Boogie Nights

Music, a Houston DJ andthe lure of Austin

By the time Zakaos and Audio 3 arrived in Austin, the sun had already set, and a cool nightfall had moved in. The club they were playing at was situated catercorner to all the obvious hoopla on Sixth Street. Packed with horse carriages, street performers, passersby and cops, the main drag of Austin looked more Fraternity Row than Bourbon Street. Lots of healthy-looking white people and lots of beer drinking. Getting nasty drunk or tripping are things Zakaos hasn't done in years. He was kind of glad Twist wasn't on Sixth Street, was kind of out of the way, so to speak.

But it's easy to see why Zakaos would be attracted to this town, and why he would want to live here. It has everything that Houston could ever have, except for a particular person.

Zakaos's thoughts usually travel elliptical patterns. They either stretch way out to a complete passion for music or they stretch way out to a complete passion for the people in his life. When he's dee-jaying, you can see one side of the ellipsis at its furthest point. At Twist last week, Zakaos stood behind a six-feet-long table on which two turntables and a mixer sat waist-level beneath his hands. He spun two 12-inchers and, as he cued one to his left and let one rotate freely to his right and go through the speakers, he slid the cross-fader from its position in the middle to the left in sync with the bass tone. BOOM BOOM BOOM. Right on cue, he moved the fader back to its spot in the middle before the melody kicked back in. That someone could be thinking of anything other than the music or the bass and treble knobs or pitch level or the cross-fader appears unbelievable in this work.

But as Zakaos dee-jays, his thoughts also stretch to the other side of his elliptical way of thinking. When he's standing at the tables and flexing knobs and dialing keys, he's also thinking of a particular person dancing in front of him. Steffani tries to see as many of Zakaos's shows as she can. She, a trained dancer, as tall as Zakaos at five-feet-seven and lean, met Zakaos back during his club-hopping days, and they've been friends ever since. She listens to his stories and thoughts and tells him how she feels, and he reciprocates. Zakaos had fallen fast. That red hair, that electric-blue Mandarin-collared blouse she always wears, that love of life, that color. No chance. He now dreams one day of getting her involved in dance culture as a DJ herself. Then, instead of just dancing and cheering him on at parties, she can work alongside him. Steffani and Zakaos can produce records together. Steffani and Zakaos can argue over music together. Steffani and Zakaos can eat late vegetarian lunches together. But for now, when she's at his performances, when she's urging him on from the dance floor, she's his sole muse. And he sees her all the time. He saw her last weekend. Even though he was in Austin. Even though she was in Houston.

Zakaos knows where he wants to be.

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