Friday, August 20, 2010

At Least One Thing Pittsburgh Can Learn from Portland, Oregon

I recently reconnected online with my old pal DJ Anjali. She’s a DJ in Portland, Oregon where she spins danceclub music heavy on South Asian beats and vocals, throws dance parties all over town, and hosts a Bollywood Bike In. She and her partner, The Incredible Kid, were the first ones to introduce the beats of “bhangra & Bollywood” to the dance floors of Portland.

The website for the India Cultural Association of Portland states, "Portland and neighboring suburbs currently boasts a thriving community of nearly 10,000 Indians, primarily in high-tech, engineering, medical, teaching, research and healthcare professions." It’s a very similar story in Pittsburgh. According to a Trib-Review article earlier this year, "about 14,000 [Indian-Americans] live in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area...predominantly white-collar professionals, doctors or workers in the high-tech sector." It was harder to find statistics on the per-capita DJ ratios, but I know that each city has a thriving underground dance scene.

So, why doesn’t Pittsburgh have a Bollywood party or bhangra-beat dance nights at clubs and dance halls? When is DJ Anjali going to fly in and show us how it’s done? I propose importing her to kick off a Bollywood movie and dance night, sponsored by Dollar Bank, co-hosted by Pittsburgh Filmmakers and CMU, held at Filmmakers’ Melwood theaters in (heavily Indian) North Oakland. The dancing could start at Filmmakers and maybe the late-night after-party could move on to Brillobox. Any counter proposals?

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