By Jim Schutze
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The posters and online invites promoting Hailey's Club's upcoming "New Wave New Year's Eve" event each tell the story concisely enough: The party will serve as "DJ G's Last '80s Dance Night."
And, as advertised, after ringing in the New Year with what will undoubtedly be a memorable final set, Jonathan Graham aka DJ G will retire after six years of helming one of the area's longest-running, well-attended, money-making DJ weeklies. So, it's fitting then that the final Thursday will coincide with Hailey's immensely popular year-end bash.
For the night, Graham has assembled the promising electro/new wave/dance bill featuring Houston's Twisted Wires (whose debut single was released over the summer on Italians Do It Better), Orvahnt's Engine (a side project of Plastic Sleeves) and Denton' s own Vulgar Fashion.
"In my mind, I see myself at a crossroads," Graham says, a month before he starts his new gig—student-teaching high school English. "I've been going through an alternative certification program. I'm still gonna play music for people, but I just can't have something like a weekday residency and an early, respectable daytime job. What I'm going into isn't like a job where I'd say, 'This is where I work.' It's more like a 'this is what I do kind of thing.'"
But, while Graham sees this as an "identity" change of sorts, he says he won't quit DJing entirely; rather, he'll continue guest DJing from time to time alongside both Blixaboy (aka Wanz Dover) and DJ Gabriel at Fallout Lounge.
Meanwhile, although DJ G is leaving, Hailey's won't be retiring '80s Night just yet. In the new year, Yeah Def (the 2009 Dallas Observer Music Award-winning Best DJ) will step into the DJ booth.
Back in 2005, though, when DJ G first helmed the weekly, he never thought it would have lasted into 2010. But, he says, he's "thankful and grateful" it did. And, as he "retires," he says it's the relationships with the regulars that he'll miss most.
Vulgar Fashion's Julie McKendrick and Andrew Michael (also of Mistress) are two of the regulars he points out.
"Julie is someone who's been coming to '80s Night since, like, forever," Graham says. "So, I wanted her new act on the bill as a thanks for all her support over the years. It has been an advantage of mine to have regulars coming back every week for years. I know what these people like. Certain records are inseparable from their faces at this point. I see them walk in, and before they hit the floor, even before they get a drink, I've got their song cued up." —Daniel Rodrigue