Part 13 | Heaven
With cops hot on his trail, Blaz had to come up with a way of keeping his events under wraps. Where most people would have thrown in the towel, Blaz met the challenge head on. He began to make his events semi-legal by using commercial spaces and calling them “art galley openings“ that just happen to go a bit late. His biggest and best events were just around the corner.
The challenged still remained; Where the hell could I hold an event and not get caught? I needed to spread the word through my network of trusted friends and pray something came up.
Len Sobeck (who was one of the very few who took us up on a deal) found us a space downtown above a store called Hub on Central. The owner gave us the entire top floor. I thought, “Great, things are finally getting easier!” then I realized there was no elevator and we had more equipment and display pieces than ever before. It’s always funny to hear DJs today bitch moan and groan about the littlest things. Think about having to carry a complete sound system including amps and bass cabinets and all the visuals along with a 7ft tall 4ft round lighting sculpture made from 2x4s and plaster and bags of ice and everything else to run a bar up two flights of stairs. When you think the work is done, when everyone goes home or to someone’s house to hook up at the end of the night, you got it, we have to carry everything back down those two flights of stairs, load it up into a truck, take it home and unload it into our garage. Every ying has its yang.
Around this time DJ’s started complaining that they would show up to the events and not have enough time to play or get to play at all. Here was the deal we made with all the DJs – if they wanted to play, find the space. That’s IT. We’d cut a deal with the owner, we would do the work, all they had to do is find the space and the event was theirs.
At that time, a DJ in Phoenix couldn’t get a better deal. Some of them knew that, and one such person was Len Sobek. He found this space which had two rooms, he’d get exclusive play in one room with the guest DJ’s he wanted , and we’d have the other. It was a match made in … Heaven.
Heaven became a massive hit. Mr. Lewis and I took care of the visuals and really wanted to bring out the theme of celestial beauty. We spent weeks building a 7ft-tall plaster cylinder and formed holes in it. We loaded the cylinder with white lights and fog machines at various levels. We put it in the center of the room and turned her on. It was a cloud machine with rays of light beaming out of the mist.
But to really get the impression of Heaven, we hung sheets from the ceiling, which captured the fog and made actual clouds that streamed along the ceiling. We also put our famous bulb strobes on the sheets making one feel like there were blinking stars in the cloudy sky.
At this point and time it wasn’t common to have guest DJs and if any one had ever been to any of my events they would tell you of the legendary, original Phoenix Door Bitch that I had. She was my cousin Sandy from the west side. She would love you if you showed her love and had no problem beating the crap out of her if you got up in her shit.
Emile is a good friend of mine (and one of the best DJ’s I know), this was his first night to play at an underground. But as in many things in life the first time is never so easy. Eddie never told me or Sandy that he had told Emile that he could play that night. So when Emile went up to the front door and told Sandy he was a guest DJ she said “And”. So yes Emile had to pay to get in. I didn’t even know Emile was suppose to play so I too was surprised to see him standing there with records in hand and his trademark headphones around his neck. I will say he did one hell of job, as I have said many of times it’s hard to beat Emile when it comes to DJ’ing; he is definitely one of the best.
Being that this was the time when Phoenix wasn’t so comfortable with the gay community our friends from the west side were reluctant to be seen with gays and the flamboyant crowd. Knowing this I used take full advantage and mess with any our friends who used to visit. Heaven was one of those times. Pete Salaz and his brothers were dropping off a mixer for us and when they pulled up front, I took my time walking up to their car. When I got to Pete’s window I said loudly “Hi Sweetie” Pete and his brothers were getting even more embarrassed. Then I amped it up by rubbing his shoulder. I can still here Pete saying “I’m going kill you fucker!” By this time me and his brothers were laughing and I was loving it. Once I got the mixer they sped off as fast as they could. We all still laugh at that and are amazed on how much our world has changed for the better.