Photos Courtesy of: Topher Perea
View all of Topher’s Liberace Penthouse Party photos here.
The penthouse rests on top of a building nestled in Hollywood near the Grove. It’s a building that everybody drives by, on the outskirts of a residential area north of Beverly Blvd, though few people could actually reference the building besides its tenants. Arriving on the top floor, however, one realizes that Liberace chose this space for a reason, and all the mundane aspects of the building dissolve away in the memory of anyone stepping out of the elevator. In the hallway leading to the main living room area, with its large sliding glass doors and mirrored walls, one feels either in a temple devoted to narcissism (Liberace, after all, convinced Scott Thorson, one of his lovers, to have plastic surgery so that he would look like Liberace at 30 years old), or as a participant in a scaled-down version of a “hall of mirrors” attraction at a carnival. Without the implications of its former tenant, it’s a sleek, angular marvel with views on one side from Los Feliz to Beverly Hills, and through the windows on the other side ones eyes rests on the rooftops and buildings of Hollywood and environs.
The DJs set up in the main living room of the penthouse. Behind the DJs one could see the Hollywood sign standing clear and bright from through yet another large window. A short hallway to the side led into what must have been a bedroom, though now a bar sat freshly stocked and waiting for drink tickets from patrons. The carpet extended through all rooms, including the bathrooms, except for some of the side rooms and the outside areas. Years of people walking on it gave it a dirty tinge. One could possibly count the years based on the overlapping stains from spilled drinks.
People, during the day, stuck mainly around the pool area. Ashtrays in the form of half-buried urns jutted out from the walls. The pool was a kidneyesque shape, kidney enough to claim the shape though flat up against a wall on one side. People sat under the sun or in the shade of a couple trees leaning from inside the patio over the edge of the wrought iron railings.
This scene set the stage for an awesome night of music. Musahsi San of Rotunda Sound, Juan Pablokey of WC Music_Latintronik, and Luis Miolaro of Made in Brazil started the day with their Tech House sound. Also appearing was Franco Benito of Incognito with his Funk Tech. This reviewer won’t go into details of all who played that day. The highlights included here are Jordan Strong and Michael Tello of Uniting Souls_OM_Nice N Smooth, Cache with Incognito, and the headliner, Doc Martin with Sublevel LA.
Jordan Strong and Michael Tello burnt the bridge somewhere between house and funky acid jazz. Strong and Tello would alternate controls, providing the crowd a mix of enough punchy rhythms and head-shaking riffs to keep bodies moving. Strong himself danced to his own beats and rhythms as though part of the audience. He would, at times, run out of the control booth and bang on nearby congas. The energy transferred easily into the audience, who ate it up with cheers. After creating a groove that sounded like falling sonic bombs, Tello stayed true to his ability behind the console, shaking Afro-funk jazz into urban thumps and slaps, crescending into mind-altering moments of blissful beats, and then handed it back to Strong’s funk and jazz.
At around 8 pm Cache stepped into the console. By this time the skies had darkened, allowing the constellation of lights visible on the Hollywood Hills to frame him. Cache played a deeply intensive set, as though releasing relics of soul out of ancient inner cities. The set included, early on, a rare track by David Mancuso, off a record with only five copies in existence, as an example. Live saxophones and congas accompanied him in small doses, making the already chic beats and mixes more sophisticated. A break-dancer in the audience broke out of the crowd and started working some moves in front, inspiring a line of two or three others to follow each other by jumping into the circle, their feet and bodies shaking the floor underneath the filthy, stained carpet. Cache bookended his set with the famous disco version of Beethoven’s Fifth, cutting a clear distinction between him and the main act, Doc Martin.
Doc Martin started where Cache left off, with prominent beats riding through the disco like a freight train. The beat drove steadily forwards throughout the rest of the night, picking up snippets of various musical passengers. The crowd now crammed into the main room, each adding to the journey whose destination seemed only to be that present moment.