Whenever you hear the phrase “gay community” it is invariably on television or at political rallies. It is usually used to mean anything LGBTQ. For myself, and for many people I know, the phrase is more useful shorthand than reference to an actual community. That is in so many ways down to a heavily commercialized nightlife scene, and an identity that is all too often reduced to its lowest common denominator by the mainstream gay press. So what of the people who could add up to a real sense of community? This is where venues like London’s Royal Vauxhall Tavern (RVT), and organisations like Wotever World, enter the picture.
The idea behind Wotever World’s Bar Wotever, which runs every Tuesday at the RVT, is to use entertainment as a tool to overcome homophobia and transphobia. That process starts with a strong inclusive community of LGBQT individuals, and Bar Wotever is about underlining what that means. Before the act there is a community news section for information, updates, and announcements. “One of its key aims,” says Wotever’s Ronan McNern, “is to provide a social environment for those coming to terms with their identity.” That identity, as Wotever World’s manifesto has it, is any identity – or multiple-identity – you want it to be. “The Wotever manifesto dictates that respect will be given to all sirs, madams and wotevers…”
A Wotever event is not your average night out on the scene. I took a couple straight friends to Bar Code in Vauxhall last weekend, and their comment was that they’d never seen so many unhappy looking men in one space before. That is not what you will get at Wotever World’s ‘Riot Cabaret’ night at the Scala this Saturday. It will be all about fun, and about being part of something, part of a community that does not look like the assembly-line gay scene. It is also about putting something back, and proceeds from the night will go to creating a series of events specifically for London’s LGBT youth, in association with Galop. The Polari team will be there. Be inclusive, not exclusive.
Wotever World describes the night:
Wotever World and the RVT
in association with Camden LGBT Forum and Galop
at the Scala
275 Pentonville Road, King´s Cross, London N1 9NL
London on 13th November
For one night only, Wotever World and the Royal Vauxhall Tavern presents RIOT CABARET, a Wotever Xtravaganza event celebrating diversity, in the fight to overcome homophobia and transphobia, featuring some of London’s best queer performers, artists and DJs, at the prestigious Scala venue on Saturday 13th November, in association with Camden LGBT Forum and Galop.
Wotever World lays down the gauntlet: “With cuts and aggression abounding, it’s time to come celebrate what we all have in common and our beautiful diversity. RIOT CABARET will be a packed night of live entertainment at Scala with the finest cabaret, drag, burlesque and music performers from today’s neo/ underground/ cabaret/ queer scene. Together we will overcome and fight back. This is a dress up party for all gender bending, stylish-punk-fashionista-expressions, we want RECESSION CHIC – a way of doing gender bending on a budget, cross dressing via charity shops, finding style and glamour at the pound shop … let’s do it with style!”
Performers on the night – some of which will specifically focus on overcoming hate crime – include host Ophelia Bitz, King of the Castle 2010, fire-eater, smut-peddler, general miscreant, Michael Twaits, “one of London’s fastest rising talents” Time Out and Dickie Beau, who merges the sensibility of contemporary culture with queer twists and informed echoes of the past.
Also taking to the stage will be Dusty Limits, the Weimar inspired cabaret singer and comedian, Mzz Kimberly, mega super diva with the sweetest voice and biggest heart, The Dream Bears in tight lycra and with hairy bellies plus intimate interactive performance from Nick Field.
Across three dancefloors, a rainbow of DJs including Jo Bunny (Bar Wotever), Joe Pop (Bar Wotever), Vicki Lester (Torture Garden, Club Wotever), Sarah Malinky (Dick & Fanny, Club Wotever), Debbie Smith (Nitty Gritty, Bar Wotever) and Dr Kemp (Lower the Tone, Bar Wotever) will take to the decks promising to get people dancing, posing and flirting.
Community organisations will also be in attendance including Camden LGBT Forum and Galop. Both are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community safety charities working hard to help us feel safe and get support when we need it. Tonight they each hold a stall in the foyer with info and volunteers ready to answer questions.
For more information please check out: Wotever World