A word with Benediction

Apr 12 2019

Benediction

/ˌbɛnɪˈdɪkʃ(ə)n/

noun.

The utterance of a blessing, especially at the end of a religious service.

We are proud to welcome Benediction to our club for a monthly bacchanal. This Brussels collective subtitled ‘Rituels Exceptionnels’ is all about queer culture, cabaret and nightlife. But Benediction refuses to be identified based on a singular realm or partial audience, it’s all about being open and inclusive towards anyone, gay or straight, and any kind of codes that exist in the LGBT scene. To fully comprehend what Benediction is all about, we sat down with artistic director Juriji Der Klee and resident dj / show producer Hugo aka CASSIOPÉE.

Juriji: “Benediction was born on Sunday October 8th 2017 in bar Benelux in Brussels. For many years I had wanted to start my own events, I had been going out for years at Dirty Dancing and Libertine Supersport and was fully discovering my love for dancing and performance. At the same time I was studying opera singing at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels and released an EP where I mixed opera and electro pop. For a while I was also part of ‘Bas Nylon’, a cabaret project by Jean Biche. After having been out of Brussels for a few years to work in Paris, I realised something was missing in the Brussels queer culture scene and me, Hugo and Azo (in charge of bookings & promo) started Benediction. After nine editions at the bar on Sunday afternoons (“Certains vont à la messe… d’autres à la Benediction”), we are pleased to have found a home at C12.”

Juriji & Hugo: “There is always a dress code, we play a game. The idea is to be in the same moment, all together, centered around an intimate scene. We settle on a theme for every edition, the upcoming night is all about the Graeco-Roman Bacchanal. Those were Roman festivals based on various ecstatic elements of the Greek Dionysia. See it as the horn of plenty: unlimited love, joy and cheerfulness, at least from 10pm until 6am. For the occasion we have done a photoshoot we a few befriended models in a spring themed setting, to get you into the mood.”

(c) photos Gina Olafson – Atistic direction Juriji Der Klee

Juriji: “Like every scene, the LGBT scene can be rather coded: it’s or drag, or burlesque, or … We try to mix and mingle by booking hybrid acts and invest a lot in young upcoming performers. I try to guide them in their first steps on stage and Hugo is very good in producing shows. In the end we don’t wish to be a queer project only for a queer audience. We are open to everyone, since this is to me the only way to have people open their eyes and understand the LGBT community better. I have a lot of hetero friends who come over and have the best time of their lives. They also enjoy the parallel reality and safe space that we wish to create.”

Juriji & Hugo: “We have been clubbing and dj’ing for years and with Benediction we wish to add a certain human touch to the in our eyes rather cold techno oriented clubbing scene of today. During our nights there is always something to be seen: a live concert, a performance, gogo dancers, … Musically we go different directions but the pop or fun aspect is very important, with a huge influence by eighties and early nineties US house music. Having the legendary Joe Smooth who produced so many iconic tracks like ‘Promised Land’ is an honor. We are big fans of the Club Kids and voguing scene in New York in the nineties. They started these movements where people would dress up, exit their daily struggles and enter another reality where they felt legitimized. Definitely watch the movie Party Monster if you would like to discover more.”

Words: Koen Galle