Article Title:Across the ditch: Sydney Mardi Gras & Melbourne Midsumma
Author or Credit:Matt Akersten
Published on:12th January 2010 - 11:18 pm
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Story ID:8389
Text:Ready for your next adventure? Melbourne's queer celebrations start soon, then its Sydney's turn to party. Both cities sent their LGBT Festival printed guides to, showing the huge range of activities and parties on offer - including many unique events we'd love to see happen in NZ! Here's the low-down on what the Aussies are up to this summer...   Melbourne's Midsumma festival 17 January - 7 February "Midsumma celebrates queer culture," says the crew of Melbourne's LGBT Festival. "This year's programme is a ripper, and we know you'll find some gems amongst it." Midsumma's Carnival Midsumma in 2010 will begin with a sultry summer's day in the Alexandra Gardens in the centre of Melbourne. The Midsummer Carnival is a lot like Auckland's Big Gay Out, showcasing stalls and dance tents from the city's various LGBT communities. A high-camp dog show and magazine coverboy pageant is also included. As the sun goes down, the park becomes a massive dance party, featuring the city's finest gay DJs, on-stage singers and light shows. Stage idol? Pink Shorts is a theatre contest happening in the second week of the festival. A variety of new queer-themed plays will be staged, with audiences voting for which ones they like the best. Other highlights from the festival programme include a drag comedy starring talented singing showgal Courtney Act, a contemporary dance feature, several art showings representing gay male, lesbian, drag and trans identities and culture, comedy shows, an evening of magic ("Cath will delve and play with your mind"), music and cabaret, film screenings, book launches and discussions (including a 'sex write-off' contest), a rainbow families picnic, plus sports events including tennis, lawn bowls and lesbian rock climbing. Melbourne's Midsumma 2010 guide One event that might be a nice idea for us Kiwis to adapt one day is the Motafrenz Midsumma Magical Mystery Tour: "A great drive through a beautiful part of the state along roads you have probably never travelled before. Test your navigating and treasure hunting skills in a fun way as you drive to our secret meeting place for lunch and swapping of stories about your adventures on the open road." Party time! Soirées at Midsummer include a boat cruise, foam party, bear undies bash, a pool party, a Satin Sydney's Mardi Gras 19 February - 7 March It's Australasia's biggest LGBT Festival, and 2010 features all the usual events with many star guests along for the ride. The scheduling of the main events is a little different this year, though. Sydney's Harbour Party Air New Zealand's Pink Flight from Auckland to Sydney gets you there in time for the unmissable Mardi Gras Parade on Saturday 27 Feb. In 2010 the huge Mardi Gras Party is happening the following Saturday - 6th March. This rescheduling upset some gay travellers who were used to coming to Sydney for just one weekend to have a wild time at the parade and party that same night. will be on the Pink Flight and is booked for the following day's annual Harbour Party in the beautiful Botanic Gardens with views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. We're sure this experience will be the highlight of our weekend trip. Mardi Gras Parade boys But one of Sydney Mardi Gras' most popular events will take place on Sunday 21 February - their Fair Day in Victoria Park. Packed with people each year, this is Sydney's LGBT picnic day, attracting up to 70,000 people. "The bears have their tree; the dykes have their bikes; the sports team have their tug-o-war and many more," says the Mardi Gras crew. Something for everyone - and a fashion show for dogs too! The Mardi Gras team are tight-lipped as to who will be performing at 2010's main party. Lady Gaga and George Michael (both playing shows in Sydney around the same time) are strongly rumoured this year (wishful thinking?), and Kelly Rowland has just revealed she's on her way. Elsewhere in the festival, gay icon John Waters will perform a monologue, and the diva herself Whitney Houston will sing at the Olympic Park. Burt Bacharach is also in town, for three evenings with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Sydney's Mardi Gras 2010 guide The festival includes loads more attractions than the famous parties and glitter-throws. Queer Thinking will be a full-day event involving Sydney's greatest LGBT minds for discussions of LGBT books, history, film, TV, politics and health. Lesbian novelist Sarah Waters is among the line-up. The most unique event is possibly 'The Base' by artist Spencer Tunick on 1 March. Aiming to be one of the largest public art projects ever, Tunick is signing hundreds of Mardi Gras folk up to all strip off naked together for his photos. "Each participant receives a print as a thank you," says the artist -but the photo shoot location is top secret for now. Will he have the cheek to cover the steps of the Opera House with naked people? Watch this spare... but try not to stare! Meanwhile, there's a Pool Party, Dinner at the Zoo, Drag Races on Bondi Beach, the annual Toybox party at Luna Park, various drag queen (including a drag Liza Minnelli "on a E") and drag king shows, theatre, a great debate ("Top or Bottom, Butch or Fem - who rules the roost?"), a film festival, sports days, art gallery showings, a Burlesque Ball and many more harder, wetter, bigger and longer events to make Sydney's Mardi Gras 2010 unforgettable. Find out more about Sydney's Mardi Gras 2010 on its official website. Matt Akersten - 12th January 2010    
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