Monday, November 28, 2011

Mr. Gay Namibia and some Friday night pool

On Saturday night, I went to Mr. Gay Namibia, the first beauty pageant for gay men in Namibia. My friend Micheal had asked me to accompany him on the guitar while he sang Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah during the wardrobe changes in the pageant. There was no way I was going to turn down an opportunity to perform a Canadian classic at a gay beauty pageant, especially one that served a full three course dinner with wine and champagne for what came out to be less than ten Canadian dollars.

there will be an newspaper article out soon about the event so I won't post too much details here, but you can enjoy the final moment where drag queen Solange announces the winner:

I love the part where all of the winner's friends and fans rush up to the stage and cheer loudly - I love the way African ululations sound. I also love the footage of the man jumping up and down excitedly with a giant rainbow flag. It was a beautiful moment, an important one for the repressed gay community in Namibia, and I felt tears in my eyes.

we celebrated afterwards getting photos with Mr Gay Namibia, and by going to a night club called Zanzibar where we danced our pants off (not literally - but it was pretty hot).


Friday night, i thought it would be a good idea to eat only a cinnamon bun for dinner, drink two big glasses of beer, and then take on the local pool league.

after work i sent out my usual "so what's going to be then, eh?" SMS to my various droogs in the city to see what the evening would bring. my appointment to meet Mr. Gay World was cancelled, so I ran some errands downtown; tried to go get into a cab on Independence Avenue, but got pulled out by a cop who told me cabs can't pick up there. he put me in another cab...and then promptly ticketed that cab. I can't say I totally understand how everything works around here.

Julia was off salsa dancing, but andrew was up for shooting pool at a nearby bar called Jokers which had a set of pool tables in the back. We sat at the bar for a couple of drinks first, where we met a local guy named Reggie who convinced us not to use the kiddie tables. Instead he'd show us where the "real" pool tables were. We took our beers, and followed him out the back door, across the yard, up the fire escape, and past a bunch of strongly worded signs in English and Afrikaans saying DO NOT BRING BEERS FROM JOKERS HERE. For a moment I was convinced he was taking us to a Scientology conversion meeting or something, but then we entered a unmarked room that was inexplicably a different part of Jokers Lounge, despite being ridiculously far and hidden from the main part of the bar. the room was filled with smoke, the sharp sounds of pool balls bouncing against each other, and extremely serious looking guys. Clearly this was where the real pool players played. Reggie had led us to their secret spot.

a security guard headed towards us with a disapproving look on his face, i'm not sure if it was because of our beers that we'd snuck in or because i smelled like a noob, but Reggie stepped in and negotiated intensely for a few minutes in Afrikaans. And then suddenly, it was all right. the security guard stepped aside.

"You may play at any table," he told us.

I looked at the room. All of the tables were in use. "Which table can we play?" I asked nervously.

"You must challenge one of the players," the guard replied. "They play for money."

Oh dear. I'm not that good at pool. I spent most of first year university in the pool hall, sticking cups into the holes so we could get endless games without paying for it, but that was nearly a decade ago and since then, thanks to law school, my vision has gotten terrible and I've lost the ability to focus on a nearby object enough to line it up with a farther object. Not to mention I've got a silly haircut that makes my bangs hang in front of my eyes. Looking at this room full of intensely concentrating guys and piles of money on the sides of the table, I didn't think I was going to get much sympathy from them. I also didn't think I was going to be able to borrow a bobby pin to pull my hair back here. This was going to be interesting.

"Okay. Who are the worst players here?" Andrew asked.

We ended up joining at table at the back with two young architecture students from Polytech. They were pretty friendly, especially after Andrew started conversing with them in Portuguese (i could have used him in the studio, darn it), and we played a couple of games. Andrew did pretty well. I did about as well as I expected to, which wasn't very well, especially with no substantive dinner and two larger Hansa draughts. but it was still fun, and neat to discover another hidden hangout spot not too far from our place.