Mar 18, 2012

[Pink Scene] The Sunday O Divas

 As a one of those relatively luckier call center professionals who always gets weekends off, Sunday nights are what you could truly consider to be my "complete" rest days. As much as I don't have work on Saturday nights, the fact that I'm still a the office as late as 10am sort of kills the feeling that Saturday is part of the weekend. I end up spending most of the day asleep or I force myself to stay up for this geek even or another. Thus Sundays are really the days I typically look forward to the most since I truly get to rest and relax before the work week resumes.


And thus the reason that Sunday nights have almost always meant O Bar Ortigas nights for me since a night drinking, dancing and drag queens always seems like a great way to cap off any weekend. And Sunday nights had never quite been the same ever since we started to see the Sunday O Divas perform regularly.


To be fair, the Sunday O Divas do have some rotations in their roster, but you will see certain familiar faces almost always taking the stage on a Sunday night. And these ladies really bring a certain degree of class and artistry to their performances that really help them stand out. As much as any night at O Bar with the various drag queens is always fun, there's something about the Sunday group that really takes things to the next level.

So let's take a quick look at who you might expect to see on a Sunday night...


First we have Dee Dee Holliday, who probably got everyone's attention at the bar when she started quite literally channeling Adele on stage. And while you might think that she's limited to such soulful balads that makes even the butchest gay man cry, she's continues to grow her range of artists to be inspired by to include Beyonce (especially with Love on Top) and the goddess herself Kylie Minogue.

What makes Dee Dee stand out, at least in my opinion, is her ability to convey the emotions of her performances to everyone in the audience. We feel her sadness and tears when she becomes Adele. We smile along when she dances like Beyonce. And we feel the mix of amusement and uncertain fear when she channels Snow White's Evil Queen here and there. It all makes for great entertainment no matter what you used think about drag queens.

John (and yes I wonder about when she might take on a different drag name) is one of the more experienced divas I've seen and she actually performs quite a lot throughout the week. You can see her degree of talent and experience not just in her numbers but right down to he costumes and color props. As an O Diva, John is the type that you have to notice since she embraces that camp and attitude that is part and parcel of drag culture. And she's one of the few who have actually used some of the ledge dancers as, well, "props" for lack of a better term. Definitely all in good taste of course.

I've had a few conversations with John and it's impressive that some of the group costumes are her idea / design. So not only is she focused on finding new performance numbers for herself, but she also tries to think of how the rest of the group might be able to work together better - which is something that helps Sundays feel all the more special as well.

It's hard to perfectly describe the transformation that Lumina has undergone in recent months, but I do count myself fortunate to have been around to bear witness to her growth and evolution into the true diva that she is today. It takes a while for any drag queen to find her true niche and it looks like she's found hers in the rock ballads and the kind of saws that channel heartache through anger and rage. I know the turning point, at least for me, was when she first took the stage with a Roxette song and really brought down the house - and she's been exploring this side of herself ever since.

Lumina has really learned to internalize her personas as she takes the stage, but still doesn't get too carried away to the point of forgetting to have fun. And I think she does best when she's playing off other divas since the interactions with the other ladies does prove interesting on a number of levels.

Other members of the Sunday O Divas now include Bernie who is a whole lot of moxie in a deceptively small package. She walks as if she was six feet tall and could probably clear a room if she stared hard enough. She brings a mean Nicki Minaj when she chooses to do so but has demonstrated equal skill with a wide range of other performance numbers.

Plus I have to admit that she's probably one of the most physically capable dancers I've seen at O Bar - but you could probably determine that based on the musculature of her arms, hehe. But it's because of the strength that she wields (and controls) while still remaining feminine which is so impressive. Plus she's a heck of a lot of fun to watch no matter what she does.

I never know what to tag as the "official" roster for Sundays since they do rotate a bit here and there, and one recurring face is definitely Alanis, who I'll always feel is quite the darling of the 90's. And that moniker is something of my own making and may not perfectly reflect her song choices, which are pretty expansive. It's just the vibe she gives me, I suppose.

What I love most about Alanis apart from her quirky accessories and colorful wigs is definitely how expressive she is on the stage. Sure she dances like all the other divas, but I tend to keep my camera trained on her face as much as possible to capture the seemingly limitless range of expressions she cycles through as she performs. She's quite the character and pretty funny in a way that gets even the most taciturn bar patron grinning given how infectious her enjoyment tends to be.


So that's what the Sunday O Diva shows are like, more or less. Images alone don't do justice to what these ladies can do and the best way to find out is by dropping by O Bar Ortigas yourself to see what there is to see. Bring a friend or be prepared to make new ones once you're there, have a round of beers and just enjoy the show. This isn't the kind of bar where the queens are going to make fun of you. This is where you'll just have to pay homage and understand precisely why they deserve the title divas.

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