Friday, July 9, 2010
TAKING BACK SUNDAYS
YES... SUNDAYS = SWEATER FUNK... The Bold Italic did a nice write up on our SUNDAY ritual... Thanks for the support Jennifer.
The Sweater Funk DJ crew was legendary in my mind before I’d visited their weekly Chinatown sauna. The boogie collective has style – shiny matching jackets bearing the Sweater Funk name. Their motto is also the best I’ve heard: “Wrong music, wrong place, wrong night…three wrongs make it right!”
By “wrong music” they mean the sunny Jheri-curl jams of the ’70s and ’80s.
By “wrong place,” they mean Li Po Lounge. The Chinatown dive is like that weirdly cool dude who’s friends with every social clique in school. I’ve seen a wider variety of music in its poorly lit and acoustically unfriendly basement than anywhere else in the city.
I hit Sweater Funk on a holiday weekend, when the temperature was still in the 60s well past 11 p.m. The bar felt like a massive house party – people were crammed into every nook, upstairs and down. I slid past drinkers mashed three-deep at the bar, careful not to knock into the old man snoring near the stairwell.
As I stepped through the concrete threshold to the dim underground cave, things were downright tropical. The musk of hot bodies was so tangible I was soon wearing it like cologne. There were only two light sources in the room – one over the DJ, and the other over a pair of sunken couches.
I snaked my way to the middle of the dance floor, which meant getting slimed on all sides by the damp backs and arms pumping around me. It was dirty and stinky and sweaty in there, and I was into it – claustrophobia was forcing people to move their asses or get off the floor. I couldn’t tell you a single song on the set list, though. This was some obscure funk.
The club had perfect rec room vibe: unpretentious, under the radar, and underlit. (Around a dark corner by the basement entrance, I saw a couple slink off to do some sloppy getting-to-know-you.) The one problem on a summer night? The club was also unventilated. My friends and I tried planting our bodies against one of three portable fans set up around the dance floor, but after a couple hours, we were cooked anyway. We walked home through an empty Chinatown, which, after all that dancing, was the coolant we’d been craving.