¡WEPA! Top Party for 2012

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¡WEPA! just celebrated its anniversary – a testament to how great this gathering is.  If dance were my religion, I would subscribe to the movement of house, scouring to find underground temples the way Coptic Christians climb mountains to worship.  Thanks to Joann Jimenez and Antonio Ocasio I know that the last Friday of every month will end in good vibrations, even better than anything The Beach Boys were singing about.  ¡WEPA! preserves the best of what is glorious about the New York underground dance scene.  Someone pass the baby powder!

To read more about the ¡WEPA! experience, click http://famenycmagazine.com/2012/02/10/friday-night-in-el-barrio/.

Photos courtesy of Joann Jimenez and Antonio Ocasio

Friday Night in El Barrio

My earliest memories of people gathering together to enjoy good vibes and good music was probably the tenement parties I witnessed as a small child.  Now blotchy memories – more sensations than recollections – my brain paints pictures of water colored visions, a grill cooking hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken, the smoke rising as high as the project buildings, hip folks passing joints and sipping on drinks in brown paper bags,  elders talking, people playing cards and dancing.  As I think about those images, what resonates the most is the feeling – a feeling that settled into my tiny soul only to be resurrected at certain times.  That was my first taste of going out – a sip if you will.  As I got older the block parties got replaced by house parties.  Small basement settings replaced the open spaces of the courtyard.  Silhouettes of perspiring bodies outlined by blue and red light bulbs created heat and energy while folks tried not to bump the makeshift DJ booth.

And these reflections are the makings of me and countless others who walk under the beam of the moonlight to enter venues where electric pulses blast out of speakers and open the doors to our souls, where baby powder is sprinkled on the floor to transcend.   These reflections are also the makings of Joann Jimenez and Antonio Ocasio, the life force behind ¡WEPA! a monthly party held at Bar 13, located at 121 University Place.  Both Joann and Antonio are staples on the underground house scene and are New Yorkers from Afro-Latin descent.  With ¡WEPA! they have orchestrated the quintessential homage to their roots.  They are the pied pipers and we are the children of the night happily following them along their musical and visual journey.

The last Friday of every month people of various ages and backgrounds venture to the third floor of Bar 13 and enter into an entire universe to itself – a time capsule of classic and contemporary.  Flags and myriad articles of clothing hang on a line, cigars are rolled for a quick excursion to smoke on the rooftop, live percussionists, artists and visuals are mixed in with the best in Afro-Latin rhythms to create the spiciest soul session fit for consumption today.

Jimi Hendrix asked the question, “Have you ever been experienced?”  Well, I can now say I have, but what would be more appropriate would be to say that I’ve been re-experienced.  I’m an old dinosaur that vividly remembers the golden era of nightclubbing in New York City.  Nothing like the water-downed, table service driven parties of today, the ¡WEPA! experience evokes the spirit of old NYC nightlife with a vengeance.  Under one roof are elders, circle dancers, prancers and people just enjoying the scenery.  The amalgamation of the intimate party vibe and laid back fun from the block injects ¡WEPA!  with a dose of freedom and community, the likes of which I haven’t felt in ages – it is the very essence of home.

Everyone knows the expression, “Thank God it’s Friday!”  Well, I would like to revise that antiquated sentiment and say, “Thank God for final Fridays!”  ¡WEPA! turns every final Friday into a holiday – a blithe fete that culminates the end of each month.  Without at doubt, it’s the best $15 party in the Big Apple (RSVP to muzikbutrfly@gmail.com to receive the reduced price of $10).

 

 

 

 

But don’t just take my word for it FAMERS take a look for yourself by clicking, www.wepanyc.com or www.youtube.com/wepanyc.

Photos and video courtesy of Joann Jimenez and Antonio Ocasio

The Roots of House Music Are Alive at Cielo

Wednesday has been considered “hump day” ever since the 40 hour work week was invented.  But for those of us who live to rejoice under strobe lights while the sounds of House music filters from the speakers and fills the atmosphere, Wednesday has taken on another moniker.  Wednesday is a night that is all about Roots.

One of my greatest moments while working as the Entertainment and Lifestyle editor at Caribbean Posh Magazine was interviewing Louie Vega and his wife Anane.  Louie is one of the architects of House music and a living legend.  His DJing and mixes have provided the soundtrack to my life and many other house heads’ lives around the world, and have been responsible for baby powder residue littering the floors of many venues. 

For those of us who live and breathe this music and culture, it is more of a creed than a lifestyle choice.  When I wrote my article about the Grammy winning DJ/producer, I dubbed him an archbishop because that is simply what he is.  Every leader must have a home base and in New York City Louie’s resident house is Cielo, located on 18 Little West 12th Street in the Meatpacking District.  The weekly Wednesday night party known as Roots is the seed of Louie Vega and Kevin Hedge of Blaze, another House music legend and high priest in his own right.  During its six years, quite an epic feat for an underground party, the stems of Roots have grown to become one of New York City’s staple parties.

Because House music is so engrained in the fiber of their beings, Louie Vega and Kevin Hedge provide the patrons of Cielo with sermons that are sure to guarantee a perspiration drenched t-shirt, aching bodies and refreshed souls.  When Louie is traveling, Kevin holds the party down solo.  Even Anane and Antonello Coghe (Nulu Music) spin on occasion. 

House music is not a genre readily found on top 40 FM.  It does not sell out arena sized venues and because it does not appeal to the masses, the future of my culture and its music is always in a precarious state.  Parties like Roots ensure that New York City, the cradle of House Music, will continue to have a voice as the underground dance scene moves into the next decade of the new millennium.

 Photos:  F.A.M.E NYC Editor