Arts & Entertainment

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras 2014

VGL Gay Boys

Get out the glitter, fluff-up the feather boas and hoist the rainbow flag because Sydney Mardi Gras is back and turning the ripe old age of 36.

As one of the world’s largest LGBTQI celebrations, Sydney’s 36th annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is a kaleidoscopic month-long festival of theatre, art, culture and fun.

Sydney Mardi Gras is a not-for-profit membership based organisation that aims to raise and develop both awareness and the visibility of lesbian, gay, transgender, queer and intersex communities. The festival is one of Sydney’s largest events with over 10,000 people expected to participate in the parade and hundreds of thousands of revellers celebrating street-side or at home. This year marks SBS 2’s inaugural live broadcast of the event with comedian Tom Ballard, Walkley-nominated journalist and presenter Patrick Abboud, and musician Heather Pearce as hosts.

Most are familiar with the proud parade that lights up Sydney’s Oxford Street on summer’s final weekend, but some might not be aware of the plethora of exciting events that lead up to the parade, and the party.

There is plenty of ticketed and free entertainment, with theatre performances, art exhibitions and everything in between, conveying Sydney Mardi Gras’ key message of loving each other through the inspiring power of beauty and diversity. (EC)

With countless Mardi Gras events to choose from, here is our top alternative picks to catch this month.

Desperate Houseboys:

Popular pretty boys and Internet comedy duo Jeffery Self and Cole Escola, aka VGL (very good looking) Gay Boys, have ‘come out’ from the states. Watch their hilarity on stage as they hunt for fame Down Under and try not to kill each other in the process. With over 18,000 YouTube subscribers, these scandalously silly boys’ performance is not to be missed.

Until Feb 28, Seymour Centre, City Rd & Cleveland St, Chippendale, $35, (02) 9351 7940,


The Vaudevillians:

Theatrically fabulous drag queen and season five winner of American reality television series RuPaul’s Drag Race, Jinkx Monsoon, makes her Australian debut in The Vaudevillians with co-star Major Scales.

Audiences can catch the sold-out off-Broadway performance over a meal or few glasses at The Vanguard and join in the joviality as they take to the intimate stage with songs like Girls Just Want to Have Fun and Drop it Like it’s Hot.

Until March 2, The Vanguard, 42 King St Newtown, $43-114, (02) 9557 7992,


Privates on Parade:

Talented English playwright, Peter Nichols, has brought his triumphant theatrical comedy to Sydney’s New Theatre stage. The performance tells the story of a young and innocent soldier trying to manoeuvre his way toward manhood amongst a bunch of military misfits. With guaranteed shocks, frocks and laughs, this performance should be added to the diary.

Until March 18, New Theatre, 542 King St, Newtown, $32, (02) 9519 3403,

A Queer Aesthetic:

Guy James Whitworth’s exhibition, A Queer Aesthetic, is a vivacious and tantalising display that tackles the politics and perceptions of sexuality. From ‘80s pop-rock androgyny to medieval heraldry, the colourfully creative poster-boy artist cites a variety of influences in his new and exciting queer exhibition.

Until March 3, Pine Street Creative Arts Centre, 64 Pine St, Chippendale, free, (02) 9245 1503,

Queer Thinking – Gender Trailblazers Cate McGregor and Chaz Bono:

Two of the world’s most recognisable gender trailblazers, Chaz Bono and Cate McGregor take to the stage to share their poignant and personal stories. Faced with stigmatism and scrutiny, both Bono and McGregor transitioned and are now LGBTIQ activists confronting the transgender misconceptions and inspiring others.

Feb 26, Seymour Centre, City Rd & Cleveland St, Chippendale, $39, (02) 9351 7940,


Summer Camp – Visual Arts:

Neon brights and camp colours bring life to the Bondi Pavilion as four local artists exhibit their energetic and vibrant works in the Summer Camp 2014 Art Exhibition. The exhibition is also part of Sydney Art Month and hosted by Bondi Pavilion’s resident theatre company, Tamarama Rock Surfers.

Feb 23-Mar 24, Bondi Pavilion, Queen Elizabeth Dr, Bondi Beach, free, (02) 9995 5000,


Sandy Bottom at the Penthouse:

International transgender illusionist, Sandy Bottom, is bringing her sold-out politically incorrect performance to The AB Hotel in Glebe. Her performance gives audiences a mix of old and new and invites them to enjoy a night filled with lots of laughs, cocktails and sequins. Sing along with Sandy Bottom as she performs all the favourites from the likes of Neil Diamond, Lady Gaga and Elvis.

Feb 20, 21, 26-28, AB Hotel, 225 Glebe Point Road Glebe, from $22, (02) 9660 1417,


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