What do Berlin in the ‘30s, New York City in the ‘80s, glamour disco and lesbian nightlife all have in common? For one thing, they’re going to be making their hand-in-hand grand entrance into Williamsburg this month, when legendary East Hollywood weekly girl party Booby Trap! (myspace.com/clubboobytrap) debuts on the East Coast. Promoters, hosts and DJs Kim Anh and Anon are taking over Legion (790 Metropolitan Ave) on Aug 20 with this new monthly party for the ladies, which aims “to make you dance to somethin’ good.” So, before she put on her dancing gear, GO’s Corina Maritescu called Kim Anh and chatted about the early days of the party, artist collaboration, and the Booby Trap! philosophy.
Corina Maritescu: How did the Booby Trap! adventure begin?
Kim Anh: I had been living in Los Angeles for years, and been going to different parties, art shows or industry events that were more alternative and independent. I would see other gay women there, but these were never gay-centered events. On the other hand, whenever I went to gay events in LA, I never really felt a connection to the music. And I’m such a big fan of music that I woke up almost every day thinking “wouldn’t it be cool if there was a kind of event that was exclusively for women and offered independent music and arts?” So I shared the idea with a few friends of mine and Anna [Anna Sitko, a.k.a. DJ Anon], who is now my business partner, said she would love to get involved in something like that. So, I named it, and we started.
Where did you get your inspiration for the Booby Trap! vibe?
The inspiration comes from a lot of different things. The first I would name is gay nightlife in the ‘80s in NYC, particularly the male-dominated ballroom and voguing movement, and the one-hit wonder cosmic disco scene that was happening around the same time. Anna and I are also big fans of Berlin in the ‘30s, and the speakeasy clubs they had for women there, and it’s the combination of those histories of gay nightlife that we find really inspiring. It came a lot from that, and from the new underground music scene that is happening now, where the independent music blogs and other media mean that anyone who is making music can have the opportunity to share it with a really wide audience.
You bring a lot of talented musicians and DJs to Booby Trap! What have some of your highlights been?
We have such a small venue here in LA, it legally maxes at 150, though we sometimes push it to 200. And we don’t really want to move, because we love this kind of grungy, divey feel. Also, our budget is very limited, so the constraints make it really hard to try to book acts that are really well-known. So, a lot of it has happened through kinship. For example, Patrick, who is also known as P-Thugg, from Chromeo is a good friend of mine, and they play LA often, so when we started BT! I asked him if he wanted to come by after a show. I didn’t tell him anything else about the party, because I just wanted him to come and feel the energy of the night. He was so inspired, he came to have a beer and literally jumped on the decks and started playing Marvin Gaye and ‘70s disco. The girls were going insane.
What made you decide to bring BT! to New York City?
We have a lot of pals that are living there and are also ether DJs or musicians. They really support us and have told us they think NYC would really like an independent girl night like BT! We were in NYC for fashion week the fall before last, and because our mailing list includes girls from LA, NY and San Francisco, girls from NY were coming out to see us and ask us when we were going to do BT! here. Everything just lined up, so we booked a venue, and we’re excited to see what happens.
Cool, so is BT! going to be a one-time only event, or do you have plans to keep it going?
Right now the thought is to have it as a monthly party. August 20 is the launch and Sept 24 will be the follow-up, and then consecutively it should be around the third week of the month. But what we really wanted was to see how it goes for August and September and to feel the energy of those nights.
What other differences are there between nightlife in NY and in LA?
I’ve found that NY loves rock’n’roll—and so do I! Apart from my own experience, I really can’t say, it’s a total mystery to me. My friend Lauren Flax is an out DJ working in NYC and she plays house and disco and she’s very successful in the places that she plays. I feel like NY is very similar to LA in that we have an interesting separation in between people who live and feel strongly about living on the West side, and then people who live and feel strongly about living on the East side, and it is kind of similar to NY with people living in Manhattan and people living in Brooklyn. In NY terms, we’re the equivalent of a Brooklynite kind of feel.
Was it difficult to plan, organize and promote BT! in NY since you’re still doing weekly Trap!s in LA?
It has been. Anna has a full-time day job, and we’re also recording original music as a side project, so we’ve had a lot of things going on. But we’re also really lucky because we have a team of people who are working to help us promote in NY. We will be there to host the night, but we are relying on a team of our friends to help us get the word out. Lauren Flax, James Murphy are helping us. We also have the help of Raimy Rosenduft [DJ Muthafunka] who is bicoastal, born and raised in Brooklyn, and she has a blog for independent music and works on This Just Out! with Liz Feldman.
So what other projects do you ladies have going on?
We’re working on a dance-punk EP right now. We’re not sure under what name we’re going to release it yet. We also did some movie scoring last year.
And you’ve also been busy uploading some of your mixes onto your website…
Yeah! There are links to our mixes on our myspace blog as well. We have four mixes up right now, and we hope to have three more by fall. And they’re all free to download!
What direction is BT! going to take in the future?
We’re going to continue on the path that we are on, but we want to grow and be able to play more cities, more countries, all under the name “Booby Trap!” We’d love to bring BT! to Paris, London and Chicago. But we also would like to give back more, financially and otherwise. We are really small right now, but we’re hoping we can some day make a bigger contribution to the LGBT community.
So, if you had to describe the essence of BT! in one sentence, what would it be?
Oh God. That is such a difficult question. I feel like we’re so many things. I can definitely say that, being spawned in the city of the industry, we are a rebel response to mainstream nightlife for women. And that we’ve hoped to create a movement, and I feel like it is happening!
Check out clubboobytrap.com for more info and party pics!