Shannon Blowtorch on Bomp, Grown & Sexy, Pride Fest, transphobia in Minneapolis

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Photo by Ingrid Alm for
Shannon Blowtorch 
Shannon Blowtorch is the kind of person that if something is in front of her, she's going to learn how to use it. That's what happened to her back when she was the entertainment director at Pi Bar. There, she just started teaching herself how to use the DJ equipment that was in the space.

After Pi's brief lifespan (2007-2008), Blowtorch began DJ-ing around town, and was so successful that she does it full time now. This week she's got two events. The first is BOMP or Bust!, a dance party that started in Bedlam's old space, and moved around quite a few times before settling at Ground Zero. The second is at Hell's Kitchen's Grown & Sexy: A Way Gay St. Paddy's Day, a happening catering to the LGBTQ community.

We talked with the Blowtorch, the mastermind of some of the best parties in town, to find out about the upcoming events and what she's been up to lately. 

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How long has BOMP been at Ground Zero? 

We've been there for a few months. We did a couple of trials, and it worked out. We're slowly growing it back up. I think Ground Zero has a reputation for being one type of nightclub, but it's really all about what party you're going to, no matter what club you go to. Who is playing can completely change the atmosphere and the vibe. Ground Zero is one of those clubs that has one of the best dance floors. It's got a lot of space. It's perfect for BOMP. 

And who are the DJs right now for BOMP? 

It's Jimmy TwoTimes, Plain Ole Bill, myself, Jonathan Ackerman, Slam Dunkifer, and then once in a while we'll have guests. For this BOMP we're gonna have Kid Vicious do a guest spot. 

When you have a bunch of DJs, does it affect what you're doing, depending on who you're spinning with? 

I think having a super-hero group of DJs like that playing at BOMP it just makes you work that much harder to tighten up your sets, tighten up your skill set. Also, working with DJs like that, working with a party like that, we get to do things that we can't do at other parties. We get to play a lot of music. For instance, Jimmy and Bill are well known for Get Cryphy, but they might want to play something different than what they're playing there, and they have that outlet to do so at BOMP.

The thing with BOMP is that you can get away with a lot of newer music that if you're DJing a normal dance party, people might not get down to. But these kids stick with you because they research new music. They're on the cutting edge of music. They're paying attention to it, and they're following the DJs. 

And Grown & Sexy is an older crowd, right? 

Yeah, with Grown & Sexy we kind of gear it toward the GLBT community, and that's completely different business partners. 

So how would you describe the vibe for Grown & Sexy? 

Grown & Sexy is more adults, anywhere from an age range of 21 to 40 something. It's at Hell's Kitchen -- unless it's Pride, then it's at First Avenue. It's just geared toward the GLBT community, and people who also enjoy good burlesque. We've also incorporated some drag. We have members from Dykes do Drag in the cast sometimes, members of Sequin Sundays from the Town House, and then we try to bring in out of town performers instead of just recycling the local burlesque.

We're trying to have something for everybody. So for instance, for Pride this year, we're bringing in a pretty decent national performer that's probably more geared toward boys. So we're trying to keep it very open in that sense. It's not geared toward one angle of the GLBT community, but more for everybody. I think the music reflects that, too. The music is going to be all over the place. 

Could you give an example? 

The music could be some old soul and funk, to a little bit of top 40, to some electro, to some pop. Maybe some bounce music, some '80s jams, and '90s. I'm the only DJ for Grown & Sexy, so I feel like I just kind of vibe with the crowd and read off them. And then sometimes there's a performer on, and it's like, 'Oh, they just went there.' Well, my set's now going to go here.

I get really inspired by the performers, too, and whatever vibe they were going for. You can get witty as a DJ if they play something funny or they do something funny. There's usually a counteraction to that, with a song that represents that as well. To keep it smart, I kind of like to do that as a DJ.

After the jump: Shannon Blowtorch on transphobia in the Twin Cities, preferred DJ equipment, upcoming projects.

Location Info


Ground Zero

15 4th St. NE, Minneapolis, MN

Category: Music

Hell's Kitchen

80 S. 9th St., Minneapolis, MN

Category: Music

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