|This week we had the pleasure of attending a very special evening at Sunshine Cinema of rare and previously unscreened documentaries on early hip hop in New York City. The screenings were followed by a panel discussion with the directors and with hip hop legends Afrika Bambaataa, Big Stretch, and our dear friend, the inimitable, Schoolly D.||
“Wreckin Shop: Live From Brooklyn” (1991)
“Big Fun in the Big Town” (1986)
|With all of these documentaries centered around New York, it was amazing to take this trip back in time and see the city as it was then, and to see all of the enthusiasm and excitement around hip hop at the time. New York is now a different place altogether, but that’s another discussion…|
|It was also amazing to search for these clips for this blog post and to see that they can now be viewed in their entirety on youtube, whereas for so many years these films were passed down on VHS and were impossible to find. Some of the more well known hip hop movies from that era have always been in the mainstream, such “Style Wars“, “Tougher Than Leather” and “Wild Style” but these were rare and, along with the rest of the audience, we were glued to our seats for 4 hours and were happy to be in attendance. Many thanks to our friend, and the organizer of the event, video journalist, Andreas Vingaard.||
“Beat This” (1984)
May 4th, 2013
April 19th, 2013
|Please pardon our cheeky post title, but we are just feeling invigorated like those old soap commercials! We just kicked off the busy portion of the calendar year, the wedding season, with a beautiful wedding in Ireland. Destination weddings can present challenges in staffing, costs and logistics but this lovely couple pulled it off with ease and somehow got the sun to shine all day long. (The days before and after the wedding were dreary and drizzly!) The wedding was held at an historic Irish country castle and estate which is still in active use and is occupied by members of the original ancestral family, descended from high Celtic Kings. Complete with horse stables, ancient trees, and mythical flocks of crows, the place was steeped in history. It also had significant rock history- the Thompson Twins lived there for a time in the 80′s as well as a host of Irish and British bands seeking inspiration and recording space. The wedding was a huge success and guests danced all night long!|
|Tom looks extremely calm next to our fancy upgraded rental BMW at the front of the main grand entrance but it took him a while to get used to the left-side driving on tiny, narrow roadways and roundabouts!
Too bad this place was 4 hours drive from where we were. That would have made for a pretty awesome excursion and photo op!
|If you are planning a destination wedding and have concerns about how to make things come together, know that it can be done, beautifully, and we are always available to talk about the logistics no matter what you have in mind and no matter how far it may be.
January 4th, 2013
We feel fortunate as we look back on 2012. We worked with some really lovely couples, some incredible new venues, and some talented and creative people who make great weddings come together. Thank you all!
|Gangnam Style: Do you hate it or do you love it?? We will let you decide… This song came out of South Korea from virtual obscurity and almost overnight it blew up all over the world… that’s for sure! While we commend PSY for his success, we are pretty sure that Gangnam Style has now joined the ranks of ‘The Macarena’ or ‘Who Let the Dogs Out.’ Remember those cringe-worthy songs?|
|We were spared by Sandy, but sadly a lot of wedding vendors, whom we deeply respect, were not so fortunate. This Brooklyn Based flower company is partnered with an old college friend, and unfortunately their Red Hook warehouse took a hard hit during Sandy. They have rallied since then and are back on their feet. Check out their blog updates from that time.|
|On a sad note, we lost a friend and a fellow DJ from San Francisco, the inimitable Matthew Africa. In addition to being an accomplished attorney and one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet, Matthew was a longtime DJ, and record collector, who was respected among fellow high-caliber DJ’s across the country. He had impeccable and vast knowledge but would never be a snob about it. He perished in a car accident this fall and we miss him terribly. It is sad to know that someone who was so deeply knowledgeable about music and always was willing to share what he knew, will no longer be able to do so. His depth, taste, insight, and general awesomeness live on through his classic mixes. Rest in Peace friend!|
|Levi Levi Levi!!! Levi Stolove is one of our favorite people with whom we’ve worked. So much so, that he actually shot our wedding in 2010. Levi definitely transcends the things that make it so easy to be a photographer these days. It’s not just his eye, but his demeanor that comforts people into just the right moment when he can capture it and freeze it perfectly in time.|
