Mardi Gras 2017
And a good time was had by all!
So I got in Friday AM at the crack of dawn and my lovely AirBnB host let me into the flat early. Score. It's also the perfect location. Just off Oxford St and within 5 minutes walking of most of the gayborhood and the route of the Mardi Gras parade. The first thing I did was nap. I didn't really sleep on the red eye, so that was definitely a good thing. That night I went to one of the many parties held as part of Mardi Gras week called "3 Level of Fur." While the drinks were lame, the music was great. Some old (gay) school classics with Deborah Cox, Whitney, and Madge. Definitely a fun time.
The next day was the main event. The Mardi Gras parade. Now, I'm sure you've thinking, wait . . . Mardi Gras was last week and it's Lent now. So the date for the parade has changed several times. The first parade was held in June 1978 in solidarity with San Francisco's "Gay Freedom Day". Fifty three men and women were arrested, many were beaten by the police. The public outrage from this event galvanized the LGBT community in Sydney (and Australia) and the next April the second parade was held. Eventually the parade was moved up to the end of summer here in Australia. So the beginning of March. Now Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras is one of the premier tourist events in the world, it's nationally televised here in Australia, and in 2012 they have over 10,000 participants. And needless to say it's FABULOUS!
So in 2001, right after I left the Navy, I went to NZ for a month and then Australia for a month. I was here for MG. I got to the parade route early (like 2PM) to get a good spot. The parade started at 7PM. The party started at 11PM. I went home at 6AM. And needless to say, after being on my feet for that long, I was crippled. So I decided to spring for tickets to one of the viewing areas so I didn't have to stand and wait all day before the parade. So that worked, but my view was not that great. And my pics were just okay. The floats and participants were awesome. There was a whole Wonder Woman section. A tribute to George Michael. The Sydney rugby team called the Convicts (yummy BTW). And lots, and lots, and lots of floats about marriage equality. It's sort of surprising that they don't have marriage equality here. But no, they are still fighting for that basic human right. What was interesting is that like in the gay pride parades back in the US, there are political floats etc. Well when the liberal party group marched by, everyone started to boo and I was like WTF? Well liberal party here in Oz mean conservative. And the Labor party means progressive. And the Liberal Party wants to put marriage equality up for a national vote. Which is just insane. Human rights aren't something you vote on. And it would cost the government a lot of money. But in the mean time, their congress just stalls.
BTW, does any of this sound familiar?
Anyways, the last float had a slew of dancers carrying giant diamond wedding bands while two aerialists spun around (in the rain no less) on giant glittery rings to "Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend" as sung by Nicole Kidman in Moulon Rouge. How over the top fabulous is that?
After the parade (which lasted over 4 hours), it was on to the party. Well as luck would have it, I went to the "pop dance" pavilion first where they actually played music with vocals. Yea! And it was good. One of my favorite DJ's was spinning and it was lots of fun. I ran into a hottie Aussie I had met on a BGC and his new American boyfriend. There were dancing in the muscle bear section of the dance floor which has some nice scenery. So I danced MBA (muscle bear adjacent). I did take a break to go into the other pavilion which I would say was more hard core techno. And OMG it was loud. Even with my earplugs (yes I'm old), it felt overwhelming and I like to feel the bass as much as the next guy, but it should feel like it's pushing me off the dance floor. So I retreated to the other pavilion that in addition to the DJs has performances by some local as well as international music stars. So definitely very cool.
Even with the Red Bull, I was starting to his the wall around 6AM. I managed to dance a little longer, but the idea of walking back to my flat filled me with dread. So I left a little after 630 and thankfully there was a fleet of taxis to whisk me back to my place where I crashed big time.
Anyways, after another party Sunday night (which wasn't really my thing), I spent most of today just chilling and doing laundry. Off to NZ tomorrow to meet up with SB!