HOE: Heaven On Earth with Cole Witter

 

It’s a little after 10 pm and the downtown streets of FIDI are barren and cold. I’ve been assigned to photograph Heaven On Earth, a monthly pop music party presented by Tyler Sunderland where various top 40 hits are spun in a theoretical battle of gay icons.

Bringing Heaven to Earth is a lofty promise, but I began to see that this wasn’t the heaven I studied in Sunday school. China Chalet makes a night-life transformation to accommodate the crowd. With sturdy table tops for dancing and lots of booths for seating, it feels as if the occupants broke into the restaurant to let loose and strut looks. 

“It’s a place to pull a look and no one will judge you for it.”

Clad with horns and crowns made from the heads of Barbie and her friends, these are fallen angels. As the evening went on, Heaven heated up with pole dancing, and performances by Ruby Fox, Wench and Bushwig 2017 winner, Charlene. 

The temperature only rose as dancing continued and suddenly the majority in attendance had shed their looks for the skin they were born in. Heaven on Earth isn’t a place as much as it is a feeling to take up space and live without scrutiny.

It’s a safe space to be loud, sweaty, and “cute”, as one angel quipped, “It’s always cute.”

All photos & words courtesy of Cole Witter.
For more visit www.colewitterphoto.com

 
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