The lead float in this year’s Mardi Gras parade will take a tongue-in-cheek swipe at gay stereotypes and the war with Iraq.

Marching under the banner Fashionism, the float -“ the official entry of New Mardi Gras -“ will feature prancing soldiers dressed in pink uniforms making-over the world, ridding it of war and the current climate of fear.

The float is the brainchild of Anthony Babicci, the parade’s creative director. I’m dealing with a number of notions with this float, he revealed. One of them is unnecessary militarism, which has become fashionable of late with all the wars going on around the world, like in Iraq.

And it’s also a reaction to portrayals of gay men in the media as -˜style fags’, thanks to things like Queer Eye and the Sunsilk commercial.

The soldiers will be carrying feather dusters to dust away the cobwebs of old politics, Babicci said. The goal of Fashionism is to cause a global political makeover. Their motto is -˜Botox for Bush, new hair for Blair, and liposuction for Little Johnny’.

The feel is quite aggressive. And the whole thing will be choreographed to the Boogie Pimps song Somebody To Love, so it will all be very structured.

Babicci hopes to present the gay community as positive, aggressive, and politically aware -“ while being able to send themselves up at the same time.

About 70 people will be performing in the New Mardi Gras float, which took dozens of people to build over two months.

In his role as creative director of the parade, Babicci, a scenic art teacher at NIDA, also gave technical advice to other organisations entering floats in the event. As you can imagine, this wasn’t always an easy job. The marching boys went on strike because they didn’t like the underpants I chose for them, Babicci laughs. I told them to go and get their own.

But despite the odd tantrum, the whole experience has been an incredibly rewarding one, he said. Some people have complained recently that there’s no feeling of community any more. But the people who experience community are the ones who get involved in community.

There’s a lot of people out there who expect Mardi Gras to bring the community to them. But we can’t do that. They actually need to get off their arse and offer something of themselves. Working for Mardi Gras, my experience of community is now huge.

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