Prowling the night with Dallas’ underground gay hipster movement
Remember Lamar from Revenge of the Nerds, gaying-up the scene with his ridiculously short-shorts and falsetto raps? Well, don’t be surprised if you see his doppelganger doing a dirty little number onstage at the Cavern.
"I’ve got charisma and spunk and a lot of junk in my trunk!" brags Justin Ray with a snap and a little neck action.
He’s not kidding. In fact, we’ll take it a step further and say it: this big-bootied hipster is an all-out hot mess.
Of course, that’s his point.
"The gay hipster revolution is about going against the grain, expanding peoples’ minds and being an individual," says Ray, clad in his personal uniform: American Apparel and vintage rags he scored at Buffalo Exchange. (He’s just re-dressed after stripping down to a lemon yellow Diesel jockstrap at a Ssion concert.)
According to The Hipster Handbook, a hipster is defined as "one who possesses tastes, social attitudes and opinions deemed cool by the cool." That means denouncing anything mainstream and dressing individualistically.
Gay hipsters take those ideals a step further — though they mesh effortlessly with their hetero counterparts. These Ã¼ber-cool queers flaunt their unconventional looks with a Bruce LaBruce sensibility, provoking the mainstream and daring to embrace them. Think of them as ACTup with fashion sense — a better-dressed version of QueerLiberaction.
Ray and his running buddies are part of an underground network called Kamikaze Party, the hipster version of Guerilla Gay Bar (only much smaller and conducted in a hush-hush way). "We’re all about getting ridiculous, being seen … and letting people know we don’t give a fuck," says Jonathan Gsus, their self-appointed leader.
Kamikaze Party started a little over two years ago when Gsus (pronounced "Jesus") picked up a column on Metro Ane called Hooking Up With Gsus. The column dished out the dirt on Dallas’ underground gay scene, and Gsus’ readers followed his lead all over town — and dressed to impress. Or distress, as it were. (Gsus’ fashion sense resembles Lady Gaga, funneled through Boy George.)
Surely you’ve seen ‘em, even if you didn’t know what you were seeing. As many as two dozen 20something gay men — and some women — running amok at Ghost Bar, Hotel ZaZa and other Dallas glam-spots.
"We find out what’s hot each night and try to hit about eight different places," Gsus says. "Generally speaking, we don’t stay in one place for too long unless it’s after midnight … and I’m completely covered in glitter," he adds, cackling.
Hooking Up With Gsus no longer runs on Metro Ane, but Gsus’ queer hipster collective is still in full force around town. So there’s gotta be some kind of e-mail list or Facebook page we can join to get the scoop, right? Not likely; Kamikaze Party usually happens on-the-fly. Plus, it’s supposed to be underground, remember? So underground in fact, that some of Dallas’ most well-connected homo hipsters don’t even know about it.
"I’ve never even heard of [Kamikaze Party] —never been invited," says Nicholas VanHaagen, Esoterica stylist and known party goer. He sounds irritated.
Gsus intends to change all that. Hooking Up With Gsus hits the radio waves this spring on KNON 89.3, where he hopes to gather a whole new crew of homo hipsters to rampage Dallas’ posh nightlife.
So much for keeping it underground — hard to be discreet at 55,000 watts.
Until then, you can hook up with Gsus at his typical recruiting posts: The Cavern on Monday nights, Fallout Lounge on Tuesdays and Fridays and the Grapevine Bar almost nightly.
They’ll be the ones monopolizing the jukebox.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 5, 2010.