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Wellington's week of capital campness

Wed 15 Aug 2007 In: Events View at Wayback View at NDHA

Tuesday afternoon on Cuba Street, 7th August 2007. One fact has suddenly become clear -- I've entered the world of The Glamazons, and it's too late to turn back now. It's going to be a 'Glam' week. Like all Pride Weeks in New Zealand, Wellington's queer-fest was organised by a small but committed team of individuals. Their media-savvy skills meant there was a special free Proud Week newspaper produced, posters up around the city, coverage in the Dominion Post, a detailed website, and even an endorsement from the Prime Minister. Since the boys behind The Glamazons drag-gang play a big part in these promotions, it's their faces we see on much of the Proud publicity… over and over again! The week began with a well-attended and dressy 'High School prom' ball at the James Cook Hotel, followed by parties at Sub Nine and Imerst nighclubs. My partner and I hit the streets on the Tuesday so missed these events, and Our Bar's pool contest, but we were glad to have got into the flow just in time for the educational Fuckaware Party from the D.Vice team. HANG IN THERE, OUR BAR! Excited by the promise of 'Weird Disco', 'Electrosleaze', 'Schlock' and 'Funky Freakzz', we headed to Our Bar and found a small but friendly crowd at their 'Dance Syndrome' night. I can see why people think it's a solely lesbian bar, as it always seems to be mostly women in there. I guess it depends on what events are planned, but Our Bar regulars explain that on the weekends the gay boys get there early for a relaxed drink -- before Imerst gets busy after midnight -- leaving the lesbians chatting into the early hours. Anywhoo, we were made very welcome and enjoyed the weird mixture of music on that frosty Tuesday night. Our Bar's manager Sharon says she hopes the venue can stay open through the winter and they're planning many more events to get more punters in. You can rely on to bring you the details. Wednesday evening featured two events scheduled for the same time, dammit! There was a wine and cheese evening for gays, lesbians and their parents to share at Our Bar -- a great idea and I was told they got a good crowd. But we decided to attend the Quiz Night at Imerst, which was, sadly, a disaster. Disappointing number of people, The Glamazons not even bothering to dress up to host it, weird (dull) question rounds… and, yes, I am bitter I didn't win! The dance floor area used for the quiz is a large, dark, cavernous space -- it would have been much better to have held this event somewhere else, even in Imerst's smaller lounge bar upstairs. I know I wasn't the only one unimpressed by the quiz night. Even one of the organisers whispered "that was really boring, I'm surprised anyone stayed". Thursday evening was much more successful. The Short Shorts Film Fest was a fantastic and popular chance to see many recent and not-so-recent gay-themed Kiwi short films at the NZ Film Archive. I'd seen a few of them before, like the Oscar-nominated 'Two Cars One Night', but the new work from Welby Ings called 'Boy' was a nice surprise. The 'Queer Idol' karaoke competition at Imerst followed, and got a sizeable and appreciative crowd along. The dozen-or-so singing hopefuls started the night very amateurishly, but as the event wore on and singers were whittled down to the final few there were some star performances -- and even some stripping from one over-the-top contestant. By Friday evening we'd randomly bumped into Mr. Gay Wellington twice in the street, and visited Parliament where I saw Maryan Street in the debating chamber, and I can confirm all the MP's were wide awake!. So I think we did pretty well at LGBT celebrity spotting -- no Ian McKellen sightings though. That night was the alcohol-free 'Pink Light Disco' for youth up to 25 years, at SubNine club. I was a little outside that age bracket so played pool at Our Bar and Imerst, before looking around at a few straight clubs. It was all quite relaxed -- Saturday night would be the big one. RISE OF THE GLAMAZONS Saturday night was Pyjama Party night, and as is so common with these events, most people there hadn't dressed up in theme. There were a few good sets of PJ's though, some dressing gowns, and one bemused-looking teddy bear in attendance. Imerst hits its peak late -- it was stone dead before midnight, but by 1am the dancefloor was pumping. The cheeky Glamazons took to the stage much later than scheduled for both their shows. But they were worth the wait -- their drag foursome performances are backed up by professional-looking music videos playing on the big screen behind them. It was a nice touch, and the audience was appreciative. Later they gave away DVDs of all their music videos, and many hands shot up to receive the prize. I even heard a couple of guys going "Ooooohh, I want one, I want one," without even the merest hint of sarcasm. Impressive! So, it was an upbeat end to a mixed few days. There were a couple of cancelled events through the week -- Rainbow Wellington's meeting on campus and the art show opening. And there was that hastily-arranged Tupperware Party at Our Bar which was dropped due to lack of interest… but in general, 2007's Proud Week was a well-organised success, especially considering it all took place on bleak and windy winter evenings. This Pride Week thing is really taking off… the next one is Hamilton's first Pride Week in early December. Roll on Summer! Matt Akersten - 15th August 2007    

Credit: Matt Akersten

First published: Wednesday, 15th August 2007 - 10:36pm

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