices but most of it was great driving techno that really got me moving. At the end, a mysterious female DJ came out to help him end the set, and I found out later that night that it was his 11 year old daughter. Again, lots of people who didn’t like the music, but to me there is more to it than the music, and I liked it even more when I found out that’s who it was up there.


We went to one of the original coney island places after the festival, and it was not very good. It was better than the other coney dogs I’d had, but thanks I’ll pass! We eventually moseyed down to the droid/blank code party, which I’ve been to 3 years in a row now. They put on a great party every year, I’ll give em that, but yeah like I said I’m pretty much done at the Works. Of course I’ll probably end up there at least once next year but christ. It’s packed everywhere you go. You can’t find a place where you aren’t in someone’s way, and the back room is hot as shit. We were there for an hour or so before Jen couldn’t take it anymore, and I was pretty much ready to go anyway. We went back to the hotel and just chilled outside for a while, then went to bed. Well, Jen did, I could not sleep. I was getting real antsy about going to Old Miami.

We rounded some troops up, and it seemed like it was a better idea to wake Jen up to go rather than leave her at the hotel sleeping. And it was a good thing we did, because there was a HUGE line when we got there. Luckily some of our friends spotted us walking in and grabbed us to come up front so we only waited 10 minutes. We were shooting the shit with security, having some good laughs. Best line experience all weekend, although it would be much different if I had to actually wait. They were patting people down HARD this year. Seth Troxler was out in the front getting people in and shooting the shit with everyone up front, my opinion of that guy rose a lot this year. I was mostly indifferent before but I am a fan after this weekend for sure! His party rules, that’s for sure! Took me a few years to learn, but once I went the first time I knew I had to go every time, but I’m afraid the secret may have gotten out too far. Last year I got in at 10 and I walked right in, this year there was a huge line the whole time, because of the extra security I suppose. There are a lot of people just standing around who look cool but that’s about all they seem to have going for them. But still, it’s an awesome party and I love the general vibe. It’s some very good people watching, that’s for sure.

When we got in a cab in front of the hotel, we were about to take off and this guy runs up and says “Old Miami?” He got in and shared the ride with us. We had a glass of champagne and gave him some. Only at that time of the day on that day could you get in a cab with someone and know where they are going. I saw the guy several times later in the day and we’re all like “HEY!” Incidentally this cab driver was the only cab driver who turned on his meter (well the only one with a legit meter at least) the whole time. That happened on my way to old miami last year too. Both times I gave a $15 tip cause they deserve it! Anyway, we got in a bit before 8, and left a little after 11. I got plenty of time in, it was starting to get hot out, it was getting more and more crowded, and Jen was at the end of her rope. So we went back to the hotel to chill before the final push.

We made it down to the festival around 6:30 on Monday, a bit later than I was hoping. We were in pretty rough shape from the past 24 hours or so, so it took us a while to gather up the strength to go to the underground stage for Dustin Zahn. I was bummed that I missed any of his set, but I really wasn’t ready. What I heard was great, and I heard people from other cities saying it was one of their favorite sets, so I know it wasn’t just hometown bias! Minneapolis was represented so well this year, as always! Not just by the DJs, but by the whole crew that went. I know almost all of them by now and it’s very comforting to be able to walk around anywhere and find a group of Minneapolis people. We look out for each other, and we know how to get DOWN! I mean Zak was on the dance floor most of the weekend with us! Most of the big time DJs were watching from backstage somewhere! I won’t lie, it felt good to brag about our crew to people in other cities!

After Zahn, I had promised Jen we’d finally eat some food, we went to the pretzel stand and boy oh boy am I glad we did. Last year I ate my first food in a while at this same stand and it was one of the best dining experiences of my life. This time we saw these things called pizza rolls, which were pretzel dough filled with mozzarella cheese and pepperoni. They weren’t ready, but were told they’d be ready in 5 minutes. They took more like 15 minutes, and then 10 to let them cool down, but holy shit they were good! I’m going to be dreaming of those pepperoni rolls until next year. I really don’t know how I’m gonna make it that long.

After that, back to the Detroit Stage to check out Kevin Saunderson, who had curated the whole day. I thought that was a really good idea and hope he does it again. What I saw, I loved, and I wish I had a bit more energy to go earlier. It was also amazing to see Saunderson at the small stage. I caught a bit of a second wind during Dustin’s set but this is really where I got it. I found a little pocket right up front where I could sneak in from the side, and I was up there dancing while Jen sat. She really wanted me to be with her but I couldn’t end the weekend sitting in the grass, I needed to dance. Around 9:15 I texted my friend Nick, who lived in Minneapolis but moved to Chicago, to see if he was coming because he is friends with Dantiez Saunderson, Kevin’s son. He said he was not because his dad is in poor health and that he’s not sure he’d be around next year. I had already been starting to get sad that the festival was ending, with a few tears coming while I was dancing, but I just started to lose it when I heard this news from Nick. I had to leave the dance floor, I walked over to where Jen was sitting and just starting crying my eyes out. I get sad thinking about it now even still, I knew I would be ok I just really didn’t want it to be over and I was feeling for Nick. She put my head in her lap and just let me get it all out and comforted me and encouraged me to get back up. And I did, but I would not have been able to rebound without her comforting me and making me feel better.

This always happens to me, I always get really sad that the festival is ending and then I get a serious second wind and close out the festival how I’m supposed to, dancing around like it’s my first day there! It happened with Claude Young in 2011, Jeff Mills in 2012, DVS1 in 2013, and it was while Kevin was playing b2b with Seth Troxler, which was definitely a highlight of the weekend. Like I said, my opinion of Troxler rose quite a bit this year and this set was a big part of it. It was really nice to see the old school and new school playing together.

After that, we met up with one of Jen’s friends, who used to live in Columbus and was hanging with her friends from there. I really wanted to see Jeff Mills to finish it out again, and luckily Jen’s friends did too and they helped convince her come down with us. It must have been because it was pouring rain last year, but the underground stage was about 3 times more crowded for Zak’s set there at that time last year, but I didn’t mind! It was easy to get up close and find the Minneapolis crew, as it was very important for me to be around as many of them as I could at the very end of the festival….it’s tradition for me! We caught the last hour of Jeff’s set and it was the perfect send off for an amazing weekend.

We were thinking about maybe going to the TV Lounge but it was sleepytimes once we got back to the hotel. Woke up early and couldn’t go back to sleep so I went downstairs and found some Minneapolis people to share some war stories with. When we were ready to go we got in a cab who pulled up outside the hotel. Jen was inside going to the bathroom so we told him we’d have to wait a minute before we’re ready but he still told us to come in. Normally the first thing I do is ask a cabbie what they are charging for a ride when I get in, because most don’t have their meter on. But he had his meter on, which made sense cause we were waiting for Jen, so I didn’t ask. As we went on our ride, it seemed like it was taking longer than it should to get to the airport. We also noticed that his meter was moving very quickly, and what should be a $45-50 ride was going up to 80…90…100. We knew something wasn’t right and had been kinda whispering to each other about what we would do, which was all get out at the same place and get our bags out of the cab before we gave him a dollar. We get there and ask him what he wants us to pay, he says what the meter says. We all start getting out and I had collected $60 between us and told him to open the trunk so we can get our bags out. He was getting a little angry but saw Roger going to talk to someone at the airport, and he said ok give me $50. I waited till all the bags were gone and then gave him $60, I probably should have just waited until an airport dude came over, he would have left and we would have got a free ride. Oh well. We had a drunk cab driver once this trip, also had a drunk one last year, but this was the worst cab experience for sure! Gotta be careful out there, my friends! Thankfully we were going to the airport and not some place in an unsafe neighborhood.

Well there you have it, another great year in the books! I’m not going to try to rank them anymore, but I will just say I feel very satisfied with what I did and wouldn’t have changed very much. It was certainly tough at times with Jennifer, like I said we both pissed each other off more than once. But it was definitely worth it, it was great having her around. We had a talk at the airport on the way back home, I apologized for leaving her on her own several times but also explained that it would always be this way. I need this, and I need to do it surrounded by my friends. The memories we get here will last a life time and then some.

As usual, I have a few people to thank for making this trip so great:

Andrew Virden and Carleton Gholz, our amazing tour guides who really made this a unique trip to Detroit. I am interested in coming back to the D a different weekend and hopefully having Carleton show us around! You can donate to the organization he runs, The Detroit Sound Conservancy which I certainly plan to do, at least after the next pay day (cause hoo boy Detroit!).


Michael Dietl and Naketa Willis, for essentially babysitting a bunch of grown-ass adult babies. They were the glue all weekend long!


The whole Minneapolis techno family, yes this is cheesy, but dang, you all make me so happy to be a part of you! I consider Detroit to be like the Olympics, and we are all over the medal podium. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Charge Towards 30 – 2013 In Review

Here we go again, friends. Another year, another year in review post. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know I’ve had some pretty good luck and strung together some pretty good years, with the 3 best years of my life coming in the 4 year span of 2009 through 2012. Well, surprise, surprise. Here we go again. 2013 was, without a doubt, the best year of my life, and I’ve got a pretty good feeling that 2014 will be even better. I’ll be turning 30 in May and I plan on charging in headfirst and sort of hitting the reset button on some parts of my life. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though, dear readers.

The main reason my year has been so good is that I found true love for the first time in my life. Since Mid-August, I have been in a relationship with a girl named Jennifer. We had met a few months earlier at a party and seen each other out and about here and there in the months that followed, and on that fateful night in August, we left Communion (a weekly dance party) together and have been pretty much inseparable since. We had been hanging out at Communion that night, and she said she needed to work at 7 and had no way home. I told her I was leaving and she was welcome to come with, and that I could find a way to get her home in the morning when I was sober. She asked me if I would wait around for a bit while she decided, I’m not sure if I am right about this but to me it seemed like she was going to find another dude or a ride home or both. I said no, I’m leaving right now, take it or leave it. And she took it! I was a little skeptical at first after that but all of that was gone after the first day, we both felt that it was the start of something special. Both of us called in sick the next day and spent it together. We said we would hang again in a few days, but we ended up seeing each other at the movie in Loring Park the next night, and then the day after that, and the day after that, and before long she was essentially living with me. I have had something like this happen a couple times with a couple girls, where I just wanted to be with them all the time pretty much right away, but those ended after a few weeks and looking back I know they never would have worked long term. But over 4 months later, I am very happy to say I still feel the same way about her as I did when we first got together.

She has been living with me for several months, and while I have had some growing pains as I have not had a roommate in 5+ years, she has really shaped my place up. It looks a lot better than it did before she moved in, and I am at least a little bit more organized. Sometimes you need someone to come in and see how you live and say “Are you fucking kidding me?” The change hasn’t always been easy for me, but I am really loving it, and I feel more like an adult. In addition to that, she has brought her awesome dog Dwight to come live with us. He is a very relaxed dog that loves to cuddle, and we have been fast friends ever since he moved in. I have lived with a dog before but never really saw myself as a dog person until now. I love him as if he were my own, and its great to have him around. I don’t think I could handle the responsibility of dog ownership alone, but with Jennifer it’s definitely manageable.

