H is for:

Harbour Bridge As well as a long-running cameo in the Star‘s masthead, the Harbour Bridge has been a centrepiece for some spectacularly camp Sydney moments.

As the focal point for Sydney’s outrageous end of year celebrations, the bridge has hosted a five-storeys-high mirror ball on New Year’s Eve 2004, and backed it up with a huge pink heart in 2005.

It’s also served as a coathanger for giant red ribbons to mark World AIDS Day. It used to be seen by much of the gay community as a barrier between the gentrified (and square) suburbs and the dirty (and gay) bits of town.

But its days as a passageway separating the seedy south and the more neighbourly north of Sydney are long-gone, gay north-siders report.

While North Sydney lacks a Midnight Shift, there are plenty of gay goings-on over the bridge, as community organisations grow and queer sideways glances at Cremorne cafes become common.

Hordern Pavilion I’ll meet you in front of the Hordern. It was a saying we came to know as kids as we rushed around the Royal Easter Show at the old Showgrounds, weighed down under the collective fabulousness of 100 or so must-have showbags.

But in recent years, as we have all grown into adulthood, that same saying has taken on a new meaning as the queer community of the city descends on what is now called Fox Studios for such celebrations as Sleaze and Mardi Gras.

Taking centre stage at these events is the grand, 82-year-old lady, the Hordern Pavilion, who has variously had the anthems, house, handbag, trance, new wave and retro music bounce off her hallowed walls at big dance parties.

The Hordern was originally built for the Easter Show, before becoming a live music venue for such acts as Sinatra, Bassey, Bananarama, Nick Cave and, in more recent times, Justin Timberlake and Coldplay.

But the music really got thumping in the late 1980s when it became known as Club Hordern for the almost-weekly dance parties held under her roof, and Mardi Gras decided to follow suit when it too moved in its celebrations in 1991.

Since then, we have grooved, glamoured, got-down, gone-down and gossiped on the dancefloor and in the raked seating under the Hordern’s vaulted roof, and she looks set to host us for years to come under her grand lantern tower.

Since Mardi Gras decided to forego the RHI as a venue for this year’s Sleaze Ball, the Hordern will again be taking pride of place as the centre of the action. Wouldn’t be a party without it.

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