Archive | Nightlife

Miss Lauren’s Blackjack of Atlanta Defuncts Death Rumors, “I’m Still Alive and Kicking!”

Miss Lauren’s Blackjack of Atlanta Defuncts Death Rumors, “I’m Still Alive and Kicking!”

By Dustin Shrader

Contrary to popular belief, Miss Lauren’s Blackjack of Atlanta has not passed away.

In an exclusive quote from the legendary dealer herself, she says, “No, I am still alive and kicking. I am not sure how it got around that I was dead. I do have terminal cancer. I was diagnosed a couple of years ago. Recently, I found out I have to go back into the hospital for surgery. So, maybe that is how the rumor started?  The cancer started out in my small intestine and moved into my lymph nodes. I am taking treatment and feeling great. As of right now, everything is stable and has been for some time. Don’t count me out just yet!”

Miss Lauren hails back from the infamous Backstreet, some 20 years ago. Notable places she has dealt include: Burkhart’s, The Hideaway, Heretic, Tucker Saloon and many others throughout her illustrious career. She does real Vegas-style blackjack, with 30-plus years experience. If you were a one-million-dollar winner in one of her games, she would gift you with one of her t-shirts with her famous catchphrases known as Diddy’s. Some of these include: “The more you drink, the more you win. The more you bet, the more you win.” One of the first to use a t-shirt for one-million-dollar winners, for each table and location at the games you could get your name on a plaque of top winners. She still has every record of every t-shirt won and top place holder.

Currently still at The Tucker Saloon and performing Wednesdays and Thursdays at The Model T, Miss Lauren thanks everyone for the concern and well-wishes.

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Jane Lynch Brings “See Jane Sing” To Atlanta, Talks Future After “Glee”

Jane Lynch Brings “See Jane Sing” To Atlanta, Talks Future After “Glee”

By Dustin Shrader

Humble and sweet, as she is comedic and quick-witted, Jane Lynch very well might be the hardest working woman in show business today. After wrapping up Glee’s sixth and final season, everyone’s favorite, my-way-or-the-highway cheerleading coach is embarking on her next adventure—See Jane Sing: An Evening With Jane Lynch. See Jane Sing is Lynch’s national touring, musical comedy, a cabaret show she originally debuted in June 2014 at New York’s legendary venue 54 Below. Immensely enjoying those opening four nights last summer, Ms. Lynch decided to take the act on the road, traveling all around the U.S. with good buddies Kate Flannery (Meredith of The Office) and Tim Davis (Glee’s Vocal Coordinator). In anticipation of bringing her show to Atlanta’s Symphony Hall this Saturday, Jane opened up to Fenuxe about her crowd-pleasing performance, shooting a new pilot for CBS and the possibility of doing a full Broadway run in the future.

Fenuxe: I am excited to see your show! It has received high praise, what can we expect?

Jane Lynch: Well, I’m biased, but it is fantastic. It is about an hour long. It goes by really fast. It is funny. We have crammed a bunch of songs and a bunch of patter. I have a five-piece band, the Tony Guerrero Quintet, my friend Kate Flannery from The Office joins me for the bulk of it and my friend Tim Davis who opens for me, he joins us for some three-part harmonies. It is a bunch of different styles, I have some funny jazz numbers, some Broadway tunes we reimagined and rearranged, even a love song medley I find extremely funny. We smile, have a lot of laughs and so does the audience.

F: How has it been working with Kate and Tim?

JL: Terrific! You know, Kate and I have been weaving in and out of each other’s lives for decades. We’ve been performing and singing, and when I decided to do this cabaret show I gave her a call and said, “I can’t think of anyone, I’d rather have on stage performing with me.” She came out and we worked it up. We have a blast doing it! We started doing it at 54 Below, the cabaret space in New York. They gave me four nights before I even had a show. I kinda had a deadline, but that is how we came up with it. Tim was the vocal arranger on Glee and he is touring with me, he is a wonderful crooner. He is so talented and such a handsome guy, you’re going to love him! He and Tony of the quintet open for me, Kate and I flip in a little later and we have a blast!

F: Was performing in Annie sort of the inspiration to do your own show?

JL: Yeah, it sure was. I hadn’t done theatre in a while since I started out. Then when I moved into television and film, I had no desire to go back to the stage at all. And the offer for Annie came up and I thought, “Who turns down a Broadway musical?” So, I did that and got the bug all over again. I wanted to keep performing. 54 Below gave me those four nights and I am having such a great time. We decided to take it out on the road, doing a smattering of dates all over the country. Now that I am finished with Glee, I’ll be picking up steam and adding more dates in terms of the tour.

F: Taking part in Annie and doing See Jane Sing, have you considered a longer running Broadway show?

JL: That is a great question! You know, I think the world is our oyster. We could keep doing the touring, which is great. But I am also imagining in my head how I can get into something where we stay in one space, make it a little fuller, a little bigger, add a bit more music and an over-arching theme to make the show longer. It is a possibility, because I have a ton of ideas of what I could add to it.

F: Is every show the same or is improvisation involved, as well?

JL: We do improv, actually! My drummer Matt Johnson said last night it is a tight and loose show. My kind of way of working is I plan every single moment I leave no stone unturned. It is a complete entity by the time I am through and put it out on stage. Then and only then do I feel free to goof around. It is very loose but there are definite parameters. With the parameters set, I feel as if it has become my playpen and then I can move around. Last night we had a show here in Alexandria, it was very loose. People asked if it was all improvised and it wasn’t. It is very structured but within that structure, we have a blast.

