Women in the spin

All-girl DJ night at Ottobar offers Tasty alternative


A couple years ago, Claire Painter and her friend Brigette Smith sat at the Ottobar and joked about the city's long list of dance parties.

It seemed as if men ran all the DJ nights around town and played a lot of the same stuff, they said. Somebody should start an all-girls DJ night and let them spin whatever they wanted, they thought.

"Look at Sonar and Taxlo," Painter said later. "I know all those guys, and they're awesome guys, but it totally seems like a boys' night. ... Wouldn't it be awesome if we played music that a lot of people don't hear all the time?"

Painter and Smith saw themselves as prime DJ candidates and ran the idea by Ottobar co-owner Craig Boarman. Boarman laughed at the time but recently decided to give it a shot. This spring, he offered Painter and her girlfriends a weekly spot spinning upstairs at the club. Called "Tasty," it debuted Easter night and runs every Sunday from about 10 p.m. until close.

The name, much like the idea, was a joke. They chose it because it sounds tarty and silly, Painter said. Though each of the five women involved is a serious music fan, the night itself is for having fun, she said. They're all about introducing people to bands they might not have heard before.

"This is a DJ night that is sort of a pretentious thing because we don't really know what we're doing, but we'll learn it," Painter said. "But the main thing that I wanted to stress was we're playing music that we want to hear, and other people are going to have to deal with it. ... It's more so about broadening people's experience."

On any given Sunday, you might hear Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative," Dutch hip-hop, the Zombies, Slayer, Elvis Costello or Tom Petty. Painter makes a point to play Bob Seger's "Night Moves" every time she spins.

"It's not genre-specific - it's gender-specific," said Kristine Bellinger, one of the DJs. "That's the theme. You can get a little bit of everything. You can get a taste of everything."

There are no taboos, but you most likely won't hear Lil' John coming from the speakers.

"We probably won't play anything too poppy," Bellinger said.

Each of the three other women involved, Brittany Thobe, Vanessa Vale and Amanda Otto, brings her own flair to the playlists. Smith left as Tasty was getting on its feet, because her job as production manager at Sonar keeps her too busy, Painter said.

The DJs are also hoping to give Tasty some extra kitsch with theme nights on the last Sunday of every month. Some of the ideas include slumber party, tea party, rednecks and superheroes. People who arrive dressed for the theme would receive a ticket for a free shot, though that's all still in the planning phases.

The Tasty women might also invite their boyfriends to come up and spin once in their place - as long as the guys are dressed in drag, they said.

"It's all about the dynamics," Painter said.

The Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St., hosts Tasty upstairs at 10 p.m. Sundays. There is no cover charge. Call 410-662-0069 or visit theottobar.com. For more on Tasty specials and themes, go to myspace.com/tastyattheottobar.


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