Sunday, March 30, 2008

Movin On Up 2

More Portland Place 2I ended up back at Portland Place this weekend -- I was invited to a big gay party that one of the residents had on the roof Saturday night. As I mentioned before, I could really get used to things like this. My friend Jayson and I agreed that it's the perfect location to be Phoenix's version of Top of the Park in San Diego.

For those of you who aren't familiar with the San Diego scene, the Park Manor hotel in San Diego, located right next to Balboa Park, hosts a big cocktail party on their roof on Friday evenings. The gays are there en masse. Hot gay men, cocktails and breathtaking views. It's a winning combination.
More Portland Place 1
Of course, the breathtaking views weren't limited to the Japanese Friendship Garden or downtown. There were some very hot bartenders as well. I'm usually kind of wary of hot straight bartenders, but these guys ended up being very friendly, and combine that with a hosted bar, it made for a great time.

More Portland Place 3One of the things that I enjoyed most, in hindsight, is knowing that only a few days ago I blogged about enjoying my last visit to Portland Place, and let the Universe know that I'd dig more. Well, thank you, Universe, for such a speedy reply. You did a great job!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It Depends pt. 3

I ended my last post with the title track of the disc and a distinct electro vibe. As I've mentioned before, I'm not really a big fan of electro but in some ways I've felt like I've been forcing myself to follow the trend simply because it's the trend. With this track I was trying to bridge the gap between the trend and introducing the elements of what I really want to do. Overall I felt like the contrast between the noisy quality of the electro style and the pretty aspect of the guitar really worked well. Once again, I feel like it's just a metaphor for the process I've been going through in my life for a while -- learning to be willing to start putting more of myself out there in the hope that things can work. Oh, and "Love & Cuddles" is a cool name for a track.

Track 5 - Canta Conmigo (Funky Junction Spanish Vocal Mix) - Blue Man Group
"Si te invito a jugar, no vas a negar, tu verás que inseguro soy, igual que los demás. / If I invite you to play, you won't be able to deny it, you'll see I'm insecure like everyone else."

I love this track; I blogged about it a few months ago. Along with the overall sound I've been aiming for, the lyrics of this track are really at the heart of things -- Si yo canto así, ¿te unirás a mí o cantando solo, sigo, desde aquí? / If I sing like this, will you join me or will I keep on singing by myself?"

I guess that's the fundamental issue I've run into as a DJ (and as a person) -- bumping into people who essentially say, "Who are you to play what you want instead of what I want you to play?" In my waning days at Miami, the owner pulled me aside and told me he had gotten a couple of nasty emails saying that the DJ (me) sucked because he wasn't playing all the music they wanted to hear and that maybe they'd enjoy the music if it was from "somebody" like an out of town big name DJ, but since I was just a nobody Phoenix DJ, I should play what they like.

Standing back, it's easy to say, "Screw them, they don't matter." Of course, I've also had others tell me that it's just as important to satisfy the market that's out there. I'm not famous, I don't have piles of money, so yeah, who am I to want to do what I want to do? What sets me apart from all the other poor schmoes out there? Si yo canto así, ¿te unirás a mí o cantando solo, sigo, desde aquí?

"Yesterday's gone, lost in the past, try to hang on, but it's fading fast..."

This track does break with the particular sound of the past couple of tracks but I chose it because it's the best answer to the question from the last track. Honestly, for most of my life I was content to try and please people, though it never really worked. In some ways, I've tried to cling on to some of that past because it's familiar. But like the song says, it's fading fast. And while the process hasn't always been smooth, learning to follow my heart just feels too good to ignore. "Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide when you shine on me..."

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Movin' On Up

Portland Place PenthouseLast week a friend of mine asked me DJ at a cocktail party that his real estate company was having -- essentially they're selling high end condos in this downtown development (Portland Place) and they decided to have an art showing/cocktail party to bring people into the project. I ended up on the second floor of a million dollar loft overlooking the Japanese Friendship Garden downtown.