F: I was thrilled to hear you are coming back to TV with CBS’s Angel From Hell.

JL: Well with the pilot we shoot the show, then the network decides if they will take it to series or not. We just had our first table read yesterday. We start shooting next week and hopefully, it is something CBS will want to take the bait. I’m really excited.

F: Any other big names joining Angel From Hell?

JL: Yeah, Kevin Pollock and Maggie Lawson, who was on Psych will be joining. And Kyle Bornheimer, who you will recognize. The four of us are kind of the regulars in it.

F: If given the green light, will we see it this fall?

JL: I would think so, I am hoping so. That is definitely the intention, so we will see what happens.

F: Are you still going to have time for a third season of Hollywood Game Night?

JL:  Yep! In fact, it sounds like I am the busiest person in the world, but last weekend and the weekend before we shot ten Hollywood Game Nights! We are ready to throw those on the air early this summer.

F: Wow, that is intense.

JL: I am exhausted, my friend. But I had a great sleep last night, so I could be ready to talk to you.

F: What has been your favorite role played to date?

JL: Oh gosh, it is always the one I’m doing. I will say though, Sue Sylvester has been a complete joy to play. I did it for over six years. The longest role I have ever played. I loved it from start to finish. The great thing about Sue and the double-edged sword of the character, she is great in small doses. So, I was sprinkled in and out. It was always a good time. These last thirteen episodes, I was in so much of them. It was fun and I had such crazy things to do. I am eternally grateful to all the powers that be over for allowing me to go out with a bang.

F: Out of six seasons, who would be your favorite co-star or guest star? I’m sure Carol Burnett was a pleasure to work with.

JL: Oh, Carol Burnett and Olivia Newton John were so amazing to work with. Matt Morrison is my favorite co-star in the world. I just love him. He is a real joy to hang out with.

F: Well, because you are such a prominent figure I have to ask, I was wondering your thoughts on the whole D&G scandal?

JL: You know what, I have been so busy, so I am unplugged from everything that is going on. But people say stupid things all the time. We all do.

F: Yes, that is true. So, have you always been a singer or did that come about on Glee?

JL: I have always loved singing. I grew up in a musical family. We didn’t sit around and play instruments like the Partridge Family but we did sit around the kitchen table and sing songs. My parents loved harmonizing, but that is about as far as it went. They would also do the church musicals, where ironically everyone got loaded, but that was really my first exposure to singing. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love it.

F: Have you been to Atlanta before?

JL: I have! I shot The Three Stooges there and another film called A.C.O.D.: Adult Children of Divorce. I love it! I love the food. It looks like we are going to have some time too! I have like a day and a half to hang out there. Look for me on the street! We will take a picture! I would love to have people come out to Symphony Hall. I can’t wait to play there. It is going to be a lot of fun.

Jane will be performing See Jane Sing live this Saturday, March 28 at the Atlanta Symphony Hall.

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Alliance Theatre Presents ‘Blues for an Alabama Sky’

Alliance Theatre Presents ‘Blues for an Alabama Sky’

By Dustin Shrader

The Alliance Theatre will be presenting its upcoming production of Blues for an Alabama Sky, this marks the 20th anniversary, celebrating the production’s world premiere at the Alliance in 1995.  The play was written by adored Atlanta author and playwright, Pearl Cleage (What I Learned in Paris, The Nacirema Society…) and will be directed by Alliance Theatre Jennings Hertz Artistic Director Susan V. Booth. “Blues for an Alabama Sky is a timeless look at hopeful dreams in the hopeless days of the waning Harlem Renaissance.”  Opening night is Wednesday, April 22, 2015.

Taking place in 1930’s Harlem, Blues depicts the harsh realities wrought by the Great Depression, devastating the upbeat decade of the Harlem Renaissance. Disease and poverty monopolize the inspired bliss that helped to fuel a surge of African-American artists, writers, and luminaries. “Blues is a story with a rich cast of characters, scrambling to survive and make sense of their overlapping personalities, politics, and love. A classic by Atlanta’s own Pearl Cleage, as timely today as when it was conceived.”

The original production included Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show) and Bill Nunn (The Spider-Man film trilogy).

“When Susan Booth told me she wanted to direct a 20th anniversary production of Blues for an Alabama Sky my first reaction was surprise at how quickly twenty years passes,” said playwright Pearl Cleage.  “When the play premiered in 1995, my wish was simply for a successful first production.  I’m happy to say that in the 20 years since Blues was commissioned not a single year has passed when the play was not produced on multiple stages across the country.  My own involvement ended after that first production so having a chance to rediscover this play in collaboration with Susan, who is directing it for the very first time, offers us a unique opportunity to create something that is absolutely new. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate!”

The current cast of Blues for an Alabama Sky features Crystal Fox as Angel.  Fox appeared as Evie Madison in the world premiere of Cleage’s play What I Learned in Paris.  Fox’s previous credits include Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots (Hanna Young), In the Heat of the Night (Luann Corbin), and the film Driving Miss Daisy (Katie Bell).  “Fox was hand selected by Phylicia Rashad to understudy the role of Angel during the 1996 production and will now play the role for the first time.  The cast also features Thomas Neal Antwon Ghant (Native Guard, A Christmas Carol) as Leland, Tyrone Mitchell Henderson (Angels in America) reprising the role of Guy, which he played opposite Phylicia Rashad in the 1996 production, Tinashe Kajese (Sticky Fly) as Delia, and Keith Randolph Smith (The Whipping Man, God of Carnage) as Sam.”

