KIGURUMI AT HARAJUKU LOVELIES LAB: ALTERNATIVE FETISH ART & PERFORMANCE, DRAG QUEEN RACHEL D'AMOUR, DOLLARS COSPLAY, DEPARTMENT H.
It’s Arts Week on CNNGo (the fabulous CNN Asia website I write for)! I was so happy when I was assigned to cover Lovelies Lab, an alternative arts showcase run by the organizers of Department H. Can you believe they published this photo of me with kigurumi at the opening party…
… and put us on the front page of CNN International? As my editor put it, “CNN must be feeling frisky today!”
I’ve reported on Tokyo’s Department H party several times on my blog (you can search for these posts in the Search box in the sidebar). As I write in the article, it’s “often labelled a fetish party, but it’s best described as a monthly gathering of walking performance pieces. You’ll find a saline injection booth next to a two-person inflatable poodle costume. Meanwhile, on stage, a singer with a fully bandaged face pretends to attack two drag queens with a hammer.”
Some people are curious about the alternative event, but too afraid to step into the club. So every year, the Department H organizers put on a showcase, Lovelies Lab, that brings the party to the public.
The first event was a meet-and-greet with kigurumi, or dollers: people who transform themselves into life-sized anime characters with full bodysuits and masks. Everyone crammed into the small, bright space above 6%DokiDoki in Harajuku. We took photos and tossed around balloons with the kigurumi, who nodded and made cute expressions with their hands.
The following week’s showcase was, according to Yukiro, “a drag queen in the dirt.” I put it more generously in my CNNGo article: “Rachel D’Amour pushed drag beyond the usual light-hearted lip-synching and presented a high-concept performance. The complex set recreated a forest, complete with trees and a mud floor. Clad only in leaves, D’Amour danced. A haunting video, set to the strains of a cello, continued the theme. The artist then took Polaroid photos of the back of everyone’s heads to add to the set’s ‘graveyard.'”
Did the dance leave an impression? “It surely did,” snarks Dravarious, “I had dirt all over legs from sitting on the floor.”
Come read the rest of the article here; next week, Lovelies will present a free shibari (rope bondage) showcase in Harajuku. Arts Week continues on CNNGo with my coverage of Tokyo Design Festa… stay tuned for photos and more. (Hint, hint… Miyavi concert tickets giveaway!)
PS: Otaku USA Magazine found me through Twitter and came to the last Midnight Mess. Fernando Ramas wrote a review of the Goth/industrial event, which includes the following: “Then you see a soft-spoken 6’5” Swedish man named Yukiro towering over you with mink-lined, shiny geisha-esque hair, and enough multi-colored eyeliner to make Tammy Faye green with envy. With him, there’s La Carmina, fashion/cat blogger and sometime cookbook author, decked out in a dress that would be right at home in a Malice Mizer concert.” Hehe!
PPS: Do you like my spotted, feathered fake eyelashes?
Japanese Word of the Day: Drag queen = Okama
Song of the Day: Roger Meno – What My Heart Wanna Say (1986 Italo Disco. I know, I know…)