Reflections of a Disco Infiltrator Part Six: The Social Network
Plausible deniability is an impressive bitch until it's your own ass
that gets bitten. By the early months of 2007, I was in a state of
increasing anxiety about my infiltration of the Poplife party scene. I had not told anyone
about the seduction process I had been through, the mix of intrigue and a
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potentially excellent record deal offered to me, or how impressed I was
by how organized yet nonchalantly this had all been carried out
by people that never officially said they were working together, but
always seemed to imply that they were. The character of the disco infiltrator would slowly change in the months to come.
I waited a few months in early 2007, but then I started going back down
to Miami on Saturdays to where the new party was, and I began to ask
questions about how the party system worked. Why did the parties move?
How do they generate enough revenue for both the party and the venue?
If I'm in a political structure like the Democratic Party, I do things
the same way. How is power distributed? Stuff like that. Everything,
all human interaction involves social machinery, and that is what is
neat to me, so that is what I like to talk about.
So I continued going out, mostly to Circa 28 on Saturdays and to PS-14,
and occasionally to the Pawn Shop, where Poplife held an event that was
called Dirty Disco. I was invited to this event by the same guy who
offered the record deal in 2006: Lou Stadler. For future reference:
If the guy who offers you a deal through Universal Records also doubles
as a promoter, club security, and is referenced immediately after you
meet with him by a phone call from Poplife Barbie as "Lou? He is an old family
friend," red flags should be raised.
Circa Saturdays held at Circa 28
seemed like the same group of organizers, so I just went
there, and waited and periodically asked about what the hell this
Poplife group was all about and what did they want with me. The
responses I received were superficial and guarded. Even the ones
that were more directly suggestive that I was dealing with bad people
were couched in layers of plausible deniability. If I asked what made
them bad, the response was
"what haven't they done?" No further answers came.
In early 2007, I met the nephew of the Diaz-Balarts,
the right wing anti-Castro congressmen in Miami, in the
parking lot at PS-14. We spoke about his family, Castro and Cuba, and he relayed his friendship
or social connection with the Poplife crew, or at least the people
running the party. When I discussed my concerns, he changed the subject. He seemed nice enough, but who gives a shit about nice when
people are in position to stop something that they know should not be
done but fail to act at time when they are in a position to do so.
is what I call the Nazi problem. It's the problem of all authoritarian
systems of power and hierarchy which attempt to focus group energy not
on those with power, but on weak and easy to attack targets. And even
when people know what they are engaged in is wrong, the pressure from
the side with power makes it difficult to swim against the tide. In any
event, he made it clear enough, in a nice, smiling way, and he knew who
I was enough to come up to me and talk to me in the parking lot. I
gave him a Catalonia CD and that was that.
had hope that this was a misunderstanding of
So I kept going back to these two places, Circa 28 and PS-14, beating
around the bush and asking periodic questions of promoters about basic
mechanics of the social network.
On July 14, 2007, a time that overlaps
with the Dirty Disco, Circa Saturdays stuff, PS-14 stuff, I began to
receive messages from an anonymous profile on MySpace. While it appears
ridiculously sketchy enough in hindsight (the name on the account was a
jumbling of the letters of my name adding an extra e), the state I was
in by the summer of 2007 was one of a complete loss of control over
outcomes and that whoever was in charge of this had control of the
situation, and nothing I could do or say could stop it. I felt
completely helpless. So I engaged with this person or persons on the
other end of this profile until September 10th, 2007. I will lay this
part out next time.
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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