DJ Nights

15th Street Tavern, Skylark Lounge

Talk about friendly competition! For the past year, DJs Durtbag, Dirty Sanchez and Panda Porn have spent Sunday nights fighting for the attention of their many mutual bar-hopping-and-alcohol-swilling associates. Durtbag, aka Michael Scott Howard, and DJ Wesley Wayne started hosting Rawkus Sundays nearly two years ago at the 15th Street Tavern (623 15th Street), spinning their favorite rock records to an initially dismal crowd. Then Dirty Sanchez, aka Jon Sanchez, and Panda Porn, aka Heather Dunsmoor, brought out their own vinyl collections and enjoyed a short stint at the Lion's Lair before settling in at the Skylark Lounge (140 South Broadway) with Red Devil Sunday. "I actually don't care much about the competition between our friends," Howard admits. "It sucks, but this town is big enough to handle it."

Although Wayne, whose DJ plate is overflowing, has given up his Tavern duties, Howard often fills the spot with a rotating roster of guests -- usually other friends. And sometimes he just handles the tables himself. "Sundays are therapeutic to me," he says. "I can sit by myself and play music and maybe get some money back on the thousands of dollars I spend on records. I get to call myself a DJ even though I'm not really one. I'm really just a record nerd." And he proves it with his off-tune mixes of Johnny Thunders, late-'80s/early-'90s rap, '30s Delta blues and the random classic-rock hit.

With an ambience that's sort of like a high school stoner kid's bedroom -- scattered Christmas lights and stickers plastered everywhere -- the Tavern is a good place to zone out, and when Black Sabbath hits the stereo, it just feels right. On Sunday nights, the bar-stool mob is a mix of young misfits and older regulars that makes for interesting people-watching. "I've always described the crowd as one-half my friends and the other half people who were too drunk to find their cars after the Broncos game, so they wandered over to the Tavern," Howard notes. Geek out more information at www.15thsttavern.com, or call the bar at 303-572-0822.

At the Skylark, Dunsmoor and Sanchez sometimes pick their music to fit the faces around the bar. "We judge the crowd," Dunsmoor explains. "Are these Lipgloss kids? Are these hi-dive kids? Then it's like a choice between playing Fisherspooner or Pavement." But since the Skylark is a retro monument that's like a boozy rockabilly sock hop for the Baker neighborhood, they also like to use Sunday nights to help the bar break out of that greaser routine. Dunsmoor describes their format as a non-format that can go anywhere from Eddie & the Hot Rods to the Cloud Room to the Pogues. "It's like I can have this really fun party," she says, "and I make people listen to what I want to hear, and I don't have to clean up afterwards." Be a rebel without a cause at www.skylarklounge.com, or call 303-722-7844.

So on Sunday nights, are these DJs friends -- or foes? "If they ever want to rock fight," Howard jokes, "they know where I live."

 
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