THE PARTY BUS manifesto shouldn’t have to be a radical notion.
Imagine: a monthly variety show/dance party where no one’s going to verbally or physically harm you based on gender expression, sexuality, attire, or for simply wanting to spend the evening dancing with your pals.
An event where you’re not going to feel robbed of your agency, where the goal is to celebrate creativity, performance, and personal expression.
An evening from which you’ll leave scintillating in the moonlight from the glitter that’s attached itself to your skin, sweating and glowing from the pure fun of it all.
You may say Erin Go Brahless, DAX Exclamation Point, and Ford Fatale are dreamers, but they’re not the only ones—they’re carving out a necessary space in Savannah nightlife and can’t wait to share it with everyone.
This first ride features performances by burlesque beauties Erin Go Brahless, Rebel Belle, and Bettie Belladonna and drag stars DAX Exclamationpoint, Monster Cvnt and Ford Fatale. A dance party, spun by D-Frost, finishes the night.
We sat down with Erin, DAX, and Ford, the Party Bus team, to get the story behind the Savannah’s newest, hottest party.
As the great Ken Kesey quipped: “You’re either on the bus or off the bus.” Beep, beep, y’all!
Tell me a little about the conceptualization of Party Bus.
DAX: It was thinking of a place we could perform where we could control ourselves, a place where we can do what we want to do and no one's going to say no to it—obviously, with regards to safety and health—just a place that was ours to use as we wanted to.
Erin: There used to be events that were in our certain vision already—
DAX: —they'd be infrequent, or different issues. We want our own kind of space to make our own, and we're lucky enough that The Jinx agreed to let us do it.
Ford: As we were spitting these ideas, we also wanted to make it non-exclusive. We don't want it to have any gender roles set to it, any sexuality at all whatsoever. We want it to be a place for everybody.
Erin: It doesn't have to be a gay party or a straight party.
DAX: That's why we wanted to bring burlesque into it, because we really wanted to bring actual boobs, because ours come off! [laughs] The market appeal is fascinating!
Ford: This is the first party, so we had to get it together really quickly—we got who we could get at the time, but we would also like to get drag kings as well, down to magic acts or fire performance if the venue allows.
DAX: Since this is the first we're having, we want it to be no theme whatsoever. Eventually, we want to have themes and have the audience dress up with us.
Ford: Because no one dresses up anymore!
DAX: Savannah used to be like that. There used to be really good theme parties all the time. I'd spend all week making an outfit for a party happening on Friday, and the next week do the same thing again for a different party. And people don't really do that anymore.
Ford: It's a lost art.
Why do you think that is?
DAX: I feel like it's the trends of way things go. For a while, giant clubs were the big trend: a giant, three-level club with lights and DJs everywhere. Then it went to lounges, where everyone would sit on the couch and talk about how pretty they are! And then it went to dive-y rock bars where people did whatever. We want to get back to where people put an effort into going out again. And not to like, show anybody up, but to push yourself and impress yourself in whatever you're doing.
Erin: Basically expressing yourself and really loving yourself, because you get a sense of self-worth when you pay attention to your appearance, even if it's just for one night. It makes you feel good.
Are you thinking you'll have loose themes?
Ford: We're going to stick to pretty loose...come as any sci-fi character, or any villain character. Like that: specific, but kind of loose.
DAX: It's a show with a big dance party after. I feel like there aren't enough of them anymore...
Erin: At least a place that's not a meat market. I know as a female, for myself, I want to go out and dance all the time, but I want to be in a safe space where I'm not going to be getting grabbed at or catcalled or harassed. We're basically creating a safe space for everyone, whether you're female, male, queer...
DAX: We're all about making those girl-positive, safe space dance parties. Every party we've ever thrown, that's been the main underlying theme: you can do whatever you need to without being harassed.
What are the performances like?
DAX: All around, it's a solid balance of burlesque and drag.
Erin: We're open to any other types of performers who want to approach us, and traveling performers. In the future, be prepared to see people you haven't seen before in Savannah that much or other performers here in town.
DAX: And especially young performers, new performers. Especially in drag, finding a place to cut your teeth on is really hard.
The name is innately fun. Why the Party Bus?
DAX: I like it because it's subtly douchey and reminds me of the '90s! You think of "Party Bus," you think of these Pimp My Ride situations. Trashy, and neon and chrome and just gaudy, and I just like it. Bougie! [laughs] We're not bougie, but we get bougie as fuck sometimes!
How did you form your core team?
DAX: We're all friends, so we hang out anyway.
Ford: We've done some parties together in the past. Me and DAX were living together when we came up with Party Bus. We've lived together and worked together before and really wanted to do it again. And Anita is so great at having the connections and organizing and going, 'okay, queens, focus!'
Erin: [laughs] I need a lot of wine, and a lot of things on paper!
Ford: She's like, 'no Ford, you cannot sacrifice a goat onstage!' [laughs] Things like that.
Erin: We've talked about doing stuff that benefits local charities, be it animal shelter or a battered women's shelter, so we're not just having reckless fun.
DAX: It's reckless fun for a reason!
Ford: It's something we definitely want to go on, but it's definitely something that's still very new to us.
DAX: Right now, we're excited for the possibilities of what it could be, and I'm trying to remember that we've got this one right now and from there, we'll work on the rest of it. Mostly, we're just looking to have fun and hopefully they want to come on the ride with us!