You couldn’t accuse the team at DIVA of ever being half-arsed about dishing out the opulence at their annual entertainment awards nights.
But the event’s tradition of going all-out to honour the performers who have excelled in their field is really pushing the boundaries this time, bringing a revolution of camp aesthetic to the austere Sydney CBD.
Next month’s 12th annual DIVAs will take place at the Sydney Town Hall, a decision by the DIVA committee that will see a steady confusion of drag queens and DJs proudly strutting up those famous steps for their night of community acclaim.
We have put everything into making this event over-the-top, grand and something completely special -“ a smooth, tight, slick and fun event, DIVA committee member Ian Jopson says.
With the exception of Aurora, we are the only event you can get really dressed up for. While other community events encourage you to take your clothes off and get really fucked up, DIVA will have you get your best clothes on -¦ and get really fucked up, he jokes. It’s hedonism in the true sense of the word.
Jopson is in a reflective mood as he discusses the 12 August event, asserting that while the DIVAs are principally an evening to recognise and thank the sometimes selfless talent within our community, one of the original goals of DIVA was to host an event that brought the community together after the hyper, party-charged 80s.
When we sat down to talk about DIVA, we thought, how could we get that feeling back? How can we get an event that pulls together our community? We wanted to find a way to get representation from every club and every bar and every social group in the scene, get them to perform and get the community unified for some glamorous fun.
The event will retain its traditional accolades, including Entertainer Of The Year, Bitch Of The Year (an award that Portia Turbo is hoping to hold on to for the fifth year running), DIVA Rising Star, Most Popular DJ and Most Popular Personality.
As far as some of the work that was getting done in fundraising for the community, entertaining the community and for broader issues like HIV/AIDS research, there was nothing in place to recognise the performers who were actually doing the work when we started the DIVAs, says Jopson.
The DIVAs will this year also see a new gong on offer -“ a Miss Congeniality award, which goes to the best and fairest drag star, as elected by fellow showgirls.
While tickets for the main floor table seats have already sold out, Jopson says there are still value-for money opportunities to attend the event currently on offer, with Town Hall balcony seats still on sale.
The balcony area in Town Hall is almost at stage height so the seats are fantastic up there. You have the most spectacular view of the shows, the catwalk and the satellite stage.
In its 11-year history, the DIVAs have generated a few legendary stories: Mitzi Macintosh and Christy McNicole cooking microwave dinners for Mogadonna during the presentations because they thought she needed fattening up was one memory DIVA director Penny Clifford nominated last year.
Jopson’s fondest DIVA tale has a little more kick. -¦ That’s a hard one. Probably the third DIVAs where Leggs Galore performed I Am What I Am which climaxed with her doing three cartwheels and a back flip down the centre of the room, landing on her knees on the final note and then rising to do a rendition of I Still Call Australia Home. It was absolutely -¦ amazing.