Dutch party brand Wasteland is celebrating its 20th birthday at events throughout 2014. With an eye to its anniversary year, photographer Gary White (words and pictures) decided to reacquaint himself with Wasteland party style at its last event of 2013
Saturday evening, November 30. Slightly tense, a little nervous even, I am collecting my stuff for tonight’s event: camera, flashgun, memory c… F**k! Where’s my memory card?
Ah, there it is. Then the rest: leather pants, latex shirt. Yup, no ordinary party tonight. For the first time in a few years we’re headed for Wasteland again — one of Europe’s oldest and largest fetish events.
Boy, has that latex shirt become even tighter than it already was, or have I gained weight? I convince myself of the first. From the corner of my eye I am looking at my girlfriend; she’s wrestling herself into a gorgeous and super-tight pink latex dress by Breathless. Damn, she looks good. Lucky me.
While struggling with my shrunken latex shirt I am designing White’s Law: ‘Hot girls in shiny and tight latex: big fat yes! Balding photographers with a 50-inch chest? Not so much!’.
Oh well, dresscode is dresscode. After taking a pre-party photo of the pretty half of this couple we get on our bicycles (yes, we’re Dutch) and ride towards Victoria Hotel, where a shuttle bus is waiting to take us to the party location.
Victoria Hotel is located directly opposite to Amsterdam Central Station and the shuttle bus leaves every 30 minutes. A roundtrip ticket will set you back only ten euros. Great deal, methinks.
A mere 30 minutes later we arrive at the North Sea Venue, or, as we say over here: the Hemkade (after the address of the venue). Wasteland has found a near-ideal location in the North Sea Venue: large, close to Amsterdam and with plenty of hotels in the vicinity to house the many international guests.
The venue also has that raw, industrial look and atmosphere that suit Wasteland’s theme perfectly. When we exit the bus, we can already see the entrance. It’s lit by flamethrowers which ejaculate fountains of fire every few seconds.
On entering we’re asked if we want to spare a little donation to the Alzheimer Fund. Lately, several event promoters have started asking for a donation to a charity of their choice as a favour for a spot on the guest list.
Some promoters will even restrict access unless you donate. The latter is something I don’t like. Not all charities have my sympathy and I like to have the choice to donate or not. Luckily, the boys and girls at Vault Events (which organizes Wasteland) ask politely for a donation instead of demanding one.
So, after taking off my bag and coat, I walk back to the entrance, tap the charity girl on her shoulder and put a few euros in her collection box.
We’re still in the lobby, which houses the cloakroom, a bar, the locker room, drink-token sales, a little store with party clothing for those who do not get past the doorbitch, and a large transparent rubber ball which holds a winteresque, yet kinky, tableau vivant.
Lastly, we see Herr Dokter ( a well known local fetish and burlesque event promoter) and his old-fashioned barbershop. I plan to go back to him later to say hello and maybe even get a shave and haircut. But alas, as with most plans at large events, I simply forgot. Sorry Doc!
Time to head to the locker room and dump our stuff. At the desk we have to pay ten euros: five as a security deposit and another five rent. In spite of our early arrival, the locker room already is insanely crowded. I force my way to our locker, which is annoyingly small, obliging me to add more lockers at five euros a time — a nice little bonus for the club owner.
Softly grumbling, I follow my girlfiend to the entrance of the main room, where the infamous Wasteland doorbitches guard the gate. Passing them is no problem, of course, if you adhere to the dresscode…
Returning to Wasteland after all this time feels like slipping into a warm bath. The venue is filling up quite fast now, and every few steps we run in to familiar faces. However awesome that is, it makes my job (taking photos) next to impossible. But hey, it is fun and that matters too!
As the venue fills, play scenes erupt everywhere. The playrooms, dark corners and — typically for Wasteland — even the dancefloor isn’t safe from playful kinksters. Gay, straight and everything in between, it doesn’t matter.
Wasteland is the poster child for tolerance. Everyone is having a great time, whether it be playing or dancing. House music and kinky sex are a marriage made in heaven. Benny Rodrigues, Luciën Foort, Diva Mayday and many other DJs will get (and keep) you dancing all night long! Unless you’re busy doing something (or someone) else, that is.
Gary White (above) is an Amsterdam born and based photographer.
His interest in photography began at an early age. Around the age of 12, he wondered all around Amsterdam with his little Minox camera. At around 15 his interests shifted a little and photography moved to the background for a while.
Eight years ago, aged 31, Gary met Miss Yuthika and the pair became involved in a relationship. She intro- duced him to the Dutch fetish scene and soon after that he picked up his camera again.
About six years ago he bought his first digital SLR camera and from then on “things evolved quite fast”, he says.
Montreal Fetish Weekend in 2010 was the turning point. Gary was one of the house photographers and shot all events from Wednesday’s meet and greet through to Monday’s farewell dinner.
His images of this event were published in several magazines and on multiple fetish websites including The Fetishistas (see link below).
Gary’s favourite photographers are Araki, David LaChapelle and Erwin Olaf. He has some major influences a bit closer to home as well: FuckinGerry and Richard Knightlyare photographers who he looks up to and has learnt a lot from.
You can contact Gary via his Facebook page below.
With Wasteland celebrating it’s 20th anniversary in 2014, tonight’s party is the precursor to a number of huge birthday events spread over the next 12 months.
For this pre-birthday gathering, Vault Events have booked many, many acts and as a result, everywhere you look, something is happening, be it stilt-walkin’ laser robots, trapeze acts or soft-to-very-hard BDSM shows. Fun for everyone!
Of the numerous stage acts I particularly enjoy MisSa Blue, Marnie Scarlet and of course Yusura . In the smaller room, visuals are provided by superstar photographer (and my personal hero) Erwin Olaf.
Most Wasteland parties sell out and tonight is no exception. Some corridors in the venue are struggling to cope with all the traffic and turn into bottlenecks.
Amid all the hustle and bustle, a well known fetish scene person, apparently slightly intoxicated, jumps in front of my camera and loudly demands her picture to be taken, while at the same time spilling her wine over my camera and myself.
“Well, that’s a wrap”, I say to myself, and I switch off my camera. Finally I can take the time to really look around and be amazed by all the creatures of the night. Young, not so young, thin and not so thin, pretty and less pretty… everyone is having a great time.
The dancefloor is exploding and the playrooms are full of lust. This is Wasteland as I remember and like it!
A bit later it is about time for us to leave. It has been a great night and I want to leave while the party is still going strong. Leaving a party at its climax leaves me with nicer memories than waiting until the lights go on.
In my mind I playback tonight’s event, and decide there wasn’t a whole lot wrong with this Wasteland. Yes, the lockers were expensive and small, the dancefloor was too slippery and the corridors connecting the various rooms had trouble handling all the traffic at peak moments.
However, these minor grievances are all venue-based — not the fault of the promoter. A minor criticism I picked up from several visitors was the lack of strictness from the doorbitches, who let in a few people not entirely meeting the dresscode.
I do not entirely agree with that point of few. My personal take on the doorbitch phenomenon is that they need to get the right people in, and that was most certainly the case, as the atmosphere was amazing!
Near the exit we run into friends. They have the same ‘leaving when the party is still going strong’-philosophy as we do, and offer us a ride home.
Now the aforementioned shuttle bus service is great. But the leather-upholstered seats of a Jaguar are quite comfortable too, and just 20 short minutes later we are home.
We go to bed tired and satisfied, looking back at a great night and forward to 2014, when we’ll be there again, helping Wasteland celebrate its 20th anniversary.
Wednesday, 14 May 2014
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