My last week’s article Closeted in Bushwick sparked a lot of discussion, and I decided to try and expand my knowledge of what others have pointed out is a very active, albeit somewhat jumbled, queer nightlife scene. One of the parties I’ve heard a lot about is the regular OVA THE RAINBOW party at The Spectrum on 59 Montrose Avenue. The party features artists, shows, androgynous drag performers, and attracts a slew of very interesting characters. Previous parties have featured various colors of the rainbow, a tribute to the diversity of both the performances and the crowd that gathers within The Spectrum. This week, however, was focused on the “Temptation of the Flesh Tones” which brought the costumes and performances into a new realm that left little to the imagination and yet still sparked the creative spirit in everyone present.
The “OVA THE RAINBOW” parties have been going on for almost a year now and The Spectrum is actually a “Multi-purpose queer space” that is mostly run and leased out by a queer named Gauge, who performs in the space during the “OVA THE RAINBOW” Saturday night parties. However, the space is also home to yoga, local artists’ exhibitions, and various gatherings on other nights of the week.
For only $5 before midnight, or $7 after 12AM, one can enjoy a decently sized dance floor complete with a cheap beer and mixed drink bar and décor that reminds one of being in a designer’s studio. A DJ spins remixes of Bjork, Die Antwoord, and Nancy Sinatra in the back beside a couch/stage and a full-length stripper pole! Later in the night, the music moved into trance, funk, electro beats and remixes of nineties R&B that led into some very skillfully performed vogueing by two partygoers. While many of the people there were making out in the dimly lit hallway beside the bathroom by the time I left, I got the feeling that most of the queers present came not just to hook up but also to experience The Spectrum’s unique space and catch a glimpse of this week’s performances. Gio Black Peter who is well-known in the NYC queer art scene performed in an all-white outfit that reminded me of Gengar from the original Pokemon cast. He quickly stripped his costume off, however, as per the flesh-toned theme, and rapped alongside the DJ. Another performance featured an androgynous drag queen draped in peach-colored fabric that twisted around as ze moved in rhythm to an electronic, breakbeat tune.
Many of the people in attendance were as eye-catching as the performers, clothed in long robes, leather harnesses, crowns, and all sorts of mixed fabrics.
The Spectrum’s party made me feel a lot more connected to the very diverse and artistic LGBTQ community living in and around Bushwick. I felt comfortable and enlivened in a creative space filled with queers of all shapes, colors and sizes contented and excited enough to express themselves freely. Many of the people at “OVA THE RAINBOW” are artists, performers, musicians, writers and the like who make Bushwick the intensely inspiring place that it has become. When I poked in my earlier article about wanting a space that is designated as specifically queer, I imagined something like “The Spectrum” wherein heteronormative social conduct doesn’t stifle the imaginative endeavors of queer artists, though allies and others are obviously welcome to experience what is borne of such a space as well. (In fact, I saw more than a few at The Spectrum.) “OVA THE RAINBOW” is most definitely a party any queer needs to experience if they are living in Bushwick and the greater New York area. The party is as exciting for what it is as for what it says about what queers have brought and will continue to bring to the Bushwick social landscape.