Major Boogaloo at WHAM-O!

Ursa Major and Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus swing at WHAM-O WATUSI!

On July 26, the WHAM-O WATUSI was called to order at the Bootleg Bar in beautiful downtown Bushwick. This was a rare Friday evening WHAM-O and so it necessitated that a rare and exceptional guest DJ should be involved: Ursa Major (who host Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus was able to sign on after some tough negotiating).

Ursa Major is a member of the Legio SPQR DJ collective–a group of sound selectors who specialize in skinhead reggae. As such, he has travelled the world spinning his boss records for his many admirers. However, Ursa Major is also a well-rounded DJ who spins in all of the styles favored by WHAM-O WATUSI enthusiasts.

Ursa Major swings at WHAM-O WATUSI!

In pre-Boogaloo Bag days, Ursa Major was an occasional guest at Subway Soul Club–he has amazing soul records–back when it was at Rififi in the East Village. Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus likes to recall a night: It was the first night that the WANG DANG DOODLE took place at the Ottoman Lounge in Williamsburg (thus the first night that the Phast Man wore a fez!) and Ursa Major was asked to be its guest DJ for a one-off ska music event. Phast Phreddie’s ska collection at the time was not so fine–a handful of 45s, some reissues and compilations. Ursa Major showed up with a box of about 200 boss ska records–most of them British pressings in immaculate shape–and a crew of about 20 of his skinhead friends. Thanks to him, the night was a roaring success.

Ursa Major is visited by Mr. Vacation at WHAM-O WATUSI!

Thus it is always a pleasure working with Ursa Major–which doesn’t happen often enough. The last time may be the time he guested with the Phast Man at the Commodore in 2015.

Ursa Major is also the drummer for a cool Oi! punk band called The Templars. The band has been active since about 1991. It’s made dozens of recordings and tours the world.

At the WHAM-O WATUSI, Ursa Major played an assortment of jams, mostly R&B, soul and freak beat records–records that he doesn’t get to spin often. The Boogaloo Bag writers dig it when Ursa Major is at the controls because he has such fabulous records and he knows how to play them. Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus played his usual trash, some new acquisitions, four monkey and four “thing” records in a row and perhaps a few more Jamaican records than usual in order for Ursa Major to feel at home. Also, knowing that the guest DJ is a drummer, The Boog played a series of “drum” records and the one by The Azaleas really caught his ear!

Ursa Major digs the scene at WHAM-O WATUSI!

Although she was unable to make the scene, Miss Nancy Gardner was able to provide some most delicious chocolate oatmeal peanut butter cookies, as well as vegan peanut butter balls.

Here’s a list of all the records played by Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus at the WHAM-O WATUSI:

None of these records are for sale. Some of them may have links to the youtubes for the reader to dig.

SIT and Boogaloo at the Beach!

DJ Rata swings at Rockaway Beach!

Caracas is the capital of Venezuela, the South American country. It is also the name of three arepas bars in New York City. The first is located on E. 7th Street in the East Village. The second one is in Williamsburg. The third is at Rockaway Beach–right on the beach–and is only open seasonally. Arepas are food–good food–and for the uninitiated, may be described as a northern South American version of a falafel sandwich. The thick, round flatbread is baked, then fried, then cut and yummy, spicy ingredients are stuffed between the two slices. The arepas at Caracas Arepa Bars are among the best in town.

Mrs. and Mr. Rata swing at Shake It Up Sundays!

During the three summer months, the Caracas Arepa Bar in Rockaway features live music and DJs on Sundays. Our pal DJ Rata hosts a party there each month called Shake It Up Sunday. In July, he booked The Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Company–a rockin’’ little hillbilly combo whose name is bigger than the group; a trio of musicians who, at the first hit of a guitar chord, harken the listener back to about 1955 and somewhere southwest of Pittsburg. The group’s brand of blues, ballads and boogies belongs on the radio as much as it does in a museum. When they have a guest thrush on hand, as they did with Stella Rose Saint Clair, the band is even better. Miss Stella looks flash(back) and sings as if the only record she ever heard was Patsy Cline’s Greatest Hits.

Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Company perform the “hot dog” song at Shake It Up Sunday!

Miss Stella Rose Saint Clair fronts Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Company for a series of lovely ballads at Shake It Up Sunday!

Susquehanna Industrial Tool & Die Company swings at Shake It Up Sunday!

Rata is one of our favorite DJs. Ever since we first met him–spinning mambo, R&B and rocksteady 45s at a Yana Lil-Jerk party at Otto’s Shrunken Head several years ago–we have tried to follow his exploits. We often find him selecting the music for some of the finest parties in Brooklyn. Whenever he asks Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus to work with him, the Boogaloo Bag writers get excited. He did so for this July 21 event.

Batman takes a spin at Shake It Up Sunday!!

