Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival’s theme this year is ‘Creating Equality’, which will be celebrated across annual events like the Parade and Fair Day, as well as through talks and discussion events like Queer Thinking. The festival officially begins with the Rainbow Flag raising ceremony at Sydney Town Hall on Friday February 17 and there are more than 90 events in the program. We’ve picked out some highlights from the official festival as well as a few more events that champion LBGTQIA culture. Find more ideas for things to do in Sydney this week.
Celebrate Mardi Gras in Sydney
Koori Gras is Mardi Gras board member Kat Dopper's number one pick. The positive energy in the room is the purpose of the event: as Koori Gras curator Tim Bishop said to SBS earlier this week, “We gather too often for inequality. This is an opportunity to focus on the celebration of… lives and achievements.” And this was one hell of a great celebration! After some beautiful stories told, Mardi Gras royalty ‘the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence’ graced the stage to lead the room in two hymns, my favourite being ‘Blest the Koori’ to the tune of ‘Waltzing Matilda’.
This major exhibition offers another view of an icon, focusing on the ’50s commercial illustrator whose early ‘fine art’ works betrayed influences including Picasso, Matisse and Jean Cocteau, and mined his own sexuality for content. Curator Nicholas Chambers worked at the Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh) before coming to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and over 200 objects from their archive will be included in the show – which Chambers says will be the most significant survey of pre-Pop Warhol to date.
Queerstories started life as a recurring Late Night Library event at Kings Cross Library. The response was so positive that organiser Maeve Marsden applied for funding and received a grant from the City of Sydney, enabling her to run Queerstories as a monthly fixture at the home of storytelling in Sydney, Giant Dwarf. “I like to say it’s like Story Club with homos,” jokes Marsden. “We have a lectern rather than a big red chair (I didn’t want to steal Zoe Norton-Lodge’s big red chair) and the stories are moving, sad, poetic, and comedic. I like the mix.”