Inside the Queer Revolution of Saigon’s Nightlife Underground

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05/23/2023

On a recent weekend in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, the city’s music, fashion and cultural vanguard descended upon Arcan, an underground club that’s become a local hub for techno, house, and subcultural dance music genres. Nestled at the end of an alley within a nondescript residential neighborhood, the entrance to the club is marked with signs reminding clubgoers to keep their voices down until they reach the entrance — a level of discretion that speaks to the outspoken, uninhibited nature of the parties within its walls. This particular April weekend was a special occasion, as the club was celebrating its fifth anniversary with two nights of high-energy sets from DJs across Asia, like South Korean musician Mokyo and New York City’s Ka Wai, along with some of its mainstay local Vietnamese acts like Van Anh, Smoothie Boiz, and Nyjah Phong — all members of various queer party collectives who’ve found a home here.

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