This scene at Caracas Rockaway is what summer is all about. Rata played some fabulous music, employing his custom Super Hero 45 RPM adaptors. SIT and Die played a good, long set. The food at Caracas was fantastic. Boogaloo Bag photographer and baker Miss Nancy made some excellent chocolate/oatmeal/peanutbutter cookies.

Miss Nancy’s chocolate/oatmeal/peanutbutter cookies were a hit!

Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus looks on as Miss Stella Rose Saint Clair samples one of Miss Nancy’s chocolate/oatmeal/peanutbutter cookies at Shake It Up Sundays!

The ocean was about a hundred yards away. The sun was out but a cool breeze often blew through. Why do hot summer days like this have to end? Everyone had such a grand time, it was kind of sad getting on the subway for the long ride home.

Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus swings at Shake It Up Sunday!!

In order to do his part, Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus played surf records, R&B records, mambo records and songs sung in Spanish. Here’s a list of all the records he played:

None of these records are for sale. Some of them may have links to the youtubes in order to enlighten the reader, if necessary.

Abe’s Boogaloo!

Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus and Nogood Nick swing at Abe’s Pagoda Bar.

Nogood Nick is one of our best pals, DJ-wise. He used to host a swingin’ soirée called Rip! Rig! Panic! It has taken place at several nightclubs, but most recently at Otto’s Shrunken Head. it featured his exquisite mix of Mod jazz, sweet soul and provocative pop music. These days he is often called to action at a new joint in Bushwick called Abe’s Pagoda Bar. The name of the joint is a clever play on the name of the character actor Abe Vigoda–which has nothing to do with the lovely exotic, “tiki-inspired” decor of the club. Rip! Rig! Panic! would be right at home at Abe’s Pagoda Bar, however for some reason, Nogood Nick doesn’t call his nights there by that name. We don’t think his nights at Abe’s are regular, nor do they even have a name–he just shows up and plays his exquisite mix of Mod jazz, sweet soul and provocative pop music. Sometimes with a guest DJ. It may as well be Rip! Rig! Panic!

Nogood Nick selects another fine jam to play at Abe’s Pagoda Bar.

On Sunday July 7, Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus was asked to be Nogood Nick’s guest DJ. Having been a frequent guest and/or attendee of Rip! Rig! Panic!, he knew the drill–plus he added some mambo vibes, international beats and groovy instrumentals in order to spice up the scene.

Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus checks out the track that Nogood Nick is going to play next at Abe’s Pagoda Bar.

Miss Nancy was on hand and she had some yummy strawberries dipped in white chocolate to feed the faithful. Abe’s Pagoda also serves food and the Boogaloo Bag crew partook in orders of vegan hot dogs–or some such thing. Plus, the bartenders were happy to make a non-alcoholic, frothy & fruity drink for The Boog.

Miss Nancy strikes a pose in front of Abe’s Pagoda Bar!

We hope that Mr. Nick’s night becomes a regular thing and that he invites the Phast One to join him often. This was a swingin’ scene that needs to survive.

Here’s a list of all the records played by Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus when he DJed with Noogood Nick at Abes Pagoda:

None of these records are for sale. Some of them may have links to the youtubes for the reader’s edification.

Abes July

Happy Home Sweet Boogaloo!

Around noon on Friday June 21, Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus received a desparate message from our pal Drew Redmond: “Would you be interested in covering my shift at Home Sweet Home tonight?” Mr. Redmond was double-booked and need someone to swing at his regular Friday night gig, working the early shift before the main man, Jonathan Toubin arrives on the scene.

“¡No problemo!”

They don’t call him Phast Phreddie for nothing–he can prepare for a DJ gig in minutes!! Although it ain’t so easy as just picking up this box of records or that box of records and heading out. The Boog doesn’t work that way. He has records all over his record room and must choose the right records for each gig–a time consuming activity.

Luckily, The Phast Man was able to get out of his day gig a little early, get home, gather a bunch of old 45s–mostly cool instrumentals, organ grooves, sweet soul, funk and some other weirdness (I mean, this is Drew Redmond’s gig–the king of the weird record!)–and make the scene at Home Sweet Home in the Lower East Side. The Boog kept things fairly mid-tempo and not too rockin–well, it’s Happy Hour, after all; plus, you don’t really want to work the crowd up so much that when Mr. Toubin arrives they are all pooped out. That’s his job! You just want the folks in the bar to feel groovy, bop their heads and, if they’re standing up with a beverage chatting with friends, groove around a bit. There: some Happy Hour DJ etiquette for you.

Jonathan Toubin swings at Home Sweet Home!

Right around 11:00PM, Jonathan Toubin blew in and took over the turntables–and rocked the place good, as he always does.

Here’s a list of all the records played by Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus for a swingin’ Happy Hour at Home Sweet Home:

None of these records are for sale. Some of them may have links to the youtubes for the readers edification.

