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NOTICE: The Charter Vision project is dormant as of January 2008. This website is provided for archival purposes only.

We’re all stars now… in the Drag Show

Andi (Grade 07 / Northfield School of Arts and Technology) Originally published February 2005

This past summer I visited Bangkok, the massive and crowded capital of Thailand. The eight days I was there were spent mostly going to Buddhist temples and bustling marketplaces selling dubious looking goods on the side of the road.

The highlight of the trip, however, was going to the Katoy (Thai for gay) show called the Calypso Cabaret. It featured dancers who were either men dressed as women or women who used to be men. Some people even joke, “These women are even prettier than regular ones, even though some of them aren’t even women!”

The glitzy, extravagant show starts when the announcer jumps on stage and announces “Welcome, Kannichiwa, Bienvedue, Velkommen, to the Calypso Cabaret!” After the introduction, costumed women, or at least what I thought were women, danced complex choreography while lip synching to songs. The numbers varied from dancers dressed in traditional costumes to something as absurd as dancers dressed in ostrich costumes running around the stage. Even Michael Jackson and Marilyn Monroe look-alikes took to the stage. The show was larger than life and the choreography went well with the music and the intricate costumes.

The show had comedy, music, dancing, and a message. When in one of the numbers while the dancer sang “I’m proud of who I am” other dancers shouted out “Gay! Gay! Gay!” — they were gay and proud of it.

I experienced something that day that very few people, especially kids, will ever see in their lives; and I realized that these people, instead of hiding the fact that they were gay, had the courage to admit it and they were proud of it. After the show was over, I left with a life experience and a great story to tell.

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