Monday, June 24

Old-school beats make a return to Westwood on “˜Boom Box Thursdays’

Sephora Woldu with some of her favorite vinyl records. Thursday nights, Woldu can be found on the corner of Landfair and Ophir, DJing "Boom Box Thursdays."

Sephora Woldu with some of her favorite vinyl records. Thursday nights, Woldu can be found on the corner of Landfair and Ophir, DJing "Boom Box Thursdays." Courtesy of Sephora Woldu

In a town like Westwood, one might expect a pretty girl with shining black curls and a flair for fashion to be headed out to a fraternity on a Thursday night. Instead, third-year women’s studies student Sephora Woldu hangs on the corner of Landfair Avenue and Ophir Drive, playing old school jams from the boom box from which she is inseparable.

The weekly block party Woldu has created has been deemed “Boom Box Thursdays.” It serves as both a pre-party for her show every Friday night on (Vinyl Soup, 6 – 8 p.m.), as well as an alternative way to have fun on a Thursday night.

“Our motto is you can only listen to “˜Party in the U.S.A.’ so many times,” Woldu said. “If you want to meet people, you don’t want to go to a frat party and listen to the same Miley Cyrus song. … That’s not my kind of fun. So instead of leaving Westwood or sitting around being a hermit, I wanted to make my own fun.”

Woldu hails from the famed Haight-Ashbury community in San Francisco, where she began carrying a portable boom box religiously and playing oldies, doo-wop and anything else old-school.

When the 20-year-old transferred to UCLA this year, she decided to take her love of nearly forgotten music to the radio and, at the end of her fall quarter, to the streets as well.

“Basically I was just playing music people wanted to hear,” Woldu said. “It started out with just me and a couple friends sitting on the stoop of the Co-Op, and whoever wanted to stop by could come dance with us and join in. Whoever wants to kick it, can.”

Last quarter, Boom Box Thursdays began developing a regular crowd, allowing people to meet, mingle and listen to Woldu’s music compilations.

“The first week I went everyone was just laughing and dancing and having a good time,” said first-year biology student Osose Oboh. “Then every week after, people start to recognize you. It’s become like a ritual, and it’s part of what makes my college experience fun.”

While the music playing on Landfair Avenue may be a far cry from Miley Cyrus, Boom Box Thursday-goers don’t much seem to mind.

“I look forward to the music because Sephora’s selection of music is not modern,” said first-year political science student Sewit Mehanzel. “She incorporates a lot of old-school music that we really don’t hear on the radio anymore. So I go for the music and also for the people. It’s lively, fun, relaxed. It’s chill.”

Despite her obvious knack for DJing a good night of music, Woldu said Boom Box Thursdays and her radio show Vinyl Soup are simply her outlets, not an avenue for future profits.

“It’s the end of the week and it’s purely for fun,” Woldu said. “I never want to get paid for this or have obligations and contractual responsibilities when it comes to me and my music. Basically my goal is to keep on moving. I don’t aspire to be the hottest DJ in L.A. I just want to have a good time. It’s my honor to keep Westwood funky.”

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