Art in a Hopeless Place

15 Mar

One fateful Saturday night, I ventured into this shady establishment everyone’s been apprehensive about, Adonis in Timog Avenue. When I first stepped in, I felt it was a tad too underlit for my liking and the smell- mmm… redolent of danger. It was smaller than I expected; definitely more of an intimate setting.

What peculiarity my eyes will gaze at, I had so little clue on, but I decided to play safe and chose a table that was relatively far from the then scintillating stage, where the  “magic” happens every night.  In short, I admit I was too much of a sissy to go anywhere near.  Welp. I wanted to go home to my mommy clean and unscathed. I mean I knew I didn’t go there to witness a cutthroat wrestling match, but the perfervid paranoia in me still simply couldn’t brush off the idea that someone from the audience would inevitably get harassed…

by the importuning macho men that is. And with all honesty, I wouldn’t want to be the “lucky” participant.

I finally settled down on the table with two of my female friends, one who seemed to have a look of repugnance and one who looked too giddy and thrilled for words. I’d like to think that eventually I was pretty neutral and yes, (I admit) slightly excited to witness the spectacle.

An unintelligible voice of a DJ trying to sound groovy and snazzy introduced the performers of the opening acts. I wish I were able to make out any of what he enthusiastically mumbled, though. The performers then came out in the skimpiest of Daisy Dukes (which I myself can never have the guts and the glutes to pull off) and of course, some undeniably fabulous leather cowboy/spiky boots. A few were donned in skin-tight undershirts while most were simply bare in all their glorious ripped abs. Hey, you know what they say- if you got it, flaunt it. I can just imagine the blood, sweat, and tears they had to shed just to sculpt such a sturdy physique- A physique that might actually give justice to their greek god of “beauty and desire”, Adonis *cue in seductive whisper*

The accompaniment/music selection which included classics and sappy love ballads ranging from the 90s up to the early 2000s seemed rather awkward. But then again, I kind of also think the slow-mo dance routines were just as gauche to begin with. It didn’t seem very natural. I mean I don’t think women would like men to seduce them in such manner. Sure, all those sexual stance and gesticulation probably showcased their muscularity in all the best and right ways but it seemed very contrived. Then again who am I to judge? Seduction is not really my cup of tea.

I was also quite disappointed at the fact that there weren’t much people in the audience aside from us, Ateneans. I did observe a couple of middle-aged women and middle-aged men/gays. They weren’t so participative either except maybe for one plump woman, who seemed to have found her “type” among one of those Korean-looking pool of men. It seemed to me like they were trying to get a feel of each other’s company. See where it goes.

The expression of the macho dancers’ faces is what really struck me the most, though. Amusing how I’ve observed quite a diversity in their expressions. Some looked depressed and forced, though it’s probably just me and my propensity to interpret situations dramatically. Also, some performers seemed apathetic, as if what they were doing were so routine, memorized, and mundane. Some seemed to be wistfully gazing into space. The ones I liked scrutinizing the most were the few ones who seemed to be enjoying their craft. Passion was emanating from within them; they just couldn’t help but to show conviction. Never mind that I find their moves quite comical, a part of me  learned to admire a part of them, and NO, it’s not the anatomical part that you’re probably thinking of. tisk.tisk.

I remember when the manager sat on our table and talked about how these performers actually acquire a lot of material things from the job: from 20,000 peso tips (maybe even bigger), cars, and to condominium units. Surprisingly, some even have stable day jobs and businesses which makes me scratch my head and wonder-why then the need for such a career that our culture deems so heinous?

But then a weird thought hit me, are they really doing it for the money? Or are they just using this generic monetary excuse, a notion that is more socially acceptable now,  to pursue some kind of personal fulfillment? Maybe, just maybe, in a lack of better channel or medium, they’ve learned to use this gay bar as an outlet for their passion in performing arts. In their own twisted way, maybe. Humans after all have a necessity to express individuality. A necessity to create beauty even when they don’t know it. A necessity for art.

Art which can also be an escape from the banality and the insipidity of their ordinary lives. In such special case like this, art may have found its way even in the dingiest, “sleaziest” and in darkest recesses of a gaybar.

Also, maybe it’s the need to be applauded  or the need to be appreciated.  Appreciation doesn’t come so easy nowadays. But those are just one among many possible perspectives as to why they pursue such careers.

On a side note, the real surprise of the night, however, was one big package that elicited the most shock from everyone. Funny how the only time we did get the courage to go in front was pretty much about the same time it just had to happen. It just had to appear out of nowhere. BOOM.

-Sofia Aldeguer

100111, SA21 Section A

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Posted by on March 15, 2012 in Uncategorized


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