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Hero 2006: "A Polysexual Celebration"

Wed 1 Feb 2006 In: Events

Hero, Auckland's annual gay pride festival, is only a few weeks away now, with organisers promising a bevy of new and exciting events, as well as the return of old favourites, in a two-week programme spread city-wide from 12 to 26 February. The promise of something for everyone is reflected in the festival's tagline for the year: A Polysexual Celebration. "We've introduced that word because the community is so diverse, and we didn't want to leave anybody out," says Hero spokesperson Sarah Lambourne. "We thought that would include everyone. It's a new term that the guys from M2 Events came up with – they call their parties polysexual events. We liked it and thought it was a great way to celebrate diversity." The Hero Brand Management Group (BMG) is keen for glbt folk to have their say about what they want to see in the festival. "We've got a survey on the Hero website," says Lambourne. "We really wanted to get feedback from the community, and really stress that this is everybody's festival. This year's just been outstanding, the events that have come forward. From the small ones through to the big ones." Two of this year's new events set to turn heads are a one-day Drag King workshop, hosted by Cath Cocker, and the already-notorious theatre piece Glory Hole, which ran afoul of a local digital printing company who refused to print its flyers, deeming their content inappropriate. The show's publicist Tom Stevenson claims the images on the flyer were "definitely not porn" but acknowledges they were provocative, as the show itself promises to be. Described as the darkest, sexiest circus in town, Glory Hole is a multimedia theatre piece that explores gay male cruising spaces and the lives of the men who inhabit them. "I'm really looking forward to seeing it," laughs Lambourne. "Even as a female, I'm really intrigued by it." Those after a teaser for the show will get a chance to see snippets of it at Hero's official launch party tonight, 1 February, hosted by the Gay Auckland Business Association (GABA). GABA has extended an open invitation to all to come along to The Birdcage bar in Ponsonby for the evening, where there will be opportunities to meet all the Hero event organisers and meet some of the participants in this year's Hero Debate. A huge success last year, the Hero Debate has this year moved to a larger venue – the Hopetoun Alpha – and participants this year will debate the moot "The straight line is godless and immoral". Labour MPs Chris Carter, Maryan Street, and Lianne Dalziel will join media commentator Russell Brown, drag star Buckwheat, the acerbic Steven Gray and NZAF Chair Hoani Jeremy Lambert in a night of barely on-topic hilarity. "This year we've just got a great line-up," says Lambourne. "As well as the annual events - the Hero party, Heroic Gardens and Big Gay Out, we've got so many new things, big and small; the Chocolate Fish Swim Meet, The Tea Dance, Bowling and the film premiere of Capote." There's no parade to be seen in the line-up, but there are serious talks underway for its return in 2007. "Fingers crossed," Lambourne says. "Right now it would come down to a sponsor. A big sponsor that could help put it on." Is Hero pursuing sponsors? "Strategically, we're putting marketing plans in place to attract a great sponsor," she says. "This year the focus was just to get the festival up and running, get it looking good, and have quality events. We've only had good publicity last year and this year. I definitely think it's baby steps, but we're now in a position where we can leverage off this festival and really try and get it happening for the community, and get events that we want to see." Chri Banks - 1st February 2006    

Credit: Chri Banks

First published: Wednesday, 1st February 2006 - 12:00pm

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