Here’s a trophy I got for Dwight for Christmas



As I write this, we (and by we I mean mostly her) are making the apartment cat-ready, as the next and almost final step of her being fully moved in is bringing her two cats over. I am a little worried as I am allergic, but I am also allergic to dogs and I know just living with them will help build up my defenses against at least these particular cats. Still, it’s not a very big apartment, so I’m a little worried. But we’ll see. I like her cats, so that helps. I started writing this on Friday 12/27, we got the cats the next day (I’m not sure why I didn’t delete the first few lines of this paragraph, either), and they have been at my place for two days now. My allergies have not been an issue AT ALL thank jord! Her one more adventurous kitty has had no problems, he’s already my little buddy. The other one is a hider, and she has found many different hiding spots, but there was a little stretch where Jen, myself, and all 3 animals were on the couch together while we were watching a movie, and then this morning the hider came out of hiding  to snuggle on the bed with the rest of us before we went to work. It’s nice to have the family all together!

Everything with Jennifer has been easy. We get along well, we have similar interests, and she makes me very happy. For the first few months there wasn’t even  a fight to speak of. That ended, it was starting to get weird that we hadn’t had a fight to be honest, but there are still a lot more good times than bad. In fact, after I started writing this but before I posted it, we had the worst fight we’ve had yet, but we got over it the next day. I’ve never been in a long-term relationship in my life, so there are some growing pains for me, and coming to terms with the fact that being in a relationship comes with a cost of some of the freedoms I used to have, and that I don’t get to decide every single thing I do. This is not unique to our relationship, and it affects her just as much as it does me. It’s just taking some getting used to. But in the end, despite a few fights here and there,  it’s been amazing to have a true partner these last few months, it’s something I’ve never had in my life and she makes my days so much brighter and easier to handle. I can barely remember what life used to be like.

And now for something a bit less interesting:

2013 was my first full year at my new job. If you read my recap post from last year, and I assume you did, you know I loved my new job and was excited to see what the next year held. Well friends, I am happy to say I still love my job. Well love might be a strong word, but I do like it. With 15 months now under my belt, I feel like I’ve got the hang of it pretty well, and now that I’ve done the full year I know what to expect. For starters, last year I was worried about what the busy season might look like here, and I am very happy to say it’s  not so bad. I worked roughly 55 hour weeks from the second week in January through the second week in February, so about 5 weeks total. There were even some nights in there where I left at the normal time of 4:30 or 5, and some weeks were definitely under 55 hours in total. The jist of it is there are several different reports and financial statements that need to get done, and they are all reviewed, sometimes by more than one person, so it depends on the timing of when things get back to me. Interesting, right? In addition to the busy time, I have 3 other days during the year where I need to work 12+ hours, usually the 10th day after quarter end, so April, July, and October 10th. I get busy around those times but generally don’t have to work more than 8 hours any day aside from those 3, so all in all I am definitely working less than I did at my old job, while earning a higher salary.

Before I even worked here a year, I was given a bonus (for the 3 months in 2012 I was here) and a raise. At my performance review, the one and only negative thing that my bosses commented on was that I have bad handwriting. I’ll take it! It feels good to be good at my job. I know it probably seems nerdy to some, but a lot of times the kind of accounting I do can be sort of a number puzzle. If something doesn’t make sense I can usually find the answers in the numbers.

I am still loving working downtown. The walks are getting tougher with some of this extreme cold we’ve been having, but I’ve learned to just bundle up to a sometimes ridiculous extent, but it makes the short time outside in negative 20 windchill almost bearable. All in all, my happiness has gone up and my stress has gone waaaaaaaaaaaaaay down but not needing to use my car on a daily basis. Every day it snows, I thank the commute gods that I don’t need to worry like my co-workers, and everyone else really, about wasting a few hours a day just to get to and from somewhere I don’t really want to be.

If you read my post last year, or are good enough friends with me to see my Facebook posts or see me in person, you know one of my goals for this year as I headed towards 30 was to get in shape and lose weight. Well I am happy to report that after losing 20 pounds last year solely from walking to work for 3 and a half months, I signed up for the YWCA in March, just like I said I would in my post last year, and used a calorie counting website to monitor what I was eating, and as a result, I lost an additional 30 pounds! I am very proud of myself! It’s not quite the lofty goal I set for myself, but hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day. And yes, I am comparing myself to one of the greatest civilizations the world has ever known. I started the year at 225, and while I stopped losing weight during my busy season at work, I didn’t gain weight either, and considering I always gained at a minimum 10 pounds during tax season at my old job, that felt like a victory to me. Once I signed up for the YWCA, I started hitting it hard. I went every week day, and I started taking classes there. I was dropping pounds like crazy, and by June I had hit my first goal of 200 pounds. I kept going, and got down to 193 by the time I started dating Jennifer. It was a combination of me not being so strict on my diet and also not caring if I missed a day at the gym (and also I switched from going to their classes to just working out on my own – doing the elliptical for half hour and then push ups, lifting, etc), but I sort of  hit a plateau. I go out to eat more with Jennifer, and I’m the type of person where if there is a bag of chips around, I will eat them until they are gone, so there were some new challenges with her involved. I had got myself down to 190, so obviously I was still able to lose weight after we started dating, but then I’ve been eating very badly basically since Thanksgiving, and also missing more days at the gym, and as a result I have gone back up to 198-200 depending on the day. At first I was trying to fight it, I wanted to be at 195 by the end of the year. But just recently (like, yesterday) I came to terms with it. My goal for the busy season again is to just maintain my current weight, and then as soon as busy season ends I am going to hit it hard on both the exercising and eating fronts. I know I can do it, I just need to be more focused, and I was able to do that just fine last year. I just can’t let there be any half measures. My goal is to be at 180 by the day I turn 30 (May 4), and I do believe that is obtainable.

Anyway, enough focusing on the negative and next year. I have never felt better than I do now. I am buying new clothes – I fit into pants/shorts that have a size beginning with a 3 for the first time since I have bought my own clothes. I have more energy. I have less random back/knee/etc pains. I get noticed a lot more by women – I don’t think I would have been able to get Jennifer if I hadn’t done this. As part of making room for Jennifer to come, I went through and got rid of a lot of my clothes, basically anything that was size 42+ in pants or XXL. As I was going through the clothes, some of them I remembered owning either in high school or in my freshman year of college. I just didn’t really care about my health back then, it was kind of alarming to realize I was that big that early in my life, and it felt great to get rid of my old clothes to make room for the new.

On top of the weight loss, there were a few other accomplishments that have me leaving 2013 with a sense of great achievement. I will discuss this a little more later, but in January I saw Prince at the Dakota, which was maybe the best concert I’ve ever been to. I was pitched by the Gimme Noise (City Pages blog) editor to review the show, as they were not offering media passes and I had a ticket. I was certainly glad to at least partially offset the $280 ticket, so I said yes. Here is the review. The reason I bring this story up is that after the review, the editor encouraged me to pitch him ideas for pieces if I ever had one. And pitch, I did. I ended up writing for them 5 times in 2013, with the last one coming out in the final days of the year. In addition, I was paid to write two reviews for my first “employer”, the TC Daily Planet, meaning I was paid to write 7 times in 2013. I had been paid to write twice in my life before this year. I feel good about my relationship with City Pages. I am not looking to become a professional writer by any means, but it is something I enjoy, and I feel City Pages is a good place to do that because they have big viewership, and well….they always pay.

 The piece I am most proud of is the one about the Communion/Crave fiasco, although it is something I would rather leave in the past. The other pieces I wrote this year were interviews or reviews, this one was not. This was probably the first time I did honest to goodness journalism. It was difficult for me to write, because I felt that I was on one side of it and that it would be hard to be impartial, but I feel like I was able to fairly present both sides, even though I got a little biased towards the end. It was also a bit uncomfortable because I know the guy from Crave who I talked to to get their side of the story. But god damn did it feel good to write that last paragraph. Originally it was even more biting than it was as printed, but I toned it down. If you’d believe it. 

Anyway, here are links to see the things I was paid to write this year:  my author page at City Pages, which has links to 4 of them, CP interview with Steve Centrific, TC Daily Planet reviews of Femi Kuti and Vieux Farka Toure.

Like I said, I’m not trying to become a professional writer, and most of these pieces were ones I actually enjoyed doing and wanted to do, so I feel like 7 is close to my max for what I would do in a year, but who knows? If the story that I find interesting is there, then I’ll do it. Either way, I feel very good about my writing this year and look forward to building on it next year.

My favorite piece that I did all year, however, was unpaid, and that didn’t matter to me one bit. I was asked by the people at MPLS Zine, who launched from the group that did MPLS.TV, to do something for their Movement issue. I wrote about my history with dancing, going all the way back to a religious experience I had while dancing in Israel when I was 17 to today. Here it is. In addition, my friend Bacon covered one of my So You Think You Kahn Dance dance classes for the same issue. I also ended up teaching my most successful SYTYKD class yet at a party they put on. I did one in April at Gamut Gallery, that turned out pretty well thanks in large part to several members of my family attending, it was great to see them letting loose and following my lead. The MPLS Zine one was my best one yet, though. It was part of a party they were putting on, so there was already a large group of people there that were mostly unfamiliar with me. It was also only 15 minutes, so I could focus on a few tried and true subjects – the dance circle, the soul train, and the dance off. It took a little bit, but most people there seemed to get in to it, and by the end of the 15 minutes I saw some real improvement, and that’s what this class is all about. I did one more at Gamut in October, and gallery members notwithstanding , the only people who came were Jen, her mom, and two of her family friends. To be fair, I struggled putting this one together and probably could have put more time into it (it was country themed), but I was let down. I realized I need to do something more like what the MPLS Zine party was. I need to be part of another event or the pre-party for another event, something like that. I am not done with the class, but in 2014 I will need to re-invent it, which is something I am confident I can do. 

Here’s a good photo from the April SYTYKD class at Gamut Gallery


Another highlight of the year was DJing techno music at Bassgasm in February and July. I wrote last year how I had taken Ableton courses at Slam Academy, I took another this year, my first taught by my friend JP. The class was Dance Music Production and I felt like I learned a lot…but sadly I have not done much to use what I learned. Ableton still feels overwhelming to me, I know I just need to sit down and use it for a loooooooooooong time to get the hang of it. I’m hoping I can make myself do that some day, because since I’ve started with the classes I have songs forming in my head all the time. My problem is I can’t turn those songs in my head into songs outside my head. Anyway, my first experience at Bassgasm was one of the highlights of my life, not just this year. I was a bit worried, but a lot of my closest friends came to support me, and there were also plenty of Minneapolis techno people in the crowd. A few songs in, I felt like I was in a groove and I wasn’t worried any more. Looking out into the crowd that I am usually a part of, and having them hoot and holler like I do when I’m out there really meant a lot to me. I was on cloud 9 all night. All night, people I didn’t know came up to me and told me they loved my set, and that my friends, is the thing that I chase as a performer. Friends go easy on you. People you don’t know are real, and to have them come up and tell me that felt really good. The next one in July was in the main room, on a crazy sound system, which was very nice as well, but it was so early (7 PM) that no one was there, and the equipment they used on the main stage was well beyond what I am used to, and I needed some help getting set up.

I still feel a little weird about DJing. I really like doing it, but I don’t really know how to do it. I know how just like everyone knows how. Technology makes it easy. To me, it’s all about getting the party going and keeping it going, when I’m out I’m not listening for perfect mixing. That said, I know some people are, so I know I have a long way to go before I feel comfortable doing it often.

2013 also saw the achievement of a lifelong goal of mine that I’ve had for the last 4-5 years – walking in the Gay Pride Parade. I was asked by Stuart DeVaan, a friend of Freaky Deeky and member of Savage Aural Hotbed, to walk with their float. It was very clear that there were no floats like ours, which was a trailer that carried Savage Aural Hotbed, and we also had a guy sitting on top with some weird fog bubble gun machine. I didn’t see the whole parade but I had several people tell me we were the best float, and who am I to argue? It was pretty surreal waiting in the parking lot for the parade to get going. We were surrounded by big corporate floats and groups that were fruitlessly trying to get some choreography together for about 100 people with little to no rhythm. Walking in the parade was everything I’d hoped it would be, and I really hope they do it again next year because I’m sort of kind of hooked.

Here’s a photo someone I didn’t know took that I was tagged in on Facebook.



Here we are, almost 4,000 words in, and I’m finally about to get to my last achievement of 2013, and that was becoming a member of Gamut Gallery. I have helped them with accounting here and there before, and watched from the sidelines with great pride for my friends as they grew and grew. When they asked me to join, at first I was a bit reticent as I know they have meetings ALL THE FUCKING TIME! But I was assured the meetings were going to be streamlined, and the expectations for me would be pretty straightforward, mostly just help with accounting, and of course hosting some of their events here and there. The Gamut crew reminded me of the Freaky Deeky team before I joined up, so that was a big motivator for me. At Freaky Deeky, everyone handled something different to help the show, everything did what they did best, and at our height, it felt like I was a part of a well oiled machine, working mostly in unison, and I believe that’s what the Gamut crew is all about too. I already helped with the first big thing, the accounting for the Raging Art On Sale, and I’m feeling pretty good about 2014 and beyond with as a member of the team.

Alright friends, home stretch. Last year was so/so in terms of live music, but I knew this year would be great pretty much from the get go after I got a ticket to see Prince at The Dakota in January. As I mentioned earlier, the huge ticket price was at least partially offset by paying $50 to review it for City Pages. You can read my review for a full picture, but it was an amazing show. He played a lot of songs I didn’t know, but it was still just so surreal to see Prince in a place that small, and I had never seen the Dakota like that (with no tables). I also ended up grinding very hard with a 40+ year old woman. So that was neat. Other non-techno live music  highlights were Femi Kuti at the Cedar and Larry Graham, also at the Dakota, which was the night I got back from Detroit.

Detroit this year was flat out amazing. I wrote a long post about it here, but in short, I feel like I finally truly got it right this year. It helped that the music line up was as good as it’s been since I’ve been going, but what really made this year great was having a great set of roommates who I hung out with most of the weekend (versus being sort of a lone wolf the first two years), as well as knowing a lot more Minneapolis techno people. It felt great to see people I knew everywhere I went, felt like I was at home. I knew the weekend would be great right from the start, when I went to a Twins/Tigers game with my buddy Max, and Anibal Sanchez took a no-hitter into the 9th inning. I was rooting for him at that point. Anyway, the highlights of the weekend were Dan Bell closing out the Made In Detroit stage on Sunday night, as about 15 of us from Minneapolis danced like crazy in the middle of the floor, followed by us seeing one of the best dance floor circles I’ve ever seen. Maybe the best. Another highlight was Old Miami Monday morning around 10 AM, and then finally seeing DVS1 absolutely destroy the underground stage with the closing set of the festival Monday night. We had gone down early to watch Silent Servant, and about half hour after Zak started, I had to pee. I looked back and saw the place packed full because it was raining outside and this was the one stage under cover. I grudgingly accepted the fact that I would have to watch the rest of the set from up top. I did see some Minneapolis people when I went up there, but it really bothered me that on my way back to the bathroom, I passed a bunch of bros on drugs who were just trying to rub their boner on some poor girl and didn’t care about the music at all. So I decided I wasn’t going to end my festival on anyone’s terms but my own, so I went back down and shoved people out of my way until I was up front and center with the Minneapolis people again. I was very tired from the weekend at that point, but once I got back up, I felt like I was full of energy and danced like crazy. At the end of the set and the festival, Zak yelled out “MINNEAPOLIS!”, and all of us were walking around with a bit of a strut after that. Felt good!

Here’s my awesome roommates and me



And a photo I really liked that we took at the airport in Detroit on the way home.


Another musical highlight of the year was DVS1/Ben Klock at the special spot that can’t be mentioned. To see world class DJs in our own backyard, in a room built for 250 people…well it’s hard to explain how cool that was to people who aren’t into that kind of thing. I love seeing DJs tag team, and Zak and Ben went back and forth, record for record, for almost 2 hours after they each played a two hour solo set. Makes me want to go to Berlin and see them on their turf. Zak has been an important part of my life this year, as a matter of fact, as the Communion that Jennifer and I left together after was the one he played at. We were celebrating our 3 month anniversary in November at Masu, and Zak and his wife walk in and our seated right next to us. Weird shit, right?

Nothing much to speak of on the movie front, although I did just see American Hustle yesterday and it was pretty damn good. I would like to see it again. I know Silver Linings Playbook is from 2012, but I saw it for the first time in 2013 and friggin love that one too. Same guy made them, if you didn’t know.

On a sad note, a radio show that I have listened to for hundreds of hours over the past few years, The Best Show on WFMU ended on December 17. It was on the air for 13 years, and I sort of feel like I’m in on a secret just knowing about it. It’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever watched/listened to, and I am very sad to see it go. I could go on and on about this show and what it meant to me, but instead I will just post this link to a blog post I made about the show and it’s host Tom Scharpling a few years ago. It sounds like Scharpling and his partner Jon Wurster will move on to do something similar on a different station/network/channel, and they sound optimistic about the future so I have no choice but also be.

Well that about wraps up 2013. Just over 5,000 words. By my standards, a little light. I apologize dear reader. I know you expect more out of me. Anyway, 2013 was the best year of my life, but I have  a good feeling 2014 is going to be even better. I turn 30 in May, I will be a member of Gamut Gallery for a full year, and more importantly, I will be putting a variety show on at Patrick’s Cabaret on April 25 and 26, 2014, to celebrate my 30th birthday. I’m leaving the weekend of my actual birthday open for actual partying, hehe. I wrote about this in my recap post last year, and I knew it would be a ways off, but I feel like I will be ready for this. It’s what I’m here to do! I will be doing some of my bits (Silent Film Guy, etc) and some dance numbers, and then fill out the rest of the line up with either people who have helped me get to where I am today or people who I think only need an opportunity, like I once did, to get going. I’ve had so much help through the years, it’s time for me to start helping other people. And then of course, there’s no other way to end the show, especially at a place like Patrick’s Cabaret, than to bring back Freaky Deeky! April 26 is the 5 year anniversary of the first time I went on the show, an event that would have more impact on my life than anything else I’ve ever done. We’re gonna be getting real sentimental down in South Minneapolis!!

And now, to thank a few people who have made this year special. That’s not to say that there aren’t many others, but I try not to do repeats too often.

Jen Ozhigwan – Jen has been a good friend for years, but this year I feel we forged an even stronger friendship. Some of our friends have been having very rough years and I felt at times we helped to keep it all together, but Jen especially. She also organized several great getaways, twice to a farmhouse in Osceola, Wisconsin, and once to an amazing cabin in Two Harbors. All 3 trips are definitely highlights of my year.

Steve Centrific – It was very nice getting to know Steve better this year. Steve and I became fast friends when we met, but we definitely got closer this year. We went to Detroit together, and I felt very much a part of his Intellephunk crew, it felt good to be a part of something that awesome. In the interview I did with him for City Pages, he mentioned that everyone has to play their part, whether it be pushing speakers and working the door, or being a promoter or something in between. I feel like I have found my niche in that regard, as a writer and encourager. He had me pick up Dan Bell from the airport, which was pretty friggin awesome, and for one of his shows I was unexpectedly on the list (he told me it was for helping spread the gospel when I asked him about it the next day), and he never really has a list. It meant a lot to me.

Mark Joachin – Jennifer and I first met at Mark J’s birthday party in June. From what I’ve gathered, Jen was friends with him before she ever came to a techno show, so to me, he is undoubtedly the reason our paths crossed, and I can’t thank him enough for that.

 Michael Dietl – He was becoming a good friend to me before I even met Jen but he was also her friend and he has been very generous to me, both before and after I started dating Jen. A very good sort of person, and I look forward to being better friends with him in 2014!

Zak Khutoretsky/DVS1 – Our matchmaker. I always love seeing him DJ for obvious reasons but now when I see him with my baby, it feels so special to me. I’m glad it was him that did it! I also only officially met him last year in Detroit, but he would always come give me a high five or something like that after we met. What I’m trying to say is he has the exact opposite of a big head, despite all the accolades he’s still very down to earth and kind.

Woody McBride – Woody has been a big fan for a long time, and he gave me the opportunity to DJ at Bassgasm twice this year, including once in the main fucking room of First Avenue!

Kurtis Johnson AKA Kujo – I could really thank the whole Gamut crew here, but Kujo especially gets my thanks. There is no bigger booster of my dance classes than Kujo, and he came to the country one even though he was sick. He’s one of the funniest and most enthusiastic people I know, and a real treat to know.

Stuart DeVaan – Had me be a part of his Gay Pride Parade float, and has been very helpful to me and to other projects I’ve been involved in over the years.

You, Dear Reader – Just kidding! Fuck you! No, I’m kidding again! Thank you for reading my nearly 6,000 words! See you next year, my friends!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

The D-Cap: DEMF 2013

As soon as the first wave of the line up announcements hit, I knew DEMF this year would be the best one yet for me. As additional acts and afterparties were announced, it only got better. I am glad to say DEMF 2013 went far beyond living up to the hype, and it was unquestionably the best time I’ve had in Detroit in my 3 years going (you can read my recaps of 2011 here and 2012 here).

It all started with my hotel situation. Not to say that I haven’t had great roommates my first two years, because I have, but this one was on another level. I stayed at the Doubletree this year and I know now that’s the place to go. Minneapolis was heavily represented there (and at the whole festival, but more on that later). Up until the start of May, it was just me in a room I booked back in November. But then someone who I had just met a few weeks earlier, Katie Spandex, called me up as she heard I had space left in my room. Then her boyfriend Andy Fargo (who was the first person to reach out to me and offer me a beer when I came to the techno bus unprepared back in 2011) switched over as he was in a crowded room. A day or two after that, the eternally wise and experienced Roger Learned posted on Facebook asking who had space in their room, and with that my room was filled up. A lot of Minneapolis people I talked to had at least a little drama in their room, but ours was filled with laughter, smiles, and snacks. I hope we can all be roommates again next year!

I am and always have been a bit of a loner, but this year I ended up sticking with my roommates most of the time, and I think that’s a main reason I had such an amazing time. I did go out on my own the day before the festival and for parts of the first day of the festival and about an hour on the second day, but for the rest of the time I was with some of my roommates or other people from Minneapolis. It’s much more meaningful if you have someone to share the memory with, and when I went back and read my previous recap posts before writing this, I see this is not the first time I have realized this. On the one hand, I did miss a few sets I wanted to hear, like Maetrik and Steve Rachmad, and left an after party a little earlier than I may have otherwise, but it was all worth it, and this is the way I will go in the future.

With that said, here’s how it all happened:

I got in to my hotel at about 5:30 Friday. We flew with a connecting flight in Chicago as the tickets were about $80 cheaper, but I learned my lesson. Next year I’m just paying whatever the direct flight costs. The way there wasn’t too bad but the way home was brutal. Anyway, I had tickets to the Twins/Tigers game with my friend Max, who lives in the suburbs of Detroit. Due to my flight getting in late, it meant I had about 15 minutes to drop off my stuff, change quick, and then head out. We ate at Slow’s BBQ, an amazing restaurant that I would recommend to anyone who visits Detroit. After that, it was off to the game. We had front row seats behind the Tigers bullpen, an amazing view in an amazing ballpark. The game turned out to be a great one, as I almost got to see a no-hitter live and in person. Anibal Sanchez made it 25 outs before giving up a hit to Joe Mauer. I was wearing my Joe Mauer jersey shirt, which had been covered by a hoodie the whole game because it was cold, but when he got that hit I ripped my hoodie off and shook my shoulders around so everyone could see the name. Felt good, man. Sanchez quickly got the next two outs to end the game. I knew at this point that this trip was going to be amazing, on a whole different level than my first two trips to Detroit. I could feel it in my bones. My bones were not wrong.

As I was only at the hotel for a few minutes before leaving, I didn’t have any time to charge my phone and so it died during the game. I made sure to check out a few afterparties while I still had power to see where I should go, and I settled on seeing Carl Craig at a wine bar as it was about halfway between Comerica Park and my hotel. When we got there, there was a huge line around the corner, but we were told that no one had been let in yet as Carl himself had just got there. Shortly after, the line moved a lot as the venue filled up, but stopped with about 10 people left in front of us. At that point it was one in, one out for the rest of the night. Several people in line in front of us left, so we only had to wait for a few people to get in before us, but we were probably in line for about an hour total. While we were in line, we were next to a bunch of people from Cleveland and we talked for a long time. This is one thing I really love about the festival, almost everyone comes from somewhere else to go, and there are a lot of lines so there’s plenty of time to get to know other people. I didn’t remember their names, but I did see them at a crazy after-after party on Monday morning, and they waved at me and said Minneapolis? To which I said CLEVELAND!

When we were almost in the door, Juan Atkins, one of the inventors of techno music, tried to get in the side that was for people who were on the list and didn’t need to wait in line. Juan was not on the list, though, and the door lady was not having any of it. To be fair, he didn’t exactly help his cause. I didn’t know it was Juan Atkins at first and I’ll be honest, I was wondering who this d-bag thought he was. Eventually Carl’s wife came out and got him in, but good lord that was a funny ten minutes.

We eventually got in, and the place was packed. Seemed like it was big enough for about 80 people and there were 150 in there. Carl played a great set, going all over the place with spacier stuff and then some more proper techno, including a bunch of classic Detroit songs. My friend Max was with me at first but he left eventually, but a little bit later a few Minneapolis people showed up. The place was packed, but for some reason not that hot and sweaty, so I was able to make it until about quarter to two, having been in there for about two and a half hours. I had to leave though, it had been a very long day without much sleep the night before. This was my first time going back to the Doubletree and I had been driven out of there so I was not sure how to get back. I knew what street it was on but that’s it, and my phone was dead so I couldn’t get directions. It was dark out and I was turned around about where we were, but eventually I found a map on a sign post, and figured out how to get to the street the hotel was on and made it back. Thank god. I took a Benadryl and dozed off, getting the last real good night of sleep I would get for almost a week.

We got off to a slow start the next day. I finally rode the People Mover, which is a little monorail thing that goes around downtown Detroit. The views from up there were pretty good, and since there is a stop right near the Doubletree and right near the festival, it made sense to take it. We met up with a few Minneapolis people and got our wristbands for the festival to avoid longer lines later. After that, we grabbed a very late breakfast on a nice little patio in a park in the middle of the city and then headed back to the hotel to get ready. We got off to a somewhat late start, but that was ok. By the time we made it to the festival at about 5, though, there was a line to get in that stretched about 3 blocks. It was probably the longest line I’ve ever been in. They were patting everyone down, which they had not done in years past. It’s understandable, as it’s essentially an anything goes drug-emporium once you get inside, but it did slow the process down a lot. The line still didn’t take more than 15-20 minutes to clear though, and I actually just walked right past the security guards who were patting people down and no one said a word to me.

The first set we caught was Detroit native Moodymann. I had heard a lot about this guy but never really heard his music. It was very…ummm…unusual. He had two guys come out and flank the sides of the DJ area. The DJ before him seemed to be ready to go off but then came back and played one more song because Moody wasn’t ready yet. Then when his set started it was just a few minutes of very chilled out funk music, with no one standing behind the decks. Eventually he came out and started playing mostly remixed funk songs. While I do like this kind of music, it was not what I wanted to see to start the festival, I needed a bit more of an energetic set to get me started, and I didn’t really feel “into” the festival when we were down here.

We headed over to the Beatport stage, which had moved over to the riverside stage where the Red Bull stage used to be and caught part of Miguel Campbell’s set who was playing some really funky house music and it was during his set that I finally got into my groove that would last the whole weekend. Ran into some Minneapolis people in the crowd, which would be a common theme the rest of the weekend. After leaving this set and walking back towards the mainstage, I was saying to one of my roommates that you can’t go five minutes without running into someone you know, and as I was saying that we literally ran into people we knew. It’s my favorite part of the festival to be honest, because we all know how to get down and it really makes me feel at home even when I am in a still mostly unfamiliar place.

At this point, I split off by myself for the rest of the night, and caught the end of Carl Craig and some of Dave Clarke’s set (I didn’t stay too long, wasn’t into it), and then went to the Underground stage for the rest of the night to see Ben Sims and Slam, who were one of the acts I was looking forward to most. Both of them delivered. It was actually decent down there this year as it was pretty cold outside, in the 60s or lower the whole weekend. Richie Hawtin was playing the main stage during Slam and I would be seeing him later at his after party so I decided to stay down in the Underground area the whole time, and I’m glad I did.

Headed back to the hotel for a quick recharge, didn’t need to shower or blow dry my shoes like I had in years past thank Jord! First up was the CLR party, which I had gone to each of the prior two years. It was a highlight both years, and Chris Liebing is one of my favorite DJs, so I didn’t mind going again. I also ran into my friend Reggie from Detroit who I met at the first CLR party back in 2011 there. I had tickets to Richie Hawtin’s Jak Attack party also, which I felt was something I had to do at least once in Detroit. I was not a big fan of the festival set he played in 2011 and didn’t see what all the fuss was about, but I really loved his set at The Loft last November, so I figured the darker, warehouse-ier environment would be the best place to see him. I was planning to leave the CLR party at 3, but ended up there until 3:40 because it was really hard to pull myself away. The Richie party was good, I’m glad I went, but it didn’t blow me away to the point that I feel like I’d go out of my way to go again.  It seemed like the party had cleared out a little by the time I got there, as I was able to easily get up to the front and ran into Steve Centrific up there. I flew down with Steve and he had been to every DEMF with the exception of my first two. I actually met him after we got back on the bus back in 2011, he was picking up some friends, and we’ve gotten to know each other better over the years. It feels like we have been friends for a long time already, and it was really great to be able to finally share this experience with him.

The party ended at 6 and we got back to the hotel shortly after. Made it to bed by 7, and was awake by about 11:30. Laid in bed for another hour before heading out to this awesome little French restaurant called Le Petit Zinc. I had a sausage crepe and probably the best croissant I’ve ever had in my life. It was a very satisfying and filling meal, and it would be the last real meal I had until our layover in Chicago on the way home. It took a long time to get our food, but it was ok as we were sitting outside in really nice weather. We were again off to a late start, and again headed down to the festival around 5:30. Caught a little bit of the Adult set at the main stage before heading underground to catch Tommy Four Seven, who I had yet to see and played a really great set. After that, I went up to the Made in Detroit stage to catch a bit of DJ Minx’s set. The Made in Detroit stage is the only stage at the entire festival where you can walk up there any time and hear something good. There were also a lot of molly’d out bro creepers at the festival this year, worse than any year before (more on this later), and this was the only stage where I didn’t see any of them.  There were a lot of real emotions going on up there, as you could tell the DJs were doing something special in front of their friends and people they have known for years. I definitely saw the biggest smiles out of DJs at this stage, no questions there.

I get really inspired by seeing the awesome dancers in Detroit. Dance circles break out all over the place, break dancers who put what we have in Minneapolis to shame. During DJ Minx’s set, a whole crew of 4 or 5 dudes got in the circle and did some dancing IN UNISON, seemingly spontaneously. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. After DJ Minx, we went back underground to catch Ben Klock and then Planetary Assault Systems, both of whom were as amazing as I would have expected. The rest of my crew headed upstairs to the Made in Detroit stage for Daniel Bell, but I stayed down by myself for a while. Figured it was time to go check out someone else, but first I went up to some porta-potties near the entrance that had the shortest lines all weekend. When I came out of the porta-potty, who did I see but Jacob Hoffman, who I had been with earlier, and who was not out there when I went in to the toilet. He was literally standing right outside the one I was in. It was a pretty crazy and I couldn’t do anything but laugh for about a minute. A lot of things seem to happen like that in Detroit, and you just have to not question it and move on.

I had Jacob lead me to the Minneapolis crew he was with at Daniel Bell, and this turned out to be one of the highlights of the festival. Not only was the music absolutely great, easily one of the best sets all weekend, but there were about 15 of us from Minneapolis putting a total BEATDOWN on the dance floor. No one around us was moving around like we were. I really like being back a little bit and having room to move around freely and dancing how I want to. We were far enough back where we all had that freedom. When the set ended at 11:30 (I got there around 10), we all had huge smiles on our faces, and we all knew how much ass we had just kicked. We walked over to the Beatport stage, but before we got too deep we found a dance circle and decided to stick around and watch. At first there was just a muscle bro with a hot pink tank top in there jumping around showing off his muscles, but he essentially got booed out of there. Despite the take over of the festival by these creepers, there were still plenty of real ass techno bros there, and despite their best efforts, the bros could not pull there shit ANYWHERE they wanted at least. Eventually some amazing break dancers took over, and there was an old guy in a robe and winter hat who was like the sensei of the dance circle, I assume he was on acid or something because he was just absolutely LOCKED IN. Maybe he’s just like that all the time. Eventually the sassiest dancer I’ve ever seen got in the circle, he did this hilarious move where he stared at the last person who was in the circle and jumped backwards away from them while moving his arms. It’s hard to describe what he actually did, but let’s just say there were a lot of people in the crowd yelling Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh! I did miss Steve Rachmad during this time, but I can’t complain at all because the Daniel Bell set and then this dance off were absolute highlights of the weekend, and I got to enjoy them all with my Minneapolis crew surrounding me!

