DJing Queer: Review
I’m writing this directly post gig. Suffice to say tonight DID NOT go according to plan. 2nd worst gig technically-speaking I’ve ever done. Over the past week I’ve been playing with 20 minutes of opening material that tries to sum up what I feel/think/know/believe about queerness. And spent a fair amount of time with the wonderful Lynette Quek working on the visualisation for the set. However, due to several technical hiccups the set was not at all what was planned, the visuals didn’t go to plan, and the extra surprise I had planned couldn’t happen.
Now, this isn’t a moaning blog post about “oh this went wrong” or “woe is me” etc. But I really want to share what I had planned. After my previous post about queerness and queer identity I spent a lot of time soul searching and trying to figure out just how to approach the material in a celebratory manner. In the end I settled on a highlights tour of the various facets of the material I find interesting; vogue culture, piano driven house, disco and emancipation, classic ha trax, screaming divas, and all the other wonderful things about queerness and house music that I find so appealing. As a result I’d constructed a 20 minute segment of my set, with visual accompaniment, that quickly worked through some of these ideas. The latter half of the set was simply dedicated to classic gay disco (although slightly deeper cuts than normal).
Due to issues with the technology etc. I couldn’t actually play that set. And the materials I had as “back up” were frankly limited. Instead, the audience, who dealt with it splendidly, got a taste of various cuts I thought dance floor appropriate with a vaguely queer/club theme. Not as deep or as nuanced as I’d have liked, but it seemed to get some response. And the visuals (also out of sync with the unplanned set) seemed to work well in places.
Rather than the meticulously planned set the audience got:
- Patti LaBelle - The Spirits In It
- James Brown - Body Heat
- Samantha Fu - Discotheque
- Ralphi Rosario - You Used To Hold Me
- Christopher Just - Disco Dancer
- Chuck Cissel - Cisseling Hot
- Cheryl Lee Ralph - In The Evening
- Robyn - Dancing On My Own
- Whitney Houston - So Emotional
Not my finest hour, but somewhat appropriate for the theme. Disco classics, darker/minimal club moments, 80s boogie numbers, and more contemporary pop dance ballads. But, truth be told, I am somewhat gutted that I didn’t get to play the thing I had planned. I had planned moments where the monochromatic visuals turned pink or disappeared entirely. Random text fragments announced songs or phrases from queer culture using the Paris Is Burning font. At one point the whole piece was supposed to turn rainbow coloured with the 8 colours of the original pride flag (which did get a little cheer).
BUT here is the set I would have played with all technology working with the visuals synchronised, and the text announcing certain things at the correct points.