When the crowd is calling down the spirits
Listen and you will hear the footsteps of all the houses that walked there before
- Deep In Vogue, Malcolm McLaren
Last weekend, Mexico City collective NAAFI threw a party celebrating vogue and ballroom culture called NAAFI:Ballroom. The event was co-hosted by two key players in ballroom's spread worldwide: New York DJs MikeQ, a resident at Vogue Knights, an essential night where the city's vogue and ballroom scene converges, and Venus X, founder of the groundbreaking queer party GHE20G0TH1K. There, Mexico City's local "houses"—ballroom groups that act like extended families for their members—gathered for battle.
Mexican Jihad, who opened the night, started off by playing MikeQ's remix of "Y.A.L.A." by M.I.A. and "Arrasa, Goza y Posa (Apocalipstick 1)," with the phrase "Entro al antro y le bufo su precio" ("I get into the club and snort the price") resounding while the House of Apocalipstick warmed up. Next, Lao presented his dark, ballroom remix of OV7's "Vuela", mixing vogue beats and tribal in a style I wouldn't hesitate to call "tribalroom."
Twenty minutes after MikeQ started, I opened the runway wearing a sari and a veil with a QR code pattern, giving way to Pepe Romero of Naif Sicodelia who was walking with six and a half pounds of tortillas—a reference to Lao's remix: "Voy a las tortillas y le bufo su precio" ("I go for tortillas and snort the price"). DJ Chrysler then recited the names of the legendary houses, as if calling their spirits to dance into us, while Pepe and I cleared the runway for the battle to begin.
DJ Chrysler gave us the microphone back and the runway competition started. House of Shiva, House of Machos, House of Drag and House of Apocalipstick struck their best postures, but nobody could sink Angela Macho, who dominated the runway with her grace and determination. Because of logistics, we had to suspend the individual competition and go directly to the hybrid match, where every girl danced with their mothers in front of the judges.
Any Funk from House of Machos wore a "trick or treat" costume with a Vulpix Pokemon pattern, and chose Angela Macho as her battle partner, who was also wearing Pikachu decorations. They faced the mother of House of Shiva, a young fashion student named Kevin who was wearing his own design. House of Shiva's style was almost military, with Bambi recalling Blade Runner. The judges eventually let the mothers go so their daughters had to face each other, representing their houses to win the title.
In the final battle between Oscar the Zion Macho and Bambi Shiva, the sounds of "Pika-pi" from the Pokemon soundtrack started to melt with Rihanna's BBHMM beat. The crowd started screaming, celebrating Oscar and Bambi's acrobatics, and in the end, the judges decided that the winner was Oscar the Zion Macho from House of Shivas.
The party continued without a chance to recognize the winners because MikeQ and Venus X were in a b2b session, with a lovely dialogue between both through the beats. The houses danced a little more away from the dance floor, some with pride and satisfaction, some with emotions at the edge of twists and drops. Others were frustrated with not having a category or award ceremony in front of the crowd. "They will punch each other!" somebody screamed. "There's no vogue without drama," some one else answered.
Next, a visual recap of that night, captured by Esstro9: