Posted tagged ‘culture’

Sock Hop Mondaze

August 1, 2012

Last Monday at The Peacock Room, I experienced the ironic.

First, mid-fifties to early-sixties music played.    Also, the majority of the patrons looked to be born in the 1980s. I was born in 1969.  As the music was older than me, the patrons were younger.

That night, I experienced Sock Hop Mondaze, a weekly event happening every Monday night at The Peacock Room.

From what I was told, the night once existed in Orlando’s Downtown area.  Then, for over a year, it moved around until it eventually landed at The Peacock Room.  There it earned the attention of Orlando Weekly’s Bao Le-Huu, who wrote positively about it in his This Little Underground column.

Much  of the  music were recordings by African-Americans, a cool thing because we still live in the era of over-hyping white musicians who perform “black” music. At least this night gave African-American artists  overdue exposure.

As for the DJ, what really goes on is a playlist playing off a laptop. I don’t remember anyone being near the laptop. Yet, folks had a good time and danced to the music anyway.

An ironic experience.  Yet, I liked it.

Surrender the Booty: Third Annual Pirates of the San Juans Festival

September 19, 2011

For three years, Sanford, Florida hosted the Annual Pirates of the San Juans Festival.  Since it’s birth, I was the official photographer and video man.

What was once a six hour event evolved into two days.

The following pics happened last week-end during the third annual event.

In the next pic, the winner of the Jack Sparrow contest.

In the middle is Moire Wisdom, one of the fest’s founders.

Surrender the BOOTY!

The lady is radio personality, Jana Banana from the Philips Phile.

On the end is Liz Watkins, another fest founder.

Surrender the BOOTY!


Friday Night Barhopping (with a touch of culture)

September 10, 2011

Last Friday, the automobile and I cruised to Downtown Sanford, Florida.

First I visited The Palette, an art gallery and cafe.   There I witnessed my friend Erica McLain’s excellent singing voice.

As she sung Sade’s “No Ordinary Love”, Erica’s alto voice reminded me of Roberta Flack.

Before she sung a Jill Scott song (I think it was “He Loves Me”), Erica’s husband suggested she sing without the mic.  Truth be known, the mic did take away the richness of her voice.

When Erica performed as suggested, I felt my emotions move.  Yep, she’s that damned good.

Erica sings at The Palette Friday and Saturday nights.

After The Palette, I walked to Fat Rat’s Lounge.  Rarely is the place crowded.  Yet, because of the good service, I always have a nice time here.

During my second Long Island Iced Tea, I walked outside where others were.

After finishing my Long Island, I headed to West End.

The Fubars: These dudes played an excellent version of a Cure song.  I think it was “Just Like Heaven” they played.

The dude among the ladies is my buddy, Hollywood.  Play classic hip hop or funk?  This mofo immediately jumps to the dance floor.

The young lady on the far right is Caley.   After some dudes knocked over my DJ gear during a fight,  Caley helped me set up again.

My last stop was Little Fish-Huge Pond.

Yep, this is exactly how people drink draft beer sometimes, from a jelly jar.

Megan Shutz: Her photography was featured tonight.

It appears as if Caley decided to come to Little Fish too.

As I go out photographing, some people ask for a photo with me.  Chris, the guy on the left, is singer Erica McLain’s brother-in-law.  When I wear my black fedora, some folks say I resemble Wyclef.

I didn’t see many people out tonight.   Bars like West End wasn’t packed as usual.  Yet, that didn’t stop me from having a good time.

Many of the Downtown Sanford people tend to be laid-back and friendly.   True enough, rednecks and other idiots exist here.   Yet, if one focuses on having a good time, a good time one will have.

Another Photo Tour of Downtown Orlando’s Nite Life

September 7, 2011

Last Saturday night, I took another photo tour through Downtown Orlando.   Unlike my last stroll, I took my Canon Rebel with me.

Not wanting to pay for parking, I parked at a parking meter.

After 6PM and on Sundays, parking at the meters are free.   On Friday and Saturday nights, these spots fill up quick.

As someone who has been doing this for years, a funny feeling nagged me.  Yet, I avoided it and started walking.

First I walked to Church Street.

Bliss: Between 1988 to 1996, I hung here when it was Phineas Phoggs.

These stairs lead into Bliss.

During the Phineas Phoggs days, some Latin dudes and me tried to sneak in through this way.  The game plan was this:  One dude enters the legit way.  Eighteen dollars earned you an annual pass.  Yet, none us had a pass, except the dude who went inside.  The inside dude was supposed to open the backdoor for the rest of us.

We got busted.

Then, as we ran off, the white male manager of the place began yelling racial slurs at the Latin dudes.

Amway Center: Home of the Orlando Magic, and where I recently witnessed a Sade performance.

Next, I turned around and walked back towards where I came from.

After Church Street, I headed to NV. 

Last time I was here, the bartender kept my change.  No big deal.  Shit happens.  After reminding her about my change, I got my whole dollar back.  As you can tell in the following pic, I had a better time.

They had a special.  $2.50 for some beer I forgot.

Unexpectedly, friends walked in.

Thomas: I’ve known him for almost two decades.  Also, he acted in a one-act play I wrote.

Jagger Bowie:  No, that ain’t her real name.  Not only did her and I both attend Lake Howell High School, her mother taught me history.  Jagger Bowie is also a DJ.

After some moments of chatting, Thomas invited me to follow them to Matador.

