“…You have to be a deviant or die of boredom.”
William S. Burroughs.
“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”
The collective swoosh of heads turning was audible as we crossed the immaculate Hotel Geneve lobby.
- My boyfriend Ramon was “don’t-mess-with-me” serious, decked in head-to-toe black with leather accents.
- In a colorful vintage shirt and blond highlights, Owen looked like a sun-ripened surfer with no fucks left to give.
- Fluttering mascaraed lashes, I let my slinky neckline plunge so low you could see my bellybutton.
But the real spectacle were Shanaynay (a.k.a. Owen’s boyfriend Hugo) and her friend Yisus (a.k.a. Josué).
- Smokey-eyed Shanaynay fingered a string of chunky white baubles around her neck and batted thick black lashes, twirling a flannel shirt wrapped around her cut-off jeans, like a bent Nirvana groupie circa 1996.
- Yisus struck a gaunt, imposing figure in nothing but blue cut-off overalls, pink eye shadow, and a makeshift crown of thorns atop her stringy mane. She looked like the queer second-coming of Christ on meth.
Sporting chunky platform shoes, both divas towered above the crowd.
The swoosh reverberated as onlookers gawked all the way to Insurgentes metro station. Apparently we were too queer, even for Zona Rosa, Mexico City’s gay mecca.
Soon our Queernavaca faction of five would converge with a new tribe of #ClubQueers.
A genderfuck menagerie thronged the entrance to Salon Caribe. Dominatrix queens, bearded queens, and kinky party boys hopped in line, beaming with anticipation.
We felt a little under-dressed.
All had assembled here to celebrate the arrival of Club Kid Queen Raja, and the DJ debut of “alone, drunk, and devastated” diva Carmen Campuzano. A lively assortment of local DJs, bloggers, and drags presided over the fête, like jesters in a madcap royal court.
This event, unprecedented in Mexico City’s gay scene, was organized by Fiestas Bomba. (Contact them on Facebook or Twitter!)
Inside the Salon colorful #ClubQueers bopped and jived to the campy pop hits of Right Said Fred and the Vengaboys. Spinning tracks was a platinum blond Luis Rivas in feathered lashes, a leather harness and see-thru tights, dancing in place like a sexy Muppet.
Sipping whiskey-sodas and beers, we surveyed the crowd.
- David Allegre of Jonas Vloggers fame hopped around in a unicorn onesie, playing peek-a-boo with his sensual torso.
- Daddy Maleficent stalked the room, head held high and lace-trimmed horns even higher.
- A slim young lady in an LBD sashayed with a smiling older woman that seemed to be her mom.
Taking turns at the table, DJs Luis Rivas, David Alcántar, and Alejandro Flores gradually amped up the beat til the room quaked with queers in an electro-pop trance. Owen and Ramon awoke from their ennui and we all raced to the dance floor. Whiskey drunk, I sang along to anthems by RuPaul while Shanaynay and Yisus sissyed that walk. If we were too loud or annoying, nobody batted a lash. In fact revelers of all ages waved their hands and sang along with us.
After years of perdition in a desert of trashy top-40 dance bars and mindless sexed-up circuit parties,
Our Tribe was united at last.
With the tribe assembled and ready, mustachioed fashion writer Gerard Cortez, in metallic crown and black beetle-like wings, initiated our rallying cry.
“Ebrias! Solas! Devastadas!”
“Drunk! Alone! Devastated!”
A phrase coined by Carmen Campuzano in an impromptu interview that took the Internet by storm.
Ecstatic, the crowd repeated in unison, an ironic chant reclaiming our beat condition in defiance of Society’s condemnation.
“Ebrias! Solas! Devastadas!”
As if to reward our enthusiasm, Pikachu, a giant banana, and a gaggle of drag queens bounced onto the stage. The rag-tag bunch gyrated and cheered on stage, working up the crowd.
Gerard pumped his fists with increasing fervor. Our chant picked up speed.
Ebrias! Solas! Devastadas!
Ebrias, solas, devastadas!
Ebrias solas devastadas!
