Part recoveries, part best nights of the year -“ the Queer Nation parties aren’t easily squeezed into any gay scene clich? They’re sometimes compared to Mardi Gras in the early 90s and to super-club nights in Europe. They’re sell-outs in a time when lots of events fail. And they get rave reviews from the people leaving at 3am as well as the people kicking on until eight.
Queer Nation calls on a consistent group of very different DJs to work in different rooms. Downstairs the biggest Home space is powered by Luke Leal, Alex Taylor and Jake Kilby with Brad Wright on lights. It’s full and bare-chested early and usually stays that way until the very end. Upstairs, a room managed by DJs Mandy Rollins, Junior B and Kelly Lynch gives women what could be the best view from a dancefloor in Sydney, and an atmosphere good enough to cop some jealous glances from boys heading downstairs.
The thing about Home is there’s enough room for everybody, and Queer Nation uses its many spaces well. The party is not just for the shirtless boys downstairs. It’s not just for the girls giving it up in the women’s room. Sure, they’re there, but so is just about everybody else.
DJs Chip, Coco and Neil Crawford turn up hot beats for dudes in a darker and sweatier room tucked away halfway down the stairs. Kate Monroe, Scott Pullen and Bill Morley provide for all-in dancing in the terrace room upstairs, which opens to the Darling Harbour night sky. Verushka Darling and Claire de Lune keep the Home drag fires burning. And there are plenty of spaces both noisy and quiet to take breaks from the dancefloors.
The Queer Nation crowd is becoming legendary for its up-for-it-ness. Even the event held at the end of the Gay Games week of party overload saw people bravely kicking on until the morning -“ their fatigue forgotten and their hands in the air.
For those who might be unlucky enough to be due at work on the public holiday, take heart -“ you’re not alone. There are always those who haven’t got their shit together to not be working the following day. They’re usually the ones looking guilty at 5am as they head to the dancefloor for another go.
Queer Nation 008 will hit Home on Sunday 26 January (during the Australia Day long weekend) from 10am to 8am. Tickets are likely to sell out, and are available from House of Priscilla, the Taylor Square Toolshed, Karnal Leather, Homebar and Fish Records Newtown for $40 plus booking fee. Proceeds from the cloakroom will go to the Bobby Goldsmith Foundation.