Joseph Martens and Nicholas:  Joseph is a local musician.  Nicholas is a dude I’ve seen around Orlando for years.

Lizzie: Jagger Bowie’s sister.

Jagger Bowie and Me.

Photo by Lizzie Siak

After Matador, we went our separate ways.

Next, I headed to Blank Space.

An event called The Cool Out was happening, a night involving hip hop and Latin music.

Hector Garcia:  With his wife Kristina, he runs Post Renaissance.  If I have it right, they print t-shirts and banners.

Abdias Ernesto Garcia: A local musician I ran across before.  At a show where I read poetry, he performed with his own band.

As much as I enjoyed the vibe (a damned good one), I walked the streets again.

Next, I headed to Cleo’s, a joint where my friend DJ BMF rocks the house.

BMF had a good mix of hip hop and soul music going.  After shaking his hand, I photographed the scenery.

After one beer, it was to the streets again.

Vain: Nice name for a club isn’t it?   I don’t know what the hell was going on.  Yet, notice the cop on the far right.

My last stop was Eye Spy.

I didn’t stay long.

Soon, I headed back to the automobile.

Remember that strange feeling I had about the parking meter?

The car parked next to me was broken into.  The owner wouldn’t let me photograph the broken window.  I ain’t mad at him.  Yet, I wanted to show proof of Downtown Orlando’s crime.

Ten years ago, the same thing happened to me.  Some fucker broke into my car’s passenger window and stole the CD player resting on the seat.

On a Friday or Saturday night, I would advise paying for parking.  At least, for most of the time, the parking attendant is present for security.

I got in the auto and drove off.

Tonight, I had a better time in Downtown Orlando.   I still think a Friday or Saturday night here is  too expensive.  Just like my friend Ed said: Gas, parking, entry fee and drink prices add up quick!   Yet, I still can’t resist Downtown Orlando’s eye candy.

Broke-Ass Friday: 90s Night

September 5, 2011

Despite the evening’s 90s theme, no one dressed up in 90s fashion.  Nobody even attempted the grunge look.  Being this is Summertime  Florida, it was just too damned hot anyway.

Like past Broke-Ass Fridays, all-you-can-drink PBR draft for ten dollars was the special.

For my new readers, Broke-Ass Fridays takes place the first Friday of the month.  Due to rent and mortgage payments, everyone is usually broke this time of the month, inspiring the name Broke-Ass Fridays.

In the  night’s beginning, friends started showing up.


DJ Spank and date:  Spank spun music during past events I hosted.


Mack Daddy and wife.  (Yea, I’m bad with names again.   And I knew this couple for years.):    Mack Daddy is a local poet.  His wife sings at a local art gallery.


At first, I played mostly rock, music like Pearl Jam and Spin Doctors.  Later on, I played mostly hip-hop and dance, including the jams “Rump Shaker” and “Poison”.  As I mixed the music, I continued photographing patrons.

When I first started DJing at this spot, I used to plug my laptop into the sound system located behind the bar counter.  The following photos show how I saw patrons for a long time.


I used to hook my system up to an outside speaker.

Because patrons complained about loudness, I stopped doing it.    The sound is louder outside than inside.   When I turn the music down to an acceptable sound for the outside, the sound on the inside is too low.   This head-ache forced me to stop hooking up the speaker.

Tonight someone wanted to hear it.   So, I connected my system to the outside speaker again.

Needless to say, the party was outside too.

As folks enjoyed themselves, a white twenty-something  female wearing a black t-shirt walked up to me.  On the shirt was the name of the band, Reel Big Fish.   I didn’ t think anything of it yet.   I  remembered the band being an all-white, punk-ska band.  Also, I remembered ska originating from Jamaica, a predominately black country.  Still, I thought nothing of the young lady’s shirt.

“Are the DJ?” she asked.

“Yea,” I answered.

“You need to play better music.”

“What do you want to hear?  It’s 90s night.”

As I’m doing my mix, she writes down the Beastie Boys.   I wasn’t annoyed.  I just noticed the irony.  She had the audacity to tell me to play better music.  And what is her choice in music?  All-white bands that play “black” music.  Some folks just do not know how ignorant they look.

I went back to my mix.

Photographed by Joshua Hull


Also, I went back to photographing people.

I usually have my laptop resting on top of a stereo receiver.  As heat inside the receiver builds, so does the heat inside the laptop.  When the laptop gets too hot, it automatically turns off, exactly what happened  tonight.  THE DAMNED THING TURNED OFF!!!

After that happening twice in the past, a person would assume I learned not to do that.  Well,…now I do.

Soon, I got things working and began playing “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix-A-Lot.  After that, I played Juvenile’s “Back That Ass Up”.   (Isn’t he getting too old to call himself “Juvenile”?  Just sayin’.)

Of course, things got wild.


After my gig, I followed some folks to Denny’s.  Because folks enjoyed previous no-flash photography, I did it again.  Pushed the ISO to its highest setting and began clicking.  In my case, the ISO was 1600.

After a cheap meal, I headed home.

Tonight was the most successful Broke-Ass Friday.  More and more, it keeps building.

Personally, being African-American myself,  I wish more black folks would attend.  Yet, that’s more of a problem with the town itself versus the bar’s problem.  Many black people just don’t come to Downtown Sanford at night.

Even if Broke-Ass Friday remains mostly white, I’m still happy with its rising success.