I've mentioned before that I've been eagerly watching downtown Phoenix develop more of a big city feel. Portland Place is definitely the type of project that Phoenix needs. Maybe it's hard not to love a million (actually 1.7) penthouse, but it was so refreshing to have a space (and a building) that doesn't feel like a suburban apartment plopped down in downtown. The only thing missing was a hot doorman with a cute cap and white gloves.

On the musical side, they wanted to keep things kind of loungey for most of the time -- it was a challenge because I don't really have any pure lounge, so I had to look at the music I had with a different eye (or different ear) to fit that particular vibe and a much different crowd than you find at your typical gay dance club. Nonetheless, I felt like it went very well -- I was able to manage the energy and flow the way I wanted to, the feedback I got was very positive and the people writing the check were happy. I got a good hour to play some more uptempo fun stuff, too.

Portland Place RoofWhile I was a little nervous to venture outside my comfort zone, it felt good to recognize that there are many more opportunities out there than I've been willing to see and that I'm talented enough to adapt, whether that's as a DJ or more generally. I guess that's been my focus so far this year -- being willing to step away from the familiar in search of more of what life has to offer. Note to the Universe: I could really get used to this "deluxe aparment in the sky" thing. More of cool stuff like this, please.

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Marc's Midweek 'Patty Smythe' Beef Haiku

My gun goes, "BANG! BANG!"
Shootin' the walls of heartache
I'm the warrior!

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Bad Hobbit!

Adam sent me a Youtube link a few minutes ago that seemed to captivate him. As I watched, it seemed to refute a number of my deeply held conventions... First -- midgets. Midgets usually make for interesting videos, right? A long, proud tradition of dwarf tossing can't be wrong. Drag queens? Fierce! Spoofs of politicians? De-lish! So a latino midget drag queen proclaiming herself "La Pequeña Hillary Clinton" should be a show stopper, right? Um... not so much. Maybe I'm just feeling a little too picky this evening. Decide for yourselves.

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After spending the past couple of weeks house sitting for my Aunt & Uncle and their cat, Eddie, and a busy few days of family and Easter, Alex suggested we have some social time together. We decided on heading to Sauce for dinner, though this time we went to the one in Scottsdale rather than the one off Glendale and 16th. There were a few benefits to heading into Scottsdale -- first off, it's a clear reminder that while the economy in the rest of the country may be headed into the tank, there's still plenty of conspicuous consumer spending going on. That means there's money to be had, which is a very encouraging thought.

The other biggest benefit, to be sure, has to be the menz. The first one that caught my eye was a little young... an attractive Sauce employee in his black, fitted Banana Republic button down shirt and snug khakis. While my initial impression was that he had a very high gay quotient -- the spiky hair, the chunky yet stylish shoes... though with today's youth there are times I have trouble distinguishing between gay and metro. I was going to reserve judgment but as he lightly sashayed to our table to deliver our food, it was becoming rather difficult to leave him in the metro category.

That raised another interesting question -- just how many variations of gay movement are there? A few came to mind -- to sashay, to saunter, to prance, to mintz... there are so many subtle variations. I wondered how many others might recognize. In stark contrast there was this floppy haired emo kid busing tables who looked like a young Severus Snape. His arms rarely moved as he slithered between tables and the kitchen.

Our attention quickly turned to a prime ASU beef who was grazing on a salad with a friend. As I was with Alex, I thought about letting my paparazzo instincts take over but I fumbled with the camera on my phone, nervous that the beef would realize he was being photographed, and wasn't able to get a shot.

