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Shedding light on life after dark

Mr. Saturday Night's Justin Carter Wants You To Dance

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    NEWSLETTERS

    For a relatively hush-hush electronic dance music party held in underground Bushwick rock venue The Market Hotel, Mr. Saturday Night is surprisingly inclusionary.

    Everyone from Manhattan publicists and Brooklyn-residing magazine editors to European transplants and loopy-looking music nerds got down to the grooves in the unmarked, residential loft that's above a bodega and attached to the elevated JMZ subway tracks by the time 1:30 a.m. rolled around this weekend.

    "The crowd that we want are people who are open to having a good time," co-host and resident DJ Justin Carter said the following day. 

    After graduating from NYU in 2003, the music obsessive who'd grown up playing guitar stumbled upon dance music thanks to a self-imposed rule of always discovering new sounds. These days, dance music is a sound he wants to expose to other peoples' ears.

    "What we (Carter throws Mr. Saturday night with friend, business partner and fellow DJ Eamon Harkin) would like is for people to come to our party and think, 'Wow, I didn't know I liked this music.' Because that's what happened with me," he said.

    "Electronic music comes with a certain stigma, and I didn't think I liked it. I used to go to [famed Sunday house music party] Body & Soul, but I wasn't going because it was house music, I was going because it was a really awesome party. But then I realized that I loved the music too."

    Following this discovery, Carter began throwing underground gigs at Asterisk in Bushwick and later curated the sounds at intimate club APT, serving as the venue's music director. Two years ago, he and Harkin began Sunday Best, an outdoor, summertime DJ-set on the banks of Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal, which Paper Magazine recently nominated for best party of year.

    Wanting to keep the brand alive, they began Mr. Saturday Night at downtown boite Santo's Party House in early '09. It was an ambitious and fairly successful effort, but, given the mega club's financial need of packing its walls with upward of 800 revelers, it wasn't the ideal space, and so this year they brought their party to The Market Hotel.

    "I never felt comfortable at clubs, but this feels like throwing a party at someone's house" Carter said. " Yes, we DJ, but equally important to the music is the staff that we have working. People that don't harass you at the door, people who make you feel at home -- nice people."

    And how is Carter's mission of converting dance music skeptics into dance music lovers going? Apparently, very well -- during a gig earlier this month with acclaimed guest DJ Harvey, Carter opened the door behind the DJ booth for some fresh air, only to discover an MTA employee -- orange vest, hard hat and all -- dancing on the JMZ track.