The Auckland Pride Festival returns for 2015, boasting it's most expansive programme of events yet. It will run for three full weeks of performances, exhibitions and networking events. There is really something for everyone to get involved in, no matter what gender or sexual orientation you identify with—from drag queens to fine art, to speed dating.
Let our list of top picks guide your way in helping celebrate the wonderful diversity and creativity that makes Auckland awesome.
Spoken word has been becoming more and more popular as a mode of expression amongst young people. There is power in poetry, in raising your voice, in sharing your story and standing by your views. Baring yourself in front of of a crowd is incredibly brave, and if you are too chicken to do it yourself, come and be inspired by young poets from the LGBTIQ community. Come with an open heart and mind, and expect to be moved. Ticket prices range from $19 to $25.
February 12 – 14, 7pm at Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre (50 Mayoral Drive, Auckland)
This free exhibition is the first from Artspace's new director Misal Adnan Yildiz. It expands the boundaries of the art gallery, and challenges the roles of curator, artist and audience. The participating artists engage in a conversation around knowledge, transgression, rituals and change. In addition to the artworks installed on-site, a number of happenings will be taking place at the LYC Big Gay Out and the Pride Parade. Watch out for performative works from artists Nilbar Güre? and Fancy Violence at these events.
February 7 – 28, at Artspace (Level 1, 300 Karangahape Road, Auckland) and various locations around Auckland.
If you only attend one performance event from the Auckland Pride Festival, this should be it. Night of the Queer will wow and bedazzle the audience with a two-hour cabaret style variety show. There will be singing, dancing, comedy, music, aerial performances and everything in between. The long lineup of acts, including Okareka Dance Company Taiaroa Royal & Taane Mete, Andrew Laing, Lady Treneyce, Jessie McCall, Yvette Parsons and Arabia Le Veil, will keep the entertainment levels high. Get together a group of six friends and score a table, two bottles of wine and a food platter for $40 a head. Awesome night out sorted. Tickets range from $25 to $40.
February 18 – 22, 8pm at TAPAC (100 Motions Road, Western Springs, Auckland)
Implicated and Immune is a major survey of art made by contemporary New Zealand artists in response to HIV and AIDS. The free exhibition features older artists, whose work was made at the height of the epidemic in the 1980s, along with contributions to the conversation from the younger generation. This show documents an important part of New Zealand, and global, history. It will run until 28 February at Michael Lett Gallery, with a talk by the curator Ron Brownson and artist Fiona Clark at 1pm, Saturday 14 February.
January 28 – February 28 2014 at Michael Lett Gallery (285/2 Great North Road, Auckland).
Craft and zine lovers rejoice. The Everything and Everyone Market will provide hand-made bits and bobs and self-publishing gems for you to stock up on. In the words of the organisers, the market will focus on ‘goods exploring queerness, transness, sexuality, gender, poly, kink, leather, feminism, geekery, and everything in between.’ This is a great opportunity to get some gifts and wall art, or just have a browse and open your eyes to some new and diverse perspectives. Have a look on their website for a sneak peek of the participating stall-holders.
February 21, 12 – 3pm at St Kevins Arcade ( 183 Karangahape Road Auckland)
There's no parade like a Pride Parade and Auckland delivers our very own annual street extravaganza on February 21 this year. Ponsonby Road will be flooded with all manner of wondrous costumes, floats and characters. This year's theme is Gods and Monsters, so it's bound to be quite a spectacle. Dress up and march, or join the spectators behind the barrier to watch the procession go by over 90 rainbow-coloured minutes. The Pride Parade always pulls a huge crowd, so I'd recommend securing your spot early on. This is going to be a lot of fun.
February 21, 7.30pm – 9pm starting at Western Park, Pobsonby Road, Auckland.
Last, but not least, some films. Shorts, an evening of short films exploring queer culture will take place in the cozy surrounds of Alleluya Cafe in St Kevin's Arcade. This is your chance to sit down with a drink, or a tasty morsel from the cafe, and watch a generous selection of 12 films. The evening will be split into two one hour sessions, so you'll get time to stretch your feet. Seating is limited, so get there early—doors open 7.30pm, and screening will start at 8:30pm. Tickets are only $10 (available here), or $15 on the door and all proceeds will go to the wonderful folk at RainbowYOUTH. Ticket prices range from $10 to $15.
February 26, 7.30pm at Alleluya Bar and Cafe, St Kevin's Arcde (179/183 Karangahape Road, Auckland).