03242008042We then made our way over to Fashion Square in search of more beeves for our viewing pleasure. Wandering aimlessly, it was if the Gods intervened to give us direction -- Collegiate Closet. It was indeed a sign - if we were in search of eye candy, there was only one place we need explore.
Cliché? Perhaps, but this particular stereotype is based in truth. As Alex and I made our way through The Temple of Homoeroticism, we spotted him -- a handsome, hunky college-aged veal clutching his dowdy girlfriend by hand, as if she were a talisman that could ward off evil. To boot, he dragged what appeared to be his mother and aunt in tow -- perhaps he hoped that their combined strength would save him. Alas, we all know that you cannot be saved from what comes from within.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

It Depends - pt. 2

I'm going to break up the CD into a few more sections, for easier digestion.
"This is an anthem for the girl that got away, this is an anthem for the war of yesterday..."

I ended up with this track after a friend asked me about it. I felt like it was the perfect way to start off the CD -- knowing that sometimes it is really easy for me to look back at life and see all the things that haven't worked out as planned. I doubt I'm unique in that, though I'm slowly coming to realize just how much energy I've tied up in old disappointment and resentment.

Track 2 - Perfect Color (Jason Tregebov Remix) - Tanto Project
(Available at Resonant Vibes)
"You're the perfect color in my life..."

This is an odd sort of melancholy love song with an electro vibe., which I really liked as a follow up to the last track -- on one hand I think it has a similar emotional feel to me -- a sense of longing for something lost... at the same time, I really wanted to remind myself of a larger point -- that so much of my experience is limited by those disappointments and resentments I've been carrying around. As long as I'm willing to continue carrying all that around, the sort of grey drabness is the perfect color for my life.

The other aspect that was important to me was the electro vibe. I'm not a big fan of electro -- many of the electro tracks I've heard have a difficult time conveying a sense of emotion, which is really the foundation of how I DJ. Fortunately, I felt like the electro aspects of this track really did a great job of conveying the sort of noisy, static-y feel I wanted.
"How many years, how many days? It depends."

I love this track -- there's a reason I used it as the title track. A big chunk of the past few years of my life has been wanting things around me to change. Through it all I've asked myself when things would finally turn. As this track points out -- it depends. Getting back to the past couple of tracks, so much of it gets back to letting go of those things that have been holding me back. At the same time, I can't escape the fact that while it's much easier to keep doing things the way I've always done them, the responsibility still rests squarely on me.

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Welcome to Wonderfalls

A couple of months ago, I was spending the day with Alex, who was recovering from some minor surgery. He had recently got a short-lived TV series on DVD, called Wonderfalls. It never made it past the first 4 or 5 episodes and I had never even known it existed. I'm figuring that most of America hasn't either.

It took me a few episodes to finally get into it -- I missed the first couple of episodes, so there was a lot of "WTF?" Once I got past that, I found that I really resonated with the underlying story.

Wonderfalls centers on a young twentysomething living in Niagra Falls, named Jaye. She's got an Ivy League education, works in a dead end job at a local gift shop and lives in a trailer. The series includes a lot of her incredibly odd and dysfunctional family, and while at first she's painted as this pathetic slacker with no ambition, the show goes to great pains to make you understand that she's always been the outcast and that she's trying to choose a different path from her family: her right wing, George W. Bush loving (and still surprisingly lovable) doctor that is her father; her mother, who is a neurotic, well-known author; closeted lesbian-immigration attorney sister; and brother who happens to be a Ph.D. student in Theology and an atheist.

The crux of the show is that one day at work, Jaye is outside at lunch and chokes -- while she manages to dislodge the food, when she returns to work, suddenly things are different -- a wax lion from the vending machine in her store speaks to her. We're not talking Joan of Arcadia, "Yes, Joan, this is God, and listen to me while I pontificate..." Instead, the wax lion tells her not to give a customer her money back.

There's a lot more that I love about this show and I plan on talking about it more, just because there are so many different aspects that I love. But at it's core, it's a story about a very intelligent, talented girl who's grown up choosing to withdraw from the world, keeping most everyone at a distance. The stories Wonderfalls presents are about how the Universe finally starts to push Jaye in a different direction, one where she's forced to interact with the world in new ways and open up to those around her, despite the fact that all the while she's afraid that she's going crazy... and despite the fact that she's usually trying to fight the whole process.