We went back to the hotel to hang out for a while and eventually made it out to the Droid/Interface party around 3 to catch Luke Slater. I saw his set as well as the start of Silent Servant’s before we left at 5:45. This was at The Works, the same place the party was last year, and thankfully it was about 30 degrees cooler outside but there are still hundreds and hundreds of people in a not so big room, and it was really hot and sweaty all night. I liked Luke’s set just fine but I was hoping for more, and I liked what I heard from Silent Servant before we left. We got in a cab that was in front of The Works and the driver was pretty drunk. We did not realize this until we were already in and on our way. It was a pretty scary ride, but we made it back and got the fuck out of there. Only in Detroit! Went back to the hotel to chill again, I was ready to go out to Old Miami at about 7, but my roommates wanted to take a little nap to recharge. I’m glad they did that because I also took a little nap and woke up around 10. The roomies didn’t end up wanting to go, but I was feeling good and headed out, finally making it to what I was told was the victory lap of victory laps.

It did not disappoint.

There was a good Minneapolis crew right in front of the speakers (as usual) and we put a hurting on the dance floor for a few hours. When I first got there around 11, it was crowded but there was plenty of room to dance around. By the time I left at 2, it was completely packed and was hard to move around. This was definitely the best people watching of the whole weekend, to say it was a shit show was an understatement. I know I wasn’t in much better shape than most of the people around me, so who am I to judge? There was a certain point at Old Miami where I thought to myself “There’s the wall. I just hit it”. I still stayed for another 20 or 30 minutes after that, but then it was back to the hotel to rest up for the big finale.

It had started sprinkling rain by the time I left Old Miami, and by the time we were ready to head to the festival around 5:30, it was raining pretty hard. We tried sticking it out at the Made in Detroit stage, but we couldn’t get quite far enough under the canopy that covered part of the dance floor to keep us dry, so we headed underground. It wasn’t really on the agenda as I’ve seen him plenty of times, but we caught some of Drumcell’s set and it was as good a set as I’d ever heard from him, it was nice to see people rising to the occasion. After that, the rain stopped and we went back up to see Ryan Elliott at the Made in Detroit stage, which ended up being another highlight for me. I could go on and on and on about how awesome this stage is, and how many of my favorite moments from my three years at the festival have come at this stage, but one thing I really liked during this set was I could feel all the hometown pride and gratefulness from Ryan during his set. He was clearly in a comfortable spot with a lot of friends around him, someone kept coming out and lifting him up in the air, and he stopped many times to just look out in the crowd in awe.

After this we got a little food (I will definitely be stopping by that gourmet hot pretzel place next year, after not eating much for about 30 hours, it was probably the best tasting piece of food I put in my mouth all weekend), we went to sit behind the Beatport stage and catch a little of Maetrik’s set before we made our final push down in the Underground to see Silent Servant and our man DVS1. Maetrik was someone I really wanted to see and I was bummed to miss a good chunk of his set, but again I could not complain as Silent Servant’s set was fantastic and I missed a lot of his set the night earlier. It was really hot down there at this point, the rain was off and on but the underground stage was packed pretty full most of the last day. I figured I would be able to stay down there the whole time, as I had a guy from the festival delivering me waters from backstage, and I was passing them around to make sure my Minneapolis people got some. I figured I would be able to sweat out all the water and not have to pee, but I was wrong. Zak started at 10:30 and he was bringing the hammer down, hard, and by 11 I knew I would need to go up and pee at some point, so I just bit the bullet and did it.

When I turned around to head up, there were even more people down there than before, it was honestly the most packed I had ever seen the Underground. When I got to the ramp, I figured out why, it was completely down pouring rain, people were crammed in anywhere there was cover. Even after I got up the ramp it was pretty hard to get around. I went to the bathroom and begrudgingly accepted the fact that I would probably have to watch the rest of the set from the back, where I couldn’t even see the stage. It was made a little easier because I found a bunch of Minneapolis people up there and I really just wanted to be with some people I knew to close out the festival. But by 11:30, I decided I did not want to end my festival that way. When I had left the front, it was largely populated by molly-ed out bros with big muscles who were only down there to try to find someone to rub their boner on. The festival was sadly overrun by these types this year, and it was pretty disheartening at times. I felt like I had to watch over any girls we were with if we were ever up front at a stage, the way some of these guys stare at girls made ME uncomfortable. I honestly can’t tell if they realize how dumb they look. I don’t think they do, but I also like to think people wouldn’t be that stupid. They probably would though. ANYWAY, as I was walking up the ramp to pee, seeing all these bros going towards the front, I’m thinking “they’re going to be up front at the end and I’m not, and that doesn’t feel right”. Well I decided I wasn’t going to let that happen. Techno never has and never will belong to these kind of people, it belongs to the people who get down, who have had made some meaningful connections on the dance floor., who have been given a second, third, or fourth wind from the music. So I walked down the ramp, walked straight to the center of the crowd and just blazed my way through, shoving people out of my way. As I got close to the front I spotted the people I was with earlier (Andy Fargo, Katie Spandex, Jacob Hoffman, Stephie, Fiona, and more) and was determined to go stand right next to them. Not near them, but right next to them. And that’s what I did.

As soon as I got up there, all my aches and pains and exhaustion from the weekend disappeared. I danced harder than I had all day, and just smiled and celebrated with my crew up front. It felt very good for me, to take the end of my festival into my own hands and end it on my terms, surrounded by people I care about and who I’d want to share these memories with. It reminded me a lot of what I did during the end of my first trip to DEMF, seeing Claude Young at the Made in Detroit stage. After Zak finished crushing it, we were all still hanging out up front, floating from what had just happened. From the booth, Zak yell’s out MINNEAPOLIS! and man oh man did that feel good. I was wearing a Minneapolis shirt so I just pointed at it and strutted around like a goof. This last half hour was undoubtedly the highlight of the weekend for me, in a weekend that was filled with many of them.

We took the people mover home, and I’m glad we did, we were all pretty beat at that point and it offered some great views of the festival and the river on the way back. There are always a lot of funny hotel elevator experiences because you are in a small little space with people who have been going through the same exact thing you have. My favorite one of these encounters happened on the way up after the festival. We were talking to two guys about our respective after party plans, when we said we were going to the Klockworks party to support our guy DVS1. Then they asked if we had seen his festival set, which we said he had, and then they said “he was hammering! hammer hammer hammer hammer!” while fist pumping. Then we started doing the same thing. Then they turned around to walk away as they were at their stop, but then they turned back and we hammered a few more times. It’s little stupid things like this that I will remember forever, and the weekend is FULL of em.

We made our way to Klockworks by about 2, and surprise, surprise, it was steaming hot in the back. I watched my friend Dee play in the front room for a minute but Ben Klock was tearing it up in the back. I tried to hang, I really did. I was swaying around with my eyes closed. Eventually Zak started tag teaming with Ben, and the music was some of the best I heard all weekend, but I was hanging outside on the patio, where we could at least still hear the music. At about 4, it started downpouring rain, as hard as it had all day. I could have stuck it out in something lighter, but I was already starting to feel sick and I couldn’t do it. I stuck it out for a little while longer, and it was during this time that it really started hitting me that this amazing journey was ending. The past couple of years I didn’t do anything after the festival and had a chance to sit in my hotel room and reflect, but this one wasn’t like that. Everything moved by so fast, which is a sign of how much fun I was having, but it also meant there wasn’t much time to take a step back and think about what was going on.

I slept for a few hours, jammed all my stuff in my bag, and it was on our way back home. Zak was on a different flight back home but we hung out with him at the airport for a bit and shared some war stories. We also had a good Minneapolis crew on the flight home. We stopped in Chicago and next year I am just going to pay extra for the direct flight. It sucks but it’s so worth it, I was very very jealous of the other people in the Detroit airport going straight to Minneapolis.

My first two visits to Detroit are very important to me and always will be, but I feel like they were just getting me ready for this year. The music was better, I had better relationships with the people I was there with, and while there were plenty of great memories from the first two, this weekend was literally chock full of them, from the very start with me almost witnessing a no-hitter right through to the klockworks party and hanging out with Zak and Steve at the airport. And as good as it was, I feel like it still gets better, and so I am looking very forward to next year, hope to see you there!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Better Bob @ 30 – A Challenge For Us All

Hi friends.

A few months ago, I decided it was time to finally get my health in order after being overweight (or worse) for pretty much my entire life. Those of you who read my year end recap post on this blog know I lost 20 pounds in 2013 after September 18, the date in which I started a new job that I walk to every day – a mile each way. I felt very inspired, as I was able to lose the weight relatively easily. During this time, I also saw my sister, who has also been heavy most of her life, get very serious about her health and lose a very significant amount of weight.

I decided that after my busy season at work, I would sign up for the YWCA, which I walk past every day on my way to and from work. Since March 1st, I have missed only 6 week days, I have been to the gym every other week day. It’s nice to not have any excuses, I am literally walking right past the place, and once I got going, it’s been easy to maintain.

Since then, I have lost another 15 pounds, bringing me down to a weight that I have not been at since I was in high school. I honestly lost track of when I passed my current weight (210 as of the date of this post), but it’s been at least 11 years. I feel great. Every day. Well almost every day. I feel like I am in total control of almost everything in my life for the first time ever. I am happier, more confident, and obviously a lot healthier too.

You know that thing dummies say about how nothing tastes as good as being skinny feels? Well I can’t comment on that yet, but I will say I have never felt so good in my life, and it’s the sense of accomplishment that’s making me feel that way, cause I still have a long way to go before I’m skinny. 

I don’t have any secrets to offer on how I have lost this weight. The main thing I credit is using a calorie counting website. I use LoseIt, but there are a lot of options out there. LoseIt has a cell phone app in addition to the website, but a lot of them do. This is just the one that I have used in the past and have found easiest to use, and it’s free. I was sort of hovering at the same weight for the first week and a half after I started going to the gym, it was when I started using LoseIt again that I started dropping weight. It helps keep me accountable, I used to get a piece of candy out of the candy bowl at work probably once a day, but now it’s very rare. I’m being 100% honest with it because there isn’t a point of doing it at all otherwise.

Other than that, I’ve just been making small, gradual changes to my diet. Instead of two slices of pizza for lunch, I will get a slice and a salad. Instead of two turkey burgers, I will make some vegetables and just have one. Instead of eating some popcorn for a late night snack, I eat strawberries. These were all pretty changes to make, and it’s not like these are hard and fast rules, just something I shoot for.

