Posts Tagged ‘George & Dragon’

Gay Bars!

By Niall Connolly

Oh, the good ole gay bar! Love them or hate them, gay bars have been an integral part of LGBTQ social life since the beginning of time. Not always just a space for cruising and dancing, the gay bar/gay club has also been a vital tool for queers to define themselves and the kind of people we wish to be, the kinds of people we wish to interact with (for better and for worse) and, ultimately, the kind of lives we wish to lead, away from harassment and hetero-normative judgement. 

Gay bars have also acted as a reflection of society’s acceptance, or lack of acceptance, of LGBTQ people, and our own increasing visibility in mainstream society. From New York’s Stonewall Inn (site of the Stonewall riots in 1969, the event which kicked the modern gay rights movement into existence) to Manchester’s Manito (the first bar in the city’s gay village to feature see through glass in the windows, ending the traditional stigma and shame of being seen in a gay bar) to London’s Admiral Duncan pub (which was horrifically nail bombed in 1999 to huge public outrage), it seems as though all of gay life could be traced through our pub and club spaces, and our interaction with, and within, them. 

Although not always positive – very picky door policies have led to claims of exclusion and division among queer communities – gay bars and clubs are hugely important to this culture. As it was recently the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, we thought it was high time we celebrated the humble gay bar, so we’ve asked five of our favourite queer dance acts and DJs from around Europe to name their favourite gay bars for us. This isn’t a definitive guide however, consider it some insider tips for homos, don’t-knows, anything-goes and friends/allies to brighten up your next continental jaunt. 

DANIEL WANG (Berlin) 

Daniel Wang

Founder of Balihu Records and internationally renowned disco DJ, Danny Wang may be an American citizen with close ties to SF and NY,  but he moved to Berlin some years ago, and I couldn’t think of a better guide to gay bars the German capital has to offer. Here are his top three:   

FICKEN 3000 
Ficken 3000 is the ultimate trash/darkroom neighbourhood bar, which is situated near Hermannplatz. Events-wise, Tuesdays hosts DJ Alternegro, while Sundays is reserved for the sleazy Pork party. It could just as well be in Florida: it’s covered in mylar, there’s a ton of kitsch on the walls, a real go-go dance pole and a full bed in the basement. And, of course, some funny people too.

LAB.ORATORY 
Lab.Oratory is technically also Europe’s biggest sex club, but on Fridays, with its 2-for-1 special, it’s primarily a bar. Albeit a bar with endless cross-continental cruising, and real-life porno happening every minute in every corner! 

GROSSE FREIHEIT 
This one is a bit off the beaten path, but it’s worth getting to if you can find it, because it’s really cute and also quite sleazy!  It has a sailor theme, so going there is almost like a mini-detour to Hamburg. And the darkrooms can be quite relaxing… 

SILVIA PRADA (Barcelona)

Silvia Prada

Although primarily known as a visual artist, and a very good one at that, Silvia Prada is also DJ now based in New York. Known for her Who’s The Boss parties in Barcelona and for spinning at illustrious NY clubs like Le Bain and Monster, she also runs the Wonderland Projects agency. Ahead of her set at Dalston Superstore for B(e)ast this Saturday we asked her to tell us the best places for gay social life in her former home of Barcelona: 

LA PENULTIMA
One of my favourite bars is La Penultima. It is a very cute, small place in the Raval neighbourhood. It really is a unique and special place where you find all kind of crowds, made up of boys AND girls (though mostly boys!). While there is no real dancefloor, it is an intimate and fun space, with music being played by local DJs and their friends. The cutest boys in town are at La Penultima! 

SATANASA (R.I.P.) 
There WERE a lot of significant and legendary gay bars in Barcelona, but unfortunately, they have all disappeared already. My favourite was one called Satanasa. If you wanted something you could call “underground”, that was the place. It was really buzzing in the ’80s and ’90s, all the bartenders were drag queens. Ah, that was a splendorous era for the drags! 

KIDDY SMILE (Paris) 

Kiddy Smile

Upcoming legend on the Parisian dance and electronica scene, Kiddy Smile makes the kind of sensual house music that fans of Azari & III, Disclosure and Hard Ton will cream their jeans for. Recently responsible for the excellent, old-school-but-fresh single/video Worthy Of Your Love, I tracked Mr Smile down to find out what bars were worthy of his love…

LES SOUFFLEURS
Les Souffleurs is owned by a transgender man who always welcomes you with a lovely smile! It’s a bit small and hard to find but it’s worth the pain of getting there. Drinks are cheap, and there are a lot of freaks hanging out there, along with a lot of English-speaking people. As well as all that, the basement hosts the raciest party in Paris!

