Alegria Tribe Convenes for Tribal Celebration

by Mark Thompson
EDGE Style & Travel Editor
Monday Jan 24, 2011

It's New York and it's winter; there's snow on the ground and it's three am on Monday morning. Question: who in their right mind is going out in this weather? Answer: every member of the Alegria Tribe.

The Sunday night of the holiday weekend was Alegria Tribal, and as soon as we walked into Pacha, we saw majordomo Nestor smiling wide. "You look happy," we said, to which he replied, "Alegria always makes me happy."

There it was: the sentiment of the evening. Alegria Tribal is Ric Sena's annual tribute to all things tribal, and this year, Sena had the King of Tribal, Paulo, serving righteous beats, followed by Eddie Elias, New York's latest after-hours king.

All night long, tribal boys packed the floor, working their moneymakers, their hands in the air, while following the lead of a quartet of bodacious Zulu go-go boys pounding the stage.

"New York Tribal State of Mind"

Paulo was on a tribal tear, in a "New York tribal state of mind," as he said, laying down personalized mixes like "Vogue in the Dark" and his "Possessed in Your Possession" mash-up that had the boys bouncing off the walls and on the couches.

"Werk us, goddamit," shouted one of the Paulo Tribal Heads, which had convened around and in the booth, generating good love from which Paulo fed.

"I Have a Dream"

While generally considered the Lord of the Drums, Paulo has also pointed out that it is "vocals which are the backbone" of his every set - and there was no question that Paulo’s music on Monday morning was as lyrically provocative as it was pelvic and propulsive, as evinced with his "I Have a Dream" mash-up, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

"U are turning it," texted one tribe member. "I live."

There’s always something so wonderful about seeing so many boys having so much fun.

"It Gets Better" - It Does

Recently, we spoke with the mother of an adolescent son who’s being bullied, and we told her about the "It Gets Better Project" - but maybe we also should have told her about Alegria. For there are moments during Alegria when you look around - and upon witnessing so many happy boys, you realize that, yes, life does get better. It gets better when you learn how to live and love yourself and be happy.

And what’s not to love about such contagious, infectious music? With lights by Stephen Wyker and a stellar sound system, the legendary Alegria sound is recognizable - and yet always mutating.

One of the more fascinating qualities behind Alegria’s longevity is how each deejay comes to the party and shapes the well-known Alegria sound into something personally unique and yet still recognizable.

"Do You Think I Look Tribal?"

Nurse Chris was there, cavorting with the O-vahness Clan, including Brian, Sergio, and Jenna, as was Beth Sara, and Betto and Jonathan, and Andrew, and Tres Ness, and Nicky, and Tod and Gorm, and Adam K, and Adam W. with Russell Roybal, and Guillermo, and Gerald Equality Taylor, and a beaming VIP bartender, Trevor, and a surfeit of supportive deejays, including Escape, and Eddie Martinez, and Philip Kimball.

"Do you think I look tribal?" asked one smiling boy. Nearly naked with an ivory tusk and a bouncing booty, that spells tribal for us.

Sexy, Dirty Tribal Beats

And when Eddie Elias took over at six am, laying down a rhythmically complex and soulful set that sustained and built upon what Paulo had created, Alegria proved yet again that this party is all about the music. "Give me the music and a floor, and I’m in heaven," said one boy.

How fitting then that Alegria Tribal was in the very room where Alegria first found its home as a tribe: the erstwhile Sound Factory, now Pacha.

For as much as this party was Tribal, it was also Alegria doing what it does best: serving up the sexy, dirty tribal house music for the people who love and feel it.


LINKS: Alegria Events

Alegria Events / Facebook

A long-term New Yorker and a member of New York Travel Writers Association, Mark Thompson has also lived in San Francisco, Boston, Provincetown, D.C., Miami Beach and the south of France. The author of the novels WOLFCHILD and MY HAWAIIAN PENTHOUSE, he has a PhD in American Studies and is the recipient of fellowships at MacDowell, Yaddo, and Blue Mountain Center. His work has appeared in numerous publications.


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