Add Event My Events Log In

Upcoming Events

    We see you appreciate a good vintage. But there comes a time to try something new. Click here to head over to the redesigned It's where you'll find all of our latest work. And plenty of the good ol' stuff, too, looking better than ever.


    Print this page

    It’s a little past 7 p.m. on a Thursday evening in August, and down in Decca’s cellar bar and lounge in NuLu, two Louisville DJs, Allison Cross (DJ Alli) and Lauren Wyatt (Lo Watt), set up a mixer and turntables, gearing up for the weekly (soon to be monthly) set by the Spinsters Union of Louisville, a DJ collective for women and gender-non-conforming people.

    Kim Sorise sits at the bar, gripping a rocks glass. “I’ve always looked at (DJ’ing) as creating atmosphere. We’re some of the first people in and some of the last people out,” she says. The 45-year-old has been a DJ for 25 years, spinning mostly soul at clubs and events across town since she moved here from Detroit 18 years ago. She’s also hosted numerous radio shows like “Derby City Soul Club” with Matt Anthony on WFPK (who remembers the Red Lounge on Frankfort Avenue?) and “Global Grease” on 97.1 ARTxFM. About eight months ago, she co-founded the Spinsters, which now has 17 members.

    It all got started after Sorise met Sara Alice Wood. An occasional spinner herself, Wood, 31, had struggled to find women DJs to play at a doula fundraising event she was organizing. Sorise says she can count on two hands the number of female DJs she’s played alongside in Louisville. “I understand it can be intimidating for young women and gender-non-conforming, trans and non-binary (people) to be able to walk into a space and feel a certain level of comfortability,” Sorise says. “Hearing ‘she’s really good for a girl’ or ‘she’s got great taste for a girl’ gets old really fast.”

    Jesse Elle (DJ Ghouligan) says compensation is one of the major inequalities she has seen in the DJ world. “It’s really tough to see men that don’t have the same skills as some of our girls here getting paid or even getting gigs based on their face or name rather than based on any talent,” she says. “It’s also a problem when I see men with equal skill level getting paid $250 an hour and we’re getting $50.”

    Sorise makes it clear that the Spinsters aren’t about excluding male DJs. “We DJ with them all the time, but when we show up together (at a gig), whether it’s one of us or us as a collective, we have an element of support because we’re a part of something bigger,” she says. “We claim space and kick ass.”

    In the basement at Decca, Spinsters members join the growing after-work crowd while Blythe Shadburne, who DJs as Blythe of the Ball, chats with Wood about Shadburne’s radio show “Rock Sexy” on ARTxFM. DJ S.Y.I.M.O.N.E., who recently played the main stage at the Kentuckiana Pride Festival at Waterfront Park, makes her way over to DJ SCZ, who sits on a couch just below a speaker blasting “My Baby Just Cares for Me,” by Nina Simone. Episodes of Popeye the Sailor reel on the limestone wall directly next to DJ Alli and DJ Lo Watt, who are playing a set mixed with R&B and hip-hop. “We cover electronic, house music, experimental, global, and some of us make our own beats,” Sorise says. Wood adds, “One of the things we want to focus on now is stepping back and working on us, as a collective. Learning to DJ and collaborating together.”

    This originally appeared in the September 2018 issue of Louisville Magazine on page 104. To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    To read more about the Spinsters Union, check out our piece from May here.

    Photos by Mickie Winters,


    Part of "33 Reasons We Love Our Arts Scene."

    Katie Molck's picture

    About Katie Molck

    Loretta Lynn is the best country music singer of all time and if you don't like pickled foods, you can leave.

    More from author:    

    Share On: