By Sarah Ward
My passion as a performance artist, has and always will be the making of art, not entertainment. I’m not saying I don’t want people to have a good time, I’m saying, I also want my audiences to think.
It’s an artist’s dream to find an organisation or festival who will back the making of your art. It’s not safe to create art, there’s no guarantee of bums of seats and you can divide your audiences. Even Fringe Festivals now have more shows that only sell glittery, titty, fun, fun , fun. You really have to search the program to find work that challenges society or questions authority.
So when the CEO of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras came to me at Fair Day last year and asked me to create my own variety show, a style of show that’s traditionally about spectacle and entertainment, I was ready for the challenge.
The very first step was create a title, F*ck Fabulous. Now, this title in and of itself has made it virtually impossible to sell the show. Woops! I cannot even count the amount of times we’ve been told an image is too provocational or the word F*ck is not able to be advertised. It’s crazy, cause on Facebook these days, it’s ok to see animals skinned alive, but human female nipples, hey, that’s a step too far!
And the title itself as a provocation has required explanation, so in a nutshell, what we are saying is this…
If fabulous is the only celebrated queer identity, then F*ck Fabulous!
I’m not having a go at the queer community, not for a second. I’m having a go at the mainstream media and entertainment. They have chosen to magnify one pocket of queer culture because it’s marketable. They are selling this one idea of queer and they’ve commodified it.
This is fucked for the culture they are exploiting and at the same time has left other representations of queer culture invisible, which sends the message that it’s ‘not good enough’ or ‘not worthy’. Let’s face it this includes gender non conforming women and trans women, trans men, queer people of colour, Asexual people, queers with disabilities and queer introverts, to name a few.
So after Mardi Gras last year I thought, wouldn’t it be great to create a variety show that would bring the whole community together. This is the dream. And while our current performing ensemble doesn’t represent all of these groups, we are a fierce line-up of queers and queer allies from different cultural backgrounds and arts practises who all have something to say.
We are non-apologetic and we are creating a protest party that will be fabulous but will also be f*cked up, in all the good ways.
We have a lot to say about climate justice, sustainability, queer culture, equality, race, gender identity and body positivity. We are femme diverse, gender non conforming, trans and butch. We are artists from the country, from the city. We are adopted, we have run away, we have found our own families.
To have the opportunity to create a subversive, playful, queer protest party with an incredible of team of creative’s is ridiculously exciting. To have the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and Arts Centre Melbourne commission the work is an absolute dream.
Our hope is that this work is a homage, a protest, a celebration, and honestly, we’re hoping people laugh, a lot! We need it right now.
Fuck Fabulous is on at: