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And the award for Chch's Best Gay Event of 2008 goes to...

Fri 31 Oct 2008 In: Events

Sorry this review of the Christchurch Oscars is a few days late - it took us a long while to get over the SHOCK and AWE! Flattering frock? Miss Mole It was the first Oscars night I'd been to. Arriving in the big Civic Centre on Manchester Street, my friend and I wondered why some of the VIP seats had been set up so far away from the stage, and why there were lots of big rubbish bins provided in front of the main stage. But as more… and more… and more people began to arrive, I realized I'd underestimated just how HUGE this night was going to be. Soon the place was heaving – and not just with gay guys and drag queens. It's wonderful to see an LGBT event that the whole Chch community has taken to their hearts as a great night out. There had been a sudden performance cancellation, so the night's organiser Miss Mole was the first to take to the stage, doing a number in a flattering gown and subtle hat (pictured). And so the three-hour epic production began in earnest. Grab a drink – you'll need it! For over a quarter of a century, the Chch Oscars have awarded the community's LGBT movers-and-shakers, plus their fabulous friends. The awards also honour Garden City residents whose work in our communities has benefitted people around New Zealand – like retiring gay MP Tim Barnett, who was recognised as one of the Oscars' 'People of the Year'. Direct from Graceland: Co-host Tami Just like at the real Oscars ceremony in LA (which are far shorter in duration!) the awards are given out by a range of celebrity guests, who all get their speech, nominees and winners painstakingly written out for them in black marker. Among the celebs were Caluzzi diva Beaver Brown, who is one of the best, most sparkly and potty-mouthed drag queens in NZ – though she kept her patter G-rated for this event! Labour MPs Maryan Street and Lianne Dalziel also appeared, to generous applause from the crowd (Christchurch is safe Labour territory) – but there was no sign of Mayor Bob Parker. One fantastic MC was Tami, who did a wonderful Elvis (with added cleavage) and an outrageous Barbie girl too. The winners are chosen by community votes, counted from voting forms provided at Miss Mole's Flamingo Bar over the last few weeks. Handed out on the night, each award is a large-sized trophy. They look very impressive when jubilant winners hoist them up in triumph: As for the shows, well we got the usual sequined suspects from Christchurch, which were a mixture of ages and talents (with the older ones not always outshining the younger divas). I always joke about how bad Hamilton's Miss Gloriousole is (she recently made a big entrance in a high-profile show with her arm in a cast, then promptly fell over on stage), but her colourful frock and energetic Let's Get Loud number was an unexpected highlight of the evening's very mixed offerings. A certain 'Downtown' Auckland visitor tried her best not to look she was from Neptune, but sadly failed. We were also treated to The Beverly Hillbillies, a female dancing troupe, a 'cyberman' and live singing from Joanne Clarke. As always, the funniest bits were unrehearsed. I liked the naughty woman who got up and tried to accept an award which wasn't hers. And I loved the certain winner (who shall remain nameless on the net!) who was too drunk (we assume) to accept her award – leading her loyal friends to gather around, pick her up, and unsuccessfully try to force her up there. Fun to watch! For an event which Miss Mole organizes as a bit of a piss-take, the staging, lighting and sound mixing was surprisingly professional, with very few clanging moments. As the last of the trophies were handed out, I glanced at my phone and was shocked to see it was 2am. Miss Mole wrapped things up on stage and then it was time to 'let your (fake) hair down'! Those lucky lucky boys! It's a shame there's only one Mole to go around! Perhaps it's exhaustion talking, but Mole again reckons the 2008's Oscars were her last. She's planning a move to Hamilton (just when you thought it was safe to go out on Victoria Street!), and the Civic Centre will become offices, so the Oscars have never been more in jeopardy. So... will Miss Mole change her mind (again) and bring the Oscars back in 2009? Might another Chch queen take up the challenge of organising the star-studded event? Can another NZ city plan their own community awards (Auckand hasn't had something like this since the last Golden Stilettos Awards in 2004)? Only time will tell… meanwhile, hang that wicked frock in the wardrobe, keep practicing your Beyonce in the bathroom mirror, and stay linked to to find out! Matt Akersten - 31st October 2008    

Credit: Matt Akersten

First published: Friday, 31st October 2008 - 6:53pm

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