Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Torture Garden 2007 at Gagarin Club

Good evening meine damen und herren. As always, work has pinned me down and I failed to strategically sit my a$$ down and write the update earlier, but no matter. Thank you for bearing with me. So… Torture Garden… Well, the sad part is that I did not manage to get any pictures, since it was strictly forbidden and in the panicked, frantic run that is my life, I did not have the time to ask one of the editors of the newspapers in which I write to get me a journo’s pass. Hence, I could only take pictures of my friends (and myself) while we were dressing for the occasion and I still haven’t cleared with them whether it is OK to post (some of) the photos here. The nuances of everyday life tend to get in the way of creative ambitions. BUT… at least I will give you a detailed account of the event. So here goes…

First off: though Gagarin Club is situated somewhere which, to my imperfect geographical knowledge, might as well be next to Kuala Lumpur, it is a great space for live shows. The club is generously wide and it is constructed in such a way that the arrangement is slightly theatrical (i.e. there are sort of different levels where you can stand, the lowest being next to the stage), like very wide steps. Anyone with a ticket could go there and those (like us) who had taken the trouble to dress accordingly (which is to say, a wide range of “out of the ordinary”, from Victorian dresses to latex overalls, to S&M equipment and… well… let your imagination roam to parts forbidden), could go up to the balcony, where the view was better and there was a little more private S&M session going on, as well as hentai projection on a black curtain (which was also hiding the S&M session from unwanted eyes).

It's surprising how many *ahem* attires
look like Kroenen from Hellboy.

Arriving at the scene, we were ready to be embarrassed (there is no point going to details if I cannot show you the pictures, but you can see my collar in the picture below) since, in Greece, we are known to be a bit more regressive in our “things that stay at home” behavior; also, a friend had warned me that the previous two times Torture Garden had been in Greece, the dress code had yielded a minority and, to quote, “the majority were in casual jeans, shirts and what-have-you”. Boy, were we surprised! To begin with, we were meeting five more friends there, of whom 3 were dressed accordingly (the two girls, as well as one of the guys, albeit a bit conservatively).

Now, for those of you imagining kinky stuff, I will let you in on a few secrets: first, forget neck braces. THIS thing won’t let your head budge an inch and even drinking water is hard. Furthermore, wearing it for a whole night will bruise your breastbones. Secondly, this thing was meant for female necks and therefore, it would not fit even when my friends half-strangled me to try and fit the bolts and holes. Instead, we got some black leather cord and they literally tied it, securing it with five knots I could not even see. Try taking THAT off, eh?

Furthermore, after entering the main floor, we saw that quite a few people wore various attires, such as mentioned above: my personal favorites include people who wore full latex body suits and looked like Kroenen from Hellboy (not that I could wear anything of the sort - I would simply die from the heat), one of the girls in our company who wore, well, as little as possible with lots of leather straps, striped pantyhose and a mini-mini-mini skirt (she looked like something out of a Dogwitch comic or a Poppy Z. Brite book), one of the event’s dancing girls, who was all Japanese goth-punk (gotta love those massive pigtails – I believe that was Fucking Deity) and finally, a girl who wore a full latex dress, colored red, except for an oval opening between the shoulder blades, from where you could see a great tattoo on her back. Her makeup was a geisha/Japanese punk crossbreed, with matching hairdo. Four letters: S-E-X-Y! OK, there were a lot of Victorian-styled dresses but the nuances between those I liked and those that, well, did not impress me, escape me. Also, there was another girl in our (adjacent) company, who wore a simple, black, elegant dress. She was probably older than me but she looked as though she came out of a patient’s loli complex. Now she was simply very beautiful and her clothes only augmented that; still, it was worth mentioning.

Violet Grimm, Dan Schaffer's Dogwitch.
(Visit the Dogwitch Site)

Now, at first (around 23:30 or midnight), there was simply great music (the place has also great acoustics) and in time, a group of dancers came onto various parts of the stage, whether a huge speaker, a barricaded platform or what-have-you and started shaking and swaying to the music, goading the onlookers to also start (those that weren’t already, that is) moving and mingling. You know, for someone who CAN dance, this sort of dancing is really simple; it’s bound to be, if you consider those huge boots (I can bench-press around 130 Kg and I am still not sure I could move freely, were I prone to wearing them) and the minimal movement they allow. You just shake everything else to the rhythm (usually of the beat) and either balance on or sway using the boots as an anchor). Could I do it? Hell, no, unless I were VERY drunk (which is a feat in and of itself) or high on something (in order to wear what they were wearing and still believe I am straight). Now, there were 5 dancers and from my vantage point, I could only see 4 of them clearly (all descriptions containing directional adjectives are, by relation to me): to the left (the one I was eying all night), was Fucking Deity; another one, to the right, was dressed in white S&M gear along with frigging HUGE boots; center stage was an Asian with matching dress and syringes stuck in her hair (the most impressively dressed, by common agreement). To her left, was Zirconia. The fifth, I rarely saw, if ever (THAT one was Desdemona, in all likelihood).

