January 15, 2014 | by Joey DiGuglielmo
A fond farewell
Rich Morel, Blowoff, gay news, Washington Blade

Blowoff is going on indefinite hiatus after Saturday night’s installment. (Washington Blade file photo by Pete Exis)

Blowoff finale

Saturday

11:30 p.m.-3:30 a.m.

9:30 Club

815 V Street, N.W.

$12

blowoff.us

Blowoff, a monthly gay dance party helmed by DJs Richard Morel and Bob Mould, started innocuously. The two were collaborating on a project — a 2006 album called “Blowoff” — and finding themselves at the time both living in Washington, the concept was born.

That was 11 years ago.

“We just kind of said, ‘Why don’t we do a party?,’” Morel says. “He had just moved to town. It was really pretty simple. We started at Velvet Lounge on Sunday nights once a month. That’s how it began.”

Saturday night’s event, planned as usual for the January installment to coincide with Mid-Atlantic Leather weekend, will be the duo’s last. There’s no grand proclamation about it being the “last ever,” but with Mould now living in San Francisco, a good long run behind them and schedules as tough to coordinate now as ever, Morel says it was time to put the event on indefinite hiatus.

“It’s been a very successful event and very personally gratifying and fun and it’s done very well, but after 11 years, we both have other projects right now,” Morel says. “So we’re just taking a break for awhile. Who knows what might happen down the road in a year or two, but for now, we’re focusing on other projects.”

Mould, who is traveling this week and wasn’t available for comment, is known widely for his work with the bands Husker Du and Sugar. He’s released a series of well-received solo albums, most recently 2012’s “Silver Age.” Morel, known widely as a DJ, producer and remixer, has mixed hits for everyone from Cyndi Lauper, Tina Turner, Yoko Ono, Nelly Furtado and scores of others.

The Blowoff concept was simple — the two took turns spinning for about an hour at a time. Nick Lopata created the party’s visual effects. Linas Garsys created a series of posters that became easily identifiable in the D.C. gay world over many years.

Jacob Pring, a local gay event promoter and CODE producer, says Blowoff will be missed.

“The music was different, the atmosphere was different and the visual effects were unheard of for the D.C. market,” he says. “I admire that they were able to create a party with a room full of gay men and no attitudes. That’s pretty unusual.”

After about five Blowoffs at Velvet Lounge, the party moved to the basement of the 9:30 Club and for a time was a weekly event. Eventually it moved upstairs in the club’s larger main space.

Morel guesses about 90 percent of attendees on average were gay with a large bear crowd especially. The music was usually a mix of indie rock and house with some dance and electronica, especially in more recent years. Blowoff events were also held at various times in New York, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, Provincetown, Dallas, Denver and more.

Pring admires Mould but says Morel has been especially generous with him, sometimes sending him unreleased mixes to play at his own parties.

“It’s always music that just makes you feel good,” Pring says. “He’s a creative genius.”

Joey DiGuglielmo is the Features Editor for the Washington Blade.

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