Inside Out — YASS Queen
On Thursday, July 15, enjoy happy hour in the museum's outdoor sculpture courtyard with music made by women and femmes spun by DJs Erin Oh and Arie Cole of YASS Queen.
Bring your appetite, too! Regional food trucks and a bar created by Café Carnegie offering custom snacks, kid-friendly treats, local beers, delicious wines, and more will be on-site.
While you’re at Inside Out, participate in art-making activities for all ages.
Inside Out events are FREE, open to all ages, have limited capacity, and are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. Make a day of it and reserve your timed tickets to visit the museum before or after you enjoy Inside Out!
YASS Queen interviewed by Inside Out co-producer, Lauren Goshinksi
YASS Queen plays hip hop and dance music by womxn and femmes. DJs Arie Cole and Erin Oh have hosted YASS Queen parties since 2016. They join us with DJ Jin & Juice who fuses genres together for a multifaceted aural experience.... her motive: keep people moving; and DJ Aesthetics a multi-disciplinary artist who melds a wide range of genres from Jersey Club to Afro House to birth an original and imaginative experience for partiers.
LG: YAAS Queen delivered one of the things that Pittsburgh loves, a themed party in a dive bar. You had secured a regular night at Cattivo (RIP) in Lawrenceville, a bar & fried food spot with a big dancefloor, that was also femme & queer-friendly. How did this venue shape the vibe of your night? Or conversely, how did the vibe of your night shape the venue?
AC: I think the venue helped shape the night. I always look for venues that allow you to have freedom of concept. It also helped that I had been to Beyonce and Gaga nights there in the past.
Erin: We wanted to host YASS Queen at Cattivo because it had a long-standing reputation for being welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community. We also wanted to host a party where people of all genders could come together and celebrate dance and hip hop music by women and femmes.
Cattivo was the perfect place to combine these two visions.
Aesthetics: the times I’ve played YASS queen, you can tell the event was filling a void that the audience needed!
LG: With a focus on female-driven pop, rap & RnB bangers, did you ever slip in lesser-known tracks or play with “edits” in a way that you felt opened people up to new sounds or cultures?
AC: Yes, during most of my sets I try to weave in artists people are not familiar with. That’s what sets a good set apart. Giving people sounds they’ve never heard then bringing them back in with a hit.
Erin: When we first started YASS Queen, I mostly played 90s music by women and femmes
from my youth. It was all about mainstream and nostalgic hits for me. As I started diving deeper into more current music, I played some lesser-known music that I wanted more people to know about.
Aesthetics: I always try to introduce new sounds to my audience but I love throwing in bangers that we all know and love. Yass Queen is a really freeing space, as long as it's femme you can play it!
J&J: All the time. One of my motives when playing a set anywhere is to put someone on and
allow music lovers to hear their favorite songs in different ways. We love a good edit.
LG: Cattivo is now one of many venue casualties lost during COVID. Pittsburgh may not yet realize how many spaces we have lost for music and gathering. What kind of new spaces or gatherings do you hope for, or want to create going forward?
AC: I’m hoping for new venues that keep centering independent artists and promoters. Independent spaces drive culture and I really hope that Pittsburgh realizes it. People need spaces to be weird, to lose themselves, to consume nichey vibes.
Erin: I hope that YASS Queen can continue to partner with Prototype PGH, a local maker space that works toward building gender and racial equity, toward creating more spaces for dance parties and pop-up programs around the city.
Aesthetics: I want to continue to create spaces of rejoice, ceremony, and ritual on the dance floor that centers the black femme experience in all its multifacetedness.
J&J: I dream of more creative safe spaces for artists. Pittsburgh is rooted in dancing, and we need that era’s vibe back. We need more showcases with performances. It’s just what we do.
LG: Drop some knowledge. What are the sources of your musical inspiration?
Or, is there anything you wish people knew more about Pittsburgh music & nightlife?