Blues for an Alabama Sky performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8:00 pm, Saturdays at 2:30 pm and 8:00 pm, and Sundays at 2:30 pm and 7:30 pm, April 15 – May 10, 2015.  There will be no 2:30 pm performance on April 18.  There will be no 7:30 pm performance on May 10.

Opening Night is Wednesday, April 22, at 7:30 pm.

Tickets start at $25 and are available at the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office in person or by calling 404.733.5000.  Tickets are also available online at www.alliancetheatre.org/blues.  Discounted rates for groups of 10 or more are available by calling 404.733.4690.  Discounted rates are also available for members of the military, seniors, and students.  The Alliance Theatre is located at the Woodruff Arts Center, 1280 Peachtree Street, NE, Atlanta, GA 30309, at the corner of Peachtree and 15th Street.

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Shaky Knees Music Fest Announces Late Night Line-Ups

Shaky Knees Music Fest Announces Late Night Line-Ups

By Dustin Shrader

Shaky Knees Music Festival is back and is ready to… you guessed it: Shake. Your. Knees. The three-day music ride will kick off the party on May 7, with Mercury Prize Winner James Blake at Terminal West. The following two nights include on the rise musicians Milky Chance and Frank Turner and rock experts The Dead Milkmen and Built To Spill spread out among venues all around the city.

Shaky Knees late night shows begin Friday May 8, with a mixture of artists from and also not listed on the official roster. Such music slots include: Graveyard, The Dead Milkmen, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, Portugal. the Man, The Shadowboxers, Snowden, and Ridewill keep the music going late into the night.

Saturday, May 9, will be jam-packed with more than half a dozen Shaky Knees bands including Built to Spill, Frank Turner, Spiritualized, Milky Chance, Best Coast, and Steve Gunn, Diamond Rugs featuring members of Deer Tick, The Black Lips, Dead Confederate, Los Lobos, and Six Finger Satellite.

According to the press release, “Consequence of Sound calls the 2015 Shaky Knees’ lineup a “tour de force from top to bottom” and awarded the event a silver placement in their “Top 10 Music Festivals In North America” round-up.”

All tickets to every Shaky Knees show are on sale now. For more information visit, http://shakykneesfestival.com

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SHAKY KNEES FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES LATE NIGHT SHOWS FOR 2015

SHAKY KNEES FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES LATE NIGHT SHOWS FOR 2015

TICKETS ON SALE MARCH 11 AT 10 AM ET

March 10, 2015 (Atlanta, GA)Shaky Knees Festival is proud to announce three exciting nights of late night shows for Atlanta festival fans that choose to go big instead of going home. The festivities kick of with Mercury Prize Winner James Blake on May 7th at Terminal West and continue with two nights of first-rate shows from up-and-comers including Milky Chance and Frank Turner and rock veterans including The Dead Milkmen and Built To Spill at venues throughout the city. Tickets for all shows go on-sale tomorrow March 11th at 10 am ET through shakykneesfestival.com/latenight. A full listing of late night shows is below.

On Friday, May 8th, Shaky Knees late night shows will include a mix of artists from both on and off the official daily lineup. Graveyard, The Dead Milkmen, …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead, Portugal. the Man, The Shadowboxers, Snowden, and Ridewill keep the music going late into the night.

On Saturday, May 9th, more than half a dozen Shaky Knees bands including Built to Spill, Frank Turner, Spiritualized, Milky Chance, Best Coast, and Steve Gunn will take the stage late night at venues across the Atlanta. Also performing is indie super-group Diamond Rugs featuring members of Deer Tick, The Black Lips, Dead ConfederateLos Lobos, and Six Finger Satellite.

Consequence of Sound calls the 2015 Shaky Knees’ lineup a “tour de force from top to bottom” and awarded the event a silver placement in their “Top 10 Music Festivals In North America” round-up.

Tickets for all late night shows go on-sale on March 11th at 10 am ET through shakykneesfestival.com/latenight. Late night shows are ticketed separately and are not included in the general festival price admission. Doors open for all show at 10:30 pm and music starts at 11:30 pm. For more information on Shaky Knees, including late night ticket prices, VIP ticket packages, and advance price general admission passes, visit shakykneesfestival.com.

 

CONFIRMED LIST OF SHAKY KNEES FESTIVAL LATE NIGHT SHOWS

Thursday, May 7 – James Blake – Terminal West  (Kickoff Party)

Friday, May 8 – Graveyard – The Earl
Friday, May 8 – The Dead Milkmen – Masquerade (Hell)
Friday, May 8 – …And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – Masquerade (Purgatory)
Friday, May 8 – Portugal. the Man – Masquerade (Heaven)
Friday, May 8 – Shadowboxers – The Loft
Friday, May 8 – Snowden (Playing the album Anti Anti in its entirety) – Vinyl
Friday, May 8 – Ride – Terminal West

Saturday, May 9 – Built to Spill (w/ Wooden Indian Burial Ground) – The Earl
Saturday, May 9 – Frank Turner – Masquerade (Hell)
Saturday, May 9 – Diamond Rugs – Masquerade (Purgatory)
Saturday, May 9 – Spiritualized – Terminal West
Saturday, May 9 – Milky Chance – Center Stage
Saturday, May 9 – Best Coast – The Loft
Saturday, May 9 – Steve Gunn – Vinyl

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Reprinted:  Media Press Release Fenuxe MagazineCopyright © 2015 Shaky Knees Festival, All rights reserved.

