For Pride Month, Nolisoli revisited queer spaces—past and present—through the stories of people who lived in and through them. There’s Malate with its dimmed but nonetheless still inclusive streets, Cubao that was once home to music hangout Today x Future, Makati with its artistic meccas XX XX and Pineapple Lab, Taguig with its buzzing nightlife fixture Nectar, Ortigas with the loud and proud home of the drag queens O Bar, and the transient spiritual hub that is Open Table Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) now in Mandaluyong.
Reclaiming queer spaces
By Nectar co-founder Paulo Castro
After forming the Panty Monsters—under Lotho’s leadership—as a protest against establishments that wouldn’t let us in, and after creating Elephant XX XX with my boyfriend Jujiin [Samonte], Shahani [Gania], and Anna Ong as a sanctuary for kids who were made to feel like outsiders, being invited by our love David Dennis to create a weekly party for Nectar Nightclub at The Fort Strip in the middle of BGC felt like a full-circle moment and a chance to reclaim spaces we once felt excluded from.
Mike Lavarez, Peabo Orilla, Austin Castañeda, and myself humbly say that we did more than that. To our kids who don’t know the history, they found a safe space where they could be themselves. But to us, who experienced being denied access to spaces for being queer, it felt like we made a space safe.
We weren’t just a big party or Drag Cartel competition. At primetime, when Nectar was at full capacity, we would turn down the music and talk about our advocacies and important issues.
We wanted to inspire kids to rise up for the community. Poison is a family and Nectar is our home.
Playing their music of choice
By creative director and DJ Mike Lavarez
I think what sets Poison Wednesdays apart from other club concepts is how candid and random everything is. From the music to our “game” segments, to us hosts, our anything-goes vibe is a one-of-a-kind party experience. It’s our pride and it’s what our regulars look forward to every week. Being Poison’s resident DJ, I’m also proud that we get to highlight other LGBT DJs; we encourage them to play their music of choice so our crowd gets to experience a different groove every week.