Giant Step Resident 48: Summertime

6By Mawuse Ziegbe

Monday morning I woke up in a rumpled tank top with my cell phone plastered onto the side of my face, an ache in my thighs, and vodka sloshing through my veins. This level of abject foolishness means only one thing: summertime! It’s July but for a lot of New Yorkers making do with a pittance of sunshine, summer has just only begun. But even through a completely soaked June, some of us kept our dispositions on the sunny tip like singer Miz Metro. She premiered her bubbly video “Trashion” – a montage of her flouncing about the LES – at her recent SOB’s mixtape release party. While her fussy outfits and re-purposed Metro Card accessories evoke a street artist/trustafarian trying to “find herself,” her music is actually warm and effortless. Toasty soul from zany white chicks is usually pretty fun.

I also recently learned that summer for the fabulous means SoBe’s Summer Fridays, a weekly one-stop shop for complimentary cocktails, mani-pedis, and massages. Basically, debauchery for the bourgie. DJ Cassidy fired up the kids with a gaggle of throwback hits from Camp Lo’s “Luchini” to The O’Jays “I Love Music.” Patrons got gussied up at hair and makeup stations and posed all pretty-like for professional pics. I felt like one of the beautiful people. But really, after a coupla cocktails like the “Diddy” – Ciroc laced with an ineffectual splash of SoBe Lifewater – who wasn’t looking fierce?

The next day it felt like all of fierce NYC converged on Central Park for Giant Step’s annual Summerstage show. This year Swedish collective Little Dragon served up their drowsy trip-hop beats and Chester French banged out snappy renditions of their hits “Jimmy Choos” and “She Loves Everybody.” But the day was owned by lispy legend Q-Tip who bounded on stage in a red and black jacket reminiscent of golden era Michael. He played a bit of The Jacksons’ “Dancing Machine” and slipped into “Move” which samples the disco & B jam. He rocked more solo material like the seductive “Let’s Ride,” the groovy “You,” and the booty-quaking “Vivrant Thing.” Even in the mighty midsummer heat he got the crowd bouncing to vintage A Tribe Called Quest, seamlessly spitting both his and Phife’s memorable verses from “Electric Relaxation,” “Award Tour,” and “Scenario.” And then taking the gold for most random cameo ever, the Ciroc king himself Diddy cakewalked out on some 1995 Puffy and Mase steeze. Tip capped off the show by jumping in the audience and leading a sing-a-long to his aptly breezy number “Life Is Better.”

Afterwards I journeyed to Coney Island for the Village Voice’s Siren Festival. I arrived just as Spank Rock and Amanda Blank closed the show with their uninspired shuffle-around-and-scream routine. Coney Island is an amazing place for festival goers such as myself who are easily distracted by fried and spinning things. However, riding the Cyclone after two Nathans’ hot dogs and a fried plantain with melted cheese was the worst look possible. But refusing to be felled by neither nausea nor whiplash, I hit up the Old American Can Factory for Mark De Clive-Lowe, Chris Annibell, and DJ OP. Mark spun a lot of steely house under huge purple neon visuals that coaxed the latent MTV “Grind” dancer out in all of us. The next day I checked out the annual Heatwave BBQ in Prospect Park. It’s simple enough (and thoroughly enjoyable) premise: Black people dress up to eat, drink, and profile. After a while though, crowds tend to make me cranky so I gladly chugged the pint of unnamed alcohol someone handed me. I learned later it was a Nutcracker, a tantalizing libation that hit the throat like a mix of Orangina and Novocaine. By 9 pm I found myself in bed slurring lies to people about meeting them “in like, an hour or something,” and then rolling over to drool on the other side of my pillow.

But that Monday morning, armed with a liter of Poland Spring as I un-tagged a crop of unflattering pictures on Facebook, I reflected on a weekend bursting with booze, bikes, and beats and realized the aches were worth it. As ‘Tip might say, life is better – now that summer’s hit New York.

  • mike schwab

    haha that was poetic! I was there 4 most of that, I liked your take on it sis!!