Considering how challenging 2020 and 2021 have been, it was a total delight to slip back to the 'other' 20's for an evening of fantasy and fun. This was an event at a private residence in NJ, decorated to the nines. All the guests came in proper 1920s attire, and rocked the vibe.
It was FABulous!!!
This party, which originally was to happen over a year ago, but due to lockdown had to be postponed, was ready to roar, roaring 20s style this past weekend. I pulled out one of my fav vintage Betsey Johnson dresses, and made a headpiece with a few accessories I keep around for events like this. I strung some long crystal beads around my neck, and I was good to go! I curated a playlist of some of my fav vintage grooves from the era to spin, and shared the bill with the fantastic Dandy Wellington band. The Carnarsie Wobblers danced up a storm, and taught their moves to all the guests. Everyone could Charleston by the end of the evening, and looked like they had been doing the moves all their lives! Oh, and did I mention there was a murder mystery happening too? Gangsters and all...
Special thanks to Jayne Doniger and Scarlett Entertainment for bringing me on this event, and I look forward to doing this again soon
Please stop by my DJ Website and have a look around: www.djdinaregine.com
I posted this blog on my DJ site, but thought I'd share it here as well
Several years ago I got a call to DJ a little experiment uptown. The Guggenheim Museum wanted to launch a series called 'First Fridays', combining the sounds of choice top DJs to pair with the art. This was to be done on Friday evenings, after museum hours. I was the DJ for the debut of this project on April 1st 2005. I thought to myself, oh great, a big debut on April Fools Day... gotta laugh sometimes, life can be really funny. My music was to be pared with 'THE EYE OF THE STORM' WORKS IN SITU BY DANIEL BUREN.
Prior to my arriving at the museum, I thought it was to be a massive cocktail party. I wasn't quite prepared to be DJ-ing as a performance artist along with the art opening that evening, but that's how it turned out to be. There were people clustered all around the stage, as tho they were watching a band at a concert. April Fools right there! When I arrived and saw the fabulous big stage that was built for me, I knew it was to be something special. Very special. By the time I was finished with soundcheck, there was a line down 5th avenue to get in to the museum! Word had traveled fast, and unbeknownst to me, there was some serious press coverage for this event, including a full page promo in the Village Voice. I found out all this after the night was over, and perhaps that was a good thing. I did what I do best, and didn't ride the hype.
The one request from the museum to me, was that I made everyone groove & feel good, but not dance. That is something that is a hard task for someone like myself. Somehow, even when I'm playing ambient tracks, someone always wants to 'bust a move'. It's just how it is. But as it was the first night of First Fridays' they were afraid to have too much physical movement around the art. This night was a test. That concept had changed over the years after my debut, but being the first DJ to set the path for the future of this project was a huge responsibility, and I wanted the opening to be a big success. From the feedback I got later that evening ... I rose to the occasion. Hallelujah!!!
When I think back on that night, there were a lot of interesting moments during the course of the evening, some really cool, and a few a bit challenging. I was being filmed for various press outlets, as well as being interviewed for quotes while trying to concentrate on DJ-ing. I can walk and chew gum really well, but, not easy when being the focus of attention during a performance. Then there were those random moments when the whole rotunda burst into dance and I had a mild heart attack trying to scale the vibe back. Of course, the rebel DJ in me loved the fact that I could pull off a dance party, even when not trying. Ha!!! I knew all the security guards by name midway through the evening and they would all burst out laughing at my expressions every time I had to figure a way to make the dancing stop! I also must have chosen a really eclectic playlist that night because I spent a good portion of the evening writing down this song or that song as so many in the crowd wanted to know the tracks I chose to spin. As distracting as it was, it's always a good sign that I'm playing something so interesting, people gotta know what it is. This was years before Shazam!
