Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Favorite Thing: October 2010

Preface: Within this post. “DJ” refers to amplified itunes playlist management. No disks were jockeyed.

I always wanted to try to DJ a party. As a tween, I put myself in charge of the music of any party I was invited to and boy was I invited to TONS of parties. Seriously, if you added the weight of all the parties I partied at, it would surmount to well over 4,000 lbs of party.

In all seriousness, I can remember six total (non-Bar/Bat Mitzvah) parties from the age of 10-12:

1. Keith Fletchers 11th Birthday Party – I played a lot of the Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

2. Keith Fletchers 12th Birthday Party – Set-list forgotten.

3. Drew Blumenthal had a thing – I played Wu-Tang Forever a bunch, though really most of my time was spent inside the house watching Michael Jordan’s “Flu Game”

4. Jessica Bobrow had a thing – Just a bunch of kids watching Titanic, the de rigueur.

5. Maurice Reese’s 12th Birthday Party – Set-list forgotten

6. Jessica Bobrow had another thing – No music was played because the party was dominated by a certain back from Jew-camp friend talking about fingering Jewish females. Till this day, I am certain this is the one and only thing that happens at Jew-camp.

Ok, I’ll be honest, I was 13 for that last one. Leaving me with a measly 1.7 parties a year average (good thing this coincided with Boy Meets World really hitting its stride). Needless to say, this does not really qualify me to tell bars I have DJing experience.

After a year in Brooklyn, though, I was sure I could do it – I could DJ. Any time I saw a friend or friendly stranger twiddling about on his/her Macbook, I thought that looks 1. Fun 2. Easy. Hell, it seemed like everyone else was allowed to be a DJ.

Then I moved to LA and still no one let me DJ something. At this time I realized the real trick was convincing someone that they want me as their DJ, they need me as their DJ.

Then I moved to San Francisco and BLAMMO!!!! This past October, I was able to bamboozle the management of Solstice into letting my friend Dawson and me DJ their Halloween party. It ended up being an easy sell because I am a part of the said management for said bar.

After years of anticipation I can say comfortably that it was 1. Easy 2. Fun.

DJing Is Easy:

My DJ partner – we were billed as DJ Jacob vs. DJ Edward: Spinning Halloween Classics to Win Your Undead Hearts – showed up at the bar 45 minutes, which may or may not have been intentional. Upon arrival the bartenders very pointedly told us we should avoid playing Halloween songs because it would “kill the vibe.” This was my first time DJing, I really did not want to “kill the vibe;” however, it was a GD Halloween party and I spent all week crafting a three hour playlist of kitschy-as-hell Halloween tunes. Dawson and I had a quick Pow Wow and decided to refocus the list, front-loading it with the most classic classics and adding whatever Rap I could. The rest was as the say history.

Revelation #1: People like Rap music. As a genre Rap is dominated by fellahs talking about how cool they are, so by osmosis the listener is left feeling cool as well (it’s science).

Kanye West - "Monster"

Kanye West - "Power (remix)"

Thank the lord for Kanye West’s GOOD Friday campaign, which left me with two Aces in the proverbial whole: “Power” and the actually appropriate “Monster.” If there was a lull, either would instantly unlull the lulled. I played each trice over a three-hour span, even though there was never really a lull*. I tended to focus on the Halloween songs people were very familiar with – “Ghostbusters,” “Thriller,” and, yes, “Monster Mash – and avoided the obscure (sorry “Frankie Frankenstein”).

Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt Kickers - "Monster Mash"

Ivan - "Frankie Frankenstein"

Revelation #2: More than even Rap music, people (read: white people) LOVE mash-ups. It allows them to feel both black people cool and white people cool at the same time. It is a genre that I do not particularly care for but, thanks to the bar’s Internet access, I was able to download some on the spot.

R. Kelly v. Broken Social Scene - "7/4 I'm a Flirt"

Grizzly Bear v. Dead Prez - "Two Weeks of Hip Hop"

Revelation #3: It must be really great to be Girl Talk. Yeah, it is hard to create the mash-ups, but by the time he shows up at the venue it is smoooooooooooooooth sailing because, as I have said, DJing is easy.

DJing is Fun:

I mention Girl Talk, whose music and live performances I do not necessarily like, because the night I DJed I felt like his shirt-wearing doppelganger. I even did that thing DJs do where the lift one or two arms above their head and bounce it up and down and up and down to the beat.

In an essay about cooking, comedian Marc Maron wrote. “The idea that I could do something giving and seemingly selfless and still be the center of attention seemed magical.” This nails both my usual impetus for cooking and the feeling I had while DJing. Though most patrons did not give me a second thought and even less understood my ingenious (?) microphone costume, I still felt oddly powerful. For better or worse, I controlled a large portion of their nightly fun index.

Will you ever DJ again Jesse?

It really depends on who is asking and what they want me to DJ. The fact is I currently operate with dangerously little amount of memory space on my laptop so I cannot go gallivanting around the Internet downloading the hottest jams. I could and would do another Halloween party though, regardless of time of year. If no one asks me to play at their Halloween-themed Birthday Party or Werewolf Bar Mitzvah, I am still happy living off the memories of that fateful night in October.

The Smith - "Panic"

*OK there was one lull. It came when I tried to play Tracy Jordan’s “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah.” I do not care, the customer is not always right. Did you know 30 Rock gets awful ratings? I used to think it was a misnomer stemming from Hulu and DVR viewership, but now I really know the sad truth.

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