SAN FRANCISCO A 19-year-old Los Angeles resident who calls himself DJ P-Trix was crowned turntable king of the United States after a four-hour competition Saturday night at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater.
P-Trix (born Patric Arriola) was one of 15 regional winners from around the country who were each given six minutes on a pair of turntables to impress a panel of judges at the 1999 Technics DMC USA Finals.
"It's like a dream," the T-shirt and cargo pantclad champ said. "It could have been any other of these DJs."
A crowd of nearly 1,000 watched P-Trix and the rest of the DJs, including second- and third-place finishers Spictakular (from Jersey City, N.J.) and DJ Slyce (from Teaneck, N.J.), show off their turntable skills.
They also saw demonstrations from Philadelphia DJ Cash Money and London's Scratch Perverts crew, as well as tributes to former Technics DMC turntable champions Grandmaster Caz and Apollo, who were inducted into the DMC Hall of Fame. The event has been held since 1986.
Another former champ, Q-Bert of San Francisco's the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, was in attendance, and the competition's president, Tony Prince, refuted rumors that he has asked the Piklz to retire from competition after winning too many of them.
In fact, Prince said he hoped the Piklz would compete in the first-ever team turntable competition in New York in September. "Q-Bert, there's your challenge," Prince said.
DJ P-Trix, for his part, won a trip to the world turntable finals Sept. 17-18 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, where he will compete against DJs from 28 countries (including Tony Vegas of the Scratch Perverts). P-Trix also won two turntables and a microphone specifically, a pair of Technics SL1200 turntables and a wireless headset microphone.
A highlight of P-Trix's winning set was a passage in which he furiously bounced a horn solo around, then effortlessly mixed in new elements, including razor-sharp snare drum hits and a vocal snippet of a seemingly confused male voice asking, "What?"
At one point, an audience member gasped, "That was flawless!"
The event faced a last-minute change of venue after a July 2 fire heavily damaged the San Francisco Design Center Galleria, where it was originally scheduled to be held.
"A lot of people didn't know that it was still on, but we tried our best," said Afshin, the managing director of the event, who declined to give his last name. Promoters said they spread word of the venue change over the Internet, but turnout was still apparently affected, Afshin said.
"I thought it was entertaining," said Aleem Kabani, 18, of Calgary, Alberta. "There was some tight competition."