If you have been to a queer event in Philly in the past year, you know Kyle Firestone. He’s the friendly face behind the DJ booth playing anything from house to techno and anything else on the electronic spectrum. His forays have made him a gay household name, same with his events – Polari and Original Flavors, hosted in conjunction with local promoter Schrock Candy.
We caught up with Kyle as he prepares for his huge Polari Pride Pool Party at the W Philadelphia on their amazing Wet Deck.
What does polari mean?
Historically, Polari is a language that borrows from many languages. There are words in Italian, English, Romani, Yiddish, Latin, and even pig-Latin! There’s a rich history of queer people using this language to communicate with each other in “daylight,” so to speak. However, Polari, as the event series, is a celebration of queerness.
What would you say is the mission of polari?
The idea started out as a way for me to translate my own perception of my queerness, into my love for music and DJing. The mission now—though it’s been less than a full year—is to provide a safe and inclusive space for all queer people to exist and live life unapologetically. My intentions for Polari are to showcase queer art, namely music, but hopefully more in due time.
What’s coming up for pride?
There’s many pride activities in the works! For Polari events specifically, there’s three Pride-related events of 2022.
- June 4th, 12 pm – 11 pm, at The W Hotel is Poolari with music from me (Firestone), Wassupgina, Urbankowboi, and Taylor Hodges. There will also be a fashion show by designer Elias Gurrola and some drag performances from Icon Ebony Fierce and Pi.
- June 5th, 12 pm – 7 pm, in the Gayborhood at 13th and Locust is a Pride Day Party powered by BOS and SWAY, featuring Polari, SWAY, BOS, Solar Sounds, and DJ Kirk. Genres include disco, hip-hop, house, circuit, and top 40s remixes. Wassupgina is playing for the Polari slot and may bring a special b2b guest.
What kind of music will one hear at polari?
Music at Polari varies with the diversity of the performers but some common genres include house, disco, techno, club, pop and hyperpop, ballroom, and industrial.
What’s on the horizon overall for polari?
I’m kind of taking things at my own pace and seeing what feels right as it happens. Our country has such a fast-paced culture of productivity and efficiency and I have to make sure that these mindsets do not seep into the foundation of Polari. I feel blessed for this to be my passion project. Having said that, I have a few aces up my sleeve that I have to be tight-lipped about.
Tell me about you. What’s your dj style? What made you start DJ’ing?
I’m originally from South Jersey but my parents grew up in North East Philly. As a kid I learned some piano and played the flute in my school band for 8 years. I was also in the Philadelphia Boys Choir where I trained as a vocalist and performed across the greater Philadelphia area and toured Europe twice. So I owe most of my success DJing to my prior musical training.
My DJing style is pretty freeform. I like to read the crowd and feel out my audience. With that said, I play mostly house, disco, and techno, but I like to keep it interesting with some hyperpop, club, and ballroom.
From a young age I was drawn to pop divas and electronic music. My first major musical obsession was Britney Spears. From there, I mostly listened to the radio until Lady Gaga came out with The Fame. The Fame Monster is probably the album that got me into what is considered by most as “electronic” music. Next came Kaskade, deadmau5, and several other bigger electronic/dance artists. I never really connected the dots that I should DJ until the pandemic, after my DJ mom Wassupgina, you, and then another close DJ friend Dentana encouraged me to learn.
Are you working on anything else?
Slowly but surely I’m trying to figure out production with Ableton. I’ve been watching tutorials and listening to courses on YouTube. Aside from that, I’m mainly just working on staying balanced in life.