A Musical Tribute To Dan Rogan

As most of you know, my friend Dan passed away yesterday morning. Many of you reading this probably know Dan – or know “A” Dan. My friend Dan was always at the center of every party yet could make that one person over in the corner who knew no one feel like the party had been thrown just for them. Dan was that kind of guy. I hope everyone meets at least one “Dan” in their lives…

Anyway, as I was trying to think of a way to honor Dan and all the fun we had together, I remembered that a LOT of shenanigans and tomfoolery we enjoyed involved music. I am mad for music – I love most every genre (no rap/sorry!) – and Dan and I shared a zillion great escapades, some with their “own theme songs.” Here are five songs/artists that remind me of Dan, in no particular order, with a short back story for each…

Grace Jones – La Vie en Rose

For a while (longer than I am proud to admit!), Dan Rogan and I terrorized the local Cleveland “alternative” club scene almost every night. I saw Grace Jones with Dan TWICE – the first time at a long-defunct club called The Ritz, on a Sunday night. Grace Jones was carried onstage seated in a huge executive office chair, under a sheet. She sat there for probably almost 30 minutes, hidden from our gaze, soaking up the energy of the club before she threw back the sheet, stood up, sang three songs then left the stage. The place went INSANE!!! We also saw Grace Jones perform some time later at a club called U4ia – that was the night when the “Hellen-ate-Grace-Jones’-cheese” story originated. I shook hands with Grace Jones that night, and Dan got me her autograph on the back of one of his business cards from that crazy radio station where he worked that programmed international music. Ms. Jones’ autograph is framed and hangs in a place of honor in my home…

RuPaul – Supermodel (You Better Work!)

Before I really even knew who RuPaul was, Dan took me to see her at U4ia. It was shortly after this song was released (and before RuPaul became a famous, household word/diva). RuPaul came out in almost the exact outfit she has on in this video – striped sailor sweater, a long pencil skirt and I must say, her make-up and hair are MUCH better now than I remember them being then. RuPaul was like seven and a half feet tall, and we LOVED her! Danyo uttered “You Better Work, Bitch!” as his answer to any remark for weeks after that night.

Janet Jackson – Rhythm Nation

One of the few “real” concerts we went to, Rodan and I saw Ms. Jackson perform at The Coliseum in Richfield – remember that place? The concert was pretty kick-ass but the part I remember most fondly? Both Dan and I wore black t-shirts and dark jeans; turns out, Janet Jackson had her own security team there who were ALSO wearing black tees and dark jeans. As we moved steadily down the Coliseum from the nose bleed seats to the main floor, Dan never flinched – he effortlessly directed people to the restrooms, he showed people their row numbers and when he was through, we were down on the main floor, enjoying the concert and – in Dan’s words – “Partyin’ our asses off like silly white girls.”

Sade – The Sweetest Taboo

Alfred/BOFOA, the lovely Dar, Dan and I all went to see Sade at the height of her popularity at Blossom on a warm summer night. To be honest, I really don’t remember much about that concert other than Sade came on stage, the whole hill of people at Blossom rushed the pavilion and Sade said, “Please, everyone take your seats. We are gonna’ have a mellow night but you have to sit down.” The entire crowd stopped, turned and went back to their lawn seats. Sade was a god then.

Madonna – Vogue

Like no other, this song reminds me of Dan. We were all standing in the darkness at U4ia on a Saturday night/ Sunday morning at like 1AM when this video “dropped.” The DJ at the time teased us for like ten minutes, replaying the intro loop over and over, then the huge screen came online and there she was, Madonna, big and beautiful. The whole club screamed and we all danced to this song for like 30 minutes straight. A group of us – Dan, myself, Alayne, Alfred/BOFOA, Russell/Skank and Angela Green – became the resident “voguers” at U4ia. Whenever this song came on, we all ran to the dance floor and did our best version of voguing. And always, Dan was right in the middle (we vogued tableau-style), striking a new pose with every phrase change. Before the song faded in popularity, at times we had 10-15 other dancers voguing with us. Forget Sade, we felt like gods then…

So, there are five songs that always will remind me of Dan. The songs are joyful and fun, just like the youthful times we shared together. Thanks for the memories, Danny Boy.

4 responses to “A Musical Tribute To Dan Rogan

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