Today at 9 PM – 1:45 AM
The Legionnaire Saloon
2272 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, California 94612.
Join us next Friday for Chulita Vinyl Club’s 4 Year Anniversary Party! We’re celebrate with live music from Valleygrrls de San Jose and a stacked lineup of Chulita DJs spinning Funk, Cumbia, Hip-Hop, Freestyle, Soul y mas all night!
Doors at 9pm. $5 til 10:30, $10 after. 21+
If you pause for a moment to take a look around your city, you’ll find hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
One of the gems I’m grateful to have unearthed is Chulita Vinyl Club, an all-girl all-vinyl collective that invites female DJs to the forefront, to spin their favorite records. CVC has chapters spanning across Texas and California, and it is comprised mainly of Latina women who seek to create an intentional space that both empowers women and maintains the vitality of their cultural roots. In today’s cultural landscape, where appropriation exists left and right, these Latina women fight against the erasure of their culture, using music and vinyl to tell stories of their past and present.
The collective first took form a few years ago in Austin, Texas, when founder Claudia Saenz, 27, saw a lack of female DJs—let alone women of color—in the entrenched frameworks of music clubs and venues. According to Claudia, the community of Chulita Vinyl Club helps elevate women and propel women’s rights forward. For example, CVC offers classes for ladies new to DJing, who want to improve their skills in a judgment-free zone. The club provides a safe space where questions are welcomed and savvy tricks are exchanged among supportive peers. This pay-it-forward system has amassed a total of 49 members across several state borders, in just three years. Despite its far-flung membership, CVC uses the power of its social platforms to make connections by promoting various local events and sharing weekly mixes for those who want to hear its members’ beats outside the confines of a venue. The bonds between the women of CVC run strong and deep, typified by their “homegirls supporting homegirls’” ethos.
During a time of widespread gentrification, especially in the Bay Area, there’s a need for valued spaces where first- and second-generation Latinos can keep their music traditions alive. For the members of CVC, their existence is an emphatic reminder to new and future transplants in an ever-changing city landscape that Latino families and cultures will not be forgotten.
This past August, I attended a highly-touted CVC event, “Cumbia Jams”, in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission district. I never imagined I’d walk into a bedazzled venue rife with hipsters dancing, uninhibited, to the sounds of cumbia and songs so unique to Latin culture. PB&R and whiskey shots did their work, but the palpable energy suffusing the night was more than an alcohol-induced buzz. As I watched a few Chulitas dance onstage, untroubled by the world around them, I felt lucky to be part of their narrative, as told by each passing record. In a time of political upheaval and dissonance, collectives like Chulita Vinyl Club give me hope for a better and all-inclusive future, where strangers can bond simply over their love of music and appetite for culture.