Despite the death of traditional Queen’s Birthday party Hand in Hand, there is no decent reason to stay in this weekend. In fact, there is so much on offer it could be a shame to go to sleep at all.

Early birds can start their long, long weekend tonight at Arq, where the launch of new Thursday night event Sharq should be camp and crazy. Portia Turbo, Chelsea Bun, Vanity Faire and Courtney Act should help overcome anybody’s fear of the water while residents Alex Taylor and Roger Z will set the stage for the week ahead.

On Friday night Arq is launching the exciting-sounding Dangerous, with an emphasis on turning the girls’ space/boys’ space/everybody’s space concept on its ear. Hot drag kings, hot drag queens, hot dancers, hot choreography and hot DJs will be the order of the night.
DJ Ruby will also take up an Arq residency from Friday night, accompanied by Peter Farris and Neal Crawford. Dangerous is free before 11pm, $10 after. And as a welcome-to-Arq present, Dangerous comes with $5 Long Island Ice Teas.

Saturday night will welcome the first Egg -“ an ACON fundraiser -“ to the Midnight Shift. ACON’s event and fundraising manager David Wilkins says the party will bring the fun back into hardcore going-off fundraising nights.

Although Egg has pretty much the same organising team as the Hand in Hand parties, Wilkins is expecting the re-born fundraiser to be a very different experience.

It’s going to have very different energy because it’s in the Shift -“ but the Shift is going to look very, very different. And we’ve got three very different shows. Allan Parkinson is doing the lights, and he flies straight from our party to San Francisco to do San Francisco Pride, then to New York to do New York Pride. He’s putting on extra lasers, as he does, Wilkins said.

Egg will feature DJs Luke Leal, Mandy Rollins, Richard Weiss, Garry Tee and New Zealand’s George Hadillo playing two dancefloors from 10pm until 8am. Tickets are available from the Bookshop Darlinghurst, House of Priscilla and ACON. Concessions are available for $25 from ACON only.

The famous Poke crew also return on Saturday night with a Mad Hatters Party at the Dendy Bar in Martin Place, with a dirty DJ line-up to die for -“ Mark Murphy, Sveta, Steve Sonius, Miss Yetti, Thao, Lanny K, Gemma, etc etc. Tickets are $40 on the door and the party runs from 11pm until 6am.

Also on Saturday the sleeper success story of the New Year’s Eve 2002 Lush @ Luxe returns to Camperdown’s Alfred Hotel, with DJs Dr Jane, Junior B (playing with a percussionist) and Peter Fam, from 10pm to 5am. Tickets are available at the door.

On Sunday night, Arq’s up-for-itness should hit a new high with the arrival of legendary international DJ Tom Stephan. Stephan is a legendary DJ, musician, remixer of Kylie, Missy, Tina Turner, the Pet Shop Boys and just about everyone else, and he’s an all-round spunk to top it all off. Phew. He is coming from the UK especially for the Arq party and a set at Melbourne’s Winterdaze.

I don’t know too much about Winterdaze although I have heard about Arq through friends, Stephan says.
I am really looking forward to checking out the crowd they get there as they sound really up for it which is what I enjoy the best.

Stephan will do a four-hour set as Arq’s anthem master, with some help from Josh, Luke Leal and Peter Farris.

Advance tickets for Tom Stephan are available for $25 or the party will cost $30 on the door. Arq will open from 10pm till very late.

Sunday night also sees the return of Queer Nation, featuring Jake Kilby, Luke Leal, Alex Taylor, Mandy Rollins, Scott Pullen, Mandy Rollins and a host of others at Home nightclub. Tickets are, as usual for this late stage, as rare as hens’ teeth and if any are around, they are $40.

For the girls, Lemonaid will return to the Tantra Bar on Sunday from 8pm to 5:30am. DJs will include Josh from Adelaide, Sveta, Dayla and Dr Jane. Tickets are $15.

The Midnight Shift will launch the new Ruby CD Ruby: Soar Like an Eagle on Sunday night. Ruby will mix it up himself from 2am. Tickets are $20 in advance or at the door.

And men looking for some quieter(?) entertainment on Sunday and Monday afternoon should check out Seymour Butz’s set at Chill Pill at Ken’s at Kensington. Butz will fill the famous sauna with sound from 5pm until 10pm for $15 a head.

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