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Dancing Under the Influence 

If you boogie on DJ Rob Black's dance floor, you'd better have a cocktail in your hand. Otherwise, he'll stop spinning house music, grab the mic, and order you to belly up to the bar. "You just can't have everybody dancing and not send them to get a drink," says Black, who spends his days as the assistant manager of Grand Poo-bas Record Shoppe in Lakewood. "You have to keep them moving back and forth. They dance, get thirsty, have another drink, and go back to dancing."

Black has paid his dues. He's been performing in local clubs since 1994. Over the years, he's held down residencies at Metropolis and Wish, with guest spots at the now-shuttered U4ia, Trilogy, and Aqua. His Saturday-night Wish mixes were even broadcast on WXTM-FM 92.3 in 2002.

Recently, the 33-year-old DJ decided to pare down his nightly bookings, after he diagnosed himself with "musical burnout" from years of partying and staying up till the breakadawn. "The music scene isn't easy," he says. "People like to beat each other down. If anybody has any type of small success, I can guarantee there are 100 jealous people out there. It gets tiresome after while. Being in a club five nights a week can take a toll on your body."

Now on a self-appointed "working vacation," Black maintains gigs at two gay-friendly bars — Hamilton's on Wednesdays and Twist on alternating Saturdays and Sundays. "This is something I can never give up [completely]," he says. "It's what I believe in. It's my heart and soul. Without it, I wouldn't be able to breathe or survive."
Sun., Aug. 6, 11 p.m.-2:30 a.m.

Speaking of Highlights

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