We caught up with the founders and co-curator’s of DISKOTEKAH Gavin Mikey Collins and Michael Beaumont Cooper about all things DTK.All the imagery were part of a fun experiment the DTK team did at the recent HALLOQWEEN 4 event, giving a few friends disposable cameras to capture the party from different perspectives.
PHOTOGRAPHY: ALEX PATERIMOS, LAUREN BRITS AND GAVIN MIKEY COLLINS
How did Diskotekah come about and what has been the biggest motivation to keep it going?
Michael: DISKOTEKAH came about over a conversation on a beach four years ago, about how the fun of the late nineties, early 2000’s had come to an end and we needed to revive that sense of freedom in how people socialize. It then turned into this movement of good vibes and a social responsibility for us to continue these good vibes. That and we promised to never give up!
Gavin: We love every aspect of DTK from the conceptualization to creating artworks and installations, from setting up the venue, planning a look, getting dressed, putting on make up and everything in between which makes DTK the unique event it is. We also feel like having done this for a few years now we have a responsibility to everyone who attends our parties to keep curating spaces that they feel safe and welcomed in. We want to continue providing a platform for creative expression to all of the characters who have come to love Diskotekah.
Did you initially plan for Diskotekah to become more than a Halloween party and have a team of kweens performing under the Diskotekah brand?
Michael: It was never specifically a Halloween (or as we like to call it, Halloqween) party. It was a party that would accept anyone without prejudice. We will read you if you arrive in a t shirt, but we will still welcome you none the less. Besides, reading is fundamental. The Queens forming was organic. Increments of progress. Turns out getting made up, putting on heels and being the sassiest version of yourself is contagious and fun.
Gavin: Our first goal with Diskotekah was to host an event that our friends could attend that honoured nightlife legends like Amanda Lepore, Susanne Bartsch, Ru Paul and so many others. We wanted an event in Cape Town that brought together diverse groups of people, in a glamorous setting, that encouraged freedom and expression without judgment.
It was at Littlegig Festival this year that the DTK qweens debuted with a sickening runway inspired performance that had everyone at the festival gagged. We became legendary at that festival and that when I think the other queens saw this as a real opportunity. We realized that we had something special that people wanted to see more of so we started performing together more often.
Tell us more about how you plan the party and the fun of setting up the venue:
Michael: The party starts with a venue, then a concept, then an argument, then some creative inspiration, then we just get down to it and let the spirit of DISKOTEKAH take the wheel.
Gavin: We always try and make the theme as broad as possible so people can get really creative and to give us fun visuals to work with for the décor. Some of my favourite themes so far have been EmoChanel, Wrestlemania & Christmas in Space.
We spend weeks creating artworks and décor with team DTK (aka our friends and boyfriends) and on the day we usually start at as early as possible to transform the space into something immersive and new.
Setting up for us is the most fun because you really get to see the transformation of the space. We always try and encourage friends and fans to get involved with setting up because it makes the whole DTK process longer and more rewarding.
What change are you hoping to bring to the Cape Town party scene with Diskotekah?
Michael: Not just the party scene, but to anyone who graces us with their presence, we just want to showcase how amazing difference in perspective is. Different is not bad, it’s beautiful if you keep a positive perspective.
Gavin: Our goal is to continue bring people together to celebrate, to dance and to not take life too seriously.
What is next for Diskotekah?
Michael: DISKOTEKAH for president!!!!
Gavin: Our podcast called The Beat #comingsoon