|Lots of great music came out this year from all directions, but if there was one track that grew on us even after hearing it all over the radio for months, was Usher’s “Climax.” In our opinion, the single of the year, with almost a dozen or so different runner-ups nipping at it’s heels. Diplo‘s minimal production really gave this track something unique.|
|We fell in love with Tame Impala’s 2010 album ‘Innerspeaker,’ so we were excited for their second album, ‘Lonerism’, and it did not disappoint. It was our favorite LP of 2012. You listen to it and it’s just everything all at once- perfect psychedelia that doesn’t sound like it’s trying to be retro, perfect electronica without being a boring monotonous breakbeat. And from these kids who probably grew up loving classic hip hop, that influence is buried in there too if you know what to listen for. To quote Pitchfork, it feels like “the subliminal whisper becomes a rhythm track, a barreling drum break is severely tweaked to sound like an oncoming rush of bison”.|
|We travel a lot for work, and one of the silver linings to that travel is the amount of amazing things we find out on the road. Thrift Stores in Maine to Garage Sales in Texas… nothing is safe. Here are a few memorable things we found in 2012:
Our favorite vintage record score of 2012, was Ted Lucas’ self titled LP that we found in Portland, Oregon at Crossroads Music. I could go into detail explaining what makes this recording so special, but I’ll let you figure it out. Just have a listen.
|Abby was standing next to the counter flipping through a book as I was buying some rap singles from the dollar bins at a Philadelphia shop. I looked over, and it was hard to keep a poker face when i saw what she had just found– ‘Native Funk and Flash’ This WAY out-of-print gem captures the beauty of 60s and 70s San Francisco fashion, with an emphasis on crochet and embroidery.|
|When they tell you that you can’t buy anything for $5, you can tell them about this – a late 60′s motorcycle vest worn to perfection. A perfect piece of Americana captured at a flea market in Fall River, MA, on the way home from a beautiful wedding in Cape Cod.|
|In Washington State, we stopped by the Hama Hama oyster farm and got an amazing tour of the boat and facilities. Harvesting oysters is such an amazing trade! It also culminated in a glorious feast of some of North America’s finest shellfish.|
November 2nd, 2012
Over here we truly hope that you made it through Sandy unscathed. Before this week, what an amazing summer and fall season it has been. Only one rainy wedding since July, and that was under the most fabulous tent so it didn’t happen, right?If we had been good about Tweeting (which we are not) we would have tweeted from the following list of awesome venues in the past 60+ busy days!
Here are just a few:
|The brand new Roundhouse at Beacon
where the staff is one of the friendliest we have ever worked with…this bride and groom had a ring toss and other games during their cocktail hour!
The Old Field Club
right on the water’s edge on a gorgeous fall day, and not too far from the fictional town of East Egg where the Great Gatsby was to have lived.
loading is tough here, but the setting is Old New York at it’s finest. Complete a winter wedding here would be especially nice!
|The east terrace at The Philadelphia Museum of Art
need we point you in this direction, of this clip? It was THAT exhilarating to be there! WOW. Uunder the most beautiful tent, we had a unique view over the city and a crowd that danced voraciously through the night.
|The Bronx Botanical Garden at the Garden Terrace
where the bride and her bridesmaids were professional dancers (the ballerina kind, folks) and didn’t stop! AND also at NYBG…
|The Bronx Botanical Garden at the Stone Mill
Both are run with such efficiency and are so picturesque at any time of year.
Such a great spot for a big wedding, there is so much to do style-wise with this modern layout and the terrace views look out over all of downtown and the Hudson River. This couple loved hip hop and electronica so as the night went on we brought it!
|The Prospect Park Picnic House
We loved the wedding we recently DJ-ed here. The fireplace was blazing and we busted out lots of oldies, country and indie rock for this one to suit the music tastes of the couple. Everyone raged through the night sans top 40 which was fun, too. Be sure your DJ isn’t one dimensional, people! Being steeped in music knowledge takes a lifetime, not an iTunes account!
New and amazing, and BIG! It is a 19,000 square foot former glue factory situated in the coolest little upstate town of Hudson, New York. It is also a venue for bands–Grimes played there the night after this beautiful wedding!
|Solé East in Montauk
We love Montauk, but we know everybody else does too. Solé East is secluded and has gorgeous gardens for cocktails and ceremonies.
