Why did you start Death of Glitter? What was the original idea behind the party?
The Death of Glitter was born from my 21st birthday party; I really wanted to throw this crazy party that celebrated clubkid culture for my friends, and I did it at EVOL. After the party, we were laying on my bed and my friend and co-organizer Zach Fleishman was like, ‘you have to turn this into an event”, and that got me thinking. I took the jump because I realized I had been disappointed by Cape Town’s queer scene; I was looking for a space that promoted liberation and self-expression, collaboration and creative freedom.
Most of the spaces I encountered had this vibe of exclusivity, the cool kids throwing parties to dress up and be cool. That’s not what I wanted to door create, so I founded D.O.G as an inclusive underground space which imagines and creates ideas of “utopia”, a space free from the constructs of normative society where you are celebrated for your individuality no matter what. We’ve been very inspired by the past. Clubkid culture from the 80s and 90s, it’s all informed what we have created. We champion you to live your truth, but also challenge you to push the boundaries of the truth. D.O.G is where you can get lost in the fantasy of an alternative reality where the only rules are PARTY. ART. SEX.
Death of Glitter is where you can get lost in the fantasy of an alternate reality…
Most of your events happen at Evol on Hope Street. What is it about that space that lends itself to the energy that Death of Glitter emanates?
I was drawn to EVOL because of the history of the space. Like I said, we are very inspired by the past. David West started EVOL (the party) as this crazy clubkid scene informed by what was happening in London and New York and placed it in Cape Town and the context of the city. When I encountered EVOL years later, I saw this incredibly raw space which this strange energy being used mostly by white hipsters playing hip-hop. I knew intrinsically I wanted to resurrect something in that space, and so I did.
It started with my birthday, and then once the first official D.O.G happened the rest pretty much wrote itself. It’s like this incredible, colourful history that had been dormant in the walls of club jumped out and started dancing again. I also love how liminal that space is; it can literally turn into anything which is why we began collaborating with visual artists and designers like Lindsay Raymond and Oscar Keogh to “design” the party from a visual, tactile point of view and install the club for the night so that we all end up partying inside an installation of which we become an essential part of.
Your last physical party was in collaboration with “The Other.” What was it that sparked this idea to collaborate with them?
I was approached by The Other actually. It began last year when one of the members, Phijos, reached out and played our event BLACK-LIGHT 2. That sparked an instant friendship and creative relationship. The Other then invited D.O.G to curate a pop-up dancefloor at their festival The Search in December last year. We really love the work each other does, and we instantly knew we wanted to work together. I think it was in October, we sat outside their little record shop in Obz and dreamt up this Y2K/warehouse rave party which eventually became SIMULATION. I really loved that event.
What are you guys day jobs (when you aren’t throwing the party of the month)?
Well, I (Tazme) do many things. Which is typical for most creatives in Cape Town I think; I work as a booking agent for DJs with an agency, I’m an actor and performance artist and honestly I’m a full time promoter and run other events such as Outskirts at Zer021. I really would love D.O.G to become my full time gig. The rest of the team; Zach just graduated, Elliot is in marketing, Bernard runs EVOL and Carlo manages The Raptor Room.
A component of your events is the inclusivity of oftentimes marginalized identities. Do you ever encounter groups or individuals at your events who disturb the safe environment you’ve created?
Yeah, of course. The thing I’ve always said is, safe spaces don’t actually exist and they can’t. My opinion on this notion of the safe space is that we cannot allow ourselves to fall into stagnation; the act of queerness is the act of disruption and subversion, it is by nature unsafe. So I don’t really call D.O.G a “safe space” in the way of that term’s current definition. Rather, it is a utopia, an alternative space governed by a different set of rules and values than the normal world outside. So in light of that, we have a 0 tolerance policy for discrimination, hate speech, violence and assault of any kind.
If anyone feels unsafe or threatened at our events, we urge them to report it and we deal with the situation. I will throw someone out who is making anyone else feel unsafe in a heartbeat, but also we are sensitive to handling these things as the people who are experiencing them ask us to.
It’s not easy, and there definitely have been a few issues that could have been handled better. But I think we’ve learnt over time how to control the environment without sacrificing the chaos which makes people feel so free. If you’ve been to one of our events, and if you have experienced something that has made you feel unsafe, please get in touch with us! Even if it happened ages ago. We will do all that we can to help, and learn from your experience.
Your next party takes place on the 30 May and celebrates your 3rd birthday. How do you feel about throwing the last national sober party (with booze being allowed 1 May)?
OMG! Mildly annoyed, because Cyril’s announcement came a week after ours. But I guess when people look back on it, it will be the last “sober” party of this crazy time in our history so that’s cool. We’ve definitely created something really special with this online event, taking into consideration the time we are in and that fact that our new venue is cyberspace.
Death of Glitter much like other events has been forced into strictly virtual spaces due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The internet has proven to be a means of liberation but also oppression for members of the LGBTQ+ community. What is your take on the internet as this double-edged sword and how can you ensure that the safe space you have created in a nightclub translates to the internet?
Moving online has presented a both daunting and exciting creative challenge. I think a core part of D.O.G has been it’s “liveness”, so the question of how to translate the energy of the party onto a laptop screen has been the major thing I think. I think we need to consider cyberspace as a completely different space with its own sets of constructs, and use those constructs to build our world in the same way we have done in real life.
What’s exciting for me, is that moving online eradicates a lot of borders and obstacles that may have been in the way for collaboration. Mostly physical borders; we have reached out to artists and events overseas who we’ve been inspired by and vice-versa, and now that the playing field has been equaled, we see this opportunity to work together and create new things. Like, we have Pussy Riot doing a set for this event on May 30th and we’ve chatting to promoters from the Dirty Diana parties in London.
The internet can never be safe; it’s the private made public and one has to be aware of what that means and must asses what they are willing to risk. I trust our audience, our D.O.G family, to keep our home safe as possible. I know that they love this space as much as we do, and they will be very protective over who it is shared with or over who has access. It’s a risk, but we can’t be afraid of trolls when we are building bridges. I’m here to Ctrl-Alt-Dlt a bitch if i have to, mother will do her best to keep the children safe!
It feels impossible to imagine the world after this pandemic, but a space like Death of Glitter provides such an important expressive platform for so many people in Cape Town. What is the plan for Death of Glitter once clubs reopen?
To celebrate, together. To dance, to scream, to cry. Whatever we need as catharsis, we will do our best to create the space for you to feel it in. We’re not going anywhere just yet, these heels are planted in the ground at this point.