"The name 'Edutainment,'" says DJ Jacques, "to me, is serious."
It's Monday night and the 36-year-old DJ, born Jacques Posell-Wilson, is in his Sebastopol studio. Records fill the room in every corner, posters cover the ceiling, and a cobbled-together computer serves as a modern-day Jamaican sound system where Posell-Wilson prepares for the night's set.
Holding the record for the longest running weekly dance club night in the North Bay, Monday Night Edutainment, which Posell-Wilson shares with DJ Guacamole, is coming up on its 10-year anniversary. Its longevity can be traced to not just excellent taste in music, predominantly reggae, but in that word "edutainment," an apt portmanteau of "education" and "entertainment."
"I tell guest DJs," Posell-Wilson says, "I say, 'Please don't play what you think people want to hear.'"
So yeah, you might hear "Bam Bam." You might also hear brand-new dubplates, underground remixes or an all-Wu-Tang set. You might also hear soul, jazz or salsa. It's all indicated by the shelves of vinyl in Posell-Wilson's room. "That's jazz, that's hip-hop, those are the classics," he says, pointing to various shelves. "And this is funny—that small section, right there? That's reggae."
The diversity fits. The grandson of the principal bassist in the Cleveland orchestra, Posell-Wilson grew up in Boston, bouncing around in group homes, rootless, but finding his situation reflected in the albums of Boogie Down Productions—and especially in the lyrics of KRS-One. He moved to California and, with a Fisher-Price record player, got hooked on old records, mostly jazz and soul (he keeps his James Brown LPs closest to his turntables). He met his future partner, DJ Guacamole, and filled in at Jasper O'Farrell's when the regular Monday-night guitar player went on a Florida vacation.
The guitarist never came back from Florida. The rest is history.
In the 10 years since, MNE has moved across the street to the Hopmonk Tavern and cultivated more than a dance scene. Guest DJs bring their crates. Headliners like Gyptian, Capleton and Ky-Mani Marley drop in with a live band. The overall sense is open-mindedness and positivity. Some call it a vibe. Others call it family. Posell-Wilson calls it "absolutely bananas."
For MNE's 10-year anniversary, the headliner couldn't be more fitting: KRS-One himself, whose album Edutainment inspired the name. Posell-Wilson is thrilled.
"When we started it, we didn't want to have just another weekly dance party. There are parties that play some similar music," he twinkles, "but you can't get this vibe in the city."
Monday Night Edutainment celebrates its 10 Year Anniversary with headliner KRS-One on Monday, June 13, at Hopmonk Tavern. 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. 9pm. $15-$20. 707.829.7300.