Sam Castañeda Holdren
One of my favorite parties is coming back to the city of eternal Spring. Miami Bitch is the theme of tomorrow night’s El Banana Splitter, Medellin’s hottest alternative party where gay (and straight) subculture will be on full display.
The theme, according to party organizer Juan Santiago Uribe, is based on a mix of 90s Baywatch (think Pamela Anderson and almost being naked on the beach) and the neon and cream colors of 80s Miami Vice (I also think of shoulder pads and shades).
As always, costumes are welcome. But that goes without saying. Ever since the first of the Banana parties a couple of years ago, people have been taking advantage of the wild themes to dress up as someone different.
“Somos una fiesta,” said Uribe. “It’s an eccentric, fun party, where you can come and if you want to be someone else, it’s fine. However you want to be, you’re welcome.”
Indeed, the themes are a big part of the appeal for me. These parties are unique in a city where the nightlife is heavily influenced by Reggaeton culture and traditional Colombian music like salsa, Cumbia and Vallenato. While all of that is fun in and of itself, the Banana, organized by a group of Queer creative-types, offers up something different than the norm.
“We always try to have fun with it,” said Uribe, when describing how he and a group of 3 others come up with each party’s theme. “We play with words in English to make it sound American.” Doing so is what sets the Banana apart from other traditional Colombian parties, he said.
Past themes have included Miss Banana (a parody on the very popular Miss Colombia/Miss Universe pageants), Heavy Christmas (featuring leather and bondage gear), Uranus (a galactic theme party) and El Sacrificio del Banana for Halloween.
In explaining why he and his friends first started organizing these parties, Uribe said, “Our overall goal – we are doing it for fun. Financially it’s not a big business. We don’t make real money out of it. We enjoy seeing all of the crazy stuff that we do and how we just enjoy being with other people.”
And while El Banana turns out a large gay audience, the parties are also designed to bring out straight allies who want to break out of their shell. Pushing the envelope and breaking through barriers is partly why the parties are rarely located at LGBT venues, according to Uribe. At the same time, El Banana fosters a friendly environment for Medellin’s trans and queer-identified community. Misunderstanding leads to a lot of mistreatment of trans people in the city, even from within the gay community.
“If you go to a party and see a trans person or a (person in) drag, they always seems like an outsider or a bad person you don’t want to get involved with; we wanted to include them and make them a strong presence in the party,” said Uribe.
I’m looking forward to seeing you tomorrow night! Here are the details:
Where: Industry Club, Calle 26a #43f-72, Barrio Colombia, Medellin
When: Saturday, July 9th from 10 pm to 4 am
Cover: 20.000 COP
More Info: https://www.facebook.com/bananasplitter/