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The Culture Whore Releases Original DJ Set After NYPD Shut Down Their Queer Party

The Culture Whore

In the wake of Oakland's Ghost Ship fire, which killed 36 people, other DIY spaces across America have been actively shut down by police for fear of another tragedy taking place in unmarked, unsafe environments. Queer art collective The Culture Whore, known in New York for producing monthly LGBTQ events, experienced this national policing firsthand, when their New Year's Eve party, Night Riders, was unexpectedly shuttered by the NYPD before midnight. 

"Party's Over," The Culture Whore Co-Founder Rose Dommu (DJ Dream) remembers police telling the crowd in their DIY Crown Heights space, asking to see a liquor license and meet with the property owner. "We take down our lights, pack up the CDJs, unplug the fog machine, rip down streamers and climb up ladders to pack up projectors we'd only finished installing two hours ago," Dommu told Thumpdetailing how the cops packed up all their booze and took any cash they made at the bar. 

Related | Among Many Victims, Oakland Fire Robbed Trans Community of a 'Guide and Sister'

A few hours later, Dommu says cops from the same precinct shuttered an event at a nearby DIY space, Casa Diva, telling the hosts to throw their party "at a club next time." The glaring problem with NYPD's suggestion is most legal LGBTQ clubs in New York blindly cater to white cis gay men with little regard for the full spectrum, making spaces like Casa Diva essential to social survival in the queer community.

Trans performance artist Charlene spoke on Facebook earlier this month about police shutting down Casa Diva: "I'm devastated and haunted by the scene," she wrote. "My house full of hookers trannies and queers of color all feeling safe included and having a fucking blast, the fucking boys in blue tearing it all down just because they could, and triggering everyone who was enjoying the other-worldly haven we had created. The other night was a clear and calculated attack on queer DIY parties in the wake of Ghost Ship. It was like a gay titanic and a can't get over it."

Related | Benefit Album Honoring Oakland Fire Victims to be Released This Month

In honor of The Culture Whore's shuttered Night Riders party—originally conceptualized as "Westworld meets Joanne meets Studio 54"—we're exclusively sharing the original DJ set Dommu would've performed that night. Paired with the mix is an original trippy visual, created by The Culture Whore's Paul Leopold and Ben Boyles, featuring Rify Royalty, Chris Tyler, Lucas Blair and more. 

"The whole notion of underground queer art is about making space where there is none, creating beauty where there is ugliness, finding joy in pain," Dommu told OUT. "Now more than ever we need to be creating space for each other as the world gets increasingly darker. The system isn't going to look out for us—[it] is in fact going to actively try to limit us, [so] we have to look out for each other."

Enjoy an hour and a half of The Culture Whore's "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues," below.

Tags: Popnography

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