LOGAN SQUARE — For nearly nine years, Slo ‘Mo’s monthly dance parties have provided an accepting space for queer Chicagoans to hang out and celebrate LGBTQ artists and producers.
Despite the mandated closure of restaurants and bars, the party will continue this week — with Slo ‘Mo hosting a digital edition of its monthly dance party.
Slo ‘Mo from Homo: A Digital Dance Party will take place from 8 p.m. to midnight Thursday, featuring dance lessons and sets from its regular DJ’s. Instead of being hosted at the Whistler, 2421 N. Milwaukee Ave., the event will take place in Slo ‘Mo co-founder Kristen Kaza’s Logan Square living room and be streamed on Slo ‘Mo’s Instagram and Facebook pages.
Slo ‘Mo wanted to make sure its patrons were staying healthy by practicing social distancing and self quarantining, Kaza said. But the prolific event organizer also wanted to find a way to provide social interaction and community building in times when they are needed most.
“Slo ‘Mo’s mission has always been to initiate joy, and that’s what we want to do with this event,” Kaza said. “We’re really hoping this is something uplifting, that gets people moving, gets them feeling good in their bodies.”
Slo ‘Mo is suggesting that people get together in small groups to watch and participate with the event. The party will be as interactive as possible, Kaza said, with viewers able to send in song requests and share photos and videos using a special hashtag.
Performer Empress Darling Shear will lead dance lessons at 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. The lessons are a way to get viewers up and moving in their homes, acting as a sort of antidote to being stuck inside all day, Kaza said.
Slo ‘Mo wanted to continue its monthly party as a way to help the performers and hospitality workers, whose livelihoods have been upended by the state’s decision to shut down bars, restaurant dining rooms and venues holding 50 or more people. Tickets for the event can be purchased on Slo Mo’s website, and the collective will accept donations via its Venmo account, @slomoparty.
Funds raised from ticket sales and donations will pay the event’s organizers and the party’s resident DJ’s, VITI GRRL and Audio Jack. Money will also be donated to the Whistler’s staff, which has hosted the monthly Slo ‘Mo party for years, Kaza said. Any remaining funds will be donated to LGBT artists and performers suddenly out of work.
“People are being severely impacted right now,” Kaza said. “Many of us are gig-to-gig workers, and are out of work right now.”
Hannah Viti, who DJs as VITI GRRL, said the Slo Mo digital dance party is the only gig of hers that has not been canceled in the next two weeks.
“It’s devastating for us,” Viti said of the cancellations.
While many people are processing the news of lost work or social isolation, Viti said a dance party can be a cathartic exercise in trying time.
“It’s joyful,” Viti said. “It’s a way to feel better, to move your body and feel at home in your body.”
For more information on Slo ‘Mo’s digital dance party, click here.
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