It seems hard to imagine now, but back in the early 80s there was a thriving lesbian club in the gay ghetto.
With its multi-coloured dance floor, food at the door and singles wall -“ where women looking for love would apparently go to pick up -“ Ruby’s was a product of its times.
But its closure left a gap in Sydney’s lesbian scene that hasn’t really been filled in 20 years.
For those who were there, and others who wish they were, Mardi Gras workshop legend Pip Playford, ex-Bumpher Bar promoter Cass Daniels and former Ruby’s punter Randa Magdi are hosting a Ruby Reds tribute night this Saturday.
It was an institution, Magdi says. It was always fun, it was always full, and most of the people you meet either went to it or know about it.
The tribute will be a chance to reunite with some familiar faces, and meet some new people. The organisers are expecting some people to come who haven’t been out on the Sydney scene for years.
There’s a real excitement about this, and there’s a bit of trepidation about possibly running into people from the past. A lot of people are coming from out of town -“ women who have moved away from Sydney have heard about it and are coming in. I think it’s just going to be a really fun night.
Organisers are also making efforts to recreate the vibe of the old parties, with DJs Faye Raye and Nicole Phillips spinning the music of the times, like Gloria Gaynor, Donna Summer, Sister Sledge and Barry White.
And former Ruby Reds promoter and Sydney scene matriarch Dawn O’Donnell has donated a $500 Toolshed voucher as a door prize for the night.
The Tribute to Ruby Reds will be held for one night only on Saturday 14 May from 7:30pm to 1am at the Paddington RSL, Oxford St. Entry is $20/ $10 and there’ll be no queues or sign-ins.