Rachel Storer is out to give a distinct group of people a good time.
The Honolulu-born, Durham-based artist and DJ (who also goes by the name Gemynii) is the brains behind “The Conjure,” a dance party that’s billed as “a celebration of black and brown femme magic” and will be happening Friday evening at The Pinhook.
For those who aren’t aware of the term “femme,” that’s a person – man, woman, whatever – who exhibits feminine qualities, and these are the people Storer is out to entertain.
“I don’t necessarily like to use the word ‘woman’ or ‘female’ or anything like that,” says Storer, 32. “I want it to be all-inclusive. So, I want it to be, you know, women who identify as feminine. I want it to be gender non-conforming folks who identify as feminine. I want it to include trans women, feminine men – you know, there’s just a spectrum.”
While she’s made Durham her home since 2011 (“I just needed a fresh start, and the universe kind of just led me to Durham, and I followed along with it. I literally knew, like, three people when I moved here.”), Storer found that femme people of color didn’t have a regular spot in the local nightlife scene.
“Black and brown femmes together have contributed largely to music and to the entire scene,” she says, “and I wanted to take something that didn’t hypersexualize women or feminine-identified folk and just have a safe space, a safe space for us to be and celebrate each other.”
Storer has only been DJing professionally for a year, spinning at Pinhook and other Durham spots (she was previously well known for being a house-party DJ). But she says it’s been tough being a female DJ in a male-dominated field.
“Durham is a very diverse place, but what I have noticed in the music scene here and the party scene here is that most of the DJs are predominantly white and predominantly masculine or male-identified,” she says. “I identify as queer, and even within the queer music scene, it’s still prominently white. And so, I wanted to create this platform, like I said, so we can not only be celebrated, but I’m implementing something where every ‘Conjure’ is a door opener for another DJ of color to showcase their work that’s never performed at an actual venue before.”
For Friday night’s “Conjure,” along with spinning some records herself, she’ll have visiting DJs Professor Wrecks, No Eyes and ^M^RYLL^H GOLD (all from Atlanta) working the turntables. Durham vocalist Mballa will also be there to give a live performance. And for those looking to talk to somebody or get some things off their chests, Storer says there will be a “radical forgiveness booth,” set up by Maya Freelon, sister of Durham rapper/activist Pierce Freelon.
It looks like “Conjure” will be a seasonal thing. The first “Conjure” actually happened in April, during the spring. The fall installment will happen in October, while the winter party will go down next January. When it’s all said and done, Storer wants “Conjure” to be an event that’s just as open and all-inclusive as the portraits she illustrates and sells on Etsy – portraits of, in her words, “people of color, people with different shapes and sizes, queer bodies, disabled bodies, scarred – just different bodies.”
“I want folks to not only come and dance,” she says, “but to also leave, you know, feeling more connected to their community, feeling loved and feeling appreciated.”
What: “The Conjure” with Gemynii, Professor Wrecks, No Eyes, Luxe Posh, ^M^RYLL^H GOLD and Mballa
When: 10 p.m. Friday
Where: The Pinhook, 117 W. Main St., Durham
Details: 919-244-7243 or thepinhook.com