THE SEEN: Totally Gay 80s Dance Party with DJ Paul V at Akbar

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DJ Paul V's Total Gay 80s at Akbar - photo by Paulo Murillo

Were you seen at Akbar on Friday, June 29? That’s the night the tail end of Pride Month had a totally gay and headband banging night during DJ Paul V’s Totally Gay 80s Dance Party in Silver Lake.

The Los Angeles-based DJ who goes by Paul V. Vitagliano outside of the DJ booth, decided to end Pride Month with a Totally Gay 80s music theme, and played only LGBTQ identified 80s artists. He basically played the music he DJ’d when it first came out. “It was the soundtrack to my own coming out,” he said. “What an era!”

The night featured artists like: The B-52’s, Culture Club, Pete Burns, Marc Almond, Neil Tennant, Freddie Mercury, Joan Jett, George Michael, Andy Bell, Sylvester, Samantha Fox, Steve Strange, Bronski Beat, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Rob Halford, Divine, Michael Stipe, Pete Shelley, Man Parrish, and many more.

Akbar was wall to wall with all walks of life from all over the Greater Los Angeles area. You had straight men and some straight original ladies from the 80s dancing alongside LGBTQ+ people of all races, shapes and sizes. There were hipsters, WeHo boys, bears, the young and the young at heart, bopping, acting goofy and having too much fun to a gay 80s setlist.

The night took a political turn when DJ Paul V did something not very common amongst DJs; he stopped the music to make a poignant speech about LGBT rights and took a moment to school the young about the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP)— a gay advocacy group that began in the early 80s. “What ACT UP did was it demanded rights and it demanded a cure for AIDS,” he said from the DJ booth. “What they did is a model to what people now do when they are protesting and resisting. ACT UP did that for our community and did that for humanity. All I want to say is, please people, pay attention and know what’s going on. Talk to people. This is the most important time for us to reclaim our humanity… Do anything you can to get as many people as you can to vote. This is how we do it. This is how we do it! Can we do it?”

The crowd cheered with a resounding yes and the totally gay 80s dance party continued.

“I’ve always been politically active, and all this music inspired me to get on the mic and implore people to pay attention,” He later told WEHO TIMES. “I basically said that what we are living through right now is a nightmare for humanity. And we need to lift each other up. I reminded everyone that we need to honor ACT UP for the form of in-person activism, protest and resistance we’re seeing now. Our community created that, and we are all standing on their shoulders. It was all a bit of a gay history lesson for all the 20 and 30-somethings in the room. Then I played Bronski Beat’s “Why” — and if you don’t know the song or the lyrics, Google it! The power is still in all our hands. For now. But if these young people don’t vote, apathy will kill us all. Now back to your regularly scheduled drink specials and hookup apps…”

We Googled the lyrics for you:

“Why?”
Bronski Beat
Contempt in your eyes
As I turn to kiss his lips
Broken I lie
All my feelings denied
Blood on your fist
Can you tell me why?
You in your false securities
Tear up my life
Condemning me
Name me an illness
Call me a sin
Never feel guilty
Never give in
Tell me why?
You and me together
Fighting for our love
Can you tell me why?
(Songwriters: James Somerville / Lawrence Cole / Steve Bronski)

DJ Paul V’s 80s Dance Party returns to Akbar Thursday, July 5, 10pm-2am. For updates, visit the Facebook events page here.

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Paulo Murillo
Paulo Murillo is Editor in Chief and Publisher of WEHO TIMES. He brings close to 20 years of experience in LGBT media and more than two decades as a West Hollywood resident. Murillo began his professional writing career as the author of “Love Ya, Mean It,” an irreverent and sometimes controversial West Hollywood lifestyle column for FAB! newspaper. Murillo’s work has appeared in numerous print and online publications. He was a contributor to LGBT magazine IN Los Angeles. He is known for the “Hot Topic” column in Frontiers magazine, in which he covered breaking news and local events in the City of West Hollywood. His recent work has been published in the Los Angeles Blade and his articles, essays and photographs can also be seen on the pages of THE FIGHT Magazine. He started “The Share” feature for THE FIGHT, which spotlights members of the Los Angeles recovery community who share about their sober journey. He can be reached at editor@wehotimes.com