As things started to reopen during the covid-19 pandemic I chose to stay at home for 2 weeks after DJing a wedding. I'm happy that before the gig I tested negative for the virus and afterwards I never developed any symptoms. What sucks is that during this time there's been an increase in reported cases and hospitalizations. Today, California's mayor, Gavin Newsom, ordered bars to close back up in several counties including Santa Clara. I believe things reopened too soon and a roll back is probably a good idea but I have a feeling we're all going to be dealing with the pandemic for the rest of the year if not longer. I just read about the 1918 (Spanish) Flu pandemic which lasted 2 years and hit in 4 waves, where the 2nd wave was much deadlier than the first. There are a few similarities between 1918's pandemic and our current one so I really hope we can hit the brakes on covid-19 and keep it from getting worse.
Between protesting downtown last weekend, getting tested for Coronavirus on Wednesday, and DJing the event yesterday, I've decided to stay home for the next couple weeks just incase I caught a case of the cooties and to avoid spreading it. I understand there's a 2 week incubation period where it's possible to be infected but not test positive so I'm gonna do my best to be a good boy for the time being. This coming week is also the start of the next phase of reopenings since the shutdown and I'm gonna stay clear from dining at any bars or restaurants. I'm seeing headlines of recent spikes on Covid-19 cases in states that reopened earlier than California. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and hoping a second wave doesn't hit San Jose or the bay area.
I DJ'd an outdoor wedding reception at a private residence on Saturday. It was my first event since the Covid-19 shelter-in-place order started in March. We took precautions to minimize spreading germs:
I forgot to write 2 blog posts this weekend, for Friday and Saturday, so I'm making these filler posts to make up for them instead of just a single post for Sunday night.
Friday, I was up late prepping music & notes for my event on Saturday and I forgot to post.
I did some protesting last week and I'm DJing a wedding reception this Saturday so I went in to get tested for the Coronavirus this morning. I was told to stay home till I receive the results which can take 24-48 hours. I hate waiting on results like this and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the results come up negative.
My work requested some recorded mixes of music I'd play at weddings, that's quick-mixed in & out of. I tried a few days ago and couldn't do it. My mixes fell apart after a couple songs. I feel that most music I play at weddings sounds better when people are dancing to it. Without an audience, most wedding dance music feels flat to me. Today I tried again but used a few songs I wouldn't normally play at events, focused on what makes me dance and had fun with it. It took a long time to choose the songs and listen to them to find the in & out points. When I finally recorded it it took me two tries to get it right/good-enough. In the end I made this 13 minute mix that starts in the 60s and works its way to the 2000s
Today sucked. I felt depressed all day and I didn't know why. Maybe the loneliness of sheltering-in-place is finally getting to me. I barely did any work on my Hearts & Stars piece, just made a quick digital mock-up with a black background but didn't lay down any ink. I couldn't get myself to workout or go for a walk. I went for a long drive, took Capitol Expressway from east San Jose all the way to Campbell, but didn't feel any better when I got home. Later that night, still in a funk, I noticed the the note on my calendar, "MLK Exhibit Day One." Today was supposed to be the opening of my art show at the Martin Luther King Library downtown. I wonder if that's why I down all day. I wasn't aware of today's date but maybe subconsciously that's what has been bugging me. For the past few weeks I've kept my head down and worked on my drawings for the show. It was a goal I was working towards. I recently got confirmation that my art show, and all other exhibits, were postponed until further notice. Now I don't have anything to work towards, besides finishing my current drawings. There are no DJ gigs till June, if at all this year, and no event vending opportunities in the foreseeable future. I hope this depression was a one-day thing. I don't want to lose any more momentum and risk undoing everything I've worked so hard to do over these past few months. Wish me luck!
With all the downtime, I decided to get started with spring cleaning. I'm on that Marie Kondo sparking joy shit. Every year or so I go through all my crap and get rid of the stuff I don't need. Today I pulled a stack of old Thank You cards from brides & grooms I DJ'd weddings for. Sometimes I do good work.
I spent this morning reading over the EDD website (California's unemployment dept) to learn more about filing an unemployment insurance claim. I've already lost 3 DJing gig and 2 vending events due to coronavirus concerns so I figured it was time to file. After reading all the info, I called EDD and the recording said they were experiencing large volumes of calls and I wouldn't be able to file over the phone and to use the website instead. Doing it online took me a while and don't think I filled it out correctly. I'm really hoping someone calls me back. While I was on the EDD website I couldn't find "Mobile DJ" as a work-type, but saw that "Ritual Circumciser" was. Weird. After filing with what EDD I called my bank to discuss my car loan. I also called my credit card company, my health insurance provider, Covered California and my auto insurance provider. Since all events are canceled I'm not going to have much, maybe not any, income for a few months. Every person I spoke to was very helpful and understanding of the situation. Hopefully things get better soon and it's safe to go to events and things go back to normal. If not I might need to start a new side hustle performing ritual circumcisions.
