Big Dipper, rapper and podcaster extraordinaire, sure does.
Before moving to his current home in LA he lived for a few years in New York City, where he cut his teeth performing at Westgay, a queer night hosted by the influential Frankie Sharp at a bar called Westway (see what they did there?) every Tuesday night from 2012 to 2015.
We talked about waiting in line even when your name is on the guest list, avoiding fluids so you don’t have to deal with the club toilets, and the magical feeling of leaving the club when the sun is rising.Transcript
Big Dipper 00:00
I took the train it was after midnight I walked to the train I was wearing Daisy Dukes must have been six inches long from my waist like tiny little shorts. My thighs were rubbing together the moment I left the house and a crop top with my belly out, crop top t shirt, Daisy Dukes baseball hat, big chain, and I have I have like a little jacket like like a camo jacket, but I tied it around my waist and I rode the train like that at midnight by myself.
K Anderson 00:34
Hello, I am K Anderson and you are listening to lost spaces. The podcast that mourns the death of queer nightlife. Every episode I talk to a different person about a venue from their past, the memories they created there, and the people that they used to know. My guest on today’s show is Big Dipper, rapper and co host of the podcast sloppy seconds. Before moving to his current home in LA. He lived for a few years in New York City, where he cut his teeth performing at West gay and influential queer night held at a bar called Westway. See what they did. They’re really clever, right? In Manhattan every Tuesday night between 2012 and 2015. We talked about waiting in line, even when your name is on the guest list. Avoiding fluid so you don’t have to deal with the toilets in the club. And that magical feeling of leaving the club just as this sound is rising.
Big Dipper 02:09
So I put out my first song when I was 26 ish. Yeah, yeah. And shortly after I put that song out, I was invited to like do a press like a like a, like a feature in a magazine with other queer hip hop artists. And the moment after that happened, I had always, I was like, Oh, I’m not gonna you know, I’m from Chicago. I like the vibe in Chicago. I’m not really a New York person. But after that, I flew out there. I did this press. I was like, featured with these other people. And I was like, Oh, I live. This is what I always say. But like, after that moment, I was like, Oh, I’m beyond say like, watch out world like this is going to be in I’m going to take over. And, you know, I just thought about like music and club and performance. Like, there’s so much more of that happening in New York. Let’s do it. So I moved to Brooklyn, and I had a few friends living there. Right before Hurricane Sandy. So maybe that was 20 2013 or 2014. I can look it up. I’m horrible with dates. Oh, 2012. Yeah. Okay, so I moved in 2012. And,
K Anderson 03:31
yeah, so what was the like, what was this switch? What was the thing that made you go Oh, actually, New York’s kind of array.
Big Dipper 03:38
I never really made this switch. I just thought, like, like, I enjoyed living in New York, because it was exciting, because it was new. I liked that New York energy. I was sort of like being gruff. You know, being able to be like, no, hold the door open for me or like banging on the hood of a cab if they were driving while you were trying to cross the street, or yell your order at a deli. You know, in order to be heard, like I enjoyed, say you liked the opportunity to be obnoxious. Well, not even that I just enjoyed sort of putting on that costume. Like I felt like I was able to do it. But as far as living in New York, like it was not for me, which is why I I left three years later, I lived in New York for only a short period of time. And I’m much I’m much more suited for Los Angeles, where I live now. And I really do like the vibe in Chicago where I’m from, but it felt like New York was an important thing to do. To explore the career path that I had just started. It just felt like there was more nightlife more opportunities to make music and to perform.
K Anderson 04:52
So you got there in 2012. Yes. Do what like what are your memories of those first days?
Big Dipper 04:59
Well, I’m And I stayed with a friend and then hurricane hit and the city shut down. So we spent like a month not doing anything.
K Anderson 05:09
Oh, wow that long.
Big Dipper 05:10
Yeah, I mean, I mean, not a month, but a couple of weeks, especially after, I guess when I used to tell that story. I was like, I moved in, I was crashing on on an air mattress in her in her living room in her one bedroom apartment. And then the hurricane hit, and we were stuck inside for so long. Now thinking about being stuck inside. And this pandemic world I’m like, very different story. But yeah, I mean, it was cool. I was exploring stuff, I pretty quickly got a bike, I was living in Brooklyn, I was biking around, my friend is a little bit older than me and a lesbian. So my initial social scene was just like all lesbians and all sober people. So it was like a lot of like a meetings and lesbians and bike rides.
