Gabe's to host techno "high school prom themed" party


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Jeff Ryon and Brandon Richerson's job seems like a college student's dream.

"We throw parties," Richerson said.

The two spend hours each week sifting through online blogs, magazine articles, and record-store selections for the latest underground music. As DJs, they work late weekend nights scratching techno records and creating a high-energy environment, and they strive to persuade an audience to interact with a show, ensuring a good time.

"Sometimes, DJ parties can be the same thing each time," Ryon said. "You go, dance, and play the same music. We wanted to shake things up a bit."

What better way to do that than by creating a high-school-prom theme event, sprinkled with techno and house music played by local DJs such as Cory Simpson, Audiomatic, and Detroit favorite John Johr.

At 8 p.m. today, the two DJs will help present a Black-Tie Affair, a holiday techno formal at Gabe's, 330 E. Washington St. Admission is $10.

The two took a cue from the early '90s rave scene that was prominent in New York clubs at the time. Back then, Richerson and Ryon remember seeing partygoers dressed up in fun outfits such as Cat in the Hat costumes, and others wearing brightly colored lights wrapped around their bodies.

But the scene quickly changed from a positive atmosphere to having a more negative connotation, Ryon said.

"The rave scene shortly turned into drugs and huge pants and became formulaic," he said.

While they are not fans of the later rave culture, Richerson and Ryon hope to bring back the scene's creative idea of theme parties to Iowa City.

"There has always been a music scene, but we've tried to rebuild it," Ryon said.

In October, Ryon and Richerson put together "Séance," a party that had darker fall theme. Based on the fall equinox, there was a darker light display incorporated with heavier techno music. Last summer, Richerson threw a monthly event titled "Blue Friday," a dance party featuring Midwestern DJs. Next month, the two hope to start a new Gabe's tradition titled "Sophistifunk." Like "Blue Fridays," Sophistifunk will be a monthly showing of local DJs. The environment will be more casual, showcasing both techno and house music.

"We try to get people to play something unique," Richerson said. "We look for DJs who play really good music and not top-40s hits."

With each show, Richerson and Ryon hope that people arrive and more importantly, have a good time.

"A big thing for me is later on when someone says, 'That party was awesome,' " Ryon said.

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