They represent the glitz and the grit of queer arts coverage and now drag starlet Miz Ima Starr and musician, comedian and former Mr Bear Cub Australasia 2007, Nathan Little, have hit the big time with their TV show, Beauty & The Bear.

Formerly screened on community network Channel 31, the dynamic duo are bringing their new and improved season one to screens across Australia on digital subscription channel Aurora.

“They approached us initially to request our short films for a Mardi Gras special film season — and they’d never even heard of Beauty & the Bear. But being the relentless drum-beater, I sent them the rushes from the show and they were in like Flynn,” Starr said.

An interview-based program which showcases the work of high-profile Australian GLBTIQ artists producing outstanding work, season one guests — who also perform live —include the Blow Waves, cabaret star Glace Chase, Yana Alana and the Piranas and comedian/broadcaster Adam Richard.

The program came from Little’s desire to showcase talent he felt wasn’t reaching a wider audience.

Using his skills in video production and web design, he approached Starr to help present a web-based TV show.

Since its inception in 2008, both stars said they have seen a notable shift in the queer arts world.

“I never would have thought marriage equality would be at the forefront of political debate as it is today, or that the younger generation would be so proud and accepting of the GLBTIQ community,” Little said.

“I think this has resulted in queer arts being much more integrated into the wider industry rather than just at gay festivals and events.”

Having spent a lot of her life on the festivals and funding treadmill as her alter ego Charles Bracewell, Starr said she judged the health of our arts culture by the amount of queer art being picked up by festivals and arts companies.

“I think it’s fair to say we should still be seeing more queer arts in the mainstream, and more queer artists getting funded to make new work,” she said.

Currently in negotiations with an overseas broadcaster to screen season one, the duo said they’d love to produce a follow-up season this year should they be able to attract corporate sponsorship.

“We look forward to being able to have luxuries like a crew. And lamingtons,” Little said.

info: Beauty & The Bear screens nationally on Aurora Channel (Ch 183) every Thursday evening from 7pm. Visit www.beautyandthebear.com.au

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