Don’t bother buying up cheap material for this year’s Sleaze Ball -“ organisers want you to come in as little as possible.

Dare to Bare is the motto behind this year’s party with the announcement of the theme -“ Flesh: Dressed Up.

The whole idea of the theme is to dress up your flesh, New Mardi Gras (NMG) co-chair Steph Sands says.

I’m hoping to see lots and lots of flesh. I’m hoping that people will think outside the square -“ think of [the] traditional costumes and then take off a layer or three.

Sands says the theme comes from NMG’s desire to get the party back to grassroots: We want to bring it back to sleazy, and one of the sexiest things there is, is skin.

This year’s poster -“ featuring a collection of Polaroid-like shots by Jamie Dunbar -“ shows some of the many outfits that could be inspired by the theme.

NMG are hoping at least 11,500 people will crowd into Fox Studios for the party, a figure Sands believes is achievable.

Remember, we haven’t had a Hand In Hand this year, we haven’t had a Hordern party since Mardi Gras. It may even surpass that number -“ if demand permits, we’d like to increase the size of the party.

NMG are staying tight-lipped about the DJ line-up until next week, and details of party scenic could remain a secret until the night, but, Sands says, the scenic and party shows will have definite reflections back to the Flesh theme.

After holding a successful 2003 season, NMG is in a much better financial position than at the same time last year -“ when the company had to rise from the ruins of the bankrupt old organisation. However, Sleaze will still be an important fundraiser for next year’s season.

It’s our mid-year top-up of our reserves, Sands says. It’s absolutely going to impact on our cash flows for the 2004 season.

The NMG board also announced this week a continued media partnership with Sydney Star Observer. The Star will print the official Festival Guide.

This is the publication that most of our members rely on for news and information about community events such as Mardi Gras, Sands said.

Co-chair Michael Woodhouse agreed: SSO were incredibly supportive during the first Mardi Gras season of NMG and we’re looking forward to strengthening this partnership.

Sydney Star Observer general manager Peter Dragicevich welcomed the arrangement.

Next February’s Mardi Gras will mark the commencement of our celebrations of 25 years in publishing. Our very reason for publishing is to serve the same community that Mardi Gras celebrates -“ no private individual benefits from the profits of the Star. We’re proud to continue to play our vital part in supporting the aims of NMG for the betterment of our community.

Tickets will go on sale for the Saturday 4 October Sleaze party tomorrow through Ticketek. Prices are $80 for NMG members, $90 full price and $50 concession. Members can buy their specially priced tickets over the phone or at Ticketek outlets, while full-priced and concession tickets are available on-line, through outlets or over the phone.

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