Discwoman in Los Angeles

  • SHYBOI, Ciel and Umfang play Discwoman's first party in Los Angeles since 2016.
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  • DIY nightlife in Los Angeles, much like the city itself, often feels sprawling and diffused. Parties orbit like tiny planets around a vast cosmos of dusty warehouses and lofts, rarely coming into contact. But whenever these disparate rave tribes do collide, the results can be greater than the sum of their parts. Last Saturday, three local teams—Directory, The Backroom and Leisure Sports Records—joined forces for a Discwoman showcase, marking the New York-based feminist collective's first LA event since 2016. With a sea of colorful bodies dancing till dawn to genre-bending DJ sets, the party felt like a dip into the fiery belly of LA's ravenous queer underground. Directory and The Backroom are roving parties started by the Korean-American DJs Luke Kim (AKA They/them DJ) and Ed Kim (AKA Sir. Kami) respectively. Both often tout lineups stacked with young, queer POC talent—their last collaborative loft party, in September, paired Yaeji with Yu Su. Embracing an attitude as political as it is inclusive, Directory's slogan—"Marginalized bodies dancing is power!"—is often printed on paper taped to the walls behind the DJ booth, as members of the crew twirl around in T-shirts that say: "It's nice to see you on the dance floor again." Leisure Sports Records, known for releasing cassette tapes of crunchy, lo-fi techno, also throws its own monthly event and is an integral part of LA's old-school techno community. The party took place in a warehouse down a dark alleyway in Downtown. Entering through a concrete yard cramped with Porta Potties and chatting circles of friends, I passed a dimly lit side room that had become a de-facto make-out space. Pulling open a flimsy door, I stepped into a cavernous room, cordoned off with hanging sheets, to catch the tail-end of Ciel's set. The dark space, swirling with clouds of fog, was the perfect setting for her hazy, laid-back techno. (She recently told Resident Advisor she "likes music that sounds like you could listen to it while you smoke a lot of weed.") SHYBOI upped the ante when she hit the decks, driving the BPM north with a spicy set heavy on ballroom and ghetto house cuts by New York's finest, like DIVORCE's "Tea Lizard's Lament" and Byrell The Great's "Funny Munny (feat. FatFemme & Princess Precious)." The night peaked around 4 AM when she cheekily dropped Marilyn Manson's "The Beautiful People" and the dance floor exploded in deafening screams. "Damn, this is one of the best parties I've been to in LA," I yelled to a friend, who nodded back with a grin. As if trying to one-up herself, SHYBOI then mixed in Miss Djax & Human Resource's hard techno take on "Respect" by Aretha Franklin. It's not every weekend you find yourself laughing as hard as you're dancing. Umfang brought the evening to a close with a set of techno rollers, digging through her record bags in the near pitch-black for a few dozen dancers until the fluorescent lights finally flickered on around 6 AM. Leaving the party, I felt like I'd just found a portal into the near future, when LA's loosely linked underground finally coalesces into the rave utopia it's gearing up to be. Photo credit / Allie Ihm