Whores after dark
Dan Osterhoff’s fingers stay busy day and night
Dan Osterhoff traces his path in the air, then does it for real, pressing down gently on a spray-paint can’s tip—pfffsst—and tagging a black border around the letter “D” on Dad’s Sandwich Shop’s facade. He and his partner Shaun Turner have labored on Dad’s new mural for a few days. Black paint drips down Osterhoff’s fingertips, which look like chocolate-covered stubs popping out of his fingerless gloves. It’s a cold Wednesday evening; you can see Osterhoff’s breath even when he’s not exhaling cigarette drags.
“My dad was a pretty prolific sign writer here in Sacramento,” Osterhoff shares. Pops taught him how to paint, and now he’s completed several murals in town, including Russ Solomon’s R5 Records on Broadway.
Designer, artist, musician, all-around Midtown neo-Renaissance party man—Osterhoff is surprisingly focused, even serious, for a guy who joneses to dance and deejays under the alias “DJ Whores.”
But this is how most Sacramentans know Osterhoff: as Whores, the guy who uses his fingers not to spray-paint, but instead to warm up Midtown’s dance floors. It was Osterhoff’s mom who nurtured his musical roots. “Shoot, my mom had a wide range of music tastes, everything from jazz, funk, classic rock, blues rock—even, like, ’80s pop,” he remembers.
Whores heads two of Midtown’s more popular deejay nights: Hump, free every first and third Wednesday at The Press Club; and Sweaty, Saturdays (except Second Saturday) at The Golden Bear.
“I just thought it was kind of one of those names that would stick, that people would remember,” he explains the moniker. It does strike a nice balance: less choice than “DJ Slut,” more cred than “DJ Tart,” not as silly as “DJ Paris Hilton.”
“I also thought it was a funny play on those girls that jock deejays,” Osterhoff adds.
Whores’ calling-card night is Hump, which he calls a “kind of a newer-music night: remixed dance tracks, a lot of electronic music, everything from glitch hop to full-on bassline garage to really fidget house style, a lot of remixes,” he explains. In layman’s terms, lots of 140-beats-per-minute ass shaking.
Osterhoff is candid and answers most questions, but—like most secretive deejays—balks at the specifics. When asked his fav song nowadays, he dodges, saying that he has “such a hard time picking favorites.”
OK, so what’s a good Hump song?
“Ah, man, wow. This is where my mind goes blank.”
All right, multiple choice: Do you deejay for the money, the party, the chicks?
“I do it mainly for fun. I like playing music. Actually, I like mixing music: finding stuff that goes together—finding two tracks that I don’t necessarily know are going to go together, but being in the moment and finding that they work well. ‘Wow, that sounds good, those songs paired well together.’”
The quiz continues: What’s the worst song to request?
“One of my least favorites is Lady Gaga. It’s just almost too poppy to play. It’s like sandpaper on my ears.”
Best place for late-night eats?
“Honestly, there isn’t much.”
“There’s La Garnacha. And that’s a sad place to be after a late night.”
How long will this mural take?
At about this time, Osterhoff’s spray-paint tip busts—and he’s out of extras because Turner accidentally took them to Los Angeles. Meanwhile, darkness has fallen, and Osterhoff will have to report soon to The Press Club to get over the week’s Hump. He hops on a one-speed, which he built for under 50 bucks, and shoots north down S Street. Just another deejay with a bag full of spray cans riding through the night.