Exclusive: Pale Blue Door

Tony Hornecker films his ramshackle supper club, a discreet cabaret drowning in drag

Down a lonely street in Dalston lies a house with a Pale Blue Door. A ramshackle, kleptomaniac collection of topsy-turvy furniture and mismatched trinkets, it’s home to artist and set designer Tony Hornecker. It's part of his pop-up supper club consisting of drag performance and dining. At the end of July, the Pale Blue Door closes up shop, so Tony teamed up with filmmaker Sharna Osborne to capture its concluding caricatures on film. “It seemed like a nice way to finish it off. It’s just a nice way to say goodbye, really.”

It’s hard to believe that when Tony moved in ten years ago, his modern day tinker’s workshop was just a "big blank garage space. I worked as a set designer, so it was a place for me to build and store the set.” A travelling gypsy at heart, the project allowed Tony to fund his his nomadic desires. He has taken it to Glastonbury, Berlin and even Chile: "the money I got from the dinners meant I was able to fund traveling, and I love travelling.”

Rather than choosing to film the house in all its decadent frivolity, Tony decided to capture it suspended in eerie stillness, without the customers, but with flashbacks of past parties. “The flashes are like the presence of a ghost. I actually live in the space, so for me it’s sort of like you never really lose the echo of people that have come for dinner. I was trying to convey how different it feels to live in the space when it’s full of people and when it’s empty.”

For Tony, the experience is a journey, a mystic narnia that is only reached by embracing the sexual experimentation and exotic degeneracy of performance and decoration. The pied-piper leading this adventure is A Man To Pet – a taboo-shattering transvestite. “He’s always been with us and he’s always travelled with me. He lives next door. His drag performances have been sort of iconic. He creates these characters, like the poor Lebanese woman with one eye, to the pantomime at Christmas where Madonna gave birth to a black baby in the middle of dinner. He’s pushing the limits of what’s tasteful and what isn’t and this challenges people. It’s actually done in such a way that you can’t help but love him.”

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