Hava Nagila! Kibbutz Club’s “Jewilicious” Boogie Nights at Club Auslage

Rainbow Sabbath: Outrageous and camp, the Kibbutz Klub disco welcomes all to the family.

When good times still seem bottles away at most venues, one club on the Gürtel is already kicking into high gear. By midnight, the line in front of Club Auslage stretches all the way to the U6 station Josefstädter Straße, beckoning crowds with a freewheeling, hedonistic vibe and bubblegum pop in an unfamiliar language. It would be easy to assume this is another outpost of the popular Balkan turbofolk scene of Ottakring, but the catchy tunes are from much farther afield – Israel.

This is the Kibbutz Klub – named for the famous utopian communal movement of Israel’s early years – a periodic event that celebrates “jewilicious” tunes and “homoriental” clichés with self-depreciating irony. From midnight to daybreak, Levantine pop, rap and techno reverberate as DJs call the followers to the dance floor like rabbis to temple. DJ and VJ Guy Lants and virtuosos Yasemin and Alkis (the latter actually resembles an old testament patriarch, replete with flowing beard) also add some Turkish and Balkan beats, with the occasional twist on the universal pop idols and camp queens Madonna and Shakira for good measure.

Hava Nagila! (Let’s rejoice) is the fitting motto of the Kibbutzniks. The Hebrew queer community not only revels in their self-proclaimed trashy tunes but in their heritage as well. Right at the entrance, banisters are adorned with Israeli flags and the Stars of David, often in rainbow colors; red neon lights lend a Tel Aviv Beach flair to the scene.

A Kosher stew

There is no exclusivity here; queer, lesbian, straight, bi, trans and everyone else are kosher here. Encouraged by a casual dress code (plaid shirts abound), gentiles mingle freely with the “exotics,” creating a mix of all ages, genders and nationalities united in cheesy pop music. Kibbutz Klub is as welcoming and laid-back as it gets.

Even an unexpected group of young Turkish toughs – out of their element in their tracksuits and air-filled sneakers – barely register as they uncomfortably enjoy fancy cocktails with little umbrellas.

Around the bar, spacious, black leather sofas provide a hub for groups and couples who wish to chat in private, usually while enjoying a bottle of Israeli Gold Star Dark Lager (€4.80). But the real action is on the dance floor, somewhat concealed toward the rear: all inhibitions fall as ecstatic dancers abandon themselves to the beat – and often each other.

Surrounded by séparées for the weary – and a discreet cruising area hidden from view in the back – it is a swarming beehive of hard drinking and even harder dancing.

As a mind-boggling finale, I fell into a spirited conversation with a curious blend of Freddie Mercury and Steve Urkel who came from Transylvania, marveling at the thought that my (I had always assumed) bland persona would ever engage such a vivacious lad. And if someone like me can join the party, anyone can. Mazel Tov!

Kibbutz Klub will return to shake its douze points on May 6 for a Eurovision song contest special.

May 6, 23:00, Club Auslage.

16., Lerchenfelder Gürtel 43

Nejra Rizvanović
Bosnia bred, currently residing in Austria, Nejra studies Cognitive Science at the University of Vienna. In her free time, she enjoys good company, learning new languages and eating sushi.

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