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James Franco Comes To Atlanta, Debuts “I Am Michael”

James Franco Comes To Atlanta, Debuts “I Am Michael”

By Dustin Shrader

Indie film Hall-of-Famer, James Franco is bringing his biggest LGBT project yet to Atlanta this coming week! On March 20, James’s newest flick, I Am Michael will kick off the Atlanta Film Festival with a debut screening at The Plaza Theatre with the A-Lister making a personal appearance himself.

I Am Michael stars Franco as a gay journalist-activist turned pastor, who makes a 180 switch denouncing his homosexuality in favor of a “straight Christian” lifestyle. The film follows Michael’s early days with his boyfriend (played by Zachary Quinto) all the way through his conversion and ultimately falling for the young Christian woman (portrayed by Emma Roberts) who would eventually become his wife.

Initially released at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, the true story, indie biopic has received mildly positive reviews, praising Franco for his nuanced performance.

Sure to draw a crowd among Atlanta’s gay scene, Plaza will open doors to I Am Michael at 7:30 PM.

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Madonna Announces 35-City ‘Rebel Heart’ Tour, Atlanta Date Included

Madonna Announces 35-City ‘Rebel Heart’ Tour, Atlanta Date Included

By Dustin Shrader

It is official! The original ‘Material Girl’ has just announced the dates for her upcoming 35-city tour! Yet, that is not even the best part; Atlanta is the No. 2 slot on Madonna’s tour roster!

The concert dates were announced by Live Nation this morning with the tour kicking off in Miami, FL on August 29th. Madonna will make her way to perform at Atlanta’s Phillips Arena on Sept. 2nd!

Still riding high from her killer Grammy’s performance, the singer will also be including stops in Europe, Australia and even Asia. Currently, her latest single “Living for Love” holds the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Dance Charts. This marks Madonna’s 44th time holding such a chart topper!

According the press release, this won’t just be any Madonna tour.

“Madonna continues to be one of the most successful  touring artists in history – her shows are legendary and we are thrilled to have her going back on tour,” Arthur Fogel, President – Global Touring and Chairman – Global Music, stated.

The New York Times has even solidified we will be seeing a different Madonna, apparently one we all know and love, “They won’t experience the celebrity of Madonna the fashion statement but the Madonna who has kept us listening for decades:  Madonna the musician”.

Tickets for the Atlanta show go on sale March 16th at 10 AM.

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Witches’ Night Off Questionnaire with Wicked Cast Member Dashi Mitchell

Witches’ Night Off Questionnaire with Wicked Cast Member Dashi Mitchell

By Dustin Shrader

Witches’ Night Off features the Company Members of the Broadway National Tour, WICKED with a special guest performance by Tony and Grammy award winner Jennifer Holliday.

This one night only event benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Joining Hearts Inc. of Atlanta. Hosted at the Ferst Center for the Arts of the Georgia Institute of Technology on Monday, March 2nd, the evening will be filled with song, dance and the opportunity to get to know the WICKED cast. The performance will begin at 7:30p. According to the press release Witches’ Night Off is, “part of an ongoing series of performances by the touring company to support charitable causes. The WICKED, Munchkinland Tour has raised over $2.8 million in donations for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and local AIDS service organizations all over the country.” Tickets for admission begin at $30 with VIP pricing starting at $100.

This spectacular Monday night extravaganza will include LIVE auctions featuring a once in a lifetime chance to join the company backstage at Atlanta’s Fabulous Fox Theatre.

“Live Auction items include:

– Watch the “GREENIFYING” of OZ’s most infamous lady. This experience includes a backstage tour plus 2 house seats for a performance of WICKED between Wednesday, March 4th and Saturday, March 7th.

Other exciting LIVE auction items include your chance to experience the MUSIC OF OZ like never before. Bid and win your chance to “Sit in the Pit” with the musicians who bring you the Grammy nominated music of WICKED. You will hear the show with so many intricacies you never knew existed.

The last and most rare of opportunities is your chance to win a WALK-ON ROLE in WICKED. This is a once in a lifetime experience…  be IN this Broadway blockbuster. You can win the chance to wear a Tony-Award Winning costume and be in three scenes of Broadway’s favorite musical.”

 

WICKED is currently performing at the Fox Theatre until March 8th. In anticipation of such a wickedly, witchy good time, Fenuxe spoke with one of the company’s cast members, Dashi Mitchell, to get his thoughts on such a spellbinding, rewarding night to remember.

 

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Fenuxe: What drew you to a show like Wicked?

 

Dashi Mitchell: I was instantly drawn into the musical, Wicked by its seamless transitions. The one thing people can say about this musical is that each scene in the show comes out of nowhere. It’s almost cinematic.

 

F: How long have you been working with the various charities?

