Night life

DJ Crykit’s Playhouse makes its long-awaited Downtown Las Vegas return

Eclectic doesn’t even begin to describe Vegas scenester Michelle Kolnik, better known as DJ Crykit.

“I’ve been a raver, a b-girl, a sneaker and vinyl toy collector, an avid art show attender, a vintage clothing reseller, a full-time DJ,” she says, and for the past three years, she’s been the curator for Crykit’s Playhouse, a “nightlife experience that’s a melting pot of all the cultural scenes I’ve been a part of throughout my life.”

Kolnik’s open-format DJ style has landed her gigs opening for everyone from Bruno Mars and Duran Duran to Anderson .Paak and Tove Lo. But before she became DJ Crykit, Kolnik grew up in Wisconsin and relocated in the early 2000s to San Francisco, where she discovered a passion for art, style and sound.

She locked into the Vegas scene with DJ gigs at the former Insert Coin(s) Downtown and then at Fremont East favorite Commonwealth, where Crykit’s Playhouse first debuted. The concept started as an online shop for vintage clothing and evolved into one of Downtown’s favorite parties—a place to listen to premier DJs, interact with art installations and, most importantly, experience fashion on an urban runway.

“[It’s about people] feeling that they’ve been able to put time and thought into their outfit, how they’re showing up, seeing how others are dressed and being inspired,” Kolnik says. “My favorite takeaway I hear … is that they were able to connect with someone they’re creatively inspired by. I hear all the time they’ve met their new best friend or they’re now working on a shoot together for a creative project. I love having the platform to bring creative people together and feel something electric.”

The pandemic stalled Crykit’s Playhouse for a year, but the event returned in August at a new location, Fergusons Downtown, in conjunction with the DTLV Field Trip series.

Vintage collectors, stylists and artists came out in full force. Kolnik dressed the part, wearing overalls with rare Kubrick toys sewn into a clear pouch by designer Wavymonii, felt flowers added by Velveteen Rabbit bar owner Pamela Dylag and custom nail designs by Arielle Moses.

The switch to Fergusons allows Kolnik to put fashion on full display, she says. “It’s an adult playground. I love having access to a stage, to lighting, to the different layers and levels that community space holds,” she explains.

It also allows a shift to an 18-and-over format. The next party on October 15 will showcase local curator AXGQZ, who will style a fashion show with pieces from his ’90s-inspired Y2K collection. LA-based DJ Falcons will headline with support from Ralph Cinema, A.C. Esme and JDHD, and Kolnik will play a set while salon artists from the Noise Project and stylist Ira Pope Sage handle live haircuts onstage.

Next up, the Playhouse will become a quarterly event, giving Kolnik time to “really execute and create more of a festival feel,” she says.

CRYKIT’S PLAYHOUSE October 15, 8 p.m., free (through online guest list). Fergusons Downtown, bit.ly/3ArkdDY.

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