Whether she is on the front lines as an activist for the LGBTQ community or spinning behind the decks (for the past year) from home and giving us the ultimate pandemic soundtrack, Lina is doing all of it, to bring people together. Keenly being aware of her talents for bringing people together using her own unique talents, Lina is bringing them into her home once more, with the third season of In The Dollhouse With Lina kicking off this week. I sat down with this luminous musical mixtress and we talked about everything lessons learned during the pandemic, the need to change it up and elevate, and why above all, this dynamic nightlife doyenne’s purpose remains, the people.
Michael Cook: You were announced as the DJ for New York City for Pride Island this year! How does it feel to be capping such a once in a lifetime year with spinning for Pride?
DJ Lina: You know, I was telling a friend the other day that this is the longest that I think I have spent in New York City ever; it’s absolutely surreal. It’s crazy, everything started coming in so fast. Last year, even thought Pride was virtual, we were still really busy. God is good honey…
Michael Cook: In The Dollhouse With Lina is back for a third season. How does it feel?
DJL: Honey, I am so excited, I can’t belive that it is here actually. I put her on hiatus for a minute because I have been doing a lot of other things that have yet to come to light. Everything comes with time and a reason, and patience, so I said she’ll get there when she gets there. There could not have been a more apropos time than now.
MC: What do you think makes the timing for the return now so apropos?
L: I think the fact that we have all had a moment to all take a beat and get off of our treadmill of life and reassess and reboot our browser, it gave us a new way and a new perspective of looking at things; and also at how we want things done. In The Dollhouse when I started it, Season 1 was training wheels. Season 2 felt more like me, and I had said that when Season 3 comes around, she is going to already be where I want her to be. I am not going to rush this, I have got other things to do; when she happens and she comes correct, it’s gonna be on point.
So with the pandemic happening, prior to that I had a meeting with another network, as I had taken The Dollhouse from Youtube to Revry. I took it back for myself and put her back on YouTube for the kids to get acquainted with her, knowing that she would go somewhere else. I had a great meeting with another network that wanted to go forward with it, and I said “if this is where she is supposed to be, this is where she will be”. I am not going to wait around just because we are in a pandemic.
MC: In The Dollhouse is getting a reboot as well with the third Season. Tell me about that…
L: I have had a wonderful time doing these live DJ sets, but I am an Aries witch. I have to be constantly doing things, so I said “let’s do this now” and it has worked out perfectly. I had said to the network when we had that meeting, at the beginning of last year, that I wanted to do half of the show in Los Angeles and half of it in New York, since I live between the two; I wanted to get my East and West Coast audiences. It worked out perfectly since we still are in the pandemic and it happens to be all about juggling people’s schedules. I was able to physically have someone here and the other virtual; I could not have planned anything better. I have always wanted to have two guests at one time during Seasons 1 and 2, but it was all scheduling. When I put the shows together, I am juggling everyone’s schedules for three days of shooting and three episodes a day! That is a lot, but it is a testament to people paying homage and respect, looking out for another creative force.
MC: You have people like Miss Fame and Zeta Jones, and Joey Arias and Travis Wall paired together, making for brilliant conversations. What was behind the pairings?
L: I am an only child, and being the way that I am, I am thoughtful of other people’s energies and their beings. Being an only child and playing with Barbies, I like setting up scenarios and stories. Growing up I always had a very colorful backdrop of people in my life, even now. I cannot have it just one way, it has to be Skittles taste the rainbow! My realm of people is so diverse, so of course my show will reflect that, that is who I am as a person. I think it would be interesting for other people to see how I bring out other people’s essences and energies, that is just what I do being the princess of light. Also though, seeing how these people come in contact with each other, whether they know each other or not, and some did and some didn’t.
MC: New York City nightlife legend Nashom Wooden (also known as drag legend Mona Foot) was a dear friend of yours and it is a year since the luminous New York City personality left us. What did Nashom teach you?
