LGBT+ artists ensure Lotto never a drag

By Huong Giang   January 1, 2020 | 02:00 am PT
A Lotto entertainment group comprised of drag queens is explored in new a documentary focusing on the daily trials of its actors and singers. 

The artists of  "Sai Gon Tan Thoi" (Contemporary Saigon) have recently shot documentary "Ngoi Nha Buoi Chieu" (The Afternoon House) to depict the bittersweet life of its members.

Actress Diep Thanh Thanh shares tales of daily life in documentary The Afternoon House.

Actress Diep Thanh Thanh shares tales of daily life in documentary "The Afternoon House".

The first episode revolves around oldest member Diep Thanh Thanh who resides with her 70ish-year-old mother in a cramped rented room in Saigon's Binh Thanh District. Though Lotto singing provides little income, the actress remains optimistic. The stage is her second home, bringing her ultimate joy.

Group leader Lo Lo said while artists and singers in other realms are appreciated, singers pursuing Lotto careers fail to get the same respect. "Every time we have an overseas show request, visa paperwork gets in the way. No matter how long we’ve been in this career, be it 10 years, 20 years, few of us can afford to create something personal."

"Lotto used to be considered a form of gambling. Lotto actresses and singers are seen as lazy, only performing drag to make a living," Lo Lo said. "The reality is we are very serious about everything from make-up to performance. I believe Lotto is very adorable form of folk art." 

Attending the "Contemporary Saigon" performance, comedic artist Trung Dan said: "Singers and actresses reflect various aspects of modern life while on stage. I hope people understand and respect these artists more after seeing the documentary."

Producers plan to release 30 episodes of the documentary via YouTube across consecutive Saturdays. 

"Contemporary Saigon" Lotto group was established in October 2017. The group currently includes 30 members, mostly part of the LGBT+ community. The team used to mainly perform at trade fairs, but gradually accessed more professional stages. 

The group will perform at Ho Chi Minh Labor Palace every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. In addition to Saigon, artists run a second venue at Bach Dang Trade Center of southern Binh Duong Province, as well as an auxiliary stage at East Saigon Urban Area in southern Dong Nai Province. 

On the last 2 years, "Contemporary Saigon" Lotto group concerts have attracted up to 1,200 audience members.

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