RAIDD BAR 
If you are feeling horny and up for drinking, this is the spot. But you better like twinks and gym queens, otherwise you can just sip your drink listening to disco or pop music, while watching hot dancers performing a “shower dance”.

BONUS: CHE SHEN… cos gays gotta eat!
This place does the best Asian food in Paris for me! Do not be afraid if they are a little harsh, because the food is amazing and cheap. If you come to Paris you CANNOT leave without having their pork dumplings!

HARD TON (Rome / Florence / Bologna) 

Hard Ton

And speaking of… The bastard love child of Leigh Bowery and Sylvester (midwifed by Marshall Jefferson), Hard Ton is quite simply fabulous, and one of my favourite acts right now. Although hailing from different parts of Italy, Hard Ton (the band) were able to share with us their favourite queer spots from three of Italy’s major cities; Rome, Florence and Bologna: 

CRISCO (Florence) 
Small, dirty, smokey and always packed, Crisco is located in the very centre of Florence. The Saturday night parties are pure fun, and especially during Pitti Uomo, they can turn into total chaos. And if you need a break and some fresh air, you can always take a walk through Florence by night.

LA ROBOTERIE (Rome / Florence / Bologna) 
After originally starting as a queer techno party in Rome, La Roboterie has spread all over Italy. The crowd is mixed, cool people without an attitude, and they often have international guests playing jacking house and techno.

CASSERO (Bologna)  
Located in a XVIII bricks building that looks like an old castle, Cassero is the headquarter of the main Italian LGBTQ association. Their monthly bear party is huge, and their art festival, Gender Bender, which takes place at the end of October, is always full of interesting events.

FERAL is KINKY (London)

FERAL is KINKY

I Am Feral AKA MC Kinky AKA Caron Geary to her mum, is just little bit of a legend, and an un-heralded national treasure whose prolific output spans all the way back to the late ’80s acid house-era, with classics like Everything begins With An E. Ahead of her live PA here at Dalston Superstore next weekend for Bust Yo Nut, we couldn’t think of a better person to give us the low down on the best gay spots in ole London town: 

George and Dragon 
The George and Drag is at the start of Hackney Road, and has been running for years. It was one of the first places in the area that provided a more alternative vibe. It’s got a warm atmosphere, and the gorgeous landlord and performance artist Richardette let me have a party after the 1st year of my degree. I ended up dancing on the small tables with a large broom, that I think caught alight. I blamed it all on the special cut price cocktails Richardette knocked up for us… The pub gets ridiculously packed, people pour out onto the street outside and different DJs play retro and alternative sounds most nights of the week. It’s unpretentious and friendly with lots of regulars, some of whom have almost morphed into the stools in the corner, but that’s part of the charm. Depending on what the night is, you can sit down and chat or dance all night. You’ll find a mixture of art and fashion and east London types. The interior is old British pub with a twist and the walls are covered in kitsch paintings camp objects and they also have art exhibitions in the toilet. There’s a particularly good vibe in the summer and it’s a good place to start the night or stay until closing time and move on to whatever else might be happening close by.

Vogue Fabrics 
Run by the enigmatic Maori princess AKA Chief Witch and Mayoress of Dalston: Lyall. This bar/club performance space started life as a “Death Trap Disco” with parties rockin’ through ’til at least the next morning on most occasions. This subterranean lair still retains the feeling of a den of inequity and is now fully legal and even has a smoking area. The cute bar serves beers, spirits at reasonable prices and never shies away staging performances from more art based, less commercial and way more exciting radical performers, without losing the full on party vibe. The crowd varies depending on what nights are on, ranging from boys to girls to mixed to fashion to trans* and everything in-between. I’ve spent many a hot sweaty night below stairs and last month saw a fab show from Christeene here.

CHRISTEENE “Big Shot” from PJ Raval on Vimeo.

To read more from Niall visit his blog: c-v-n-t-y.blogspot.co.uk

World Aids Day

This weekend sees World Aids Day roll around once more and a wonderful reason to empty your wallet for local charity Positive East. With events across east London at venues such as The George & Dragon, East Bloc, The Joiners and right here at Dalston Superstore, there’s plenty of opportunities to be generous.

Kris Di Angelis takes over both floors of Superstore on Saturday 1st December for Super Tramp, an extra-special World Aids Day edition of his party, featuring himself and Jaime Ritchie back to back in the basement for a five hour set whilst upstairs the outrageously sexy Munroe Bergdorf and JonBenet Blonde will be running wild. 

Meanwhile, Dirtbox with Gibson, Princess Michael Of Cunt and The Duchess of Pork will be taking place over at East Bloc, a special X-Factor Live Show with Princess Julia at The George & Dragon and Pantastic with Paul Heron at The Joiners where Positive East can still benefit from your hard-earned cash.

If Friday nights are more your thing then former Tramp guest Jodie Harsh will be at East Bloc for Larry T’s Super Electric Party Machine.

If you’re in any doubt about where you should be this weekend, we’ll leave you with this snap of Munroe looking ridiculously sexy at the last Tramp…

Munroe Bergdorf at Tramp

Join Munroe Bergdorf, Kris Di Angelis, Jaime Ritchie, JonBenet Blonde and more at Super Tramp here at Dalston Superstore on Saturday 1st December from 9pm – 4am.

The Lovely Jonjo

The Lovely Jonjo joins us this Sunday for another spectacular team up with the JERK! girls for a Bank Holiday bonanza in the form of Hot Boy Carnival Jerk Spot! In the midst of rumours flying about that headliners Bicep will be taking “tops off” to its literal conclusion in the lazer basement, we thought it best to catch up with Sueprstore fave Jonjo (who also kindly provided this amazing mix to get us the mood) and find out how he earned his disco stripes, his best carnival memories and what bands are getting him all hot ‘n’ bothered at the moment…

You’re an actual Londoner! At what discos did you hang out at during your misspent youth?

I started going to a night called Smashing, an amazing night at the Eve Club on Regent Street which is no longer there. It was a proper night out where me and my girly mates would get dressed up at home. They would make a dress each week and we’d go every Friday night and feel like we missed out if we missed one. The club was a super mixed bag of people of trannies, indie kids, and pop stars like Bjork and Oasis. Pulp even filmed their Disco 2000 video down there. Matthew Glamorre, the host, got the crowd to give me birthday bumps for my 15th birthday but he kept shouting “He’s 18! He’s 18!” I used to go to Popstarz when it was at the Paradise Club in Angel and used to sneak into club Labyrnth on Dalston Lane, which had really good drum n bass nights. It was quite rough.


Pulp – Disco 2000 on MUZU.TV.>

How did you come to be involved with the George & Dragon?

Richard and Lilli, the owners, used to regularly come into a store I was a buyer for, the Japanese brand Superlovers. They’d heard I started DJing at mates’ parties and we got along really well and they asked me to DJ as one of the first weekly residents. Then I started doing the legendary Sundays, which were mental. Lots of drunken dancing on the bar.

You were resident at the legendary Trash club with Erol and Rory… What are your lasting Monday night memories?

God, so many.  Soulwax doing their remix album live was mindblowing. These New Puritans and PNAU were also amazing. It really was a family-like tight-knit atmosphere and I just have really good memories of people smiling and going crazy on the dancefloor.

What prompted you to start Hot Boy Dancing Spot?

Partly because of really good memories of Popstarz and the gay boys that were into music other than the recent chart crap, and going to mates’ nights in Berlin that had boys who liked boys but were really into music and the lack of that in London.

If Hot Boy Dancing Spot started a boy band who would be in it? (ps you have a time machine)

Jimmy Edgar, Iggy Pop back in the day, Brodinski, Gesaffelstein, Nile Rogers, and Tom Daly now that he’s 18 haha!

Which bands are getting you excited right now?

Loving Disclosure at moment and have had the Tristesse Contemporaine LP on repeat. We have When Saints Go Machine playing at Durrr next month and can’t wait to see them again. What a treat.

What is your best carnival memory?

Ooooooooh so many! My mum used to know a lot of the old Twice As Nice garage crew so I used to go plonk myself by (or on) a speaker at the KCC Sound System. I can remember one really sunny year hearing Gabriel (garage tune not Joe Goddard) for the first time, incredible.

KCC was always amazing, big smiles and never any trouble. Just shuffling along with mates dancing in the streets. London needs more of that actually.

This is not the first time we’ve had a special Hot Boy Jerkin’ Spot, why do you like teaming up with JERK!