K Anderson 05:57
Big Dipper 05:58
the dream, truly the dream. And then, and then I, a couple of my friends, who I’d had sort of previously, I started hanging out with them. And they, you know, friends from Chicago, our friends from college who were like living in the city, they say, I forget how I heard about some of these parties. But I started going out every once in a while to these little parties. There were a couple parties in Manhattan and a couple parties in Brooklyn, I never really did. It took me like a year and a half to get to Hell’s Kitchen. I never really went to Chelsea, like all the like, sort of like iconic gays, but like neighbourhoods, it was just, it was not for me, I was like keeping, you know, to myself, or being in Brooklyn. And then, you know, after, after I went to a handful of these parties, I, you know, did the thing where I like found who the promoter was, or I met a DJ or you know, any of those things. And I sort of weaseled my way in, and I was like, these are my music videos, like, I’m a performer. And then once I started performing, I think I performed at like two or three of these, like queer parties, and a lot of it were, you know, as sort of the same group of people would just bounce around from venue to venue, depending on who was hosting. And once I did one or two, I was like, on the list, I was like, on the the sort of like in the Rolodex. And so you know, I at that time, it was very much like, oh, if so and so can’t perform, we can get big dipper, or if this, you know, drag queen off TV can’t make it. We can get big too. But it was always sort of like that, like backup. But I kept proving myself and then eventually, when I left New York, I was able to sort of return and be a bigger deal headliner. Like after I moved away after a couple years in my career continued. When I would contact promoters, I’d be like, Hey, I’m coming back to New York for a trip and they were like, Oh, my God, amazing. We’ll do a party around you. And that was sort of a cool feeling to like, return to that scene. But having like, built my career.
K Anderson 08:15
Dennett done the thing. Well, and so, so in amongst all of that. You started performing at West gay?
Big Dipper 08:25
Yeah, I mean, so. So there’s a party promoter, an artist, a writer, a DJ, a fashion icon. He’s all of these things. His name is Frankie sharp. And he had a party in in Manhattan called West gay, and it was at a venue called the West way. And it was on the west side. And I heard about I heard it as like the hot ticket. It was like, this is the best Tuesday night party. And literally, when I moved to New York, I was like, who has a party on a Tuesday night?
K Anderson 09:06
That was my reaction as well. It’s like Tuesday, what?
Big Dipper 09:11
Exactly, but after living in New York for a little bit. I’m like, Girl, there’s a party Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. So the first time I went so you know, in New York is the thin Island. About 1418 blocks, you know, long or whatever. You know, the alphabets and then all the way over to 12th or I guess 14th Avenue, and then there’s more of the Hudson, but this was you would get off the train and then you had to walk like you had to walk. It was like a good 10 or 15 because the
K Anderson 09:45
train lines are weird, aren’t they? Like there’s some as
Big Dipper 09:49
well, especially downtown these because it was in a more industrial area. It was like the streets were wider. And it was like a bunch of warehouses and parking garages. So it wasn’t, it wasn’t like in the village where there’s like a train, stop every whatever. And the streets are all gnarly. So you would get off and you would walk, walk, walk, walk, walk. And there was always a line out front. And the person who worked the door is a Marcus. Kind of a drag queen. It became apparent more and more of like, club kid vibe. You know, because I never saw Marcus like, get on stage, but always a huge look, you know, tons of makers. And Marcus was a client at the door. I mean, but also very sweet. The more you knew Marcus, the more Marcus would let you add, just like iconically New York working a gay party. Like, that’s the sexy thing.
K Anderson 10:50
So like, you would be terrified to train into the club is that the vibe?
Big Dipper 10:56
Yes. And what, what I would do is I would wait in line, I would always wait in line. And there were times when I was on the list. But I would wait in line, because I have never, ever, ever felt comfortable. walking past a line of people waiting to just be led into the club, the only times I ever did that was when I was performing. When I was like on the poster for that club, then I would walk in to the front of the line. But in my mind, if you’re on the list to get in, that doesn’t mean you get in before other people, it just means you get in without pay. So say you stood out in freezing New York weather from principles. Sometimes it was freezing and embarrassment, and like, like confidence, like I was like, What am I gonna say to someone? And also, sometimes it was like, I didn’t know if I was on the list. Like sometimes I would message a person who was like, quote, unquote, hosting and say, Hey, can I get on the list? And they were a friend of mine, but they wouldn’t message me back. And I have been a person who like sees the thing. And yes, yeah, yeah, cuz I’ve looked at it on my phone, but not confirmed it. So I didn’t want to walk up and then be told, no, you’re not unlisted, and then have to turn around and go back. And I wasn’t there every single Tuesday night. I didn’t stay until closing every night. I didn’t. I didn’t I wasn’t super close with all these people. So some people never had to be on the list. Because they were it was their actual friend group, not their like club friend. Yeah, you know, the difference between friends you just see out of the club versus like, we’re having dinner together. Eventually, some of those people from that scene became like, we’re having dinner together, and we talk on the phone, friends. But that took a while.
K Anderson 12:49
But so let’s just say let me just understand how terribly polite you are. Because it’s not it’s not a very American thing. No. So if you go into a shop, and you need help, are you forthright with asking for help?