The one thing a good DJ learns over time, is not only how to read a crowd, but it's to actually read a thought or two in any given moment. As I looked around the room, I realized just who the DJs were, and I could feel a few of these guys thinking 'who is she and why is she there'. That has happened in the past at clubs, but, you do your thing, and when you get it right, you get your due props straight away. No words need to be spoken. Being a female DJ playing hip hop back in the 80s had a few funny moments, however, just give me a few songs... and all doubts about my abilities changed quickly. I have always disliked the fact that so many feel the need to differentiate between male and female DJs. We're all there to do a great job. Period. But halfway through this event, a few young buck DJ wannabees decided climb my stage, gang up on me, and give me hell because I wasn't spinning with vinyl! How pretentious is that!!! There were also a few snarky 'girl DJ' remarks as well thrown in for good measure. Jealousy is a terrible monster, and it can bring the worst out in many. It's OK in life to wish you had a gig someone else has, but it's not OK to shower that anger and jealousy on a DJ when they're in the middle of a performance. I might also add, that these guys were all early 20s, and probably still in school when I was spinning vinyl at all the big clubs in town! They knew nothing about me, yet they felt it their right to judge, riding a high horse they hadn't earned the right to ride upon. Even when you've paid your dues, it doesn't give you a free pass to be rude, and in this case...dumb and rude. I don't exactly remember my response, but I know it was good as they all froze in their tracks before I cocked my head and waved to one of my pals ... 'SECURITY'! And away they went, gone gone gone. Perhaps those boys learned some manners down the road. One can only hope. I think a lot has changed since 2005, and hopefully the whole Female DJ/Male DJ nonsense has faded. I know it still exists, but I also know things have changed a lot from the days I was still a puppy DJ. There are so many women rocking the decks these days, and many are FABulous! Props! And I might add, doesn't matter if you're spinning analog vinyl, or digital via Serato (or the like), the skill is in in the mind, heart & gut, combined with technique (no train wrecks please) when it comes to being a great DJ. Magic can happen on what you choose to make magic with.
The evening was a huge success and the museum was packed wall to wall, floor to floor. We had no idea that this little idea would blow up to be one of the most successful promotions the Guggenheim Museum ever did, and the series ran for years featuring some of the most amazing DJs from all over the world.
I'm thrilled to have been the first DJ to kick the party off!
Special thanks to the Guggenheim for trusting me with their newborn series, and calling me later that year to DJ their International GALA at the Four Seasons in NYC (designed by the fabulous David Monn), an event that was a 'who's who' in the art and entertainment world! But that affair will have to be another blog! 🎧
"Welcome to First Friday, an evening art viewing and cocktail party at the Guggenheim Museum, where schmoozing and boozing to the loungey vibes of DJ Dina Regine in the famous Frank Lloyd Wright-designed rotunda on opening night took precedence over actually walking up the ramp to view the collection!" -
NYU Livewire News Service
Please stop by my DJ Website and have a look around: www.djdinaregine.com
Little minute (or so) long DJ trailer I made today with some videos, and photos, of super-fun nights that I have spun in the past few years (NYC, Miami, and N. Carolina);
views from my DJ booth & beyond!
Song: 'Music Sounds Better With You' by Stardust
Please stop by my DJ Website and have a look around: www.djdinaregine.com
I made it to the local papers! Really nice feature article about my teaching/lecturing a photography class in Penn. this past Tuesday. It was such an amazing and rewarding experience working with these students. The conversation went far past photography into music, video and our culture. We talked about combining all the elements of art in all that we create.
It can be so difficult these days to do this sort of thing via Zoom, however, I have to say this afternoon was nothing short of magical. Here's the article
CLARION-LIMESTONE ART STUDENTS HAVE VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP
I hope everyone is hanging in during this rough spell we all find ourselves in. No one could possible prepare for, or imagine how life could change so quickly.
Every year, I DJ the Dance This Way benefit for the Felix Organization, and we raise a lot of money to send foster kids to Camp Felix where they not only have fun, but they learn life skills to help them navigate the world. I also get to DJ for Darryl McDaniels from RUN DMC and that is a huge thrill for me too. But this year, unfortunately the event can't take place due to our lockdown and social distancing. Instead, the Felix Organization will be holding a virtual online fundraiser telethon style, Friday evening, May 1st at 8pm on Facebook. This year, I won't be DJ-ing, but instead I will be singing one of my songs from my home. Please join us, and if you can ... donate!
