Reflections of a Disco Infiltrator part 2
Evan Rowe is a local songwriter and performer best-known as
Catalonia, a professor of political science and history at Broward
College, and a small-d democratic strategist with no party affiliation.
Each week, we surrender our space for his thoughts on the music industry
and how they relate to our region. This week, part two of Evan's past in the club scene.
In my last column I created some context for an old performance artist character I developed in the South Florida club scene in 2005 and provided a bit of political background. The only reason that political background is provided is simply because I do not know for sure how much influence it had. I bring up the political side of the equation because most of it was implied and most importantly, there were multiple variables and reasons for how things played out, not the least of which might have been my character, and his social skills and dance moves.
I've spent the past couple of years retracing my steps, trying to sort out what the possible motives and why somebody would carry a concerted attack built around heartbreak, mobbing, cyber-bullying and stalking, and do it to such extremes for a very long time. In the end, I never was able to sort any of it out because without somebody coming forward and saying something beyond "oh, those are bad people", it isn't in my power and I did not and do not have the resources to do much personal investigating beyond the simple search options on the web.
Furthermore, by the time this is under way in 2007 it overwhelmed me on almost every level. I thought about it all the time. Why somebody would do this and what they wanted from me was the first thing I thought about in the morning and the last thing I thought about before I went to sleep. For most of 2007 and 2008 I would have flashbacks, near sleepless nights, and generally be on roller coaster of anger over the silence, and at the very idea that ordinary people would be silent while people that they work for or with carry out petty emotional violence that had an extraordinarily destructive effect that was obvious to all. I had great faith in people. I still have great faith in people. That part of me didn't break. But it did test me to see the silence of the good people in action.
So this is an account of retracing my steps. My first introduction to an indie dance party was accidental. I got word of an indie dance party at a place called the Rose and Crown hosted by Isaac Alexander. I went to check it out one night. I paid 5 bucks to get in. I was kicked out within 10 minutes. In hindsight, this should have been an omen. I left annoyed, but that was the extent of it. And in fact, I never would have gone back were it not for Courtney Hambright doing an interview with Isaac for the New Times and she asked him why I was thrown out. His explanation to her was that I initially gave off the undercover cop vibe and that they had made a mistake and that I should come on back and he would buy me a couple drinks and patch things up. A few weeks later, I went back and I had a couple of drinks and did just that. I was now able to go back. And since I'm a person of repetitive patterns, I began going every single week.
I wasn't a club person mind you. Even in my early 20s I seldom set foot in a nightclub. What is the point? They are loud and dark and you can't talk to anyone. They are also fashion oriented and scene oriented and both of those things I am not. But for whatever reason, I decided that I was going to make the most out of the situation. At least there was life and excitement. I was single and bored and curious.
I wasn't going there planning to dance, just to pace around like Pat Riley and maybe create some Borat style amusement (this story predates Borat -- which was released in 2006). I liked most of this indie pop stuff music wise: Pulp and things like that. I played music for a long time, and was recording a record at the time, and at the very least, I could go out and do the whole promote yourself as brand/band sort of farce. But there was very little connection to my character and my music. My music is slow and mostly straight and serious. But my club character was a cross between Borat and Stephen Colbert.
My dance style cannot be adequately described in words. Basically, I would use repetitive theme dancing and make faces and mock some of the more absurd elements of people striking a pose and trying to act cool. Jerky steps, sometimes off the rhythm, sometimes precisely on the beat. I was usually dancing for myself, which obviously creates much more mobility than partnered dancing. All of this fed the buildup of the character. I will attempt to recreate some of these moves for video, and put them up in some of the audio blogs. Next time: the evolution of the Broward parties.
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