by Jimmy Im
In high school, I was the designated mixtape DJ, and a damn good one. I knew what songs would entertain my company on long drives and at house parties, I had an ear for discovering talent before they made it big, and I called out indie songs before they became inter- national rock anthems (“Lightning Crashes” by Live, anyone?). Who knew five years later I would be throwing some of the biggest gay parties in New York City and traveling the world to DJ at major clubs and festivals like Southern Decadence in New Orleans and Nikki Beach in Turks & Caicos. I was well known in the gay nightlife circuit as DJ Jimmy Im, with residences in New York City at popular watering holes like Eastern Bloc and The Cock, while throwing a wild, Michael Musto–approved weekly party called Bang! at Number 1 Chinese.
As I focused more on my day job in 2011 (no one actually knew I was a journalist), I reluctantly transitioned out of the gay nightlife scene at a crucial time when gay bars and clubs were hit by a wrecking ball in the form of the Internet and social media. Sites and apps like Friendster, then Grindr, came dressed as the Grim Reaper, and the LGBT community no longer relied on the window of nightlife to socialize and interact. With uncrowded dance floors and poor bar sales, well-established parties were starting to pull the plug. Promoters worked thrice as hard getting revelers to their events, and pundits were deeming gay nightlife officially dead.