It Girl

Welcome to the Cult of Katie Rose. Hope your liver can handle it

Katie Rose and her cadre are building their celebrity status on the same qualities as the MisShapes, only the hair is bigger and the outfits even more outrageous.

There's a huge nightclub scene in Scottsdale, complete with velvet ropes and VIP rooms. But Katie Rose and her friends would rather drop dead than bump and grind to Top 40 radio hits at a Scottsdale super-club. So they've created and promoted their own scene.

Reed, who's helped create a sense of nightlife at least on Saturday nights, says building a scene in the Valley is something along the lines of a DIY project. Shake! came about out of sheer boredom.

Katie Rose with fellow Rogue bartender Christina Nuñez.
Luke Holwerda
Katie Rose with fellow Rogue bartender Christina Nuñez.
Katie Rose pours 'em stiff at the Palo Verde Lounge, a Tempe dive.
Luke Holwerda
Katie Rose pours 'em stiff at the Palo Verde Lounge, a Tempe dive.

"Shit, back in the day, 18 months ago, we were sitting around complaining about how there wasn't a fucking thing to do on a Saturday night," he says. "And one day we were just sitting around getting sordid in her [Katie's] pad and we came up with this idea and went with it. It's nice to at least think we're contributing to the nightlife scene in Phoenix -- giving people an option of something to do."

Robert Sentinery, editor and publisher of Java, often seen out and about with a camera in hand for the ClubCam pages of his magazine, says Katie Rose and company give the Valley what it craves -- exciting people to talk about and follow.

"They're definitely the trendsetters. They know what's going on in other cities," he says. "Some of the stuff they do gets really wild. It's very avant-garde. People know they know what's up, so they have their followers -- people who realize these guys are on the cutting edge."

Indeed, even her close friends are sometimes taken aback by Katie Rose's ability to tune in to what people want.

"Sometimes I look at her and I'm like, 'How am I in this girl's inner circle?'" says Luis Tamayo, manager of Sunset Clothing Exchange and sometime DJ at The Rogue on Thursday nights. "Then I remember that this is Katie -- the girl who I eat tacos with at four in the morning."

Wherever Katie Rose pops up -- whether it's a drag bar in Phoenix (where she found the new drummer for her band), the Palo Verde Lounge, Casey Moore's or The Rogue -- it's a given that the rest of the Valley hip kids are soon to follow.

Katie Rose was a key part of The Rogue's transformation in the past year and a half. The Rogue of parties past was quite different from what it is today -- 50-cent Pabst was the drink of choice, and Social Distortion's loser-punk anthem "Story of My Life" was the bar's unofficial theme song. Under its former name, Sneaky Pete's, and even in the building's first few years as The Rogue, it was a punk rock dive, full of Bettie Page wanna-bes and blue-collar dudes. The thought of anyone dancing anywhere, let alone on the bar, was laughable. If a guy walked in wearing an all-denim jumpsuit (one of Shake! DJ Reed's favorite get-ups), he was likely to be called a fag -- at best.

Enter bar owner Mark Maertens, who bought Sneaky Pete's in 2001 and dubbed it The Rogue. By 2004, he was itching to change more than the name.

"It seemed like the punk scene was kind of stalemating and not going anywhere," he says. "It was time for a change."

Still, at that time, business wasn't exactly booming for The Rogue. Katie Rose and her friend, local artist Joe Oursland -- who's shown work all over town (from the downtown Phoenix gallery monOrchid to the mural that covers one of The Rogue's walls) -- were the only two employees. Saturday nights, when Katie Rose bartended alone, she says there were about 12 people in the bar on a good night.

But she had an idea to increase business, promote her Saturday night, and increase her profit in tips -- she talked her friend William Reed into DJing and made some fliers to let people know. The two met when they were neighbors, along with Devon Rodgers, their behind-the-scenes partner/promoter, at the same downtown Phoenix apartment complex. At the time, Reed was not the party god people see him as today -- Katie actually had to talk him into DJing.

"He was like, 'I'm not a DJ. I don't want to be called a DJ,'" she says. "But William is one of the most knowledgeable people about music I've ever met. He really knows his shit, so I was like, 'Dude, just try it.'"

The initial few weeks were slow -- the first night their audience was a small group of punk rock girls who spent the night screaming at Reed to "turn down the suck" -- but among the three of them, there was a big enough social network to grow the night.

"For the first year, it's been tag-team phone calling, trying to get people to come, trying to get DJs in here. We just started using our connections," she says.

And it worked. The venue was packed, with literally no room to move, for Shake!'s one-year anniversary in March, and in early May, when they brought in U.K. super DJ Paul Epworth (he produced Bloc Party and The Rapture, two perennial hipster bands), The Rogue was again bursting at the seams with the black eyeliner/big hair set.

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3 comments
carolinafirerescue
carolinafirerescue

What an amazing story about Katie, going through Detox in Phoenix is not an easy thing to do, but she did it! I went to http://www.arizonadetoxcenters.org for detox, it worked but was the hardest decision I had to make in a long time. After that went to rehab, and I'm now clean and sober.

Bomisfit
Bomisfit

well could you tell me where she is now in 2011?

 
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