Diaries at the ready, Friday 17 November the Mac is the place to be!
Join the MAC and Outburst Queer Arts Festival in a night celebrating the sensation that is Alternative Miss World with its creator Andrew Logan and DJ Venus Dupree. A celebration of freaks, fops, show-offs and drag queens, Alternative Miss World is an event like no other that champions freedom of expression in the most creative, outrageous way possible. Everything kicks off at 7.30 pm till late.
Programmed in conjunction with the MAC’s current exhibition Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness, the night will begin with a screening of ‘The British Guide to Showing Off’ – the riotous documentary film about Alternative Miss World – introduced by Andrew Logan himself. Then stay on for our late-night alternative after party where you can strut your stuff on the dancefloor with DJ Venus Dupree on decks spinning everything from Disco to Italo and Deep House.
Channel your inner queen and come in your most dazzling, outrageous attire – there’ll be a prize for the best, most alternatively dressed.
Tickets are £15 and includes entrance to both the film screening and after-party, click this link to purchase your's today https://goo.gl/3bSyJE
Ahead of this sensational evening, we chatted to DJ Venus Dupree on why she’s involved and what to expect from the night.
So… Venus Dupree is an interesting name – how’d it come about?
Hey GNI… My name pays tribute to two of the great legends of the New York House Ballroom Community- Paris Dupree and Venus Xtravaganza.
When I started researching the roots of Dance Culture in my early days as a DJ – it all led to New York City and to Disco. I discovered that the roots of modern day dance culture and dance floors were founded in loft parties in New York City by predominantly gay, black men who needed to create a safe and accepting space for themselves.
The origins of the dance floor were so Queer and accepting of people and the only rule was that you respected the people around you. I discovered The House Ballroom Scene and where the popularised dance craze ‘Voguing’ came from. The House and Ballroom community is also the subject of the 1990 documentary ‘Paris is Burning’. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this term, The New York House Ballroom Community was established in 1968 by two drag performers - Crystal Le Beija and Paris Dupree, as a response to racism within the mainstream LGBT and Drag Scene in New York at the time. Tired of constant rejection, they formed their own community made up mostly of Queer People of Colour and threw balls late at night in community centres in Harlem and The Bronx. Initially, there were two houses The House of Dupree and The House of La Beija with Paris and Crystal being the mothers (or leaders) of the House. Very quickly, this grew and lots of houses were formed taking their names from fashion houses for example The House of Chanel, The House of Dior or The House of Xtravangza. Each House had the same structure, a Mother and the children, and they would all go to the balls together and compete in categories as a House. In some cases, a House represented not only a spiritual family but an actual home as many of the people in this community were homeless. They too were creating safe, welcoming spaces for themselves in a world that was rejecting their very existence.
In 2013, I moved to New York for a summer with the intention of meeting the current members of this community and to discover more. I met Sara Jordeno, Twiggy Pucci Garcon and Chi Chi Mizrahi who were writing and shooting a contemporary documentary about the community called KIKI. Over the two years that followed we developed and produced a performance piece called HOUSE which was performed at the MAC in Nov 2015 and we premiered KIKI last year at QFT.
So, my name pays tribute to two fierce characters – Paris and Venus- but also nods to those who, against the odds, fought to create a space for themselves.
Tell us why you wanted to be involved in this event fantastic event at the MAC?
I absolutely jumped at the chance to be involved with Alternative Miss World as it’s right up my street- Queer spaces established by Queer People for Queer Expression without judgement! I think that it’s important to present work of this nature not only for a Queer audience but also for a more mainstream audience who might not have had any exposure to Andrew Logan or pageants like AMW to understand the colour of the world we live in.
I am particularly looking forward to meeting Andrew Logan- he’s a bit of a Queer Icon for me and at the moment, we have several of his sculptures on display in the MAC galleries as part of Shonky: The Aethestics of Awkwardness. His sculptures are beautiful and garish all at once and quite often are portraits of friends or family of his - my favourite is called Divine in Heaven which is a tribute to the late, great drag performer Divine who attended the early AMW balls.
I hear there’ll be a prize for the most dazzling outfit. What are you wearing on the night and what sartorial advice do you have for people going?
I’m still deciding on my outfit and trying to draw inspiration from the various AMW themes of the past. I’m thinking big hair, big make up and sequins are a must! Sartorial advice… more is more!
You’ll be spinning the decks on the night – what will we be dancing to?
As I mentioned earlier, Disco was where it all began for me as a DJ and I’m really looking forward to playing a fun, disco, High NRG set- everyone is encouraged to dress to impress (interpretation is open here) and I hope that this will create the right environment for people to let their hair down and relax!
But… you’ll definitely hear this track:
Native Love by Divine https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vHSBD4s6fE