But my health isn’t the only part of my life that I am trying to improve. I decided a few months ago that I wanted to jump into my 30th year headfirst, as the best person I have ever been. I have been learning to cook more, being involved in all kinds of exciting events, and just trying to improve myself every day, whatever that may mean on that particular day. My goal, for the next year (I turn 30 363 days from the date of this posting) is to go to sleep a better person than I was when I woke up almost every day, whether that means being healthier, knowing something I didn’t know, having a better relationship with someone, or any other improvement, I am aiming for 85% of my days being an improvement on the day before. That works out to 6 out of 7 days in a week, and it is obtainable, my friends. I have been doing it for 2 months now without the 6 out of 7 days requirement, and I feel like I have almost every aspect of my life in the palm of my hand. I feel as much control over my own life as I’ve ever had. And let me tell you what, it feels amazing!

To commemorate my achievement, I am going to throw an event close to my 30th birthday that will be a summation of almost everything I have done in my life that I am proud of, which is mainly as an entertainer. I’m not going to share too many details yet, other than it’s going to be a victory lap like most of you have never seen, and I hope you can be there for it. I know this is a little like Napolean building the Arc D’ Triumph before actually triumphing, but I got this!

NOW, the reason I am even posting this at all, is to ask you, my humble readers, to join me, to improve your life and feel what I have felt these past few months, so we can enjoy life more together. It’s a lot easier than you think once you get going, I promise. We can motivate each other to get better and be best friends. It will be fun. You don’t need to follow my schedule if you don’t want. And I don’t think I’m ever going to stop improving myself. But 30 seems like a pretty good target, so that’s what I’m going for. The whole point is to feel better about yourself, specific targets don’t matter so much.

Let’s roll!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

2012 In Review – Change We Can Believe In

2012 was a very good year, my friends. I would say the third best year of my life, behind 2010 and 2009. A lot of big changes, most of them good, and some of the best memories of my life. As readers of this and my former blog know, I have written a year in review post the past several years, but did not write one in 2011. I actually started writing one while I was on a plane to Denver to see 3 nights of Ween, but I never finished it. 2011 was a good year, but 2010 was as good as it ever was and it was a tough act to follow. It’s not that there wasn’t anything worth writing about, but I just didn’t have the same sense of achievement and personal growth that I had in 2010; In a lot of areas of my life I kind of just tread in place.

That said, here are a few highlights just to get them in writing. Freaky Deeky was the big thing. Heading in to the year I was hosting the show by myself for the first time. We were on a crazy hot streak of amazing episodes in the first part of 2011, and then we moved to Hotbed Studios, where there were growing pains. A few months after the move, we changed to every other week and the shows got better for a while, and when I say better I mean the best we’ve ever done. The Halloween/Haunted House episode of 2011 is my favorite episode of the show. We also did a show in the main room at First Avenue, that was really just a dance party that we were a sideshow at. It was fun, it was a major goal, but it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I set out to do a main room show. On the other hand, we also performed as part of Bassgasm 3 in February 2011, and that was the best Freaky Deeky live performance ever, by my count. I wrote about it here. I put out a few more videos with MPLS.TV, a couple of them good, the other not so good. Hey, 2/3 ain’t bad. I was paid to write something for the first time ever, and I got to take an African drum and dance class, so hey that’s pretty cool. And there you have it, 2011 (nutshell remix). It was a year.

The theme of 2012 for me was change. Not all good, but mostly good. Like 80% good I’d say. The biggest change of them all was my change in employment, and I have to say just 3 months in, I am incredibly happy with this change. I knew my old job at the accounting firm would not work out long term for me. I got into accounting because I liked doing math, but there were some major stressors at this job, like dealing with problem clients and co-workers, having to do customer service (even for the bad clients), having to try to sell myself and my firm outside of work hours, and having to enter every single minute of what I did every day into a time entry program. They paid for $2,500 in expenses for my CPA license (test fees, review courses, etc), with the agreement that I would work there for 2 years after getting my CPA or I would have to pay them back. The 2 years ended in December 2011, but I did not want to leave them high and dry before tax season so I knew I would be putting off the job search until 2012. I had a pretty rough 2011 at work but I snapped back into it somewhat during tax season in 2012, partly because we had one less person on staff and I was expected to do a lot more. I was given a bonus for tax season for the first time, which was very nice, but while having enough money to do the things I like to do is a big motivator for me, a specific amount of money is not. They could have given me a bonus twice the size and I still would have left.

I was worried about my work experience not necessarily translating into the kind of job I wanted, which was to work for a company doing their accounting. I got my new job, which is preparing financial statements, reports, and other financial documents for a huge company, through a search agency that just called me up by random chance one day (through the front desk at my old job, mind you). A few months of boring and trivial stuff later, I have an interview. I parked in a parking garage for the interview. I walked out a door into an alley, and came face to face with a guy dressed in full clown garb, make up and everything. He said “Hey” and I said “Hey” without batting an eye. This is the moment that I realized I was finally a real cool guy. I also figured that this would be some kind of omen for the interview, whether good or bad.

I thought the interview went terribly. The search agency guy who set it up told me to call him and tell him how it went but I felt too embarrassed, felt like I had wasted his time, and mine. But a couple days later I get asked for a reference, and the guy says that means I all but have the job. Looking back at the interview, after having worked there a few months, a lot of the things I said were perfect for the things I actually do at the job. The job is cyclical so far, basically I can’t do much with anything until a set of numbers is done. Every month there are a few things to do. Every quarter there are a lot of things to do so I am basically busy the whole month after a quarter end. And then what I was really hired for was the year-end, which I’m about to experience for the first time. I expect to be working 60 hour weeks just like I was at the firm, but it might be less than that, and it will end over a month earlier than tax season ends, so there’s that. It’s been pretty dead the last couple months, so some extra work won’t kill me.

So my new job is much more math oriented, and less to do with any of the things that drove me away from my old job. I essentially work for two people, really mainly one who had my job but was promoted. She is given a lot of work to do, and delegates the things that I can do to me. The only other person I really do work with/for is our main boss. I’ve felt that we have made a good team even from the very start of me working there, and I feel like what I’m doing is important. The work I do is passed on all the way up the chain, I mean the CEO is looking at this stuff. It goes through probably a dozen hands before it gets there, but I am the one who builds the bottom level of the pyramid, and I like that. It was kind of weird moving from an accounting firm with small clients to a company that has over a billion dollars in revenue, but I am totally used to the huge numbers by now.

The job is great, and that’s great, right? But the best part is it’s location. It is a mile away from where I live, and I walk to work every day, which means I barely drive my car. My car was a huge cause of stress in my life, and now it’s not. Enough said. If the weather is truly awful, I can get in the skyway 2 blocks from my house and take it all the way to the office. It’s a bit out of the way so it adds 5-10 minutes to my commute of 20 minutes. I have only done that twice since I started working there in mid-September though. Normally I can tough it out to right past the Dakota club, get in the skyway there, and that takes the same 20 minutes as it does walking on the streets. As I’ve been slow at work for a while I’ve taken some time wandering around the skyways, and have found my way around, going on 2 and 3 mile walks around the city, and I think I have found most of the good restaurants. Shout out to Andrea’s Pizza, a little slice of NY in the skyway.

Speaking of all that walking, another big change this year is my health. Or at least my weight. I started the year at 240 after an effort to cook more and eat healthier at the end of last year, down from about 255 earlier in 2011. I gained almost all of that weight back during tax season, I was certainly over 250. I continued to try to eat better in 2012, and by the time I started my new job in September, I was down to about 243. As of the date of this blog post, I am down to 225, so 18 pounds in 3 and a half months. I got myself down to 225 for a while in 2009, but this is is low as I’ve been since then, and I am feeling great and looking better. I have a long way to go though. I want to live forever, or at least as close to forever as possible. I owe it to myself to get in better health. I walk by the YWCA every day on the way home from work, and I decided I am going to get a membership there in March. It’s going to be very busy for me at work the next couple months, like 50-60 hour weeks, and I’m not going to kid myself. I’ve been there before with tax season and even just to not gain any weight during a busy time like that would be a win.

Alright! Well there are some of the good changes, it’s time to get dark, I think. Freaky Deeky. The thing I loved most in this world, the thing that meant more to me than anything I’ve ever been a part of, the thing that really freed me and allowed me to become the person I was meant to be (or at least get closer to that person), ended. It had been coming since the end of 2011, when the city of Minneapolis passed a huge budget cut to our network, MTN – Minneapolis cable access. The only reason we were able to do the show as it was was because Hamil worked there. The studio was closed at that time, and we were allowed to use it because we were respectful and Hamil was there. Hamil knew then that there might not be much time left both for his job there and the show, and he told me that, but it seemed better to not tell everyone else, I am optimistic to a fault and I just figured it would blow over. Still, we were running on fumes, and not much else, for the last few episodes of 2011 and the 4 we did in 2012. We moved back to MTN for the final 4 episodes after spending some rough months at Hotbed, where we made some great episodes but were doomed by the technology not aligning as well as it did at MTN. The move back to MTN breathed a little new life back into the show, but it did not last. The problems just kept adding up for Hamil, an awful streak of months that I would not wish upon my worst enemy let alone one of my best friends.

A few days after the penultimate episode, Hamil said the show would be ending and it would be funny if we just went off the air without announcing it. Hal and I put some sense into him though, and we did one last episode to say goodbye and try to get a little closure. That said, it would have been truly funny to end without the finale. The last call we took on the 2nd to last episode was from a tea party lady who was honest-to-goodness fuming mad about the fact that taxpayer money could possibly be going into broadcasting our show. I have terrible hearing and it’s hard to hear in there anyway, and she sounded like friend of the show and former freak Ashley, who called in all the time with different characters anyway. So I treated her as if she were Ashley, and by that I mean I said some totally awful and mean things! I told her her voice made me want to run to the bathroom and I wasn’t sure if I had to diarrhea or throw up more. Then Hal went on screen and bunched up his undies in his butt crack. She ended up calling MTN the next day and complaining about us, making it the first formal complaint the show ever received in it’s 4+ year run.

So there certainly would have been some stories, and I’m sure there are at least a few people out there who think that’s why went off the air. Awesome! Anyway, the last episode was really great. We got everyone who had been a regular back in the studio, we had some very nice and heartfelt segments on the show. I had pictured the final episode of Freaky Deeky in my head for years before actually, and I pictured us all sitting in a room hugging each other and crying. Well it wasn’t like that at all. I definitely got choked up several times after callers said nice things about the show, but all in all there were a lot of smiles and heads held high in that studio that night. Until the episode was over at least, it was too chaotic and busy to have time for anything else really. We went back to Hotbed to have a party and watch the show, and that was a truly great time. We danced, we laughed, we cried a little sure, but I remember looking around the studio a lot and just seeing a lot of really happy people. I noticed particularly that Hamil was in good spirits for really the first time (in my presence at least) since everything started piling on in December. He was back to his old self, if only for one night, but it was very touching to see.