We love this venue and have DJ-ed many weddings here. We also can offer lowered rates here since they have a complete DJ set-up already in-house! This gorgeous bride and her (now) husband had very different music tastes so it was important to bring it all together. Super fun night!
|Collichio and Son
This very chic and recently redesigned restaurant accommodated every stage of this wedding from start to finish in its cozy and cavernous layout.
This is a new venue in Philadelphia, built in an old mill space and operated by the venerable caterers of Peachtree and Ward. What a treat especially for Abby to DJ in her hometown of Philly and get to play for a huge a diverse crowd including retired legends from the Philadelphia Eagles. This sweet couple celebrated the new and old music of their city all night.
This venue is uniquely situated underneath the 59th street bridge, and the structure is fascinating. This would also be a great venue for a larger wedding.
This lovely venue is a hidden gem with gorgeous gardens and a neo-gothic reception room, smack-dab in the middle of Chelsea!
This classic venue and prop warehouse provides a whimsical backdrop for a wedding and we had the pleasure of DJ-ing several weddings here over the past few months.
Ever seen a show here? We were intrigued when we got booked to DJ here and though it’s a raucous venue at other times, it was lovely for a wedding. They even put the couples name up on their marqee outside where band names are usually featured and it looked pretty awesome.
|The Green Building
This unique, post-industrial venue is a great palette from which to add final touches. The space also has a brand new soundsystem to deal with some tough accoustics. Coupled with our standard speakers, it sounds great in there now.
The Montauk Club in Park Slope
The Montauk club is a very historic private club which is open for weddings and is a gorgeous example of Venetian Gothic architecture from the Gilded Age of the late 1880′s.
The Hay Adams in Washington D.C.
This elegant venue is so directly close to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, that we are pretty sure we saw Barack waving from a window. The challenge was to keep people dancing but stay within the parameters of the couples tastes – they love 1960′s garage, psych rock and vintage French pop–think Serge Gainsbourg. It was a blast and a lovely crowd.
November 1st, 2012
Phew! That was a close one. We almost lost our sound systems to flooding down in the Gowanus Canal, but preparations bought last minute from a neighboring Lowes saved the day! We truly hope that all of our tri-state warriors stay safe out there. Long Island and Jersey, you are in our thoughts.
August 3rd, 2012
Reggae is a genre that divides–most people either love it, or don’t. There isn’t too much middle ground. As with all genres, we accept that, and in our work we know that we have to put our clients’ tastes in music first and shape what we play around that framework. Whether you love reggae or not, it is noteworthy to mention that the roots of DJing and using 2 turntables and a mixer, truly started among Jamaicans.
“The sound system concept first became popular in the 1950s, in the ghettos of Kingston. DJs would load up a truck with a generator, turntables, and huge speakers and set up street parties. In the beginning, the DJs played American rhythm and blues music, but as time progressed and more local music was created, the sound migrated to a local flavor. The sound systems were big business, and represented one of the few sure ways to make money in the unstable economy of the area. Turntablism, the art of using turntables not only to play music but to manipulate sound and create original music, began to develop.”
It’s a pretty remarkable influence on modern culture for such a small country. This coming Monday, August 6th, marks the 50th anniversary of Jamaican independence. In honor of that, we went to see a screening of the classic 1978 movie “Rockers” at BAM cinema . It was the opening screening for their current film festival featuring 4 days of films from Jamaica. Rockers is filled with incredible reggae from that era, and the cast features real musicians from the time including Jacob Miller, Big Youth, Dirty Harry and Burning Spear. It is an incredibly real portrayal of the great styles of that era in Jamaica and is a modern take on the Robin Hood storyline.
In another nod to Jamaica, Abby will be DJ-ing a party tomorrow, Saturday, August 4th, out in Montauk at Ruschmeyer’s . In their outdoor space, the Sandbar, from 5pm to 9pm playing all reggae, all vinyl from her deep and extensive collection of roots era reggae records. Blackwell’s Rum the official sponsor of the event, was started by Chris Blackwell of Island Records fame. Sunday, there will be a live performance by the legendary Sister Nancy. If you are lucky enough to be out at the beach, please come say hi!!
