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February 25th, 2004 Kim Colton | Night Avenger
 

Kester Cotton:The White Night Avenger

     
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Kester Cotton's life is all about spinning. When he's not spinning on stage with Oregon Ballet Theatre, he's spinning records as a DJ at an eastside bar.

Cotton's an unusual dancer--for one thing, he's co-written a book about health, Never Be Sick Again. For another, he's straight--and married.

And then there's the reason the dancer is at Squeez, a divey Southeast lounge that's buzzing on a Thursday evening. The music--ambient, jazzy techno--builds in volume as people stream in for a listen.

A friend leans over and explains why these strangers are all so tall and skinny. Some of the lanky bodies belong to OBT dancers, here to support Cotton--or, as the 30-year-old is known on Thursday nights, DJ K Paul.

Cotton has the petite frame of a dancer, wide eyes and a goatee. Tonight, dressed in an olive zip-up fleece, he looks more Oregon hiker than danceur. For the next few weeks, though, Cotton will be donning his leotards and spinning on stage as part of OBT's showcase of Russian music and dance, White Nights. For now, he's playing urban DJ, focusing on what to spin next.

"I've been on the beat my whole life," Cotton, a dancer since age 7, says of his interest in music. "People always say that I've got a lot of musicality."

Cotton makes sure to devote early airtime to the jazz greats, most notably Herbie Hancock, before delving into a more electronic lineup. This kind of kaleidoscope is a suitable soundtrack for Squeez (though his cohort's later set, mostly drum and bass, gets a little heavy at times).

Despite the fact the bar suffers from a bit of an identity crisis (is it a grease pit? A fresh juice bar? A pool hall?), it doesn't suffer from an ounce of snooty pretension.

And Cotton, the DJ, likes it that way.

"I'm not into the elitism found in the DJ scene," he says. "I'm just one guy who likes to play his records."

It's more likely that this one guy likes to do lots of things. But for the next two weeks, he'll have to be just one guy who likes to dance.

Squeez, 1403 SE Belmont St., 239-5144. 8:30 pm Thursdays. 21+. In his absence, Cotton's brother-in-law DJ Just One will assume sole DJ duties.

For more on White Nights, see Performance Listings, page 52.

at the clubs this week: YOGAS, UNIFORMS AND DIVAS

wednesday

notworking hour

Who coulda guessed? Happy hour in the "Flirts Lounge" at an airport hotel?

Flirts Lounge at the Holiday Inn-Portland Airport, 8439 NE Columbia Blvd., 256-5000. 4-6 pm. 21+.

thursday

service industry yoga

Eastside activity center/rock venue Nocturnal hosts yoga in the afternoon.

Nocturnal, 1800 E Burnside St., 239-5900. 2-3 pm. $8. All ages.

friday

battle of the moustache

Tonight you decide who's got the sleaziest 'stache: Seantos of Starantula, or Diamond Tuck of Diamond Tuck and the Privates.

Slabtown, 1033 NW 16th Ave., 223-0099. 9 pm. Cover. 21+.

saturday

uniform and buzzcuts party

Fetishists--head to this gay club immediately, but not before you don the uniform.

Eagle PDX, 1300 W Burnside St., 241-0105. 9 pm. Cover. 21+.

sunday

diva

From one of the minds behind lesbian cocktail hour Tart comes Diva, a very similar kind of event.

Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison St., 239-7639. 5 pm. $5. 21+.

monday

mello mondays

Ringlers' hip-hop night (and the best party on a Monday, period) returns after a brief hiatus and moves upstairs to Lola's Room.

Lola's, 1332 W Burnside St., 225-0047. 9 pm. Cover. 21+.

tuesday

local showcase

Really, this is just a glorified open-mic night. But! If they like ya, they might ask ya back for the real deal.

DV8, 5021 SE Powell Blvd., 772-2907. 9 pm. 21+.

 
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