Our glitter sense is tingling, our playlists are pure Kylie and we’re feeling a strong pull towards our nearest Tranny Bingo: it must almost be time for Mardi Gras. Now in its 39th year, the Sydney Mardi Gras has come a long way since the spontaneous Oxford Street protest of 1978. While the parade down the famous Sydney street remains the most iconic instalment of the festival, there are now two whole weeks of wonderful events celebrating equality, pride and self-expression. Here are our top picks.
Music, Movies and Comedy
The Mardi Gras Film Festival has been part of the program since the 1980s and this year’s line-up looks exceptional. We’re excited for Out Run, a documentary following Bemz Benedito as she dreams of becoming the first transgender person in Phillipines congress, Australian erotic Below Her Mouth, and football drama The Pass, which follows the story of two promising athletes who spend a night together in a hotel room.
The line-up for the Comedy Gala is also looking pretty darn good, bringing together the likes of Stephen K Amos, Tom Ballard, Em Rusciano and Bob Downe. Expect distinctly adult jokes and faces sore from laughing.
You’d best pack your dancing shoes for Bar Kylie, a celebration of hot pants, glitter, feathers and all things Minogue. The speakers fire up for one night only on March 2 so buy your tickets ASAP.
If your taste in music is a little wider, Heaps Gay Street Party is the event for you. Taking over Garden Street in Marrickville on February 11, expect a whole day of live music, DJs and street food to fuel your best disco dancing.
Food for thought
This year’s festival brings two Queer Thinking events to our city: the Equalitea Party and Queer Warhol. Both involve panel discussions from some of the sharpest minds in the business and will traverse topics of identity, influence and society, broadening your perspective and firing up your frontal lobe.
The famous Parade snakes its way down Oxford Street on March 4, kicking off as always with the lovely Dykes on Bikes. If you’ve never been before prepare yourself for outlandish costumes, near-naked hotties and one of the best atmospheres of any night on the Sydney calendar. While the official start time is 7:45pm, you’ll need to get there much earlier to secure yourself a good spot. Pack a milk crate to boost your view from the footpath, arrive around lunch time to stake out a spot window-side at one of the street’s bustling venues, or book a balcony room at the Adina Crown Street and watch from the queue-less comfort of your accommodation. Another option, if you don’t mind dropping a bit of coin, is to book Parade Sideshow tickets and enjoy front row seats and exclusive access to bars and toilets (which, trust us, you’ll appreciate). Our final advice for the night is to remember that you can’t cross Oxford Street between 7pm and 11:30pm – and to make your plans accordingly, embrace the opportunity to dress up however the hell you want, and accept that you’ll struggle to find an Uber or taxi home any time before 2am. Well, an all-nighter it is then.
If you’re willing – and able – to back up the next day, get yourself to Laneway party to send out 2017’s Mardi Gras with a bang. Taking place in and around Sydney faithful The Beresford, this party has everything you could want including live music, pop up drag shows and plenty of guests with character.