Celebrate the life of Octavia St. Laurent at Bar 13 – Thursday, June 25

Octavia St. Laurent (Courtesy NYTimes.com)

Daryl Marcus presents GROOVY at Bar 13. Tonight’s event is a fundraiser to benefit the familes of Octavia Saint Laurent a fixture in the house music scene for over 20 years. Octavia passed away on May 17, 2009. As far as we’re aware, no details have surfaced as to the cause of death.

The event showcases 20 different Guest DJs on 3 floors of music from house to hip hop. There will be surprise vocal performances all night on the Bar 13 rooftop (moved inside if it rains). DJs Jellybean Benitez and Hex Hector wlil be spinning with Andre Collins of The Warehouse and Better Days. More surprise DJs are in the works, but no news yet from the Daryl on who those will be. I guess you should show up to find out. Work!

Octavia St. Laurent Benefit Party Flyer

Octavia St. Laurent is a transgendered fashion model, nightlife maven and activist featured in the 1990 film, Paris is Burning, by Jenne Livingston.

Filmed in the mid-to-late 1980s, it chronicles the ball culture of New York City and the poor, African American and Latino gay and transgendered community involved in it. Many consider Paris Is Burning to be an invaluable documentary of the end of the “Golden Age” of New York City drag balls, as well as a thoughtful exploration of race, class, and gender in America. – (from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Is_Burning_(film))

St. Laurent was a fixture in the transgender, gay, lesbian and bi-sexual “ballroom” community also known as “ball culture.”

Ball culture, the house system, the ballroom community and similar terms describe the underground LGBT subculture in the United States in which people “walk” (i.e. compete) for trophies and prizes at events known as balls. Those who walk often also dance and vogue while in various genres of drag often trying to pass as a specific gender and social class. Most people involved with ball culture belong to “houses” led by a single leader. – (from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ball_culture).

Why is “ball culture” important? From the early 70’s to the today, the LGBT community has driven dance music and DJ culture in the United States and around the world. Growing out of the Disco movement of the 70’s, House Music and the nightclubs, bars and other indoor and outdoor events and venues that feature the music have been part of the social fabric of this specific community, which influences the larger electronic music movement world wide. As mainstream Ameria has turned to Hip Hop and Rap as it’s primary form of popular music, the LGBT community has never wavered from its support of Dance and Eectronic music. It’s important to understand how this group’s embrace of DJ culture fueled and continues to support the music and the lifestyle. Individuals like Octavia St. Laurent are notable for their celebrity status within house music sub-culture, as they are the drivers of the fasion, dance (Vogue) and attitude that supports nightlife as part of the entertainment arts that we continue to enjoy today.

Here are some links for you to check out:

Watch the YouTube video from Paris Is Burning:

— by Tony Z.

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