The two most exciting and innovative queer events in Sydney in 2004 were Fag Tag and Dikes On Mikes, both of which sparked the interest of the straight community and got coverage in The Sydney Morning Herald.
Music journalist Tim Duggan started Fag Tag in August with the intention of getting the queer community out of the gay ghetto and into straight clubs. The monthly parties, held at venues such as Chinese Laundry and The Bourbon, proved an instant hit. The next Fag Tag on 2 January, at Sydney super club Tank, will be the biggest one yet.
Karaoke competition Dikes On Mikes -“ Lesbian Idol was launched in July by karaoke fan Yvonne Hall and today it’s believed to be the biggest lesbian event in Australia. The monthly event attracts a range of women aged from 18 to 80 and tickets usually sell out weeks in advance. The grand final will be held as part of the 2005 Mardi Gras festival on 11 February, there’s about to be a Lesbian Idol CD, a tour of the US and there’s even talk of a TV show.
Other notable events this year included Club Arak’s Middle Eastern dance parties, Big Queer Nation, Stonewall’s Search For An Underwear Model competition, the Killer party at Arq featuring New York electroclash DJ Larry Tee, the DIVAs at Sydney Town Hall and ACON’s Big Bingay at Paddington RSL.
Heavy rain during the Mardi Gras parade in early March didn’t deter around 250,000 people from watching 130 soggy floats trundle up Oxford Street, and the after-party at Fox Studios sold all 17,000 tickets. In October around 10,000 revellers attended the porn-themed Sleaze party, which featured poles on which punters could pole-dance.
The best controversy of the year occurred when a nude gay dance party to be held at Erskineville Town Hall in September was deemed inappropriate by City of Sydney council and cancelled by Sydney Pride. Pride, which occupies the town hall, called off the party at the last minute after deciding it wasn’t appropriate for a publicly funded building.
Queer and queer-friendly venues which continued to thrive in 2004 included Arq, the Midnight Shift, Stonewall, the Colombian, the Imperial, the Newtown, Manacle, Phoenix and Palms, plus the Bank and Sly Fox on Wednesdays, and Mars Lounge, the Tilbury, the Lord Roberts and Club 77 on Sundays. Reappearing on the scene after extensive renovations were the Flinders, the Oxford and Odyssey. Popular new kids on the block this year were Sunday nights at Hugo’s Bar Pizza, Pash at Parramatta and Something About Embassy in Penrith.