Today is a special day - I decided to focus on my friend Stephen Durkin.
Although I have known thousands of people over the past 25 years, there has been one person who was my roadside companion year after year, and that is Stephen.
I met Stephen when we were both babes in the woods - The exact year is a bit foggy, but I want to peg it at 1982. He was working at Steps, which was this b-rate gay bar/disco located on a dead-end street near 15/Spruce. There are pictures of each of us floating around from that era - but we have a pact never to let them see the light of day!
We became fast friends and Stephen was truly my closest friend from my arrival to Center City til this day. We have been through so much in 25 years - laugher and tears. We both caught the DJ bug in the early 80s - first me, but quickly Stephen's bug became stronger and then - next thing you know - Stephen had a residency at the legendary DCA after-hours club ... the top of the music mountain back in the day.
He landed his first DJ gig at Philadelphia's premiere (but at the time not only) leather bar - The Bike Stop. From there he moved to his first dance club residency at the DCA. That stint took him to Kurt's, which had just opened and blew the rest of Philly out of the water with its 10,000 square foot danceclub.
By the summer of 90, Stephen was the house DJ at Kurts, and worked alongside such dance icons as Grace Jones, Book Of Love, Bronski Beat, Erasure, Chaka Kahn, Loletta Hollaway, Black Box, to name a few.
He also began to be THE DJ asked to spin at numerous fundraiser parties in the region, including Pier Pressure 1,2 and 3 (each attended by over 5,000 people and held down at Penn's Landing!); Dance With Dolphins held at the New Jersey State Aquarium; Cha Cha (Philadelphia's first major AIDS fundraiser) and more. Those gigs landed Stephen bookings in New York City, Baltimore, Connecticut, Washington D.C. and summers on Fire Island.
From Fire Island to Philadelphia , Stephen has had DJ residencies at almost all major Philly dance venues and continues to be driving force in the Philly dance scene today, spinning at Woody's and Pure, among others.
But that's just the professional Stephen. Privately, Stephen has been one of the most sincere and loyal friends I've had in my life. There are weeks when we don't talk - months sometimes - but when we do, we pick up right where we left off. I've watched him go from a poor kid barely keeping it together to a strong adult with a house, car and simply surviving in so many ways.
As those who know me know, it takes a lot for me to be impressed. Actually, all it takes is Stephen.
So, as I travel back to my youth, I wanted to stop and tip my hat to Stephen! I'm so glad you are still around and keepin' to the beat. I love you lots!