Making a Scene

Tracy Buchholz revives her popular LGBT dance party at Voyeur this weekend

Tracy Buchholz

A fixture on the nightlife scene in Philly for many years now, Tracy Buchholz is back from L.A. and back in business with the relaunch of her popular Scene (10 p.m) party on Sat., Feb. 26, at Voyeur. The lesbian promoter is also working with Sisterspace with 10 percent of proceeds from the party going to the women’s charity.

Buchholz sat down with GPhilly to discuss what we can expect from the weekend bash, how LGBT nightlife has changed over the years and what’s all the fuss about electro pop.

Scene was a game changer for LGBT nightlife when you created it several years ago. What inspired you to bring it back to Philly?

The party itself has gone through many name changes, back in 2004 it was called Elevate. The last two years it’s been called The Scene. For me, it was always about my friends. We had fun going out, but always felt like something was missing. I moved out to California and took a break from throwing events. When I moved back from Los Angeles a few years ago, I hadn’t planned on starting up again, but eventually I was hearing about the same missing components at some parties, and was convinced by friends to start up again.

How has the lesbian scene changed?

Definitely the amount of parties has grown. I think people felt the same as I did, that there wasn’t a party that felt right for them. And in this day and age of easy social marketing, people went right out and did what I did, which was create something of their own.

Courtesy of Scene

What are ladies looking for from nightlife now?

The economy still isn’t what it was – and women are definitely aware of that. You have to make it worth the price of parking, admission and drinks. They want a good crowd, good music and well-priced cocktails. Plus, venue is important. So is a sound system. You don’t want to be in a venue packed like sardines, and you want to hear the music when you’re on the dance floor!

The younger generation of party goers seems to be attracted to monthly events at rotating venues where there’s always something new. How does that fit into what you’re doing?

Not only does the younger generation like switching things up by changing the venue they’re partying at, but I think as acceptance of the LGBTQ community continues to grow, it’s easier now for us to party at any bar or club in the city. That said, you have to keep things fresh and really make it worthwhile to pull in a crowd. For us, music plays a big part in that. We’re bringing in KASH as our new resident DJ, who has a really wide range of music in her collection. We are definitely headed into the direction of electro, pop, but keeping it mainstream in some respects so everyone can find music they’ll want to dance, too.

What about the guys? It seems that more of these parties are attracting pretty mixed crowds – including queers and transgendered people.

The boys that come to the parties are great. I think they’re there to hang with their friends in a less “pick up” bar or club-type scene. They get to hang and party with the ladies. As for queers and transgendered folks, again, the party is about having a good time. At some parties, I feel like you have to fit a certain stereotype to fit in, but this party is chill.

Do you mostly attract Philly folks?

Definitely a Mid-Atlantic crowd. I think everyone likes to switch up where they’re hanging, and coming to Philly is an easy trip for folks from Delaware and New Jersey.

Music in gay nightlife can sometimes get pretty static – you’re guaranteed to hear Gaga on heavy rotation. How do you keep things fresh?

It’s funny. Even if certain music is “played out,” I think part of the problem is going to different clubs and hearing the same mix at each one. I’ve actually spent  hours working with KASH searching for new music, new versions of songs that are popular. We’re definitely moving towards more pop and electro, but doing it in a fresh and club kind of way. I mean, Voyeur is one of the largest clubs in the city with an amazing sound system. We’re not doing our job right if we don’t have that dance floor packed by midnight.

What else can we expect on Saturday?

Our team just expanded. We’ve added Erica Dubrow and Mare Lemongelli to the Scene team. We’re working on something special so that our single friends coming out will have an easier time making new friends. But you’ll have to come out to the party to find out what exactly is going down.

What’s your advice for anyone hitting the town wanting to have a good time?

Get a good wingman, women. I’m serious!  As long as you’ve got a good crew, you’re assured to have a good night. Oh, and leave the drama at home!

Any wardrobe must-haves for the ladies?

I’m a huge advocate of not having dress policies. I mean, listen, don’t wear sweatpants out – nobody wants to see that out at a club, but the Scene is all about having your own diverse style. Seriously, I see people out at our party and I’m totally envious of their outfits. I’m typically a T-shirt and jeans kind of girl, and the Scene is about being out with your friends and having a good time, so whatever you need to wear to do that, then do it!

What’s your advice for girls wanting to meet girls?

It’s hard – I’m recently single myself. That’s why it’s really important to have friends. And Facebook. Everyone I know has done some Facebook stalking before the weekend (no one wants to admit it, though). But really, if you’re shy like me, it’s hard to just go up and introduce yourself. You never know if people are single or taken, which is one of the reasons we’re going to unveil a little something to help in that area at our party.