Not only is she's worried she's going crazy, she's also dealing with the chemistry with the charming, emotionally available, though on the rebound Eric, played by the adorable Tyron Leitso.

While I don't live in a trailer, I can't help but see a lot of myself in Jaye and the struggle she's going through. In the first episode she explains her basic worldview: "Well, just look at them. They all work really hard everyday and they're dissatisfied. I mean, I can be dissatisfied without hardly working at all." I guess I've hit that point as well... and I haven't quite found a better solution... except for the insistent nudges the Universe keeps giving me, sending me in directions that don't necessarily feel like the direction I think I want to go and yet somehow always seem to work out in ways I don't really expect.

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It Depends - pt. 1

The last couple CDs I've made have been different from so many of the ones I've done in the past -- I've a couple of reasons for that. First, I've been trying to develop a distinct style -- something that helps to unify the way my music sounds and feels -- and at the same time trying to learn where to deviate from that style.

A few years ago I made a CD that was basically all flamenco house. At the time I wasn't able to find too many tracks that really had that feel and still had more of a dance energy. The result of that for me has been my attempt to incorporate that sound, and that spirit, into what I'm playing -- a lot of times that means I'll try to find tracks with a distinct acoustic guitar sound or more complex rhythms, sometimes it's just a certain latin flair. In a lot of ways that's just a reflection of me -- trying to acknowledge that influence in my life without necessarily being overwhelmed by it.

Second, I've really tried to make the past couple of CDs more personal, in that I've tried to make these CDs about me and my life, in that in a certain way they represent where I perceive myself to be and where I want to go. Each of the CDs represents a particular emotional and energetic shift -- they're meant to be listened from beginning to end.

With It Depends, I'm starting out with a question about myself and my life -- for a while I've felt like my life has been in some sort of stasis that I haven't quite figured out how to resolve. I intended this CD to be the answer to the question I've been asking -- "When do things finally start to change?" The answer, as I'm finding out in my own life, is, "It depends."

To go along with that general theme, I went with cover art -- basically trying to get across the point that at any given step along the way you can really go in several different directions, it's just a matter of deciding which way you decide to go.

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"I don't know how to get close to you, Marc."

Not really sure how many people have said that to me before. I suppose I'm always a little thrown when someone says that to me because in my mind, I don't think it's really that hard... but deep down, I think I forget just how much I decide to hold back... then I wonder why I can't quite understand why people don't really "get" me. I'm not sure where it all came about, perhaps it's my Scorpio-ness, or growing up gay, or something else, I can't really put my finger on it.

All I know is that very early in my life, one morning I woke up and realized that I was different. It's like hearing that old Sesame Street song: "One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong..." and realizing, "Holy shit, they're talking about me." For a long time I figured that if I just tried hard enough, if I was just nice enough, if I can just figure out what they want, they won't notice. Yeah, I was pretty much fucked from the start. It only took me a good 27 years to finally realize just how pointless that was. It's taking a while longer to figure out a better way of going about life.

Yesterday was the most recent time I've had someone tell me they don't know how to get close to me -- specifically, the wise and unique Elsa P. I suppose the best way, in my own mind, is through the music I love. I feel like that's the truest way I know of understanding me -- it's really the only way I know that I can try to help someone feel what it's like to be me.

At the same time, after talking with Elsa, it became quite clear that it's a little too much to expect the world to understand what I'm doing off the bat, because it's like a code that nobody knows but me. The only way around that is to get off my ass and to actually talk about the things that are important to me -- a lot of that is going to be my music (how and why I do what I do) but a lot of the things to which I'm feeling some kind of connection. So while you'll still see beeves, haiku and assorted other stuff here on the blog (because I really do care about that stuff too), expect things around here to go in a little different direction.

In the back of my head, there's that little voice asking, "Why would you do that? Who are you to use this voice of yours?" What I'm learning to accept is that only one answer really makes any sense to me: "Because it's important to me. That has to be enough."

