It won’t just be Oxford St that will be celebrating when Mardi Gras 2013 kicks off in February. Iconic venues in Newtown and Marrickville, such as the Vanguard, the Factory Theatre and the Red Rattler, will play host to more nights of queer comedy, music, performance art and glam than ever before. The three-week festival has started to reach out to more queer ladies and young people in recent years by not limiting the festivities to Darlinghurst and Sydney Harbour, and this year looks set to be the biggest yet. Aside from doubling the size of the After The Fair party to include both the Bank and the newly-reopened Newtown Hotel, Mardi Gras 2013 will feature a national roller derby tournament, a headline DJ set from Aussie dance superstars The Presets, all-girl a cappella and one-woman cabaret. The sheer variety of acts on display is sure to have something for everyone’s taste, taking advantage of the Inner West’s creative bent to bring Mardi Gras to King Street and beyond.
Blackcat Lounge presents Lady Sings It Better
February 14, 23-24. 8-11pm
Lady Sings It Better are six women taking the world’s most famous songs performed by male artists and giving them an all-girl cabaret twist. Produced by home-grown creative company Blackcat Lounge Productions, the singers and their three-piece backing band are regulars on the Inner West performance circuit.
Coming together in 2009, the Inner West locals reinvent male musicians’ tunes to expose the sexism of pop culture, blending comedy, cabaret and dance in a light-hearted way. It’s been a busy year for the troupe, having returned from a critically acclaimed season at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival’s Gilded Balloon in August and earning both the critic’s and people’s choice for the artsHub Emerging Company Award for a group or small company in November. Now Lady Sings It Better are bringing their special blend of big voices, big hair and big attitude to the Factory Theatre for Mardi Gras.
February 14 – March 2 (various times)
Now in its 20th year, British playwright Jonathan Harvey’s Beautiful Thing returns to Mardi Gras at Sydney’s Seymour Centre. Directed by Brandon Martignago, Beautiful Thing is the story of two young men who find each other amid the challenges of growing up in a London housing estate and an exploration of sexuality, class politics and young love.
It follows how Jamie’s friendship with classmate and neighbour, Ste, lets them explore their real desires after the pair share a single bed for a few nights. Sharing their growth with their loud-mouthed neighbour Leah, Jamie’s politically incorrect mother and her new, younger boyfriend, the boys tackle their personal demons head-on.
Written in response to the introduction of discriminatory age-of-consent laws by the British government in the 1990s, Beautiful Thing went on to numerous critically acclaimed runs and a widely praised screen adaptation in 1996.
In Pursuit of Glamour
February 22-23, 7-11pm
Meet the many faces and multiple personalities of iconic performance artist Dallas Dellaforce’s latest performance extravaganza at Newtown’s Vanguard Theatre. In Pursuit of Glamour is an intimate look at one artist’s tireless exploration of glamour in all of its incarnations. The show blends performance art, drag, burlesque and multimedia, whilst drawing heavily on themes of fashion and popular culture.
Hailing from Coffs Harbour, Dallas Dellaforce has become a Mardi Gras fixture, featuring on the poster for Mardigrasland 2012 and regularly performing at Mardi Gras parties. In Pursuit of Glamour is her latest show, featuring an all-star cast including Lillian Starr, Betty Grumble, The Amazing Ari and local favourite DJ Sveta. Delaforce’s trademark blend of ‘naked drag,’ light, costume and optical illusion will find a welcoming venue in the Vanguard, a favourite of Newtown’s creative community that regularly hosts underground, upcoming and left-of-centre productions. Sit-down dinner is optional.