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Posted at 2:33 PM ET, 03/13/2009

Shaw's New Mixtape

By Fritz Hahn

The latest stop on D.C.'s burgeoning indie-minded gay nightlife circuit: The Warehouse Theater.

No, I'm not talking about some genre-busting performance art or a late-night alternative production. The draw in the Warehouse's black box theater is Mixtape, a dance party that's already outgrown two venues since last fall.

"I've got a background in theater, so I really like being in theaters," jokes Mixtape DJ Shea Van Horn, who explains that finding this unusual venue "was kind of a convergence."

"I did the 48 Hour Film Festival at the Warehouse last year, but I didn't see the theater. We'd been looking for a venue, and a friend who lives around the corner went to the Punch Club night [at the Warehouse] and mentioned it. And another friend who's a musician suggested it."

It's not your usual club space -- it really is a theater, with a low stage and a bank of seats on risers climbing one wall -- and the plan is for people to be able to dance on the stage or on the floor, then sit down and chat if they want, or venture out the bar. The main point is that the Warehouse has plenty of room, which is just what Van Horn and fellow DJ Matt Bailer having been looking for.

The two met last summer at Taint, the popular monthly indie-electro dance night at DC9; Van Horn was the main DJ, Bailer was spinning as a special guest. "It was a big night because it was a Saturday, where Taint was historically on Sundays," Van Horn says. "We saw how popular it was and we thought, 'Why don't we start a Saturday night?'"

Bailer and Van Horn hit it off as a DJ team right away because, as Van Horn says, "Our individual styles round each other out." Van Horn leans toward synth-pop and edgy electro, while Bailer prefers to progressive house and '90s hip-hop, but Mixtape lives up to its name, with the DJs spinning whatever moves them: '80s classics, go-go, disco, indie remixes, alternative rock and top 40 pop.(You can see playlists from previous events and listen to a preview mix on the Mixtape Web site.

After teaming up in June, the Mixtape DJs looked for a venue for several months before landing at Dahlak, an Eritrean restaurant in Adams Morgan that has caught on as an alternative DJ space, in September. The parties were such a success that by December, the restaurant was regularly hitting capacity. Over Inauguration weekend, Mixtape moved up 18th street to True Story (a bar once known as the Angry Inch, now Morgan's), and filled that two-level bar.

Now, with their arrival at the Warehouse, Van Horn and Bailer are hoping that the stage is set for Mixtape to find a bigger audience.

-- Fritz

By Fritz Hahn  | March 13, 2009; 2:33 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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