London Ball Remix 2017
With the success of Savage and the exploding ballroom scene, London gay clubbing is back with a vengeance. Our Richard F’row has all the colour from this extravaganza earlier this year.
If there was a Grand Prize for the Londoner who has done most to re-energise the vogue scene in the capital, then Jay Jay Revlon would have got his tens and collected the trophy. It looks like the house and ballroom promoter has decided that there’s no point trying to re-hash the past and in doing so is shaking off the curse of imitation. Emerging into the night after Jay Jay’s latest ball – The London Remix – early hours Deptford provided a dramatic contrast to the flamboyance and decadence of the runway.
Vogue functions could have disappeared from the London landscape along with the safe spaces that have been shut down across the city. This adds to the credibility of the English Breakfast collective and others, like SHADE, which promotes voguing in London through its emerging Kiki scene.
The visual spectacle that is vogue performance continues to enjoy crossover success as it has done since the eighties, through McLaren to Madonna to FKA Twigs. Vogue functions remain located within a submerged culture, the intimacy of which creates strong relationships, such as that between Jay Jay Revlon and DJ Sydney Ultraomni. Houses [collectives of dancers] are still very much a thing.
This year there seems fewer kids experimenting with voguing as just another type of dance, and more getting into it through a connection with its roots and history and culture. Films like Kiki and Strike A Pose being aired in London cinemas has no doubt encouraged this awareness. Connections between participants seem strong, and Houses are shown the recognition they deserve by spectators.
You also see it in the sophistication of the parties. The London Remix took a theme and then poured in loads of categories, providing spectators with the classic mix of Old Way, New Way, Runway and Vogue Femme. Sydney Ultraomni’s beats were wild and varied. The soundtrack jumped around with each new twist to the theme.
Faces become familiar from function to function. Maia Magnifique was instantly recognisable beneath the broad brim of her A Child Of The Jago ‘Champion’ hat. Her appearances at London balls are now highly anticipated.
The most hotly contested categories at the London Remix were Fashion Executive Realness, Vogue Fem and Sex Siren – all OTA (open to all), providing an open invitation to those in attendance to get involved, which plenty did.
It was 'all good', and just as Jay Jay captured people’s imagination with his impromptu vogue performance at the vigil for the Orlando victims in 2016, the London theme to this ball was spot on in light of recent events. You could understand if the children of the ballroom’s pioneers may not believe theirs is a society that is more tolerant. Their response of dressing up, striking a defiant pose and taking it out on the dancefloor is, in a word, House.