Posted tagged ‘orlando’

Photographing Downtown Orlando’s The Beacham

May 23, 2013

Last weekend, The Beacham hired me to photograph patrons.  An Orlando nightclub, The Beacham exists in the downtown area.

First, I searched for the cheapest parking.  Parking usually runs between five to ten dollars.  I found a five dollar spot.

downtown orlando

When you show them the receipt, The Beacham reimburses you for five dollar parking.

As you see by the sign, Fridays are Ladies Night. Women drink free all night.  Saturdays are free drinks before eleven.  Sunday is the Latin night’s all you can drink.

downtown orlando

Back in 2011, The Beacham was named Best Nightclub by the Orlando Sentinel.

best nightclub 2011 The Beacham

Just like with the first few, the following photos are taken by my cellphone.  I’ll post pro-photos at another time.

Fridays and Saturdays are predominately African-American.

downtown orlando

On stage, you see the DJ and two dancers.  Also, high on the walls are huge video screens.

downtown orlando

Richie Rich is the DJ.

downtown orlando

latina booty

For Latin night, I didn’t get the DJ’s name.  Yet, I did photograph the two Latin dancers onstage.

downtown orlando

Latin Club dancer

Because the place enjoyed my photos, The Beacham hired me again for the following weekend.

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Boy Bands: Orlando’s Shameful Past

May 2, 2013

Know how to piss off some Orlando people?  Bring up boy bands.  Remind them both Backstreet Boys and *N Sync formed in Orlando.

Backstreet Boys

Bring this up and you might have a fight on your hands.

(If you want to be extra nasty, remind them the lead singer of rock group Creed was born in Orlando.  Yet, this is about boy bands, not a rock group some folks hate with a passion.)

I lived in Orlando during the boy bands’ heydays.  One Tuesday night, I saw Kevin Richardson of Backstreet Boys hanging with some friends at The Social, a Downtown Orlando music venue.  A friend of mine gave singing lessons to boy band C-Note, a group on the same label as Backstreet Boys and *N Sync.

Like many others, I hated boy bands.  Yet, my hatred had nothing to do with their music.  Personally, I always thought of them as pop versions of r&b group Boyz II Men, a pop version aimed at suburban girls.   In fact, I recently learned this on Wikipedia: Backstreet Boys answered an ad wanting a singing group with a New Kids on the Block look with a Boyz II Men sound.  If you remember New Kids on the Block,  you don’t have to be a genius to know what the New Kids on the Block look meant.  Yet, that isn’t what ticked me off about boy bands.

*N Sync

Sure, I found it annoying how the media portrayed boy bands as the nice guys next door.  These were the days rap controversy was at its peak.  East Coast rap feuded with West Coast rap.  Rappers were shot or murdered.  After being shot, one rapper was later murdered.  Plus after that rapper was killed, another rapper was murdered months later. Also, rap lyrics inspired a religious figure to have a bulldozer run over gangster rap CDs.  Compared to media coverage of hip hop, boy bands were definitely the nice guys you wanted your daughter to date.  Yet, that isn’t what pissed me off about boy bands either.

What was it, you ask?  What annoyed me so much about boy bands?  I am going to admit something that many dudes won’t fess up to.  I hated boy bands because I was extremely jealous of them.  I realize many of their female fans were too young for me at the time.  In fact, many were jail bait.  Still, who wouldn’t want mass amounts of fame?  Anyone who says they don’t is lying.  They need to jump off their psudedo-hippie high horse and stop bullshitting. They desire fame as much as the next person.

To heck with the poetry local folks knew me for in the 90s.  I wanted fame and money like the boy bands had.  I wanted thousands of young girls thinking I was cute too.  Like I mentioned earlier, I knew many fans were jail bait.  Jail bait or not, it does boost the ego when thousands of young ladies think you’re cute and screaming they love you. Okay, about the money part? I had no idea the dudes were being ripped off at the time.

No, I did not want to be in a boy band.  I can’t sing or dance worth a lick.  The same way I was with  r&b group New Edition, I was jealous of the boy band’s success.

Now, back to Orlando.  When it comes to music, some Orlando folks annoy me.  As I DJ in some Orlando venues, some folks complain about my choice in music.  Living in a town that created boy bands and lecturing me about what’s good music and what isnt’t. I get it.  I’m not playing  “important” musicians that only five people have heard of.  I perfectly understand.  I should also be playing what’s hot in Europe.  Or New York.  Or South Beach.   Yep, I definitely understand.

