Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Scant months before I relocated to New York City (back in spring of 2001), a thread on disco music (no doubt from the Chugchanga listserve) put names like Arthur Russell, David Mancuso, and "Soul Makossa" into my ear. Like most people of my generation (particularly in middle America), disco was a particular blind spot, filled solely with Saturday Night Fever, "Play That Funky Music White Boy" and The Village People. While I was never as knee jerk as this particular douchebag, disco music meant little to me.
I'm still not sure what prompted me to special order David Mancuso Presents The Loft 2CD set from the confines of Dallas's suburban hell, but its pleasures were immediate to my ears (even if it took a second before "Is it all over my face?" X-rated rhetorical question answered itself). And while I continued to remain slightly oblivious to disco's charms my first years in the city (at least until the DFA righted me and most of white America) the thought that "The Loft" remained a very real and extant celebration stayed with me even as I trolled through stilted indie-rock shows and free jazz mausoleums those first years here.
Before his academic prose wholly dried out disco's forbidden fruit pleasures for me (to where I never got through the book), Tim Lawrence's Love Saves the Day connected Mancuso's social experiments and dance parties back to those of Dr. Leary and Dr. Alpert, which truly expanded my mind. In retrospect, I now realize that acid-gobbling goes far better with moving to positive body-moving music rather than standing still in sweaty punk rock venues, but I have no regrets about my roots in Texas punk rock.
For the past few years, I have seemingly just missed Loft parties, or else asked Loft members scant days after the fact, always just a step behind. Anyhow, after two years of interviewing NYC DJs, and even receiving an email from the man himself back before I left for Thailand, I finally FINALLY finally had the chance to experience David Mancuso's Loft party for myself. And it was everything I could've imagined yet wholly beyond my previously held notions of what dance, disco, church, celebration, love, and baby powder meant.
The member who invited me said he'd kill me if I blogged about the experience, so let me just say it was a dream come true to dance all night in the light of such a miracle. Love saves the day, tis true.