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Marc's Midweek Laundry Day Beef Haiku

I'm down to my draw'rs
and they are dripping with sweat.
Guess it's laundry day!

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008


I know I've gotten a little caught up in the Obama versus Hillary story, but today just reinforced what's really important about this next election.
John McCain has officially completed his transformation from a Maverick and "The Straight Talk Express" into Weathervane McCain. When a guy who spent years being tortured in a POW camp decides its ok for the US to torture, you know that he's sold his soul for the sake of the nomination.

I know there have been moments where I've felt like I couldn't bring myself to vote for Hillary if she won the nomination (and I still think she won't be able to pull it off) but with The Decider making it undeniably clear that McCain represents yet another term for Bush, I just don't think I could live with myself if I let that happen.

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Marc's Midweek 'Ode to Ben' Beef Haiku

Prime midwestern beef:
love you more than Obama.
Will you marry me?

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

It Depends

I know I said I was going to make the leap to podcasts, but because iTunes won't let me send out my podcasts through their service, I don't see much point in it. Anyway, here's my latest CD, now on Radio.Blog. Enjoy!

You can also purchase most of the tracks on the CD by clicking on the links.
  1. Anthem (Cicada Mix) - Filo & Peri feat. Eric Lumiere
  2. Perfect Color (Jason Tregebov Remix) - Tanto Project (Available at Resonant Vibes)
  3. It Depends (Sanya Shelest Remix) - Rocket 2 Mars
  4. Love & Cuddles (Original Mix) - Nacho Chapado feat. Micky Forteza
  5. Canta Conmigo (Funky Junction Spanish Vocal Mix) - Blue Man Group
  6. Shine On Me (DJ Wady & Patrick M Bedroom Mix) - J. Louis, Ferran & Tikaro feat. Clarence
  7. Aguablanca (Puestas Del Sol Club Mix) - Aguablanca
  8. You Control Your Life (Original Mix) - Alex Herrera
  9. Toma Latinos (Club Full Drive Mix) - Rey Salinero
  10. Doo Doo Wop (Chuck Bleu's Dust Traxx Chicago Re-edit) - Paul Johnson
  11. Amazing (Tracy Young Club Mix) - Celeda
  12. Tiny Dancer (The Camel Rider Mix) - Marco DeMark feat. Casey Barnes

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Beef for Beef's Sake

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Saturday, March 01, 2008


02292008010Adam invited me to try a new Thai restaurant downtown with him last night. He mentioned the owners also run another Thai restaurant in Tempe, near ASU. I didn't care for the place in Tempe, but I was pleasantly surprised at this new place.

We started out with the calamari, which was breaded and cooked to perfection and served with a sweet and sour sauce. We would have preferred something a little more spicy for the sauce, but we ended up getting our fill of spicy later.

Adam and I both have a penchant for spicy food. Usually we go for Indian food and while we always tell them to make it spicy, sometimes they see Mr. Oklahama (Adam) and they decide that we really didn't mean it. That was not the case here. The food was tasty and almost made Adam weep, it was so hot. It was one of the few occasions where I probably would have enjoyed it a little more if it hadn't been quite so spicy. But overall, I enjoyed it and am looking forward to going back.
The original plan was to finish dinner and then walk over to a small theatre where one of his co-workers was having a performance. The theatre ended up being further away than we had thought and Adam didn't want to go in late. We ended up walking around gawking at some of the new construction downtown.

Aside from some of the highrises that are going up, there are some smaller projects that are slowly changing the character of the area. Adam described one particular condo project as "The Farmhouse Building." The pointed roofs do seem a little out of place, but overall I enjoy having spaces that don't feel like a suburban condo complex. Downtown Phoenix is coming along -- with ASU moving more students downtown and more housing being available, as well as the light rail nearing completion, I get the sense that downtown will be a much more vibrant place before long.

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