Bent Disco

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Apr 24

Is Hong Kong’s disco scene prepared to get bent?

After recently returning to his hometown of Hong Kong, Steve Mak has brought the spirit of San Francisco’s ‘alternative queer’ scene with him. Having spent more than 15 years spinning at San Fran’s mixed bars, Mak advocates the idea that disco dance nights are just as much for gay people as for straight. As he puts it, ‘I don’t want to separate people’, so Bent may ‘be gay yet [is] open to everyone’.

In Hong Kong and across much of Asia, straight and gay cultures are frequently demarcated and divided. “[The gay scene in Hong Kong] is not really alternative... it’s very money-driven and commercial,” says Mak. “If you separate the sexuality, it’s very tacky.” Through Bent Disco, which debuts at the recently revived Basement on April 24, Mak plans to change all that by throwing any preconceived notions aside. “All children of diverse sexuality are welcome,” he explains.

It seems there’s a harsh reality to an often steamy scene. Music at gay nights is typically and predictably ‘top 40 diva remixes’, as Mak puts it. Bent Disco is first and foremost about the music, he emphasises, as everyone seems to forget that ‘when you’re dancing – that’s dance music’. Mak’s quick to elaborate: “Being a DJ is not about beatmatching. It’s about putting a journey together.”

And so Bent Disco was born on April 24 to entertain and hopefully educate as well. Through the curation of an exciting sonic adventure, it aims to appeal to dancers of all sexual persuasions. While admittedly intending ‘to show those boys [at regular gay nights] what they are missing’, Mak hopes that his dramatic and tense selections fill what he sees as a larger cultural void. Though he notes, with a wry smile, that Basement does have a backyard... Anderson Muth

Bent Disco Basement, Fri Apr 24, 11pm. Free entry.


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