Big Dipper 13:03
Yeah, but I’ll do it politely. And I won’t. I won’t do it while they’re talking to someone.
K Anderson 13:09
Wait, but no one does that today.
Big Dipper 13:11
Yeah, really? Well, that’s what I meant about the New York costume. Like just really, you could walk in? Well, and then we’ll say, I’ll need help when you’re done. While two people are talking. Wow. Because in their mind, they’re going I’m letting you know, I’m next in line. And so in their mind is not rude. It’s just letting you know, I’ll be over here. When you’re done. I need help with jeans. You know what I mean? Oh,
K Anderson 13:35
wow. And so then how are you then if you get a meal and it’s not cooked properly? Or it’s not what you wanted? Are you good at being assertive? Yeah, but again, politely. Okay, you know, right. So just getting a measure.
Big Dipper 13:50
And if it’s, if it’s if it’s purely my taste, then I will take responsibility. Like if I get a meal, and I’ve ordered it, like, you know, I like I like calamari, I like squid. But I was in Mexico a few years ago with my family, and I ordered the octopus, and they just put an octopus on my plate, head. All of it, they put all of it on, but I’m like, that’s how they serve it. And I’m not going to send that back and be like, I didn’t like that. So I like ate the tentacles because that’s what I’m used to eating. I was like, I’m not eating the head. And then I just I just ordered something else as well. I was like, oh, because you know, so I’m not I’m not that kind of a dick. But if I said like, no omens and you cover my salad and almonds, I’m sending it back.
K Anderson 14:39
Okay, this is really useful information for me. So
Big Dipper 14:42
I don’t know why. So the first time I went to West gay, I waited in that line. I went with no one I’m also the type of person who will go out by myself. I’ve been sober for almost a decade as well. So I don’t drink I don’t smoke weed. Today’s lesbians influence I will the reason I hung out with them is that I was sober before I got to New York. So when I showed up, I fell arms first, you know, or headfirst into a lesbian lesbian sobriety community. Thank you. Yes, exactly. So I have no fear or issue with going out to clubs or parties by myself. Because ultimately, you know, sometimes people go out and it’s like, it’s a, they look at the end of the night, and they’ve spent $140 or something like that on like drinks and cabs. And I would always like, take the train, like listen to music, or like read something like not a book, but something I could like paper that I could fold into my pocket or throw away, walk to the club, wait in line, you know, get let in fully by myself get like a free water or pay $3 for a seltzer. And then just like dance and like, look around and meet people. And the first time I went to Alaska, I think I got there at 1030. And no one was there. I think the doors to the party opened at nine, the DJs normally, like started messing around at 10. But they were playing, they were just like literally practicing or whatever. And the party didn’t actually get fun or interesting until one in the morning on a Tuesday. And then the height of it was around two or 230. And then last call was around 345. And then the party would be cleared out by four. And on nights when I performed there, I would easily get home at 430 or five in the morning. And so just like quick side note just loving what a geek and the difference in between Chicago in New York, like if you were to go to a club in Chicago at 1030, that would there be people there? Well, it would see that’s the thing is like I never really did the party scene or the club scene in New York or in Chicago. And so I would go to a lot of art parties or like salons where people would perform or like shows with after parties. So I did have an experience with like going to our house parties, which were always earlier. So I did have an experience of going to places at 10 or 1030. And it being like bumping. But Chicago definitely has the like club and party scene. I just wasn’t tapped into it. I only learned learned about it in New York, really. And this space, so West gay, the place was called the West way. And it essentially had three rooms. All in all is pretty small club. But like a like had enough space to really pack people. There was the main room that had like an elevated DJ platform that also served as like a VIP space. So it was full packed to the brim with people had to stairs, you know, four or five steps on either side going up on either side to it. And then the big DJ booth. And then directly in front of that was also VIP seating, which felt like the most VIP seating but in my mind was the worst place to be. Because you couldn’t see the DJ, you couldn’t see the screens, you couldn’t see anything. But the people who sat there just wanted to be seen didn’t want to see what else was going on. In the centre of that room was a runway was it was about a three or four foot elevated the length the width of a runway. And that was the state
K Anderson 18:38
because it used to be a strip club didn’t it?
Big Dipper 18:41
It actually I think still was a strip club, just not on Tuesday nights, or maybe used to be and then it was like a straight venue for the rest of the week or whatever. This was like this was like a pop up queer event.
K Anderson 18:54
Yeah. And so this elevated stage was like where people would strip.
