Sunday, January 22, 2006

Immediately after graduating college, a few friends and I took a road trip. We drove from New York to Miami. We visited friends in Baltimore, DC and Atlanta along the way,. Then we spent about a week in South Beach and had a killer return though Florida with a day at Disney World and a night hanging out at my grandmother’s condo while she demonstrated her recently acquired Hawaiian belly dancing moves. After an amazing vacation we were in great spirits through our ascent up North. Then, just eight miles south of the Florida/Georgia border our car broke down. Completely and absolutely done. No signs of life. We called road-side assistance but they said they could do nothing to help us. We were broken down in a Lexus in the middle of bum-fuck with the closest dealership more than three hours away. We were forced to call a local tow truck company to take us to the nearest town.

That’s where Frog came in. Frog was our tow truck driver. He had a southern accent so thick we literally were unable to communicate with him. By the look on his face when we opened our mouths, you would think we were speaking Swahili. Luckily, we had a native Southern with us and our Georgian friend turned on his twang. We sat listening intently as they spoke their twisted tongue without catching a single recognizable phrase. The next thing we know, the four of us were crammed into the cab of a tow truck heading to Valdosta, Georgia—the nearest town with a hotel.

Self-contained Valdosta was equipped with the all the cultural necessities—a water park, a Hooters and a Holiday Inn. We got two hotels rooms for the night and paid $40, total. Then we sat at Hooters and people-watched over Buffalo wings and tap beer. It was awesome. The next day we rented and car and parted ways. Two of us needed to get back to New York while the other two were forced to Atlanta to deal with the car. As we got into LaGuardia we quickly shifted back into New York mode. My friend’s mother was in town and wanted to see us for dinner. We quickly pulled wrinkled outfits from our suitcases, put on some lip gloss and headed to Olives, where their family friend Todd English is the owner and executive chef. Eight hours prior we were devouring grits at Waffle House and here we were eating fois gras and polishing off bottles of fabulous wine with Todd English.

After a long, delicious dinner we all decided to keep the ball rolling and headed to Marquee. It was a great night, the crowd was fun and the music was amazing. Every song was better than the one before it and everyone was into the groove, especially myself. I danced like wild and passionately belted out the words to every song. So taken by the music and utterly wasted, I felt compelled to express my gratitude to the DJ. I walked right into the booth without hesitation and started chatting it up with DJ Reach. I complimented his selection and style as he graciously accepted and gave a full run down of his upcoming gigs and events. I saw him a week later spinning at Jet East in the Hamptons and again the following week at Marquee. He ignited the party each time and made going out actually seem fun for the first time in a while. I would always stop by his booth to say hi and we soon become night-life acquaintances. I would tell my boyfriend at the time I wanted to go out so I could see my new favorite DJ spin, and he was convinced I had a crush. But it wasn’t like that, I thought to myself. It wasn’t actually about him, it was about the music.

It was about the music? Who says that? Who thinks that? And when did I start formulating such ridiculously cheesy sentences? But I was a groovie. A full on groovie. I just didn’t know yet. And groovies definitely know its all about the music. So on that really random day that started over grits and maple syrup in Valdosta, I ended up a groovie on the dance floor at Marquee never wanting to go home and never wanting this day to end.
January 22, 2006

Groovie: (n.) (Pron. "groo-vee") Def: The combination of groupie and groove of a music record. A person who is obsessed with the allure of DJs and follows them to various nightclubs and bars using his or her “groovie” status to get into the aforementioned venues. Someone who follows celebrities and mimics their lifestyle to ultimately become famous and/or live like the aforementioned celebrities.

So me and my girlfriends were recently having dinner at China Grill in Miami where we were discussing the usual pressing issues: Nicole's ever-shrinking physique (do people seriously think she didn't have surgery?), Lindsay's obvious drug/eating disorder habit (the girl needs help) and Mischa's gross new boyfriend (Weird Al anyone?). Like most girls our age, we seem to think that these so-called celebrities (what they're famous for is beyond me) are our friends. We discuss their lives more than our own much less dramatic (or less publicized) lives. Forgoing last names, since please, I mean is there anyone else that comes to mind when you utter the name Paris, Jessica or Ashlee (Note ridiculous spelling of the latter. So annoying). We’re totally obsessed. And the sad thing is, we're not alone. People everywhere live on consumption of celebrity, which is bad enough, but there is a particular breed (namely us) that somehow believes we are celebrities ourselves.

It’s celebrity obsession coupled with feeling of entitlement…but we have yet to be categorized and filed in the large library of cultural phenomenon. I mean we’re not fans because for the life of me I cannot name a song Jessica has sung, a movie Nicole has starred in or a thing Lindsay has done since the remake of Parent Trap. All we really care about is where they go, what they eat and what they wear. But how do we put a name to our kind and give our obsession purpose? I mean I’d hate to think we’re just wasting our time.

This brings me to the grand epiphany that is the inspiration for this blog. This realization occurred to us at the holiest of holy places - Sky Bar at the Shore Club. Or at the door.

The red velvet rope hung in front of Sky Bar's glass doors like an all-mighty divider between cool and uncool. It might as well have been made of barbed wire. No one was getting in tonight. The crowd that included plenty of hipsters who would be getting in any other night stood there like needy puppies pleading for the attention of an owner. Confident and not caring whether we’d get in or not (none of us really wanted to go out), we approached the doorman.

"My little brother's dj-ing tonight," I said.

"What's his name?" he asked, barely looking at us.

"DJ Berrie."

Click. And we were in.

It was too easy. I mean not so much as a hesitation! It dawned on us this is such an untapped resource. Why bother trying to name non-existent promoters or saying you’re on a non-existent list when you can just go to the source?

As we sat sipping our grey goose sodas with twists of lime, we reflected on this amazing phenomenon. DJs are the rock stars of our generation - AM, Cassidy, Ronson. With names like characters out of a Mortal Kombat game, they are bigger than life and immortalized behind 2 turntables and a microphone. They own the vibe of a club, they make or break a place, and they are why we go out in the first place. I mean how many photos have we seen with Paris grinding up to Cassidy in the DJ booth, Naomi trying her hands on the ones and twos, and of course Nicole and AM simultaneously spinning and snuggling. Even these girls with all eyes on them are fascinated and attracted to DJs.

But these girls are just out for a cute photo op. We’re there for the man in the booth. The slick skill of mixing songs, the signature scratch and the smooth style. If rock stars of the 80’s had bandaids, why couldn’t the rock stars of the new millennium? No longer would we have to stand on unending lines, wait for impossible reservations or wither away on eternal waiting lists. From now on we’d be with the DJ and would follow their gigs like a groupie on a road tour, but a groupie with purpose. Starting that night our incessant celebrity obsessions had credibility because we were now part of a movement.

And so the groovie generation was born.