Sunday, March 4, 2012

Old Dirty Sundays...(Happiness Challenge Day 4)

(Every since my cousin Amy started this challenge, I've been waiting and excited to write about today.  I could have written this any other day, but since today is Sunday I'm writing it for a specific reason.  This post is going to be a little long, but when you get to the end you'll understand.)

Today is Sunday.  The best day of the week in Tampa, FL.  The reason is that today is Old Dirty Sunday, or ODS to the few who've been there.  First let me explain.  Old Dirty Sundays at Crowbar is the official name of the Sunday afternoon/night get together that a friend of mine and a couple other djs started just under a year ago.  It is a collection of djs, artists, free bar-b-que, and cheap beer every Sunday at Crowbar in Ybor City in Tampa, FL.  Every Sunday, I wake up in Charlotte sad that I won't be able to attend that day's show.  Show is a bad way to describe it.  Performance.  Not really.  Block party.  That's a better way to describe it.  It still doesn't do it justice but it's as close as I can get to it without you actually having been there.

So let me introduce you to the characters involved.  They are four djs from the Tampa Bay area that I'm proud to call my friends.  In the red shirt is DJ Casper.  He's a bit of a clown and that's why I love him.  In the green is my friend DJ Lesage of the Mixfits.  He is unbelievably gifted and can crush a house party.  Next is DJ Mega.  He plays mostly in St. Pete, but comes with a crazy Latin house/funk sound that gets me right any time I hear it.  Last is the legend himself, DJ Blenda.  Blenda is your favorite dj's favorite dj.  That is how everyone I know has ever described him.  These four guys started a party and it just won't end.

What I love the most about ODS is not just the music, but also the vibe.  ODS is not about getting together on a Sunday to listen to music and BBQ and watch Efrin do his art on the spot.

  It's not just about Tom (he's the owner of Crowbar) on the grill.

It's about something that is greater than that.  You see, all of these people don't do this for the profit.  The four guys dj at clubs all week long.  Tom owns the bar all week long.  Efren does his art all week long.  These guys do this because they love it.  The music that is played is music that they grew up on and love.  It's the non club/house/radiomix crap that they have to play for the masses that don't understand real music.  Its a time for them to unwind and relax while having soooooo much fun.  Sunday is a time in which Tom can enjoy himself and relax and attend a party that he doesn't have to work.  You see, Tom bbq's the food free of cost.  You want a burger or a dog or a grilled piece of chicken, go and get it.  He cooks until the food is gone.  If you want to put something in the tip jar, go ahead.  If not, it's cool.  Efren posts up his art, but is constantly doing art while there, to show you that the medium of inspiration is the venue and the people itself.

When the party starts, its usually midday.  There are tourist and downtown locals all around the Ybor City area.  They hear the music and stop on by.  Some stay for a while, others leave.  It's cool.  We want you here for the time you want to be here.  We also want you to have a good time for the time you are here.  Then, as the sun sets, the place gets more and more crowded.  Everyone whose been getting rest from their wonderful Saturday night out, are starting to come in.  It's never so crowded that you can have a good time and feel bottled in.  It's a crowd of all your friends that like the same things you do.  Hell, it's people you don't know that love the same things you do.

There's everything.   From break dancing battles to guest djs from out of town (or in town for that matter) to guest MCs at the end of the night, it's a great time.  (That's a young boy of like 12, getting funky)

But why does it make me happy?  Here's why.

I've been a fan of hip-hop for a long time.  I can't explain why or how, its just that I am.  I've long waited for a place that can play old school joints and succeed at it.  I've long waited to hear the music I grew up with at a place where there is no pretension.  Where everyone there is there for the fun.  That's what this place has become.  I love ODS because of what it has become and what it represents.  It started out slow, but has since become a landmark for Sunday events.  That's what I love.  What I love are the people that are there that have become my friends.  What I love about ODS is the total randomness of the night.  One night we had a local artist get up on the shanty rooftop above the outside bar/dj booth perform.

Dynasty was unbelievable that night.  I was truly amazed at the total randomness of the night.  That is why I love ODS.  We said, "Hey, lets put you on the roof, if it's safe." Dynasty said okay and rest became ODS history.  By the way, the guy in the red shirt is me.  I'm like the ODS roadie.  It's unofficial, but they know I'll do the things out on the edge for them.

The total randomness also includes how much others love ODS.  9th Wonder is a well known producer in the hiphop industry.  He was in-town looking for something to do on a Sunday night.  A friend of his referred him to come to ODS.  He did.  The next thing was legendary.  He came in at the end of the night and did an hour set on the decks.  It was amazing.  You can't beat randomness like that.  Then you throw in Mos Def/Talib show in St. Pete.  They announced during the show that they would be doing the official after show at ODS.  They performed again, with the guys on the decks and flowing for the crowd.  Do you see how close the crowd is to the guys.  You just have to love a place that allows a vibe like that.

If you don't believe me about how randomly awesome ODS is, read this article written by the legendary DJ Rob Swift:  What more can be said than that.

You see, this is what I love about Sunday.  More importanly, this is what I love about Old Dirty Sundays.  I've since moved from Tampa to Charlotte and every Sunday a small part of me is sad.  Mostly because I'm not there for the weekly family bbq.  Mostly because I'm not there to kick it with friends that have become important to me.  When you're an ecelctic soul like I am, finding people like you is somewhat hard.  These people are my family.

I also miss it because on my last day in Tampa, they let me dj for a while.  I'm not going to say it was a good set.  It was choppy and a little frantic.  I was given the opportunity to play music I liked no matter what the crowd felt and that was an awesome feeling.  I was able to feel the vibe and love of people around you loving what you are doing at that given moment.  I miss the boys greatly.  I miss bsing with Monica D, but I love the posters she does weekly that are completely amazing.  Every Sunday, I'm happy because the party is still going.  I'm happy because someone is being able to enjoy the thing I love most.  Plus, I'm happy, because when I return it's going to be the hippest family reunion I go ever go to.  Plus, maybe, just maybe they allow this to happen again:

But more importanly, I'm gonna be happy for this to happen again:


The Man, The Myth, The Legend


  1. Thanks Monica. Thanks for the share on facebook too. It means a lot. Miss your face. Hope you had fun tonight with Rob Swift.

  2. I've been to The Crowbar! When I was living in Sarasota I caught a show by Silversun Pickups there on St. Patty's Day five years ago. Cool venue, and Ybor was always a good time. Your Sunday Funday sounds pretty fucking sweet too. Good times.

  3. If you ever get a vacation day, come down and have a good time.