Community Events, Parties etc
(Names of Promoters and some events changed to protect their identities)
Last year was one of the most vibrant years yet in as far as entertainment offerings were concerned where everything from Uber fierce vogue femme themed parties to the more decadent and discriminating gigs catering to the ever expanding market and in between were the drag queen shows and the Miss World LGBT and Oscar competitions. Not to be outdone were the all girl events as well. A whole new set of party promoters pushed their products in stiff competition with sadly some amount of under handed deeds leveled at one particular promoter who has been around for some 6 plus years. So many are there now in the arena that there is bound to be a party somewhere on the rock for one to attend if it matches ones taste and pocket every weekend, certainly the price tabs have gone up exponentially. The once $500 gig is almost dead save and except for the newly added “Just Fine Sundays” at the new spot in Kingston known as the Loft. Most if not all other events start at $1000 each and upwards to $6000 for all inclusives.
The biggest event for the year no doubt was the Alter Ego female owned group, produced and presented “Fierce the Anniversary” which effortlessly attracted more than a thousand patrons at the lovely venue in north central Jamaica, though the technical sound difficulties that plagued the event towards the end was a damper it still was good by standards in today’s offerings. The Alter has also made their mark in the all girls category
Couture Elements, the two woman team made sure they leveled up with their events served with cuteness and were and are the only promoters to successfully re-introduce professional body painting themes and patron participation which was a problem over the years to get persons to “buy into” the themes for events. The now infamous chocolate fountain idea with marsh mellows etc has been copied by other promoters as well definitely proving the CE are trend setters in their own right. That is not to say we have not had similar typed offerings in days gone by but not with the fierceness the CE manged to pull off. The CE has also made their mark in the all girls category as well keeping true to their motto “Level Up”
the Girls Gone Wild pool event was their signature piece in July 2010 they are presently working on new packages and ideas to be brought to the fore soon to also include some advocacy interwoven with entertainment. “Switch” held in November was their last offering for 2010 incidentally held on the same night as Club Heavens’ Oscar Awards 2010 show both events were well supported proving that the market is big enough for everyone to massage for patronage.
The reliable Club Heavens of which I am resident DJ was on point with it’s offerings of cabaret lip syncing performances, impersonations and outrageous drag shows satisfying that section of the market, the complaints however continued through to 2010 about the length of shows and the quality of some of the performers themselves were brought into question. The ailing sound systems also was a sore point for two events but overall the offerings were pleasing. The Club had lost some of its faithful following during the year as a result and with stiff competition from Club Antraxx just a couple of miles down the road from Heavens offering similar packages with lower entry fees and more relaxed setting such as seats for patrons and morning tea the management of KUSH (Heavens) has decided to revamp to regain some of the market share lost and to capture new faces on the scene. They now intend to have VIP serviced booths, multi-level dance floors and much more. The original introduction was to have taken place on December 24th 2010 but was postponed due to another rival event’s hard push for that night so it is until January 21st 2011 we will see what is to come, the new name for the spot is now KLUB KUSH. We are hoping for bigger and better things.
Invariably their main draw card is safety with no neighbours to call the cops or passers-by to pry into the affairs of the happenings but with the cost of travelling almost half way across the country for Kingston patrons and to be asked to pay $1500 they may have to offer real good packages and themes to win patrons both old and new. The three events that stood out for Heavens in 2010 was Hasso’s Bashment which brought out all the old faces and some hot new ones with a head count of 700 plus while Miss World LGBT 2010 was also a smash in terms of packaging and presentation.
The brand Oscars party and presentation was also good. Above is one of the envelopes and statuesque used with the nominated persons printed as held on October 17th.
The Loft in Kingston run by the two-man team of Sankofa Events opened its doors to the community with very good support from the start technical difficulties however continue to plague the events especially the sound quality but they have been working on it I must add as the last two events I DJed for them were clean. A work in progress is how the two-man team describes the venue as they always seem to be adding more and more and again stiff competition which is good for patrons in the long term is forcing promoters out of complacency and to become creative. The Loft certainly now has the enviable reputation of offering “Big Boys” for their strip shows as patrons are asking for more following the first two in 2010. The management has promised more decadent male entertainment of this type in the future. Sankofa have taken the title a second year in a row for New Years events from production house “We Welcome Fierceness” I am sure WWF will be coming back with a bang soon as the competition ensues.
Other veteran promoters were quiet this year certainly Miss V, We Welcome Fierceness and Lady I where with Lady I pulling off two events at the Golf Academy then retreating.