 

DM: For the past two and half years I have been working with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and some of the many charities they support all throughout the nation. This incredible organization let’s us have a chance to give back. It brings us so much joy and continues to be a privilege to be a part of. Witches’ Night Off is a charity cabaret produced by Wicked company members where the cast gets to perform in our own genres. It’s a production that we put together with the limited time we have while traveling and performing. Witches’ Night Off gives you a wide variety; singing, dancing and also a few big production numbers. We only do a few of these charity cabarets a year and I am so excited that Atlanta is going to experience Witches’ Night Off.

 

F:What is your favorite part about the show?

 

DM: My favorite part of Wicked is Defying Gravity. It’s the finale of the first act where Elphaba is flying and all of Oz is watching her. That moment is simply beautiful and something I will never forget. The feeling of watching someone give their all while commanding the attention of everyone in the theater is priceless.

 

F: Where do you see your career taking you?

 

DM: In the future, I see myself becoming a choreographer. I’ve realized that my passion for dance has transformed into choreography over the years. This is one of the reasons why I am so thrilled for Witches’ Night Off. I am so excited to showcase my vision and see my choreography in the beautiful Ferst Center for the Arts at Georgia Tech. I think this benefit will be a huge success in Atlanta, especially since we have the original Dream Girl, the fabulous Jennifer Holliday joining us for the evening.

 

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DJ Escape: The Real Man Behind The Booth

DJ Escape: The Real Man Behind The Booth

By Dustin Shrader

The alluring DJ Escape has toured the world, seen and done it all. Although he still continues to tour, nowadays the legendary spinner is serving up something different. I chatted with Escape about his appearance at Atlanta’s The Heretic, his new partnership with Playgirl and what exactly he is doing that has all his fans losing their minds.

 

Fenuxe: You’re touring your new party right now. It’s called Serve, right?

 

Escape: Yes. OK. This whole Serve started over a year ago at a place called Shanky’s in New York, and it was called Sunday Service. I was given the control to finally be an artist and do me whereas for 15 years I’ve spent my time on the road catering to the crowd, and playing the hits, and not really having an identity as an artist.

I stepped back and said, “I want to give people something that’s me.” I stopped doing the pop mixes, and I started producing and doing all original stuff and catering to my thing. Fast-forward to now where I have Served, and I’ve been doing this party over a year. It’s my baby, I own it, I run it, I’m the resident and the day of the resident in New York died a long time ago. To have a consistent residency every week is just unheard of.

 

F: Yeah, that is different.

Escape: I know the recipe, because I’ve been on the sidelines for so long. To where it’s not just me I showcase my guests, and my residents are Tom Stephan, Stephan Grondin, Razor and Guido, Manny Lehman, who else. I brought in some of the new guys Billy Lace, I just brought on Cindel. Hector Romero, That Kid Chris. What I basically do is I play once a month by myself, and then I showcase my talent. I’ll open up the room, put the talent on and then for the last hour-and-a-half we tag team back and forth and really create lives. The Magic.

 

F: Awesome!

 

Escape: That’s my recipe for what’s going on in New York. I have new records with so many artist that I’m getting ready to drop. I have a new record with Robin S, called Shout-It-Out-Loud, which is a little preview of up in my Sound Cloud. I have a new record recovered Frankie Knuckles, Workout. I have a new record with Veronica that’s up in my Sound Cloud.

 

F: Okay.

 

Escape: I have Christine W. coming in in a couple weeks. I have a new record with her coming. Brand new record with Alan T. Brand, new record with Sandy B. As you see, the list goes on and on. I’m reaching for that old school talent that everyone forgot about.

 

F: Yeah. Yeah, I can definitely tell.

 

Escape: Everyone’s forgotten about the artist, and I feel it’s my job to remind everyone what’s up.

And I don’t want to be pigeon-holed as like that dinosaur DJ with that tired circuit sound. I feel that circuit sound is in the stone-age. It’s been 15 years, it hasn’t evolved. It’s the exact same thing. What I’m doing is old school New York. It’s different. It’s fun. It’s party. It’s familiar without being commercial.

 

F: I understand.

 

Escape: You’re not going to hear any radio record when I play, at all. No Rhianna, No Lady GaGa, No Britney Spears, nothing like that.

 

F: All right, so nothing mainstream at all?

 

Escape: Nothing mainstream, you’re going to hear underground artist. You’re going to hear vocals. You’re going to things you know, done up in a brand new way. I just did new mixes to Tonya Garner the Heart Beat, to First Choice Love Sensation. I mean, I’m reaching for soul. I’m reaching for disco. I’m reaching for ’90s. I’m across the board, you’re going to hear new things of things that you would never imagine could never be done up in the club.

 

F: There is nothing better than ’90s era music.

 

Escape: Yeah, and I have an arsenal of over 300 exclusive things that I’ve made, that I play. I played 85% of my own material when I go out and play. I’ve only chosen a couple cities to even go entertain this in right now.

 

F: Which ones?

Escape: I mean, I’ve worked at The Heretic and I’ve worked with Allen for years. And I haven’t been there for over a year-and-a-half so it felt perfect to come back in and re-introduce what I’m doing now.

I have Boston, which is one of my strongest markets. I play there all the time.

 

F: Got it.

 

Escape: I’m bringing my Serve party to San Francisco monthly starting May 30th. I’m there with Christine W. and Hex Hector.

One market I’m missing where … it’s funny that I got my start and I don’t have it right now, is Miami. I was a resident at Liquid from ’98 to 2000. Score moved back into the Liquid Place, and they haven’t called me to work.

 

F: Yeah I was going to ask if you have made it back down there, yet.

 

Escape: I’ve been trying. I’ve been reaching out, and just, nothing. And I find that a little weird. With all this theme I have going on and what I’m doing and how I’m doing it.

 

F: Right. I mean, have you spoken with anyone at all there? Or?

 

Escape: Yeah, and I know the owners. I just, I don’t know.

 

F: Huh.

 

Escape: I just rack my brain. Maybe you could provide a little blurb, you know, I mean … Miami is where I got my start. So to re-launch myself in that market would be, everything.

 

F: Of course.

 

Escape: And I use to play every market. I’ve gone around the world and back. As I said, doing the commercial thing and the pop thing. And playing everything that everyone wanted to hear. And it wasn’t gratifying because I step back and after 15 years of making a lot of money and touring. And, I step back and I have no identity and, yeah, I made a lot of money but what do  I have to show for it? I have a house. I have a car. But people never got to know me.

And having New York now, like this, people are getting to know me because I’ve put it down their throats. And if they didn’t like it, I wouldn’t be succeeding.

 

F: That is true.

 

Escape: And succeeding on a weekly basis.

 

F: How often do you play a week?

 

Escape: Play once a week. This is my party, that’s all I do.

I travel. I’ve been traveling once a month. I have Atlanta in February. I have … Hold on, let me open up my tour dates. Not much.

 

F: Oh, okay. Is there a specific reason?

Escape: Because I haven’t been entertaining it. When I go back into the cities, I’m going to run the parties and do it my way.

 

F: Hey you gotta do what makes you happy.

 

Escape: I have Tampa at G Bar, March 14th. I have Voyeur in Philly may 23rd. Rise in Boston, April 11th. And then I have some blues I work there in Boston. I work in Boston a lot. But those are really my cities. And then to top it off, Playgirl has made me the official sponsor/spokesperson for their new app called PlayR.

 

F: Yes! I want to talk about this. Tell me more.

 

Escape: So, Playgirl is pretty much coming out of the closet. They’re coming up with this hook up app. And I’m the spokesperson. I am the DJ and they’re helping me out, where all these cities and advertising and really getting the word out there.

 

F: Great? How’d that partnership come about?

 

Escape: Well, the person involved in the company I’ve known since I was pretty much known 5 years old. He’s followed me and knows what I do. He thought I’d be a perfect fit.

 

F: Aw, that’s nice.

 

Escape: Now, I’m just trying to evolve the business and take things to the next level. And shape the sound from yesterday and to today to make them relevant. Then you know, the gay scene use to be at the front of everything and now it’s stale.

 

F: Yeah, I’d agree.

 

Escape: And I maintain a high level of respect from all my artist and all my roster. Everyone does things for me to do it. And I’m able to create events for pennies. To where a promoter would have to pay $15,000 to create the event.

 

F: So, about the Playgirl app. What’s different about it? What’s going to stand it apart from say Grindr?

 

Escape: There is a lot that’s different. It’s gonna have my music and exclusive stuff from me incorporated in it. You’re going to be able to check in at a location and have people know that you’re there. And it’s going to list what you’re listening to. So let’s say that you’re at the gym and you’re listening to Escape.

It’s going to have all my DJ’s and artist exclusives and I’m going to have exclusive material on there once it gets all launched.

 

F: Oh cool, that’s really cool. I’ll have to definitely download that when it launches.

 

Escape: It’s available on the Android right now. And on the iPhone we’re waiting on the Apple store to

approve it.

 

F: Guess, I’ll have to wait. I’m an iPhone user.

Escape: I mean basically, the clientele of Playgirl for a long time was the housewives. And now it’s changed, it’s the gay man that is hittin’ up Playgirl.

 

F:  I’m surprised it’s taken this long for them to market toward the gay community.

 

Escape: Yeah, and I have my dancers, I have a lot of people I work with and they’re all coming on the road with me. Those are my looks. My personality of the night. I’m not just offering DJ. When I’m doing a show it’s a show, it’s an experience. People are going to walk out with something they can remember.

 

F: Right. I mean, it’s an event.

 

Escape: It’s an event. They’re going to get as you say served.

 

F: Sweet! I know Atlanta is ready to get Served.

 

Escape: When I was doing the party at Shanky’s all the performances were unannounced. They would just be surprises. So on the closing night, I had Vernessa Mitchell come out.

 

F: Wow, gosh. I’ve never experienced anything like that. So, I’m hoping I can get to come out and see it.

 

Escape: Yeah, I mean … I’ve just been able to pull out all the stops. All the artists right now, want to work with me. I mean, you know, between Getting Robin S, you know, Inaya Day and Veronica, everyone. I have CeCe Peniston wants to work with me. I have Jocelyn Brown. Every artist wants to work with me right now, and I’m going to slowly work with them all. I mean, I’ve produced a record for Alan T called Shade which is my biggest track I’ve done in, I can’t even remember, since Worship Me.

 

F: Ooo, that is quite a roster.

 

Escape: So, I have so much material, I’m just going to unload it all at once.

 

F: No time like the present.

 

Escape: And all my DJ’s and my artist are all remixing or putting their own spins on all my material.

 

F:  When will all the new stuff be available?

 

Escape: I’m saying in the next 6 months. I want to roll everything out for Pride.

