A Funky Birthday

A Funky Birthday

I had a blast at my Funk Night birthday party at the Cafe Wha?, on the exact day of my drop down, March 11. My cousin Barbara was a little apprehensive about what was going to go down after 20 years. She was part of the original crew that came out to get funked on Tuesdays when I started hosting in the early 90’s. The pre-show videos they played did not help at all. Overly loud, more- rap- than- funk music was giving her a headache. My original plan for this party had me offering to bring in some iPod playlists for when the doors opened and the band took a half-hour break. I decided that it wasn’t my show and to go with whatever they felt appropriate.

I arrived a half hour before the live show started and reassured her that it would get right before the night was over. I was quickly reminded that she intended to be on her way home no later than 10:30pm. This was not 20 years ago when she didn’t have a husband and kid. Barbara and I are longtime dancing party lovers. In the 80’s Barbara threw an apartment party and had a DJ that played Flashlight for 30 minutes straight! We absorbed every minute, singing at the top of our lungs and dancing as hard as Chinese Sedoku.

Mike Davis, a superb vocalist and one of the performers from back in the day asked if I wanted to go up and intro the guy who was going to intro the band. I toasted a couple other birthdays in the house and told the crowd, “You’re not old until somebody sets you up with a LifeAlert system.” The first couple of tunes was not up to the level of funk that made us want to dance. I went over to the foreign 47 year old birthday buddy Mallarinia and asked her to dance as the floor became populated. It wasn’t until they hit Stevie Wonder’s Boogie On Reggae Woman that this party really started.

Barbara had wondered aloud earlier if she would remember how to dance! Turned out her dancing was a non issue as she just went with it. Superstition was next and we got our money’s worth. You don’t think about what dance you’re going to do. You turn your mind and body over to the music and do what you feel and you can’t go wrong. Instead of trying to dance the way you think other people should see you dance, let all that go and listen to yourself. We carry tons of stuff weighing us down and dancing is a great way to shed it all for a few precious minutes.

After the show, Mike Davis asked me if I wanted to come down on future Tuesdays and intro the band like we did back in the day, that would be cool. If I can get the band to focus on classic Funk & R&B, it won’t be long before the return of Stazmonius Funksagatta!

William Stephenson

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