TON-A-FLUFF productions was also somewhat quiet this year but came back with a bang in the all female category with the All White Heavens Ball (the female offering of the rainbow village as promoted)
at the Green Goblet in Kingston at the end of the year which attracted a cute mix of femmes, butches, aggressives and everything in between, only three males as patrons were allowed in this all lesbian meltdown, myself, the main DJ for the night DJ Buckaroo and a certain popular roots play character who provided some animated entertainment for the night. The same night the Lofty offered the all male version to Heavens nearby, both events were well supported. TAF suffered a setback of sorts in February when an event they were hosting in Kingston was picketed by angry neighbours who protested the type of party being held in their community. Unfortunately there was an incident the week before that attracted unnecessary attention to the venue with TAF suffering the consequence.
See more here: High Drama as Homophobes attempt to disrupt and picket party
G.A.P Promotions (Gay and Proud Promotions) made a dent in the action recovering with their cute party on the K Heights Hill which had everyone dancing all night with three of the main DJS rocking it. It was in September that the three woman team had a lesser supported event at that Golf spot as the same night Couture Elements had their smash event, competition at work friends, but they learnt from the mistakes and came back swinging. This team caters to a more swaggerific type of patron who is looking for a little of everything. Their deliberate selection of DJs Howie, Shelly and Buckaroo tells you exactly why as all three operate on their own strengths. Their events is where one sees the rare occassion of lesbians dancing to house music and vogue femme tracks. DJ Shelly by the way is the only lady DJ rocking it on the circuit and I must say she has certainly stepped up her game.
Capitalist Regime (Chocolate Italy) who delivered that awesome Lady GaGa party in February of 2010 have been quietly planning and are to deliver part deux this year as well. The party then was cute with GaGa outfits rocking the spot formerly in Kingston where the party picketed referred to above occurred. The CR (CI) have had more smaller lymes and get togethers for their close allies and supporters and planning to have more events this year, let us see what is in store.
Club Antraxx western Jamaica’s only LGBT spot opened its doors late last year and has been drawing persons from all over the island as indicated in the KLUB KUSH segment of this post. They like KUSH (formerly Heavens) offer impersonations and vogue offerings to a younger and newer crowd and have managed to pull patrons from as far as Portland. They quietly have events on weekends and have staged their own Drag competition with Diva Nastacia Waugh headlining with prize support from JFLAG. There was a rift unfortunately between KUSH promoter Lady Macey and Bebe Borah Lee but that had since died down after a meeting to work out differences. Most promoters had agreed to rotate events so each can get a chance to earn while showcasing their offerings however things have not gone down well with two planners who clashed at an event in Ocho Rios recently proving that there is still work to be done in reaching some level of cooperation.
Real Chile Entertainment is or was a new group with some experienced heads working alongside it. There were able to pull off three successful events two of which were more geared towards the vogue children as many of their members are practicing voguesters themselves and the last event was a knockout pulling patrons from as far as London, Canada and Germany. There were many old faces present and as for the vogue it was divine as old way voguesters like myself and new way vogue kidz clashed in friendly fashion on the dancefloor throwing shade and uber fierceness while the hot trade boys watched. They (Real Chile) are in the planning stages I gather for more ball typed events for the dancemusic, pussyboi & vogue femme loving populations to be entertained while carrying their other flagship more uptown geared offerings.
Diamond Rainbow is a new quiet entity it seems and they served a new years eve gig at a private location.
Other individual planners have had lesser known and supported events during the year but one thing is certain if you know where to look you can find something to suit your taste and style, problem is to know in time. The dollar value is also of critical concern as more and more LGBTQI party goers are also going to mainstream events and comparing the offerings there as opposed to what obtains now in our expanding LGBTQI entertainment industry. The out of town events have to do far more to get patrons to do a sometimes three hour drive to get there and then asked to pay up to $2,000 for passes is not going down well with some and many have simply stopped travelling so far that often. The shuttle bus systems do not have the required support cooperation needed from some patrons who seem to come up short of funds or refuse to fork out the more than reasonable sums for a round trip and the admission coupled with indiscipline and poor hygiene as some persons are literally described as “smelly” on the buses. Truth is many party goers are not financially well off either. The problem of non paying folks also has raised its head in Kingston but stringent measures have been taken by promoters including that of having presold tickets and no complimentary passes for events.
Indiscipline is slowly making its way back into some spots which shall remain nameless for now but by the looks of it security measures are being revamped to meet those challenges as well.
Peace and tolerance