Friday, July 08, 2011

July 2011 Activity -- DJing

The fake guitar, Minotaur heads and machine gun are all relevant to the activity.
No, they're not.
Saturday, July 9th 12:00pm-1:30pm
2524 Guilford Avenue
Baltimore, MD  21208
Cost: $39/person

The Dilettantes and Guest Dilettante Amy headed north to work on turntables (e.g., "Kick it old school") with instructor Aran.

While arranging logistics to travel to Baltimore, Guest Dilettante Amy sent us the following e-mail:

"I’ve been practicing my mash-up skills and wearing my pants backwards (it’s what all the kool kids are doing), albeit a little hard to walk around but I think I’ll manage tomorrow and look totally fly doing it. I’m just sorry Ke$ha took the only usable symbol from the keyboard, @my, doesn’t really do it huh? So I think I’m going to go with “Duchess” as my moniker as it really should have been me and not Kate, remember how great I looked at the Princess Party? In any case I think I’ll plan to meet you all in Baltimore tomorrow, too many in my entourage. It’s the way I roll!"
Dilettante Amanda scored the DJing lesson on Zozi - a site similar to Groupon. It differed in that as soon as she purchased the DJ lesson, her credit card was used to charge up a whole mess o' stuff all over tarnation. Discover took care of the charges and she notified Zozi, thinking they may want to be aware of this. It was certainly a less than auspicious beginning to the activity...

Dilettantes Amanda and Kathleen drove to Baltimore together, arriving first in the gentrifying neighborhood where the activity was going to be held. As we walked up to the porch, a gentleman in a hoveround with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth drove by. Walking up the front steps, we noticed that there was a a huge heavy-metal-looking throne on the front porch of the row house. We knocked once on the door -- no answer. We rang each of the two available doorbells -- no answer. Just then, Guest Dilettante Amy joined us and Dilettante Amanda called Aran. He answered with a "Hey, what's up?" and she said, "We are waiting for you on the front porch." He said, "Ok, I'll be right there." And he was -- about five minutes later. Aran did not look anything at all like what we were expecting a hip-hop DJ to look like. (We hate to stereotype, but it does save time.) He totally looked like Richie Cunningham...with a rat tail...

He invited us inside and mentioned that he was still not fully set up for the lesson (it now being about 1:10 when the lesson was to begin at 1:00). So he worked on moving equipment to the basement while we looked around the house at decor that included (in addition to the rock throne that he mentioned was from a recent rock opera): a Darth Vader Mr. Potato head, a fake machine gun, a fake guitar, two giant minotaur heads, one red Lady Gaga-looking costume (which was not from a recent rock opera but "from life" he clarified),  and a bunch of other random paintings and stuff. It was awesome. Dilettante Kathleen was not shy about picking up every single thing and asking questions about it while taking photos.

It was also at this point that we met Hubert. And the moment that I was about to wet my pants (from laughing), so I asked to use the restroom. The restroom was at the top of the death stairs to the basement. The bathroom also had a square hole in the wall above the toilet which led to the stairwell, so the other Dilettantes heard my goings-on as they made their way down the steep stairs that looked as though they led to a serial killer's hangout.

Dilettante Amy had still not made it to the activity, so I texted her with a "if you see a rock throne on the porch you're at the right place -- no one will answer the door". So she came in a few minutes later, and as she made her way down the death stairs, she assumed that my message was some kind of code and that we had all been killed.

We hadn't. We had just started learning some DJ stuff (such as Aran having an album collection that included everything from Redd Foxx's comedy classic You Gotta Wash Your Ass (I could not make this up), Sesame Street singalong, En Vogue, and some albums that were designated as "scratching" albums or had one tone per track. Dilettante Kathleen noted, "Can you imagine winning a Grammy for the one-note album?" and Dilettante Amanda shot back, "Can you imaging LOSING a Grammy to the one-note album?"

We learned to count beats, "drop in", adjust knobs for different tempos and to drop out and increase bass, and how to the hold the ear phones to our ears like real DJs.

(Here's Duchess below, kickin' it old school and scratchin':)

We spent about an hour taking turns learning how to do this stuff and then thanked Aran, took a group photo with some of his props and headed to lunch at Dogwood (or something...)

Then, a couple of days ago, Dilettante Amanda got the following email from Aran:

Hi, Lois,

Just writing to let you know I have the final payment for the wedding. I will be depositing it today. The bill for DJing the August 13th wedding is now paid in full.

Thank you very much!

Aran K.
A perfect end to one delightfully random activity -- and a perfect one for Guest Dilettante Amy to join.

Dilettante Amanda on the throne.