Monday, January 31, 2011

The DJs new clothes

I had some new stage clothes made this month which is always a good perk of working in entertainment. I can wear some really great stuff and even if its over the top, it's like I get a free pass because I'm the DJ and I'm supposed to wear something outrageous. It's good that I've worn it on stage a couple of times and it seems to have good ju-ju and when somebody says how cool the outfit is I get to tell them that I designed it myself and had it custom made. The jacket and shirt were made in Scottsdale at Jean-Paul Jeune and the boots came from Spain and the pants in this photo were just out of my closet because the pants that I ordered for this outfit were coming from Ohio and they didn't' make it in time. In fact, it's been 50 days since I ordered them and they keep telling me that they are on the case...

I'm leading the timid masses at a big industry mixer for several professional associations and networking groups within the wedding and event and tourism and hospitality industry. I didn't expect any dancing at such a function so the fact that I got 4 people going was a bonus. I didn't want to bring all of the lighting rig and video projection and everything but I did relish the opportunity to show my industrymates what I had and what I could do. Special thank you to my buddy Andy DeLisle for letting me use this photo.

The trouble with distinctive stage clothing is that I have to be cautious where and when I wear it. If I wear it in front of a particular group, I have to make a mental note not to wear it the next time I appear. Those Hollywood starlets that wear a $10,000 gown and get photographed in all of the trade and gossip magazines can't wear that dress again.

I played at a really fun wedding last weekend at Raven Verrado Golf Club out in Buckeye. The ceremony actually took place in the city park in the center of town. Here's the bride and her dad walking across the park. She wanted a certain lyric to swell at the moment she arrived at the stairs about 30 feet in front of her in this shot. I nailed it. Even the minister's first comment was "Wow, that was dramatic!" It's sometimes hard to cue such things on the fly because in rehearsal, they walk one speed and at the actually wedding with the nerves and the adrenaline going, they often walk faster.
There is a really warm and cozy banquet room with great acoustics at the golf club but the bride chose to have her dinner out on the lawn and rent a tent. It was pretty charming with my lighting and everything. I would have liked to put up my dancefloor lighting rig but the top of the tent was too low to do it.
I think a few of the guests were rocking out to a Bon Jovi song here.
That night was the beginning of a string of consecutive Saturday bookings that won't stop until June 18th and they include events in San Diego California, Salt Lake City Utah and Heber Arizona.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Party like a rockstar

I played a very posh event at a private residence in Scottsdale last night. It was a victory celebration/political fundraiser for David Smith of Arizona's District 7 which includes Cave Creek and parts of Scottsdale I think.

This is Tony Vacca on the sax. He just played a couple of numbers with an mp3 file on an ipod as accompaniment through my DJ system. He was too good for his own good I'm afraid. It was so perfectly mixed and performed that I don't think that most people realized they were listening to live sax unless they actually saw him standing there. Here's Sheriff Joe Arpaio speaking to the crowd with David Smith on his left and event organizer Gia Heller on his right. My DJ booth is right behind them but I'm out taking this picture.
I'm over by my booth this time. Sheriff Joe and Mr. Smith.
Personal friend and industrymate Lanette Romero- the Cake Contessa- catered the event and she whipped up some coconut shrimp with a delicious mango salsa- Mmm Mmm MMM! Local celebrity, Raven Valdez, was tending bar to raise more money for the cause of the evening and Barry Goldwater Jr. (former member of the U.S. House of Representatives) was also in attendance and gave a short speech. I also met LeAnn Hull who recently ran for the U.S. House of Representatives.

I was brought on mostly to provide the sound system for those couple of speeches and announcements but I can't just do the minimum- it's just not my nature. I fired up some dance music and asked the homeowner if I could move a patio table out of the way and we had some dancing and even went a half hour over. How could you not want to dance when you are all dressed up for dancing?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

In the beginning...

I had a visit from a DJ buddy from LA this last week- spent a couple of days at my house between Christmas and New Years- and we took a road trip up to Winslow where I grew up. We've become really good friends in the last 16 years since we met and he wanted to see if a visit to the place of my primary years could help him figure me out. Had a great chat on the drive up and back but I'm not sure he knows me any better than before. If you know pop culture or at least classic rock music, you know that Winslow, Arizona was immortalized in the Eagles song "Take it Easy." I'm not sure the song writer ever actually stood here or anywhere else in Winslow but the town has declared this corner to be the place and provided a photo opportunity. This is just a brick wall- a remnant of a building that used to be there. An artist has painted the windows and the signage and everything. If you look at the window on the left, there is an eagle perched, two windows over are two lovers embracing, the lower window reflects the flat bed Ford (remember the lyric, "it's a girl, my Lord, in a flat-bed Ford, slowin' down to take a look at me.) Just click on the photo to study a larger version of it.

This picture is where the Whipple's store used to be. The Burlington-Northern-Santa Fe railroad has an office on the left and Family Dollar is on the right but the two used to be the nicest department store in northern Arizona. Just out of the shot on the left- in the corner of the mall- was the corporate office for Whipple's. It's vacant now.

I'm standing on the spot that sparked my imagination and ignited my passion for the entertainment business. My DJ career started right here. It was a big retail promotion that my dad put on that was the biggest thing Northern Arizona had ever seen and probably hasn't been matched since. There was a 45' flatbed trailer parked on that spot for a stage and I got to introduce an appearance by Arizona TV legends, Wallace and Ladmo. There were about 1500 people there and I cracked a little joke and they laughed and when I told them to cheer, they cheered.

That moment changed my life.

The only thing that could have made that trip better would be if the Root Beer Stand had been open. I had a major hankerin' for a Taco Tangle.

Double Whammy!

I did two weddings on New Years Eve but I was home at 11PM. Try to figure that one out. I had a brunch wedding out at Raven Verrado in Buckeye and then hustled out to Dobson Ranch Inn in Mesa for an early evening wedding reception.
This may be the cutest flowergirl in the history of cute flowergirls. She was the niece of the bride and probably believed all day that SHE was the bride. If she has any memories of this day I hope they are fond memories. She was really well behaved and charming and cute. She was wwwwWWWORKIN' my tambourine on the dance floor in this shot.
The bride knelt down beside the dancefloor while her new husband was dancing with his mom and the FGIQ (flower girl in question) laid down beside her to take a break. They had to be done by 4P because another New Years party was coming in to that room for that evening. The wedding had been on the lawn at 11AM and lunch was served at about 115 so wrapping up at 4 was just right.
This was the evening couple- a second marriage for both of them. They had been married in the Mormon Temple in Mesa that morning and participated in a religious service and then friends and family gathered for dinner that night at a nearby hotel restaurant. We had family introductions and a couple of speeches and a prayer and some dinner and dancing and when the evening was winding down, we did an arbitrary New Years countdown and lit some sparklers and sent them off on their honeymoon.

It was a long day with some equipment and music logistics to be concerned with but I planned well and executed it well and had some satisfied customers at the end of it.