Arthur Tam talks to GJ Mattens and Janva Tam about their new weekly gay event, Oosh
A new LGBTI event hits the town. Just when we thought all was lost once Propaganda closed its doors, we catch wind of Oosh, a new biweekly event promising not so cliché gay fun. Since it seems like brick and mortar gay establishments aren’t sustainable any longer, the best alternatives are regular weekly/monthly gay nights.
Oosh is the brainchild of social networking expert GJ Mattens (also the founder of Guerilla – a monthly LGBTI social event) and DJ Janva Tam, who spins at the infamous Werk party in Taipei, and the creators of the secret Bunker Club parties. To them, the gay nightlife scene is still very much alive. “People think that gay clubs and bars are running empty because of dating and hook-up apps,” says Mattens. “The truth is, too many of us have been deceived by a mismatch between online and offline personas. People realise that meeting someone in real life bypasses all the hours of hopeless chatting you invest in an app. Clubbing still offers an experience that a 6cm x 4cm screen can’t.”
According to the duo, Oosh stands for ‘an expression of what people experience when they see or feel exciting or nice things’, and the event is going to take place twice a week every Tuesday and Friday. The Tuesday event focuses on casual after-hour drinks from 7pm-11pm and takes place at Drop. The goal of Tuesday is very much like Matten’s idea for Guerilla, except plus an added art twist. The event doubles up as a platform to promote new artists in the scene by displaying their work around the club.
The Friday event is Oosh’s club night and it takes place at Club VIP from the hours 9pm-6am. There is going to be a draft station set up on Pottinger Street for people to drink until 11pm, so they can be fully inebriated before heading down to the club to dance. “The reason we started Oosh,” says Tam, “is to play quality dance music and not just the same pop EDM which all the cheesy clubs are playing. We also want to build a friendly place for everyone who loves and respects each other – not like most of the clubs in HK, [who have] the wrong type of attitude, expecting their customers to pop six bottles of champagne before any kind of acknowledgement.”
Poppin’ bottles like a gangsta just ain’t what it used to be, and neither is the landscape of gay clubbing. Hopefully things are going to be brighter with the likes of Oosh on the scene. Perhaps the only way for a gay nightlife scene to be sustainable in Hong Kong is for businesses to catch up and familiarise themselves with the ever evolving trends of their target customers. “We like being bold,” says Matten. “We like the idea of being more ambitious and maybe in the future we can plan and explore different gay parties outdoors or create the best gay pride party ever.” Tam echoes those sentiments, but concludes, “The only way to improve Oosh is to keep earning respect and support from real people.”