How to be a good citizen this week:
- Please excuse your sleep-deprived co-workers who reek of liquor and poppers.
- Keep a clear path to the body-glitter display at CVS.
- If you’re not going to wear those itty-bitty sequined booty shorts languishing in the back of your closet, make sure they go to a good home.
To start off the danciest, pranciest week of the year—and to pay homage to discotheque pioneer Larry Levan‘s prominent SoHo nightclub of the ’70s and ’80s, Paradise Garage—Lisa Frank and the DJs of the NeedlExchange (Baronhawk Williams, Bil Todd, and Tommy Cornelis), have dropped two hours of throwback dance music.
The mixes come in advance of the DJs’ Paradise Mirage party at U Street Music Hall this Saturday, June 13, a tribute to the parking garage-turned-hotspot that gave gay, queer, and just plain weird partiers a home for dancing all night—that is, from midnight to noon. (Read a deep, comprehensive history of Paradise Garage here.) In the era of a Capital Pride sponsored by big banks, liquor companies, and defense contractors, it’s gratifying to see some recognition of the long history of queer people making their own underground spaces and hosting some of the baddest, most inclusive parties in any scene.
Paradise Garage did its thing from 1977 to 1987, and these mixes take their cues from that era’s rich dance-music traditions. Lisa Frank’s mix leans on electro-pop, leading off with the infectious synth lines of Yaz‘s “Situation” and Pretty Poison‘s “Catch Me (I’m Falling).” She throws in a few R&B and disco hits, like Val Young‘s “If You Should Ever Be Lonely,” and closes with an energetic extrapolation of New Order‘s “Bizarre Love Triangle.”
The DJs of the NeedlExchange, Velvet Lounge’s weekly alternaqueer party, went a more disco- and house-heavy route, populating their mix with loads of delicious deep cuts. Barbara Tucker‘s “I Get Lifted” kicks things off with some spiritual disco, and later, Vicky D‘s “This Beat Is Mine” offers up a hook that could be the theme for all of Pride: “This beat is mine/You can have it/Just party down/And do what you wanna do.” The TNX mix ends with Carl Bean‘s “I Was Born This Way,” a delightful, celebratory recording from 1977 that feels even gayer than whatever Gaga was doing in 2011.
Stream both mixes after the jump, and for goodness sake, start hydrating now—Saturday’s only a few parties away.