Reflections of a Disco Infiltrator, Part 5: Seduced by Poplife

When I took my disco-infiltrator persona beyond the confines of Broward and began injecting it into Miami's Poplife party, I suddenly had a much larger audience to screw around with. My subversive dance maneuvers still got laughs from ordinary dance-floor citizens. But for the glorified pimps who looked like scenesters, who in hindsight almost certainly were running clandestine businesses within that

business, I wore out my welcome in a hurry.

My infiltration of Poplife began in mid-2006. After booking and playing a

show there, I was introduced to Barbara Basti, who claimed to run the

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party's MySpace profile and whom I later saved in my cell phone as

Poplife Barbie. She paid out 100 bucks and drink tickets and told me to

come back next week. When I returned, it was in my Charles Barkley

short shorts, and I was ready to dance. The music I perform as Catalonia,

singer/songwriter stuff that's often acoustic, shares nothing with the

fierceness I display as the disco infiltrator, so this might have been a

bit confusing.

Surprise and curiosity were acceptable responses to me anyway, so what

did I care if I got the evil eye from a minority of some party's

business side. I am the populist, remember? I concern myself only with

the fat majority in the middle and could care less about the sort of

pompous snobby attitudes some people carried at these parties. I

carried out the same routine for about a month or so afterward.

Later that summer, random people in the club began asking me if I knew

who Barbie was. I would say not really. And that was that. I called

the number sent to me from the Poplife MySpace profile to rebook

another Catalonia show. No answer, and I didn't leave a message. Poplife

Barbie called back and wanted to talk about everything under the sun:

who I was, what my hobbies were, and what radio stations I listened to

-- a question she asked two or three times and information which turned out to be

important for later.

I don't know if this is the norm on their end, but for me it was not the

usual booking callback. This would be the start of a buildup and

followed the rules of the Art of Seduction by Robert Greene:

approaching indirectly, isolating the victim, mastering the art of

insinuation, etc. By the various accounts of promoters and hoppers,

Barbie ran or was involved with PS-14 and co-owned the district, a

sushi restaurant, etc. I have no idea what parts of this were true.

But at the time, given the power of the seduction element, a record deal

offered through one of her associates, an over-the-top intensive

interest, it all seemed like it couldn't be completely denied.

After all, if they weren't really interested in me (it seemed at that

time), then why would they go to all of this trouble to build up an

ordinary person to near-mythical proportions? So I played along to see

where it was going. Besides, after a while I was hooked and didn't feel

like I had any choice but to follow Barbie's phone advice, which

was "I guess you'll just have to wait and see." So that's what I did.

By the end of 2006, the District would close, Poplife would stop

throwing weekly parties for awhile, and much of the party people would

end up at Circa 28 -- which would later become the Electric Pickle.

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.

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