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Shake, shake, shake!

So Graham's dj career has been moving forward nationally and internationally.  Tour in England in 2013, invitation to Vancouver a year ago.  Trips to the midwest and West Coast on the books for the summer.   Last year, he djed a fundraiser for a Burning Man project with two other djs, and the dance floor was pretty full the entire time.  It was a great crowd and the music was just awesome.   The theme of that particular party was Speakeasy, and for Graham and Electroswing, it was just perfect.  It was one of the best sets I've ever heard Graham put together, and I still play it fairly regularly.

Based off of that performance, a friend ask him to dj the latter part of his birthday party in late October, with about 600 people in attendance. The band was a Prince cover band, so Electroswing wasn't exactly the music to play, but Graham had something else in mind he wanted to show off: Ghetto funk.  He had to work that night at his regular gig at Prohibition, and the schedule was pretty tight.   The band didn't get off stage until nearly 1:00, and Graham didn't start until nearly 1:30.  Fortunately, it was the day daylight savings came back, so Graham had an extra hour in there to get us moving.

It was an off the hook, insane set.  We danced for hours it seemed, and every song was just perfectly meshed with the one before. He built us up and tore us down. He got down and dirty and nasty and we loved it loved it loved it.  We danced and danced and danced.  Even after his set was over, he plugged into the house system and popped on a prerecorded set so we could keep on dancing if we wanted to.  It was an insanely awesome set, and we were still riding the high of it (and maybe something else) when we got home at 6:00 a.m. We were riding the high of it days later.

We go to this party every year. We go to Flipside every year. And maybe we go to two or three other dance-all-night sort of things in the course of the year. But our days of dancing all night are over, and if Graham's out past two a.m, it's because he's on the decks.  But coming off of the high of the set, we started thinking about other dancing opportunities that didn't involve a full day of recovery.

When Graham had been in England the year before, a brand new idea was just taking off in London: Morning Gloryville. Some of the djs that Graham met in England said that the vibe at these morning dance parties was just awesome.  And over the course of the year, the idea started to take off in other cities.  Another version of it started in New York, called Daybreaker.  The basic idea is a dance party in the early morning, mid-week.  Before work, maybe after the kids are dropped off at school.  Maybe that's the one day a week that you're a little late.  Instead of alcohol and/or drugs, juice and coffee bars.  Instead of flashing lights, the sun comes up.  Instead of going to the gym, get a workout shaking your tail feathers to rocking djs.

We started talking about it for a month or two.  We were brainstorming places it might work, or at least what our requirements for a place would be: natural light, fairly far from residential neighborhoods so as not to piss off anyone with the music at 6:00 a.m., a central, easy-to-find location that's not too far from either work or home. I came up with a name for a party if we have one in Houston: Wake 'n' Shake. We talked about it with some friends and people who we thought might want to get involved.  We got some interest.

In the meantime, I started a 40 Days of Yoga project in January at Big Power Yoga. It's a very intense, very accountability driven project. You're requried to practice yoga six days a week for six weeks. You're also required to attend a group meeting once a week that focuses on tools that you use outside your asana practice.  In addition, there's a three day cleanse during Week 4. And there's a mindful eating portion.  At the end of each week, the studio checked to see if participants met their attendance obligations for the week, and if so, we were allowed to move on to the next week.   About 800 people started the 40 days, and I think there were about 350 that finished. I hadn't done serious yoga since 2007, and I knew that this was a way to get me back into it seriously, because my "oh, I'll go tomorrow" method wasn't working at all.

In one of the group meetings, a guy in the meeting talked a little about djing.  I talked a little about Burning Man.  After the meeting was over, we found each other. He, it turns out, is a Burner. We talked about Burning Man, and then went into the "do-you-know" game.  And over the course of the conversation, we discovered that he was one of the other djs that Graham had spun with at the fundraiser in August. I very casually asked if he was interested in a morning dance party idea, and he immediately said he had a location for something like that in mind.  By the time Graham picked me up, I had his contact information. By the end of the week, he and Graham were in communication and actually working on the project.

In mid-February, Graham and I went to Taos for a week. We had no agenda (aside from my having to do yoga once a day, but Shree Yoga is an absolutely fantastic studio).  We cooked and walked around town and went to the mountain and played with the dogs. I don't think we turned on the TV once.  And we talked.  For both of us, the trip was cleansing and inspiring, and we both came back from it full of energy and new ideas and motivation.  It was one of the best vacations we'd ever been on.

In March, Graham joined the yoga studio, and he also caught the yoga bug.  And in that time he and John had determined a date and finalized the location.  They found another DJ who was as excited about the idea as they were. And the project started coming together.  They launched the facebook page in late March, and the invitation to the party in early April. Graham did an interview with an awesome organization called We Play Everywhere to help promote the event.  And most of the people we've talked to about the idea are pretty excited.

The event is slated to run from 6:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m on Wednesday May 6. Boomtown Coffee is on board to provide caffine, and E-dub-a-licoius is a go for food. They're finalizing the juice vendor, but it's going to be really good too.   The location is very close to downtown, and has an awesome feature that will really highlight the event.  Graham aka The Grahamaphone, John Tran aka DJ Kung Fu Pimp, and JD Notic will be on the decks.

One of the things that Graham was asked during the interveiw last week was whether he'd ever been to one of these before.  He said no.  And the interveiwer was delighted.  There aren't any rules or expectations to something so very brand new.  We have no idea how many people will show up, though 100 or so have said so on Facebook and we've heard that a lot of others have heard about the event and have expressed interest.  We have no idea what the population will be. Houston is a very diverse city. Who is going to come to this?  We imagine that some people will come early and leave early because they have to go to work. Some people will come later, because really 6:30 is really early.  Some people will be late for work. Some people might bring their kids. People may wear workout gear or what they're wearing to work or decide to dress in costume and be silly.  What we absolutely know is that the people who come will be interested in trying something new. Because the likelihood is that not many people here in Houston have been to one of these either.  So we can create our own and bring awesome energy and make this an amazing event that grows off of the participants in it.  We know that people in this city get up early and work out. Why not have the workout be a dance? 


( 2 comments — Say something )
Apr. 29th, 2015 08:13 pm (UTC)
what wonderful ideas!! much good fortune to the event! :)
May. 11th, 2015 04:37 pm (UTC)
G Funk Train is always a hit when I put it on at a house party! It's now one of my go-to's!

The Wake n Shake sounded fabulous!
( 2 comments — Say something )