Local Zine Gets Dancey

Kapp Singer | February 9th, 2024

Local Zine Gets Dancey

Cafe Nine  |  Culture & Community  |  Dance  |  Music  |  Zines

CC-3People dance at a Club C*nt in December. Photos courtesy Zoe Jensen.

Speakers pulsed. People danced for hours, only stopping to compliment each others’ outfits. The air, made hot and humid by moving bodies, caused moisture to condense on the pipes above, and it dripped down on the crowd every so often. Nobody seemed to care. 

Cafe Nine hosted the seventh edition of Club C*nt, a techno dance party orchestrated by Zoe Jensen of the arts zine Connectic*nt. Since launching last spring, the bi-monthly show has struck a chord in New Haven’s nightlife scene, quickly becoming a popular, beloved event.

Jensen recalled that last Saturday was one of the busiest nights at Cafe Nine in recent memory. 

“I had never seen an at-capacity line at Cafe Nine ever,” Jensen said of the more than five-hour party. “It’s bonkers, and it’s not even been a year of doing this thing. It's so rad.”

The night featured performances by 5 different DJs—Lil Colibrí, Kalabi Yau, Moneycatt, DJ… If You Dare, and DJQT, Jensen’s alter-ego. To cap off the show, Jensen pulled out a flute and began soloing atop a high-tempo track and dancing around the stage—a move that has become a signature for her.

“It was cool to hire DJs that I really like, and make spaces for dance-forward music that you don’t get at clubs in New Haven,” Jensen said.

Club C*nt was born last April when Jensen decided to host a dance party to celebrate the 10th issue of Connectic*nt, which Jensen runs with Mar Pelaez. With just two weeks' notice, Jensen asked Diesel Lounge, located on State Street, if she could host the event there, and was surprised they agreed. Her expectations were low. She just wanted a place near to where she lives in East Rock to dance, DJ, and celebrate the new zine with friends.

As the crowd grew and grew, Jensen realized that she had tapped into something people were looking for.

“It was frickin’ slammed, it was frickin bonkers,” she said. “I totally didn’t expect that many people to come, particularly to the first one. I didn’t do any sponsored ads. I just put up two posters in East Rock.”

Immediately after it ended, she thought, ‘okay, when are we doing the next one?’ 

The second Club C*nt, in June 2023, was also a hit, and the July and October parties even more so. Jensen realized that her newborn idea was already outgrowing Diesel Lounge, so she approached Cafe Nine and began hosting there in November. Since then, the parties have continued to grow in both attendance and reputation, but have maintained their carefree, inclusive, high-energy ethos.

CC-1People dance at a Club C*nt in December.

“It’s a real fun and approachable party,” said Patrick Meyer, one of the owners of Cafe Nine, who took over the club in April of last year. “You always feel welcome no matter who you are, but it also feels like you’re in on this cool secret that nobody else knows about.”

“There’s just this overarching positivity,” he added.

“I’m a huge fan of Shake 'N' Vibrate,” Jensen said, referring to the recurring vinyl-only dance party at Cafe Nine, “and I wanted to make another sort of super dancey event in the city.”

The club nights have also provided Jensen with a place to DJ, something she began doing while studying abroad during college. After returning to Connecticut, she had a short, informal DJ residency at Conspiracy Bar in Middletown and played other small parties and shows, but found it difficult to find places where she could regularly spin for an audience that was willing to really dance.

CC-2Jensen dances at Club C*nt in December.

“We just want people to dance for three, four, five hours consistently,” said DJ Kalabi Yau, who has played at three different Club C*nt parties. 

“The reputation of the zine just cultivates very open minded, leftist, queer weirdos,” they added. “Weirdos with a positive connotation.”

Jensen is planning the next Club C*nt for April 5, and the one after that—a pride-themed night—for June 1, both at Cafe Nine. She also wants to explore other potential spaces and themes for one-off themed parties, like warehouse or roller-rink nights. 

“If people still want it and will still come to it, then we’ll keep doing it and keep growing it,” she said.