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The weekend Wellington was Proud

Tue 26 Jan 2010 In: Events View at NDHA

Our plane hovered over Wellington. The pilot looked through his binoculars at the rainbow coloured posters and campness littering the city for the Proud fortnight, then switched on the plane's comms system. "Sorry everyone, we're flying back to Auckland." I'm only half joking. We were on a (cheap) Jetstar flight, it was foggy in the capital and the plane couldn't land. So we were flown back to Auckland, where we waited for 45 minutes before being whisked back down to Wellywood. A four-hour mission! This Proud Festival better be worth it. Then, as soon as we landed, my mobile rang. "The weather's too bad - Out in the Square's been postponed until Sunday." The whole Proud Festival had been moved from March to January to take advantage of summery weather after rain drama last year had affected a few events. Great plan, but when we arrived in Wellington it felt like winter was back. We had a few drinkies at Snight's main event was the elaborate Devious Party in Shed 6 on Queen's Wharf, but many Welly queens had worried that the $45 tickets would be too expensive for the local scene stalwarts who were used to getting into everywhere free or with a few gold coins. So it was heartening to see that Sonce-a-year-if-you're-lucky gay dance extravaganza? Bad form, surely? Still, we gotta admit the Best Butt contest was crude fun, with the deserving winner Marcus getting a big bar tab. He'd previously won Best Butt at Vinegar Hill campsite over New Years, so his rump is attracting quite a trophy cabinet. What's next for Afinest dance party for years. The crowd of around 350 there were having the time of their lives. Today we're thrilled to hear that the Devious party is likely to return in 2011 - presumably in time for the OutGames - so it's set to be the gay event of next year in NZ. In the meantime, salutes all the talented cast and crew of Devious 2010. Wellington Squared It was a grey start to Sunday for the delayed Out in the Square day of LGBT fun in Civic Square. It's fantastic that the capital can 'come out' so much the support its queer communities and have their biggest event right in the centre of town. There's nothing else in New Zealand quite like it. A crowd watches the fun on Out in the Square's stage We'd all almost been whacked in the face by tumbling trestle tables as wind gusts made last year's Out in the Square a very dramatic event, so we were surprised that this year's fair layout included loads of little light seats by the stage, but they proved to be a great addition as people sat around making the day look busier and more popular than ever before. Another lucky addition was the rainbow dots all over the Art Gallery for Yayoikusama's Mirrored Years show, making the whole square look very gay indeed. There were a few bright spots of sunshine before a shower descended at 4pm - this event seems to be cursed each year by Wellington's wild weather - but there was a lot to see and do. Community stalls included all the usual groups like the LILAC library for lesbians, Agender, Asexuality Aotearoa, the Green and Labour Parties, OutGames 2011, NZ Police Diversity Liaisons, Get it On! and many more. The day begin with a confetti gun pop at 11am, and a little speech from a bright-pink clad Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast. Marking the event's 25th anniversary, longtime gay activist Des Smith was presented with a cute 'Pinkie' award for his pioneering work on the first Gay and Lesbian Fairs in the 1980s. US ambassador David Huebner (2nd from left - next to Pinkie winner Des on the left) meets Out in the Square stall holders The postponement has left 2010's Out in the Square bereft of several entertainers who were not available on the Sunday - including (to our shock and horror) most of the drag queens - so ever-resourceful MC Steven Oates phoned around to save the day, getting Cindy of Samoa to do a few numbers before she got on her plane back to Auckland. Local band Poppy Dust was another highlight of the day's entertainment, they are wonderful fun. On-stage games included a handbag throw and a sing-off for various CD prizes. Apart from the Mayor, other notables there included Green MP Kevin Hague, and new American ambassador David Huebner attended in an unofficial capacity but was happy to meet the locals and appear in a few snaps. Wellington's Proud Festival team of volunteers are justified in taking pride in the start of the two-week Proud Festival, which continues until the finale parties on Saturday 6 February (we've booked our flights). Details on the rest of the fortnight's events are on the link below. HAPPY PROUD FESTIVAL WELLINGTON! Matt Akersten - 26th January 2010    

Credit: Matt Akersten

First published: Tuesday, 26th January 2010 - 3:47pm

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