I played this song on Sunday, and it’s put me on a major Sylvester kick this week. Dude was exactly who and what he wanted to be: tall, strong and physically imposing, delicately beautiful, firey like a pentecostal preacher, flashy like a disco queen. There was and has been no one like him since he died from AIDS complications at the way-too-young age of forty-one in the late 80s.
His version of ‘Southern Man’ isn’t just the definitive version of Neil Young’s song because of how musically perfect it is; it’s because it was UNBELIEVABLY ballsy for a six-foot-something black man in women’s clothes to open his DEBUT record, in 1973 no less, by wailing out these lyrics in the strongest falsetto anyone’s ever heard: “Southern man better keep your head. Don’t forget what your good book said. Southern change gonna come at last. Now your crosses are burning fast. / I saw cotton, and I saw black. Tall white mansions and little shacks. Southern man, when will you pay them back?”
Sylvester is my hero.
Mister Sunday happens every Sunday in a courtyard between two beautiful buildings in Industry City, a complex of old warehouses at the foot of Sunset Park in Brooklyn. There are birch trees, garden lights strung from end to end, plenty of tables and chairs, indoor bathrooms and a padded dancefloor.
Country Boys serve tacos and huaraches; Sottocasa serves coal-oven pizza; and our bar has sangria, limonata, Mexican Coke, and a bunch of Brooklyn-brewed beers. The party is all ages; you can bring your dog; and Eamon Harkin and Justin Carter play records from the beginning of the night to the end.
Our hours are from 3pm to 9pm, and it costs $15. (We sell a limited number of $10 advance tickets for each party.) You can buy advance tickets here.
We have some very important rules for our dancefloor. Here’s the scoop:
A FEW RULES FOR OUR DANCEFLOOR:
1. Please don’t take photos.
2. Please don’t smoke.
3. Please don’t text or make calls or any of that stuff.
You can do all these things off of the dancefloor, but when you’re inside the speakers, get down.
Finally, here are directions and some answers to other questions you might have:
If you want to use Google Maps to get directions, the closest address to our entrance is 644 2nd Ave, Brooklyn. The N, R and D trains stop at 36th Street, two blocks from the party. Both the N and D run express, even on the weekend. It takes less than ten minutes to get here from Atlantic Terminal on both of those trains. The R train runs local and connects with the F and G at 4th Ave and 9th. If you’re riding a bike, the easiest, safest way is to use 5th Avenue. Once you get to 36th Street, just go down the hill, and you’re a three-block coast away.
OTHER IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT SUNDAYS
Kids under 18 go free with as long as they’re accompanied by a grown-up, and dogs are welcome as long as they’re on a leash. We take credit cards at the bar. The closest ATM is in the deli on the corner of 3rd Ave and 36th Street. No outside drinks are allowed, but fear not: we have beer, sangria, water, and lemonade. In order to drink beer and sangria, you’ll need a wristband. You’ll be given a wristband at the door as long as your ID says you’re of age.
The music ends at 9pm, and we close the space a little later, so if you want to hang and have a drink after the tunes, you can. Before you leave, please throw all your trash and recycling in the appropriate bins so the neighbors’ front stoops aren’t junked up, and on your way home, keep your voices low so that the folks in the neighborhood can have a little peace and quiet. They’re really nice for having us around, and we want to stay in their good graces so we can keep bringing you Mister Sunday.
Finally, have an awesome time.
This is Justin Carter. Eamon and I have some downtime between parties and thought it would be a good time to let you know about something new we’re starting.
In December we read a New York Times story about an eleven-year-old homeless girl named Dasani Coates, and it hit us hard. Not only did the little girl and her family live in squalor; that squalor existed less than a mile from 12-turn-13, Gowanus Grove and our own homes.
We’ve always thought of our parties as opportunities to cultivate a community, and we’ve felt a great responsibility to do just that. But reading about Dasani made us think about our responsibility to communities beyond Mister Saturday Night.
With that in mind, we’ve decided that from now on, we’re making giving back part of what we do. We’re starting by giving ten percent of Mister Saturday Night and Mister Sunday’s net profits in 2014 to The Robin Hood Foundation, arguably the most effective organization combatting poverty here in New York City. (For a very compelling argument on effective giving, check out Peter Singer’s TED Talk.)
We’ve decided to announce this publicly because we believe that in addition to our ability to raise money, we also have an opportunity to start a conversation about giving back. Just as your participation is vital to the culture and quality of our parties, it’s also integral to improving our larger communities – in Brooklyn, New York City and beyond.
Eamon and I are not wealthy philanthropists, non-profit board members or anything extraordinary; we’re just a couple guys who DJ and throw parties. But we believe that we still have a responsibility to help people in need, and we hope our decision encourages others to take action as well.
If you want to ask us any questions, or if you’ve got any ideas to share, please get in touch. Thanks for taking the time to read, and thanks, most of all, for being the most important part of what we do.
As has become tradition, Eamon and I attempt to wrap a bow around the musical year that was with our Best Of lists. As usual, I had a hard time limiting my list to things that came out in 2013, or even limiting it to just music; that Turrell piece made me feel like I’d just heard a symphony, and Herbie Hancock’s use of the vocoder on Sunlight is still yet to be matched. (No matter how hard Daft Punk tried this year.)
Dirg Gerner’s Dirg Gerner EP on Eglo
I can’t say enough about this record. Beautiful melody after beautiful melody, warm production, amazing songs. I played it and played it, but it never got old.
James Turrell’s Aten Reign at the Guggenheim
Last year I waxed on about Philip Glass and Robert Wilson’s Einstein on the Beach. At the time Wilson said, “You don’t have to understand anything. It’s a work where you can go and get lost. That’s the idea.”
Aten Reign, James Turrell’s all-encompassing light installation inside the Guggenheim rotunda, was the visual art equivalent. There was no focal point, which is kind of like having an opera with no plot. It was beautiful and impossible to capture in photo, video or anything else – nothing but experience. A total inspiration in terms of what I want for our parties.
A little note: This show is over, but Turrell has a career retrospective at the LACMA until early April, and here’s a map of all of his installations around the world.
. . . Read on
Andrew Nimmo, our good buddy (and graphic designer) made us a video showing the subtle progression of this summer’s flyers. The tree and shadow illustrations are by Ha Ly, and the music is a regular early afternoon Mister Sunday tune from Bobby McFerrin’s Circlesongs record.