0127B: Let The O Divas Entertain You

My list of obviously gay traits (hello BHC!) will always include Kylie Minogue, show tunes and other bits of musical theater, a general lack of athletic ability, dance music, and in recent years drag queens. Not that I want to become one anytime soon, but I do appreciate the nerve it takes to get up on stage and perform the way they do. The life of the entertainer is never an easy one, regardless of the way you choose to express your artistic sensibilities. There will always be a part of me that enjoys performing on stage and yet a larger part that remains terrified of the very same thing.

Obviously, Tobie and I spend a lot of our free time at O Bar and one of the biggest reasons will forever remain the drag queens. The shows cover almost every range of the musical spectrum from the classically stylish to the hilariously campy. I know a lot of people still feel uncomfortable about transvestites and other female impersonators, but you really don't know what you're missing until you spend a nice watching the shows at the bar, believe me.

Last night's set at O Bar was pretty spectacular (albeit, a bit late). And it's always interesting to note how each O Diva has a unique character that sort of flavors their performances so that you truly know that its their own. It's more than just dancing to a particular song of choice but it's also about really adopting the persona of the artist involved or to create a completely new character of your own to best capture their unique interpretation of the song.

And thus the inspiration for today's blog post - just wanted to run through my thoughts on some (and yes, still not all) of the O Divas that we've enjoyed watching as of late (or at the very least that I have decent photos of since we tend to favor Ortigas over Malate). I don't claim to know them all that well - these are just my observations and opinions alone. Heck, I'm probably getting some of the names wrong (feel free to correct me as needed, ladies, should you read this).

Jay, for example, really carries the attitude and panache of her personas. She's one fierce individual and you can see it in how every part of her remains expressive during her performances. You can see in her eyes that she's more than capable of controlling and captivating the audience whether she's performing a serious song or is just having fun with a lighter dance beat. Her very fingers are part of the overall message she's trying to convey, which is why she does one heck of a job with Lady Gaga songs, to name a few. She's probably one of the best-known of the O Divas these days, or at least that's my impression at times.

Dee Dee, obviously one of our favorites given the sheer number of photos we've taken, found herself in the role of Adele and really ran with it. Her manner of performing tends to be rather heavy with emotion - signs that she clearly tries to internalize her "roles" in the same way that the great theater performers do. She can shift between the tragically heartbroken with songs like Rolling in the Deep and move on to more upbeat, triumphant songs like Love on Top and perform both equally well. She's also a delightful conversationalist, but of course that's already outside the confines of her O Diva "professional" life, hehe.

I tend to think of Alanis as the proverbial "Child of the 90's" as potentially inaccurate the term may be. She brings a certain sweetness to her performances that remains highly endearing and totally fitting given the types of songs she performs (yes, including Cee Lo Green's Fuck You). She has some of the most expressive eyes among the performers and she has quite a range of emotions for her facial expressions as well. I could dig through my photos more to find one that does her a bit more justice, but I think this one does the trick nicely. There's a keen wit to her song choices at times that is always worth showing up at the bar for, most definitely.

Admittedly Tobie and I feel rather, um, possessive of some of the divas (for lack of a better term, seriously) since a lot of them show such tremendous potential. One such case was Lumina - and I only say was since she's come such a long way and is already tapping into that same potential. She's found herself in the power of the rock ballad, the types of songs performed by the like of Roxette and others. And she's really learned to really bring it from the very moment she takes the stage and all throughout her performances. To some extent, Tobie and I can't help but feel proud for being supportive of her growth as a performer.

JP is clearly a seasoned veteran, one who has really adopted the value of the extravagant costume and the well-timed prop to spice up his numbers. From confetti blasters to balloon skirts, it's hard to predict what trick she's going to pull off next. She's also one of the performers who is most likely to traverse the bar from one stage to another. I think I've already seen numbers where she starts on one of the overhanging ledges, down to the main stage and then still making her way back to the rear stage to boot! Truly, she puts a lot of effort into making sure she connects with every member of the audience in her own way.

Speaking of commanding control of the audience, another Diva who manages this really well is Nap. She tends to specialize in more comedic performances (including some scarily impressive sword-swallowing tricks, if you get my drift). Of all the Divas, I feel she has the most interaction with the audience and is able to get even the most reluctant bar patron up on stage. She has a style of drag that's completely her own ranging from strangely colored wigs, false eyelashes that are several inches long and a unique set of pump-action props that I'll leave for you to discover should you ever go to the bar.

Bernie is another strong performer who packs a heck of a lot of attitude in a deceptively small package. Her movements are always appropriate to her songs, whether this means needing to be strong, snappy and precise or soft, tender and expressive. Her range is impressively diverse plus she really knows how to bring down a house with a particularly great song. I don't get to see her as much as I'd like to given my work schedule, but the times that I do tend to be pretty awesome.

I think 7 O Divas is a good number to stop on - and I know I'm missing a lot of really talented folks out there like Eva, Joey, Yhurie and a bunch of others whose names I still don't know. The point is that they're all great in their own unique ways and thus it's always fun to try and capture as many great photos of them as possible or even the occasional video when my arms are strong enough to hold up the camera that long. These ladies are a big part of why we enjoy going to O Bar so much and maybe this little semi-reflective blog post will give you a reason to join us for a round or two one night.

Otherwise, it's just fun to write about things we love, especially O Bar. Tobie and I obviously have so many good memories associated with the bar, which is probably why we seem to go out of our way to support the bar. And it's never wrong to celebrate the things that you love, right?
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