Two years have passed since we said our goodbyes to Makati nightclub XX XX and the parties it hosted such as techno queer celebration Elephant. While waiting for the return of our fave physical queer safe spaces, docuseries “Midnight Asia: Eat. Dance. Dream.” is giving us a chance to relive some of our best nights in the city. Yes, Elephant is one of the stops in the show’s nocturnal Asian tour.
The six-part documentary, which aired on Jan. 20, is described as an alternative night-time guide that celebrates the cities of Manila, Bangkok, Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei, and Mumbai by shedding light on their hidden gems and vibrant subcultures. Its final episode dedicated to Metro Manila featured Elephant as well as fellow nighttime community favorites FlipTop Festival, Lugawan sa Tejeros, Philippine Wrestling Revolution (PWR), and Tenement.
“Hanging out in regular nightclubs, it was hard to dress up because people would think that I’m weird. And a lot of my friends experienced that. We were the elephants in the room. So when we were developing this party, we decided to name it Elephant, because it’s a party for people like us,” says creative director and Elephant co-organizer Shahani Gania in the episode. Joining the drag queen in the segment is her co-organizer, production designer Paul Jatayna, and other performers.
Elephant shared a clip from the show on Feb. 17 with the caption: “In case you guys haven’t seen it yet, Elephant is featured in the Netflix docuseries ‘Midnight Asia’ streaming now! Grateful to be included in this fine list of scenes and happenings here and around the continent. Feels really good to go back to that moment, dancing in @2020manila! Looking forward to what’s next!”
Apart from the party’s regulars, we also get to see PWR’s Crystal a.k.a the “Queen of Philippine Wrestling” under the spotlight in the episode.
This isn’t the first documentary released during the pandemic that’s centered on queer spaces and the found families that flourish in them. In 2020, Preen did a screening for writer and director Alexandra Cuerdo’s “Dancing On My Own.” The film is a letter to New York’s radical dance party made for and by queer Asian, Bubble_T.
With the closing of multiple communal safe spaces, some of us have resorted to create “imagined” ones right in our homes. Singaporean filmmaker Charmaine Poh explores this in the short film “Kin.”
We’re glad that Elephant continues to get the love that it deserves and our fingers are that its triumphant return comes soon. The city just isn’t the same without our vogue balls, live drag shows, and underground parties.