July 26th, 2012
You never know what you will discover. At Play Something Good, we share a love for thrifting, searching flea markets, and looking for treasures all over. It comes from our years of searching out records, but we love finding clothes, art, books, housewares, vintage stereo equipment, and musical instruments. We have learned a lot from what we have found over the years. Recently we were at an old consignment store in Philadelphia that was closing after 57 years in business. Abby has been finding amazing things there since she was a teenager. For years she noticed an interesting little hat that had always been perched on the head of a stuffed monkey in the window display. (a stuffed animal that is, not a real monkey) We both tried to tempt the staff to sell it to us, but we were always met with a– “that’s not for sale.” This particular day, the store announced it’s closing so Tom gave a final attempt at getting the hat. What do you know? Five Dollars!
The hat was really cool- it was a skipper hat shape, it looked older and had the name “Lester Lanin” hand painted in script on the brim. There was something intriguing about it. Who was Lester Lanin? About a month later, in another city, at another thrift store, we came across another Lester Lanin hat! This one had a different shape but the same signature script writing right there on the brim. We had to know who he was, and so, upon further inquiry we found out that Lester Lanin was once a very famous bandleader and a great New York success story.
He began his career in the roaring 1920′s playing at cotillions and homes of the wealthy in New York and Philadelphia. He continued to become a hard working, successful and famous society band leader with recurring gigs at the inaugurations of Presidents Eisenhower thru Carter! He kept up, always embracing and learning new music from his start in the 1920′s through the 1990′s! What a vast repertoire!
From his obituary in the New York Times:
by 1992 had played 20,000 wedding receptions, 7,500 parties and 4,500 proms. He supplied danceable happiness to several generations of the richest and most beautiful people on earth, at events ranging from Queen Elizabeth’s 60th birthday party to the wedding of Christie Brinkley and Billy Joel to the private parties of the DuPonts, Chryslers and Mellons. He made music for Grace Kelly’s engagement party, and at the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. He wrote “My Lady Love” in honor of their marriage.”
His trademark was his hats, which would be given away, tossed into crowds toward the end of parties, emblazoned with his name in signature script. They were a sought after souvenir and status symbol. At the time of his death in 2004 at age 97 it was estimated that 50,000 hats were given away over his long and impressive career. We loved learning about him by sheer coincidence through finding these hats. It’s inspiring to hear him interviewed about his life and work as he seemed to embody the spirit of what it means to rock a party. Be tight, entertain people and have fun:
‘Whoever you play for, try and make sure you were part and parcel of something happy, so if the woman whose party it was sees you on the street 15 years from now,
she’ll say, ‘Lester, you made my party.’ ”- Lester Lanin
June 2nd, 2012
The Rolling Stones are living legends and we often get a lot of requests to hear them played, particularly early on at a wedding when you want the music to be multi-generationally appealing. This time last year we read Keith Richards’ book and were again reminded of the longevity of their careers. Abby’s dad saw them live over 20 times! An early album of their’s is a household favorite, Aftermath. The 1981 album Tattoo You is also indispensable and so classic–we often play side 2 of that album, the mellower side. It evokes a certain time and place so beautifully. Recently, while skimming through 10 years of emails, Abby found one particularly funny one. Sent by a friend in Chicago who was working at the Ritz Carlton at the time, we thought you would enjoy a peek into what these 2 aging British gentlemen required in their suites at that time.
Below is the list of items Mick Jagger requested in his suite….
• an electric tea kettle
• earl grey, mint, ceylon, and chamomile tea
• a china tea service
• several bottles of red and white wine, ONLY french wine
• french roast coffee
• evian, 1l bottles, including a bottle placed each
• evening on his bedside table
• cranberry juice, apple juice, in bottles
• fresh lemons
• organic whole milk
• organic low fat yogurts (4)
• fresh flowers in living room, bedroom, and bathroom
• appropriate flatware, glassware (water and wine),
• linen napkins
Does the above seem like a hardcore rock star, or an aging British gentleman… food for thought…
And this is the request list for Keith Richards:
• 6 packs of Marlboro Reds, replenished daily
• 10 extra ashtrays
• 4 additional boxes of tissues
• 12 cans of Fanta orange soda
• 2 liters of Stoli
• 1 litre of cranberry juice, “ocean spray”
• 3 ripe grapefruits, 3 juice oranges, 4 tangerines,
• 4 apples –only Red Delicious
• 1 lime
• 6 ripe bananas
• 1 litre of whole white milk
• black pepper mill
• Four (4) grilled chicken sandwiches, on white bread (Replenish daily) The chicken must be plain, without seasoning, grilled. • The bread must be generic plain white bread, with the crust left on. No spices, sauces, condiments. Must be wrapped in seran wrap.
