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Pride and Prettiness

Thu 24 May 2007 In: Events View at Wayback

NOTHING’S TOO GAY FOR THIS WEEK! Christchurch, the Garden City. Home of the Cookie Time Factory (now no longer doing tours), The Wizard (now sadly AWOL), a gorgeous Cathedral (now undergoing repairs) and New Zealand’s dodgiest party pills (now getting parliamentary attention). And for the last three years, the home of Chch Pride Week – where we’re told ‘nothing’s too gay’. Definitely my cue to make my first trip to this city. Even the briefest of glances at the Pride Week schedule revealed there were a huge number of events on offer. Many more than Auckland’s HERO Festival if you count all those morning teas and lunches as separate events. Arriving on the Wednesday, I’d missed the opening night party, where Mr and Mrs Chch Pride had been crowned. It was clear looking at the party pictures that 'Mr Pride' Brad and his boyfriend Matt could do with a little more to eat, so I was pleased the winners were given supper on the night and grocery vouchers as part of their prize! Getting picked up at the airport by the Pride Week organiser Brent Mitchell was a good chance to check up on how the events early in the week had gone. I had been very impressed that so many informative-sounding workshops had been arranged – including BDSM Safety, safe sex for under/over 30’s, HIV/AIDS updates and a few more – but Brent told me the interest in them was generally very low, even though surveys had suggested the locals wanted them. I guess when there’s so much to do, people pick and choose from all the events and want a couple of nights off. That evening was my first chance to see Heaven’s Above for their Bingo evening. It says "warm friendly atmosphere" on their card, and that’s what the place was genuinely like. The community really got behind the Bingo, with barely a seat free in the large bar and dance floor area. I’ll be honest and say the drag shows were terrible, but I had a fun night winning various adult bits and pieces (I got some strawberry body foam, little mirrorballs, and a pulp fiction sexy gay novel). Miss Mole – out of drag – kept me laughing throughout with bawdy comedy insults and antics. She won a new boyfriend: a blow-up man named Gorgeous Gavin. That was the last I saw of Mole all week. Strange! BOOZIN’ AND CRUZIN’ I had a beautiful day looking around Christchurch on Thursday and found it a lovely city to walk in. That day I met up with a Chch local, Andre, and a Wellingtonian, Corey, and the three of us made up the second-best team at CRUZ bar’s Pride Week Quiz Night. Now in my opinion CRUZ is the best gay nightclub space in New Zealand at the moment. There’s attention to details like great lighting, sound system, video screens with people-pics showing, comfortable couches and clean working toilets. Well none of it sounds like particularly hard work but all together it’s hard to find! The club owner showed me downstairs to Propaganda bar and Ministry – THAT PLACE IS HUGE. DJ Karl Moser came down from Auckland for the weekend and he couldn’t believe the size and how good the sound system was. Such a surprise to see all this in the South Island – I’d been expecting something much more modest. Friday evening was the UniQ Lincoln Toga Party at CRUZ, and I had no idea how to dress for the occasion. Bed sheet? Luckily, I bumped into one of the CRUZ barmen in the street – he was on his way to get some material to wear and in no time we were camping it up big time in Ballantynes. Should we get silky stuff or something more traditional? Colours or white? See-through or non-see-through? Iron-on stars, hearts and rainbows? Eventually I decided on something traditional which I was told went well with my 'Roman nose'. A compliment I hope! I have to admit now to you all dear readers, that I was pretty 'turned on' the whole time my new friends and I were getting changed into togas, and the whole Toga Party had a very sexy vibe. That was the evening I realised I’d hardly paid for a drink or meal the whole time I’d been in Christchurch. That’s Southern hospitality for you. The shows at the Toga Party were a weird mix of stripping jugglers followed by a strange S   

Credit: Matt Akersten

First published: Thursday, 24th May 2007 - 12:00pm

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