Friday, November 18, 2005

DJ Grrls Shake up DC Club Scene

(Link) Tired of the same boy-oriented dance tunes, lesbian DJs are bringing a punk sensibility -- and better music -- to Ladies Night in DC clubs.


LNewsEditor said...

JIC Post:
Washington Blade

IT’S HARD TO believe, but dancing to Madonna and Outkast is not for everyone. As much fun as Top 40 dance music can be, Maegan Wood and Michelle Rush were weary of it as the only option for lesbian dance night music at D.C. bars and clubs.

“I think that we just felt that there weren’t a lot of ladies dance nights and especially not ones that were playing music that wasn’t just Top 40 music,” says Rush,27, who is known as DJ C.rush.

So Rush and Wood decided to create their own dance night, one in which women could dance to less mainstream music or not dance and actually be able to chat with other bar patrons. The party, titled Hot Boxx, is staged the third Sunday of the month at Phase One, 525 8th St., SE, the city’s only all-lesbian bar.

Wood, 26, goes by the moniker DJ Junebullet and was one of the founding members of the First Ladies DJ Collective, a locally based network of female DJs that perform regular gigs throughout the city. She says that originality is important to the concept of Hot Boxx.

“The same way that Taint [a monthly Sunday night party at DC9 that caters mostly to men] kind of characterizes their crowd, as a queer alternative, I think when we started the night we were looking to do something that was different from most,” Wood says.

It was especially important, Rush says, that the evenings maintained a “laid-back atmosphere.”

Phase One manager Sarah Brasher agrees that the atmosphere at Hot Boxx, which usually draws a crowd of about 60-70, is decidedly more relaxed.

“It’s not really like a club atmosphere at all, it’s more like a living room atmosphere with friends that don’t know each other,” Brasher says. “It’s one of my favorite crowds.”

BACK IN AUGUST when Hot Boxx began, Rush and Wood tapped into their own preferences for punk music when deciding what kinds of tunes their night should feature.

“I’ve just been in the punk community for awhile and, when I was growing up, riot grrrl bands kind of spoke to me,” Rush says.

Riot grrrl music — which first appeared in the ‘90s with all-female bands like Bikini Kill, L7 and Sleater-Kinney — tends to take a more feminist stance than traditional male rock. Its female-centered approach is part of its appeal for Rush, she says.

“I do think that D.C. in general is boy-centered in a lot of ways,” Rush says. “I have lots of male friends in the punk community that have been fully supportive of women in music in D.C. and women DJs but it’s definitely still in terms of volume, way more men who get played.” Some decisions about creating Hot Boxx were easy.

“Shelly in particular really wanted to do a night at the Phase because it’s the oldest all-lesbian bar [in D.C.],” Wood, 26, says.

The Sunday night choice was a necessity, Wood says.

“Personally, I think it’s a replacement for what to do now that ‘The L Word’ is off,” she says with a laugh.

badphairy said...

It's ABOUT FRICKING TIME!!!!! If I have to hear "It's Raining Men" in a les bar one more time, the DJ will be leaving with a free rectal turntable implant, love from me.

WordyGrrl said...

They play that damn tune too often at the bar here. Sure, it's a mixed crowd but it's mostly female. Then again, it's also a crowd that'd pack the floor if you played Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock n Roll"...