- Erin Moore
The word "cabaret" summons images of fanciness that seem somewhat lost to reality these days. When imagining it, visions of low-light, thickly made-up entertainers in sparkling attire and velvet curtains come to mind.
DJ Daioujou, a booker, DJ and frequent performer at the Twilite Lounge, muses that cabaret is "fringe and ostrich feathers." The reason he/she (the entertainer's preferred pronouns) muses on the subject is the cabaret nights held at the bar—known as the Doom Lounge on Wednesday nights and the Electronic Doom Lounge on Sunday nights—with the help of fellow organizers and bookers Cecil Smith and DJ Falchion. Smith describes cabaret best: "Cabaret is a style of show ... [that's] been around since before dada. Putting on a cabaret is like a multi-themed performance." It only makes sense then that their cabaret will welcome throngs of people during Pride week—the perfect time for a variety show.
Smith, along with DJ Falchion and DJ Daioujou, want to create an open-house of sorts, a day for people to come see what goes on back by the fireplace on Wednesday and Sunday nights. They emphasize the cabaret is free and oriented around local music, where all the musicians volunteer their time. Smith dislikes the police presence at the Pride Festival, plus costs of admission to some events (one-day general admission for this year's festival is $10; with discounts for seniors and students). And they cite booking snafus at previous festivals.
With diversity at the forefront of the planners' minds, the Twilite Lounge Pride Party takes place June 2, starting after the Pride Parade wraps and running from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. It features an entirely free day of music chock-full of local artists. While the cabaret nights are usually indoor events, this one takes place primarily outside in the parking lot around Twilite. There's not only musical performances, but a small fenced-off outdoor bar, a snack vendor, and an arcade bus run by DJs Daioujou and Falchion, called the Gallery of Fine Hyper Art. The bus contains handmade, artistically-minded, musical arcade games—some quarter-operated, some free, all fun.
The two DJs plan to spend the day emceeing the event, providing variety-show acts and DJ sets between the many musical performances. The day opens with a set by DJ Parker, an employee of Twilite Lounge, followed by local musician and veteran of multiple local bands Elisar Soueidi, then music from the "'90s singer-songwriter style" Baby Pink. Savage Daughters provide some heavy rock 'n' roll around 1:30 p.m., followed by rockabilly harmonies by way of Midnight Palm. Shecock & The Rock Princess, who headline the GenderFuQ Pride Kick-Off event at Metro Music Hall, make a rocking appearance in the lot at 3 p.m., and are followed by the noisy Violet Temper and freak-ish-folk Bly Wallentine (FKA Officer Jenny). PK Opal—Smith's techno singer-songwriter project—plays just before 6 p.m., before Goldie & The Guise bring some danceable '70s disco to the party. Fittingly, post-punk act Corner Case and the downtempo goth solo act Ani Christ bring the outdoor activities to a close at 8:30 p.m., just as the sun gives way to dusk.
Attendees can then enjoy more music inside, as a standard cabaret night commences. Smith and DJ Daioujou say they hope attendees get something out of this segue from Pride to their usual Sunday Electronic Doom Night. "I just hope more people are exposed to the local artists. They put a lot of effort into being here. And I hope people have fun," Smith says.
DJ Daioujou concurs. "I hope the artists get to feel celebrated," he/she says. "I hope that a lot of people go and that everybody feels like they have a little more permission to do arts." That is, so long as they follow DJ Daioujou and Smith's three rules: Players must be conscientious, part of an ensemble, and lounge-sensitive (that means quiet). What remains unspoken is the feeling that the tradition they're trying to establish is similar to the Pride ethos in many ways—the creation of a place that is dependable for its warmth, diversity and acceptance, all held together by goodwill and good music.