Denver may not have all the urban accoutrements of the cultural meccas on the West and East coasts, but it does appear to be cultivating a substantial DJ-per-capita ratio; viewed from the sky, you can see them huddling in little flocks, turntables in one hand, headphones in the other, gathering around crates of vinyl like buzzards over roadkill.
Well, not really. But you are likely to run into DJs in more and more places these days -- and not just in clubs committed to spinning, either. Backwash recently stopped in a hair salon (Babooshka, on 13th Avenue near Sherman Street, next to WaterCourse Foods) only to discover that in addition to chatty manicurists and Sprockets-chic stylists, a DJ had been hired to entertain while the soon-to-be-beautiful waited for their highlights to take. Perhaps other businesses will take note of the concept, introduced by Babooshka owner Felipe Perez, who modeled the in-salon DJ idea after similar places in Miami and New York. Wouldn't the line at the Social Security office seem slightly less Coppola-esque if Squeaky D were scratching it up in the corner?
Still, despite their semi-rapid assimilation into mainstream culture, DJs and club kids continue to get a bad rap, whether from law-enforcement types who seem to relish shutting down their events or from musicians who think that what they do isn't music, but technology gone awry. According to Soulflower's Jessica Hydle, one of the primary organizers of the Colorado Dance Music Awards that took place at the Ogden Theatre last August, the local dance community often finds itself overcompensating for these misconceptions. "With all of the negativity on the dance scene," she says, "we want to try to let people know that the scene is not about drugs. It is about a community supporting each other."
Indeed, Hydle's community is currently supporting one of its own: Jasper Hammond, a DJ affiliated with the Yellow 69 Productions crew, who was involved in a serious car accident on I-25 just after New Year's. After four surgeries, Hammond is expected to make a full recovery, which is good news for his fiancée, who is expecting. It's also good news for fans of his jungle-style spinning: Hammond regularly deejays with other members of the Yellow roster, including Chance, Dagny and EvenflO.
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Last weekend, Hydle and a crew of volunteers hosted a benefit party for Hammond that drew more than 500 club kids to one of Boulder's underground dance venues, the Root, and raised money to help soften the blow of medical bills. Those who didn't attend -- but still wanna help out a jungle brother -- can send donations to Wells Fargo Bank, P.O. Box 660, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147; account #0850941501. Let's hope Hammond will feel like dancing again very soon.