jonny woo brings the glory to gay east london
Drag superstar is the man behind the scene’s newest venue.
He introduced drag to Glastonbury at NYC Downlow, gave East London 'Tranny Lip Synching' and is the figurehead for the gay East London scene since the 1990s. Now performance artist, agent provocateur and the man behind 'Gay Bingo', Jonny Woo has swung into action to inject the scene with a fresh queer meeting point.
The Glory, a new pub, performance venue and late night party haunt in Haggerston, is the brainchild of Woo and three other East End party peddlers, fellow 'Gay Bingo' host John Sizzle, former Dalston Superstore bar manager Zoe Argiros and Colin Rothbart, the dude behind the riotous Shed Parties.
The opening of the venue, which includes a downstairs basement for late night clubs, is a welcome piece of celebratory news for East London's gay scene after news that iconic local watering hole The Joiners Arms will close its doors next month. Set against a wider backdrop of gay venues under threat across London, The Glory's owners hope that they can create a permanent fixture on the queer scene. Says John Sizzle: "With the Joiners dissolving, [Madame] JoJo's caving in and other key gay terrains being watered down into oblivion, it's got to this point where we need to make a stand and create a venue that is both sensational and solid."
It's taken Woo and Rothbart three years to find the venue, which sits slap bang between Shoreditch and Dalston in the increasingly homo friendly, Haggerston (or 'Faggerston' as some wag has termed it).For Woo, it represents a fitting move for a performance artist and figurehead for the emerging East End creative scene in the 1990s, as documented in his recent oral history lecture of the area at the Rose Lipman Building.
The Glory opened its doors last week and Woo told i-D of the launch: "The air was thick with fresh paint, friendliness and generously applied Davidoff. An atmosphere of good cheer was felt by all. I was thrilled to show off my (TRANS)former band too, a tranny-fuelled Lou Reed tribute act. Chatting on the night to guests, and looking at my messages in the morning, it was overwhelming how many people not just thanked us for the party but thanked us for The Glory. It feels East London needed this pub to happen, and it needed to happen now."
THE GLORY 281 Kingsland Road E2 8AS @TheGloryLondon facebook.com/theglorylondon
Photography Shawn Mortensen, Styling James Jeanette.
Cloak and shoes Alexander McQueen. Jumpsuit Lyall Hakaria. Neck piece Nasir Mazhar. Necklace Liria Pristine.
[The Beautiful Issue, no. 295, January 2009]