Korean artist Miru Kim hosted an exclusive pop-up event in Merida, MX two weeks ago that I was lucky enough to attend, with about 100 mostly costumed guests.
The venue was kept a secret and revealed just days before the party. It was held in the up-and-coming San Cristobal area of Merida. A nondescript bar downstairs led to a flight of stairs with 3 areas; lounge, stage (basically a stripper pole) with band, small café tables, a bar and up another half flight of stairs, dance floor and DJ.
The theme was 20s Weimar-style underground Cabaret, with young local performers Manzanita @manzanitsss (pole), Maya Queer @maya_queer (pole), Amber Afrodita @amberislov3 (burlesque acts), Místikaā @mistikaa___ (fire and LED) and local drag star, Kimmy Bomba @kimmybomba (host) and live music @ar_ticular projections by @escarabajo_ev produced by @labestia.mx
It was an amazing show of talent and the performers were mesmerizing. I was so transfixed I had to keep reminding myself that the vocals and band were LIVE! By the end of the night I found myself hauled on-stage by Amber is Love as the finalé (see last clip on my Instagram at the bottom.)
The first event Miru organized in Merida was a costume party in her own property inspired by her Berlin experience, and her time in the underground scene in Brooklyn, New York. The entire ruin and garden were converted into theatre sets and art installations, with works by local artists and performers and musicians. This now legendary event inspired many young creatives in Merida to do their own party in the style of creative happenings rather than just entertainment.
One more La Bestia event, and then –pandemic.
After that long-ish pause, Miru organized and funded a local young art festival project called Incidencias en Yucatán (@incidencias.mx) that lasted for a month in an abandoned three-story mansion on Calle 60 in December of 2021, with more than 30 young local artists, including interactive media art installations. The festival also hosted many young performance artists, who make more radical action art and have very few venues to show their work in Merida.
Merida city officially hosts many cultural events but they can be quite conservative and the underground subcultures and nightlife energy that promote young contemporary art are nearly invisible.
Kim’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Financial Times, Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Miami Herald, Daily Mail, and the Huffington Post as well in various public collections and museums around the world.
The future of La Bestia is unknown, but Kim says she’ll continue to innovate creative ways to contribute to the culture of Merida, the city she now considers home.
(Photos, Trey Speegle)