Lookback: The Infinite Kiki Function – 7 March 2020

The Kiki House of Angels and Kiki House of Major partnered up once again this year for the Infinite Kiki Function, a voguing competition during the WORM x Mama Cash x KONTRA Feminist Festival, held on the night of the 7th March. This collaboration has happened in the past; last year they threw the Bodies of Knowledge Kiki Function.

Every voguing competition works around a theme. This year’s theme was right in line with the rest of the festival: ‘The Infinite Kiki Function.’ The competition celebrated the fact each one of us contains a multitude of personality traits, desires, and expressions. Sometimes, the most interesting traits are those that are seemingly contradictory. Categories reflected the theme, with outfits asking for interpretations of being ‘two faced’ (participants had to have another face somewhere on their body) or the category ‘cat to lion’ (participants had to perform a masculine and feminine sexual energy to the judges). The Angels and Majors also asked for traditionally masculine categories (like American Runway) to be brought in feminine clothing; the looks were to be inspired by drag queens.

A fierce panel of judges were asked to choose winners of each category that night. They represented different cities, categories and histories within the local ballroom scene: Naimah 007, Thorn B-Fuji, Jojo 007, Bella Angels, and Suzume 007. The evening was hosted by the dynamic duo Maybelline Angels and Karmella Angels, with the extremely talented Seven Angels on decks all night.

What’s exciting about a kiki function is that these events can be spaces for experimentation and play. Kiki functions are where new categories can be created and developed. One example of this was the Aesthetic resistance category, created by Keith Major and Manuel Major. This category recognizes the fact that trans and gendernonconforming femmes experience daily violence for simply working outside of normative understanding of gender and expression. This category explored ways to transform the relationship to fashion and clothing into a space of pleasure, pride, and safety.

Another category focused on celebration and transformation. This was the Big and Beautiful body category, created by Roberto Angels. This was a moment celebrating all of the big and beautiful bodies in the ballroom scene (and beyond). Contestants were asked to come in a look inspired by musician Lizzo, and show the judges their bodies.

If being fierce and fabulous isn’t quite your style, then the bizarre category would have been for you. The Bizarre category is about creating otherworldly creations, and embracing your inner monster. Participants were asked to come as a physical representation of their ‘inner saboteur’ – a part inside of each of us that pumps up our fears and tells us to give up. And if you were excited, but unfamiliar with the category, participants were invited to join a workshop with the queen of bizarre – fashion designer Yamuna Forzani.

The Infinite Kiki showed the true possibilities of infinite joy and infinite resistance. The crowd was encouraging, respectful, and excited. The participants showcased the immense talent and diversity of the ballroom scene in the Netherlands (with some special guests from Belgium and Paris). And it was the last ballroom event before the lockdown; a moment for many of us to remember.