The Best of the Fest has been a Midsumma staple for some years and in 2013 money raised from the event will be to used to help nuture local artists and emerging talent. Festival organisers have taken over and transformed it into a fundraising event for the Midsumma Arts Development Fund.

Fourteen acts from the 2013 Midsumma Festival will perform show highlights, including Hair – The Rock Musical, Vieux Carre and comedian Nikki Aitken.

Emerging funny man Thomas Jaspers (pictured below) joins Melbourne comedian Nath Valvo and Perth’s Joel Creasey in their new show about gay boys and growing up, called Twunks. This is Jaspers’ first year on the bill after warming up audiences at Valvo’s show last year.

“Before doing Nath’s show, my only involvement was getting drunk at Carnival day,” Thomas told the Star Observer.

“It’s basically what we do every Friday night in Joel’s apartment, just get pissed and have a lot of fun.

“A ‘twunk’ is the past tense of a twink which is kind of funny because I’m 26 and Nath is 29 and we both party like twinks but we’re definitely beyond that.

“But Joel is only 21, he should definitely be a twink but he spends most nights at home with Downton Abbey doing a slow-cooked spaghetti and boring things like that.

“A lot of it will be me and Nath taking the piss out of Joel for being an old woman.”

Beyond the jokes, Jaspers said he felt it was important to get involved with the festival fundraiser by lending their talents to the cause.

Midsumma festival manager Monique Thorpe said she and her team wanted to be more involved with supporting local artistic talent.

“As part of our long term mission to improve the quality of the performance and visual arts at the festival we’re looking to invest more heavily in the artists themselves and be a little more involved in the development of what goes on in the festival as oppose to a sit-and-wait approach,” Thorpe said.

One example of this new attitude is Gaybies, a new show commissioned for Midsumma’s 25th anniversary which has used real-life stories from children raised in same-sex families by Dean Bryant and presented at Southbank Theatre.

“There is so much talent here,” Thorpe said.

“There is no use importing talent when we already have so many local artists who need to be nurtured a little bit to reach their full potential.”

Best of the Fest Midsumma Fundraiser is on Wednesday, January 23 at Chapel Off Chapel.

INFO: midsumma.org.au

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