Main drag graced by Chicago queensIf you like the Saturday night cabaret at Trance, the transvestite-staffed bar on Gay Hill, but wish you could see that kind of spectacle more often, you’re in luck. Now you can get your kicks every night at a new club, Chicago, which, with a diva-friendly stage, has lured away some of Trance’s top talent.
Making the move to Chicago ― which is down a ways on the main drag, next to the big Cheil Communications building, and just opened last week ― are the stars with the stage names “Sabrina” and “Naomi Cancel.” Every night the two, joined by a few more hard-bodied cross-dressers and a crew of “macho boys,” perform floor shows that begin at the Itaewon prime time of 2:30 a.m., with an extra 12:30 a.m. show on weekends.
The drag queens and their dazzling smiles entertained a full house last Saturday. The crowd, mostly female- and foreigner-free, was treated to the sight of Sabrina and Naomi, bodies wrapped tightly in sequins, lip-synching to your favorite show tunes. Supporting them were the bare-chested macho boys, who were busy waxing vogue onstage or polishing the stripper poles just off.
All that dazzle at once manifests the difference between Trance and Chicago. Trance is no bigger than a middle-class living room, and its stage no bigger than a lower-class kitchen, so its cabarets consist mostly of solo numbers ― intimate, but limiting. Chicago, by contrast, with its raised, broad stage, ero-cage and stripper poles, can host a multifeatured show with action all over, providing something for every taste, however unorthodox.
And if, however unlikely, there’s a lull in the act, you can feast your eyes on the club’s projection screen, where you’ll see erotic videos, such as a Madonna orgy concert.
But take this columnist’s advice and eschew Madonna for the local talent. Our Sabrina has everything Madonna has, and more. She’s about half a head taller than your average diva and has a singularly beautiful face and seductive grace, like a Korean Uma Thurman. She has a killer stage presence.
Go to Chicago at half past two any night and you’ll see Sabrina performing songs you know and love, such as “Love is a Crime” from the soundtrack of “Chicago,” or “Sparkling Diamond” from “Moulin Rouge.”
And if you’re worried about price ― perhaps calling to mind the high-ticket cabaret show in town, Ha-Ha Ho-Ho, which is right opposite Chicago ― don’t be. Chicago is the poor man’s Ha-Ha Ho-Ho, and won’t cost you any more than Trance. That is to say, it doesn’t charge a cover on weeknights, and only 10,000 won ($8) on weekends, and the drinks are cheap ― usually just 5,000 won per.
Chicago’s opening marks an Itaewon first, too, if this columnist is not mistaken: First gay bar on the main drag.
Not bad for a country that just 10 years ago had no gays at all.
by Mike Ferrin
More in Features
[Shifting the Paradigm] With one epidemic under control, another is threatening Korean society
Kakao TV launches this month, takes on Netflix
[TURNING 20] In a sea of hate, change flourishes
Criticism of sex ed books for kids raises more questions than answers
When it comes to sex ed, this Danish author says just talk about it