What’s HOT at the 2018 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

AGNSW Queer Art After Hours - photo by Jeffrey FengAs the 2018 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras enters its second and final week, the Australian Pride Network takes a look twelve events worth checking out this week.

The Bedlam Cabaret – Mardi Gras Edition
Red Rattler Theatre, Marrickville: Wednesday 28 February 2018
The Company of Rogues are back at the famous Red Rattler Theatre for a fearlessly rainbow-flavoured edition of The Bedlam Cabaret. Showcasing exciting new and emerging Sydney performers alongside the city’s coolest established artists, this is the pre-parade shindig you know you want – we’re turning up the heat, and the talent, to get us in the mood for the party. Hosted by James ‘Breko’ Brechney, this will be a madcap, multi-genre, queer-themed cabaret blending burlesque, drag and song with circus, comedy and seriously sizzling performance art.

Courtney Act – Under the Covers
Everest Theatre – Seymour Centre: 1 & 2 March 2018
Victorious in the recent Celebrity Big Brother UK, Courtney Act is back in Oz with the crown and the jewels! Fearless in the face of televised wardrobe malfunctions and champion of equality and compassion – our Doyenne of Drag will share all the secrets, from under the covers, when Big Brother wasn’t watching! Courtney Act has been under the covers with many, but not usually in front of a live audience. It’s time to get tucked in with all your favourite songs that have been covered in one way or another by all your favourite artists. Lay back and enjoy the caress of those romantic satin sheets as she strips some songs down and flips others on their back to show you just how gender fluid and genre fluid a great song can be!

Fucking Men
New Theatre: continues to 10 March 2018
A sharp, provocative and very funny play dealing with a chain of hook-ups amongst a group of gay men. American writer Joe DiPietro (I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change) has loosely adapted La Ronde, Arthur Schnitzler’s notorious 19th century satire about sexual adventuring, and turned it into a revealing panorama of contemporary gay life. Take ten guys: The Escort, The Soldier, The Tutor, The Uni Student, The Married Guy (and his partner), The Porn Star, The Playwright, The Actor and The Journalist, put them into a series of one-on-one encounters, and the result is an erotic, confronting and audacious comedy of gay sexual manners.

Museum of Love & Protest
National Art School: continues to 4 March 2018
A signature event for the 40th anniversary celebrations, the Museum of Love & Protest looks back across four amazing decades and presents an immersive exhibition of original costumes, photographs, rarely-seen film and video footage, iconic posters, storytelling, music and artefacts.

Order of Perpetual Indulgence Annual Zoo Walk
Taronga Park Zoo: Thursday 1 March 2018
Now in its 25th year, join the Sisters as they visit the world renowned Taronga Park Zoo at Mosman for their Annual Zoo Walk. The journey starts for most by joining the Sisters at Wharf 2 – Circular Quay to catch the ferry across to the zoo, and then catching the cable-car or bus up to the top gate. The walk around the zoo is accompanied by the knowledgeable Zoo Guides, and focuses on visiting the Australian contingent … along the way the Sisters will share some of the recipes and cooking techniques that were used in the 19th Century … in fact, some of the recipes are still in vogue today. The Sisters may well also take the opportunity to read selected poems to the animals for their edification.

Queer Art After Hours
Art Gallery of New South Wales: Wednesday 28 February 2018
After last year’s hugely successful inaugural event, the Art Gallery of New South Wales will go queer, with an explosion of queer art around every corner. On the main stage, MCs Fancy Piece host a line-up of Sydney’s cutting-edge queer musicians, DJs and performers. Elsewhere in the Gallery, take a tongue-in-cheek art tour with Verushka Darling, a life drawing class with dominatrix Mistress Tokyo as your model, or have a profound coffee cup reading with artist Nicole Barakat. Watch out for The Huxleys – whose iridescent and glamourous creations might pop out from any corner!

Queer Tarot Project: Multi-Media Exhibition
Sanctuary Club Lounge: continues to 4 March 2018
The Queer Tarot Project is a multi-media exhibition, telling stories of the queer community through Tarot. When rejected by traditional religion, the queer community has often turned to Tarot for guidance and or spiritual belonging. This project aims to de-mystify and bring Tarot back to its story telling roots, and remove the white, patriarchal and religious overtones of the traditional Tarot decks. A Queer Tarot deck, for and by the Queer community, representing our gender and sexual identities; telling our stories through Tarot archetypes.

Serving in Silence> Australian LGBTI Military Service Since World War II
Tap Gallery: 27 February – 4 March 2018
In November 1992, the Australian government overturned a longstanding ban on gays, lesbians and bisexuals serving in the Australian Defence Force. Transgender service would continue to be banned until September 2010. Yet, LGBTI people were serving in the military long before these milestones, with a range of experiences. To commemorate 25 years since lifting the LGB ban, this exhibition showcases the history of LGBTI military service in Australia since World War II. The exhibition includes tales of lesbian subcultures, witch-hunts targeting homosexuals for expulsion, kamp men in Papua New Guinea, participation in Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, and the changing Defence approaches to LGBTI service.

Strangers In Between
Reginald Theatre – Seymour Centre: continues to Friday 2 March 2018
A funny and moving Australian classic by Tommy Murphy, playwright of Holding the Man. Shane has fled his family and is seeking refuge in Sydney’s Kings Cross. Confused and naive, Shane struggles to reconcile himself with events from his past. But how can he move on when he can’t even use laundry powder? Directed by Green Room nominee Daniel Lammin, this timely new production features a stellar cast including Simon Burke, Guy Simon, and Wil King.

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade
Oxford and Flinders Streets: Saturday 3 March 2018
With 40 incredible years of passion, pride and protest, Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade has grown to a bustling extravaganza that brings Sydney to a standstill, and shines a light on the issues affecting LGBTQI people around the world. The Parade looks set to be the biggest and most exciting yet, with a sparkling procession of over 200 groups and jaw-dropping floats showcasing the best our community has to offer. Dykes on Bikes, outrageous drag queens, community heroes and talented queer performers will join many more LGBTQI groups and allies from all walks of life to create stunning showpieces. View the Parade Running Order here!

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Party
Playbill Venues, Moore Park: Saturday 3 March 2018
With pop superstar and LGBTQI icon CHER headlining the Party, join 12,000 of your newest and closest glitter-clad friends riding on the euphoria of the Parade, as world-renowned entertainers, stellar DJs and extraordinary theatrics light up the Entertainment Quarter, Royal Hall of Industries, Hordern Pavillion, Max Watts and more. The largest LGBTQI extravaganza in the southern hemisphere, revel in the splendour, dancing until dawn in celebration of 40 years of Mardi Gras.

The View UpStairs
Hayes Theatre Co: continues to 11 March 2018
Pulling you inside the UpStairs Lounge – a vibrant 70s gay bar in New Orleans, the forgotten bar regulars come to life when a young fashion designer from 2017 buys the now abandoned space and is transported back in time. He gets to know the joys and struggles of this community and in turn learns about his place in the world. From the opening piano chords of Max Vernon’s Off-Broadway sensation, the five-piece band and cast of ten blast into the glam rock world of the 1970s. In our ever-changing world, this show looks at the then and now to explore our ideas of love, regret, defiance and resilience. The music will give you goosebumps, the story will make you both laugh and cry. 

The 2018 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras continues to Sunday 4 March. For more information, visit: www.mardigras.org.au for details.

Image: Queer Art After Hours – photo by Jeffrey Feng