If there’s one thing the newly appointed creative director of the Mardi Gras parade doesn’t want to see on the evening of 6 March, it’s several hundred yards of people walking along in jeans and T-shirts, carrying balloons.

Be warned. Although this year’s parade will remain a community event that anybody can be part of, Mardi Gras organisers have appointed Anthony Babicci as creative director to give the parade a broader, more creative vision.

Babicci’s work on previous parades and the Gay Games opening ceremony are well known to many in Sydney’s gay and lesbian community. In 2004, he’ll be responsible for the lead float in the parade, and he will also be available to all parade entrants for artistic and visual inspiration, if requested.

Babicci told Sydney Star Observer his role was not to tell people what they could and could not do with their parade entries, but he would be pushing for people to be brave and edgy with their ideas for floats. He stressed the importance of the parade as a performance rather than just a visual spectacle.

It’s a particularly difficult venue for performance, but when it works, it’s absolutely stunning, he said.

The Mardi Gras marching group would return in 2004, Babicci said, but he was less forthcoming with details about the lead float.

It will be big and bright and loud and funny and serious, he said.

Mardi Gras co-chairs Steph Sands and Michael Wood-house said the appointment of a creative director for the 2004 parade was in keeping with a commitment they had made to raising the creative and artistic elements of the parade.

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