I love those gals and the JERK! crowd are always up for it and love a wine and grind and a good sing a long. I love r’n’b and ragga but I never play it out so I’ll definitely be joining the girls upstairs for a little set this Sunday.

You’ve got purveyors of the tops off dancefloor Bicep headlining in the basement. What’s your personal tops off track?

Man2Man – Male stripper OBVS.

At the moment Róisín Murphy’s collaboration with Luca C & Brigante – Flashlight Solomun remix is driving me fucking insane.

 The Lovely Jonjo plays Hot Boy Carnival Jerkin’ Spot this Sunday 26th August from 9pm – 4:30am.

Trailer Trash Memories

For those who don’t know TrailerTrash is the eastend rave rodeo that has defiantly stamped its filthy mark on London’s underground electronic dance scene over the last 8 years. They’ve showcased some of the best DJ’s around since 2004, when promoters Mikki Most and Dan Glamtrucker teamed up with DJ resident Hannah Holland and started the legendary weekly Friday nighter at On The Rocks, playing an explosive soundtrack of electrofied booty shake, jackin’ techno rave, distorted disco and dirty off-kilter jump up sounds.

Along with fellow resident DJ Ian Robinson the party ran for over 5 years until they finally closed the doors at On The Rocks in 2009, but the TT crew continue to put on big warehouse raves and this summer are lining up to takeover the main dance tent at Lovebox Sunday with party partners GutterSlut. It’s set to be a big day with DJ Hell, Tiga, LCD Soundsystem and Ivan Smagghe headlining the big top tent, which holds up to 5000 people – so no problems if the rains come!

Ahead of the big event we caught up with Mikki and Hannah for a chat about their fave TrailerTrash parties over the years, and which ones particularly blew their minds. So for all those who remember the lost Friday nighters and sweaty warehouse bangers then here are some of the standout moments from the last 8 years of no good fun… it’s been one hell of a ride!

Kwik-Fit Garage rave

The first massive rave we ever did nearly didn’t happen! We lost the original space at the last minute but luckily managed at the last minute to secure the disused Kwik-Fit garage near the Old Street roundabout. With hardly any power and one strobe light (literally!), about 1000 people turned up and went mental to Ivan Smagghe in the concrete bunker. Everyone thought we had hired a load of smoke machines for it but it was just all the dust in there!

Banged Up – Prison Rave

We were given the chance to do a party in a 200-year-old underground medieval prison near Clerkenwell. It was a maze of underground dungeons; an amazing, surreal and very creepy space, but it just worked perfectly, and I remember the atmosphere as being so intense especially when Hannah played the whole place went crazy. Because it was underground people couldn’t find the entrance for hours!

Every Friday at On The Rocks

Possibly the most seedist venue, it was voted the worst toilets in London by Time Out, with dodgy crates in the DJ booth, so that gives you a little idea of how grimey it was. But that was its charm and to watch it grow from a small family of Shoreditch party people to a completely mobbed electric rave over the course of 5 years was amazing. Every week it went off, people really lost there minds in there. The music of 2006 was probably the best year; Oliver Huntemann was a staple sound of the club… big dirty filthy electro techno.

Summer Camp

Along with our pals from Horse Meat Disco and Disco Bloodbath this was the biggest outdoor party we have ever done and was actually after Lovebox in 2008. Over 2500 people turned up to some outdoor football pitches next to Liverpool Street (which have sadly now been developed) and it was just brilliant. It was special because it is so hard to do outdoor parties in London because of the sound issues but for that one night we were somehow allowed…. we even had an ice cream van!

Eastend Pleasure Cruise

We have done several boat parties but the first one stands out when we teamed up with our friends at The George & Dragon because it was just a perfect summer’s day. I will always remember a boatload of trannies sailing under Tower Bridge waving at everyone to the soundtrack from Baywatch!

Rumble In The Jungle – Boxing Ring Party

For some reason we thought it would be a brilliant idea to have a full size boxing ring in the middle of a rave with a DJ battle in it for our 8th birthday. It was totally amazing apart from when the ring broke because there was too many people dancing in it and we had to pay loads of money to a very pissed off boxing coach. Ooops… it was worth it though. 

TrailerTrash and Gutterslut will be taking over the main dance big top at Lovebox Sunday this year – for tickets and info visit lovebox.net

They will also be having a summer rooftop party in August, a series of intimate warehouse events in early September and a massive Halloween rave as well… so keep  ‘em peeled kids…