Sex Cells At The Teragram Ballroom, Friday December 22nd 2017
Sex cells, yeah sex certainly sells and always will. For the first time since its creation, I attended the monthly edition of Sex Cells which recently moved from the Echoplex to the Teragram Ballroom, and didn’t know exactly what to expect… Was it a show, just a dance party or a bit of both? After attending their special holiday Xmas Xtravaganza, I can say it’s a little bit of both, but the spectacle was obviously on stage and off stage, as people go there to show their extravagant costumes, and if you have ever attended a gay parade on Halloween night, this is a variation of it with an accent on unconventional sex… latex, studded leather and dog collar on every body and every neck, with a parade of drag queens wearing the most crazy and creative costumes.
Sex Cells is certainly the time to make your inner porn star shine and many people had obviously worked very hard on their shiny glittery outfits, and walking among this carnival of the drag queens felt at time like walking right on a John Waters movie set,.. it was not a question to look good, it was a question to look the most noticeable person in the middle of the most eye-catching and colorful crowd by every aspect.
During a few hours of techno disco dance beats by DJ Matthew Pernicano, the place gradually filled up with a very intriguing crowd, with some of the flashiest specimens parading on stage for a few minutes. However, some people had already reserved their spot close to the stage, and I knew they were not there for watching a DJ for 2 hours.
It was already very late, past 11 pm, when Traci Lords made a grand entrance on stage, as the mistress of ceremonies bathed in a foggy velvety light. With her siren red dress, blonde ponytail, majestic stature and sulky voice, she looked like a glamor screen diva, and I just regret she was on stage for only a few seconds, the time to introduce the two female performers, who brought the night to the next level of debauchery. Known for her underage porn career, Traci Lords is also an author and actor — she was Johnny Depp’s bad girlfriend in ‘Cry Baby’ among other notorious roles — and she even attempted a music career. She nevertheless was only there to introduce Brooke Candy, the only rapper I know who performs naked!
The LA rapper is a former stripper — you can tell it is the case based on her fearless performance — and she has worked with Grimes, Sia, and has toured with Charli XCX, but she is not the Rolling Loud type as her fast flow over an electro-pop soundtrack may not be the principal attraction of her act. The fashion muse and pop star provocateur put on a very bold act. Appearing first wearing a long latex coat reading ‘sex’ in huge lettering in the back, she gradually lost her clothes (not that she had much in the first place) followed by her ‘fantasy wig’, while rapping about sex in the most natural apparel. She has a song called ‘I Wanna Fuck Right Now’, which tells the whole picture and she was acting on stage in the most sexual way you can imagine, with the word ‘cunt’ written on her latex string. She rolled her back on stage, got wet with all the water spilled on the stage floor, and gave a very hardcore performance, rallying the entire LGBTQ community behind her, with boys and girls in the crowd cheering together. She certainly gave its entire meaning to the name of the event (Sex Cells). As her set progressed, her act became more and more aggressive, verbally as physically, ending into a series of mad stomping rap songs (with real drumming) which put the crowd in a state of complete ecstasy.
Traci Lords came back to introduce the next act of the night, cultural icon Amanda Lepore, the ultimate platinum bombshell, who looked totally surreal in a vintage glamour way. Like a cartoonish version of Marilyn Monroe meets Jessica Rabbit, Lepore looked like a drag queen fantasy, a Sunset Strip inflatable doll with huge red lips swallowing her face, two extra black almond eyes and a tiny waist. She was an all-female-feature exaggeration and she danced through a very sexy number while barely singing over club music.
Introduced with a band who was gently rapping as an introduction (everything seemed to work with rap these days), this distorted version of a vintage Hollywood Marilyn sang a few songs squeezed in an luxury-brand-patched black dress, that she later removed to perform braless, then string-less under a constant ‘Oh my god’ from the crowd, and letting about nothing left for imagination, although this is still debatable. Despite revealing some very female attributes, Amanda is the world’s most famous transsexual, while she seems to be transcending genres and species. Renamed ‘La Silicona’ in Milan, she is the muse of photographer David Lachapelle, and she claims to have the most expensive body in the world. Amanda doesn’t have to do much on stage to get the attention, her lips and exaggerated curves are like eye-magnets and as her bio says, she is ‘paid to just enter the room’. this was the performance of a post-man, a post-woman, a Tex Avery lab experiment, and of course, it was difficult to look anywhere else.
Sex cells is pushing the limits of the underground culture. Presented by Danny Fuentes’ Lethal Amounts, which focuses on subversive and counter culture themes throughout history, the monthly event showcases ‘the social and artistic value of underground movements while highlighting taboo topics’. They are always interested by flamboyant characters and themes at the edge of societal norms, and their provocative, gender-bending dancefloor is quite an eye candy. Inspired by the influential and infamous NYC ‘club kid’ period of the ’90s, Sex Cells got in trouble last October, when Fuentes booked party monster Michael Alig (who served 17 years in prison for manslaughter ) as a co-host for Sex Cells’ Halloween edition. As a result Spaceland Presents, which owns the Echo and Echoplex, canceled the entire event, but Sex Cells is back at the Teragram ballroom, for more crazy nights challenging the norms of society for the greatest pleasure of the underground culture lovers.