Big Dipper 19:00
Well, there were gogo boys on the stage. And they would sort of strip a little bit. But all the performance was West gay Frankie Sharpe, who threw the party had, like he was iconic at booking talent. he booked people who three years later got record deals. he booked people as they were coming up in the scene. And on the same night he would book like four people. And so like it would be like, you know, like, like a rap artist, a music artist. It would be a drag queen. It would be maybe like a stripper burlesque dancer. But like cool burlesque not like traditional burlesque, I guess like sort of, you know, in a modern way. And then he would just or he would just like randomly booked dancers and be like, hey, when we play this song, you guys take the stage and I’ll give you a bottle like he was just really really good at creating an atmosphere and there would be Like a performance like every, you know what, after one in the morning, it was like every hour, there will be something. But I remember a few times when I perform there I would I was one of two musical acts, you know, and like people who had like big followings and then other times I performed with like drag queens off the TV, like he always had something going on. And that was in the main room. And a lot of people like that stage is wild, because it’s, you know, going back to theatre, being a theatre kid. So three, it’s fully in the round, there’s people everywhere, it’s a nightclub, so they don’t really have a good live sound systems, you had to scream into the microphone, no monitors, you know, and I don’t like to perform with my vocals on a backing track, I like to be on an open track. And that makes it even harder in a club. So you just had to be like, crank it and like yell into the microphone. And the audience’s right there, literally right there. Because that stage is only like two feet off the ground. So they’re like right at their heads are all at your crotch level you’re looking at the Evita is that was a really amazing place to sort of cut my teeth and nightlife performance.
K Anderson 21:08
And there is the other thing as well, because nightclub gigs are really tough, because people haven’t come to see you. They’ve come right, like get drunk and to dance and to flirt with people. And so in lots of ways, when you come on stage, they’re just like, what the fuck? Like, what the hell do I have to pay attention to this person? And like, and, yeah, and like getting that, like, just pushing through that and being enthusiastic and being like, yeah, that is tough.
Big Dipper 21:36
Well, that party is where I learned about, I’m going to give you three songs in under five minutes. And each with the costume change and a reveal backup dancers sound design explosion, you know, it’s like, I learned it was like, I started looking like a Boy Scout. That whole thing was snap rigged in Velcro. My dancers ripped it off me. I’m in like leader hosing, the song changes, we do group choreography, then I go over here, I stripped down to a thong. People are putting dollar bills in the jock strap. You know, it’s just like, I was like, boom, boom, boom, that’s really where I learned it. Because any time the music would dip, you just heard everyone talking. It’s not that they weren’t paying attention. But they didn’t pay a ticket to see your show. It’s exactly what you’re saying. Yeah. So yeah, that’s where I really learned about that.
K Anderson 22:23
That is really tough.
Big Dipper 22:26
It was good, though. It was a great learning experience. And then, so there’s that main room. And then the side room had a bar in it. And it was mostly the only room where you could sort of like talk to someone without screaming. Because you could hear the residual music from the main room, there was the bar. And in that little bar room, there was a tiny stage that was just meant for people who were like fucked up and really feeling themselves it had a little pole on it and mirrored walls. So people would get up there and like take pictures or dance around to just show ups just show offs. And then the back room was the last room and ultimately, as the more and more I went to the party was the room I like to be in. It had a second DJ. And in the main room, he would often have two or three DJs throughout the night. And it was club music. I wouldn’t say pop music if pop music got played in the main room. It was remixed, but it was really like how C and club really dancey not cheesy dancy, like New York dancey. And then in the back room, it was whatever the DJ wanted to play. And oftentimes my friend Anthony would DJ back there. So it was like SoundCloud, rappers. Classic hip hop, just like really like it felt like a basement party in high school to me. And that backroom was where people smoked. You’re not allowed to smoke indoors, but everyone just smoked in that back room anyways. So it was like people were doing drugs and smoking and just listening to that. But I loved that vibe in that back room because it felt like intimate and smaller and kind of exclusive. And I always like preferred the music back there. And so eventually I DJ in that back room a few times and it was like that was one of my first ever DJ gigs was in that back room. And I’m not a pro DJ I would just play songs off my computer. I use a little DJ program, my mixing was all trash like, whatever. But I remember the first night I DJ in the backroom, and you have to do it is a five hour DJ set. You know, like he wants you to start at you know 11 and you go until the bar closes at four in the morning or whatever. It was like the day after re Ana’s bitch better have my money came out
K Anderson 24:48
and say you just played that on loop for three hours.
Big Dipper 24:50
Well of course I’m gonna play that song some man offered me he was like can you play Rihanna ‘Bitch Better Have My Money’ and in my head? I’m like yes, of course. But I just held my Hands up, and I rub my fingers together like money. He gave me 50 bucks. So I just played only the ones. Yeah, I mean, I played it again later.
K Anderson 25:15
I mean, for 50 quid, I’m $50 I’d be playing it like five or 10 times.
