In the later hours of Leap Day 2020, you could hear a distinct sound on Baum Boulevard in North Oakland. That sound was a muffled mix of talking, Italo Disco music and communal joy, and it was coming from P-Town Bar. If you peeked in the windows of the bar, you might have seen drinks being had, laughs being shared and bodies moving together on the dance floor to quite a mix of music. What you would have been witnessing was the last in-person queer dance party known as Jellyfish. Well, after sixteen long, danceless months Jellyfish will be making its triumphant return to P-Town on June 26!
If you’re not aware, Jellyfish is a queer dance party created and produced by a trio of DJs named Ricky Moslen, Adam Shuck, and Stephanie Tsong. According to Moslen, “Jellyfish started in 2017 in Pittsburgh with the idea of combining forces to create a party that felt a bit different and brought together our musical (disco, italo, new wave, post-punk, house, and lots of other weird stuff) and visual influences.” It became quite the popular event in the three years the party happened on a regular basis.
“It’s blossomed into a queer disco that can exist anywhere,” Moslen adds. That’s certainly true. Jellyfish first swam out into the alley next to P-Town for courtyard disco events when the crowd grew, but went on to make appearances in other cities as well. The trio has also stuck to their goal of making Jellyfish inclusive and secure its entire existence. “The party’s open to everyone, and we make it a point to make the door cost affordable for everyone,” says Moslen.
But what do DJs do during a pandemic? “Rest and recuperate,” says Tsong. Both Shuck and Moslen took advantage of the perks of working remotely and spent time in Mexico. While there, Moslen used his pent-up creative energy and filmed a documentary that he is currently in the process of editing.
Tsong put some of her extra time to benefit others. “I’ve been focusing more on mutual aid I can do for the communities I care about through fundraisers and crowdsourcing resources, which has felt crucial during this time,” she says.
All three knew that someday Jellyfish would return, so they’ve all been doing solo DJ gigs here and there to get themselves ready.
Another thing they’ve done since Jellyfish last happened is something that most of their followers have also done: longed for the night we could all do it again.
“I’ve missed the collective energy of a sweaty dance floor. It’s such a human experience and such a fabulous opportunity to forget the social, political and internal anxiety that we’re always facing,” says Moslen.
Tsong adds, “I miss the atmosphere, the bisexual lighting, the fog, the music pumping through a loud system–but mostly, I miss the people! The people have always been what makes our party so special and I can’t wait until we can all reunite on the dance floor!” That feeling is mutual and our time is coming very soon!
Jellyfish kicks off a summer series of parties at P-Town on June 26, followed by July 17 and August 14. Dancing will be outside, rain or shine, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. That means that the distinct sound of Jellyfish will be even louder on Baum Boulevard. It doesn’t matter if you’re an avid Jellyfish goer or if you’ve never been, your presence and your contribution to that distinct sound is requested. You won’t regret it. See you on the dance floor!
Jellyfish at P-Town Bar
4740 Baum Boulevard
Pittsburgh PA 15213
June 26, July 17, and August 14, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.