Article Title:Matt's 2008 HERO Party Diary
Author or Credit:Matt Akersten
Published on:26th February 2008 - 12:26 am
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Story ID:5628
Text:This year's HERO Party had many dance rooms to suit diverse tastes, but you couldn't beat the Wintergarden when a certain big-headed star descended... 11:05pm, Saturday 23 February 2008 After ducking the showers, entering the Civic and emptying our pockets for a couple of strict security guards, my friends and I entered the ornate foyer and were descended on by Go-Go boys and Go-Go gals eager to get their photos taken. My camera's timer shows it took nearly half an hour to get through them all as everyone wanted their pictures taken with them (just like with the Prime Minister at the Big Gay Out). It's always nice to be surrounded by beautiful people but I was relieved when that was all over and we could explore the various dancefloors. The smaller rooms were quiet to start with, as everyone seemed to start in the Wintergarden after a quick explore. There was a 'Shebar' women's area with very funky wailing vocal house tunes (it started off full of lovely lessies but was full of screaming queens towards the end of the night), a very Salvation Party-style hard trance area with the shirtless gym bunny crowd under multi-psyklonic-etc-laserlights, and two other dance areas… plus the outdoor smoking area, so there was plenty of space and variety. Best dressed: Those 'pouches' the guys wear don't leave much to the imagination, do they? 12:20am My friends and I loved the electro-house sounds in the Safari Lounge but finally I said "come on, we didn't come to a big party to stay in a little room." Perhaps for the first time ever, they listened to me, and so we moved to the Wintergarden in time for the show by Tess Tickle and friends. Tess is a wonderful performer and she was joined by some of my favourite draggers including Buckwheat and Venus, along with those fire-starting-hot Brazilian dancers. So it was a wonderful show and the dancefloor - packed at this point - was appreciative. It was very hot in the low-ceilinged Wintergarden but I persevered and got lots of those wonderful shirtless dancer pictures people love to click on. My friends adored the funky vocals Miss Eleni was spinning in the woman's space so they stayed there as I went back and forth between floors. Matt Steer and Mauri were both DJing at 2am - gosh there was plenty of good tunes all at once. Hottest guys: Yum. 3:10am After weeks of Dee-Za-Star's 'campaigning' - dressed as hyper-Hillary Clinton complete with lectern and microphones, handing out 'VOTE: D.A.N.C.E' flyers - I knew she'd bring us something unique and creative. So I politely pushed my way to the front and we all waited in silence for a couple of minutes (!?!) before Justice's hit track D.A.N.C.E. came on and five pink cheerleaders took to the stage. Then Dee-Za-Star's 'Big Giant Head' took to the stage and rolled out into the crowd with her 'acceptance speech'! I was glad I wasn't on LSD: A fantastic surprise. Definitely my gay event highlight of the year so far. 4am We were in the women's zone for KillPussy's burlesque show. She'd been in Auckland performing all week but I'd missed her. It started with a sultry silhouette show which I really liked, and then this happened: It was a spooky 'sex-slave lady gets menaced, knifed and stripped by a snarling caped figure' show! Not something you see every day. We were glad we caught it though - KillPussy really is amazing and we could see why she has a cult clubber following in London. Some of the dance zones were winding down a little when we left at 4:30am - but the Wintergarden was still pumping. I heard Family bar was packed all night, Urge was steady with people going in and out, and Kiss bar's recovery party after 6am was a pleasant champagne-fuelled occasion, so it seems Auckland City was very busy with 'polysexual' people everywhere on HERO night! Midday on the morning after So was it any good? I enjoyed this HERO Party much more than last year's. Both main-room productions were more successful and memorable this time. The mix of music in the Wintergarden was crowd-pleasing and there were funky visuals to go along with them. The decent mixture of DJs and dance spaces could have been even better if there'd been a SoHomo alternative space, and perhaps a Retro room? Some had been concerned that The Civic may not be the best space for the HERO Party, but it seemed to work well, even with the too-low ceiling in the main room. I thought the Civic staff provided for the night were a little overbearing in their top-to-toe official-looking black suits … it would have been much nicer if they at least had given the appearance of enjoying and being part of an entertaining event. All in all, I liked HERO 2008 very much… and now gotta rest up for Sydney's Mardi Gras Party this weekend! The next huge Auckland LGBT party is a dance Celebration at The Transmission Room on Saturday 5 July - Beven Keys, Karn Hall, Donald Bennett, Mauri, Karl Moser and others delivering a mix of tunes from dance, pop, funk, retro, house and trance - and spectacular shows choreographed by Buckwheat. Can't wait! A video of Tess Tickle's Wintergarden show at 2008's HERO Party is shown below. Matt Akersten - 26th February 2008    
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