Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Call to donate, and a special note from Steve Pestana

left to right: Mr. Finewine, Mic Lo, Josh Styles, Whiteshoes, Michael Robinson, Steve Pestana, Jonathan Toubin. Pic by the fabulous OJ S.

Over $3500 was raised Sunday night at the Glasslands benefit to go to Carlo's family. What a great show of support, from the soul DJs who participated, to the folks who threw the event, and to us, Carlos' friends, who danced the night away...

Yet, there's still more we can do more!

Go to this site to make a donation.

Please, take a moment to read the following, sent to me from Steve Pestana.

One of the special things about Carlos's memorial was it brought many DJs together under the same roof, and onto the same turntables, that hadn't seen each other much less DJ'd together in many years. At the end of the 90s, there was a time when all of us were down in the trenches, preaching the gospel of soul power, revolution rave-up, and cosmic dancing.

It was a small, and tightly knit group of kids between a few cities . . . Philly, Boston and NYC for the most part. I was fortunate enough to have had an amazing breakout party called Shout! that became the rallying point for what exploded into a whole scene. Although my partner Pedro and I had just turned 21, we weren't all super young, but we all shared the same youthful energy and the excitement that we were part of something bubbling up, something big, something that really mattered, and something that paved the way for the generations that followed to put their own unique spins on.

We all took pride in our appearance, our songs, and our moves on the dancefloor. It wasn't about starf*cking, glamour, or ego - rather, what it really came down to was a pentecostal dancefloor experience. To this day, I still haven't seen parties ascend into total group frenzy the way it did on those Sunday nights once upon a time.

ALWAYS at the center of the dancefloor was Carlos. We DJs all have that same memory in our head of being in the midst of a set, when who made his grand entrance with a graceful slide into the room but Carlos, looking sharp, and immediately electrifying everyone surrounding him. Carlos was our champion, supporting all the scenemakers, even on slower nights, the nights that gave us all a chance to get to know each other on a more personal level, the opportunity to find out that we had more in common than the music that we liked and the way that we dressed.

Carlos personally gave me some of my most vivid memories of Shout!. Just the fact that he managed to get into our club every week, despite being only 17 years old, made things much more fun as a promoter. On wilder nights, the bar staff, from the owners to the bartenders to the bouncers, collectively encouraged, and even goaded on Carlos to get up onto the bar and dance his way through several songs (Shout!-out to Thomas, Daria, Tommy, and Eddie). Carlos was dear to everyone who worked with us in Shout!'s one and only home from 1997 to 2006, Bar 13. I would have to say my favorite memory, for it's hilariousness, it's shockingness, and the pride that something so cool happened within the doors of my party, would be bearing witness to the one and only Mr. Joe Strummer of the Clash, bowing down before Carlos, actually getting down onto his hands and knees, and licking Carlos's boots, right there in front of everybody. That is how impressed this man, who had seen it all, was with Carlos Alvarez's dancing.

Carlos's deep love of soul music is obviously very well-known, but at Shout!, where we began as a history of rock n' roll soul, and gradually evolved towards a more no-holds-barred, out-of-control party music format, Carlos showed himself to be ultimately someone with a general and very strong love of great music. He valued the importance of sharing that feeling with others, friends and strangers (or, in Carlos's case, not so much strangers, but soon-to-be friends) on the dancefloor alike. One of my favorite things about DJing Shout! was the way the crowd let us get away with the near-complete obscurity of the music we were mining, and was very open to being turned on to what essentially would become a new (old) canon of party music hits. These days, I don't think any other party would survive on a non-hits based format, where the audience doesn't care what you spin, so long as it moves your body in the right ways. We have Carlos to thank for the many nights where we pushed the envelope, as we tried to expand what was possible at a New York dance party. He was right there with us, keeping the floor moving. Carlos was an adventurous DJ's best friend, and for that, I thank him. I'm sure many others would too.

The Glasslands benefit couldn't have been a more fitting farewell to this friend to so many. Our lives and dancefloors will never be the same without him, but I think that now, many of us can rest a little more easily knowing we celebrated his life the way he would've liked, at a party he no doubt would've loved. So, without further ado, the much requested photo memorializing the gathering of seven of his favorite DJs, old friends of many many years, reunited in the memory of a friend that we grew up with, and that we will all miss.

Thanks, Melissa, and everyone who has contributed recently, for all the poignant and vivid Carlos dedications on your blog.

- Steve Pestana of the Notorious Shout! DJs


  1. thanks again for sunday night. it was really special being there with everyone.
    hey i was wondering what you thought of having the djs from sunday make a mix of all of carlos favorite soul/ dance songs? ...as a way to always remember him. then we could sell them and all the proceeds can go to his family?

  2. Great idea- I'd buy a mix as soon as it was finished! Also, I believe Jason S. has Carlos' iPod...

  3. I totally agree, and am happy to offer my studio and help as a means of recording/mixing/uploading


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