Having just completed our annual special report on World AIDS Day (WAD), this year we pressing home the message of support for the fight against this epidemic by the smallest of gesture, that being the wearing of a red ribbon with pride, our feature entitled “Red Ribbon Day” (well worth a read at http://discomatt.com/web/2011/11/reports-red-ribbon-day-world-aids-day-thursday-1st-december-special-reportreflection/) not just an informative based compilation, but our own personal reflection of living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. But while we have marked the occasion with our report and will also be wearing our red ribbon with pride on World AIDS Day tomorrow (Thurs 1st Dec), scores of bars, clubs, businesses & organisations here in the capital will also being doing their bit for the cause, a whole raft of events on the day itself & into the weekend either raising awareness or, more importantly, raising funds for the wealth of charities that do incredible work in & around the complex yet diverse issues that both HIV & AIDS. So, with plenty of World AIDS Day pride circulating around the capitals clubbing circuit, we thought it appropriate to extend our red ribbon theme this “Red Ribbon Day Devotions” Extra Bites post and cover the places to be & be supporting not just on Thursday but across the weekend.
That said, naturally Thursday (1st Dec) is the main focus and Soho the focal point of activity, not least that the collection of venues behind “Pink Sunday” are extending the theme & idea to “Red Thursday”, the likes of Comptons, Rupert St, Village, Ku Bar, The Yard, Freedom, Profile, The Edge, Circa, G.A.Y. Bar & the Duke of Wellington joining forces in supporting charity The Food Chain, while the aim is also to raise awareness of the continual rise of HIV infections within the gay community. But the centre piece of “Red Thursday” is AIDS swish, a street carnival of remembrance, pride & community in the centre of Soho organised been scene stalwart & damn fine D.J. Stewart Who, he explaining that “…the idea is simple; as a community we dress up like we mean to party, the “SWISH” down Old Compton Street in colourful acknowledgement that we both enjoy & respect life…” Stewart going on to say “The AIDS Swish is an affirmation that we’re here and we care, not just about ourselves, but each other…”. But the aim of staging Swish is to boost awareness & support within the community for the allocation & erection of a permanent AIDS memorial in London. So, what’s the score with Swish? Well, it starts at 6 p.m. tonight (Thurs 1st Dec) at the junction of Moor St & Old Compton St (that’s Ed’s Diner end), the parade then making its way down Old Compton St with a post swish finish at Lo-Profile, where there will be a surprise performance, a keynote speaker & a celebratory drink (naturally!). Then at 8 p.m., to signify the completion of Swish, all the bars mentioned above will play Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive”, a better way to celebrate life we cannot think of. Now, to join in all you need to do is turn up on time, while Stewart say’s “…you can dress as you like, in full drag (he probably will be) or your regular day or night wear, just be there! (that’s our line!). So, here’s your opportunity to show vocal & vivacious support for WAD.
As for the bars/clubs themselves tonight, picking out a couple of highlights, Profile & Lo-Profile play a pretty big, the latter putting on an extra special “Society” , the theme being “Strip-a-thon”, all funds raised on the night going to causes, the Terrence Higgins Trust, National AIDS Trust & The Food Chain, the team telling us simply that “…the more you give, the less the Profile team will wear!…” and judging by some of the gorge staff there, this will be something not to miss. But with D.J.’s Nathan 6 & Nick Evans on the decks also entering the spirit of things with scores of saucy & sexed up sounds, there will be also be not just one but two performances from PA’s Katherine Ellis & Amanda Wilson, hosts Irvina & martin making sure the whole evening the mercury certainly turns red on what should be an action packed & fun filled Thursday. Now, Lo-Profile open’s early for the Swish finale, although “Society” kicks off from 10 p.m., entry just £4 before midnight, while Profile upstairs will be in business early doors, D.J. Brent Nicholls spinning the sounds from 8.30 p.m., the bar sporting a superb & special World AIDS Day totaliser, so you can keep tabs on just how much is being raised, as well as how many clothes are being shed!, info on both venues available at http://profilesoho.com & http://loprofile.com.
