Drag artist Lady Die brings together gay tromso at the city’s Kiki Klubb.
To many, Rune Hennum Nilssen is best known as the style-changing drag Lady Day and the driving force behind booking agency Haus of Misfits, which during Pride’s summer traveled across country and coast to bring drag to the masses.
Now Hennum Nilssen is starting a freak show in Tromsø, Kiki Klubb’s Bastard Bar in the city centre.
– Kiki Klubb is a club night for gays and 20+ allies here in Tromsø. Northern Norway does not have queer clubs, so we create offbeat spaces where we can, Ron Hennum Nielsen tells Blake and says he wants to create a space where people who feel at home in the queer spectrum can be seen and heard.
– Whether you are an artist or a guest. A place where they can form new bonds and relationships, not least contributing to a sense of belonging and a sense of home for queers here in the North.
– We are very happy to cooperate with Bastard Bar, he says and explains that the anomalous environment in the city led a nomadic life.
– We struggled a bit to find a place that met us with an understanding of what we were trying to create and that would give us a chance to have regular evenings over a longer period of time. That changed when we grabbed coffee with reservations manager Laurie Ledger at Bastard. I pulled out the calendar and recorded the dates for six months there and then. Bastard is an important and reputable music scene here in town that has also reeked of club nights before. They don’t care and are a group of incredibly competent people who also see how great it is that we want to throw a party and fun for our part of the population with them.
Kiki Club Nights are organized one Thursday of each month.
– We’ve booked dates for the entire year and are already planning for 2024. There will also be a full “take over” at the Bastard Bar during the entire Arctic Pride in mid-November.
– How is it with the anomalous environment in the North?
– It is growing! And clearer than ever. But we are ten years behind many other places in the country. Especially in Nordtroms and Finnmark. But I feel that the will to create great environments and that we now have a lot of good work that we can access for those who don’t feel they belong here, says Henum Nielsen.
– In my eyes, Arctic Pride is the most important representative here in the region and they have finally received solid financial support for operations. At the same time, we are in the midst of an unstoppable tidal wave of powerful Sami art and culture, and we see that queer Sami are also claiming more and more space in their own milieu. With what we’re doing with Kiki Club, we’re quite happy with the state of things in Tromsø right now, so we’ll look north and see what we can achieve with the people there.
– How would you describe the cloud environment in Tromso?
– Tromsø is a small city, so we don’t yet have a big traction environment here in the city. The drag community is spread across the region with artists in Alta, Harstad and Sortland. But we want to do something about it, he says and talks about Kiki Klubb Gagafon’s open stage concept.
Gagafon will be a place where people who want to try their hand at drag or other exotic theatrical expressions can find belonging and get some group training. Many people are sitting at home wanting to do drag, but fictional shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race have created a totally unrealistic standard for what you need to do. We hope the artists at Kiki Klubb and Gagafon can inspire others to join us on stage, no matter what kind of drag people want to play, says Rune Hennum Nilssen.
Kiki Club: Lady Day and FriendsThursday, August 17 at 21, Bastard Bar, Strandgata 22, Tromsø.
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