DJ Kishka Celebrates Dyngus Day with premiere of new television series


Mon 4/17 @ 10AM-10PM

For the better part of the last decade, the day after Easter has been a huge party for the western neighborhoods of Cleveland — Gordon Square Arts District, Hingetown, Ohio City and Tremont.

This year marks the seventh annual Dyngus Day, with the Gordon Square Arts Neighborhood boasting an outdoor stage for live music all day, ethnic Polish food, the Dyngus Day parade, the Miss Dyngus Day competition and ethnic beer. Organizer DJ Kishka is also spinning his favorite polka tunes, as well as debuting his latest, if you will, pierogi, “The DJ Kishka Show.”

CoolCleveland talked to the popular DJ Kishka (aka Justin Gorski) about his new venture, Dyngus Day and The Kielbasa Kid.

What exactly is “The DJ Kishka Show?”

It’s the world premiere happening at 10pm in the Capitol Theater for free on Dyngus Day. I quit doing the Polka Happy Hour at the Happy Dog, but still wanted to do something. This just piqued my interest to be able to write, produce and direct. I’m kind of throwing my hat into the TV show ring. It was great. We wrote five original episodes. They’re about 25 minutes long and are kind of — not quite — like Big Chuck and Lil’ John skits. There’s definitely some inklings towards that kind of humor.

So what exactly will people be seeing on Dyngus Day?

We have some old-style polka footage from the Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame. We’ll show that first and then put the show on. It’ll probably be an hour or so. “The DJ Kishka Show” is not sketch comedy at all. It’s a narrative. We wrote about how the Kishka came around. I don’t want to give too much way. We’re just using local talent. The five episodes are “The Birth,” “The Accordion,” “The Beard,” “The Uniform” and “The Beer.” I play myself at every age like “Elf” or “Kingpin.”

How long have you been thinking about diving into the world of television?

I’ve been doing commercials for Dyngus Day since 2011 when we first started. I’ve been playing music since I was five years old. I have a musical performance degree from University of Dayton. I’ve always kind of done something creative. This show just seems natural out of that. This is my first dive into really getting into the nuts and bolts of how to produce a TV show.

Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for “The DJ Kishka Show?”

I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about that. I’m just having a good time putting the shows together. I think after this one airs, we’re going to sit down with the team and say, “What should we do, where should we go? Should we put it on YouTube or make a web series?” At this point, nobody is making any money. We’re just having fun.

The notion of debuting “The DJ Kishka Show” on Dyngus Day makes a lot of sense.

Absolutely, you’ve got the biggest polka party in Cleveland happening. It’s perfect. It would be silly not to premiere it on Dyngus Day.

What’s new with our favorite bearded polka hipster DJ Kishka?

I did stop doing the Happy Dog because it was too much to do monthly, but I pop up here and there. I’m thinking about next year putting out a polka album, but we’ll see how that goes. It’s a lot to do with having three kids, a new business (Cleveland Vegan) and Dyngus Day.

Speaking of Dyngus Day, why are you excited for this year’s event?

The festival footprint is larger. The city gave us the thumbs up. From 9am to 10pm, we’re closing Detroit Avenue from W. 57th to W. 59th. The parade will go to W. 65th, but that’s just from 6 to 7pm. It’s just a bigger festival grounds, which means we’ll put the stage on Detroit Avenue and face it west and push the polka jams out from there. We’ll have kind of a beer garden, as well as food vendors and other vendors in the street. It’s just a lot more room for people to get out to dance. It’s the biggest polka party Cleveland has ever seen. It’s a great feeling. If you’ve never been there you can’t really explain it. It’s more of an experience.

Finally, back to “The DJ Kishka Show,” any chance The Kielbasa Kid makes an appearance?

(laughs) The Kielbasa Kid, probably not. We’ve looked into that, and I don’t think the Kielbasa Kid was all that intrigued.

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