I figured it was only a matter of time until weddings started getting canceled due to Covid-19/Coronavirus concerns. Tonight I found out the wedding I was supposed to DJ in two weeks got postponed. Last Friday the fundraiser I was working got canceled that very same morning. DJ events at this time of year are already slow to begin with. So are the festivals where I sell my shirts. Two events that I was going vend at next month also got canceled this week. I know I shouldn't complain and I will try and remain optimistic, but damn, most of my income comes from working events. I'm going to try and file an unemployment insurance claim next week. I'll also need to contact my bank regarding my car loan and my credit card provider to see what my options are for late payments. Money is gonna tight the next few weeks, or months. Aside from that I'm doing my best to stay healthy and positive during this weird & uncertain time. I hope you and your loved ones are too. Let's hope we get out from under this soon.
I was supposed to DJ an event tonight but I got text this morning saying it was canceled due to Coronavirus concerns. Bummer, because I really needed the cash. This time of year is already pretty slow for DJing. I did wake up to some good news though, an online t-shirt order came in. Before I got notified about the event being canceled I was planning on just bagging the shirt and sending it off. After getting word that I wasn't gonna be working I started drawing a Thank You card for the t-shirt order. I drew my head first then the tentacles & letters with pencil. Then I inked it with a couple Micron pens and fixed a few mistakes with Pro-White. When I was done I threw it in the bag with the t-shirt and a couple SJ stickers and delivered it. The customer lived 15 minutes from home so I figured I'd save him a couple days of waiting for it to arrive by mail.
I new I was going to have longer than usual downtime at my event tonight so I brought my sketch pad and drew while guests were having dinner in another room. Right after taking a picture, to share on the blog, I came up with some new ideas and drew them in.
This weekend and last weekend I DJ'd doubles. Friday & Saturday gigs. Tonight, and last night, I DJ'd at the same venue and was able to leave the rig setup overnight. Today I came already dressed in my suit, versus load-in clothes. My dinner was waiting for me when I arrived. And I had a fun dance floor going for most of the night. The only issue was my DJ laptop freezing half hour before the end of the night. It killed my dance floor. I played some Spotify music playing from my personal laptop while my DJ laptop restarted and got the dance floor going as soon as I was up and running. Unfortunately, there were only half as many people by then. If it wasn't for that incident tonight would have been perfect.
I don't remember when I first noticed it but it had to be after one of the San Jose Sharks Street Rallies I DJ'd last year. At the SAP Center, where the Sharks play hockey, if tag your location on an Instagram post one of first options is the Skark Tank. It's easy to miss since the words are so small and the h and k look kinda similar. I've had this Shark poster for months and recently decided to get rid of it, but not before marking it up first. I used tracing paper, Pro White paint and a black marker to make the tweak. I also drew my logo where the registered trademark symbol was. Lets go Skarks!
Gig number 2 was another holiday party. No theme, just a straightforward cocktail hour, dinner & dance. There was some cool lighting in the room and some garland for the rig. Next weekend is another double which is great since January & February are usually slow.
My last event of 2019 was a holiday/birthday party with Santa Claus, face painting, balloon artist, photo booth and karaoke. It was actually really laid back. I played background music during cocktail hour and dinner then opened up the karaoke after we ate. Only a couple adults sang at first then the kids went at for the rest of the night. Check out the video of the kids battling each other with balloon swords and axes. They even had balloon holsters for their balloon weapons.
I DJ'd a holiday party tonight. The client wanted me to begin 30 minutes before the contracted Start time so music is playing as the early guests start arriving. No problem, since I was scheduled to set up 2 hour before and I'd be ready by then. The client wanted to use the mic to announce raffle winners after the booked End time. I thought it would be quick. They ran late and it took 30 minutes to finish. It pissed me off and it's still bugging me hours later. I should have brought up the contract and offered to charge them overtime but I was afraid of my making my employer look bad. I'm over that shit.
