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Gayest & Greatest: Entertainment & Nightlife, Part II

Master of the turntables DJ Melle Mel has spun records since 2007.

DJ Melle Mel, Favorite DJ

Mel Frausto was born in the small town of Weslaco, Texas, but grew up mainly in Houston. A graduate of the College of Alameda in Alameda, California, Frausto is now a full-time DJ. How Frausto landed in that career is not a typical story.

Frausto, who identifies as nonbinary and gender-fluid, uses the pronouns they/them/theirs. “I have truly embraced both my masculine and feminine traits,” they explain. Ask them just what kind of DJ they are, and Frausto will tell you, “A good specialist DJ [for bars and clubs], spinning tracks that I enjoy and my audience enjoys.”

While at the College of Alameda, Frausto was studying to become a certified auto technician, following in their father’s footsteps. But while working in a repair shop as part of their studies, Frausto sustained a severe injury that meant they would no longer be able to lift anything over 10 pounds. Not long after, they got a call that their father had been diagnosed with Stage 5 cancer.

“I immediately said goodbye to California and moved back home to Houston. Sadly, I lost my father to cancer.” Frausto knew they needed a new career. Having worked as a DJ for private events in California, Frausto thought, “Why not do it until I can find something permanent? That was in 2007, and to this day that has been my career. That twist of fate changed my life forever.”

It’s no wonder that being a DJ ultimately become Frausto’s career. Ever since Frausto was young, they would turn to music as an escape or as therapy. “Music is so powerful. I was addicted, and it was effortless when I was a beginner DJ. I was born to do this!”

At age 8, Frausto discovered their parents’ LP and 8-track tape collection. “I found myself hooked on learning lyrics and melodies—and the rest, as you say, is history. I’ve been DJing for twelve years now, and loving every moment I have standing behind the decks.”

Frausto finds music, and everything it can do for a person, incredibly inspiring. “Music has been around as long as man. Throughout the years, people have revelled in the joy of songs. It makes us move. It plays with our heartstrings. It transcends place and time, and it connects us.”

But it’s not only music’s power to inspire that so thrills Frausto. It is also its power to unite their audiences. “It provides a unique experience, bringing all cultures together. No matter where you come from, we are all equal.”

Those audiences are about to grow, too. Frausto will be starting at a new venue in the coming weeks, and there may even be “some traveling to different surrounding cities,” Frausto adds.

Although music is close to Frausto’s heart, charity is right there with it. They are committed to giving back to the community and donating time for nonprofit events such as Bunnies on the Bayou and the Montrose Softball League Association (MSLA).

More than anything, Frausto says they don’t want to be known as a “female or lesbian” DJ—but rather as one who just “plays from the heart and is full of love for every single soul in the audience. So the next time you see me, feel free to shout out ‘DJ Melle Mel!’” — Jenny Block

Favorite Female/GNC DJ

DJ Melle Mel (they/them/theirs)
Finalists: DJ Aracely, DJ Athenz, DJ Krazzy Kris

Favorite Male DJ

JD Arnold (tie), DJ Panda (tie)
Finalists: DJ Eddie E, Joe Ross

Favorite Local (Non Drag) Female Entertainer

Wendy Taylor
Finalists: Nina Lombardo, Amanda Marie Parker, Morena Roas

Favorite Local (Non Drag) Male Entertainer

Steven Tilotta
Finalists: Michael Chiavone, Ty Frazier, Bubba McNeely

Space Kiddettes

Favorite Local Band/Music Producers

Dirty Disco
Finalist: Space Kiddettes

Favorite Men’s Bar

Houston Eagle
Finalists: George Your Country Sports Bar, RIPCORD, Tony’s Corner Pocket

Favorite Place to Show Off Your Leather

Houston Eagle
Finalist: RIPCORD

Favorite Place to Watch Male Dancers

Tony’s Corner Pocket
Finalists: Houston Eagle, JR’s Bar & Grill

Favorite Straight Bar

Finalists: Barbarella, Darwin’s Pub

Favorite Womens’ Bar

Pearl Bar Houston
Finalists: Neon Boots Dancehall & Saloon, Ranch Hill Saloon

Favorite Live Music Venue

House of Blues
Finalists: Numbers, Revention Music Center, White Oak Music Hall


Jenny Block

Jenny Block is a frequent contributor to a number of high-profile publications from New York Times to Huffington Post to Playboy and is the author of four books, including “Be That Unicorn: Find your Magic. Live your Truth. Share your Shine." She has appeared on a variety of television and radio programs from Nightline to BBC Radio to Great Day Houston and has performed and spoken at bookstores, events, conferences, and resorts in the US and Mexico, as well as on Holland America Cruise ships.
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