Big Dipper 25:19
Well, that I mean, that was what was funny is like, I was about to play it anyways, it was like Next up, like I had it like set aside, I was like, Oh, I’m gonna play this fun. And he was like, do that. And I was like, I just made 50 bucks. And so then did you try that trick ever again? Every time anytime someone asked me for a request, I say, Okay, well, how much money do you want to pay me to do? And did it ever work? all the time? Really?
K Anderson 25:44
Yeah. Like, how much money? Are we talking?
Big Dipper 25:48
anywhere from five to 20 bucks. Wow. Just because people I mean, like, I always just say to them, I say, Okay, cool. Like, you can make a request. If you want to play if you want me to play it, pay me money, and I’ll just play it. But you can make a request. I don’t need to take your request. Like, you weren’t hired to curate music for four hours. I was. So I’m going to, I’m happy to listen to your requests. Sometimes people request songs. And I’m like, Yes, I want to play that. And other times they’re Christmas song I don’t want to play so it’s a song I don’t want to play. I’ll tell them I’ll play it if they pay me. I don’t care. It’s three minutes.
K Anderson 26:28
But it can completely kill the vibe in the room?
Big Dipper 26:30
Well, no, because I’ll only do that for songs that I know everyone loves. I just personally don’t love. Okay, likewise, like, I don’t know, like a like a, like a Selena Gomez song or like a like, you know, whatever, some very popular artists that I’m interested in. But everyone else probably knows the words to her I’m sick of the song is like, the only thing I’m worried about is like, you’re gonna look at me and think, oh, he played that song. But if you pay me, I don’t really care.
K Anderson 27:01
So. So we’ve kind of gone all over the place your first time there. You slept from the subway, you stood in line? Was there a line? Or did you just get straight in because the place was empty?
Big Dipper 27:14
No, there was always a line in the beginning of the night that kept the line for appearances, because I remember waiting in the line and it moved, but it always moved really slowly. And once I got in, no one was inside. And I literally what oh my god that is like that full on bullshit line that they do in New York. Unfortunately, you know, when you get somewhere at 1030, and then it starts getting interesting at one, you’ve already been there for two and a half hours, you’re sort of spent on the space. And so as this continued, I was in a relationship at the time with someone who would come out, like when I was performing and support me and whatever. But he was like, older than me and wasn’t really into partying and like had a job and shared and so there were times when we would like make dinner at home, watch a movie fall asleep on the couch, wake up, have some ice cream chat, he would start brushing his teeth getting ready for bed, I would hop in the shower, and then it would be 1245 at night and I’m like, Okay, see you in a little bit. And I would go out to the public, we would have a full night at home. And then I would go hop on the train, go out to the club, you know, whatever, come home, go to the deli, get a sandwich fall asleep at 630 in the morning after watching, you know, a show on my headphones or whatever. And then he would go to work at seven or eight in the morning, you know, get up early, and then I would you know sort of wake up around two in the afternoon. That’s the life and and I remember Okay, so there were a few times when I use the bathroom, there only a few. Yeah, and I’ll tell you exactly why the bathroom scene was really challenging in this place. Because there were no big bathroom. There wasn’t like some big sort of multipurpose like a bunch of stalls, urinals, whatever it was individual single use bathrooms, and there were like five of them. And so it was really unclear. Like, there was a lot, you know, you would sort of wait in the line. But to get to the bathrooms, you could access the hallway from both sides. And so if this was like a non, if this was a sober environment, it would be very clear that the line was over here, and whichever door opened up first, this person would then go, but so many people were just stumbling around drunk, the amount of times that a person would come around from the other side of the hallway. And someone would open the door at the exact moment and then they would just go into the bathroom. So you could end up waiting in that line for like 40 minutes and that’s where you really had to use that like that New York mentality of like now we were here first like you can’t do that. And as a sober person. I felt Like, that couldn’t be your role yelling. I was just like, I can’t deal with this. So. So I honestly, because I didn’t drink, I wouldn’t spend the night drinking. And I remember I would have like a seltzer water the whole time I was there, I wouldn’t be like pounding drink. So, you know, if I would leave the house at 1230 and be back around for it’s like, if I wasn’t pounding water all night long as like, I wouldn’t have to piss while I was there. And then after I started performing, I got privy to the like the backstage, which was upstairs in the manager’s office, that’s where everyone would change and keep their bag and there was like a bathroom upstairs. And so when I would catch one of the people who were was working a party, and I would be like, Hey, how are you as they were going up the stairs, and I would like go with them. And we would like make small talk and they’d be like, I’m just gonna pee real fast. And I would use that bathroom upstairs. Cuz inside those individual use bathrooms. I mean, people were fucking doing drugs, taking rank shit. Like it was. It was a bad,
K Anderson 31:09
okay, like, okay, fucking and doing drugs. I understand. Why couldn’t you shit at home? Not if you’re on a bunch of cocaine, it gives you the squirts desert? I don’t know. I don’t do drugs. I don’t know enough about this. Like, why would you want to do why would you want to do drugs if it made you like, needs to shed and then you had to queue for 40 minutes behind? Big Dipper getting angry at you for cutting the queue. I would swallow my anger. I have to say, you I think you’d fit right in in the UK. There’s a massive queueing culture. Lots of tatting. Lots of judgment. If you cut the queue, I think like I think you’d fit in. I love I’m feeling like lots of affinity to your plight. And yeah, remembering times when I’ve been like, I’ll just wait till I get home to pay because I don’t want to like have to deal with that. Exactly, exactly. Let’s say how do you find being their sober person in a nightclub? Do you find that inhibits you? Are you like not that bothered about talking to people having good time?
