Sunday, May 18, 2008

Stacey Pullen & Rick Wilhite at Oslo

Oslo, “Radio Skool”
Friday, May 16, 2008

This was a strange night. I have wanted to go to Stacey Pullen’s “Radio Skool” monthly night at Oslo since we moved here in February. But the first month, there was a conflicting Minx show at the Woodbridge Gallery, so I chose Minx. The next month, I think there was a Rick Wilhite and Karizma party at the Woodbridge, so I chose Rick. Then Stacey Pullen was touring, so there was a break in the schedule anyway. So finally, I see a flyer for it this month, and even better, Rick Wilhite is one of the DJs! Mike Brown was another DJ spinning, but I did not get there in time to see him, and I don’t yet know much about him. I’ll have to catch his set soon.

I finally got to go out with James, my husband. Not a common thing because he usually stays home with the baby. (Now that's an awesome thing). Didn't get there until almost 1am because of work conflicts. We ran in to DJ WhoDat and talked about upcoming Movement festival and afterparties - rollerskating!! Then we bumped into Rick Wilhite and talked about me coming up to his record store, Vibes, in Oak Park for an interview this week. I'm really looking forward to it.

I need to mention something that happens a lot to me when I go out in Detroit. Some guy came up to us during Stacey’s set and was motioning to James and me to dance. He was either African American or Latino, it was hard to tell because of the darkness. But, it’s not like I can pick out someone’s ethnic genealogy just by looking at them anyway. I just smiled politely and told him that we were good. I couldn't even hear or understand what he was saying anyway. We were standing in the dance floor amongst many other people standing and not dancing. I think I was bouncing a little, or nodding my head a bit. There were some people dancing up closer to the DJ booth, and some dancing behind us. But we weren’t in anyone’s way, nor were we doing anything rude or weird. This guy got really aggressive though, he was clearly drunk. He moved behind me and pushed me forward to dance, and maybe even did something similar to James. I just stepped forward and ignored him. Then, he hung out behind us pretty close. James told him to back off and the guy was not getting it. I just pulled James over a bit and the guy eventually backed off. This kind of thing happens to me a lot in Detroit. Usually Black men or women come up to me and motion to me to dance, like come on white girl, you’re not supposed to sit, you need to dance. Even though there are plenty of Black people in the club standing or sitting and listening to the music just like me. And, I dance plenty, I just take a bit of time to get out there, or if the music is just not grabbing me, I really don’t feel like trying to fake it or find a groove that I am not feeling. Dancing is really not a problem for me in a club. I’m not shy to dance, I just need some good music and some energy (physical energy to get up and move that is). I love to go out and dance to some good music, that’s why it’s weird for so many different people to come up to me and assume that I’m not planning on moving or that I’m doing something wrong or weird.

So I'm talking about race and I will continue to do that because that is a major element of my research here in Detroit. Race and racism are really important issues in this city and in this country. I don't think it's a "Black thing" that people keep coming up to me to get me to dance. And its actually not usually an aggressive, negative interaction like at Oslo Friday night. It just becomes annoying after so many times. But I do feel like it happens because I am white and maybe I look out of place. I am out of place - I'm not a Detroiter, I'm not Black but I'm often at an event where the crowd is mainly African American, as are the DJs, and I am researching - so I sometimes even have a notebook with me taking notes. I'm going to have to figure this out.

Anyway, by about 2:30AM, I noticed some people starting to empty out. Then I noticed Rick head up to the DJ booth and speak to a man that I assumed to be Mike Brown and then speak with Stacey. A few minutes later he was picking out records and then putting on headphones!! It was a pretty quick set, but it was great. He played a Nelly Furtado song, I think something that is on the radio currently, but remixed.

Okay, now we've talked about this wiki thing. I'm not reinventing the wheel, nor am I currently writing my dissertation in this blog entry. So relax and just read about what a remix is. It's an interesting essay.

Then he played a few funk/r&b songs, there was mic feedback – why the mic was on at that point, I don’t know. Maybe Stacey had it ready to make his announcement at the end of the night. The final song was a new one from Theo Parrish’s recent album Sound Sculptures. I think three different people told Rick that he needed to finish up about five different times during that little segment – Stacey, Mike Brown, and a man who worked at Oslo who was sweeping the floors. :) That was pretty funny - I would have stayed. It was a great night.

We got home at about 3:45 after a bit of construction/highway trouble. And the baby did not even wake up!

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