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Women Club Jocks Get Freaky in LA

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Steve Baltin tells the tale in the LA Times:

    One film crew is already shooting in the sparsely decorated Mulholland Drive home of Charissa Saverio–a.k.a. popular nightclub disc jockey DJ Rap–when a second crew arrives at the door. It’s a little before 4 in the afternoon, the start of her day. Bouncing around the room in tight blue jeans, a black tank top and boots, her blond hair flying, Saverio is actually at work–getting her set list together for an after-party to the Sunset Junction street fair, which is being held at the Echo Park nightclub the Echo.

    The house is suddenly full of cameras, bodies and booming music, all flowing together in a kind of impromptu mix.

    That she happens to be a woman in a male-dominated art form has long ceased to matter to Saverio. She’s got to tend to business, and business is very good. The first film crew is one she hired to document the making of her new album, her third, which she promises will blend the frenetic, tribal-esque drum-and-bass beats she’s known for with the breaks she’s been utilizing in recent sets. The second crew is there to interview her for a documentary on electronic music.

    Female DJs, once a novelty, increasingly are becoming established players in the serious business of late-night fun, with their popularity growing. Despite concerns that some of the women are relying on their sex appeal to get gigs, and the resulting backlash on the credibility of others, there is a core of talented female artists who are taking hold of the scene, with newcomers arriving regularly. In the process, the idea that women can’t compete with their male counterparts–from sheer talent to handling the constant travel and the vampire-esque hours–is slowly fading…..

When I DJ’d clubs in LA in the ’80s, I knew exactly zero female DJ’s who worked alone – a couple who worked with male partners. I’m very glad to see it changing. Robin Harris has been one of the top club jocks in Cleveland for many, many years.

    Colette–last name Marino–stops short in front of Vice, a trendy clothing boutique on Sunset Boulevard, where a girl with pink hair is kicking out an awesome mix of songs on Day 2 of the street fair. “Oh, it’s a girl DJ,” a man in a cowboy hat says to a friend as he walks past.

    “Did you hear that?” Colette asks, looking to her entourage. “It always cracks me up. When people say that, they must not ever go out, because there are so many female DJs out there now.”

    Later, Jenny Arellano is one of several fans dancing throughout Colette’s hourlong performance. As Colette goes down off the the stage to meet her followers (this is still standard practice for her but no longer typical of the increasingly superstar world of DJs), Arellano is one of the first to approach her. Arellano is a bit shy, but as soon as she sees how receptive Colette is to the compliment–Colette asks Arellano’s name, poses for pictures and signs autographs–Arellano embraces her in a hug.

    “Colette is house music,” Arellano says. “And we don’t have a lot of female DJs who can throw the energy to the crowd, so any time you see a woman up there, it’s inspiring.”

The tunes:

    Colette’s Playlist

    Samson, “Hear Me” (Derrick Carter Remix), Estero
    Ian Pooley, “Mongobeatdown,” Cube
    Havana Funk, “Ahora Si–2002″ (John Kano Just Beats Mix), Strictly Rhythm
    DJ Colette, “Feeling Hypnotized” (A2 dub), Nettwerk America
    Eddie Amador, “Psycho X Girlfriend,” Yoshitoshi
    Home & Garden featuring Colette, “Sexuality,” Classic Recordings
    Supreme Beings of Leisure, “Divine,” Palm
    Soldiers of Twilight, “Believe,” 2020 Vision
    Prax Paris, “Under the Shower,” International Records
    Grom, “Love/Rocket” (MJ Lan mix), Ladomat
    Carlos Fauvrelle, “Talking,” Serial
    Andreas Greiner Jun, “My Inspiration,” FM Muzik
    Jamiroquai, “I Want It” (Deep Swing’s Dub), Sony

    DJ Rap’s Playlist

    Beaumont Hannet, “Texturology,” GPR
    Beats Vol. 5, “Hypnotized,” ECB
    Stir Fry, “Breaking the Streets,” Bedrock Breaks
    Radioactive Man, “Radio,” Bedrock Breaks
    Peacemaker, “Crisis,” Chewy Fat
    Stisch, “Television Popper,” Bedrock Breaks
    Aquasky, “Masterblaster,” Assenger
    Rennie Pilgrim, “Into the Darkness,” Unreal
    Laidback, “Flow,” Bolshi Red

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