#RFBatHome (Part 12): Victoria Rey and “Martinis con Queso” broadcasting from Crown Heights, Brooklyn
Hey kidz! This is the 12th — and perhaps last installment of #RFBatHome — our series on our hosts doing their weekly shows from home. It’s been one of the things I’ve looked forward to in a year that’s given many of us very little to look forward to. We may yet have another late-breaking host or two to bring you, and we’re working on debuting a new series. Till then, in this seventh month of 2020: The Year of Suck, I remain…
Your friendly redheaded editorial director,
P.S.: Hope you all to get to have some sweet days this summer.
P.P.S.: Keep wearing those $%^&#@! masks, whydon’cha!
Hello everyone, I’m Victoria Rey, host of Martinis con Queso, a 60’s-inspired lounge and exotica music show I’ve been doing with Radio Free Brooklyn since January 2019. I did radio throughout my college years at Georgia State University and worked at Album 88, which at the time was a 100,000-watt station. My show back then was also a lounge and exotica show called… Martinis con Queso. I thought about renaming it when I started at RFB, but the absurdity felt too good to change. I grew up in an intergenerational household, and the music of artists like Les Baxter, Herb Alpert, Frank Sinatra and Nancy Wilson have always been part of my music catalog. A former colleague of my spouse had a show on Radio Free Brooklyn a few years ago, so when I was looking for a way to get back into community radio, RFB was on my list to research. I chose RFB for its accessibility. The station didn’t feel gate kept or like there was an edge factor I needed to hit when I pitched MCQ.
The two hours each week I get to sit alone, play music and speak into the void have always been precious to me, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made me realize that more than ever. Broadcasting from home (a one-bedroom apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, which I share with another human and two cats) means I have to find times when everything is quiet enough to record my voice, which has proven to be pretty challenging! I also live across the street from a daunting amount of cell phone towers — and their interference means I have to split up each recording: I usually do the breaks on my kitchen floor (which has the least interference), then record the music at my desk in the bedroom. I’m using a Tascam microphone and the audio program Hindenburg to record music and mix. This whole remote thing has been… interesting… I definitely have to make time for it and work through a good amount of creative block due to the impact of isolation, racial inequity, violence and police brutality — for a few weeks, police helicopters were hovering over my apartment 24/7, so I had no choice but to air a previous show.
In pre-pandemic times when I was producing my show live I’d take two buses to Bogart Street and a cab back home, so it was nice to have a big Sunday dinner in the evening, relax and listen to shows I wouldn’t usually get to catch (like Dave and Giggles) because that’s when I would be in transit. That said, I’m now itching to get back to my former Sunday routine ASAP!
The pandemic has definitely impacted my music choices as well. Pre-pandemic, I’d usually make all or at least part of each show central to a theme (i.e. LGBTQIA+ musicians during Pride; Christmas in July; songs about the Moon, etc.), but during the present time I feel like my choices more reflect my feelings. For example, I’m currently working on a show I’m excited to air, which will only feature Black musicians — which was birthed out of my anger at the amount of police brutality and violence against Black Trans women — so I suppose my feelings are getting me back to themed shows and I’ve come full circle. Right now, we have an exciting opportunity to provide a bit of reprieve for folks, which I think makes what we’re doing important. I know a lot of my listeners tune in as part of their weekly routine, and so I’m glad that Martinis con Queso is one of the things that isn’t disrupted for them.
Tune in to “Martinis con Queso,” Sundays at 9:00 pm.