Have you been at a party VJ’d by OhRicky? Most likely! He’s all over the city, and has been spinning videos on the big screens of legendary clubs and bars since 1994, when he answered an ad in a gay magazine for a video jockey gig at Breadstix, a club in Forest Hills. Since that gig, OhRicky has hopped up, down and all around the tri-state area, bringing his video mixing skills to countless clubs and bars.
These days you can find OhRicky spinning Broadway and Disney on Monday nights at Hardware, queuing up the karaoke tracks at Pieces on Tuesdays, spinning for Showbiz Spitfire Paige Turner at Hardware on Wednesdays and on Friday nights at Pieces once again for Frisky Fridays (which includes a scandalous monthly underwear party). He also throws a monthly Eurovision night for passionate New Yorkers and tourists and occasionally works at Club Feathers in New Jersey.
If you know Ricky, you are aware that he has sworn his complete allegiance to international pop star Kylie Minogue. His love for Ms. Minogue could indeed be considered his hallmark. If Kylie comes up on the screens at a party you’re attending, you’re guaranteed to find Ricky in the booth.
“I once had a friend who told me that I was the kind of person who would probably not have the rent money, but I’d have the latest Kylie import CD,” Ricky admits.
OhRicky is not a native New Yorker, though one could knight him as one since he’s been here almost all of his life. He was born in Trinidad and moved here with his parents when he was 16 years old, after graduating high school. If life had turned out differently, and Ricky never saw that Breadstix ad in 1994, we would be short one VJ. He originally intended to be a teacher.
Why does Ricky VJ? Because he believes it brings an even fuller experience to a club or bar, and he wants to nail one more human sense in his art. “VJs are able to take a crowd on a journey using the screens, not only relying on the audio and the speakers,” he says.
The world of VJing has changed quite a bit since Ricky began spinning. When he started in the ‘90s he would use VHS tapes or U-matic tapes, making his own edits the old-fashioned way. These days he leverages advanced technology, imposing logos and brands over his videos as well as allowing people at the bar to send their text messages to the screens to broadcast their words for all to see. A party with OhRicky is certainly a more interactive one, which would explain all the work that he gets from week to week – his product meets the ADD and public-share desires of the people who are going out.
Ricky has quite a bit of special thanks that he gives when remembering where he came from. He is very grateful to Eric Einstein and Justin Buchanan, the owners of Hardware and Pieces, as well as Gary Hall. He also sends a heartfelt thanks to nightlife legend Beto Sutter, who hired him at the original XL (the bar in Chelsea, not the club).
He also has a few special words for the first VJ who inspired him to get into the scene: “And a final special shout out to Max Rodriguez, who was actually the first person I saw in NYC video DJing, and inspired me to do something like that.”
XO Justin Luke
Justin Luke is one of New York’s premiere gay party producers and promoters and the co-owner of the nightlife company BoiParty. He is also a six-time published author and entrepreneur.