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Miami Valley Music Focus explores the places and people behind the music of Southwest, Ohio.

Introducing HEARTSIQ, a new queer-focused party filled with music and art

Since the closure of the LGBTQ nightclubs Masque and 1470 West, there haven't been many spaces in the Miami Valley that people from this community can go to and enjoy themselves away from the heteronormative gaze. That is, until now.

On Friday, November 11, the first HEARTSIQ event will be thrown at The Yellow Cab Tavern. The full name for the event is “HEARTSIQ - A Queer Art and Dance Party”. Also, after the inaugural party, the shindig will be a recurring one, to be held on the second Friday of every month starting in January.

If you’re asking “Who came up with this party idea?” I have the answer. The event’s conceptualizer is Ky Totten.

And who is Ky?

In her words, “I’m Ky, and I just moved to Dayton a little over a year ago from Indiana. I grew up in Springfield, so Dayton felt very close to home. I immediately fell in love with the city, everything about it, and I could not be more excited to call this place my home!

Currently I’m working part time as an assistant manager at The Neon, which I adore. One of my biggest passions is film, so it’s nice to get to connect with my community over the movies we show, especially at such a special institution like The Neon. Outside of that, I’ve personally been struggling with a lot over the past year - it’s been one of the hardest of my life. Getting the opportunity to build HEARTSIQ has been an absolute dream, and one of the few things keeping me going lately. I could not be more thrilled with how it’s all come together - and just in time for my 30th birthday!”

Ky Totten created HEARTSIQ, a new recurring event at Yellow Cab Tavern.
Ky Totten created HEARTSIQ, a new recurring event at Yellow Cab Tavern.

I wanted to know just what HEARTSIQ is. Totten explained, “HEARTSIQ is a Queer Art & Dance party held at Yellow Cab Tavern. We’re focused on bringing attention to local LGBTQ artists of any kind - from musicians to filmmakers to visual artists, comedians, poets, anything. We want to get the word out on all that the Gem City Queer Scene has to offer, and it’s A LOT! The response from artists has been overwhelming. We can’t wait to show everyone off!”

I asked Totten how she came up with the concept of HEARTSIQ, what inspired her. She revealed, “This summer was my first here in Dayton, as well as my first Pride season in my new home. I didn’t get to attend the festival unfortunately, but I did get to check out Yellow Cab’s Pride After Party this year. I had an excellent time - I loved the vibe, it was a great atmosphere, the energy was perfect. The next day, out of pure ADHD-led impulse, I sent The Cab a Facebook message letting them know how much fun I had.

I also mentioned that it reminded me of an event I had attended in Indianapolis called LOW PONE, and asked if they had anything similar on a sort of monthly basis. Brian Johnson responded almost immediately saying ‘no’, but asked if I’d like to come in and share my vision. We met a few days later, and I told him that I’m interested in creating a dedicated space for LGBTQ folks to gather and socialize, outside of Pride month. And so HEARTSIQ was born. We brought in DJ Kim and the three of us made it happen. It honestly kind of just fell into my lap in the best way.”

I want to create a space that will allow us to gather, socialize, and be unapologetically queer all year round - not just in June!

I was surprised that The Yellow Cab Tavern agreed to make HEARTSIQ a recurring event. I asked Ky why and how that happened. She relayed, 'When I met with Brian ( Brian Johnson, Marketing and Development Manager for The Yellow Cab Tavern), he could not be more excited for this. He seemed to share my vision exactly. I heard from him what I keep hearing from a lot of people - Dayton needs this. With venues like Masque closing down, we could really use more places to socialize that are explicitly Queer. We’re so excited to have the chance to build something like this, and I’m hoping it will be a great opportunity for Yellow Cab as well!"

I wanted to know what Totten thought to ultimately accomplish with her parties. She said, "My ultimate goal is to build and support a Queer art community here in Dayton. I want to give artists a chance to share their work, and also support them financially. All proceeds after recouping the costs of the event will be split amongst the featured artists. I also want to create a space that will allow us to gather, socialize, and be unapologetically queer all year round - not just in June!"

Sometimes, when someone starts something new, they may need to work a little harder than usual to get people to buy in. I asked Totten what she would tell someone that she may have to convince to come to her events.

"I’d say come see what treasures our Gem City has to offer! We’ve got a ton of talent here, and we couldn’t be more excited to share them with you. We’ll have excellent music from DJ Kim L and Abigail Moon & Friends, with vibes to die for provided by Sabrina Cox and Haus of Sequins, as well as comedian AS Green. If dancing’s not your scene, come check out our gallery space and the visual art provided by Elizabeth Hope and Lola Roxanne Betz - there’s truly something here for everyone."

She concluded with this, “It’s going to be a fantastic time and we hope to see you there! It also happens to fall on my 30th birthday weekend, so come celebrate with me at the party of the year!”

Party Info:
HEARTSIQ - A Queer Art and Dance Party - Nov 11th
Monthly on the second Friday of every month starting on Jan 13th
Doors Open at 8pm 
Music Starts at 9pm
Tickets available here:https://ten-high-productions.square.site/
The Yellow Cab Tavern
700 E. 4th St. 
Dayton, OH 45402

Miami Valley Music Focus explores the places and people behind the music of Southwest, Ohio. This series is made possible by support from Ohio Arts Council.

Greg Simms Jr. is a veteran content creator and cultural expert who's worked for numerous digital publications over the years. He's a resident of Greene County, but he's always aware of social-cultural events happening all over the Miami Valley. To contact Greg, email him at: grgsmmsjr@gmail.com