Ethnic City: can't club kids and indie rockers just get along? | Calendar | Chicago Reader

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Ethnic City: can't club kids and indie rockers just get along?

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Two months ago club promoter Vic Melecio was looking for someone to make stickers for an event when he met rock show promoter Mia Park, co-owner of the printing and CD pressing company Dig It All Mediaworks. Park, who's also cohost of the local cable dance show Chic-a-Go-Go and all-around indie-rock it girl, was surprised to learn that despite his many ties to the young Asian community, Melecio--who's of Filipino descent, has organized Asian-themed club events for several years, and founded the Ginseng Web site (www.ginmag.com), which covers the "Asian nightclub experience"--had never heard of the Asian American Showcase, a festival of films and, more recently, music and art that began in 1995. "We started talking about our activities in the Asian community and realized there's a huge gap," says Park, who programmed the music portion of last spring's showcase. "There are club-scene Asians that go to places like Saga. Then there's the more--how should I say it--arty or indie-rock crowd that doesn't go to dance clubs.

"In a general sense you can tie those divisions to our origins," she adds. "Filipino culture seems to be more African-Americanish. They tend to listen to more hip-hop, wear baggy pants, and identify more with that culture. The other Korean-Americans I know are kind of across-the-board. I know that a lot go to rock shows. I know just as many who go to the dance clubs. Taiwanese- and Chinese-Americans also tend to be more clubby. This is totally generalizing, of course."

The pair have cooked up an eclectic event they hope will appeal to both groups--Ginfest 2000, which will feature a fashion show of designs by Cat Chow as well as performances from Asian hip-hop group P.A.C.I.F.I.C.S., theater group Stir Friday Night, Park's rock band Kim, and DJs Harold Hiso, Peter Ramos, and Jay Jay.

"We thought all these acts might bring everyone together at one place at one time," says Melecio. He and Park combined their mailing lists--Park says her "artsy-fartsy indie-rock list" includes the names of about 500 people ranging in age from mid-20s to mid-30s; Melecio's Ginseng Night Life promotions company boasts 14,000 names on its list server--and scheduled the event at the Dragon Room. "It's kind of like a slacker dry run for next year's Asian American Showcase, where we're trying to do this on a grander scale," says Park.

"Ginseng people are pretty consistent about coming out," says Melecio. "But I am wondering how the rock crowd will take to the nightclub genre." Park's not sure how the club's dress code--no jeans, sneakers, or hats--will go down. "If we had it at the Hideout people could wear whatever they wanted," she says. "But we chose to have it at a dance club, because it's easier to get indie rockers to go there than it is to get club people to go to a rock club. We see this as an experiment."

Doors open at the Dragon Room, 809 W. Evergreen, at 10 PM. Cover is $10 before 11 PM, $15 after; you must be 21. Call 773-384-8960.

--Cara Jepsen

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jim Newberry.

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