Wherever you are, you're never (too) far from a gay bar. So tune in every week for the inside track on why your local queer venue loves you, and why you should love it right back, as we get the low-down from the people who know best – the owners, the barmen, the DJs and the fabulous performers.
MENERGY is a monthly gay party that takes place on the last Friday of the month at Gibus Club in Paris. The entire ethos is inspired by disco pioneer Patrick Cowley and more specifically the stone cold classic Menergy.
And rightly so, because House music is at the core of this party, with a healthy sprinkling of electro and techno for good measure, courtesy of DJs like Clara 3000 or Ivan Smagghe.
"Red and black are the two main colours: in our logo, on the screens and in the light show," explains co-founder Oscar Heliani Posters never show the model’s face. We do break this rule only in June where you can see two men kissing.
"With MENERGY we wanted to reconcile gay shirtless club goers with quality music. I think the job is done!" adds Yannicj Barbe, the clubs resident DJ, Babybear and other co-founder.
How long have you been involved at MENERGY?
OH: Since Yannick called me to share his ideas about the project. Let’s say three years ago. YB: I have always been fascinated by the pre-AIDS San Francisco and New York scenes, all the imagery of leather bars, vintage porn, etc. Before thinking about DJs or music, I was sure about the name: Menergy!
What five words would you use to sum up your night?
OH: Sexy, sweaty, kinky, hottie… music! YB: Less is more. Ok, that's only three.
What’s the crowd like?
YB: Muscle bears and horny twinks dancing side by side. Music tends to be much more sensual than aggressive. No show-offs! Everyone feels the groove. OH: I would say people from our age and younger (you should try guess our age). Most of them do care about the guest DJ. Others who don’t come because they’re sure to find some gorgeous guys to flirt with, and why not discover new names in the DJ booth?
Why do people love your night?
OH: Because it’s on a Friday night, they have all the weekend to recover. Despite what you might hear, gays still have some good taste in music and not all of them enjoy cheap circuit party music. MENERGY is the opportunity to have international respected DJs at a very affordable price in a highly sexualised atmosphere. It’s not common to listen to Discodromo, Andy Butler, Robert Owens, Quentin Harris, nd_baumecker, Honey Soundsystem, Terrence Parker, Severino from Horse Meat Disco, Jacques Renault and many others in a gay party!
What is a typical night like at MENERGY?
YB: The power of music and lights. No go-go dancers, no backroom: sex is on the dance floor baby!
Who would you never let in the door?
OH: You should ask Nicolas who manages our door. He has the secret ingredients to make it work. The crowd is always cool with no attitude whatsoever. He’s the Lady (Bear) with an attitude!
Gay venues are closing down all the time– what do you think the gay scene needs to do to keep thriving?
OH: It’s true, gay venues are closing but new ones are opening. We started the party two years ago and I can assure you that we weren’t aware that we could reach around 1,000 people at each party now. Gay people have seen it all. They travel a lot for parties so you have to keep surprising them.
What’s the strangest thing that’s happened at a MENERGY night?
OH: It depends on how you define the word 'strange'. I do recall reading an interview with [DJ] Jennifer Cardini who said that Vitalic contacted her after the MENERGY night he attended in October 2015. He sent her some music inspired by her set at our party… YB: … and she signed the track on her label Correspondant!
Describe your own ideal night out:
YB: Falling in love. Again and again. OH: Any party with good music surrounded by friends. I don’t mind some sexual healing either.
What events have you got coming up next?
OH: We are expecting The Carry Nation, Eli Escobar and Honey Dijon and then Dimitri From Paris on 24th of February. YB: We would like to develop our party without losing our DNA. It’s all about details.
Images: Sebastien Coffre