NiteTalk: White Room Owner Luis Fonseca Tells Us What’s What

Serg Alexander

The neighborhood known as North of Downtown has been a least best kept secret for some time now. For the past two years, over at White Room everyone from Moby to Diplo has stopped by to party alongside some of the Magic City's most fabulous cats and kittens. White Room is also where you'll find Luis Fonseca, who (with Rene Rigau) owns the joint. Niteside got Foncesa's inside scoop on running the hotspot.

For the few people who've yet to hit your spot, what's White Room all about? White Room is a fluid and ever-changing space that Rene Rigau and I created over two years ago in the hopes of developing a open platform for music and culture to flourish in Downtown Miami. Our concept was an indoor/outdoor nightclub that would cater to people who were tired of the pretentious and snobby attitudes so prevalent in many of the places around town.

How did you and Rene come to open White Room anyway? We've been good friends since 1992, then one day Rene, a Manhattan native and owner of a popular Upper East Side spot called American Spirits, decided to move down to Florida. We explored different ideas and from those initial talks White Room was spawned. I guess we haven't looked back since.

White Room is known for throwing serious parties. What are some of the most notable? Most recently [BBC1 DJ] Annie Mac's WMC party (voted "Best Party" in Conference this year); then Bassnectar, Calvin Harris and the party we had for Irvine Welsh (author of "Trainspotting") all come to mind. With over 600 parties under our belts, we've had quite a few memorable ones.

What's on the agenda for this week? This Friday it's electro hip hop funk and rock with Alukard, B.O.E., Y.M.F., A Beautiful Cage, Black Blondie, Candace Meyer and Sopheye along with Kamikaze -- super dope beatbox. On Saturday, we're having a massive '80s and '90s throwback night called Retrolution, which features DJ Zog from Power 96. That should be a whole lot of dancing and fun.

What about for Memorial Day Weekend? That's gonna be nuts! On that Friday we have Oracledang ("a festival based on a book based on a festival"). The book it's based on is called "Headz," and it's by J.J. Colagrande. And the live music line-up is Mayday, Radioboxer, Askultura and Dyslexic Postcards. That Sunday is something called Maybach Music Latino. It's hosted by Gunplay of The Triple Cs, and there's a buncha live talent, including Spat of Poe Boy and UB and Destinee of THC. Can't tell ya about Saturday night though -- I've been sworn to secrecy.

And coming up soon? We're starting our new Thursday night party on the tenth of June featuring live reggae and dub. And then on Tuesday May 25 we're launching An Intimate Evening with Jesse Jackson. Jesse's like a Miami Tom Waits and we're really excited about his new residency.

In your opinion, what are the essential ingredients for a great night out? I would have to say first it's being with people you are comfortable hanging with and second it's finding a spot that you can let loose and be yourself.

You're a born and bred Miamian. What do you think makes the Magic City such a dynamite place to party? First off, it is very strange to be a native here since there are so few of us left -- sometimes I feel like we're going to be captured and displayed at some modern museum, you know what I mean? Miami rocks because its a melting pot of cultures and ideas. It's a blending of music, fashion, photography, art, literature, sports, and nightlife -- all on a global scale -- that has developed in a relatively small amount of time. And then there's our weather and women. 'Nuff said.

What's coming up for Luis Fonseca? Big things are in the works, but I can't speak publicly about it just yet. Outside of business though, I'm just having fun growing as a person and enjoying this wonderful city I call home.

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