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Uptown venues provide escape from everyday parties

Ohio University partiers who want to experience a different culture or time period need not buy a plane ticket or invent a time machine.

They only need to walk Uptown.

Casa Nueva, 4 W. State St., is one of the Athens venues that hosts theme nights. Casa hosts many eclectic cultural- and era-themed events, including ’80s Dance Night, Carnevale, International Dance Night and many more in the recent years.

Tim Peacock, Casa’s booking agent, said the idea for themed dance nights originated with the DJs, who also craft the theme for each party. He added that the dances can attract the same-sized crowds as live music.

“Generally the themes are simply the music being played by the DJ,” Peacock said. “ ’80s night often inspires a certain fashion, but it is not required.”

Another establishment that hosts theme nights is Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery, 24 W. Union St. Theme nights at Jackie O’s pertain more to cultural and ethnic dancing.

Jackie O’s next theme night is African Dance Night on Friday and Merengue Night on Oct. 21.

While the two bars have different atmospheres, their dance nights resemble each other because they feature many of the same DJs.

One of these DJs is Brandon Thompson, aka DJ B-Funk, who has been playing theme nights for over a decade.

“Typically, the people who show up for these events have some vested interest in the event or are curious to find out more about it,” Thompson said. “So when they show up, you’re like, ‘You like this music, too? That’s great. Let’s share our favorite tracks.’ ”

In order to prepare for the theme nights, the DJs need to find culture- or era-appropriate tracks.

“For each gig you usually already have the songs to do the night, but you never want to come off stale. So you need to scour the Internet and read up on different acts and get new stuff,” Thompson said.

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