Miami Vices

NYC DJs invade the beaches, yachts, and Radio Shacks of South Beach's famed Winter Music Conference

"I was ready for this night to go down in history," he says. "But this was really soft compared to what I'm used to with them. I gotta say that Louie is one of my heroes, but what Louie played didn't really catch tonight. A lot of my friends went to the Shelter NYC party, and I feel like I should've went. Everybody has to have a bad show every once in a while, I guess. Well, we'll see what happens tomorrow at the beach party."


The parties in lounges, clubs, gardens, poolsides, rooftops, hotel lobbies, bars, private residences, yachts, and beaches go around the clock during WMC; additionally, the streets of South Beach themselves are a party. Every trendy clothing store, hookah bar, tattoo parlor, espresso shop, Internet café, and mirrored-doorway pizzeria has two turntables, a mixer, and a DJ. Even the hair salons have someone spinning while you get your hair done. Then you can bust a move as soon as you're through.

Even if a store doesn't have a DJ, it'll be playing house music over the sound system; Walgreens, CVS, even Radio Shack all play house music. But by Thursday, the only shop on Washington not playing house music is a lone falafel place cranking Fall Out Boy, where two Atlanta DJs, Kai Alce and Ra Soul, are having a late lunch and talking about the Masters at Work show the previous night.

"I didn't like it," says DJ Kai Alce.

Ladies of Ubiquita
Photograph by Howard Huang; styling by Curtis Davis for Ken Barboza Associates; hair by Hair Q Hardy for Illusions; makeup by JoJo using MAC cosmetics. On DJ Moni (left): camouflage jumper by Younique; D&G bikini top courtesy Albrights; shoes by BCBG; jewelry by Satellite; suede cuff by Eenamaria. On DJ Selly (middle): top by Younique; bikini top by Red Carver available at figleaves.com; track pants by Old Navy; leg warmers by H&M; boots by Cassadei; jewelry by Satellite; sunglasses by D&G courtesy Albrights. On DJ Reborn (right): swimsuit by Lablanca available at figleaves.com; shorts and belt by Nanette Lapore; bangles by Alexis Bittar and sunglasses by Dyce both courtesy Albrights.
Ladies of Ubiquita
Photograph by Howard Huang; styling by Curtis Davis for Ken Barboza Associates; hair by Hair Q Hardy for Illusions; makeup by JoJo using MAC cosmetics. On DJ Moni (left): camouflage jumper by Younique; D&G bikini top courtesy Albrights; shoes by BCBG; jewelry by Satellite; suede cuff by Eenamaria. On DJ Selly (middle): top by Younique; bikini top by Red Carver available at figleaves.com; track pants by Old Navy; leg warmers by H&M; boots by Cassadei; jewelry by Satellite; sunglasses by D&G courtesy Albrights. On DJ Reborn (right): swimsuit by Lablanca available at figleaves.com; shorts and belt by Nanette Lapore; bangles by Alexis Bittar and sunglasses by Dyce both courtesy Albrights.

"I didn't like it either," says DJ Ra Soul.

"It just got real monotonous after awhile."

"He played very big-roomish. There's two Louies. You've got big-room Louie. And then you've got the Louie who plays at [NYC house haven] Cielo on Wednesdays, and that's a whole 'nother Louie. He plays more rootsy at Cielo. Last night was big-room Louie."

"Nah, man, he was just on some Louie Vega shit last night, man. You can't play your own shit all night. Eighty percent of what he played was his own records. And his new stuff is totally different. Can you believe he's got a song called 'Shake That Booty'? Like he's appealing to a commercial crowd. He's at a weird place right now. Louie Vega is no longer the soulful guy he used to be. It is what it is."

"I think that Grammy might have . . . . Did you see him at the Super Bowl? Well, the same flamboyance and production they had at the Super Bowl, he had last night. That wasn't the roots sound."

"Roots is today, out at the beach."

"I'm interested to see what he does today on the beach. See if he changes it up."

"I don't think he will."

"I think he's trying to make music to stay in the realm that he's in, with guys like Tiesto and Sasha and Digweed, so he can still get booked for a 25,000-person club in Europe and still not piss off the deep-house Wednesday night Cielo crowd."

"It is what it is."

"Yo man, let's go; I wanna check out this beach party."


Over at the Beach Plaza Hotel on 14th and Collins, there's an all-day party on the roof, and in a garden of coconut trees and gargantuan bamboos. It's Miami's rainy season, which makes putting on a full week of outdoor events inconvenient.

"See, we left and went back to our room for just a minute, and it started to rain," says Begonia Gwertzman, a/k/a DJ Boo, sitting next to her husband Mike, a/k/a DJ Sleepy, on one of the leather ottomans in the lobby of the Beach Plaza hotel.

Earlier, when the two were out back in the garden DJ'ing, Boo looked cool in her Chanel shades, even if it did take a minute for her to get into the groove.

Sleepy's been DJ'ing longer than Boo. He has a good feel for matching beats and can keep people dancing. But DJs change hourly, and now someone else is on, playing the theme from that Lincoln car commercial a few years back, a song by Mr. Gruff called "Trouser Jazz."

To be a bartender at the Beach Plaza, you've got to be buff. Today the blond buff bartender is working the Basic NYC party in the garden, and the brunette buff bartender is up on the roof. Both of the waitresses here are young and look like they just got in from Tahiti. But there's also this weird set of people here who just cut limes. They don't have to look as good.

Here's the deal with the guest list. Of course, just like every other guest list at WMC, being on the list is no guarantee of entry. All the Basic NYC parties are free, but to be on the list, you had to RSVP. The problem is every DJ has a list, too, and there are more than 60 DJs playing this thing. And once the garden hits capacity at 300 and the roof at 140, no one else can get in. So there's a constant crowd on the sidewalk outside, because once people are let in, they don't leave. Some people stay all day. Those who booked a room here just for these parties and got the "Basic NYC" package have an advantage, 'cause they can come to the party anytime.

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