There is a hole in my life that hasn’t been filled since Freaky Deeky went off the air. It is nice to have Sunday nights to do what I want, and to not be dead tired (and I mean to the point of being brain dead) every Monday morning, and I don’t think I’d ever ever ever be ready to do Freaky Deeky every week again, but I sure would go back in a heartbeat. I had started a long blog post about Freaky Deeky a few weeks after it ended, but I never finished it, and at this point, I won’t be finishing it. I can’t say enough about this show though. We made some great episodes, some good episodes, and some bad episodes, and I am proud of them all, but that’s not the important part. The important part is almost all of my extremely close friends I either met at Freaky Deeky or hanging out with people from Freaky Deeky. The other important part is I am so much more awesome (yeah, I went there) and free since doing the show. I always had it in me to be a weirdo in a TV studio, but when I went on the first time I had some body image issues and didn’t get naked during naked time. I did my second time on the show though, and it all got easier and easier every time. At first I was frightened of getting on the mic and talking to callers, and then I became a co-host, and then a host. I feel basically invincible these days when I go out somewhere. I am not afraid to dress like an idiot in public. I am not afraid to be totally awesome in public. All the fucks I gave have been given to charity. I don’t need them anymore.

For any fans who may be reading this, I have a feeling we’ll have some good news for you in 2013. Not like REAAAAAALLLY good. But good. You’ll know when I know, my friends.

Let’s keep it dark for a while now, I promise we’ll take it back up in a bit. Another big change was my favorite band Ween breaking up. This might not seem like a big change but it is for me. I travelled to see Ween about once a year for the last 8-9 years. Along the way I met a ton of people through the Ween message board, and partied with them in cities across America. I did close out 2011 with seeing Ween 3 nights in a row in Denver, which turned out to be their last shows. I’m really glad I went, looking back. Leading up to the last night, I was pretty bummed to not be around my close friends for New Year’s Eve, I wasn’t sure if I had made the right choice. A lot of people I had met in my previous Ween excursions were there, a lot of us staying in the same hotel, but I missed my friends. Well the NYE show turned out to be the best Ween show I’ve ever seen (I believe I saw 15 total), and the new year’s countdown was actually pretty fun. The timing of the break up felt a little symbolic for me. I had just gotten back from a new tradition for me, the Detroit Electronic Music Festival. I was back at home, hanging out with some friends who picked me up from my flight home when I heard the news. Based on what I’ve heard since the break up, and what members of the band have said, I am not holding my breath expecting to see Ween back together in all its glory, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all with whatever ends up happening.

Over the past couple years in Detroit, I had met a few people from other cities. This time I happened to meet someone from NYC who I instantly got along really well with. There was a techno festival in Denver in September, and the girl from NYC was the only person I knew who was going. So I went, and hung out with her and her friends most of the time. Even stayed in the same hotel where I had stayed when I went for Ween. In Denver I met some more techno people, one of whom I hung out with here in Minneapolis when he was in town for work. One door closed, but another opened. It’s not the same, and I won’t try to compare the two, but it felt like I should tell life to go easy on the symbolism because it’s getting kind of cheesy.

Ok. I think that’s all the bad stuff I have to say. Not so bad, right? I’ll live.

I was paid to write for the second time in my life in 2012, and it was an honor to have it be earned by interviewing a true legend and hero of mine, George Clinton for City Pages. Here it is. My friend Jen was their online editor until a few months ago, and just a couple weeks after she left I got a message from her saying they needed someone to interview George Clinton and she recommended me to the current editor of the Gimme Noise blog on account of me being a funk mastermind. It was supposed to happen on a Monday night. I sat around, waiting, and waiting, and waiting. I eventually got a call to let me know that a back up singer in the band had passed away. :(. We were able to get it done the next day, I brought my laptop into a conference room at work (this was still at my old job) and did the interview. I never even told anyone I work with that that’s what I was doing in there. I like to live 2 different lives. It’s fun to see what I can keep from one side or the other.

I made a few more videos for MPLS.TV, a dance video called So You Think You Kahn Dance. Here’s a link to one of them. It was…..good. It was fun. For the first time, I was in charge of getting it shot and edited myself. I can edit video, I’m just not good enough nor do I care to learn how to make something look and sound really good, so there were a few issues there. Ultimately I lost steam on the idea, I had a few more episodes in the can that I could have put out, but I just lost interest. I did, however, turn it into what I really imagined SYTYKD to be, a real life dance class! I had always pictured a very loosely structured dance class that would have 2-3 leaders, who would each do whatever they wanted with the class, whether that be do follow the leader type instruction, choreography, or what I favor – starting a dance circle and letting people solo. I was able to do it at the Gamut Gallery thanks to the generosity of Jade and James Patrick. I will admit that I was a little let down by the turnout, not so much the number of people (if there were more, it would have been deathly hot in there), but that the people who were there didn’t really need my help. The goal was to get people out of their comfort zone a little so they could hopefully realize most of the things preventing anyone from being a great dancer are mental. I am clumsy and don’t have rhythm. I used to be afraid of dancing. If I can do it, anyone can. It was still really fun, and very rewarding. The class went off about as well as I could have hoped. Hal and Kara were guest instructors, and without even talking about what we’d be teaching, our lesson plans fit well. Hal was building on some stuff that I scraped the surface of and incorporate in my everyday dancing (like using your face in your dance moves and being sassy as fuck), and Kara taught some choreography to Cotton Eye Joe, which is like my 2nd favorite song of all time.  The finale of the class was all of us, in a circle, hands on each others shoulders, dancing and having a good time to this song, and I can’t imagine a better end. I felt very proud when I was done. Didn’t raise as much money for the gallery as I was hoping, but it was a decent take and I think there will be another of them sometime soon, hopefully in Spring 2013!

The next highlight of the year was the Vogue Trash fashion show at Patrick’s Cabaret this October. I was asked to participate by Arturo, who was the programming director at Patrick’s when Freaky Deeky performed live there in 2010, in what was our first time performing live. I didn’t realize how awesome this would be until I was there the night of. It was very serious, they had a good runway set up and the event had all but sold out with very few tickets at the door. I won’t lie, I don’t get nervous too often but I was before I walked the first time, as I didn’t really know any of the models and I didn’t know anyone who was watching, aside from a handful of people who were working the event. My first outfit was a denim urban cowboy, or:

I had that glove in the tool belt, and when I stepped down onto the runway, I pulled it out and raised my hand up to put it on as epic-ly as I possibly could. There was a roar from the crowd when I did that, and that was all I needed. I felt like I owned the place after that, and so that’s how I acted when I walked around. I ended up walking in 4 different outfits, would have walked in 5 but there were no people to go in between. It was a major rush that I have not felt from doing a show since Bassgasm with Freaky Deeky in 2011. It’s the kind of feeling where you know that everything you’ve done so far is paying off, and those are the moments that remind me why I do what I do. I already have a bunch of ideas for next year’s, assuming I am asked back.

I had been thinking about doing a variety show, with bands, comedians, and other entertainments at a rock club, which would mean a band-centric show, but I realized that Patrick’s is the way to go. I have had a great time performing there with Freaky Deeky and at this event, and I found out this year that 100% of what they take in at the door for ticket sales is given to the artist, they don’t even take a cut, which is completely unheard of. What I have in mind would be much easier pulled off in a place like this, and all of my experiences with everyone who works there have been top notch. I e-mailed the director there and she said they are booked up for 2013 already – I could get on as part of other people’s shows but not have my own show – but that 2014 is possible. So that’s my new big goal in life. Neat, right?

Another highlight of the year was the Menneapolis 2013 calendars. I can’t take credit for more than rounding everyone up and trying to organize a few things, and putting the calendars on my credit card, but I am very proud of the final product! Have to give huge props to Matt Visionquest for doing such an amazing job and staying up real late to meet a deadline. We ordered 175, and I was a little worried that we would have a bunch left over, but as of the day that I type this, still in 2012, all of the calendars have either been sold or are spoken for. We have already had a lot of people asking about being in next year, so I think we will try to do some shots with multiple people in them. Saw a lot of hype building for this one and even more attention from people once they came out, so I think we will be expanding operations for Menneapolis 2014. We’re going to turn this sucker into a household brand, I tell you what.

The last big highlight of the year was the fifth and final Jean Jam. I wrote about why I decided to stop doing parties here, but the gist of it is my heart wasn’t really in it any more and I didn’t want to continue to throw half-assed parties, and that I should throw one last good one to end on a high note. Earlier in the year I did Dads Night Out 3, got a bunch of awesome decorations and booked some great DJs (shout out to Andrew “Naughty” Wood for actually DJing WITH his Dad), but only 20-25 people showed up. It was a busy night in town, but I was pretty let down. I still had fun throwing it, but it just wasn’t the same anymore. Jean Jam 5 was really great. Russell and his crew let me basically take over their night and do what I want, so I had Hal and Matt VJ like they did at all of our parties in the past, and had Danny play Hardstyle music, which was pretty fucking hilarious if you know what that is. I used to let it get me down when some people wouldn’t show up, and I won’t lie, I was a little bit bummed that some friends I was hoping would come did not make it out, but in all the pictures and videos of me at this, there is a big smile on my face. Someone asked me if I was on drugs (I wasn’t). It was a nice send off. Russell DJed last and played PYT followed by One More Time, which made me cry, right there at the front of the dance floor. Russell didn’t know it, but PYT was the anthem of my house parties back in the day. A very bittersweet moment, one that I will always remember.

I am really proud of the parties I threw/co-threw, especially the early ones with Drew, Eli, and Zair as The Original Truth Squad. Before the Jean Jam, I went through pictures of all the parties I’ve been involved with, and I saw a lot of people having fun, with huge, genuine smiles on their faces, and to me, that is all you can ask for as a party thrower. Here are the retrospective photos I compiled on a facebook album. Here is the last minute of Jean Jam 5, and I am pretty proud of the way it ended. What’s funny is in the couple of weeks since then, I have been asked to DJ and also asked to throw a Jean Jam-esque party with another crew. Haha. After I make a big deal about quitting. Well I will probably get involved with that stuff because I don’t think I will be able to stay away too long.

Phew, I’m almost at 5,000 words here already and if you are still reading, then props to you. We’re about to wrap it up, don’t worry. Before I go I want to list off my favorite memories of 2012.

First I will start with music. It was the worst year for concerts, and new music, in the past few, that’s for sure. I can’t even think of one new album from 2012 that I like right now, although I admit it is my fault for not listening to enough new music. Wait nevermind I can. The Bloodnstuff album is awesome, and so is the Secret Stash Twin Cities Funk N Soul album. Both are local, and I would highly recommend both. As for concerts, the best of the year would have to be Jeff Mangum at the State Theater back in February followed by Lee “Scratch” Perry at the Cedar in May. Honorable mentions to Hot Chip and Crystal Castles. I did go to Detroit again this year for the techno festival, which you can read more about here. I had a blast at Kevin Saunderson’s KMS 25th Anniversary party there, and that’s about all I’ll say in this one. Not sure where to classify this one so I will say I saw the Fela! musical and it was incredibly amazing. I reviewed it for TC Daily Planet, in what was, I believe, my only piece for them this year. Read it here.

