Ma and I love Lauren Reskin because she has red hair that matches Wonder Woman’s red boots. She may even be Wonder Woman but I have no proof. I couldn’t find her wonder boots. All I know is that Lauren Reskin goes by Lolo and she was born in Miami and loved the city (and the weather) so much she never left. Music is in Lolo’s blood, which is also red! Her late grandmother, Joan Field, was a concert violinist who released records on Deutsch Gramophone and her late grandfather, Alan Reskin, originally opened Allegro Music House in 1961 making Lolo the second Reskin to open a music store in South Florida. Her father Charles is a Julliard graduate, professional trumpet player and composer. Oh, I almost forgot: Lolo is the great-niece of Alan Freed, the (in)famous 1950’s radio DJ and music promoter who coined the phrase “rock and roll.” I wish I were a great-niece. Or nice.
I met Lolo a few months ago at the yummy yum Vegan Pot Luck Dinner event at her store, Sweat Records, and that’s when I decided I wanted to conduct a Potty Mouth Interview with her (because of her hair!). Since opening Sweat Records in March 2005, the store has become an institution and refuge for creative geniuses, weirdos and freaks like me and my ma, and I wanted to know what powers Lolo’s creative combustion engine. In a world of ever shrinking independent record stores, Sweat Records stands as both an artifact and a cultural dam holding back the tsunami of fast (and free) Internet music downloads that has wiped out many independents. But what makes Sweat Records a solid Miami institution is their commitment to local music, hard to find stuff, great stuff, and their innovative programming–the Vegan Pot Luck, Waffle Party, Sweatstock and more. So, if you don’t know Lolo, here she is. And come see her at Sweat when you have chance. (She’s a little older now, but still pretty damn cool.)
Almost Dorothy: What it is that motivates you, moves you, and makes you so passionate about Miami’s cultural landscape?
Lolo Reskin: I love this crazy city and everyone in it. Miami has its shady and shallow sides but it’s also full of geniuses, weirdos, eccentrics, and a massive potpourri of truly nice, down-to-earth people fighting the good fight and spreading goodness.
AD: As an entrepreneur and owner of Sweat Records, the biggest challenges for you were probably starting the business followed by the recovery after the destruction of the original Sweat Records store by Hurricane Wilma. But what are the biggest challenges you face daily?
LR: First challenge is how to keep what is essentially a physical format music store alive in the digital age, but we’re making it happen. Tied for second are a) dealing with the mountains of emails, texts, calls and meeting requests I receive on a daily basis, and b) the behind-the-scenes realities of running a small business. A broken gate, the city about to tear up our street, bills, bills, bills–it’s never-ending.
AD: What is your vision for the future of Sweat and Miami’s art & (sub)culture scene?
LR: More venues and alternative spaces, more bike culture, the further cross-pollination of Miami’s high art organizations and “the downtown scene”, and hopefully a larger audience actively supporting local music.
AD: So, I’ve been way too serious. What do you want to be when you grow up?
LR: Sweat opened when I was 22. All in all it’s been a ridiculously wonderful experience but there are other businesses I want to open, projects to work on, and areas of interest I want to delve deeper into. Eventually I’d love to open a vegan diner or bakery or some sort of food-oriented establishment. I also love embroidery and makeup art and would be happy spending way more time on either.
LR: I’ve always been well-rounded and into all sorts of different things. Supposedly I’m the rare balanced Gemini.
AD: Oh, you’re a Gemini. I’m gonna call the cops! (Or not). So everyone probably knows you’re a resident DJ at The Vagabond. For those of you that don’t know, Lolo is a resident DJ at The Vagabond. Would you share with us your favorites? The ones you think everyone should listen to, to seek out and get to know better in order to become better humans. (You can read about ma and I doing bad stuff at the Vagabond here.)
LR: I’ve never prescribed to the notion that everything must be new, new, new. I still spin off CD mixes I make and I play a lot “indie classics” from all decades. My personal favorites are still Blur and The Smiths. To me both groups’ music just gets better with repeated listening. Other groups/artists in perpetual rotation are Prince, Serge Gainsbourg, The Shins, Lush, Outkast, Belle & Sebastian, Air, The Beatles, Pizzicato 5, Pulp, Supergrass, ANR, Queens of the Stone Age, Saint Etienne, Massive Attack, Doves, George Michael, Arcade Fire, Brian Eno/Roxy Music, Kanye, Yeasayer, Pavement, Kings of Convenience, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Aphex Twin, and so on. I also love classical music and listen to Classical South Florida (89.7 FM) in my car non-stop.
AD: Favorite non-curse word?
AD: Favorite food.
LR: My last meal would be grilled tofu and artichoke hearts, vegan mashed potatoes, mangoes, cherries, and chocolate chip cookies.
AD: Yum. Lolo Reskin is…
LR: Constantly evolving.
AD: Last question: If you were a crystal ball, where would you want to be placed and why?
LR: In David Bowie’s hands in Labyrinth, please.
A little more about Lolo. She sits (very still) on the City of Miami Arts & Entertainment Council and has served on the Florida Chapter Board of the Recording Academy. Her weekly party is Fridays at The Vagabond where she DJs from 10pm to midnight. Last week ma and I danced our butts off at the Vagabond and we still can’t find them. Hopefully, our butts will be located soon. Sweatstock, which is Sweat Record’s next big deal event, is coming up soon. Find out more here. and she’s working like a mad to make it fly. After Sweatstock, watch out for “Sweat Cinematic 6-Pack at O Cinema” starting in May. It’s going to be another cool Monday night series of music-related, indie and cult films. And meet ma and me this Sunday for Sweat’s “Waffle Party + Bold Native Movie Screening“. It’s going to be tasty for sure and I may (or may not) wear a wig. Keep in touch with what’s going on in Miami on Sweat’s events calender.
- The Vagabonds (almostdorothy.wordpress.com)