I’ve been holding onto to things for a while, making it exclusive to my parties. So like Robin S, I did over a year ago. It’s ready to roll. I’m just trying to set up all the details in my label and distribution.

 

F: Okay, got you.

 

Escape: I want to promote it the right way, because my music isn’t disposable and there’s so much garbage out these days, that I don’t want it to get lost in the shuffle.

 

F:  Just take a look at iTunes, yeah, I agree with you.

 

Escape: iTunes. Beatport. It’s like finding a needle in the hay stack. I search for hours and I find one or two good things.

 

F: Yep. I agree. I’m quite selective to what I listen to myself.

 

Escape: I had my Sound Cloud taken away where I only put up official remixes. And it took me like 5 months to get my Sound Cloud back. When the only reason these DJs are putting up these bootleg mixes and they’re able to do it. It’s just like a slap in the face. My Sound Cloud is soundcloud.com/DJescapeee. I entice people to sign onto there and follow me. I little clip of Robin S, a little clip of Veronica. I put up one minute teasers.

And more stuff is coming and a lot of stuff, I cater to the clubs, I don’t put up online. Just cause I don’t want it out there. I don’t want people stealing my ideas. But then again a lot of stuff I do, the vocals are inaccessible to anyone. I am able to get such stuff that you can’t even think about. Like to name a few, let me go into my folder here … music … my edits… Heartbeat, I did Love Thing, I did All Cried Out, I did Madonna’s new one, Living for Love. I did the Quick Thing. You know every now and then, I’ll do a cool commercial record, I did Clean Bandit, Rapid B. I did Natalie Cole, Living for Love. I did Jody Watley, Want me Like I Want You. I did for this weekend, Valentine’s Day weekend; I did Diana Ross, Stop in the Name of Love. It’s really endless the amount of stuff that I’ve done. I’ve done Julia Roberts, I Want You. I mean, I could really go on and on for days. With the exclusive material that I’ve done and a lot of it is just for Sundays. And I’m going to play some of it on the road I’m going to drop these that you really can’t hear, like anywhere else.

 

F: Right.

 

Escape: I did Where Love Lives. The material goes all the way back to the ’90s. That’s what I … I take people back. To where like they know all the records but now it’s being presented in a new current way. They’re like, Wow. I haven’t heard this forever. What is this version?

 

F:  Yeah, Yeah. It’s fresh, it’s new.

 

Escape: Yes. I’m all about making the old new and relevant. Giving people things they know without hitting up the radio. If you want to hear the radio go in your car, go to a cruise in bar. If you want to dance, I want you on my dance floor. I want you to enjoy the music. I want you to go home with a memory and say,” I can’t believe you played this” or “Wow, I haven’t heard that in ages.” This is played with this. I go for the experience.

 

F: And that is what people want.

 

Escape: At the end of the day, the most gratifying thing to me is when I open up my email, and I get people writing to me, “Wow, I can’t believe you played this at this party.” And it could be a party from like 5 or 10 years ago. “I still remember this and this I will always remember.” That is the most gratifying thing to me in the world.

 

F: I can imagine.

 

Escape: People that actually it, get the message. I play around with words all night long. So if you’re really listening and you get into what I’m doing. It’s a journey.

It’s a foreign journey. The name Escape comes from … Leaving your problems at home, whatever your problems are, or bullshit is, come into the club escaping from reality, getting on the dance floor and just letting go.

And I give you a full journey. I tell a story. I am not one of these DJs that come on and play Theft Tribal BPM all night long. I start off with the old and then I make the old new. And it’s a journey. Start off at like 124 BPM and I’ll go to 128 and 129 and then I end down tempo. I don’t end all fast and up. I always choose records with meaning to end. I end a lot with records like Robin S, I Want to Thank You. I end with Erasure, Give a Little Respect. I always pick a song with meaning, where you can walk out and say, “Wow.” And, I like having the crowd interact and sing with me. So, I have a pile of songs that I’ve redone, where I can have the crowd interact. I shut the music off and they’re going to sing with me.

 

F: Nice, that’s always the best.

 

Escape: Yes, and not many DJs can pull that off.

 

F: No, No, No, they can’t.

 

Escape: I learned from the best. I had good teaching in me in the ’90s. I learned from Junior Vasquez. I learned from Danny Tenaglia. I learned from the best of the best at the best time. Before it got all watered down.

And I took the best qualities of all these DJs and I molded into what would be me. And I mean I started producing in 98 is when I made Worship Me. And I started engineering for Junior Vasquez and … just, it’s just in a whirlwind and all the people that were there with me and helped me create myself. I’m  right there with helping them recreate themselves and become relevant again.

I’m very loyal, I’m very stand up and when people are there for me, I’m there for them across the board.

 

F: And there’s nothing more gratifying than that.

 

Escape: No, that … and that’s why I came up with the equation I have. It’s more gratifying for me to showcase everyone … at the end of the day. I’m not the only person that everyone forgot about. Everyone forgot about all my challenges and they haven’t become relevant. The people I’m using, you don’t see playing everywhere.

 

F: No, that’s true.

 

Escape: But they’re all relevant to me. And they’re all talent and can really do it live. They’re not just playing off a play list or playing pre-mixed sets. They’re actually thinking like myself of what to play next. There’s no rhyme or reason, you go with the flow. You read the dance floor and you feed off the energy off the dance floor. I never go into a night knowing what I’m going to play. I know where I’m going to start and I know where I’m going to end.

