Monday, December 22, 2008

Event Review: Comfort and Joy Solstice Celebration "Brighter Days Ahead"

I must admit that I approached the Comfort and Joy Solstice party at Workspace Limited with a small degree of trepidation; it was cold out, there had been drama in the preceding weeks around exactly what was going on when and who was doing it, and I was tired and not looking forward to a ten hour event. But with Kitty DJing the silent art auction in the afternoon, Lord Kook playing the dance portion of the evening, and having personally volunteered to work a door shift from 7-9, there was nothing to do but put on some warm clothes and soldier on. As it turned out, "Brighter Days Ahead" turned into one of the very best little dance parties I've attended in a long time.

The thing I was most uncertain about was how everything that was planned for this event - a silent art auction, the screening of a silent film, performances from drag and "other" artists (more on that in a second), a feast, and a dance party - were going to come together, and in the weeks leading up to the event I was privy to several folks' concerns about whether or not, for example, the dance party would wind up being all of two hours at the end of the evening when all the faeries had already left for the annual faerie Solstice sex party. However, thanks to the agency of Digger the stage manager, Ginga Snapp as hostess and MC (who is very cute in boy drag, btw), and Space the music/DJ coordinator, everything went off amazingly well. The dance music actually got started around 9PM with a set from Space, and the performances were broken up into fifteen or twenty minute interludes between other sets. The only time I was feeling a mite testy about the interplay between performances and the dance music was when a band took to the stage for three dirges. I think the idea was to channel something akin to Diamanda Galas, or, in a more generous mood, The Swans, but not only did they seem musically inappropriate for a party that was supposed to be about joy and celebration, their whole affect was much too reminiscent of art school kids trying way, way too hard to seem avant-garde for me to take them seriously. It's also generally rude to be tuning up and practicing, loudly, through your own PA, against the music that the DJ is playing. They did have a couple Mission hipster kid fans who gyrated around like Dervishes at the front of the stage during their mercifully short set, but I think the consensus was that everyone was much more inclined to dancing along with Lord Kook and KJ.

And dance they did, with a full and happy dancefloor of queer kids and their friends getting down all the way to closing time at 2AM. It was an event refreshingly free of scene baggage, and restored a bit of my faith that you can still bring all kinds of people together to have fun and enjoy one another's company without having to negotiate the endless, tedious politics of the gay club scene. More than just paying lip service to the idea of creating queer community, Comfort and Joy does manage, despite all the drama and complications that arise whenever you get a group of gay men together to do something, to actually pull it off.

Lord Kook playing to an admiring audience

No comments: