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My Weekender is a weekly column written by changing authors selected from the Shanghai community. According to the various tastes, interests and backgrounds of its authors, My Weekender serves as a window into what residents in the city are doing with their time off.

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[My Weekender]: Alvin Li

May 9, 2014

Alvin Li just moved back to Shanghai after living in Los Angeles and Connecticut, where he boned up on his Derrida and Judith Butler. He works with several LGBTQ organizations in Shanghai while figuring out how to apply the gender, feminist, and post-structuralist theories he supports to reality.

What's up Shanghaiers? I'm Alvin Li, an emo but flamboyant, spontaneous yet all-too-complex genderqueer who is currently volunteering for Shanghai Pride, an annual week-long LGBT pride event. Meanwhile, I just started working for HUNT, an LGBT event crew that throws several regular gay and lesbian parties and cultural events such as art exhibitions in Shanghai. The S&M-themed Kiss Me Girlz Party at Amber Lounge this Saturday will be the first HUNT event I helped organize. Stop by and have fun with me! I promise I will bite very gently. But excuse me for getting ahead of myself.

My weekend usually starts on Wednesday. I'd watch one of my favorite tragedies for like the 30th time (usually either something by Krzysztof Kieslowski or Wong Kar Wai) and gobble down some self-made dinner at home before heading to Inferno. I'm not necessarily a big fan of heavy metal, but I love this place because it attracts a crowd that completely defies the stereotype of angry and homophobic metalheads. After a Mikkeller draft or two and a couple rounds of I walk down the street to Lola for its weekly Colors party organized by HUNT. On wednesday nights, Lola offers an extremely dangerous buy-one-drink-get-one-free deal that lasts until midnight. I tend to get way beyond tipsy, and the night ends with my friends forcing me into a cab, because when I get into the groove I simply can't stop dancing.

Thursdays I try to be more productive before heading out. I'd watch a queer film or two, and take some notes on the good ones that can potentially be screened at the LGBT film festival. After I finish dinner, I'd head to 390 for its weekly Moon party. I adore 390's concept as a pansexual club, and the manager Sacco makes a great effort hosting cultural events other than parties. To make this article more interesting, allow me to share a scandalous secret. Another reason for my Thursday affair with 390 is Alex, 390's smoky hot British bartender who is unbelievably talented at flirting with us boys (I hope his girlfriend never comes across with this article.) On Thursdays, bartenders at 390 all work topless. Let's be honest, who would miss the chance to cast voyeuristic gazes all over those beautiful bodies up for public display? I'm just looking…

Before Alex drives me crazy with those biceps, I have to force myself to walk out of 390. Too many events on the menu. I'll be heading to Shelter for Bassment. This is one of my favorite event series in Shanghai. I love some heavy techno music and these DJs dare to get down to the darker progressive side.

Sometimes after Shelter, I take a 15-min walk to Amber. I always hide in the corner right by the entrance to the DJ booth for a few more hours of dancing. Fortunately, I'm never sober enough in Amber to care whether those dance moves are running or ruining my reputation. This Thursday, however, I'll be a good boy and head home right after Shelter, since I've got loads of work to do before the lesbian party.

Friday afternoon I've got to do some shopping for my drag outfit on Saturday. I won't need much more than some makeup, a wig, and a good shaving. I've learned about that during my three-month visit to Shanghai last summer, when people would walk up to me and asked whether I was a boy or a girl. I'm flattered. "Androgyny is the new black," that is my motto and my campaign slogan.

After dinner, I'll stop by D9 with some friends. D9 just recently opened and is located right at where old Amber was. The manager re-designed and renovated the entire space and turned it into a sophisticated, cozy, and intimate cocktail lounge. I love the deco and the atmosphere. Plus, their cocktails are killers. After that, I'll stop by Arkham to check out TICT's Laser Disco Party, and then maybe Lune for DJ Patrick Podage, but I won't stay out till too late.

Finally, Saturday: the big night. I'll join my friend Slater after I get up. We are both dragging for the lesbian party, so we're doing makeup together. The party starts as early as 9pm. I picked the S&M theme because so many of my lesbian friends complain about how inaccurate popular lesbian stereotypes are. They need a chance to prove that lesbians also have a wilder side. Plus, who doesn't like a good R-rated party with leather, studded stilettos, and leashes? I am so pumped, and a bit anxious about this party. his will be the first time that I organize a party exclusively for my girls!

Sunday I always sleep in until noon. I have this weird habit of watching my favorite films over and over and over again. This Sunday, my pick would be The Double Life of Veronique by Kieslowski for the 26th time, or Weekend by Andrew Haigh for the 38th time. If the weather is nice but not too sunny, I might go to Rockbund to check out its new exhibition Advance through Retreat on the relationship between traditional Chinese culture and media and contemporary Chinese art. In this crazy city that has so much going on, I'd need a bit of art to keep me cultured, before another Martini on Yongkang Lu knocks me out. If you're like me, who gets a little melancholic on Sunday and wants to talk about Nietzsche, Foucault, Camus or French New Wave, find me on Facebook and hit me up. I'm looking forward to meeting more interesting people in this city. Don't be strangers, it's always more fun getting lost in translation together.