Groove Line

Mon. June 18, 2007 12:00 AM
by DJ Plez

My Memorable Memorial Day Tidbits
I was taking a long bike ride late in the afternoon on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend and spotted gay porn superstar Chad Hunt, along with that 11-inch appendage he packs, casually walking by himself near the intersection of Lawrence and Western Avenues, far away from Boystown, downtown, or any other neighborhood you might expect him to be in. Of all the out-of-the-ordinary things witnessed – and experienced - in the city over the weekend, this sighting was actually the strangest and most unexpected ... Mikel Gerle of Los Angeles was named Mr. IML 2007. OMG! What a STUD! "WOOF!" ... Once again DJ Matthew Harvat was in fine form at the Back & Blue Ball at Excalibur on Monday Night. His annual musical stewardship of this party is becoming legendary.

Singles Life
I don't typically write about dance single remixes, but for those of you looking to add to your iPod playlist here are few that have come my way in recent weeks. First up are the remixes for Enrique Iglesias' "Do You Know (The Ping Pong Song)" (Interscope Records). I found the big room vocal mix by Ralphi Rosario & Craig CJS and the harder edged DJ Dan Remix schizophrenically unsatisfying: both had good rhythm tracks, but the interesting aspects of the electronic music presentations were jarringly interrupted by the strumming of an acoustic guitar. Kind of like a Kaskade or Bob Sinclar song gone wrong. However, all is not lost with this maxi-single as the three Dub mixes provide a pleasing musical consistency the vocal versions lack.

Next for your consideration is the lovely Rihanna and the remixes for "Umbrella." This single is the first off of her new album, GOOD GIRL GONE BAD (Def Jam), and features label head honcho Jay-Z. The set of remixes provide four distinctive styles: the fairly commercial big room sound of the Seamus Haji & Paul Emanuel Club Mix; the soaring and trancey Jody den Broeder Lush Mix; the electro-ish and filtered Deconstruction Mix, also by den Broeder; and the tea-dance sounding Lindbergh Palace Mix. While these mixes may not be as strong as the superlative "Unfaithful" and "S.O.S." remixes, they should prove popular with many throughout the summer.

Finally, the very first American Idol winner, Kelly Clarkson, is back with exceptional remixes of "Never Again" (RCA Records) by Dave Aude and Jason Nevins. First and foremost, Clarkson delivers a strong vocal performance with this song, giving the two remixers great material to work with. Nevins presents a full-bodied, big room energetic anthem while Aude's treatment is a bit more understated and nuanced. While I personally prefer the lush electro sound that Aude produces, both of these remixes are top-notch and deserve heavy rotation on your mp3 player.

Pride: Up North
I headed 90 miles north to Milwaukee on June 8-10 for their Pride weekend, which consisted of a really sad parade (and I do mean pathetically sad), but the spectacular 3-day Pridefest at the city's festival grounds along their lakefront. The weather was absolutely gorgeous as lots of Chicagoans – including Miss Foozie on stage – joined an abundance of cheese-heads of various stripes. Headlining entertainers Chaka Khan and Kathy Griffin and an impressive line-up at the Dance Pavilion, including Nikki French, led to this being the best attended Pridefest in history. Chicago's Pride Parade and Northalsted Market Days may still reign supreme as far as Midwestern LGBT gatherings go, but Milwaukee's Pridefest is clearly in the rearview mirror and gaining fast.

One Great Weekend, Two Fantastic CDs
The 2007 edition of Gays Days in Orlando was recently held with thousands of GLBT folks and their families descending upon the happiest place on earth, making it also the gayest place on earth for one magical weekend. As this annual event is so incredibly diverse, drawing from every part of the community, Centaur Music decided to come out with two official mixed dance compilation CDs associated with Gay Days. PARTY GROOVE: GAY DAYS VOL. 4 is mixed by DJ Randy Bettis and has a bouncy uplifting feel to it, featuring lots of vocals by the likes of Freemasons, Suzanne Palmer, and Viola Wills. PARTY GROOVE: ONE MIGHTY WEEKEND VOL. 2 is mixed by DJ Roland Belmares and has a noticeably edgier sound that will appeal to circuit-boys and those who prefer underground dance beats. Both discs are quite enjoyable, well executed and worthy additions to your dance music collection.

Pride: On The Northside
It is indeed Pride season in the U.S. and a full month of events and festivities in Chicago culminates on the last weekend of June with Pride Fest (June 23) and the Pride Parade (June 24).
Of the many floats in the Parade, one notable entry is the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce's "party on wheels" with DJ Monna of EsNtion Records. Expected some fabulous groovy tunes for all to hear.

If you are in need of a fun place to be before, during, and after the parade, with great bias I highly recommend Cesar's on Broadway. In addition to providing VIP bleacher seating and offering $3 Margaritas at the intersection of Broadway & Oakdale, Cesar's will have DJs John Murges (of Milwaukee) spinning streetside during the parade and Plez (that's me) crankoing out the tunes inside for the parade after-party. With sexy dancers on hand shaking their prideful groove thangs, this is sure to be the hottest spot on the Parade route.

Back In The Spotlight
Many years ago before there was the likes of Britney and Christina, there was pop superstar and teen icon Tiffany. Capitalizing on a successful 1987 nationwide tour of shopping malls, she topped the record charts, was featured in magazine and newspapers and reached superstardom in a startlingly short amount of time. Still writing songs and performing all these years later, Tiffany has just released her latest effort, an 11-track long-player called JUST ME (10 Spot / Universal). Far from the bubble-gum pop of her youth, JUST ME shows Tiffany as a polished adult contemporary artist and features songs with influences from Sheryl Crow, Natalie Merchant, and Jewel. It's a testament to the talent she always possessed, ready to please the fans that have grown up with her and those just discovering her abilities.