Friday, August 23, 2013

DJ WAYNE MANOR, A Summer in Gotham: From Skylark to Rockaway Beach and Beyond!


As I had finalized my summer vacation plans heading back to upstate NY for the 35th anniversary of my father's MC, The Wasted Ones, I wanted to be able to make the most of my first summer back home in 7 years. I had contacted some connections about spinning records with no luck, but then I remembered a having a delightful little chat with a certain NY notable by the name of Grace of Spades when we deejayed together at Don Pedro last March. She set up a Saturday night thing at Skylark in Brooklyn with DJ RATA, who I befriended as Javier, a Venezuelan import with an expert taste in surf, rockabilly, exotica and tequila.

(DJ WAYNE MANOR; On Rock-Rock-Rockaway Beach)

In between sets, I happened to be calling whoever I knew in Brooklyn who could take me in for the night with no luck. Just around midnight, my sister surprised me with a visit. Wow, I got some kinda show of support! Seriously, thank you, sis!  I got to stay out spinning a mix of Japanese GS freakouts, garage pop tunes and northern soul groovies until 3am. And I got a nice sofa to surf on! You could almost say I surfed it to Rockaway Beach.

(DJ RATA, regulating sound at Caracas)  

At Skylark, Javier and I flowed through the usual routine of meeting a stranger in this hobby of collecting forgotten vinyl for the pleasure of others. Like asking each other our roots, getting excited over selections, comparing covers, dueling with B-sides; all the while not really caring if the sleepers at the tables really care if whose cover of "Fever" is blasting out... That is until just after 1am when the hoodoo kicks in and the sleepers stop talking at their tables, or at least their girls stop talking and stand up to boogie like itchy primitives. Then you gotta pay attention through that tropical haze of Tecate and tequila to what songs get thrown down. Cause, you been feeling like this has become the most played-out city in the world and you just started something and you don't wanna break that momentum...

(DJ TONY Abrego & Sonya from DATED)

 ...At about this time, Javier leans over to me and says he's going to Rockaway Beach tomorrow and I can DJ with him and some friends all afternoon. All I gotta do is call him around noon the next day. And that's just what I did on Sunday, August 18th at 12pm.

(DJ Senor 2 Platos, rockin' the garage classics)

I met up with Javier in Brooklyn and we hitched a ride with DJ Tony Abrego and his 50's chic wife Sonya from DATED, a vintage clothing buy-and-sell operation. We got to Rockaway Beach in the early afternoon and set up at Caracas Rockaway where Javier has been spinning rare oldies and roots ska weekly as the resident DJ RATA of Shake It Up Sundays! I took a walk around at this near mythical place immortalized in a Ramones song and found a sandwich board with DJ Wayne Manor from Tokio etched in chalk!

(Rockaway Beach, boat on the horizon)

A lot of people where out on the sand, but tell-tale signs of Big Sandy's wrath were shown in the lack of boardwalk and sections off-limits to swimmers. Yet, Caracas seemed to keep the local economy alive and jivin'! DJ Tony kicked things off with some Jamaican roots music, 50's RnB and real rockabilly. Yours Truly, then played a long, opening set of Japanese group sounds, freakbeat, pop garage and girl groups thrown in for good measure. Hearing tunes like "I Want Candy" and The Shangri-Las' "Out In The Streets" on Rockaway Beach was an unforgettable experience. But even more so, because I had amassed a small group of dancers in the form of a cute couple, one girl in a bikini and one or two little kids (one 5 year old girl invented a new dance I dubbed "The Rockaway Hop!"), enjoying some fun in a New York sun! Bite me California! 

(Rockaway Beach; Where has all the boardwalk gone?)

Well, this paradise lasted only until about 6pm when I had to take the Shuttle to the A, all the way to Penn Station. 2 hours! Only to get woken up by the hassles of everyday life, waiting for another train to mundane Middletown, NY. I spent nearly 5 hours on trains that day, but the 3 hours I spent at Rockaway Beach were branded in my memory forever. Gracias, Javier. And ultimately, thank you, Grace of Spades.

~The Stately DJ Wayne Manor


PS. In my travels upstate NY and beyond, I was able to provide some Swamp Fiction vinyl to Darkside Records in Poughkeepsie, NY and Gallery of Sound at locations in Pennsylvania. Ask for THEEE BAT, THE FADEAWAYS or ATOMIC SUPLEX at their stores!

No comments:

Post a Comment