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CMJ Panels and Bric-a-Brac, Day 2: 1 November 2006

Dan Nishimoto and Andrew Phillips

Day two of CMJ brings a host of surprises (both welcome and unwelcome) as writer Dan Nishimoto learns how to holla and Editor Andrew Phillips comes face to face with… himself.

Beauty and the Beard: A Tale from the Front Lines of Indie Fashion

At CMJ, the beards are out in force -- mine included -- and a hipster proclivity for earth-tones is equally evident. What was once my "signature" style now seems the uniform of the indie elitist. I’m not complaining (hell, I’m as elite as anyone else) but it does bare mentioning that I’ve dressed this way (and been referred to as "The Beard") for quite some time.

In any case, I feel anonymous amidst the many similarly clad folk in the Mercury Lounge. As I wait for another set of long-haired indie popsters – Canada – to take the stage, I can’t help but look around: brown messenger bag (damnit), brown slacks (screw you dude), better beard (now I’m pissed). All I want is to review the band and get the heck out of here – to escape to some out-of-town oasis where my whiskers will appear somehow original.

When Canada first takes the stage, nothing seems askew. It isn’t until the singer steps up to the mic that the full force of his face hits me.

Oh no.

It's not an issue of similar grooming or a shared fashion sense: this guy is my slightly chubbier double. It’s me, to a T.

"Breathe, baby… breathe. It can't be true. You're seeing things." I calm my nerves, settle back into a seat, and watch the band play. Beardo steps off, letting another kid sing, and I'm granted temporary reprieve. I avert my gaze through the rest of the set, trying to maintain some sense of self. When the band is done, I'm on my feet and at the door. But, before I can escape, I feel a hand fall on my right shoulder. Turning, I face a short kid about 19 with wide eyes and a huge smile.

"Dude, you guys were great. Can you sell me a CD?"

Panel: Spin Masters: Becoming a Successful Club/Event DJ @ Walter Reade Gallery

Toward the end of Spin Masters: Becoming a Successful Club/Event DJ, a panel for guiding aspiring DJs, the moderator Steve Goodgold, Agent at Chaotica, Inc., asked, "Can you be a bedroom DJ and still be successful?" Veteran DJ and DJ Curator at PS1/MoMA Jeannie Hopper responded by pointing out the ease of tele-networking today, but the panel momentarily forgot: "Why stay at home?"

Though CMJ's main draw is feature performances, everybody walks in accepting that it's a networking love-fest. As thorough as the panelists -- including DJ Benny Blanco and President of Ultra Records Patrick Moxey -- were in listing the various reasons why one needs to keep their mixes up to date and handy, how MySpace can be used to promote, and the importance of being diligent, the bottom line remained tied to the nature of CMJ: holla, lest you be spinning for that stuffed audience forever.

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