Out with the old, in with the new. It's Junior's house now. Junior
at Sound Factory, again. The same but not. Everything old new again.
Sound Factory looked great. A kind of winter wonderland in Ibiza.
Lots of white feathers and white Xmas trees and white lights and
white wreathes. And the banquettes and stools and ottomans had new
upholstery and there was white snow falling throughout the night.
And while there was initially that bothersome bottle-service
holdover from South Beach's more pretentious days, even that
tiresome policy was waylaid by afternoon. All the balconies were
opened by then, easing crowd flow and affording excellent
sightlines. The club really does seem almost new -- as if the whole
place had been smudge-sticked to get ready for a new reign.
We got there around six a.m., just as Alan suggested, and Junior was
on, and it felt right, hearing him on New Year's Day. Junior does
good by his "high holy days" (BlackOut, Gay Pride, his b'day, New
Year's). It felt like we were in the right place -- and that has not
only to do with his music and how he plays it but also with his
crowd, a much more diverse group of individuals than our usual
circuit showcases (take Victor at Crobar in South Beach, for
example). Junior's appeal seems to know no gender, ethnic, class or
age boundaries. He sucks us all in.
And it was interesting, also, to think about Alan's comment about
how Junior makes music somewhat analogous to chamber suites, how he
builds these musical movements, all pieces of his overall
And in thinking about him and let's say, Susan Morabito, for
example, and the relationship between music and sex, Robert and I
were thinking that the thing about Junior's sets is that they seem
to us to be the equivalent of tantric sex -- where the orgasm is not
necessarily the only thing on one's mind. And how like when we're
with Victor, it's bangbangbang, and how with Abel it's pump it up,
and how with Junior there's a little more time.
We loved the crowd. A whole gaggle of gorgeous Italian boys and
their sisters, and two shagalicious Mike Myers' and another parading
with a tutu strapped to his back and a boy with plumes and fur.
People dressing up. It was such a throwback -- and perfect. So much
more to see. Which is not to say there's anything wrong with pecs,
and thankfully there were plenty of those. It seemed like the boys
really started pouring in at eight a.m. and that's when the floor
got crowded in the best way, and stayed like that thereafter.
I wish I knew what Junior played. My body got it, if not my head.
There were vocals, but not so much and not always immediately
recognizable. There were build-ups and moments of release. And best
of all, for me, there were these eerie and kind of haunting
sounds which would float above the rest of the music, and the floor,
and there was a kind of marching beneath the yearning, and it felt
like letting go of something and moving on at the same time.
There was a lot of romance in the air. There were lots of people
kissing on the floor. It was less sexual than sensual. For a while,
we went upstairs and watched Junior from just outside his booth. He
looked happy, and healthy. It was nice seeing him groove to his own
thing. And he seemed somehow gracious when he came on the mike at
noon and announced that at his New Year's party, we always counted
down at noon -- and so we all did, and so did the new year lower
down upon us from the fourth floor in the form of a circuit boy
swathed in feathers and sequins.
It was one of several performances which emphasized the swoosh and
flow of feathers. One sequence was done to "White Rabbit," the old
GraceSlick/Jefferson Airplane song. There was a lightness about the
night, similar to watching snow: you know it's winter and you know
it's cold, but still it's beautiful. And that seemed somehow right
for this New Year's Day party: 2003 was a tough year, and not only
as viewed from the confines of our little navel-gazing circuit
world, but for the world at large -- but being at Junior's house for
New Year's day mitigated some of the horrors of the year and
reminded us to let go of the old and embrace hope and music and each
We left around noon, after spending the last hour in what was
formerly Abel's roost. It's a nice way to see the crowd, from where
Abel once stood, looking across to the staircase and to the right,
there's the stage, and to the left, now Junior. May he long be happy
and comfortable here.
Thanks to all the others who were there who helped make this party
such an optimistic start to the new year.