Part IV of My First Night with GogoPro
It was fifteen minutes till first set at 11pm and I now noticed we were still short one dancer.
“Aren’t there supposed to be four of us?”
“The men show up when ever they want.”
“Because their costumes don't take as long to configure,” Deanna added to Kitty's inflection.
We dance with men? The only male gogo dancers I had ever seen had been dancing at gay clubs where you don't commonly also find female dancers; at least not at any of the clubs I had previously been to in Los Angeles. San Francisco on the other hand, can always appreciate sexual appeal no matter what gender. Now, I don't want to get on a charged debate on which city has the better LGBT nightclubs, because although I've been to many, I cannot call myself a member of their community – only an ally – and therefore I have no grounds to speak on their regards. But, simply based on the knowledge of my own work and visiting experiences, whether a “gay” or “straight” club, there are no gender restrictions for dancers.
And so Matthew arrived. A sculpted Jamaican man with a personality that could take on the whole stage by itself.
“I swear, I don't know how anybody drives in dis city. It's faster to just dance down the fucking streets.”
Matthew dances as if he's still performing the Lion King on Broadway but with a little drag queen twist to it. He's sassy and yet every movement is empowered by his Afro-Caribbean background. He too studied years of ballet and was even a part of a prestigious company. Coming from an early Brazilian samba influence myself, we bonded rather quickly in a discussion of stylistic infusions and their overall benefit in the dance world.
While deep in our discussion on the many possibilities of artistic movement and their inspirations – blah, blah, blah, I know – my nose was suddenly affronted by a familiar warning.
“Gas leak?” I said in a worried out right questioning.
“Yeah,” Matthew answered in a rather too passive for comfort tone. “It comes and goes.”
There was absolutely nothing reassuring about the idea of hundreds of electrical wires and light fixtures wrapping throughout an old building with ourselves and a gas leak trapped together in the attic clearly made out of ancient kindling.
“And this is something we just have to deal with?”
“Honey,” he said taking my hand, “it's something we get to live through.”
“Showtime girls!” Deanna announced.
“The tighter the better,” Kitty said stabbing my scalp with the millionth bobby-pin meant to keep a wig the size of a medium sized dog on my head. I cinched up the last strap on my boots and stood up to an extra foot. Adapting to anything is a huge part of performing, including new heights.
Wobbling in a circle and looking at myself in the mirror, I finally looked the part. I looked like I was headed for the runway. This was why I chose GogoPro. It was more than just shaking your body and getting the crowd excited; it was about elaborating every detail to its full potential in order to create an experience, a journey. Now let's see if I can also play the part.
“Kitty, you're with me. Right stage.” I could tell Deanna didn't want to be with the girl and I couldn't blame her. I wondered how many times new girls didn't work out and imagined how easy it was to fail up there. It was hard enough to try walk in the costume let alone try and dance. No matter my initial judgment of the two girls I just met – although I took a liking to both rather immediately – they looked fucking fabulous and owned the look. You can dress a girl up in anything and everything in the world, but if she can't rock it, there's no point. You could tell, just by watching these girls get ready in the final moments before the stage, that they were going to rock it.
Now I needed to pee; desperately. I ignored my sudden intake of nerves and sucked in my gut; no looking bloated allowed in these costumes, there's no room for forgiveness.
“Come on sweetie, let's go set fire to the stage!” Matthew grabbed my hand and took me toward the opposite side of the backstage from where the other two were going down the original death-stairwell.
“There's another way out?”
“You haven't seen the half of it!” he laughed. “There's mazes all throughout this place leading to other clubs and other buildings. I used to get lost down in the basement tunnels and run into Prince sometimes.”
“The one and only, baby.”
Holy shit. I was stepping into a whole other world I knew nothing about; and I was so god damn excited.
We clunked down another death-well. At the bottom of the three flights, was a dimly lite door. Matthew turned to me.
“Ready, darling?” he whispered. I could hear the muffled bass and feel it pulsing through my bones.
The last thing I saw was his bright smile before he turned off the light and opened the door to the stage.