Now, as I said, this sort of dancing, provided you can dance at all, is fairly simple; on top of that, if you are considered a professional, it’s a piece of cake, the equivalent of being able to follow a pendulum with your head. I have seen Zirconia dance many times: at the opening night of Underworld Club and during other instances since, I have watched quite a few of her videos (at the behest of a friend) and then I saw her on Saturday. Though repetitive and completely unoriginal from instance to instance, she CAN dance. How is it then that she managed to stand out, out of five dancers, as the one ruining the whole, as clumsy, rhythm-deaf and uncoordinated? Yes, it is evident that she has only one set of moves, that she repeats over and over but that is hardly worthy of criticism… IF you can time those moves with the music and if you do not tend to look like you are suffering from tetanus shock, your limbs being thrown around like a broken marionette’s. Too harsh? I thought “OK, the show is just starting; she might be nervous or have had little time to change or suddenly gotten stage-fright”. Granted, any of these things could be the case or she might have troubles of her own that messed up her performance. However, when the dancers came out again during the break from the TG shows and again towards the end (when, admittedly, the crowd is there, they are already having fun and are getting drunk and nearly ANYTHING you throw at them will be gladly accepted), she managed to be absolutely atrocious. It’s really simple; fact: I do NOT dance well, when at all (and generally tend to consider any compliments simple kindness or alcohol-vision, on the part of my friends) and then, only when I am drunk. Watching her, I got a peculiar feeling of deja-vu: she was at least as bad as I am and that is saying a lot. On the other hand, I am not at the forefront of dancing for the people present at these events.

Moving on, at some point the announcer welcomed one and all and introduced us to the TG show. At that point, Samar came on stage, who was to do a piercing and fire show, so we moved on to the balcony in order to be able to see (most of us are, well, a bit vertically challenged by comparison). OK, she DID pierce her cheeks with a long needle and then suspended fruits and flowers on it but that, along with the fire show, was not really that amazing. However, we were in a good mood and the music was really good, so we made no big deal out of it.

Next up was Empress Stah, with her “Queen of the Night” erotic cabaret show, which involved her playacting with a (male) blow up doll and several strap-ons. That, if anything, was pretty funny, especially when you could see her facial expressions, over-dramatic to the core. Still, not overly impressive.

Afterwards, there was the fashion show by TG Clothing, House of Harlot and Kaori’s Latex Dreams. 12 gorgeous models, revealing latex clothes, appropriate music, you get the idea. Once again, Fucking Deity rocked. This is where things started to go downhill. After the show, there was roughly a 1-hour interval during which the music went from great, to good, to bad, to rabid monkey with access to a vinyl scratcher and lots of metallic culinary implements. After the 1-hour torture (if that is what they meant by “Torture Garden”, I would rather have “Torture WC” any day), things started to look up, as Empress Stah came back out and really did an amazing suspension show, “Roses Are Dead” along the lines of hanging by the club roof and doing crazy, artistic stunts while stripping and eating rose petals, finally taking a string of diamonds out of her… privates!

Next, was Roxy Velvet, who did a burlesque medical show, named “Open Heart Surgery”: dressed as a nurse who suffers from a heart attack and proceeds to operate on herself, she did a very convincing act of taking out various internal organs and chewing on them, spilling blood everywhere. I know my special effects and those were GOOD (so good in fact, that two people on the balcony near fainted and completely fainted respectively!)

Finally, Allen Falkner did an AMAZING body suspension show, accompanied by fantastic music. Though it started kind of slow and overdramatic, Falkner did not fail to deliver, being first wildly suspended by his abdominal area and afterwards savagely shaken up and down to the rhythm of the music; at the time, the only thing keeping him in the air were two metal hooks in his back, then only one, as he proceeded to free himself with a knife. That was the end of the TG show. Satisfactory? Well, around 75% of it yes but, if you ask me and given what these people are capable of, it was too little and the quality lessened by long breaks and horrible interval music during the second half of the night (except when the TG people were performing).

...and this is in order to prove my point about
this particular show being "too little".

On top of that, the rabid monkey mentioned above, took full control of the decks for the rest of the night, resulting in some of the worst DJing in the history of the word (not the world). Thankfully, we did not have to endure that – or Zirconia, who was atrocious by that time, as mentioned earlier – for long, since around 4:30 in the morning we decided to split.

So, there remains the verdict: as a whole, I believe it was worth seeing but not really repeating, unless there are more impressive TG acts included and some things (pertaining to the music) excluded. All in all, we had a fun time, we got to see each other in some of the weirdest stuff we will probably wear in our whole lives (at least in public) and we also got a glimpse of what TG is all about. So I guess, the verdict is “Aye”. It is now 4:00 in the morning and I have spent the night writing this, so I hope you read it and enjoyed a measure of its humor and wryness.



P.S. Many thanks to Fucking Deity for confirming her stage name on such short notice AND to a complete stranger!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Axaxaxax subaki?:P

(btw TG is a travesty and mockery of the bdsm scene, nuff said)