Best DJ 2023 | Djentrification | Nightlife | Phoenix

The name Djentrification is not just an edgy moniker for beloved DJ Alex Votichenko (known also simply as "Djents"). He does mean, quite literally, de-gentrification, a politics that runs through his unorthodox, captivating DJ sets but also his work with the community, which is always intertwined with the music. He's a longtime staple at various Phoenix haunts, including Bikini Lounge on Grand Avenue, where he has hosted popular Tuesday-night sets for more than a decade. This summer, the historic tiki bar, thanks in part to the DJ, became the home base for a water drive by activists for people living on the streets in the Phoenix heat. As they went to dance, partygoers hauled in cases of water over to the DJ booth. Here, his sets — masterfully spun on vinyl — incorporate deep cuts, strange beats, music from other eras and places, as if wondering, searching, for how to create art in a gentrifying city. As he told New Times in 2018, "It makes sense to consider sounds and rhythms as potential tools, to hurt or help, to create or destroy." Though of course, that's all unspoken. There's usually a more pressing matter at hand: the night, the music, the dancing, the moving crowd.

After most of the Valley's bars and nightclubs close up shop and revelers head to bed or to their favorite post-bar diner, the music plays on at Charlie's. The uptown Phoenix gay bar's catchphrase, "There's always a party at Charlie's," rings true. Sunday through Thursday nights, the fun calls it quits at 2 a.m., But on Fridays and Saturdays, you can strut your stuff on the dance floor until 4 a.m. If all that dancing works up an appetite, on-site food truck Charlie's Tacos serves tacos until the doors close. So pick your spot and hang out on the patio with scantily clad dancers or head inside to make eyes at your crush across the dark space. Multiple bars keep the cocktails flowing and the dancing going until the wee hours when you can stumble home happily, exhausted by all the fun you've had.

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