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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Miru Kim’s ‘outlaw parties’ showcase talents hidden from the mainstream

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Burlesque performer Manzanita works the pole at Miru Kim’s Cabaret-themed “outlaw party” at a one-night-only secret location. Photo: Trey Speegle / Yucatán Magazine

Korean artist Miru Kim hosted an exclusive pop-up event in Mérida last spring, and it attracted around 100 guests, most of them in costume. Kim’s events are invitation-only and considered “outlaw parties.” 

The venue was kept a secret and revealed just days before.

A nondescript Centro bar led to a flight of stairs with a stage area — featuring a stripper pole — with a band, small café tables, a bar and up another half flight of stairs, a dance floor and DJ.

With the theme of a 1920s Weimar-style underground cabaret, the outlaw party featured performances by Manzanita (@manzanitsss),  Maya Queer (@maya_queer), Amber Afrodita (@amberislov3), Místika (@mistikaa), Kimmy Bomba (@kimmybomba), all of them young local performers.  

At the “outlaw party,” drag artist Amber Afrodita was covered in pink balloons until slowly and seductively she popped each one. Photo: Trey Speegle / Yucatán Magazine

The live jazz band was newly formed for this event by Rene Flores, now called Ar_ticular (@ar_ticular on Instagram). featuring vocals by Daniela Romero with projections by Escarabajo Estudio Visual (@escarabajo_ev) and two DJs, Teksun, and a special guest, Rodman, from Mexico City.

I was so transfixed I had to keep reminding myself that the vocals and band were live. By the end of the night, I found myself hauled onstage by Amber during the finale.

The first event Miru organized in Mérida was a costume party at her own property, inspired by her Berlin experience and her time in the underground scene in Brooklyn, New York. The entire ruin and garden were converted into theater sets and art installations, with works by local artists and performers and musicians. This now legendary event inspired many young creatives in Mérida to do their own party in the style of creative happenings rather than just entertainment.  

There was one more La Bestia event, and then — a pandemic halt.

After that long-ish pause, Miru organized and funded a young art festival project called Incidencias en Yucatán. It lasted the entire month of December 2021 in an abandoned three-story mansion on Calle 60 with more than 30 young artists, including interactive media art installations. The festival also hosted many young performance artists who make more radical action art and have very few venues to show their work in Mérida. 

Mérida’s city hall officially hosts many cultural events, but they can be quite conservative, and the underground subcultures and nightlife energy that promote young contemporary art are nearly invisible.

The future of La Bestia is unknown, but Kim says she’ll continue to innovate creative ways to contribute to the culture of Mérida, the city she now considers home.

Trey Speegle
Trey Speeglehttp://treyspeegle.com/
Trey Speegle is a writer, photographer and artist who uses his huge collection of vintage paint-by-number paintings to create new works that resonate with a broad, pop appeal. His Speegle Studio, RePOP Shop, and Gallery 52 are housed in a former gas station in Jeffersonville, New York, in the Catskill Mountains. He divides his time between Upstate New York and Mérida, Mexico, where he has a second home, studio and gallery space and is Yucatán Magazine's Creative Director.
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