Big Dipper 32:18
Yeah, I’m not that bothered. I mean, I definitely have a shorter, what’s it called? I just have a little less patience was super drunk people. And it’s not anything personal. I do not judge them. But if I find myself in a conversation, and this happens often at gigs, where I will have just performed, and someone is wanting to talk to me about their opinions about me, their perception of my performance, and they’re like, thoughts on my like, body or my merch or like, whatever, you know what I mean? Because they’ve just seen me and I’ve just offered up my, you know, I’m like, this is what I do. And here I am. So when they sort of corner me either when I’m selling merch, or if they’re like a friend of one of the other performers of the bar, and they come backstage, and they’re like, yeah, so I first saw you when I like, that is not for me. I’m like, I hope you’re having fun. You know, it’s fun dancing, we should go dance, and then I’ll get them out and I’ll just come back into the dressing room. I’m
K Anderson 33:18
really, it’s because you’re anticipating that they’ve they’re gonna like serve you a shit sandwich, not because you can’t take compliment.
Big Dipper 33:25
No, it’s because when they’re incoherent, they’re blackout drunk. I don’t care if it’s a compliment or not. I don’t need to have a conversation with no one driving at the wheel. You know what I mean? So when it when it’s like that, you know, because when people are very, very drunk, it’s a lot of like, no, what I’m saying is, and I’m like, No, I know what you’re saying. Like you’ve said it before die, like, you know, and it’s always in that moment where I’m like, I’m exhausted. I’m wiping sweat from every corner of my body. I’m packing my merge backup. I’m waiting for the shady promoter who owes me money to pay me, you know, I’m happy to socialise and everything once work is done. I’m like, once you give me my money, once I know all my stuff is back, I get my flash drive from the DJ, I’m all packed up and ready to go. Let’s stay and hang out and chat. But, you know, it’s it’s challenging because a bar, a party, a club, that is a place that is meant to be for release and fun and having a good time. I work in those spaces. I am also a workaholic and I take my work very seriously. I feel like the sign of a good bar owner or a good bartender or a good you know person who works at a club is that they can balance those two things really well. And they can have a casual fun conversation with the clientele as they’re also running back to the office to make change for the tale or whatever. I don’t really have that when I’m working I’m like laser focus on the work. So sometimes in order to avoid a conversation, where someone is sort of just like going on and on, and I’m like, focus on work, I tried to just get them out of my way.
K Anderson 35:13
See, I’m right with you on the key thing. But I think like with drunk people, it kind of like kicks in my maternal instinct or something paternal instinct. And, and I’m always just like, I need to look after you. Because you’re going to, like, end up like, choking on your vomit or something. I need to make sure you’re okay. Which is a total waste of time. What the hell’s wrong with me?
Big Dipper 35:35
Well, and in LA to also answer the initial question about, like, how does it feel to be sober? I love it. Because I don’t, I can drive. So amazing. I find good parking. Because I’m not, you know, I’m not like taking an Uber somewhere, I find good parking. I will drive to the middle of downtown Los Angeles to play a club, and circled 20 minutes looking for free street parking. I’m very much like, like, so I love it. Because then I can leave and I can go do whatever and drive myself home or go get food. And I feel I feel a freedom in that. Sometimes I think like, oh, if I were fucked up, I would like stay drinking at the bar or like, have to get an Uber home, have to deal with, you know, whatever other people. So it’s, I see it as like a bluff.
K Anderson 36:29
Yeah, it is really interesting that when you’re in music, and that’s like your workplace is bars and clubs and things. And that’s kind of like an expectation that that’s what you do that you drink, and that you hang out in your network. And, yeah, it can just feel like a massive waste of time. But I don’t like people. So I’m probably not the right person to talk to you about that. So, so you got into the rhythm you’d like figured out what time to go. You’ve watched movies, how to shower ate ice cream before going out. So you would like had you were all energised and ready. Like what right took me through a standard night.
