Bootie: There’s No Cheering in Nightlife!

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One of the cruel ironies of living in Los Angeles after living for years in New York is that because of Los Angeles’ geography, that pesky drinking-while-driving-thing is much more difficult in L.A. unless you live in the clubbing centers like Silverlake, Echo Park, or Hollywood. Ironic, because whereas New York has this cabaret law problem (an odious regulation that requires venues to have a license to allow dancing for three or more people) and has a shortage of decently sized venues that aren’t crippled by bottle service and idiots, Los Angeles has a bounty of venues to go dancing. It has no cabaret law and has any number of decent-sized joints with good sound systems that can fit between 200 or 500 people. (Also thankfully missing from the L.A. nightlife scene: the narrow hall closet that passes for a bar.)

It’s in one of those ridiculously spacious places that monthly mashup party Bootie takes place; it’s that venue known to Angelenos as Echoplex. The dancefloor is biggish, with plentiful room to dance badly and wildly to familiar songs expertly mixed to form something that makes you feel a little uncomfortable. We went last month to the Paul V.-hosted-and DJed night with rising mashup producer and rising star Jordan Roseman, known as DJ Earworm, who also happens to be a friend of a friend.

It seems that the world of mashups has come a long way from the days of Z-Trip and DJ P, the first DJs I heard who overlayed the strange bedfellows. While they used the turntables in a similar way as a house DJ might overlay two house records, they worked as turntablists, and would simply play Metallica and Midnight Oil at the same time, with a timing that made the union uncanny. Lately, though, the DJs are more like producers, mixing a cappella and instrumental tracks, a la the Strokes/Christina Aguilera combination of “A Stroke of Genie-us.” The other difference I noticed: the Bootie beats are designed for people with excessively short attention spans. If you didn’t pay close enough attention, you might miss a song before it floated through, waved hello, and got out.

That night, we heard Daft Punk’s “Around the World, and Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” at once, while “Push It” was paired with INXS’ “Need You Tonight.” Perhaps the strangest of all: Grease’s “You’re the One That I Want” and Snoop Dog, which drove the kids wild.

And they were kids, too. Very young, very guileless, and a very excitable kind of geeky crowd. At one point, after a mix of Andy Griffith and “Single Ladies,” they actually cheered. (The jaded and confused former New Yorker inside me snickered, “There’s no cheering in nightlife!”) My friends, who were both visiting from San Francisco, said, “They would never cheer in San Francisco.” True, but that is so very boring. Did I mention the glowsticks? There were glowsticks. Then a Lady Gaga impersonator named Anna Konda took the stage and did a pretty good impression of the pop star to a “Poker Face” mashup. At the end, they cheered again.

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