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Mark Kamins' Memorial Party at Santos Party House

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dpp_0021_0.jpgThere's a big memorial/party coming up for DJ and downtown music scene mainstay Mark Kamins on April 17. But before we get into the details, a brief explanation is in order. When I got the news that Mark had passed away in February, there wasn't much reaction from the young'uns around PAPER's office except for a mild, "Who's he?" That's understandable, so I'll explain: Mark was one of the first DJs to play "new-wave" dance music (and to combine it with punk or James Brown or whatever he'd just discovered) at the height of the disco craze in the early '80s. He was one of the resident DJs -- with Sean Cassette -- at a club called Danceteria and it was there that he met another of the club's employees, Madonna. Mark started working with the then-unknown singer and produced her first single, "Everybody." He also introduced her to Sire Records owner Seymour Stein, who immediately signed her. In essence, it was Mark who gave Madonna that first push and who's responsible for putting her on the map.

Mark went on to produce and remix numerous other artists including underground New York locals Quando Quango and Urban Blight as well as big, established artists like UB40 and Sinead O'Connor. He traveled and DJ'd around the world and was one of the first DJs to incorporate world music into his repertoire. He died at age 57 in Guadalajara, where he'd been teaching at the Fermatta Music Academy.

Mark had his ups and downs. He was a hard-partying, friendly and open guy that you'd find behind the turntables at MARS nightclub at 4 a.m., sweating like a fountain and madly blowing a whistle. And then the next week, you'd spot him on a panel at a music biz convention, telling hard truths to a rapt audience of curious kids.

Anyway, let's get back to the "party." It's happening on April 17, at Santos Party House (96 Lafayette Street, 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.) and features performances by KONK (doing their first show since 1986), Crystal Ark, Nomi Ruiz, Coati Mundi, Strafe, Johnny Dynell, John Robie and Harmony Trujillo as well as over twenty DJs, including Mike Pickering, Jellybean Benitez, Justin Strauss, Stretch Armstrong, Francois K, Jazzy Nice, Bill Bahlman, Murray Elias and more. There's a $20 suggested donation and the proceeds go to a Mark Kamin's Scholarship Award. Seems like a fitting tribute.

 


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