‘Last night I cried on stage. As did many of our acts. And in the audience. We held each other and we shared. As a promoter and organiser of events that draw big numbers of people who many times confess to me, that THIS is where they feel most at home. Most free to be themselves. Most Seen. Most True. My heart broke for the organisers of the event at Pulse last Saturday. It broke for all in the LGBTQ Latinx Community who went to Pulse now and then and felt at home, had fun, but also the nightclub who made them feel most at Home. Most True. They had a place to go to, a place that meant Home. And it broke for All in that club that night, who was there to be happy, seen, share and noticed. And it breaks my heart that this safe space, meeting place is now shattered from the event on Saturday night. So many lives taken and affected at a night for celebrations.’ Ingo

 

It was inevitable, of course, that when Bar Wotever with Smashlyn Monroe took place less than two days after one of the biggest anti-queer hate crimes in history it would leave an indelible mark. But what I think no-one expected is how it brought out so much more than despondent sorrow. This was a night of strength, of community, of warmth. It was a night of togetherness: togetherness in mutual grief, togetherness in power, in laughter, in dance and in sex. It was a night when all our emotions were allowed to run free, a river of pure catharsis flooding into a sea of hope.

No less than seven open mike slots, one of the biggest numbers in Bar Wotever history, barely felt enough to cover it all. Robin and Lil Lunatic, each performing here for the first time with completely new pieces, used spoken word poetry to address the enormity of what has happened. Ash, reborn like a phoenix, played beautiful, folk-tinged piano music, filled with fairy lights and hope. Australian star BenT brought his particular physique into his comedy, looking many ways for dick. Tara Fleur and Annabel made togetherness as much about sex and relationships as anything else, creating laughter in our shared experience of love, the internet, aging and breakups. And Helen Duff: Come With Me made it all the more intimate and cellular, clowning about sex and cheesy pick-up lines as a literal gamete. And all were recieved warmly, the sorrow as much as the orgasm what we all seemingly needed.

Instead of community news: a single candle, a moment of silence, holding hands, a new song about our beloved Wotever community drifting accross the speakers. And then the booked acts brought it home: Avery Edisonbringing dark humour into death, her deadpan voice evoking laughter in the face of tragedy. BABY LAME like they’ve never been before, almost sober, voice breaking in grief, dancing and telling a story of acceptance and love for all. Smashlyn Monroe, headlining, summed up the night with its most beautiful and horror-filled performance: a candle, the names of the victims, a vigil, sorrow’s tie and gag holding us in despair – and an umbrella filled with rainbow love and flowing ballet releasing us. Releasing us, it turns out, into straight into the artfully posed arms of Snake Boy Sunny, into whom all the strength and love and anger of the night seemed to flow, released in an amazingly tense display of rump-shaking belly dancing that had the whole room standing up and screaming and dancing along.

Something had palpably changed. At the end we were all standing there, angst turned to power, pouring disco defiance at the killer, at hate, at discord, a whole room so filled with loving resistance it was almost hard to breathe. Somehow, those hours of everything great Bar Wotever has to offer was the grief process we’d never known we all needed.

// Written b y Johan Palme and first published on our Wotever World Facebook Page

Here is a Donation page to Help staff and organisers at Pulse Nightclub when they try to rebuild this community venue/event! http://www.pulseorlandoclub.com/

20 June 2016

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