Coming up in Melbourne on November 27th.
Coming up in Melbourne on November 27th.
Above, more of the always-arresting artwork for Melbourne’s Trough X party and after the break, a (NSFW) photo-essay from new Thai gay arts collective Supper and the promotional image from this weekend’s Beach Bear party in Taipei.
Anime top from korean brand Pushbutton at recent Seoul Fashion Week. Below, scenes from Melbourne’s Genki “queer Asian” party.
And artwork from Dutch sculptor Peter Jansen.
On August 29th, Tokyo’s glam-fash-fag party FancyHim is celebrating its tenth (tenth!!!) anniversary – where did all the years go? See more FancyHim on the blog here.
Meanwhile in Seoul, the I:AM gay extravaganza is about to begin, a weekend-long party marathon supported by a bunch of Itaewon clubs, Club Gray and Le Queen among them.
Just next to Wat Hualamphong, and steps from the girlie (and boy) bars, thumping clubs and tatty night markets is an interesting new addition to Silom’s night scene, Too Fast To Sleep, a library-like all-night work and study space filled with shelves of books, power sockets for computers and when I was there, packed full of college students and teenagers, squatting in corners and sprawled over the floors with the notebooks and the class projects.
Of course, they also provide food and drinks, but seemingly there is no compulsion to buy. If you just want to come and use the stylishly-designed space for studying, thats fine too.
An interesting change of pace for Silom nightlife.
As the sun goes down in Bangkok, I head out in search of sensual pleasures – no, not those ones, the other one. Food. The fact is though that few cities offer the nighttime promise that Bangkok does; apart from the ubiquitous sex on every corner (literally, in this neighbourhood) there are massages, street markets, great food, bars in vans and on the footpaths, 24 hours flower markets and a continually evolving and varied nightlife scene ranging from ramshackle bar/art galleries to mega clubs and elaborate concept places.
One of the best places to start the night, until recently at least, has been the Sukhumvit Soi 38 food market, next to Thonglor station. This is one of the city’s best known collections of food vendors, and famous for its mango sticky rice. Sadly though its days are numbered: the whole block is to be redeveloped into condominiums, meaning the vendors have to find a new home.
When i arrived I found the market already quiet, with some some stalls having moved out already. Sad – Bangkok has lost one of its (admittedly many) charms. But then, another of those is its ability to continually reinvent itself, as I found in Silom.
Pushing down Silom Road, past the stalls selling designer mens underwear and tacky gay Tshirts, I reached Soi 4. Here, eating a spicy egg salad at Balcony with a beer, I noticed an interesting new trend – not one, but two straight couples with strollers, taking their kids out to hit the gay bars. First it was the dogs, now the gays are getting marrried and straight people are taking their kids out to Silom Soi 4 – it really is a brave new world after all!
Nearby on Soi 8 I also wanted to check out another progression to the Silom scene, White lines, recently host to the intriguing “Tkrai cat party”. With its concrete floor and impressive wall art, super high breezy ceilings and dub music pumping, it has a great vibe and provides a whole new texture to the Silom experience – Sala Daeng goes hipster! There is even a foodtruck outside.
I saw this change too in the new Spanish Catanambu coffee shop and the lifestyle store from Thai brand Karmakamet with its shelves of scents, cafe space with vintage typewriters and books to browse, and tasteful homewares – all located opposite the gay smoothie place selling “suck my balls” pearl milk tea and around the corner from Soi Thaniya where hookers in fake Singapore Airlines uniforms bow to passing salarymen – the old Silom brushes up against the new version.
From here, I headed back to Sukhmuvit, past the African hookers on Soi 19 and the all-night Korean coffee shop. I was planning to crash back at the hotel. Stopping into a 7-11 on Nana though, I witnessed an interesting exchange illustrating some more of Bangkok’s complex dynamics. A pair of young Chinese women were yelling at each other in Mandarin at the counter, apparently over which snacks to purchase, holding up the whole line. Suddenly a short, poor-looking, weatherbeaten old man with one good eye pushed them aside muttering angrily in Thai, then turning to me (for some reason) to say in English “Australia, Canada, Scandinavia we like ( I guess he assumed -correctly- that I was from one of the above). But China – we don’t like!”, making an angrily dismissive gesture at the Chinese.
As I stepped into my hotel I could feel the bass emanating from the basement nightclub and decided to take a look. Why not? It had been renovated since my last visit but the basic layout remained the same, little tables with stools and buckets of free popcorn looking over a dancefloor. Groups of young men in fashionable tropical-floral caps and sportswear were huddling in groups, as were shock blonde girls in skintight dresses and a cluster of hipsters, dressed like Arabic Adam Lamberts and one black guy who looked like Cee Lo in short shorts, a cloak-like black top and Jeremy Scott hightops with Nana Mouskouri glasses and a statement necklace: the Fresh Prince of Khartoum. And the music! The crowd were clearly gearing up to have the time of their lives and the beats were infectious – I tried to make a recording on my phone:
It was just past twelve but the dancefloor was starting to simmer, and I noticed with interest that not only is the music better at Bangkok’s Arab clubs than gay clubs, but the boys are much better dancers.
Brazilian DJ due Selvagem. You can listen below to their mixtape, Beats+Space. The pair are playing in Sao Paulo this weekend at one of their monthly Selvagem parties.