With Eurovision coming to Liverpool in 2023 it was only natural that House of Suarez would put on a themed ball in its honour. Luckily for us Gary Dougherty was there to cover it, with photos and words below.
Eurovision is not really my thing, but when it visits your home town it would be churlish not to at least give it a chance. Its a once in a lifetime opportunity!
The question was what to see?
That choice became easy much earlier in the year when The House of Suarez used one of my photos on the promotional artwork for their Euro Ball. So, Euro Ball it was then!
I’m no stranger to the Vogue Ball and have done photography there multiple times before. It is always a visual spectacle, a stunning performance and night of positivity and inclusiveness (a lot like Eurovision itself). But tonight’s event was a little different.
There was the usual mix of Houses competing for the top prizes; the ever creative costumes; some familiar categories such as Realness, Lipsync and Choreography.
But the atmosphere was different somehow. There was added electricity in the air. Whether this was spring in the air, the Eurovision excitement, or the late start due to legendary host Rikki Beadle-Blair being stuck on the hard shoulder in an electric car outside New Brighton (long story!) – maybe a combination. The energy in the room was a whole other level.
Of course, the campiness was there in spades, aided no doubt by tributes to ABBA, Bucks Fizz and Sandie Shaw.
Beadle-Blair was on fire as always. The performances were amazing as usual. But this wasn’t it, somehow it seemed that spirit of Liverpool’s week long celebration of Eurovision had permeated into the event and it felt more like a party than a performance. Even a straight guy like me got swept up by it and I found my hips jiggling and I was joining in with the songs during Rikki’s audience participation segments.
As Rikki promised, I left feeling like one of the founders of the Vogue scene: a 1970’s gay, black man from NYC (although fortunately I managed not to get stopped by the police!).
Of course we couldn’t have a Vogue Ball without the Darren Suarez and the Houses. A big thanks goes out to Darren and the Houses of LIPA, Aurora, Somme, Kunt, La Porta, Korrupt, Twisted Stitches, Suarez & Filla Crack.
It is difficult to put the experience of the Vogue Ball into words – but it is one of the absolute best things we have in Liverpool, and it shows no signs of slowing down. You always leave feeling invincible.
Long may it continue!
Photo gallery by Gary Dougherty