“Alexa, define Wanderlust.”
“Wanderlust means a strong desire to travel.”
“Thank you Alexa,” I said to my new best friend.
It is Day 1143 of lockdown, and the last extraordinary adventure you went on was that extra-long trip around Trader Joe’s last week. Saturday night is the new Monday night is the new Wednesday morning, and you genuinely can’t remember the last time you saw a lesbian IRL. If you did, you held your breath, looked at the floor, and prayed they’d come nowhere near you — just how you imagined coming out would be in high school.
Though lockdowns are being tentatively loosened in London, Cape Town, Oslo, and Athens, they’re being ramped up in cities like Nairobi, São Paulo, and Moscow. No one knows what’s going on, and only God herself knows when we’ll next be allowed to lose our shit together on a dance floor.
Last Sunday, Wonderlust (wanderlust for women), a new international virtual women’s party, arrived like a sweet dream after a long, lonely night’s sleep. The four-hour festival was hosted by Mint, the longest-running and most lit queer women’s party in London. With 14 years in the lesbian party game, Mint has got a bulging little black book filled with very talented, very hot, and very international DJs.
Minutes into the Facebook Live, we were taken by the (virtual) hand and whisked off around the world to listen to delicious, uplifting House music streamed from one sun-soaked poolside to another (lesbian DJs with pools, it’s a thing — maybe we all made the wrong career choice).
First up, DJ Francesca Faggella spun silky tunes from her turquoise pool in Mallorca; then Izzy Trixx, a can of Bintang beer in hand, played in front of (and then inside) her pool in Jakarta. Next, we jetted off to see MINA grooving to Prince under pristine blue skies in Ibiza’s rolling hills. The audience, who’d tuned in from all over the world, were beside themselves with awe, gratitude, and pool-envy. People pounded out hearts emojis while the comments were popping off. “Hello from Austin, TX.” “I wish I could dive in your pool.” “You are raising the vibes here in Madrid!!”
MC Chickaboo came on between sets, live from her garden in London to elevate everyone, asking if we’re feeling the energy and encouraging us to slide into each other’s DMs. “We’re in lockdown, what have you got to lose?” she said. The next 30-minute set came from the UK: DJ Kacey Curtis spun vinyl alongside the belting vocals of REIGNS. “What a voice!!” people wrote. “She’s incredible!” There were fire emojis everywhere. Staying in the UK, we headed to DJ Lola’s living room next. Lola usually plays Techno in Brighton’s underground scene, but as a little lockdown treat, she delivered a killer House set at Wonderlust, quite literally murdering us all on our improvised dance floors. Armed with a smoke and light machine, she soon had the audience (cyber)calling out her name. “LOLA!!” “OMG Lola!” “Lola, you always do this; I fully want to go out now!” As she closed her set with “Strings of Life,” there were no words in the comments — people had resorted to sending dancing GIFs and hearts hearts hearts, a bubble machine of hearts, imploding on the screen.
Before long, we were off on another e-airplane to Cape Town, where DJ Tess had curated an energizing, soul-filled set. It was pre-recorded, which meant she was online chatting to people throughout. It is such a treat, talking to a DJ while they play. “There’s nothing like wonder women vocals, iconic voices coupled with genius DJs and producers,” Tess wrote, as people sent their love and gratitude. “Tess hits my groove spot,” typed someone. “You’re melting us up here in the Arctic,” wrote someone who’d tuned in from northern Canada. “Brava,” said a woman from Italy. All these little windows into people’s lives, women all over the world listening to the same tunes, dancing on their own or bopping by their laptop, collectively entering an un-locked-down state of mind.
Next was Kinky D, streaming from Bangkok. With a beaming smile and lip-syncing lyrics, her energy was through the roof. Every song was perfectly chosen, with empowering lyrics urging people to “believe in the fire in your soul,” “to find a deeper love,” and “to open up your heart.” Kinky channeled all the nocturnal energy that’s been accruing for months and exploded joyously onto our screens. Every DJ did in fact; I didn’t expect to see so many women on such a high.
Kinky, like Tess, had pre-recorded her set, so she was commenting too. “Spread the music and the love ladies, cause I’m feeling it right now,” she wrote as her set faded into a funky mix of Nina Simone’s “Ain’t Got No (I Got Life).” To close the watch party, we went back to Wonderlust HQ in London, where El Conchitas sipped a mojito and kept the party pumping. Meanwhile, MC Chickaboo dished out (vibrating) prizes from London’s iconic Sh! Women’s Pleasure Emporium (who co-hosted Wonderlust). “These gifts will help you get through quarantine with a little more ease,” promised Chickaboo.
You know when you’ve been on an incredible night out, your body is tired, your mind is racing, and your soul is soothed? You’re walking back from somewhere, waiting for an Uber perhaps, as the sun’s getting ready to rise? That feeling, that delicious feeling — I actually felt that after Wonderlust, and I’ve been riding that wave ever since.
Now, when I look at the sky, I notice more planes. Slowly, cautiously, lockdowns are easing in many places; this situation will be behind all of us soon. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and there is a vital, international lesbian party scene waiting on the other side. Just imagine the pool parties in summer 2021. Until then, hold tight, let events like Wonderlust quench your thirst, connect your community, and liberate you — for a few hours at least — from lockdown.