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Wellington Proud: I was there, I was Square

Wed 4 Mar 2009 In: Events View at Wayback View at NDHA

Out in the Square: Buffy, Ellie Kat, Bimbo, Queenie Aotearoa, Felicity Frockaccino, Steven Oates obliterating several tents, and the men who would come to the rescue by holding onto them with their strong, butch arms. 3) Felicity Frockacinno's wheel-spinning prize game, where all spinners got at least a free Red Bull. She stopped the wheel each time with her razor-sharp cheekbones. 4) The shocked looks from the crowd when skinny young Mr. Gay Wellington turned up wearing just his undies (I couldn't see the beach, so they can't have been togs). 5) Watching Buffy and cold drinks to enjoy. The event had the full support of Wellington's Mayor Kerry Prendergast, who spoke on stage to start the day's entertainment. Aaron, Kerry Prendergast and Andy Well done to Aaron Halliwell, Andy Boreham, Virginia Hopkins-Burns and all the Out Wellington crew for organising the event, which can't be beaten anywhere in New Zealand for being a popular, inclusive, LGBT family fun day right in the heart of the city. Particular thanks would have to go out to ever-perky MC Steven 'Sparkle' Oates, who at one point was asked by a crew member: "we don't have anyone else lined up on stage for another half hour - can you just keep talking until then?" 'Wellington's Top Drag Queen' Rhubarb Rouge is also worthy of a special shout-out, for generously doing what seemed like over 25 numbers on stage through the day, with upwards of two-dozen costume changes. What an entertainer! Tickets for her shows in Auckland cost upwards of $65, so we were getting a real bargain seeing her so often at this free event. Even more gay Wellington Taking aim on SEllie Kat. There were loads of people in the smoking area on the level below, too. So the Wellington gay scene seems to be in great health at the moment, with the two venues complimenting each other well. A relaxing spa at the Pool Party After Out in the Square came the Big Gay Pool Party in Thordon Pools, with a BBQ and drinks, big pool and heated spa. A good-sized group of around 60 people turned out, many of them sunburnt from their day in the Square - a good range of ages, a few lesbians, Felicity Frockaccino bobbing about in the water in full make-up, and Auckland's Buffy as we had got in our Auckland Meet-Up earlier this year. We met in the lovely old Blondini's café in the Embassy Theatre, in a room with a great view of Courtenay Place, but which had been boarded up and used as a storeroom for decades until recently. A mass debate at the Forum A few of the attendees at the Forum Meet seemed hell-bent on sticking to political topics, but there were also general chats and giggles about their lives, and even some flirting. People are much nicer offline than they are online, I've often found. One attendee had brought his laptop along with him, but managed to resist the urge to post stuff on the Forum then and there - it was left switched off during the two-hour sit-down, thankfully. Monday night finished with something I'd been looking forward to - being a guest on Aaron and we all laughed alot as the time ticked by very quickly. They love doing that show, and I definitely must listen more often… just hoping that they explain some of those in-jokes as they go along! As the night went on and my early-morning flight to Auckland beckoned, I must confess I was getting a little weary of Aaron's relentless Eurotrash-'80s-'90s-manufactured-TV-reality-show-pop taste in music, which he seems to inflict on everyone at all Proud Festival events. Aduring the whole two-hour show. Is he plotting a takeover? Perhaps. But for now, it is all Aaron and Andy's gay game, and we are merely pawns. Wellington's Proud '09 Week continues until the Finale Party at The Garden Club on Dixon Street from 10pm on Saturday 7 March. All the details are on the official Proud '09 website. Matt Akersten - 4th March 2009    

Credit: Matt Akersten

First published: Wednesday, 4th March 2009 - 5:21pm

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