Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Atlanta Weekender/House In The Park


Labor Day was INCREDIBLE and one for the books! Atlanta has shown and grown within the ranks of the House Music Movement in the states and Worldwide. The Soul, Ambiance and Youth behind it truly inspires me. What a perfect weekend to close out Labor Day than to have The Atlanta Weekender and House In The Park.

Thursday night: LoveSexy Party - What a way to kick off the weekender. Working the door for Nina and Salah Ananse is always a pleasure. I have known them both for many years and to be part of a wonderful event bringing diverse communities together is key. Sabine in the building! That is my sister (dancing and Spiritual). I love her to bits. I knew this was about to bananas! Cannot forget Rescue Poetix (Jersey in the building!) showing ATL love. DJ Kwest_On and Salah on decks. Hearing 'Scandalous' made me lose it at the end. Madam CJ and myself started singing. I remember as a child hearing that track from one of the Batman films and seeing the album cover. Talk about classic. Ran into so many wonderful souls that night. This was just the beginning...

Friday night: Moodymann x Kai Alce x Ron Trent (SoundTable) / Josh Milan x Sabine Blaizin X Salah Ananse (Space2): Bear with me on this one. So much aural stimulation was being given this eve that I did not know what to do with myself. Great to see Moodymann while eating dinner. As well as seeing Ron Trent chilling and another brother that I have not seen in ages. his name slips my mind. Nonetheless, having dinner and chilling with some Chi-town folk, I run into Justin (DJ AquaBeat). I am so used to seeing him with Cher, but she did not make it this time around (bummer!). We discussed so many things and how this weekend is gonna change his Life. Food comes out and we are all in bliss. I am always raving about The SoundTable and its food selection. The Brussels and Cauliflower combo is the business, though.

So walking into Space2, it is great seeing Nina once again, Francesca, James, Teya and so many other souls. I look up and Sabine is on the decks getting it! Something about her sound motivates me. She brings so much into it and yet, still has a beauty behind it. Sleep on her if you want, this woman is doing big things. I get my groove in and then I bump into the wonderful Josh Milan. Giving him the biggest hug known to man. When I tell you that the amount of Love that I have for this being is a lot, believe it. He is thankful and excited. The first thing I ask is if he will be here for House In The Park. His reply was yes! My chest bugled in excited and happiness for my city! Little did they know how amazing House In The Park is. I pop over to SoundTable next door and Kai is warming up the crowd. Shortly after, Moodymann gets on. That was bananas and packed out. I then knew it was about to be on. Getting my 'fro all hot and bothered over the amazing beats.

It was great to see the wonderful people dancing on deck.  I pop back over to Space2 and Salah Ananse is on. Dropping goodness and getting the crowd hyped up even more. I swear Salah be bringing the pretty women all out. I guess it is a Libra thing. Nonetheless, this promises to be an amazing eve. Josh Milan steps on the decks...

Okay, he got to have his own diatribe for this because CHIIIILLLE: He truly showed out. The crowd slowly starts to grow bigger until it was PACKED OUT. He is banging out joint after joint. Even though in his blog, he stated that he played one track twice, that mug must have been seamless because I did not notice at all.  The only thought running in my head, 'Pleeease someone play 'Inside Of Me'. That would SO make my evening...' . Hearing sounds that many do not play down here was comforting to myself. It was this one track he played and I started doing turns, dips and handstands on the floor. I am going to need for him to give me those so I can pay for my download. Just sayin'!
When I heard 'You Should Be Loving Me', I lost it! The crowd went nuts! Cortney, Rodney and myself immersed ourselves even deeper and we hugged. Oh yeah! Cannot forget when I heard 'I Might Do Something Wrong' and people started losing it, singing in unison AND yelling. That track is one of the FIRST tracks I heard while transitioning into a House Head. That track just does something to the 'heads who know what it is about. We LOVE YOU, JOSH!! Your set truly set the bar for me. I can truly say that not one I stopped dancing. I may do a two-step every now and then to certain DJs, but you had a sister moving. The vocals, soul and riffs you brought were truly needed. Oh yeah, you must have read my mind because you played 'Inside of Me'. I lost it! So great to hear it through some speakers. THANK YOU!!!

Way-ment (Wait a minute...), how Deetoy gonna get on and make me get on the wall?! I cannot! I remember hearing him at Salah Ananse's Afrique Electrique event and losing my ever-loving mind in 2011. Why did you all have to tease us with that?! Sherri, Sabine, Keely, Simone and myself are losing it. I look over and others are losing it, too. Saturday promises to be an amazing day! So why is Ron Trent bringing some Kerri Chandler and some House Classics at the end?! A sista is not complaining. We all are getting it in at SoundTable to the goodness! Thank You all!

Saturday Afternoon/Evening: Passport Party x SpreadLove x Carlos Mena: Smoothies were helping me a TON this weekend and this day was NO exception. Arrgh moving day! Motivation from the past two days kept me going non-stop and it was not about to end. As soon as I finished packing, I headed down to Space2 for the day event. Aquabeat is at it. Next up is Deetoy. LAAWD!!! Why was he getting it in with all of us?! I cannot! Myself and Sabine were working it like it is Jouvert at Carnival (well, it was Carnival up in NYC). I feel alive when I dance.

Thanks for the video, Betty Castillo :)

We all got it in, including King Casamena himself, Carlos Mena. That is my homie and one of the most amazing individuals I have met. So few make an impact within my Life through music and continue to be an inspiration. He was in town to do an event called Secrets, which never disappoints. After the Passport Day event, I quickly changed and said my hellos to DJ Kemit and Aishah. These two are ALWAYS working hard and on the go! One of many power couples in the A I have so much respect for! BIG UPS!!!!! Late nights with wonderful music with wonderful company. 

