At Bodega Sundays, held at Senor Fish in Little Tokyo the first and third Sundays of the month, music is the experiment, the mainstream meets the underground, and getting cultured is sexy. The crowds there are surprisingly open-minded, and even top DJs' party-rocking skills are put to the test. Modern funk impresario Dam-Funk played there recently as a surprise guest; big names like he are known to drop by to test out new music.
Los Angeles DJs Cee Brown, Melaaza, and Panamami started the party in 2009; the three of them had their own parties going on and played various clubs around town, and there was one thing they all hated — waiting in line for a Hollywood party.
Bodega — which means small grocery store in Spanish — gets its name from its wide selection of music. The beats will jump from Afrobeat to hip hop, cumbia to EDM, and everything else you want to dance to.
“We didn't want to be held hostage by one style. Whatever you want, you can grab it,” says Panamami.
The free admission party quickly outgrew its original digs at Far Bar, and guest DJ's have included names like Nu-Mark, Garth Trinidad, Rich Medina, and Peanut Butter Wolf. It's also a place where up-and-coming DJs can make a name for themselves.
“There's no courtesy dancing,” explains Melaaza. “If you're having a wack night, the DJ needs to figure out what the people want. Some of the best don't know what to do.”
When the legendary Nuyorican hip hop DJ Tony Touch made his appearance last month, he was only scheduled to spin for an hour and a half. He caught a vibe and ended up rocking the party for three hours.
“The dopest DJs don't want to get off the decks, because the feeling is so special,” says Panamami. “We want them to remember why they fell in love with DJing.”
Tony Touch is coming back to L.A. and having the Bodega crew host his album release party for The Piece Maker 3: Return of the 50 MC's. Guest appearances are expected throughout the night.
The party's also a hot place to meet people. It's an attractive crowd filled with eclectic music lovers and cultural enthusiasts.
“Come to Bodega and catch a husband,” suggests Panamami.
The Tony Touch album release party is at 8PM on Saturday at a special location at 1936 E. 7th St. in Downtown.
The next regularly scheduled Bodega is Sunday at 8PM at Senor Fish, 422 E. 1st St. in Little Tokyo.