After sitting down with Deejay Smeejay, it's not at all difficult to imagine his being a go-go boy despite the fact that he probably hasn't, er, bar-topped for a decade or so. I mean, the cat literally dances in his seat. And in the rare instance when his body's not all aquiver, his mind and mouth are making up for the momentary immobility with a two-step that leaves less formidable folk racing to catch up. Mostly, though, the DJ known as Smeejay greets you with a cheese-filled combo of mind, body, and soul that can be described with only one word: groovy.
Yep, that's Smeejay in a nutshell, all right: a nutshell that's been cracked with care, cool, and cleverness. And you know what Leonard Cohen says about cracks, don't you — there's one in everything, and that's how the light gets in. And no head spinner is as full of inner glow as the utterly unaverage Joe that is Smeejay.
Born in D.C. and raised among army bases in Panama City (the Canal Zone), San Juan (Fort Buchanan), and Cocoa Beach (Cape Canaveral, baby), Smeejay comes to DJing with a worldliness that befits the whole globe. Even more, though, he's got an outer-earthly kitsch to his cool, based in large part on the fact that he spent his formative years in Cocoa Beach's Satellite Motel. That was across the street from the very same stretch of sand where Jeannie sprang from her dreamy bottle and the very same joint where Jim Jarmusch took it Down by Law.
Deejay Smeejay, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 8 p.m. to midnight at the Ritz-Carlton South Beach's Lapidus Lounge, 3300 SW 27th Ave., Miami. Call 305-644-4680. Also Sunday afternoons by the Ritz pool for Disco Brunch and Sunday nights at Aerobar, 247 23rd St., Miami; call 305-674-1110.
You can hear evidence of Smeejay's eclectic upbringing in everything he plays, be it soft-rock staples from the likes of America and Steely Dan or kiddie classics like the theme from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or "Your Momma's on Crack Rock" by the Dogs. In fact, Smeejay says he's a bit of a split personality. There's the civilized side, which since '04 has been getting play in the South Beach Ritz-Carlton's Lapidus Lounge, and there's that kooky side, which most recently started up again at Aerobar's Sunday-night party, Clique. But no matter which Smeejay shows up, you can be sure he'll "always let the guests be the focus of the evening."
"To me, the music is the Supremes," Smeejay says. "And the guests are Diana Ross."
What else do you expect from a fanatic who got his start simply "because [he] had like 10,000 records"? And if those Sundays in the now-defunct Liquid's Hustler's Room taught him anything, it was to spin as if the whole world were dizzy with delirium and desire. Then again, this is the very same Smeejay who back in the day headed a troupe of Torpedo boys who called themselves Dancers With Dicks. And if that's not indicative of a certain delirious, desirous dizziness, well, nothing is.
Still whether it's go-go or gone, all is always in good fun, which is kind of the reason for swinging on that Beach called South in the first place, isn't it? Of course it is.
Deejay Smeejay's current top five:
1. "Moments in Love" by the Art of Noise
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2. "Autumn Leaves" by Coldcut
3. "The Power of Love" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood
4. "Fly Me to the Moon" by Astrud Gilberto
5. "Tristeza" by Baden Powell