Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fa'fafine Fashion Show She-nanigans

Once in a while there is something that cannot be fully expressed with words, but a well-captioned picture of a dog tends to do the trick. One of these things is the Fa'fafine Fashion Show, which is best described as:

It was held last weekend out by the pool of the Tradewinds Hotel, one of the swankiest hotels on the island. A few months ago, it played host to Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean on his tour of all the US states and territories. But that night, it was a fundraiser for the American Samoa National Olympic Team (yes, I'm fully aware that this is not a real country, but territories are often allowed their own teams). I arrived there to find that I was a bit early, that almost everyone I knew on the island was there, and that I couldn't see anything from where they were. I grabbed a seat a bit closer and prepared for...whatever was to come.

It was definitely funny. The site of transvestites dancing, strutting their stuff, and occasionally doing flips and other gymnast-like moves on a stage makes you laugh and feel slightly uncomfortable at the same time, and then the uncomfortableness makes you laugh even more. It was a wild night. Plus, the hosts were the owner of rival TV channel Malama TV and a fa'fafine who kept flirting with him as he became increasingly uncomfortable.

I actually took quite a few pictures, but most of them didn't come out very well, because of how my camera is generally afraid of the dark, how I was still seated sort of far back, and how the torrential rain came at one point and turned it into a show where both clothes and umbrellas were modeled, and where excess Mascara no doubt created giant purple puddles on the ground. But here's a few of the better ones anyway.

I think that in an alternate universe, that one may have been a football star.

This one is from the sports uniform-themed outfits.

Joey's band, normally Kathy & the Kindhearts, didn't have Kathy for this gig, so they went by "Three-Legged Dog" for the evening.

After I had almost all the bad pictures I needed, I moved back to the other tent-covered area to chill with my peeps, yo. Then a um...memorable fa'fafine came up to the bar, and I took this picture with Jeremy.

It wasn't until later that I noticed the bonus fa'fafine in the background.

We met some tourist guys who had learned all about how much the local dogs can bite. They went with us to Tap's bar after the show, and that's where the "good" pictures begin. Obviously, it's the kind of bar with a dance floor and that some of the fashion show participants also went.

From some of the pictures I took later, I can tell that that one actually wanted to dance to a slow, intimate song with me at one point. I'm really glad I didn't, even in the kind of non-serious way that I might have if it had been a faster song. Turns out that a lot of people here consider two people dancing to be something serious. Kinda like my middle school dances.

Later on I got to dance with a friend of a friend who was leaving on the flight the next evening. She may have been...erm...Samoan-sized, but I was really just glad to dance with a legitimate female.

The dance floor comes alive:

But none of these can compare to THE PHOTO...

Just get a load of the look on that fa'fafine's eyes. Or better yet, don't. I was actually going to end with a series of photos zooming in on that face, but it takes ten minutes to upload each photo, and it's getting late. Consider yourselves lucky. Instead, I'll close with this other great picture. Look for a familiar face in the background.

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