Winter lovin’

“Maybe you can try to levitate, or something,”the guitarist for Magic Gloves joked to the straight-faced crowd. He was two songs into his band’s set in the basement of Roxaboxen art gallery, which last Friday hosted Contraphonic Record’s third annual “Winter of Love” party, the local label’s attempt to cure the winter blues. The only person who seemed to comply with the guitarist’s strange request was one of the few people dancing: a lanky drag queen in a patterned dress, rainbow striped tights, and 5-inch platform boots. She jumped up and down aggressively a few times, playing along but keeping a look of intensity. When the loud, poppy music began again, she returned to her frantic gesticulations, nearly hitting her head on a ceiling pipe or kicking other audience members multiple times. “Her name’s Connie!” shouted the dancer’s companion, a shorter and older black man who liked using the space–falling to the floor and pelvic thrusting into the air or spinning around, using the ceiling support pole as a prop.

The mostly middle-aged crowd gave the couple room to move around. A pregnant woman with bangs stared open-mouthed while a wide-eyed man by the merchandise table nodded and laughed at the attention-demanding backup dancers. Bearded men in plaid cradled their beers–$2 suggested donation for PBR or High Life, but most people brought 6-packs of their own–nodding their heads to the music. They were happy to watch, but joining in seemed out of the question.

“Thanks for dancing, you guys are making it so fun for me, really!” smiled the other Magic Gloves guitarist. After the set was finished and the band had cleared out for the prog-rockers of Wishgift, Connie approached the second guitarist, a petite but tough-looking brunette, and gave her a business card. T-shirts with Contraphonic’s audiocassette logo were given away for free, and the bands mingled with the crowd. Most of the audience seemed like they were already acquainted, with the exception of the two dancers. While Wishgift was setting up, the pair took a break, and introductions were made. Even though they couldn’t dance together, they connected to try and fight the cold.