Sidenote: Did I mention that my homegirl Emma from Montreal was in town? Talk about LOVE! what's up, lady? I have not seen her since WMC in Miami. Now you got something to tell your Montreal folk.

Sunday ALL DAY: HOUSE IN THE PARK 9/ AFTERPARTY: Arrived at the park around 11 or so. Tents ALREADY on deck. Folks were not playing this year. They said 8am that the park was gonna be available to the public. From what I heard, people were already lined up ready to get a spot. I said my hellos to so many beautiful souls, including Ramon's mom. She is a such a humble and honest soul. Words cannot express that enough. Thomas had the grill on deck with the Chicken Sausage. LAWD! That was a beast all in itself. I settle down and my mom comes soon after. This HITP was bittersweet for me. My last big bang in the ATL with so many wonderful souls. My goal was to keep it together emotionally, be jolly like I am everyday and to just have fun. As the music starts to vibrate through the speakers, the first pavilion fills up. 

Kemit is on and I felt this energy. He played 'Hear My Call' and to see him intertwined within the track with his eyes closed, I felt Ruby. That was her track. It takes me back to one night at The Gathering and she asked me to go up to the booth to ask Ramon to play that track. Anyone knows, I would NEVER do that, but at that moment, it was what she wanted to hear to uplift her spirit. When he did, to see her in her element brought tears to my eyes. She was a fighter until the end. I digressed and then the tears flowed. We had a mutual friend there and he caressed my back, knowing that all would be okay. I felt her smiling and the energy was just beautiful. I needed that moment to just focus and give thanks. The last time I saw her at HITP, Kai was on. Rodney and myself were dancing, she approaches us and gives us hugs. We cry in joy and gratitude.

I miss you Ruby...Rest In Paradise!

Snapped back and started dancing once more. The energy was getting out of control. By this time, Salah is on and we are all hooting and hollering in full-blown ecstasy. The energy was different somehow this year and I cannot put my finger on it (in a beautiful way, of course). For me, the number 9 signals completion. The City of Atlanta gave Ramon a proclamation and made it an official festival. Congrats to all who put the WORK in. 

Back to the music, donation boxes being passed around, Tracy twirling and smiling, Nina fanning and snapping/shooting video for all, seeing Chicago fam getting it in!

Highlights: At the beginning, Kemit was still on and the dance floor opened. Let me address this and leave it at this: I am all for people having cypers/circles and whatnot. Hell, sometimes I jump in. Just UNDERSTAND that the pavilion is ALREADY packed with people, DO NOT take up space. It kills the energy and people just stand around and STARE. We are here to release and dance in the name of Music and our Ancestors. I do not want to see someone DANCING and taking up space. It ANNOYS me to no end. So this is what Fahamu and myself implement: Operation Break-Up Circle. Not even after we stepped in, the circle ceased. I stated that I WILL NOT HAVE THAT HAPPENING and it ceased. Our ancestors want us all to rejoice! And that's exactly what happened. This young sister came up to me, grabbed my hands and we both danced. That is what means SO much to me! To see the youth interacting with its elders. Dancing is my Heart and Soul. I can only hope that this city understands its effect on the youth in the dance community. WE HAVE to come together. 

- Seeing Carlos Mena, Deetoy, Kai, Kemit, Salah Ron Trent in the booth while Ramon is beating 'Work that Motherfucker'. I LOST IT! Cortney and myself are on the table and TWERK TEAM was on and poppin'! I appreciate Ramon bringing the Chicago flair, but also respecting all levels of Music. Thank You!

-Alison says hello to my mother, who has attended EVERY House In The Park. She explains to my mother about my departure to the Big Apple and my mom makes this face. The next thing I know, I am in tears!! Goodness gracious, Alison! I LOVE YOU!

- Kai Alce on the decks and Frankie Knuckle's 'Whistle Song' come on and I in tears once again. This House In The Park was very emotional for me. I cry tears of happiness and joy. For the simple fact that my loved ones are here and we are embarking on amazing in Life. The music has us enveloped in its Love and one can only be Thankful. When I tell you that this Music has saved my Life. It truly has. It has taught me discernment, respect, Love for yourself and a mind of your own. Nothing in this World can replace that. The fact that one can travel around the World and under the age of 30 speaks volumes! ALL BECAUSE of MUSIC!!!

-Josh Milan meeting my moms. My mom is a HUGE fan of his past and present stuff. Both are from the same neighborhood that I will be residing (BK! Do Or Die!). She asks for his number to make sure that I am alright. That made my Heart smile. Oh! Ron Trent meeting my moms too?! Talk about respect and elders! WOW!!! Ron was blown away, as was I! This HITP is one for the books!!! 

 THE AFTERPARTY: Why was that STRAIGHT BANANAS and PACKED OUT?! I guess people were not ready to go from the Park. My boy, Sean Alvarez is on decks and doing the goodness! He plays Franck Roger's 'Jeware' and I am getting it in. The place is becoming like sardines at this point and I find Ramon. James is working the door and then I ended up working the door for the rest of the night. I actually liked doing it. Ron Trent comes on and starts bringing banger AFTER banger AFTER banger. Putting on wristbands and busting a move is what it is all about. Talk about an EPIC weekend! Can we just rewind? I'm just saying though... Kimberly, Nina, Karin, Al, Ramon, Kai, Salah, Teya, Francesca, James, Kemit, Aishah and so many others: THANK YOU for being the individuals that you are! This Labor Day weekend meant so much to me in so many ways. You have shaped my Life and I am FOREVER thankful for that! Okay, back to pictures!

Photo credits: Shannon McCollum, Carlos Mena, Clay Hollowman, Sean Ruff, Francesca Lowe, Sabine, Josh Milan and so many others! THANK YOU!!!