“It was important for us to do it in a gay space, planted specifically so that its queer attitude would feel inherent.”
New Year’s Eve at Spirit promises to be an event to remember, but the real fun will be happening underground, in the Lodge. To close out the year, the queer dance party trio Jellyfish will be downstairs at Spirit spinning their favorite forgotten international dance hits.
“We’re psyched to bring an unabashedly queer party to a hopefully open and accepting crowd,” says Steph Tsong, one of three DJs behind Jellyfish.
Back in September 2017, Tsong, along with other local Pittsburgh DJs, Ricky Moslen, and Adam Shuck combined their forces (and record collections) to form Jellyfish.
“Jellyfish got started through our friendship and mutual love of post-punk, new wave, and Italo disco,” says Tsong, who notes that it’s really a combination of three former dance parties: her own Bubblepop!, Moslen’s tOTAL TRASH, and Shuck’s Ganymede. “We each had our own respective parties for a while, but bonded over our similar music tastes. It seemed only natural to collaborate, given our shared creative vision.”
Every month, Jellyfish takes over P-Town, a gay bar on Baum Blvd in North Oakland. Shuck says they chose P-Town because “it was important for us to do it in a gay space, planted specifically so that its queer attitude would feel inherent.”
“We wanted to create a safe space to party that prioritizes individuals who don’t identify as cis or straight,” Tsong adds. “I think it’s extremely important right now for the queer community to know that they are not only welcome at Jellyfish, but are prioritized.”
“I’m in love with the mystery, uncertainty and excitement of traveling to a completely foreign place but digging deep within the culture to find my niche,” says Moslen. “I think my original idea for Jellyfish came from wanting to create a dance party that mimicked the feeling of walking into a dark Berlin club, or a sketchy gay bar in Mexico City, or a crazy punk show in Japan and having no clue what to expect—but very quickly making new friends and feeling safe and right at home (despite ‘home’ being thousands of miles away). To accomplish that the party had to be at a venue that doesn’t normally hold dance parties in order for the space itself to feel fresh.”
These days, whether the party’s indoors at P-Town or outside in its courtyard, one can just barely eke out enough room on the dance floor to get down on Jellyfish nights. But there’s this synergy among the crowd. The soundtrack and the visuals combined create an experience that’s totally unique in the city of Pittsburgh.
“We’re so lucky to have an amazing crowd at our parties,” says Moslen. “It’s also such easy music to dance to.”