Yet, here’s my thing.  I’m more interested in seeing women dance.  I wanna see women get low and shake it like a salt shaker.  I wanna see booty-booty-booty-booty-booty rockin’ every where.  Call me shallow, I could care less.

Pretentious Orlando crap is why I enjoy bringing up boy bands.  In a town containing people so full of themselves about music, it feels good bringing up the fact Orlando spawned boy bands, a music scene many people to this day despise.

Performing A Saturday Night DJ Gig at Orlando’s Li’l Indies

January 28, 2013

Last Saturday, I played a DJ gig at Li’l Indies, located in Orlando. Also, it exists right next to Will’s Pub. Will’s own Li’l Indies.

DJ Stone Crazy

I forgot the memory card for my Canon Rebel.  So, I used my iPhone for pics.

Monique Philly (the black woman in the pic) was celebrating her birthday, the main purpose of my gig.

Monique and friend

Just like Monique wanted, I played a mixture of punk, disco, soul and rock.  Most of it was seventies and  eighties music.  She didn’t want any rap, the first time I heard this coming from someone black.  Well, at least, I found the opportunity to play Skinny Puppy’s “Hexonxonx”  and Ministry’s “Stigmata”, industrial music songs I normally don’t play during gigs.

Some friends came by.

Keith Gregson

Keith Gregson

E.R. Jess AKA Butch

Butch

Trevor Frasier

Trevor

I didn’t attract a huge crowd.  Yet, the crowd remained steady.  Truth be known, it was one of my better Orlando Saturday night gigs.  Sometimes, only two to five people show up on these particular gigs.

When I played Debbie Deb’s “When I Hear Music”, some folks kept saying roller skate music.  Back in the 80’s, that song always played at Semoran Skateway in Casselberry, located not too far from Orlando.

I followed Debbie Deb with “Diamond Girl” by Nice and Wild, a group I saw at the now-closed Scatz.

I saw Debbie Deb there too.

The folks in the following two pics remained with me nearly all night.

couple

cutie

Towards the end of the night, a crowd of rock listeners entered.  One of them was a dude I remembered from Lake Howell High School.  I also seen him sing in local bands.

David Minshew

David Minshew

After posting that pic on Facebook, David wrote this comment.

David Minshew comment

I ended the night with “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by Joy Division.

I enjoyed myself.  Hopefully, I can play at Li’l Indies again sometime soon.

Orlando’s Milk District

July 2, 2012

Last Saturday night, I performed a DJ gig in Orlando’s Milk District.

Why the name “Milk District”?  Because this business section exists behind the TG Lee milk company.

My gig happened at Sandwich Bar, a joint owned by Mathew Scot.

Due to a schedule conflict, my gig almost received a cancellation. A private graduation party happened. Still, because the party ended around 12, Mathew allowed me to “spin” anyway.

Because I came early, I dropped off my gear at Sandwich Bar and  took a walk down The Milk District.

Next door, Spacebar held a weekly event called Bring Your Own Vinyl.

Each person brings in five records to spin.

After a short stay, I left and continued walking down The Milk District.

The Milk Bar: I drunk beer here twice before. The people are usually cool.

Sports Town Billiards: I think I’ve been here twice. I don’t know how long the joint existed here. I’m guessing over two decades.

Bull & Bush, an English pub:  2004 was the last time I was here.  Folks here are usually friendly also.

I walked back to Sandwich Bar.

Sandwich Bar contains the best sound I ever worked with.

First, I gave credit to the speakers located high above in the corners.

                                      

Yet, Mathew (also known as DJ Tard) explained the system even more.

I noticed the photos on the wall.

Yet, I never thought anything of the wall itself.  For sound, cork was placed on the walls on purpose.

Then, there was the ceiling. I forgot what these were called. Yet, special cloth is used for sound purposes also.

After the low-attended party, a few people remained.  I kind of screwed up, tho.  Because the previous two DJs (both women) played mostly house music, I attempted following with house and dance music.  I kept screwing up with the crossover fades.  Then, someone asked me to play “Diamond Girl”, an 80s club tune by Nice N Wild.  Interesting enough, back in the 80s, I saw that same group in a club located not too far from The Milk District.   It’s now known as Roxy’s.  Back then it was known as Scats.   “Diamond Girl” saved my DJ gig.

Next, I played more Latin Freestyle music.  Some women danced to it.

Next, another guy asked me to play Morrisey.  I guess some folks wouldn’t expect a black man to have Morrissey.  Yet, I played Morrissey’s “Suedehead”.

During my last half hour, I started a hip-hop set with The Root’s “You Got Me”.

Because of my flexibility with music, Mathew invited me back for more Saturday nights.  I’m game.

