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Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009

Fallen DJ

Keoki looks to re-polish his superstar status

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More than a decade after his jockeying days at the debauched Disco 2000 parties of New York City's Limelight, DJ Keoki is pretending like everyone still cares. Word is the former club kid poster boy is trying to resurrect his career and make good with all the "negatives," as indicated by one Milwaukee party promoter.

When contacted for an interview, self-proclaimed "Superstar" Keoki provided a few basics surrounding his whereabouts but declined to dish any major updates via email. Instead, local club goers are left to speculate on what he will bring to his upcoming show over Milwaukee message boards.

A promotional thread on undergroundmilwaukee.com plugging his Friday, Jan. 16 show at Wherehouse garnered a few sour remarks from Keoki haters, only to be met head on by remarks from the DJs playing support at this weekend's show.

"Keoki has been producing new stuff and was pushing electro long before the rest of the country jumped on the bandwagon," said DJ Hush, who will work an opening set for Keoki at this weekend's show. "Whenever he comes, his track selection is always new and forward thinking. I think everyone overshadows his production work with his behaviors."

As a DJ, Keoki once had his night in the sun, moving to New York City from Hawaii when he was 17. A side job as a busboy in the famed Danceteria club soon led to several DJ gigs Keoki dubbed "Acid House Wednesdays." Soon, the party was moved to the club Limelight, where Keoki branded his signature style by mixing acid house records with disco cuts and a capellas over the songs.

But the flashy scene of club-kid excess soon took its toll on Keoki, who by 1995 had spiraled into a very public drug and alcohol addiction. In more recent years, Keoki has been known for his erratic, if not flamboyant, personality behind the decks, which lends to his less-than-reliable nature as a performer. The more make-up, glitter and spandex, the better.

But Keoki, who has since traded his days in New York for Los Angeles, says he has been doing much more of late, migrating back to the studio and working with an experienced producer who goes by Decoding Jesus.

"We are working on a live PA called 'Keoki vs. Decoding Jesus,'" said Keoki, who adds that he has been exploring more electro house and minimal lately. "We have two singles coming out, one called 'Speaker' and the second called 'La Discoteka.'"

As always, Keoki ensures he'll dress the part. Partygoers are also encouraged to pile on the glitter and glitz a la Michael Alig-style.

Added Keoki: "I could never just show up in a T-shirt and jeans-I want to give people their money's worth."

DJ Keoki returns to Milwaukee for the event, Disco Bloodbath, on Friday, Jan. 16 at Wherehouse (818 S. Water St.). Milwaukee's Slade Station and DJ Hush open the show. Cover charge: $7 or $6 with costume. Music: 9 pm to 2:30 a.m.