gay nightlife

Hot stuff at the Virreyes

Burlesque has come to Mexico City. Burlesque of the postmodern, ironic, nudge-nudge variety, made popular in certain venues in New York and San Francisco.


Here was a rendition of Miss Liberty from last Saturday night’s show in the lobby of the Hotel Virreyes.


Here is what she had on under the tunic.


The number pictured above seemed clearly inspired by a Sergio Leone movie.

While this one below seemed to be a 21st century take on the scene from Blonde Venus in which Marlene Dietrich showed up in a gorilla suit. The Teutonic star was probably turning in her grave.


The show was great fun, and the Virreyes – Mexico City’s closest cousin to the Chelsea Hotel, with 1950s furniture and would-be artists who rent rooms by the month – the perfect venue. It's in the centro histórico, on the corner of Izazaga and the Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas. Next Saturday, the 20th, there will be a different show. If you get there by 9 p.m., you’ll likely score the best seats in the house.


El 33 via Yelp

El 33 via Yelp

One of my favorite dives used to be located a few steps from the Plaza Garibaldi, where mariachis warble and blare for the minions in Mexico City. The hang, called El 33, was a bar where transvestite prostitutes began to arrive at two or three in the morning, to relax after finishing a night's labor. Until dawn they tended to drink, dance, laugh, cry and look for boyfriends - the real ones, not the short-timers in exchange for a few pesos. The place abruptly closed its doors a few years ago.

A little while ago a reduced version of El 33 opened in the same location. Literally reduced: Without the long hallway and enormous salon in the back, it is now one of the smallest bars in the city.

On Fridays and Saturdays there is a show, which includes an Alejandro Fernández impersonator, an XXL-sized drag queen who lip-synchs along to Lucha Villa records (while wearing a banana-yellow dress with embroidered daisies), and the woman above, who imitates the singer Alicia Villareal. She began by thanking "the most select drunks of Garibaldi" for arriving to catch her act, in particular a woman who, according to the singer, "was my boyfriend when she was a man." In the above photo, she demonstrates her maternal instinct with a particularly childish customer, mid-song.

A night with a bang


The Hysteria discotheque, near Mexico City’s airport, is a monument to local sexual fluidity. A round, two-story cavern, on a recent night in its passageways I saw a man in his thirties dressed in the plaid skirt, white shirt and sweater that makes up a girl’s high-school uniform, while another man wore the short tight tube skirt, the slinky tube top and high heels of a $10 hooker from the Merced Market. Another man wore the outfit of a Playboy bunny. A woman walked by, with her beautiful breasts exposed to the four winds. But were they real? And was she really a woman? That was the $64,000 question regarding the various beauties who circulated in the atmosphere.

There were less spectacular specimens of both genders, too, including bureaucrats in beige suits, boys dressed like members of the Mara Salvatrucha, and a guy in his sixties with a Seventies suit like Travolta’s in Saturday Night Fever. Around one in the morning, the transvestite show began, but suddenly, while an enormous fat man was lip-synching one of Shakira’s biggest hits, gunshots were heard and the majority of the clientele ran for the door.

I stayed put, reasoning that it was better to wait out destiny with a drink in hand than to get stomped by a multitude. Indeed, within minutes everything was back to normal. I left an hour or so later and saw that the entrance had been cordoned off and 12 bullet shells were on the ground. A cop from patrol car S00933, in a bored tone of voice, said, “Absolutely nothing happened. Just a shooting. No one died.”