I had the great opportunity of being commissioned to photograph MN Events‘ RUFF Party, a Vancouver Pride 2015 event. Held the day before Vancouver Pride at The Pint Public House in downtown Vancouver, it was an event like nothing I’ve covered before.
The Pint is a nice venue, located on West Pender just across the International Village mall near China Town, it’s easy to get to using public transportation or by car – paid parking, street or covered, are a plenty. As a photographer who mainly focus on drag-related events, the RUFF Party was definitely uncharted territory. Although I previously covered MN Events’ party cruise, unlike the latter, this one didn’t feature drag queens. However, the party featured plenty of male dancers of all shapes and sizes. And I have to admit, most of them are very mesmerizing.
The event took up multiple floors, and I was tasked to cover the basement. It was a decent size floor, it has one full bar and a couple of mini-bars, a mini-stage, DJ booth, and a billiard table in a small nook. The framed photos, of various themes, that where hanging on the wall where very intriguing. The overall ambiance was nice and cozy. The very revealing videos of burly men in tight clothes that where playing on monitors mounted on the walls were more than a tease, it was a precursor on what’s to come as I later found out.
It didn’t took too long for event goers to flood in. A lot of the men where in their best S&M attire, and some simply shirtless. It’s kind of like a drag queen trying to show off her latest creation to her gal pals, only with this one it’s your regular guy (gay I assume) and wearing as little fabric as possible – straps and a package pouch. It’s something you don’t see in a public library everyday but you’re glad it’s taunting your eyes anyway. lol. I’ve seen this before in other events, but maybe just a handful of guys and they’re usually go-go boys, but this one is like an avalanche of flesh. I enjoyed it, no doubt.
The dancers and event goers where pretty much the attraction. I’m quite surprised at the turnout, considering technically there’s no centerpiece show to watch! It was so packed that moving around was a bit difficult since it was pretty much elbow-to-elbow. It got steamy from all the body heat, which was a challenge with my lense. However, I did managed to compensate and was still able to take great shots even at very close proximity with all my subjects. The event goers where all great, but as with most events there are always one or two folks who are a bit of a nuisance, photography-wise – like people who are in the moss pit but don’t want their photo taken, so one has to take that into account and respect their wishes.
The semi-nakedness was a surprise, but I was more surprised by the turnout of women guests – straight women, I think. There where quite a lot of them, and they had as much fun as the men.
I must say, mingling with the dancers, staff, and some of the event goers was a great experience. It’s easy to get desensitized when there so many doing it and forget they’re talking to you pretty much “naked.” But when you’re there to do a job and stay focused, it’s all professional … until you see the photos and you go, “Wow! That’s something I’d climb.” LOL. And speaking of, some photos of the event are available here. Check them out. The full complement is with MN Events, check them out on Facebook and on their site.
Event was a collaboration of Steamworks, MN Events, and RodRozen Designs. Event beats where provided by DJs Brian Maier (SFO), Jay Douglas, Adam Dreaddy and SOLLORS. Performances by Simon Perez Armas, Jonathan Srr, Shane Rooks, Anuar Chain-Haddad, Jacob Benjamin, Toddybear Que, Daniel Fehse, Leandro Villa, Anthony Azar, Stephen Sadowski, Colin Marcus Jackson, Jim Young, Elijah Barnett and Thomas Hannivan.