Tag Archives: performance

A Night at Lucha Libre

The first day in Mexico City concluded at Mexican wrestling or lucha libre. After the havoc and confusion at the box office, I located my seat in the arena. It was on the second row from the ring—perfect for the night. From then on, with some Tecate, I let myself to be open-minded and went with the flow.

To be honest, I had had doubts about this branch of entertainment until I watched Sense8. It was a scene at lucha libre. Hernando, one of the main character’s boyfriend, dissected it:

This is the Manichaean drama. It’s life and death, good and evil. La parca negra (a grim reaper—evil side of the wrestling match) is a symbol. He is the devil in our lives. For some, he can represent the government, the class system or any form of oppression. But for most of us, he is that fear we are afraid to face.

This is a dance that is also a fight. The struggle that takes place in the ring is a reflection of the struggle that takes place in our minds and in our hearts. At some point, we all encounter our own parca negra. He is that thing we are afraid of, that thing that stops us from becoming what we know we can become. Until we defeat him, we will never know peace.

That scene cracked my curiosity about lucha libre and made me want to experience a real one. And I was glad I did so.

The lineup consisted of four or five matches. Each fight was between black and white of some sort: heroes and villains, patriots and foreigners, etc. Some won and some lost. That was life. Unlike a sporting event, there was a narrative like a stage show. And unlike a stage performance, there was an engagement with the spectators like a sport.

The audience had total liberty to pick their sides. Interactions between the wrestlers and the crowds were also intense, either cheering or booing. As the night went by toward the final match, the energy in the arena erupted to the roof.

View from the second row
View from the second row

My seat allowed me to see the fights up-close and record some actions on my phone—I still couldn’t believe that luck. Some punches were stunts. But their acrobatic moves were also real. That seemed to be another layer of duality hidden in it. But I didn’t want to read it too much and let go of myself.

By the end of the night, I was both educated and entertained. My doubts were demystified. It was undeniably a fun night. And I appreciated and admired the performance more . There couldn’t be a better way to wrap up the first day in Mexico City like a night at lucha libre.

Capturing lucha libre on mobile phones
Capturing lucha libre

The Undressing Room

I said I would not be photographing Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras events this year but things changed. I was invited in the last minute. This time I was assigned to one of the Festival venues, The Factory Theatre.

It started off with The Undressing Room with Imogen Kelly:

Imogen Kelly is Australia’s Queen of Burlesque, plaything of millionaires and notorious member of the demimonde. Although she is known as Australia’s premier showgirl- be warned, Imogen is a more of a burlesque saboteur than a museum piece.

The Undressing Room is performing at The Factory Theartre until 22 February 2009.

Blowing Whistles


Out of the blue, I am contacted by Focus Theatre and asked for my photography of Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras Party in their production of Blowing Whistles in Sydney, Adelaide and London. I say why not. Blowing Whistles is about contemporary gay culture. Two men is celebrating their tenth anniversary relationship on the eve of Mardi Gras and cruising for another guy online. That changes their lives forever.

I have not seen the show and am curious how my photographs are put in the show. London show is adapted for the local scene but they could not find suitable London gay party scene images for it. So they use mine which you cannot really identify specific scenes anyway. That makes me think how you put yourself into what you see and photograph.

For the past couple of years, I believe that we, a group of Flickr’s Sydney PhotoBloggers and photography students, has brought a new level of how the events can be documented and expressed on photography via Robert McGrath of Darlinghurst ArtSpace. However, they still choose happy snappy shots and publish them on their photo galleries after all. I take my viewers to explore the other side: up-close, candid and chaotic. Of course, they will not appear in a place that tries to sell you party tickets.

I always ask questions about being a queer. It seems too easy to be who you are these days. We almost have everything that we have been standing for: acceptance, equality and so on. What next when we have all of those. What are we going to fight for when we get the rights as any other people. Although we have passed the point that no one gives a damn of your gender, age, race or sexual preference, there still is discrimination agianst everything at some level even within gay & lesbien community itself. It is time to see ourselves and stop asking for those rights but start acting as we deserve them with respect. Yes, respect. If we want one, we have give one also.

Blowing Whistles is showing in Sydney until 15 November at Darlinghurst Theatre and will be a part of Feast Festival 08, Adelaide, at Bake House Theatre, 18-23 November. And it is showing in London until 29 November at Leicester Square Theatre.

Bumping into YourSpace

After the lonesome photography exploration of wet winter in The Rocks, I have drinks and dinner with Sydney PhotoBloggers group at The Australian Hotel, just around the corner from where the last spot of the my walk. Late night, back to our local, we end up at Sly Fox. Apparently, there is a regular show on Thursday night, YourSpace. After lots of beers, this is what absinthe gets me photographically.