Equal Axis will be a multisensory experience celebrating Austin’s queer and arts communities.
By Raylyn Nicole, Photos by Moyo Oyelola
Red Bull Music Presents is bringing its latest experience to Austin: Equal Axis, a high-energy dance party with underground sounds from local artists and a play on the phrase “equal access.” The all-night dance party will include artistic contributions from multicultural, queer, gender nonconforming and nonbinary creatives and their allies.
The party starts at 10 p.m. Dec. 15 and will continue until 4 a.m. and will highlight local underground collectives, artists and creatives representing Austin’s vibrant queer and arts communities. Red Bull Music Presents partnered with Austin-based organizations Unbounded and Thank You For Sweating to transform a downtown Austin venue for the event.
Anita Obasi founded Unbounded to bring visibility to traditionally underrepresented demographics, including people of color, the queer community and gender nonconforming and nonbinary individuals and groups. Obasi says Equal Axis is a safe environment for people and performers to be themselves and express who they are.
“It is important to note that the focus of the design is really showing the trickle-up effect as far as creating visibility and implicitly allowing for messages of acceptance and self-expression to the show,” Obasi says. “Just by having an event like this exist and then taking bits and pieces of that experience and turning it into a conversation with one another, I really see the power in those micro-interactions on an individual basis.”
Thank You For Sweating produces DIY events to promote DJs. Inspired by the underground all-night dance parties in London, Charles Mxxnfounded the company to empower DJs to play the music they want and to create a space where everyone has the freedom to be themselves.
“I just love our parties are really eclectic and has every type of individual you can think of enjoying themselves, dancing and letting go, so it just made sense also…to team up with Unbounded,” Mxxn says.
When putting the show together, Obasi says the team wanted to be intentional about including people from a wide variety of backgrounds. The performers for Equal Axis have all worked, corroborated with or simply rubbed shoulders with Unbounded or Thank You For Sweating before this event, and Obasi says the process of choosing performers happened organically.
The lineup for the event includes performances by Austin-area dancers, drag queens and aerialists. The event will also feature musical performances from DJs and producers Jeva, Thank You For Sweating, Wet Male, Maya Jane Coles and House of Kenzo.
Austin-based performance artists include aerialists and contortionists Caty Mae and Sarah Sparkles; dancers and genderqueer personalities Josue Allen Hart and Purple Matter; and drag queens Belladonna, Leia Sakura, Ruby Knight and Tatiana Cholula.
Belladonna, who specializes in makeup, performance, design and “bad-bitchery,” started performing in drag two years ago. She’s fully self-taught and began her journey by playing with makeup, which led to a breakthrough in her gender identity.
“I just started this journey and it is already so fruitful,” Belladonna says. “I want to do this for the rest of my life, for sure. I definitely think I found my calling.”
Local artists have been brought together to make the venue an immersive experience for party-goers, with lots of lighting, art and sculptures.
Admission to Red Bull Music Presents: Equal Axis is $10 in advance and $15 the day of show and at the door. Guests must be 18 years old or older to enter the show.