Just as the chant reached fever pitch, a radiant DJ Campu took the stage as the crowd roared, delirious. Ramon and I raised eyebrows at each other and cheered. Contrary to our expectations, Carmen looked absolutely fabulous.
DJ Campu spun a respectable mix of campy dance tunes, occasionally relying on her DJ jesters for help.
Dancing blithely to her set, huddles of #ClubQueers speculated:
“Is she fucked up right now? Is she still drunk, alone, and devastated?”
We all reached the same powerful conclusion.
Drunk or not, it made no difference. This woman, so scorned by the Mexican press for her outlandish behavior, was not alone, not devastated.
She was home now.
Beat anti-heroine du jour, we embraced her with open arms.
It was time to salute our Queen.
The progressive beat of “Move For Me” by Kaskade/deadmau5 first rose, then soared as Raja floated onto the stage in a billowy chiffon dress and tall white wig, chunky jewels sparkling around her neck, ears, and wrists.
Cell phones high to the sky, the crowd bellowed louder than ever.
I completely lost my mind.
I screamed. I shouted. I trilled.
I squeezed Ramon out of desperation, writhing in genuine ecstasy.
As the music faded to an end, Raja covered her mouth with her long, slender fingers and bowed. She looked on the verge of tears.
She shared her knowledge of Mexican slang, told us about her longtime fantasy to visit Mexico, and how the beautiful men (and women) of Mexico inspired newer, more explicit fantasies. She loved us, and we loved her. The entire club was so full of fucking crazy queer love and for this one magic moment, our underworld was the only one that mattered.
Our Queen pranced off stage as we all swallowed the lump in our collective throats.
But the party had just begun.
DJ Campu returned for another set, dancing and laughing while psychedelic LEDs pulsed and swirled behind her. Next Yolanda delivered a disturbing avant-guard piece as a giant banana, followed by Paris Bang Bang as Statue of Liberty performing “New York City Boy,” a weird and brilliant homage to Raja’s (and my) home country.
Amidst so much reckless joy and wild abandon, Raja returned to bring us to a deliciously melancholic climax.
The music set an ominous tone as she emerged on stage fully concealed behind a thick, velvet cloak. We braced ourselves for a big reveal.
With a gentle turn of the velvet hood emerged not Queen Raja, but a towering Frida Kahlo in black embroidered huipil and wooden beads, crowned with red, purple, and blue carnations.
Synapses crackled and sizzled in my brain, forming an epiphany.
We were not just #ClubQueers.
We were a modern tribe, heirs to a noble Beat lineage, reaching back to the time of Frida and beyond.
Without missing a single Spanish word, Raja-as-Frida lip-synched a hauntingly beautiful rendition of “Llorona” to the voice of Lila Downs. She danced even more gracefully than before, weaving in and out of her delicate shawl.
My eyes welled up with tears, mascara dripping down my cheek. Behind me, hundreds of moist eyes shimmered like a starry sky.
Under the spell of our illustrious Queen, our tribal initiation was complete.
With a final humble bow, Raja thanked us for loving art as much as she does.
Our hearts were filled with the holy spirit of Beat.
Around four in the morning, the crowd had condensed like a thick queer soup. Hardcore #ClubQueers made friends, shared poppers, kissed, touched, ogled, bumped, grinded, snapped and guzzled beer long after the liquor had run dry—drag queens rude boys young old clothed unclothed—all united in fraternal harmony.
It was a perfect rager of beatific proportions.
- Shanaynay puked in the bathroom while I showered myself in her forgotten beer, shocking a nearby drag queen.
- Owen patted a blacked-out Yolanda on the head affectionately as she crawled across the stage in a black singlet.
- Yisus saddled up to a handsome stranger, seeking free drinks and access to the after party.
- Ramon yawned, signaling it was time to go home.
The five of us plodded, drunk and devastated but not alone, into the darkened lobby of Hotel Geneve around five. The stained glass was dimmed, the marquee of the Cinema Geneve switched off, but our beatific smiles beamed like rainbow rays.
We’re here. We’re #ClubQueers.
Get used to it, Mexico City.
Are you a Raja fan? A fellow #ClubQueer? Totally confused by this post? Leave your comments below!