L: (pauses for a moment) That is still a very rough one for me…That was my mother. That one taught me such a great work ethic and was constantly, to the very end, so very pinnacle in my life, not just my career. The joy, the essence and the creativity out of that monster was next level. I still cannot get used to the fact that he is gone, but he is so strong in personality, he is still there. Very few people can take me on that edge, but that one…that was a real hard one.
MC: Looking back a year has gone by. Dance floors and nightclubs are quieter, but you have continued to spin for the children online. Having you stand behind the decks and spin is a luminous experience; what made it important for you to keep the music going during this time?
L: I had just come back from Los Angeles and was re-packing for Europe and then back to Los Angeles to start filming. Then, everybody got put on pause. When that all happened, we didn’t know how long it would happen for. I was sitting still for a minute, I love that. I think we were all looking forward for a minute since we are all on that gerbil wheel. At the beginning it was very exciting, then I realized that we did not know when it was going to end. I said to myself, I have already had my rest, I always say that I am going to rest when I am dead, but we really need to start doing something here Lina! Even when I try to have, I think it’s called a “vacation”, I am always still creating things and doing things. I take a couple minutes and a beat to reboot my browser, but I can’t do it for too long, like I said, I’ll sleep when I’m dead I have stuff to do in this lifetime.
At that point, I think it was a couple weeks in and I said something has gotta give and the universe heard me. A travel company that I work with had reached out to me about representing 80 DJ’s in 80 countries and had wanted me to represent whatever city it was that I was in, in America. I had my own equipment, and was curious what it would be like. You know me, I need the energy to around me to feed of of. Coming from a dance background, that is how I Wimbledon between my audience and I, that physical energy; how is it going to work with me in my dressing room with nobody here looking into a telephone screen?
MC: Based on your run this year, that was apparently extremely successful right?
L: Well I will tell you, there is a reason for every situation in life and I am so happy that it happened. The messages that I have received afterwards from people all over the world… I have traveled quite a bit, but these are from countries that I had never traveled to and countries that I might never would have touched that sent me messages. Everyone does not have the luxury of being in a relationship like myself, or have roommates. So many people reached out and said that it did so much for them to hear me and feel me, and the way that I interpret music. I thought, maybe this is my purpose right now. My birthday was around that time, so I had Cherokee do a rock n’ roll set on my birthday and then after that I brought back Lina’s Lounge and it was go big or go home. Shortly after that, Logo reached out and I started working with them,. It is something so magnificent and bigger than I could have imagined. It saved me at the same time, and other people; that is what my whole purpose on this earth is all about, is people.
MC: You had completed your residency on Fire Island before the pandemic but still were spinning in another beach locale at The Asbury in Asbury Park NJ for select gigs; do you think post pandemic, you might want to perhaps return to Fire Island?
L: No. For me, when I create something big and I do it, I am done. Asbury, they are my family we have some things lined up in some other areas, I absolutely love Kevin and David. Fire Island no; it was something than I imagined it ever could have been. It was a one off gig that I created for ten years and four nights; that will never happen again. To try to recreate that, it’s a different machine, and I am a different person…I cant go back to that, and people always ask. I do love that even six years later, people still have me as part of an equation for their summers; that is amazing.
I realized that living on the island for seven months out of every year that I was there, you kind of live in a vortex. You leave for the fall and the winter, but you really live in a capsule out there. Life only consists of your summer on that island and everyone that is a part of it. There are people who only revere me as their island experience, and I have done so much before and so much after. I didn’t stop and I am not going to stop.
MC: It has been a year like no other and you are beyond a multi-layered person and performer. When. do you feel the most authentically Lina?
L: When I am giving and helping other people in any capacity. Being an Aries witch, that is my connection to this universe. I knew that as a very young child, from my spiritual grandmother helping me understand everything from the jump, this is my purpose: bringing people together. Not everyone has the capacity, the light, the energy or the guidance to do this, this is what your purpose is. No matter what form you decide to manifest that in, you got this. This is who you are; remind yourself every day to do that work. I do and I have been since the age of four. I genuinely love people and I love bringing people together. Shapeshifting all this time through these years in every form from acting, modeling, DJ’ing, advocating, it is all there in its true form, in different situations in different levels.
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