Exclusive Interview: Lily Khuu
QueerGirl recently caught up with LA-based DJ, Lily Khuu. We talked about her involvement with The Dinah Shore, what its like to write for AfterEllen.com, and her comedy career. Check out the full interview below and make sure to get your tickets to her upcoming show on August 27th in San Diego!
QueerGirl: Give us some background, when did you start DJing and what got you into it?
Lilly Khuu: I was an event producer before I came out of the closet. After coming out of the closet and having issues figuring out where to find other lesbians, I decided to throw my own lesbian event so that I could bring them to me. Without a budget for talent, I had to teach myself how to DJ for my own event. At first, I had no idea what I was doing, but now I've developed my skills a lot more and have multiple residencies. I actually wrote a more detailed article about how I became a DJ called, "How I Found the Lesbians When I First Came Out" on AfterEllen.com
QG: Who are some of your favorite queer-female DJs?
LK: It's hard for me to not be biased when answering this question at this moment in time because a lot of my favorite queer-female DJs are my friends. I will say that, in general, there are definitely different philosophies to DJing and I really value a DJ who can adapt to different types of vibes. Sometimes, you walk into a room expecting a crowd to like one thing, and they end up liking another. I appreciate DJs who can quickly adjust to where they are at even if it's not what they had initially anticipated.
QG: Tell us what it's like being a writer for Afterellen.com! And how did you become a writer for them?
LK: Writing for the largest and oldest lesbian media website on the internet comes with certain expectations. It's a very niche demographic to cater to and doesn't receive a lot of funding. Everyone working for the site is there because they are passionate about keeping an outlet for lesbian voices alive. I have a background in news and comedy writing, so when AfterEllen picked up a new editor who was looking for more lesbian writers, being a lesbian writer myself, naturally I was hired.
QG: What is your favorite article you have ever written?
LK: Although much less divulging than some of my other articles, I would say my favorite article is the listicle I made called "What The Real U-Haul Lesbian Experience is Like". It's certainly not as juicy as articles like my Dinah confessions piece. It definitely has very little actual writing in it as it's mostly GIF animations. However, right now it's my favorite because it is one of the only pieces where I've been able to fully apply comedy. And comedy is my first love. I've been out of the comedy scene for a while so it was nice being able to create something with a comedic element again.
QG: Tell us about Queertainment and what your involvement/role is in it.
LK: I created Queertainment as I started to learn about where the lesbian events were in an attempt to create a comprehensive list of queer girl events. It was really difficult for me to figure out where these types of events were when I first came out of the closet so I wanted to make finding other lesbians easier for other LGBT women either new to the community or relocating to a different city.
QG: How do you think the LA queer-female nightlife scene compares to other cities?
LK: I'd say variety is definitely a strength here in LA. We have a lot of options providing different types of vibes and music. A promoter friend of mine recently stated that the "market is saturated" here in LA for queer girl events. I would say this is a GOOD problem-- if you even want to call it that. I have been to a major city where they only have two music options for lesbians (hip hop or country) and a full on lesbian night only twice a year. Another major city I recently visited had zero lesbian nights and one of the the only places to hang out at for queer girls on the Saturday when I partied there had gay male porn streaming the entire night, which is fine, but the only venue where queer girls could gather to party safely was primarily catered to men. Women don't have a night in that city.
QG: What is your favorite thing about the queer-female nightlife scene? What is your least favorite thing?
LK: My favorite is the unforgettable moments that are created among the community. The friendships that are made. The bonds that are formed. Being in a room filled with other people who have similar struggles as you do when it comes to existing as a living, breathing, walking social taboo. My least favorite thing is the lack of support. Queer girls want a safe space to hang out among each other and connect but all of the promoters in the scene continue to face challenges with garnering steady support from the community to keep these events alive.
QG: Explain to us your involvement with Dinah Shore (the largest lesbian pool party in the world with over 20,000 attendees).
LK: The Dinah and Queertainment support each other with the mission of keeping the community together by helping each other out. We both provide the service of giving lesbians places to gather. Our forces combined only strengthens this service to the community.
QG: Where do you see the queer-female nightlife scene headed?
LK: I think that variety and diversity will continue to spice up the events so that they are catering to a larger demographic.
QG: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
On a YouTube channel intentionally beatboxing poorly.
LK: What is next for you?!
QG: I'm trying to turn Thursday nights at Revolver Bar in West Hollywood into one of the hottest weekly lesbian nights in Los Angeles. In addition to that, I have a comedy project I've been working on with some friends that is currently in stealth mode.. but stay tuned! It's filled with much more than beatboxing badly.
Lily's website: www.lilykhuu.com
Lily's Instagram: @lillykhuu
Lily's Facebook: thelilykhuu