Hottest knees in town

Robert Checkal

Sebastian Milardo and others dance on stage during Hot Knees at the Green Room. Leslie L. Cusano | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

Huntington Bank’s sign at the corner of Main and Water streets steadily flashed the time and temperature on a Thursday night. Even as students glanced up to see a 17 degree temperature, they continued walking to their bar of choice. Their breath solidified in front of them, then disappeared in seconds.

Ana Sigler was bundled up in preparation for the cold walk to her favorite Thursday night spot. Her multi-colored scarf was tied snugly around her neck, adorning the top of her pink coat. An equally colorful headband graced her curly, dark red hair. The sign’s orange lights flashed across her face, adding to her colorful appearance as she walked briskly through the cold to her destination. Her bar of choice that night was the Green Room on South Depeyster Street.

The Green Room is the host of “Hot Knees,” an indie music dance night held every Thursday. It was organized by Glenna Fitch and Brianna Ries, two Kent State students who said they wanted something different for the Kent scene. They DJ every other Thursday together, allowing guest DJ’s on their off nights.

Sigler, a regular attendee, was a guest DJ with her friend Laura Guardalabene, another regular attendee. Both are Kent State students.

“Sometimes there are themes on certain weeks and sometimes there aren’t themed ones,” Sigler said. “We did ‘World Knees’ as our theme.”

She said the music wasn’t traditional or tribal but current dance and electronic songs from around the world.

“We also put in some of our personal favorite dance songs,” she said. “We want people to be introduced to new stuff they’ve never heard before.”

Ries said they were tired of what they’d heard before, and that’s when they came up with the idea.

“Glenna and I were going to Cleveland a lot to go to B-Sides and Bounce,” Ries said. “We wanted something similar to Bounce, but with better music.”

They said they brought their idea up to a friend who was working at the Green Room over the summer. He told them he’d had a similar idea, but he knew the Green Room’s owners couldn’t do it because they couldn’t pay a DJ. Fitch and Ries immediately offered to DJ for free.

Fitch and Ries created an event on Facebook and started recruiting friends. They claim the site is an integral part of Hot Knees’ success.

“We invited all of our friends to the event,” said Ries. “Then we kept making one every single week to remind people it was going on. Our friends started inviting their friends, and it grew from there.”

On top of using the social network to promote their “baby,” they posted flyers around downtown Kent and told all of their closest friends.

“It started out with a lot of our friends (going),” Fitch said. “Once school started (in Fall 2008), more and more people heard about it and started coming. There are so many people who go (now) that I don’t know at all.”

With the Green Room pulling in more money from Fitch and Ries and their guest DJs, a cut of the door sales now go to the DJs. Fitch and Ries said they don’t care as much about the money as they do the music. But Ries said she still finds times where the songs she plays are hit or miss.

“The feeling of playing a song that everyone loves and claps and dances to is so amazing,” she said. “On the other side, it sucks when everyone walks away. I’m like ‘Damn! I fucked up!'”

Fitch and Ries smile wildly as they talk about how happy they are to be a part of their successful project.

“It’s the best decision I’ve ever made in my life,” Fitch said. “I wish I could describe how it feels when I see people I don’t even know having the time of their lives dancing to the music we play and us dancing alongside people who enjoy the same music I love.”

Contact all reporter Robert Checkal at [email protected].