Pop falsetto Jimmy Somerville will join K.D. Lang in the line-up on stage at the Gay Games opening ceremony, Sydney 2002 director of ceremonies Ignatius Jones an-nounced this week.

Somerville will perform songs for the Struggle segment of the opening ceremony, which takes place at Aussie Stadium on 2 November.

[K.D. Lang and Jimmy Somerville] will be doing a couple of songs appropriate to the overall theme of the ceremony and both will be performing during very significant parts of the evening, Jones told SSO.

Jimmy’s plaintive voice is the perfect accompaniment for the segment that dramatises the many obstacles gay and lesbian people have had to overcome in the struggle for their rights and their dignity, Jones said.

Lang and Somerville will join a huge line-up of local talent that includes actor and singer Paul Capsis, Cabaret star Judi Connelli, counter-tenor Peretta Anggerek, soprano Deborah Cheetham, artist Bob Downe, lesbian soul goddess Shauna Jensen, Count-down guru Molly Meldrum, producer and television celebrity Gillian Minervini, drag star Portia Turbo, drag star and comedian Vanessa Wagner and rising star Leah Howard.

There’s no actual master of ceremonies for this event. It works very much like the Olympic ceremony in that the whole thing just unfolds, Jones said.

It will be driven by voice-overs done by Vanessa Wagner, but it will basically unfold before the audience and hopefully people will witness something that is significant, symbolic and self-evident.

The major celebrities will be accompanied by a 2,100-strong cast of performers, explained Jones. In the tradition of stadium performances [the performers] will be doing a lot of mass choreography, involving creating pictures with bodies. I think that [style of choreography] will be never more appropriate than in the case of this community, he said.

According to Jones, Australian themes will be important, but will not be an overriding part of the opening ceremony experience.

We don’t want the ceremony to be too much of a narrative, but hopefully it will tell a story about who we are, where we came from and where we’re going, Jones said.

The other thing is that the theme of Gay Games VI is -˜Under New Skies’, which is all about the fact that it’s the first time the event has taken place in the southern hemisphere and the first time it has come to an Asia-Pacific Rim nation. So we are really celebrating the Asia-Pacific and our place in it -“ I think that is one fact that the Olympics forgot.

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