 

F: Right, everything else is fair game.

 

Escape: Everything else is catered to the dance floor. Where I’m going to go? What I’m going to do? Am I going to go harder? Am I going to go softer? That’s all catered to … No, what are you doing eating all that ice? (laughter) Everything changed on the dance floor and the experience. You know what I mean, I embrace everything. If it’s a good record, I play it. And I showcase all my friends records and talent. And I’m about bringing back the old and embracing the new. You know and really having a full circle of people that can stand next to me and do it. If… And I’d try everyone. If there’s a DJ that can, old or new, and stand up next to me and perform like me and be able to keep up, I’m down. That’s what it’s all about and I’m not going to name the ones that can’t but I’ve named the ones that can.

I love playing at the Heretic. It is a smaller room. It’s intimate, you know, it’s always packed. The vibe is amazing.

 

F:  It’s definitely one of the better spots here in town.

 

Escape: And Allen is amazing to work for, it’s been an institution for over 20 years. Which means he knows what he’s doing.

 

F: He sure does.

 

Escape: He brings in one guest a month.

 

F: Yep.

 

Escape: He has great residents, between Lydia and Mike Pope, they’re stand up people that know what they’re doing.

 

F: I’ve been there a couple of times when they’ve played and they’re good.

 

Escape: I’ve known them both for a very long time and they both come out to hear me all the time. And they’re both good DJs. He has a lot of other great ones that work there that I know but those two stand out to me, and I know them.

I have a lot to say and this has been a long time coming. The last person to create his own brand and do what I’m doing is Peter Rauhofer.

 

F: Yeah, that’s true.

 

Escape: And if you go back in history, he was the last one to really hold that residence and he showcased all the new talent. So all these new guys that are playing right now, came up through Peter.

You know, I came up through a day of Junior Vasquez.

 

F: So, final question: What’s the long term goal then, from where you are at right now?

 

Escape: The long term goal is having served in all the major cities. showcasing all the right talents. Changing the sound from that dated tribal chug to fun house music. I play some tribal, I play some of the Brazilian stuff but not a whole night of it. As I said, it’s a journey and when these other guys play you get that all night long. From start to finish. Bleep. Bleep. Bleep. Commercial vocal after underground vocal and it’s the same thing all night long. It gets a little boring. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good, it’s fun, it’s energetic but it gets a little boring. The BPM are way too high. There’s no groove. There’s no soul. It’s a different demographic.

 

F: It is. A lot of times it’s just stuff we can’t really move to.

 

Escape: No. And people enjoy it but there’s no options. I’m creating an option. At the end of the day, I want people to see the difference, and see the option, and make choices for themselves. It’s not my goal to go compete. I just want to give people options. I’m not going to step into a market and compete.

 

F: Do you think you’ll ever get to the point to where like. Okay, I’m done, I’ve done all I need to do. I’m good to stop here.

 

Escape: No. I’m going to get to the point where I’m at now. I don’t want to DJ many full nights. If I play for 2 hours and just showcase what I’m doing and have my other talent do it, that I believe in. I’m good. I want to jump into producing the events.

I want to be the event producer. I want to showcase my brand. Showcase what I’m doing, showcase the artist. That’s where I’m at I’m at a different space and time. I’m happy.

I’m not working for promoters, I’m working for club owners. It’s a whole other vibe. What New York has enabled me to do is step back, which is the next step of throwing my own events and be the party. And I did that not but choice, I did that because I had to do it.  It was my only option. If I’m not going to create the opportunity for myself, no one is going to create it for me. And I’m just going to have all this talent and be shelved with it. And I refuse to do what everyone is doing and just put it online and give it away. And remix all the pop stuff for free. And all these DJs that have done that have killed the market. Because I would get paid a lot money to do all my remixes and there was a choice few that were able to do that. Myself, Ralphi Rosario. And now, we find ourselves not getting paid because everyone was doing them for free.

 

F: Right.

 

Escape: And we put out quality records.

 

F: Yep, the internet, it’s blessing and a curse.

 

Escape: So I mean, quality speaks.

 

F: It does.

 

Escape: And actions speak louder than words. And I’m ready to create some action and some difference and something new. Something old but new and familiar and an experience. And that’s what I want people to know my name as. When people think of Escape, I want people to go, wow.

Not only is he an amazing DJ. He’s an amazing producer and he throws amazing parties.

 

F: Is there anyone you would like to thank personally?

 

Escape: My remix partner, Tony Coluccio, we could shout out. Without him, none of this would be possible.

 

http://www.djescape.com/

http://playgirlplayr.com/

Posted in News, Nightlife, Urban Culture1 Comment

The Best Thing to Do Tonight in Midtown

The Best Thing to Do Tonight in Midtown

 

By Dustin Shrader

Had a long work week? Then why not start the weekend off early by heading over to the W!

W Atlanta – Midtown and Human Rights Campaign have partnered for their monthly Turn It Up For Change event in conjunction with Locals We Love. Get out and show your support for Marriage Equality tonight from 6:30-8:30 in the Living Room Bar. Complimentary bites from TRACE and complimentary valet parking will be available.  Locally loved, street performer Baton Bob will be in attendance providing his signature sashay and twirls for the masses!

It is surely to be a great night to remember!

Posted in Eats, News, Nightlife, Urban Culture0 Comments

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