AC: My music inspiration is situational. I want to play the song that inspires you to twerk or go dance with the person you’ve been seeing around the party all night.
Erin: Shrill and Insecure are two TV shows with the best soundtracks. You can bet I will be playing music featured in their shows!
Aesthetics: That people born in Pittsburgh are talented, that black people have a rich history here and its local black queer deejays that are pushing Pittsburgh's sound forward.
J&J: My music inspiration is universal. I want everyone to be able to bop to it. Summertime nightlife in Pittsburgh is one of my favorite seasons of the year: good events with good weather and good people. It’s important to soundtrack it just right.
LG: How can people help music & nightlife in Pittsburgh recover from Covid, and come back better? Anything on the horizon folks should attend or support?
AC: I think people can help by just going to events. Before the pandemic I had so many people telling me that they had been meaning to get to one of my sets. The time is now. DJs who were careful about covid haven’t performed live in over a year. We’re excited to get back to it, and you’ll never get this unique energy again. You should definitely keep a lookout for my co DJs. They all are creatives who deserve support. I have residencies at Cobra.
Erin: Events like Inside Out at CMOA are honestly really exciting and inspiring to see. Especially the Saturday events that are family-friendly. I’m all about kid-friendly events.
Aesthetics: KEWCHI NANA is a black queer femme-centered event series that started out virtual but next month on August 5 we will have our first in-person event Downtown at the Allegheny Overlook in partnership with Driving While Blacks’ Back in Business event series. Kewchi Nana is a space where you'll hear multi-regional club bangers mixed with classic trap/rap and our attitude is the cherry on top! We are a collective of black and brown femmes looking take Pittsburgh's (and beyond) dancefloor to the next level <3
J&J: People can help by continuing to support local artists and showing up to events. I agree with Arie-- DJs have had an entire year to brush up on skills. Outside events are IT, and give room for everyone to party. Pittsburgh is small enough to recover as long as we party safely! I’m excited for what’s to come. Currently, I am hosting Sunday Fundays at SKVM Studios. You can come drop by in-studio to party and vibe or check me out virtually on Twitch TV.
LG: For you, why is music & nightlife an essential part of culture at large?
AC: It’s important because people need a release. DJ’s provide that with a variety of sounds.
Erin: DJing with YASS Queen gives me time to step back and get back in tune with my fun, carefree, younger self. I think music and nightlife, in general, does that for a lot of people.
Aesthetics: I don't think people realized the importance of a dance floor until we no longer had access to it. You meet friends there, you release there, you can breathe- or at least dance so hard that you need fresh air lol The dance floor is sacred ground and people need that kind of sanctuary.
J&J: We all have that song we heard at an event and tied it with a significant memory. Music and nightlife play a big part in our lives and make us feel free. Gives us a way to escape the lemons of life.
LG: TRACK ID. Name a track you’re rinsing right now, that we might hear at CMOA.
AC: Erica Banks- Toot That
Erin: Coco & Clair Clair - Treat like Gold
Aesthetics: Zhane - Sending My Love
J&J: Ari Lennox - Bussit (Traademark Remix)
LG: Describe a YASS Queen night or your sound in 5 words or less :)
AC: Femme-centered dance party!
Erin: YASS Queen night: bumpin', loud, sweaty, nostalgic, femme-friendly
Aesthetics: “I'm THAT girl” - Sha’Carri Richardson
J&J: My sound is boomin', boppin', booty-bouncin', electronic, hip-hoppin'.
About Inside Out:
Inside Out is Carnegie Museum of Art’s new outdoor summer event series celebrating and supporting Pittsburgh’s rich cultural landscape. Running from June 5 through September 4 on Thursdays from 4-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 12-5 p.m., the museum is partnering with over 28 regional artists and small arts organizations to transform the museum’s outdoor Sculpture Courtyard into the season’s go-to destination with a robust schedule of pop-up performances, DJs, art-making activities, local food trucks and beverages, kid-friendly treats, and more. See the full schedule of events here.