This year’s Sinsuality-themed Sleaze party is fantastically important for the ailing New Mardi Gras and will determine the shape of the 2006 season, according to the organisation’s chair Marcus Bourget.

Sleaze, the traditional New Mardi Gras fundraiser scheduled for Saturday 1 October, has taken on particular urgency this year in the wake of the organisation’s recent financial losses.

Bourget told Sydney Star Observer this week Sleaze was fantastically important for next year’s season.

Having a successful Sleaze is the foundation of a successful [New] Mardi Gras, Bourget said.

If we don’t have a successful Sleaze it is almost unavoidable that events will have to be cancelled or we will have to review seriously the events that we are planning to put on [during the 2006 season].

Bourget’s comments echo the prediction of 2004/ 2005 New Mardi Gras co-chair Mark Orr at the organisation’s annual general meeting in June.

Orr told New Mardi Gras members to expect strife if Sleaze this year sold fewer tickets than the 2004 event.

If [Sleaze] sells to the same level or a little bit less than it did last year -¦ things post-Sleaze, whilst they won’t be rosy, with some budget cuts, will be okay, Orr said.

If the party doesn’t sell at the same level as last year, then we’ve got some strife.

Last year, Sleaze drew about 10,000 people. This year, the party’s organisers are aiming to attract 10,500. In a bid to reach that target, New Mardi Gras is explicitly styling the 1 October party as a vital revenue source.

In a teaser poster released last week, Sleaze was billed as a fundraiser for the 2005/6 Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras.

New Mardi Gras is also promoting Sleaze as the community-focused centrepiece of a long weekend during which it will face competition from other events including the daytime Toybox party at Luna Park scheduled for Sunday 2 October.

A whole variety of other events are going on and it’s shaping up to be the second biggest gay weekend -¦ during the year, which is fantastic, Bourget said.

But at the same time I urge the community to make Sleaze central to their weekend of celebrations.

This year’s Sleaze, to be held at the Hordern Pavilion and the Royal Hall of Industries, would be more theatrical, with two distinct party spaces incorporating the Sinsuality theme, Bourget said.

In terms of the d?r, it’s more theatrical, it’s more about drama. We are looking at creating two distinct spaces that embody [the different sins].

New Mardi Gras this week released the first of seven Sleaze promotional posters, illustrating the deadly sin of vanity. Six other posters promoting the remaining deadly sins will be released in coming weeks.

Ten DJs will play at the party, including Mandy Rollins, Sveta and Luke Leal. Party shows are expected to be community-based and are unlikely to feature big-name acts, Bourget said.

In the lead-up to Sleaze, Home nightclub is holding a fundraiser for New Mardi Gras with its inaugural Homesexual party on 10 September.

The night will include nine DJs across four music zones, with $5 from each $30 ticket sold going to New Mardi Gras. Book on 9266 0600 or at the Homesexual website.

Sleaze tickets are on sale from Friday 5 August. Tickets cost $89 for New Mardi Gras members, $99 for non-members and $79 concession until 31 August. From 1 September tickets cost $109 for members, $119 for non-members and $89 concession. Door sales are $135 unless sold out. Book through Ticketek on 132 849 or at the Ticketek website.

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