On Her Toes

A night on the town with dance-scene veteran Groovin' Kim.

On Her Toes

Kimberley Dietemann, the Seattle dance-music zealot better known as “GROOVIN’ KIM,” has been making it her business to be in the know for a decade. A U-Dub research assistant and tech-support worker who began raving as a teenager in the mid-’90s, she’s kept her love for the local scene steadfast via her popular, regularly updated club and rave listings Web site. She doesn’t proselytize about dance music as much as she used to, when a job at Capitol Hill’s Orpheum Records gave her a pulpit to preach from, but she’s still a fervent believer, and as was evident the Sunday I tagged along with her, she knows everybody in the scene.

When we meet for coffee at 4:30 p.m. at Victrola (411 15th Ave. E., 206-325-6520), she is frazzled from seeing San Francisco house DJ Mark Farina at Chop Suey (1325 E. Madison St., 206-324-8000) the night before. “It was packed, and I was smashed, crushed by a variety of people,” she says. “I lost part of my hearing, because the only place you have any room to dance at Chop Suey is in front of the front left speaker, and it’s far too loud there for any reasonable person to dance in front of.”

Kim is not quite reasonable. Which is not to say she’s discourteous; after a vigorous day of record shopping at Tone (1359 E. Olive Way, 206-382-8495) and Zion’s Gate (1100 E. Pike St., 206-568-5446), she invites me to her Eastlake apartment for vegetarian spaghetti. This is part of Kim’s Sunday-night ritual: cooking dinner for herself, her boyfriend, and friends before hitting the clubs. Kim is serious about dancing. She sheds the fun outfit she wore record shoppingolive shoulder-slit long-sleeved turtleneck, a long black nylon skirt, fishnets, leg warmers, zig-zag patterned socks, camouflage shoes with strapsin favor of a more utilitarian army pants and tank top before heading out. There is another ritual to enact, this time involving . . . toe socks. In the six months since she took in the Sonar electronic music festival in Barcelona, Kim has been wearing toe socks while clubbing. She purchases them online from a Belgian manufacturer, though American-made ones are much cheaper. Apparently, Kim is a toe-sock purist. “They lift and Empty Picture Box Empty Picture Box separate, just like a Wonderbra,” she explains of the pair of woolen, red-striped foot gloves she thrusts into my hands. I try them on . . . and they do!

Properly armedor footedwe set off for the Baltic Room (1207 Pine St., 206-625-4444) to catch the local DJ crew SunTzu Sound’s broken-beat night. It’s early but still more crowded than we’d anticipated, thanks in part to the collective’s appearance on KEXP earlier in the evening. Kim dances in a way that seems both contained and boisterous, bobbing from the knees up and almost hopping in place before taking a couple steps forward, at which point her arms and torso begin corkscrewing, all while maintaining posture that would shame a drill sergeant. She’s tall5 feet 8 inchesbut her demeanor is more pixieish than you’d expect. After a while, she comes up and says, “Here’s my advice for your readers: Don’t eat before going out or you’ll get side cramps.”

Later, we head to Kim’s usual Sunday-night haunt, Re-bar (1114 Howell Ave., 206-233-9873), for Flammable, Brian Lyons and Brent Laurence’s house night. Kim and a friend hit the floor while I talk music with her boyfriend and continue enjoying my toes’ newfound lift and separation. Amazingly, Kim is just getting startedat 24, she has the stamina of a teenagerbut although the music sounds good, I’m wearing down. When Kim returns to the table, I ask if we can go out to the car so I can fetch my backpack. “You have to dance for five minutes first,” her friend says with a smile. I relent and go for 15. I bid the group goodnight and walk halfway home to Belltown before realizing something: I’m still wearing Kim’s toe socks. I haven’t returned them yet.

Groovin’ Kim’s Web site: ww.pulpfiction.com/ rave/groovinkim/events.html; and hotline: 206-686-3151.


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