Saturday night, 2:00 a.m. A club raftered with Colombians and Venezuelans, Argentines and Bolivians. There are Cubans too, primarily born in Florida. And there's also a smattering of Italians. Pepper the crowd with a fistful of Yanks and then stir.
That's the stew. It could be La Paz; it could be Caracas; it could be Bogota before the wars or Buenos Aires under Peron. But it isn't. It's Doral, a six-year-old city that takes its name from its developers (Doris and Alfred Kaskel) and its cue from its infamous Golf Resort & Spa.
Out in that city sits a joint called La Covacha. For the past five years this has been the go-to place for ex-pat Latin Americans looking to live a more hometown-feeling high life on a given Saturday night. The party that's bringing 'em in is called Fabrika, and it does indeed serve to represent the very fabric of these lives.
Spinning the frenzy is DJ Pauer, one half of the same-named firm behind the bash that is Fabrika (his partner in that project is photographer Claudia Calle). Born on the Caribbean in Puerto la Cruz, Venezuela, and a Miamian for eight years now, Pauer's been handling the party's spinning since its '01 inception. Before it landed at La Covacha, Fabrika held forth at a succession of venues, including I/O, PS 14, and Hard Rock; they've even thrown the odd satellite event at places such as White Room. But it is out here, west of everywhere, that Fabrika finally found its home.
And by home we mean the kind of place where folks of all stripes feel comfortable, no matter their origin. That means, naturally, a polyglot's pumping world beats, be it the Italian hip-hop of Jovanotti, the polyrhythmic rock of Argentina's Bersuit, the ghetto funk (called "kuduro") of Portugal's Buraka Som Sistema, or the free French electronica of Phoenix. And putting it all into play is DJ Pauer, perhaps the most international of all of Miami's DJs.
But blasting a global soundtrack way out in Doral is only a portion of what this cat does for us each week. In addition to those fabled Saturday nights, he's also DJ-in-residence at the Beach's Café Barcelona. It is there where he mixes it up '80s-style on Thursdays and world-wise on Fridays for a crowd that also comes from all four corners.
Making matters even better, DJ Pauer has just been recruited by the Gusman Theater's Margaret Lake for a series of Thursday evenings she's calling "Flickin' Summer." It began on August 20 and continues this Thursday for another three consecutive weeks. The event is a hodgepodge of happy hour, cinema, and dance party, all done up in '80s glam. The drinks will be stiff but colorful; the flicks are Fame, Flashdance and The Wiz, and the man making it shake will be our own DJ Pauer. You may be able to think of something else to do on one of these given evenings, but it's highly unlikely it'll beat catching a kitschy-cool classic amid the confines of Downtown Miami's ornate Olympia Theater and dancing back through time.
As you might suspect, Pauer isn't strictly a DJ either. The spin man also plays the skins for the band Soniko, and has done so for seven years. And as Mr. Pauer, he's producing a series of electro-cumbia-dub music with a slate of local singers, including Albert Itagui from Locos por Juana. Add the odd Rhythm Foundation appearance, and even nights at Kukaramakara (with Babasonicos this Saturday), and you've got the kind of internationalist only Miami can make.
DJ Pauer's Current Top Five:
1. "Mayoral," Novalima
2. "Yah!," Buraka Som Sistema
3. "Spoiteresa," Mahala Raï Banda
4. "Mas Papaya," Sidestepper
5. "Lisztomania," Phoenix
Thursdays and Fridays at Café Barcelona, Miami Beach. Saturdays at Fabrika at La Covacha, Doral
Also at the Flickin' Summer Movie Series, Thursday, August 20 and the three following Thursdays. The Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center for Performing Arts, 173 E. Flagler St., Miami. Event starts at 6 p.m., tickets cost $10. 305-374-2444; gusmancenter.org
Also with Babasonicos, Saturday, August 29. Kukaramakara, 60 NE 11th St., Miami. Doors open at 8 p.m., tickets cost $30 in advance. Ages 21+ with ID. Babasonicos.com/shows