The year in movies was also a big let down, and I saw fewer of them than I can remember. My favorite movie of the year, unquestionably, was Moonrise Kingdom. Wes Anderson has been a favorite of mine but I felt like his movies were getting worse. This one was a return to form, big time. Saw it twice in the theater and bought the blu ray when it came out. Honorable mention to Django Unchained, which was really really great too. Inglorious Basterds is my favorite Tarantino movie and seeing as there were plenty of similarities between the two, I was comparing them in my head while watching the movie. I shouldn’t have. They are very different movies, despite some similar themes. Go see it. For my sake.

OK. Almost there! Now I’m going to list my five favorite memories from 2012!

1) Jen and Dave’s Wedding. I wrote a big blog post about it here. Basically we were way up in the Northeastern tip of Minnesota, saw some amazing things, went on an amazing hike, and I fell down a waterfall and got cut up pretty good. It was truly beautiful up there, and I was very proud of myself for finishing the hike after falling, but it was after we got back to the cabin that we were staying at that was really the memorable time for me. We had a fire going right on the rocky shore of Lake Superior, with all of us sitting around the fire, sharing some laughs and keeping each other company. We stayed down there until the sun rose, and beyond, and that sun rise over the lake was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen in my life. Imagine me, laying by the campfire, too banged up to even move (well I could move but it really hurt to). On the rocks in front of me, some of my friends were diving into the lake while a few of us remained up by the fire. The sky turned from black to pink to blue. The water was calm. I will remember all of these little details for the rest of my life. After the sunrise, I suddenly stopped being in pain and decided to join my friends for a little swim in the lake before crashing for the night/morning/afternoon/whatever. The wedding and the celebration afterwards was, without a doubt, the best 24 hour period of my life. I got some scars from the fall, and I am glad, because they will be constant reminders of this day.

2) Halloween with Hamil and Carolyn. The two of us had started the night at a party at Hotbed Studio, and then went on to a house party in Bryn Mawr with a bunch of our other friends. Then that party ended and we went back to my place, because there was no where else to go really. It was the end of a long night but we watched the sun come up from my window and ate some eggs and just had a good time hanging out together. We made a lot of inside jokes that I still remember (like Hamil naming a building that can be seen from my window the Sad Batman, or creating our own time system that related to when we ate eggs – before eggs and after eggs, you had to be there I guess). At about 9:30 in the morning, Hamil had suggested we go walk through Loring Park and it was weird because I was thinking I would like to do that like 15 seconds before he suggested it. Mind melder. So we did, and it felt like a victory lap because we not only started before our friends, we finished way after. None of them could say they saw all the things we saw that night/morning. None! Here is a picture we took during our victory lap in Loring Park, and since that day, when I am sad, this is what I look at to cheer me up.

3) Synchronized Swimming with Mark, Kurtis, and Max. We went to a rave in the hotel where I had my Bar Mitzvah 15 years ago. We had gone the year before and it was really fun so I figured this year would be the same. And just like last year, it was a great time, and also just like last year, the highlight was in the pool the morning after. We went down to the pool right around when it opened at 6, to find Mark, Kurtis and Max (and a bunch of other people) already in there. It was quite a shit show. These people were all still up partying, many with beers/drinks in hand. The hotel was not ready for this. Haha. Anyway, not sure who started it, but suddenly we were all synchronized swimming. God damn it was fun. I had already considered Mark, Kurtis, and Max to be friends, but something special happened that day in that pool, and we all knew it. I feel even closer to those 3 now, we share a special type of relationship, and in fact I can’t say I’ve synchronized swam with any one in the world but those 3. Also, no homo.

4) After party for the final episode of Freaky Deeky. I mentioned it above, and this was obviously a bittersweet moment. I was actually really sad and having a tough time coming to grips with the end of Freaky Deeky, but I couldn’t help but look around and smile as we all danced to Daft Punk, ELO, and the like. Like I mentioned above, it was the first time I had seen Hamil upbeat and laughing easily in months, and that was very nice to see at the time.

5) John Snell’s end of the world pool party. A late entrant. John Snell is one of the most interesting people in the Twin Cities if you ask me, and fittingly his house is probably the most interesting house I’ve been in. He had an end of the world house party on 12/21, and luckily the world did not end because it turned out to be a great time. There was a bit of drama in getting all of our friends there, that I won’t get into, but we got over it and made a great night for ourselves. John has a pool in the basement, not a full size pool, but probably something like 12′ x 20′, big enough to hold most of the party at one point. At around 12:30, I was itching to get in the pool, and so I did, the first one in. 6 hours later, I would be the last one out of the pool. Between then, some great times were had. We played pool games, my favorite was someone  grabbing onto an inflatable crocodile, while everyone else stood on the edges of the pool. The people on the edges would push the crocodile person across the circle, and then someone else would push them. Later on in the night there was some drama in the pool, but my friends and I just ignored it, rose above it, and just kept having fun together. I lost track of time but it was just the few of us down there for many hours, and there are some great memories from that time when it was just the five or six of us down there. I will say this though, I do not plan on being in a chlorinated pool for 6 hours straight ever again. Ever.

I would like to take a moment to congratulate Carolyn Kopecky, who was the only person who was present for all 5 of these moments. Congratulations Carolyn! I couldn’t have done it without you!

And a quick honorable mention for best moment was the 2nd night of the Detroit festival. I went to the KMS 25 year afterparty, which was my favorite thing of the weekend, and then went to see Minneapolis’ own DVS1, and ran into a bunch of Minneapolis friends, and even made some new friends from other cities there. That was a really good night.

Well friends, I’m at 6,500 words now and this has just got to stop. But first, I want to thank a few people:

To Jen and Dave – thank you for inviting me on the adventure of a life time that was your wedding weekend. I will never forget what we did up there, and the day of your wedding is literally the highlight of my life thus far. I am really glad that I have some scars from the cuts I got from the fall, as they will be constant reminders of the greatest day of my life.

To Jade and James Patrick – you both have been a huge positive force in my life this year. You let me teach my dance class in your gallery, and didn’t complain when I made a fraction of what I was hoping as donations. You have gotten me involved with a lot of cool projects, have been supportive of my visions at every turn, and I really feel at home at the Gallery with the great crew you have assembled. Your babies are really cute too! I look forward to more adventures in 2013!

To Arturo Miles – thank you for including me in the Vogue Trash show! It was amazing! Ever since I met you, you’ve been the kind of person who I feel like I should just give a big hug to, and not a handshake. I look forward to working with you more in 2013!

To Hal and Kara Lovemelt – thank you for continuing to be my fans #1 and #1a. Your supportive words have always meant a lot to me, and help to keep me going when I need a little reassurance. Your guest teaching at the dance class was exactly what I was hoping for, and I am not surprised that it turned out that way without even talking to you about it first. I can’t wait to meet the new Lovemelt sometime in 2013!

To Hamil and Carolyn – thank you for all the amazing memories in 2012. I already felt very close to you before this year but I feel like we went to the next level this year! 2012 was most unkind to the both of you, and I really hope things turn around in 2013. I am here for both of you, always.

PHEW! I think that’s it! Almost! To everyone else who I interacted with in 2012, thanks. It was a great year and you likely had something to do with that.

See you all in 2013.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Once More Unto The Breach, Dear Friends – The End Of An Era

Well friends, the time has come. The fifth annual Jean Jam dance party will be held this coming Saturday (December 15) at Clubhouse Jager. With a somewhat heavy heart, I decided that it will be the last party that I throw.

We (The Original Truth Squad) threw our first Jean Jam in July 2008, but this really goes back further than that. As some of you know, we had some pretty bonkers dance parties at my house at 25th and Aldrich. It was at these parties that I really broke out of my shell for the first time. In the months before our first house party, I had been listening to a lot of funk music and secretly dancing to that music behind the closed door of my bedroom. I remember going out to a bar no more than a month before, and still being afraid to dance in public. But I decided to put on a Parliament album at the party, and an impromptu dance party broke out in our living room, and finally I showed the world what I had. The rest, as they say, is history.

We had too many parties there and eventually got evicted, and more than enough things stolen/trashed for me to not want to have another party at a place I lived ever again (besides one more the next year, whoops!). My friends and I had been getting into going out dancing more and more, and throwing our own party seemed like the logical next step. So we threw our first party, The Jean Jam, in 2008. 

It was everything I had hoped it would be and more. We made denim headbands with our name on them, and more importantly, it seemed like people were genuinely having fun. At this time dance nights had become very popular, but a lot of them were populated by people I wanted nothing to do with. They seemed to be there because they wanted to look cool, not because they wanted to go crazy on the dance floor and have fun. Our themes really took the ego out of people – we asked people to dress outrageously and we were not let down. We decorated the place. We brought a cake, but didn’t have anything to cut it with or plates so we just brought it around and people dug into it with their hands.

We gained more and more steam over the next few years, despite not having regular gigs. We made all of our parties very special, and I am very proud of what we did. There were a lot of great memories over the years, and sure, some bad ones too. But the good far outweighed the bad. In April 2010, we held what would be our last party at the VIP Room/Record Room at First Ave, which was called Dads Night Out. We made up this whole back story about how we were given the night but were going to be at a DJ convention in Finland so our dads, who were also in a DJ group, took over the night for us. I guess the story was very believable because a lot of people didn’t show up and I got a bunch of texts the next day from idiots who thought we were telling the truth. As a result, after having a streak of parties that close to 250 people came to, we went backwards, and never really made it back. I know we shot ourselves in the foot, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. We did it our way god dammit!

We moved to Clubhouse Jager, throwing Jean Jam 3 and a few other parties in 2010 before Drew moved to New York City in September 2010. We threw him a going away party, and I think my favorite moment from any of our parties was Drew and Eli playing End Of The Road by Boyz II Men at the end of the night, with a lot of our close friends belting out the lyrics with us. it was very sad, it wasn’t until then that it really hit me that Drew was leaving. Here’s a picture from that moment


At that point The Original Truth Squad was done, and the parties I threw after that were never the same. That’s not to say I didn’t have a good time, but between Drew moving and my developing other interests, my heart wasn’t in it any more.

We’ve/I’ve had a really good run, but it’s time to hang up the party pants for good. I’m sure I will be involved in future parties thrown by other people in one way or another, but this is it for me. Thanks so much to everyone who has come to our parties and seen the light, that connected with us and really “got” what we were trying to do. I really, really appreciate it!

And now for a few thank yous, in chronological order:

To Simon and Ben – thanks for putting up with me suggesting we have a house party every other weekend. I’m sorry that we got evicted.

To Eli, Drew, and Zair – thanks for all the great memories. We had a really good thing going for a while there, something I am still very proud of.

To Hal and Papa Matt – thanks for doing some really amazing video work at our parties for well below your market rate. It really set our parties apart.

To Russell – thanks for being one of the kindest people I have ever met, and also the easiest to work with. I would have stopped right after Drew moved if you didn’t inspire me to go on a little longer.

And to everyone who came to our parties – I can’t thank you enough, we never would have done any of this if it weren’t for you.

Well, that’s that. It’s been a good ride, and I hope to see you at Jean Jam 5 with a smile on your face! This is not the time for mourning, it’s time for celebration! 


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments