This Friday a variety of performers, including musicians, stand up comedians, circus performers, DJ’s and drag artists are putting on a show at legendary club Gaukurinn in downtown Reykjavík. Organisers say they want to spice up the queer-club-party scene with a spectacular night.
“Basically, this is a queer-partynight/show with a hint of drag, cabaret, music ‘n stuff,” says organizer Sigurður Heimir Guðjónsson, or Siggi, about the event taking place at Gaukurinn on Friday. “All in all there are nine of us that night. Comedian Jonathan Duffy is the presenter. Then there are five drag shows; Pixy, Aurora Borealis, Starína, Ína Vagína and myself as Gógó Starr. Then there’s Mighty Bear (Magnús Bjarni Gröndal) with original music, Danny Boy (Daniel Pilkington) with a circus act, and the grand finale will be no other than Páll Óskar himself!”
So Páll Óskar is on board! Any idea what kind of performance he’s planning? Will it be drag?
Co-organiser Hafsteinn Sverrisson: “Well he knows the theme of the evening, but I don’t think it will be drag. He gets total control of his act. (Laughs) When we advertised the event he contacted us and volunteered to be in it pro bono because he agrees that this sort of entertainment is severely lacking. And he’s just been awesome, volunteering to help with equipment and stuff. But I do know that he will perform three songs. You have to come to see for yourself!”
This sounds a bit like what the club Moulin Rouge was all about in its day, all sorts of performances, drags and so forth. Are you trying to restore that kind of feel? Is this an ode to that long-lost time mixed with the new?
Siggi: “Yes, you could say that. We want to spice up the queer-club-party scene with a mixture of the old and the new and also try to bring to little Iceland what we have seen happening abroad.”
Hafsteinn: “Of course we have our club, Kiki, and that’s fantastic, but we just wanted more. I and Siggi were talking about the RuPaul’s Drag Race, which we love, but we know that drag competitions are stressful and the performer can’t really be relaxed and really show all his act. So we wanted to create a different mood. Besides, there are loads of people who love drag but would never enter a competition. We wanted to reach out to those people. I feel that drag queens are really important in our culture.”
Wait, what about drag kings?!
Hafsteinn: “That too! Believe me, we tried SO hard to get women to participate, inter-sex people, pan-sex people, but no-one wanted to participate. Please let it be clear that we are looking for them to be with us next time! Hopefully this event will become a monthly thing and then amateur drag performers of both sexes can join, along with other queer artists who want to stop hiding at home and show the world what their made of. It would be so great for our culture!”
Siggi: “There hasn’t been much going on lately in the queer-scene when it comes to shows and entertainment so we wanted to get people together, both queers and their supporters, and just meet up, have some fun and show all the talent that is hiding in corners everywhere, be it drag, burlesque, musicians etc.”
“We want to spice up the queer-club-party scene with a mixture of the old and the new and also try to bring to little Iceland what we have seen happening abroad.”
So, basically instead of just complaining, you decided to take matters into your own hands?
Siggi: “Exactly, couldn’t have put it better myself.
You see, for a long time, whenever a few queer people got together, there was complaints about how nothing exciting was happening. And instead of just sitting around, complaining about it, we decided “What the heck, let’s stop whining and do something!” It was long overdue to do something of this sort. We knew of so many talented people who would want to do something, so we contacted them, and things just escalated from there. We have already begun scheduling other performers for future events, so this has the potential to become a regular thing.”
But how did it come about, that the two of you, and Johnathan Duffy, Þórhallur Hafþórsson and Hrönn Tooth decided to organize this? Are you guys a group of friends or…?
Hafsteinn: “When we, the boys that is, started meeting at our coffee-get-togethers we were always complaining about how we wanted more drag shows and you know, just more flamboyant things that everybody enjoys. I and Siggi then decided to stop whining and do something about it. My friend, Þórhallur Hafþórsson is a tailor at the Opera so I contacted him, he pointed to Jonathan Duffy, who has been involved in cabarets in Australia. And then we saw the GayIceland coverage on Lez-B-Honest which Hrönn supervised and contacted her, and she came on board. So yeah, it kinda just started from there.”
How has the organizing been going? Was it difficult to get people behind this?
Siggi: “Not at all. Almost everybody we contacted jumped on the wagon and were simply thankful that we were doing this. Of course this is a lot of work. Getting people together, getting sponsors and stuff, but everybody was just very excited and positive about what we are doing, so things have been going extremely well.
Some were surprised to hear that we weren’t gonna have it at Kiki, but there is a simple explanation for that; it’s not big enough for this sort of event. And the people at the Gaukurinn have just been super awesome in getting this off the ground with us. So yeah, we’ve been very lucky.”
Hafsteinn: “Yes, everybody has been really helpful. The most difficult thing was to find sponsors, and we’re almost there. So if anybody would want to sponsor the event, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our aim is to do this again and again, and hopefully with adequate sponsorship so that we can help the artists with costs due to their act that night. And the dream is that it would later become so successful that the proceeds would go to charity.
So get of the couch, attend this awesome show, support future events, and if we keep this going, we will all be supporting some good charity along with having some serious fun.”
Gaukurinn, Friday, November 20.
House opens at 19PM.
Show starts at 21PM.
Admission is 1.000 ISK.
The profit will be used to sponsor the next event.
20 year age limit.
Specials will be served at the bar – for details check out Gaukurinn on Facebook.
Note: You can buy pre sale tickets for 1.000 ISK by sending the organisers an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Main photo shows organisers, from the left: Þórhallur Hafþórsson, Hrönn Tooth, Sigurður Heimir Guðjónsson and Hafþór Sverrisson (Hrönn was photographed by Halla Þ. Óskarsdóttir, the boys were photographed by Sigurþór Gunnlaugsson). Organiser and host Jonathan Duffy can be seen in a separate photo in the article. On the right: Starína who will be performing!
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