Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Defend Beauty

There is a fascinating discussion going on over at Tony Goes' blog over the sudden and tragic death of Hillary Daniels early Sunday morning in Florianopolis. To me, this could be the opening round in what might give better definition of exactly what the coming decade will be about, and consequently what my own focus here should be.

Hillary was by every account a "rising star" in the world of gay Brazilian nightlife, principally out of the nightlife capital of the country, São Paulo. She was a very young, very beautiful tranny who was hostess of the popular Cafe com Vodka party on Sundays at Sonique, in the hot Baixa Augusta neighborhood. This party, founded by Duda Hering, has already won local and international acclaim, and is truly a fun gathering of interesting and beautiful people, against a backdrop of eclectic music.

And yet, by all the news coming out of the party, it seems that Hillary's death at the e-Joy Pool Party early on Sunday morning, where she was found face-down and dead in the pool as the party was winding down, has set off a fascinating debate among the inner core of the Cafe com Vodka crowd. Tony Goes is one of those leading lights, as well as a close friend of Hillary, and his launch of the discussion was brave given the usual way these tragedies are sort of glossed over or trivialized in our Brazilian culture.

I've said my piece over in the comments section, so I won't add to it while I encourage you (who understand Portuguese) go over there and participate as well. But I will say that it has made me think of the decade that just ended, and the one that is dawning now. And maybe is pointing a way forward for this blog.

The previous decade seems to have been marked by a ferocious retreat from individuality and the beauty of each person in the bigger world. Hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions of innocent people were killed from 2000 to 2009 all over the world in the face of a monstrous attack of groupthink, in the name of religion, nationality, ideology, race or mere social identity. It was a brutal, ferocious decade that reached a sort of retrograde bottom in every aspect. Perhaps even in our nightlife. It seems individuality was just punished and beaten for so long, and we all grew accustomed to a new, conformist reality on all "sides".

Even in the clubs, we saw a massive consolidation away from a patchwork of creative, illuminated wonderlands into giant, corporatized mega-clubs where the music grew all the more basic and tedious and the social mindset ever more dull and animated only by drugs and self-absorption.

Ironic that on the very dawn of the new decade, someone so unique, so beautiful and so one-of-a-kind, so young and promising, is the one face down in the pool of the latest, run-of-the-mill circuit party. The black tranny. Not the faceless clone muscle boy. The one who stood out is the one who went the way of the margin. The hostess of the most non-conformist event in town died in an utterly common and awful way, apparently. This is so tragic as to be outrageous.

I think perhaps it is an alarm that we must put the tedious themes and meios of the previous decade behind us. That party is over. And it's time to get back to defending, cherishing and promoting what our gay culture, our gay nightlife, the creme de la creme of all nightlifes, and ultimately our free society is all about --- the beautiful, wonderful unique people that make up the gorgeous, diverse tapestry of the "room", the "dancefloor" of life.

It's time for a change. It's time for something really interesting to emerge and capture our attention away from the dead-end of the party scene of today. And it should reflect a wider belief in deepening our experience on this planet day to day, rather than cheapening it.


Tony Goes said...

Wow, I could not imagine that my post would have so much repercussion.

Thanks for your comments, Kevin. Your post here is also very enlightening.

Sope to see ya soon!


Lucrece said...

Conformism, as detestable as it is, comes out to be a pretty nifty survival tool.

Those who stand out can be inspiring, but it is rare when any of these unique personalities is not consumed by the suffocating pressure to assimilate.

Not to be "normal", but to achieve that sense of belonging somewhere. For some strange reason we are made to want to belong somewhere; why can't it be the other way around, where we make wherever we go and whomever we meet to belong with us.

Kevin said...

Tony: Thank YOU for raising this discussion and keeping it at the high level where it belonged.

Lucrece: That's a very interesting and provocative point. It resonates with me in a way. But also, I think we don't want to settle just for survival. Belonging isn't a Hollywood ending - it can last for decades in one's life and that means we need inspiration to flow. We need to be challenged by it. And speaking at least for gay nightlife, I think the 2000s brand of conformity in the clubs has eaten itself alive and become absolutely deadening. How many more drug-fueled circuit parties can we go to after 10, 12, 15 years of all that? What's to be learned, or gained, that hasn't already been? And I ask this as someone who's been at almost all of them, from California to France, from Montreal to Florianopolis (i.e. I'm not some old jealous crank...)

Lucrece said...

And I agree, even though I think this isn't exclusive to our own community (but we have nowhere near the support network options straights do).

It's troublesome, however, because it's not rare for attempts to bring attention to this get dismissed as normative talk or whatever other queer theory garbage some reveler likes to conveninetly quote to defend self-destructive habits.

The best we can do is provide an alternative, and sadly alternatives are sorely lacking in our community.

Anonymous said...

Or perhaps you are just getting old.

Let the younger GLS kids create something better.