Big Dipper 37:14
Oh, I mean, it’s all those things that I said, uh, you wait in line you get in the DJs. In the main room, there’s performances, the backroom. There was a lot of like going outside to take, like smoking breaks. Today, I still smoke. I didn’t smoke cigarettes, but I used to all my friends smoke cigarettes. So I would pop outside and smoke cigarettes and do whatever. And then I would always eat. If I was still energetic. At the end of the night, I would take the train home. And if I felt tired, I would take a cab home and there wasn’t a lot of traffic. So it wouldn’t be too expensive. And I would always always, always go to the deli and get like a sandwich.
K Anderson 38:00
Like the same sandwich every time or we like pushing the boat out.
Big Dipper 38:06
I for a long time. I love that in New York, you can go to a bodega 24 hours a day and get like a breakfast sandwich
K Anderson 38:15
anytime of the day.
Big Dipper 38:16
Like you know like why is it breakfast sandwich? Like sausage, egg and cheese or bacon egg and cheese on a roll? Yeah. So that was mostly what I did for a long time.
K Anderson 38:28
And And do you remember like the first time that you performed there?
Big Dipper 38:34
Yeah, yeah, the first time I performed I had seen a bunch of performances leading up to that. And so the first time I performed there, I definitely had taken note of what worked and what didn’t work. And so that’s when I implored or employed all of those tactics like that I talked about with like, costume changes and three songs in five minutes. And like I knew I built the thing specifically for that show. And I had two dancers with me, and we had rehearsals and I like explained ahead of time. And that was the first time that I went back early. I told them no, we’re not going to perform till two in the morning, but I want to get there at 11 because no one will be there and we can stand on the stage and do a spacing rehearsal. Because most club acts don’t do that. They don’t do a soundcheck. They don’t do anything. But I was like let’s do this and come early and then we can hang out upstairs until the party gets going. But that was sort of like the only other time I went back early because I had learned my lesson after a first
K Anderson 39:36
you’ve got the hustle that’s very impressive. And I wanted to talk about the going home at like 5am in the morning and like yes, how exciting that is sometimes.
Big Dipper 39:55
Sometimes it is exciting. Sometimes you know you look up at the sky on those I’ll tell you this on those nights when I had energy on those nights when like, something hit, and my friends were at the club and like whatever and like, it was four o’clock and the security was literally sweeping and they turn the lights on. But I had sort of been around long enough where I could like, hang out a little bit and like the party promoters are like, counting cash upstairs, and then it’s like, it’s 430. And they’re like, okay, everyone’s really got to go. And then this like, pack of insanely dress. I remember one time I went to the club, literally, on the train in Brooklyn, it was I took the train, it was after midnight, I walked to the train, I was wearing Daisy Dukes must have been six inches long from my waist, like tiny little shorts, my thighs were rubbing together, the moment I left the house, and a crop top with my belly out, crop top t shirt, Daisy Dukes baseball hat, big chain. And I have I have like a little jacket like like a camo jacket. But I tied it around my waist. And I rode the train like that mid night by myself all the way and I wasn’t even with a gaggle of friends I rode the train so so and I went to the club,
K Anderson 41:18
but was it a typical New York thing where no one looked at, you
Big Dipper 41:21
know, I mean, cuz I, you know, I was coming from, it’s not like I was taking the train, like, within like, the East Village or in Chelsea or whatever. It was, like I was coming from a residential area in Brooklyn. So it was like people on the train or like coming home from work or like going to their night job or whatever. But, you know, that idea of emerging from this club, that you know, that 4:35am there’s a little bit of like, a new day smell and taste in the air. You know, I definitely remember leaving parties and sort of seeing the beginning of the glow of the sun rising. And, and then it’s just like a group of queer people all dressed insanely, walking down, like the middle of a street. You know, on the way to there was like a McDonald’s by the train station was like our people getting McDonald’s breakfast or whatever. But I also remember in that same way, doing little things to modify how I was dressed, or how I looked for the train ride home. So like, you know, talking about tying that thing around my waist. So when it was time to take the train home at the end of the night, when it was five in the morning, I could put that and I could unroll my Daisy Dukes and then I was just sort of like in jean shorts. And like a long sleeve top that was buttoned all the way up you were prepared for
K Anderson 42:49
everything on you.
Big Dipper 42:52
Well, because I never wanted I think one time I went to the party and I brought a bag I’m like, why do I have a bag like I have, you know, because in New York you sort of like carry a bag everywhere you’re going I was at a backpack at the club and they didn’t even have anything in it was just like, you know, like an umbrella and like a magazine and whatever and I was like so I got really good at like figuring out little like what what what can also be a fashion item but also like us, you know, like life hack. If it’s cold at the end of the night. I can cover up Yeah, exactly.
