DJ Hell, Traxx | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Mulleted and mustachioed, sharp-dressed and self-made, as sleazy as a strip-club regular and as shrewd as any businessman--DJ Hell is Germany's International Deejay Gigolos label. Hell (aka Helmut Geier) has been DJing since his teens, but didn't start the label until 1996, at the ripe old age of 34. He began with a small operation restricted to vinyl editions of DJ mixes, but now he's both a financially successful, internationally renowned musical tastemaker and the center of a trashy, sexy jet-set lifestyle clique. The irreverent techno and electro artists on his label's roster tend to refer to themselves as "Gigolos," and their appetite for hot dames, expensive liquor, and five-star hotels--as well as for less socially acceptable indulgences--is the stuff of legend on the European dance scene. Hell's reputation attracts performers who combine fierce ambition with equally fierce idiosyncrasy: among them are artist-activist Chris Korda, the transvestite leader of the Church of Euthanasia; Miss Kittin & the Hacker; peformance-art peacocks Fischerspooner; and a deranged Chicago DJ called Traxx. The party tonight is supposedly for Traxx's birthday, and though he insists the event is meant to celebrate the integrity of the Gigolos' music rather than the label's debauched image, the two can't (and shouldn't) be separated--these are libertines with work ethics, after all. Downstairs at Rednofive, Hell and Traxx will DJ for five hours each; I've never seen Hell spin, but Traxx patches together a schizophrenic jumble of house, punk, new wave, bad industrial goth, and whatever else he feels like. Spinning upstairs will be Traxx's partner in crime Deecoy, local megalomaniac Tommie Sunshine, and weirdo jailbait magnets Superstars of Love. Saturday, July 20, 7 PM, Rednofive, 440 N. Halsted; 312-733-6699.

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