Big love to you all, and please stay safe 💜
Felix Organization link: https://www.thefelixorganization.org/
Thanks to Charley Crespo for this wonderful review of our show at LOLA on the Lower East Side last Friday night opening for Steve Conte. I'm blessed with these wonderful musicians,
who make time for me when they're not on the road, and they really made the night magical;
Tony Scherr - guitar (Bill Frisell Trio, Sex Mob), Mark Plati- bass (David Bowie),
G. Wiz- drums (Norah Jones, Cabin Down Below, Twilight Singers),
Charley Giordano- accordion (Bruce Springsteen), Michelle Casillas -vocals (Ursa Minor)
and guest singer James Maddock.
Seems fitting to get this review today on Bruce Springsteen's birthday, the guy who told me to put together my own band back when I was first starting out. SO GLAD I LISTENED TO THE BOSS!
All in all, it was a packed club with good vibes all round. That's all I need!
Link to article below:
Last night at The Bowery Electric I was invited to be a part of a really wonderful benefit Derek Cruz curated, raising money for Dementia. Good vibes for a good cause. I also had the pleasure of singing one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs 'It Ain't Me Babe' as a duet with my good friend James Maddock, backed by an all star band w/members from The Patti Smith Group and Blondie (Clem Burke, Matt Katz-Bohen, & Tony Shanahan). Here's a little clip from the show.
I hope everyone had a beautiful holiday, and a belated Happy New Year to you all!
While 2018 was a really challenging year on many levels, I was graced with several really standout experiences over the past 12 months. Here's a few of them...
In photo collage below; me DJ-ing at The Bowery Electric (photo Jini Sachse), Performing w/Mark Plati, and w/Charlie Giordano, me with the official Led Zeppelin by Led Zeppelin Book (I have a photo in it), photo by Karen Fleisch, who also designed the awesome Victorian coat I'm wearing, and last, the Cover of my latest single with The Rousers 'Take A Ride To The Lower East Side'
My DJ year: First off, I DJ-ed a number of guest spots at Rumpus Room, The Bowery Electric, Berlin, and Coney Island Baby. Even though my private work keeps me busy, it’s always good to hit the clubs every so often to keep the vibe fresh. All the weddings I DJ-ed last year were gorgeous, and my couples were lovely to work with. The corporate and private events were pretty special as well, and I even got to share the bill as a DJ with one of my all time favs, Stevie Wonder. Now, that’s special! Flying down to North Carolina to DJ the Black and White Ball for the Mint Museum was a blast, and one of the curators Tweeted “she turned a black tie event into a house party”! DJ-ing the annual Felix Organization 'Dance This Way' benefit was a huge success this year, and we raised a lot of money that will be used to send many foster children to Camp Felix. Sharing the stage yet again with Felix co-founder Darryl McDaniels from RUN DMC is always a blast. I will always love his rhyme for me that he Tweeted last year "Dina Dina, ain't none meaner, she rocks the house, I know cause I seen her". On another note, NY Magazine included my thoughts in their latest wedding issue ‘NY Weddings’, which included a list of songs about fire for a ‘weddings by a fire’ theme. I love that NY Magazine has invited me to be a part of so many features over the years, and have continued to keep me in their sources as a top DJ in this town for events.