Boogaloo at Showtime!

Washington, D.C.’s Showtime Lounge is considered one of the best bars in America by Esquire Magazine. It is a small dive with a great jukebox and an excellent DJ booth. Our new friend Baby Alcatraz is hostess to several parties held there, often on the first Saturday of the month. As noted in the last Bag entry, she is co-host with Rob Macy of the excellent Save Your Soul dance party. She also plays hostess to other local events such as Shout Bamalama, Saturday Night Record Party and Smashing Time. She clearly knows the scene and is able to work it well.

On May 4, she asked Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus to come swing with her at the Showtime. Since it was the night after Save Your Soul in nearby Baltimore which the Phast Man was scheduled to DJ at, it was easy to just stay in the area and swing the D.C. event as well.

The Boogaloo Bag writers understand that these Showtime gigs are often very well attended. However, the heavy, heavy rains that night may have kept some of the local punters away, as the Showtime was not packed–however, there were plenty of folks in attendance–more than enough to make it fun–but definitely.

The evening started oddly enough, with Baby Alcatraz arriving late. So The Boog set up the DJ booth and got swingin’ on time, or soon after. Ms. Alcatraz showed up with her box of records, saw that The Boog had the place jumpin’, so she had a drink at the bar. Then she excused herself–said a good friend was having a birthday party nearby in the neighborhood and would The Boog mind if she attended it for a while.

Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus sets up for the night at the Showtime Lounge.

So Phast Phreddie played records all night. Good thing he brought plenty, since even after she returned to the Showtime, Baby Alcatraz,who has great records and knows how to play them, didn’t seem interested in playing any of them! Fine with The Boog, as he felt comfortable in the groovy bar playing his records to the locals–who all seemed to enjoy them, as they bopped and twisted to the swingin’ sounds. So it was fine, except that when The Boog finished playing the records he didn’t play the night before at Save Your Soul, he decided to play those records in the same order as he did then! He was able to play all of them except for maybe eight before the club closed down.

Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus swings at the Showtime Lounge.

Funny thing is this: when Baby Alcatraz returned to the Showtime from her friend’s birthday party, it was just about the time The Boog started playing records from Save Your Soul. We certainly hope that she doesn’t think The Boog plays the same records in the same order at every event he DJs at–as the Boogaloo Bag postings can easily verify. This was a special case. However, if The Boog was a genius, he would have mixed all the records up. Oh, well, next time… and we certainly hope there will be a next time, as this trip down south was a blast.

Baby Alcatraz and Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus swing at the Showtime Lounge.

Miss Nancy, of course, made enough maple fudge and vegan brownies for this event, also, and they were duly distributed. Here’s a list of all the records played by Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus on a rainy Saturday night at the Showtime:

None of these records are for sale. Some of them may have links to the youtubes for the readers’s edification. For the last 25 records, see the previous Bag post.

Baltimore Boogaloo!

The Lithuanian Hall in Baltimore is mostly a restaurant and meeting place that caters to the local Lithuanian community. But on the first Friday of the month it becomes the scene of a swingin’ party called Save Your Soul hosted by our new friends Rob Macy and Baby Alcatraz.

Rob Macy and Baby Alcatraz swing at Save Your Soul!

For the last several years, our DJ colleague Drew Redmond has been telling us about this fabulous dance party, as he has been guest DJ there several times. He says the place is packed, the dance floor is always full and they all dance around to every record he plays. Which is wild, because Mr. Redmond is known to play some pretty crazy records!

Baby Alcatraz spins another great jam at Save Your Soul!

Rob Macy cues another hot record at Save Your Soul!

Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus wanted to taste that action, so he lit a candle to Our Lady of Perpetual Motion and, what do you know, Rob Macy contacted him and invited him to swing for the May edition of the party, which took place on May 3rd.

And swing he did.

Drew Redmond did not exaggerate. Spinning records for all the fine folks at the Lithuanian Hall was indeed a most fabulous DJ experience. Once the room filled with people, the dance floor was jammin’, non-stop. Mr. Macy and Baby Alcatraz were very accommodating hosts. They had some fine visuals of soul singers projected on the back wall and they each played some fantabulous records. Man, this scene was very much a gas! How could any DJ not enjoy it? The only problem was that it ended too early; Baltimore bars close at 2 O’clock, unlike New York City where swingin’ is allowed until 4.

Rob Macy, Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus and Baby Alcatraz swing at Save Your Soul!

Phast Phreddie made the trip with Miss Nancy Gardner (a native of Baltimore), who dished out her legendary maple fudge and vegan brownies to anyone who would bite. It made a sweet evening even sweeter. For this event, Phast Phreddie the Boogaloo Omnibus pulled some of his most favorite records to play for the wonderful people of Baltimore. Here’s a list of all of them:

None of these records are for sale. Some of them have links to the youtubes for your edification.