K Anderson 43:21
Oh, that’s great, because I used to always be really too tight to put my like to put my clerk in the cloakroom, while my clerk put my jacket in the cloakroom, because being like, Oh, I don’t want to pay a pound, right? Let me How do I figure this out?
Big Dipper 43:34
Well, to me, it was always about it was always about access. Because like the coat room, at the end of the night, I’m like, Fuck that. I don’t want to wait in that line. Like, I always just want to be able to like leave. Again, going back to the bathroom. Like that’s why I didn’t like drink a lot while I was there. I could have ordered like sodas or bottles of water. I could have chugged all night. But I would literally be like, Okay, if I’m going to dance, I’m going to sweat so that I can have a bottle of water, and I never have to deal with that bathroom with me. So
K Anderson 44:04
yeah. And when you’re down, you’re like, right, I’m off, I’m not gonna stand in line to get my coat. I’m just right.
Big Dipper 44:10
And then if I have the energy, I would really really pump it to the train. And then you know, and New York is getting, I think worse and worse about this with the budget cuts to the public transit. But at four in the morning, the next train comes in 38 minutes. And so you know, like, so you either catch it immediately, or it says 20 minutes and included a transfer where you had to wait as well. So I definitely had to be in the mood. I definitely had to have my phone have enough charge still on it. This was many years ago, my phone would be dead at the end of the night. So that I could listen to something, you know, I would think about all those things because I was sober and I wasn’t drunk. So to me, all of it was the same experience. I think there’s something really difference with getting wasted. And then just going like, I’ll just take a cab home, you know, like, do whatever. I would literally say at the train and be like, do I want to spend $38? Or give up 38 minutes? What do I want? That was
K Anderson 45:16
how warm is my bed? That cuz that’s the thing like, yeah and winter like fuck everything I’m getting a cab I’m going right. But like that magic of like in the middle of summer when it when the days are really long and like by 430 there’s already those kind of like, the signs of the day starting. And just all that promise and excitement. Like I just love that kind of magic of lingering on those. And then I have that like that stupid optimism of like, I’m just not going to go to bed, I’m just going to do all these really productive things. I’m going to embrace the day the day is going to be magical. And then yeah, by the time I’m having like an hour full. But yeah, I love that. I love that feeling. If you had the opportunity to go back in time, and go to West gay for one one more night. What would you do?
Big Dipper 46:13
Oh my god, I would not be so focused on who was there and what people thought of me. And that was sort of influenced by a lot of things I was influenced about me being brand new to New York, I mean, never really being in clubs, spaces, and me trying to like build and launch my career as a performer. And so I was when I would walk into those spaces, I was very aware of people that I had seen from the internet, people whose music videos I had seen people who had reputations in nightlife, I was clocking everyone and trying to figure out who people were so that I just knew what I was doing there. But now, you know, being older, having been around the world more having been in many, many clubs, bases, I would, I would be more relaxed. I think I was always kind of high strung. And I can guarantee you, I guarantee you, there were times that I went to this party that I did not want to go to the party. But I knew that I wanted to perform there in a month and I hadn’t been in two weeks and I was going out of town or whatever. You know, like oh, I’m gonna be out of town these two weeks, but I want to perform you
K Anderson 47:39
were like researching
Big Dipper 47:40
Well, not even researching I was showing face. Oh, wow. Because unless you were very, very famous. You weren’t going to get a gig if you never paid the door entry. If you were a person who never went to that party, and then said, Hey, can I perform here? Frank, he was not going to let you perform. And every time that I went there, I enjoyed myself. But there were definitely times that I went as a career move as a networking thing as like a like, I was like, I want to show my face. So these people get used to seeing me so that when I perform, they’re not rolling their eyes and are actually able to like, take me in yes to what I’m giving them. And so I think there was a lot of that in the beginning. And so if I could go back I would just like, you know, just let loose just have a good time just dance. And the other thing I would go early because you couldn’t dance late at night. All you do is bounce there was a soul pack. Do you really got a dad?
K Anderson 48:40
Did you ever go to West go? Well, if you did, I would love to hear from you. Find me on facebook, instagram, twitter, with the user name K Anderson music and tell me what you’ve got up to. This sounds like an amazing night and I especially want to see photos. Also make sure to keep up with Big Dipper by following him on Instagram and Twitter. His profile is Big Dipper jelly. And make sure you also check out his podcast with me Oh, it’s called sloppy seconds and it’s available to listen to anywhere. La spaces is not only a podcast, but a concept record as well. I’ve been writing songs about queer venues and the people who used to live their lives there. And we’ll be releasing songs over the coming year. You can hear the first single which is called well groomed boys and is also playing underneath my talking right now on all streaming platforms. If you liked this episode, I would really appreciate if you subscribe, left a review on Apple podcasts or just hold someone who you think might be interested in giving it a little listen to I am K Anderson and you have been listening If you lost space