Music and Photography: My single with The Rousers ‘Take A Ride To The Lower East Side’ had it’s debut, opening Paul Cavalconte’s ‘Cavalcade’ show on WFUV, kicking off an hour of LES themed songs (do check out the video on YouTube). The single I recorded with hit songwriter Bruce Sudano (who was also a producer on the Broadway play ‘Summer’ about his wife Donna Summer) also had its video debut. We also got to do a live-stream concert for Paste Magazine/Day Trotter, which was pretty awesome. Bruce wrote a beautiful duet, and I was thrilled to be asked to sing on it. I also recorded a duet with Cody Mellville for his album ‘Bonds Eye’ as well last year, and the reviews were fantastic! WTSR 91.3fm dedicated a whole hour to my music, and a live on-air interview, and Little Steven’s Underground Garage on Sirius XM is still playing a couple of tunes from my last album ‘Right On, Alright’ on a regular basis. For me, few things compare to the rush of turning on the radio and hearing my song come on. Gotta turn the volume way up! Last October, Lynn Cappiello at MNPR Magazine wrote a fantastic feature article about my DJ-ing, songwriting/performing, & photography. Speaking of photography, I hit the jackpot this year when a photo I took, as a teen of Jimmy Page was included in the first official Led Zeppelin book, curated by the band, and put out by Reel Art Press. This gorgeous book will definitely be a future collector item. The publishers had me take a photo of myself holding the book for the Zeppelin book site… that was fun! Btw, my Flickr site where I showcase most of my photography surpassed a million hits, how cool is that!!! A million is such a wonderful number. Seriously it is!!! In 2018, I was also fortunate to be included in quite a few, packed house, really fun shows, slinging my guitar and singing my heart out. I’ve been test driving a lot of my new material for the next album ‘Astoria’, which I will be doing a crowd-funding campaign for next month. After the heartbreak of losing my long-time friend and bass player Tim Luntzel to ALS last year, I’ve joined forces with Mark Plati who will be playing bass on my next record. Mark was David Bowie’s music supervisor as well as guitar & bass player in his touring band. He also mixed and co-produced a few of Bowie’s records, and I’m so lucky to have him playing with me when he’s not touring! I also wrote a new Christmas song 'I'm Coming Home For Christmas', which I debuted at The Treehouse in December with Charlie Giordano (Bruce Springsteen Band) on accordion. It went over so well I think I will be recording it for a holiday single later this year.
So here we all are at the top of 2019, and I’m feeling optimistic that this is going to be a pretty cool year for me, and hopefully you too! Stay tuned!
Yesterday was an awesome day. AWESOME! I had the opportunity to go back to my high school, St Jean Baptiste, and give a lecture with a Q&A about music, art, and life as an artist to these amazing creative beautiful girls in the very same auditorium where I got my start as a teenager. I have no doubt that these young ladies will be making some serious noise in the years to come with whatever road they choose to take with their creativity.
SUGGESTED READING- a few books and websites to check out (mentioned in lecture)
Bird By Bird- Anne Lamott
Poemcrazy – Susan G. Wooldridge
On Writing – Stephen King
The Songwriter’s Handbook – Tom T. Hall
Music Marketing for the DIY Musician ; Creating and Executing a Plan of Attack on a Low Budget – Bobby Borg
All You Need To Know About The Music Business (9th Edition)-
Donald S. Passman
CD BABY (where you can release your own records... some good DIY articles too)
SOUNDCLOUD (where you can discover indie music, and upload your music to share with friends and fans to stream or download. Free and Pro plans available)
RECOMMENDED MUSIC STUDY- fantastic course, (and it's FREE!)
TEACH ROCK -Steven Van Zandt from Bruce Springsteen's E Street band, as well as founder of the Sirius XM radio Station 'The Underground Garage', and actor on the TV series The Sopranos, and Lilyhammer has organized an amazing teaching program about the history of Rock and Soul music. Fascinating and inspiring... check it out
It's been a long while since I've written a new Christmas song, but I woke up a few weeks ago and this tune came to me all at once. Just in time too, because I was booked for a holiday party at The Treehouse, and one of the charming things about this particular party is that all the musicians are asked to try to write a new tune to perform. Nothing like a homework assignment to get me motivated. Here's a little snippet of 'I'm Coming Home For Christmas', performed with the fantastic Charlie Giordano on accordion, who you might recognize from Bruce Springsteen's band. I plan on recording this with a full band to be released for Christmas next year!
Also check out the second link here for my ol' song 'Forever Christmas Eve' recorded back in the 90s. Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays everyone!