Witnessing Sade’s Orlando Performance: July 17, 2011

July 19, 2011

Due to my extreme lack of funds, my mother bought my ticket for Sade’s Orlando, Florida concert.  John Legend was the opening act.  Because of ticket prices, I hadn’t planned on attending.  Yet, because she’s a huge Sade fan, my mother wanted to see her.  And she didn’t  plan on going  alone.

When  July 17 arrived, we left my mother’s house at 6:30PM for the 8PM show.  I was the driver.  Knowing Downtown Orlando’s traffic, I figured it wise to leave as soon as possible.

After a twenty minute drive on Interstate 4, the heavy downtown traffic proved me right.  Some parking lots were already filled.  I found a parking garage for ten bucks,  a bargain because the garage exists right across the street from the Amway Arena, the spot hosting Sade’s performance.  Another parking garage was charging twenty.

After parking on the garage’s third floor, we took the elevator down.

As we walked to the Arena, my mother and I noticed the racial make-up of people attending the concert, folks of all races.

“She did say  her fans were mixed,” said my mother.

As we entered the arena, a middle-age black woman checked my mother’s purse and a younger black woman scanned  our tickets, tickets printed off  my mother’s home computer after she purchased them online.

Because I am not a sports fan, I have never been inside the new Amway Arena, the Orlando Magic‘s home.

We took the escalator up to our seating level.  Then, we walked passed the doors to our seats.

Due to fear of heights, it took me awhile to get used to the seating.   I had never been in a stadium as huge as the Amway Arena.  I don’t know how high up we were, but it was too damned high for me.

A few minutes after 8, John Legend and his band came onstage.  I’m not much of a John Legend fan. Yet, his performance impressed me, especially when he sung “Ordinary People”.   He ended his performance with “Green Light”, a hit he recorded with Andre 3000.

People were still entering the arena.

I think a half hour passed between John and Sade.   Then, the lights dimmed and folks began cheering.

First, the opening tunes to her latest single “Soldier of Love” started.   Soon, the Queen of Elegance began walking out of the stage.  Not walking on it.  Walking out of it.  Also, her eight piece band was rising from below the stage.  Of course, the crowd went crazy when they saw Sade.

By this time, the whole stadium was nearly full.

As Sade gracefully walked the stage, a thought came to me.  All these years, I’ve always remembered her as classy.  Unlike some of today’s female stars, I have never seen Sade use sex to sell records.  Instead she always focused on the music.  (Later. Jim Abbot of the Orlando Sentinel would write something similar about this.)

As she performed, either colored lights flashed or film would show.

All day and night, I had been thinking about “Ordinary Love”.  And wouldn’t you know it, she sung it.
Still, there was a special song I was waiting on, a song I recently added to my DJ play list.

I enjoyed her singing “Smooth Operator” and “Is It A Crime”.  During the opening tunes of “Nothing Can Come Between Us”, audience members clapped to the funky beat.  Still, she hadn’t sung my favorite song.

During the performance, a middle-aged black woman dressed in white danced in the aisle.  Twice the usher told her to sit down.

Also, in between songs, folks yelled, “We love you, Sade.”

When Sade sung “Kiss Of Life”, a black woman sitting next me told her friend, “We made Tony during that song.”

Sade rarely spoke.  Yet, when she did, I realized I’ve never heard her speaking voice before.  Singing, she sounds almost American.  Talking, it was obvious she was British.

At the end, she introduced the band.  Then, they all bowed and exited the stage.  She didn’t sing my song, but that was okay.  I was glad to witness one of the most beautiful performances ever.

“She usually does encores,” my mother said.

Folks began leaving.   A few minutes passed and still no Sade.

“I guess no encore,” my mother said.

Then, music came on.  I recognized the song right away.

“Yes!” I said as I clapped.

All the musicians came onstage. Next wearing a red gown, Sade entered and began singing “Cherish The Day”, the song I was waiting on. In the background, a film of a city skyline flickered. A see-through screen began covering the stage as Sade stepped on a platform that began rising her high above the stage. The film still flickered as Sade continued singing.

I said this when I saw Everlast perform “What It’s Like”.  It’s one thing to like a song.  Yet, it’s a whole new experience to witness the actual artist perform it.  Tears dripped down my cheeks.  Truth be known, tears fell throughout the whole show.  But not like this.

Then it was all over.  All night, I attempted holding on to this experience as much as possible.  Yet, the good times sped by too fast anyway.

I’ll never forget this night, the night I saw the Smooth Operator on Sunday, July 17, 2011.