For something alternative, we zoom across town to Shoreditch, finding East Bloc on City Rd who are very much doing their bit for WAD although in a characteristically different way, as their primary aim is to raise funds for the benefit of Chiva Africa, a charity relatively close to our heart, not least that it supports HIV positive people (specifically children) in South Africa, so a well worthy cause in our books, a whole load on info on Chiva available at http://chiva-africa.org/, the night down at East Bloc organised by tip top D.J./Producer Tom Stephan, who has teamed up with Dupe Den’s Mark-Ashley Dupe & Jayson Jack Frost who will host the night. However with a cast of D.J.’s that includes Tom (of course) along with Harvey Adam & Jay Jaymen in the main room, the second space sporting Matt Bogarde, Kartel Brown & Oliver Rant, with two special back-to-back sets including Mr Bogarde vs. Nutty Nyce & Miguel Dare vs. Fifi, there will also be a special performance by La Gosse to round off what will be a very special night for a very special cause. East Bloc’s doors open at 10 p.m. with the event running through till a planned 4 a.m. finish, more details on this Shoreditch spot available at http://eastbloc.co.uk.
A couple of quick other mentions for WAD go to Soho bar’s Ku & Rupert St (RS), the former holding their infamous WAD auction where you can bid for your chance to date one of the yummy scrummy staff, plenty of other lots on offer too, while over at RS, resident D.J. Alessandro pops up to spin a special “Red Thursday” set, while the team holding a raffle & throwing in a free party prize for ten people at RS, this prize including a bottle of spirit, prosseco & a finger buffet, that on top of special shots, all funds from sales going direct to The Food Chain. For more info on both venues, check http://ku-bar.co.uk & http://rupertstreet.com.
So that’s World AIDS Day itself, what about the rest of the weekend, well while scores of bars & clubs around the capital & beyond will be doing their bit, we pick out just two others that we consider top tree choices of where to be & be seen in supporting WAD. Firstly on Saturday (3rd Dec), state of the art venue Pulse in Southwark stages what is very much a welcome return to the annual WAD commemorations, as “The Remembrance Ball” returns, and with a bang, as headliners will be The Freemasons will centre-stage the main room, along with Cahill, while there will be special stage shows too. But the music extends to a Gaydar second space where Simon Le Vans will be joined by other Gaydar jocks on the decks, a third “remembrance” chill-out room where to team hope to project images of those lost to HIV/AIDS, organiser Mark telling us, “…we would like people to send in a photograph of someone they have lost so we can project an image onto one of the video walls in this remembrance room…” he adding that “…it’s almost like the patchwork quilts that are done in The US and while we want to celebrate life with this ball, it is also about remembrance, to those that are gone but not forgotten…”. Now, Pulse’s doors open on Saturday at 10 p.m., the event running through till a planned 6 a.m. finish, entry a hefty £15, although a sizable chunk of this will be donated to HIV charities Status & Mildmay, while more info on the venue (including exact locale) can be found at http://pulseclub.co.uk.
Then on Sunday (4th Dec), promoter Steven Sharp once again makes a wonderful WAD impression with his Orange “World AIDS Day Fundraiser, the primary benefactor being international charity, the Elton John AIDS Foundation, another charity that is very close to our hearts (Steven’s too). So, with a large proportion of the entry fees to Orange going direct to the charity, the team will also be collecting for this deserved cause on the night, so please dig deep into your pockets while D.J.’s The Oli, Fat Tony & the Sharp Boys will be digging deep into the record collections to bring you scores of brilliant beats in the main room at temporary home Factory, these seeing you deep into Monday morning. With deep also being the word, RAW resident Gonzalo Rivas will take up the musical mantle in room two, stripping you down with minimal beats & classic deep house that will be a set not to be missed. So, as we have hinted, Orange has moved to Factory, their temporary home for the next three weeks at 65 Goding St, doors opening on Sunday (4th Dec) earlier than usual at 10 p.m., the club closing similarly slightly earlier at 7 a.m., entry just £5 before 1 a.m. with a flyer &/or ad, while main prices are held at just £10. More information on the temporary switch of Orange from Fire to Factory can be found at http://fireclub.c.uk/news, while pop into Facebook events page for more info on this heavenly happening.
So, that’s our take of where to be & be seen supporting World AIDS Day this year, we hopefully dong our bit tonight at Swish from 6 p.m. & (if we have the legs after WE, Beyond & Gigolo) popping into Orange on Sunday. So, if you see us, do come say hi, but remember to wear your red ribbon with pride & make sure you “Go There! Be There!” (DISCO MATT)