“Six competitors fake orgasms on stage in front of a live audience and a panel of three sex worker judges assess their performances. After three rounds, the audience will vote and the winner will be crowned Orgasm Idol” – YES! – this is what’s going down tomorrow night at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.
|Photo by Franco Cignelli|
Brought to you by Toronto born artist Sherwin Sullivan Tjia, this innovative and exclusive experience promises to be nothing short of entertaining. Although this is the first time Tjia is hosting the Idol event, he is no stranger to organizing distinctive nights of interactive and amusing experiences.
Now stationed in Montreal, Tjia took a degree in painting and drawing but has found himself planted in event planning with Orgasm Idol, and other nights he’s made a name for in Montreal, Toronto, and now Ottawa – the ever-intriguing Slow Dance and all so inviting Strip-Spelling Bee (pictured below).
So where did this all start? With Slow Dance in Montreal and, shortly after, Toronto: “I didn’t like fast dancing so I wanted to create an event where I would feel at home. I’m not much of a sweater,” Tjia laughs at this description. “I don’t like to sweat and I always thought it was weird that you would go to an event and dance like crazy and get all sweaty. With Slow Dance, you can meet people, dance with them, and not get sweaty.”
Introduced to the idea of putting on “shows” by a music promoter, Tjia learned that Facebook was a key promotional tool in getting people to attend his unique and new affairs, and it proved successful right from the get-go. “I never planned on being an event planner,” he said. ”I thought I would be a painter or a writer and I am all those things. Event planning kind of came to me later.”
Over here in Toronto, Buddies is all for it.
“We embraced [Sherwin’s events],” explained the theatre’s Artistic Director, Brendan Healy. “We love the ideas that he comes up with and his awesome personality is a big part of what makes his events so successful and certainly what intrigued us.”
Healy said the theatre was impressed by the way Slow Dance (pictured left) really took off. “It was an instant hit,” he said. [It’s] amazing the way that it’s structured. You’re forced to interact which sparks a kind of change in social mores.”
It is events like these that bring forward a new sense of community, but when people first hear about Tjia’s event, it’s no secret their eyes may widen.
“I think when people hear about these events [they think] they’re very weird and anything weird is scary and I want them to know it’s a warm environment and a warm and welcoming event,” Tjia explained.
This is exactly what’s catching fire and spreading around Toronto. Healy explained that Tjia’s events are emblematic of the larger social scene in the city. The participatory factor is what is catching interest in the common folk and we see it in Tjia’s event as well as other nights around town like 360 Screenings, 1st Thursdays at the AGO, or Friday Night Live at the ROM, for example.
“As the world becomes more digital and people are often alone at home engaged in their computer – in a little bubble – people crave the experiences where they’re forced to interact with each other,” Healy said.
And this is all Tjia wants. He emphasized the bottom line in everything he hosts is that people make new friends and, perhaps, feel a little less lonely in the world.
Of course, there are always some worries. “What if no one competes? That’s my big terror,” Tjia said.
From the theatre’s perspective, though, they’re sure Orgasm Idol is going to thrive: “I think that we know Sherwin a bit and we can expect something hilarious,” Healy said. “We can expect something that attracts a crowd of playful exhibitionists. Sherwin is good at creating sexy, sexually entertaining, but fun and light atmospheres that never feel too intense…He creates safe, inclusive spaces that audiences really respond to.”
So see for yourself! Tjia is hosting the premier of Orgasm Idol tomorrow night (May 31) at Buddies Theatre and early July is when Tjia hints at the next Slow Dance for Toronto.
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Brought to you by Andrea Wrobel