• uses a lot of ice, so in addition to 2 ice buckets (with lids) he must have a small cooler full of ice at all times
• 5 (five) additional trash can
• VCR–must have clear instructions, preferably original manual. prefer consumer variety VCR, not commercial
What would you require in your suite?
May 30th, 2012
The high season for wedding celebrations has commenced and it has been beautiful thus far. However, it has also been a rough month of great losses this May for some giants of music. It seemed like every time we turned around to do a post, someone great had passed in an untimely manner. Someone truly revered musically. Someone whose passing made it feel like time was moving faster. Donna Summer, Levon Helm of The Band, Chuck Brown, the godfather of Go-Go music (a regional staple of Tom’s childhood in Washington DC), and Robin Gibb of the legendary Bee Gees. The one that stung the most for us, was to hear that Adam Yauch, of the Beastie Boys, had lost his life after a hard battle with cancer. It still stings. That first week was incredibly tough, walking the New York streets feeling as though a chunk of earth had fallen out from beneath this place. It’s palpable in the air still, weeks after his passing. The Beastie Boys were such a huge influence on our tastes and sensibilities from an early age. Long before we met them, there was a sense of fun, perceptible love for the world, and tangible wisdom that transcended their music. Back then, when we needed the right recipe of humor and intelligence to inspire and polish our restlessness, it was there. To listen to their music and especially, to their avant garde sampling, was in no small way a key to who we are now and what we do. They created monsters out of us–we had to know what all of that stuff was and where it came from, We went looking for the records when there was no internet to give us the answers. We will forever be grateful to them for that. Adam Yauch’s time was a life to be admired and emulated and his legacy is one of immeasurable influence and integrity.
February 3rd, 2012
We are saddened to hear of the tragic passing of the legendary Don Cornelius, creator and host of Soul Train. Though Soul Train’s real heyday was before our time we are very familiar with it’s singular style. What an incredible time, you watch these videos and you can’t help but to be inspired and transported to another time when seminal albums were being released every other day and the fashions were bold and vibrant. This was a golden age for every genre of music and Soul Train would bring it into your home, before MTV, before videos, and of course, pre-internet. The show really traces the evolution of Soul into Disco and eventually the beginnings of Rap. The famous Soul Train line dance was a huge influence in America, so much so that at every wedding in those days, and through the 1980′s, you could find one at every reception. Even though we don’t do that kind of campy group dance stuff at weddings, we can appreciate the Soul Train line for what it was. There hasn’t been a dance show with a greater cultural influence. Rest in peace, Don, and thank you.
Here is one of our favorite Soul Train clips that shows the line dance in all it’s glory:
January 3rd, 2012
Play Something Good have worked with some truly wonderful people in 2011. We congratulate all of you and we are so glad to have been part of your awesome weddings! It has been an incredible year here in New York. Especially with the legalization of Gay Marriage. We are living in exciting times. In 2012 we also worked alongside some incredibly talented people- event planners, caterers and other very creative and inspiring folks who are shaking things up and doing impressive work. We loved collaborating with you all! We look forward to being part of many incredible weddings in 2012 and we wish all of you a very happy healthy new year! Viva amor!
December 2nd, 2011
Hello world we are making tons of squash soup and mixes and getting ready for winter. We are hearing from lots of lovely people who are planning for their weddings in 2012. Congratulations to all of you! Did you know that the time between Thanksgiving and Valentine’s Day is the most popular time in which people get engaged? In honor of the upcoming holiday season we are posting our gift guide for people who love music. Some stocking stuffers and some pricey items are in there, but we vouch for their versatility as truly great gifts for the holidays or even for a wedding present!