Today I dropped off the printed award I designed and helped put it in its frame. Mission complete. I'm looking forward to the event next week where it will be awarded, along with a cash prize, to the recipient. I'll post pics of the award and more details after the event. After delivering the award I went measure the walls where my art show will be next May. It's a big space and I want to turn that sucker out. I'm even thinking of building a miniature version of the walls & exhibit area to help visualize the show as a whole. After measuring and taking notes I came home & warmed up to go to the gym. I'm trying to work off of some of this recently acquired end-of-the-year chunkage. After sweating my ass at the gym I came home to shave & shower then headed out to pick up the DJ gear for my gig tomorrow. I just finished prepping music. All that's left to do it write this blog and maybe watch some Stranger Things before bed. Goodnight.
I DJ'd my first holiday party of the season tonight at Levi's Stadium. It's a nice break from all the weddings. There's way less notes & music to prepare. It's way more casual. Less MCing. More music I don't usually get to play at weddings. Tonight's client had also booked casino games and a photo booth so I mostly played fun background music while people ate and played the games. I'm DJing a few more holiday parties this month and next before it slows down and wedding season starts ramping up again in March.
I DJ'd a daytime wedding today. The ceremony was at 11:30 AM and the event ended at 4:30 PM. In my experience, it's super rare if anyone dances at a daytime wedding. I think it's partly because it's still bright as day outside and most people won't get on the dance floor unless it's dark. I also think people don't drink as much during day weddings, compared to evening weddings, and booze gets people on the dance floor. I didn't think anyone was going to dance after dinner/lunch today. What I thought was going to be the nail in the coffin was the venue's strict sound restrictions. The speaker volume had be brought down really-really low during open dance. The volume on the dance floor was so low you could talk over the music. All the guests outside and in the room next door couldn't hear my music or announcements because the volume was so low. No one was even in the room I was DJing in for the first 3-4 songs after opening up the dance floor. I went around and invited to people to come in and dance. The bride, groom and flower girl came in first and soon more people trickled in. It would get quiet and awkward at times while people danced so I got on the mic often to announce songs & give shoutouts I explained that the venue made me turn my speaker volume down but they could get loud and make noise. I somehow managed to keep them on the dance floor till the last song. It felt like I MC'd the dance set instead of DJing it.
There was a bunch of Halloween candy & mini comics leftover from last night. The comics are pretty rad, they come in 25 packs to give away to trick-or-treaters or use as party favors. Today I thought it would be cool to slip a comic and some candy into the bags of anyone who orders a shirt online. I also made shipping & handling free.
On Saturday I'm working a wedding in Soquel and Sunday morning I'm DJing a memorial in San Jose. This is a first. I've never worked a memorial before. All I was given was a loose timeline and bunch of music. Normally I'd be a lil nervous going into a situation like this but I'm working with a professional event planner, that I've worked with before, and after our phone call today I'm feeling alright. We'll see how it goes.
On Sunday night I'll be picking up my San Jose shirts from the printers. Then I gotta count, fold & sort them all and update my online store's inventory. There are a few people waiting on those shirts and I can't wait to get them out.
I DJ'd a corporate event tonight and dance floor was empty soon after we opened it up. Not just the dance floor but the whole room eventually emptied. Everyone went outside to the patio. It's a beautiful venue with string lighting outside, fire pits, heaters, and a bar so I can't blame them. But it got me thinking about my first few years DJing. I used to hate when nobody danced. I felt like I failed to do my job. It would ruin my weekend, sometimes my whole week. What made it worse was playing fast, upbeat dance music to an empty dance floor. After a few more years of DJing I realized there will be occasional empty dance floors but instead of playing nothing but dance songs I've started playing more laid-back & less dancy music. Stuff I usually don't play during dance sets. I figure if people wanna lounge I'll play more lounge type music. Today I don't feel bad if no one wants to dance.
The video below is from a wedding I did exactly 3 years ago today. It was as hot as hell inside and everyone, except for one older gentleman, was hanging out outside or had already left. It was just this one man sitting in a chair directly across from me. The song was the bride's request and it was just too funny so I filmed a bit of it.
Saturdays are for weddings. I've been DJing for 5 years now and this is my usual routine:
And that's it! Super easy, right?
Now that I spend more time on my own business it's getting harder to switch my brain back in to wedding mode, especially after a couple weekends of vending t-shirts and no DJ gigs. I spent whole day today going over notes, timelines, emails and music requests for my next two weddings for this Saturday and next Saturday. I also had phone meetings with both brides & grooms today after preparing all their wedding music on my work laptop. I like to play the music back for them to make sure I have the correct songs for their ceremony and formal dances as we walk thru their wedding day. After the my last phone meeting tonight I was drained. My eyes were tired from staring at laptop screens and pages of notes so I drew myself for Day 2 of Inktober.