Bringing Woo to Nightlife: Group Solstice Ritual

My friend Mackenzi told me once “You really bring the woo to nightlife.” She is totally right. I think if you have humor and sincere intention you can easily create something very meaningful in nightlife. It may seem counterintuitive, nightlife is often perceived as very shallow, looks-oriented and perception of people without depth. (And, honestly, how deep can you go when you can’t really talk to people over the deep thumpathumpa of the music?) I pride myself on creating events that help people connect, together with my spirituality and deep lez inclinations, every so often woo finds its way into my productions.

I like queer dance parties because it’s a place where the community comes together to celebrate life. I think dancing is a really spiritual act, especially to pop icons like Nicky Minaj (“Moment for Life” anyone?). There’s also a lot of Goddess iconography in pop, as pointed out by my bestie Rachael.

There was a great article about the Mayan calendar ending on Solstice 2012 from the perspective of actual Mayan elders and I really appreciated the following quote.

Go to the sacred places of the Earth to pray for peace , and have respect for the Earth which gives us our food, clothing and shelter. We need to reactivate the energy of the sacred places. This is our work.

Rebel Cupcake is certainly one of my sacred places. One of the best compliments I’ve gotten about it is that the person felt like this was the place they felt they could most be themselves in queer nightlife. The December 20, 2012 show being the night before the Winter Solstice I wanted to make it extra special. I put together six acts–four more than I usually book–at the intersections of the theme of Muppets, the end of the world (as we know it) and the darkness transforming to light that the solstice represents. I also adapted a group solstice ritual for use on the stage. The following is what happened.

All photos by resident Rebel Cupcake photographer, Kelsey Dickey.

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The cupcakes were Mexican Hot Chocolate flavored (with dark chocolate and tequila) by Cupcake Princess Morgan, who said if it was the end of the world that’s what she’d want to drink.

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Our first act was Miss Poison Ivory, with a fallen angel burlesque act to Alanis Morrissette’s “Uninvited.” It was really moving and beautiful. (It also made me recall Alanis Morrissette’s role as God in Kevin Smith’s Dogma.)

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Our second act was the first public musical instrument act by spoken word phenom, Kit Yan. It was so tender! He began with a poem about Kermit and Miss Piggy that involved a lot of Muppet voices and then a really sweet, soft and tender version of Rainbow Connection that invited audience participation. It was so heartfelt!

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Next up was a burlesque act by Rebel Cupcake virgin Abby Fantastic, who was top of her class in burlesque school. It was to Rihanna’s “S&M” with an underlying Mad Max and the Thunderdome theme. The crowd went wild!

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Damien Luxe brought the next act. A performance art piece as an argonaut who had just landed in her pink spaceship with a message from the future. Her message was about the qualities we will need during the apocalypse. It was hilarious. I need to learn how to build a log cabin.

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I did an interlude with a Solstice ritual I had prepared to be shared by the entire audience. Fancy Feast, our wonderful Stage Kitten, was my Spirituality Bottom. I had her walk through the audience in a circle with burning sage to cleanse the energy, because the first part of the ritual was a cleansing. Part of the power of Solstice is the letting go of the darkness and moving toward light, which is also what the prediction for the Mayan Calendar ending, a changing of the world towards a more humane civilization.

I based the ritual on a group releasing ceremony on this website that I had done with some friends around a bonfire last Solstice.

Ritualizing release is a way to “bind the medicine” of moving beyond the past, the pain, the obstacles, the resistance, the old traps, the excuses.

The premise is that we release those things that no longer serve us by writing them on a piece of paper, binding the list with string, and burning it to transform them into light and then ash.

I knew that as a group we could do something together with our energy. So I had everyone focus their energy with the things they wanted to “write” to leave behind in the darkness of 2012 onto a piece of cupcake stationary. I took the paper and rolled it up, gave it to Fancy to hold, and tied string around it.

I set it aflame from my candle and burned it in a bowl. Fancy then took a dream weed and burned it in a circle around the room to encourage us to have clarifying dreams about our future and what we want to manifest for the new, humane world order.

I really like this ritual for groups as well as individuals. It also doesn’t only have to be during Solstice, I think anytime you have something you want to let go of, writing and burning is really good for an energy cleanse.

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Bikini Thrill brought a burlesque act to “Revelations” by Yoko Ono and Cat Power. She stripped out of a cloak and handed out stars to the audience. It was so touching and felt as though Bikini Thrill was performing more with her energy than with dance or stripping. It was incredible.

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Now, our last act was the third annual holiday act by Ariel Speedwagon. She asked me if she could bring a band of unicorns to do a dance and present a Solstice ritual to the Rebel Cupcake crowd. There were flashlights, silver capes, horns, and passing out candles and lighting them throughout the audience.

It was a really wonderful way to end a very moving show. I am so grateful to all of the artists for bringing their acts and energy, the crowd for being such a great audience–they were rapt! Fancy Feast for always being willing to be an all-purpose bottom for whatever performance creativity need I have. For DJ Bryan Black who was on fire all night and celebrated his last Rebel Cupcake after two years of being our resident DJ. For Morgan and the insanely delicious cupcakes that happen every night. For Kelsey Dickey and all the amazing photographs she takes. Hana for running the door, Nicky for holding down the coats, Laura Delarato, our incredible videographer who also celebrated her last Rebel Cupcake.

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I hope everyone is having a great Solstice/Christmas/Gaywitchmas/New Year and you are able to release those things that no longer serve you and welcome in new and exciting ideas.

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