Into The Fafswag Ball

Ball culture is international at this point. With it being introduced to new geographies, there come new cultures. One of them is Fafswag, a New Zealand based queer creative ball competition.

I stumbled upon it thanks to a little documentary/music video made by Coco Solid, whose work you may remember from a
previous post. In the mini-doc, Solid gives you some insight into the gay, transgender, and general queer Pacific community by way of a few interviews. The Fafswag Ball works by its seven houses competing in different categories. You also learn that it’s a means to showcase the Polynesian transgender culture, which is called fa’afafine. It’s a fascinating little world that you can dive further into here, to learn about the cultural gender fluidity and “third gender.”

Solid’s video is more of a document of performance. It features a look at all the costumes and parading and dancing that take place in the Fafswag Ball not to mention what seems like countless death drops. (Which makes you wonder if there will ever be a new “OH NO SHE DIDN’T.” ball move because, sheesh, everyone does drops now.) It also is the main conduit to share Solid’s great, nineties LGBT dance track “Heaven’s Gate.” The two paired together make for a hypnotic watch, one that makes you wonder if you are actually watching something that is real. It’s often unreal. A lot of this is thanks to some great editing.

It’s a delightful twofer: not only are you getting to learn about Pacific islander LGBTQ culture but also getting a sweet dance track. How lucky are you? Watch/hear/ingest it below.

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