I wish the part of my brain that keeps saying ‘you should be in Sydney’ would STFU. Happy #MardiGras!
It’s a pity the Sydney Mardi Gras didn’t have room for the Human Rights Commission float, but it’s great they found room for ANZ and Optus.
I spent a few hours at the Midsumma Carnival yesterday – an excursion into the gay world I so rarely inhabit these days. I was there to volunteer my time for PLWHA Victoria, whose Board I now sit on. It was a pleasant couple of hours, chatting with passers-by and spruiking our organisation’s activities, despite the rain.
After I was done I took a quick stroll through the rest of the fÃªte — very quick, as it became apparent that there was so little there which would appeal to me. I used to really look forward to events like this, but then I always found them stimulating and informative. These days it feels like almost all the stallholders are commercial operations, and given that I’m not in the market for skin cream, rainbow-flag themed accessories, motor cars or package holidays there’s not much that interests me.
I presume the wares on display at the Carnival are meant to be representative of the desires and aspirations of gay men and lesbians, yet I’m not tempted. Maybe this means I’m not as “gay” as I once was, or perhaps the meaning of gay has changed and I’ve been left behind (or maybe I’m making too much of all of this: shopping is not culture).
It’s an issue I’ve been grappling with for a while: how do you “do” gay when your life doesn’t revolve around bars, nightclubs, dance parties and so on? If you don’t drink (I don’t), take drugs (ditto), go to Mardi Gras (not this year), have sex 10 times a week (can’t be bothered) then what does it mean to say “I am a gay man”? Being gay has always (for me) been about more than a sexual identity — it’s a cultural signifier. But, as I’m finding, it can be a very narrowly-defined one.
If you’re a Sydney resident (or if you’re not and you happen to be in Sydney on 25 January – Australia Day eve), you could do a lot worse than make you way to the Manacle:
MANACLE are proud to be supporting ethel yarwood enterprises for the 2007 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras parade. Last year MANACLE sponsored this crazy crew of performers as The Kate Moss Line Dancers (above), which won the Funniest Parade Entry Award. Since 1988 this team has produced some of the more legendary parade entries including Keith Haring (1997), Dick van Dykes on Bikes (1998), The Happy Little SODOMITES (2000), The Bougainville Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (2001) and Jenny & Craig (2004) which also all won awards.
And believe us, this year the ethel yarwood enterprisesâ€™ entry is up to their usual level of humour and parody.
The staging of parade entries of this standard requires investment in time, effort and money. The ethel yarwood enterprises team obviously expend the time and effort to create these extravaganzas. MANACLE are pleased to be able to assist with financial aspects. On the Australia Day eve (25th January, 10pm – 1am) MANACLE is hosting an entry-by-donation fundraiser. A simple, inexpensive, painless gold coin donation to the lads at the door will put you in a raffle draw.
- a double pass to the Opening Night of the Mardi Gras Queer Screen Festival My Queer Career film competition which includes the fabulous after party
- three-course dinner for two at Razors Edge restaurant, Enmore
- $50 bar tab at MANACLE
- MANACLE lager
The raffle will be drawn on the night with the winners being notified by sms or phone.
Also ethel yarwood enterprises team are looking for participants for their parade entry. If youâ€™ve ever wanted to be in the parade this is an opportunity to be involved in some of the lunacy. Just contact Kabi at firstname.lastname@example.org (casting couch optional ).
I am sworn to secrecy, but I can say that this is the parade entry we had to have – and it’ll only cost you a couple of bucks and a few minutes at the Manacle to make it happen. Go.