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The Ten Best Things to See and Do During Mardi Gras 2015

The parade is just the cherry on top.
By Rima Sabina Aouf
February 16, 2015
By Rima Sabina Aouf
February 16, 2015


The parade is just the cherry on top.

There's the parade, yes. But before that, nearly a month of cultural and celebratory events of all stripes makes up the festival of Sydney Mardi Gras, and there's something for everybody, even Straighty McStraight-Straight. Who relates absolutely and 100 percent to the social expectations of their gender and sexuality? Nobody, probably. And that's something to love, savour, and take away from this most iconic of Sydney events.

This year, there's a fair day, art you can dance to, an intergalactic gay wizard and some steamy literary readings, among all the parties between February 20 and March 8. With gay marriage rights firmly on the agenda again this year, 2015's Mardi Gras will definitely be one that's remembered.

  • 10
    Femme Smut

    Sydney Femme Guild is allowing you to give into your innermost desire this Mardi Gras Festival, with a night of erotic readings. Enjoy the hotness (and hilariousness) of sexy wordsmithery, whether its your own, your friend’s, a classic author’s or that favourite online slash fic scribe’s. Guest femmes are invited to read, sing or slam their own or someone else’s smutty words, so even women lacking confidence have an avenue to show off their work.

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  • 9
    An Anniversary: Ross Watson Gallery 15 Years

    Blurring the lines between life and art, Ross Watson is getting a well-deserved party. An Anniversary celebrates his 15-year legacy with a gallery exhibition of some of his best hyperreal works. Running as a part of the Mardi Gras 2015 festival program, Watson’s provocative creations will be showing at Waterloo’s Depot Gallery for two weeks only. The Melburnian tackles issues of sexuality and self-expression in his signature playful style (without fear of ruffling a few feathers along the way). An international art-world favourite, Watson’s dynamic, out-of-the-box efforts are what sets him apart, earning him the praise of Elton John and Stephen Fry, among others.

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  • 8
    Gaybies - Darlinghurst Theatre Co

    Let’s face it, no family is ever really ‘normal’. Yet for kids growing up in rainbow households, there are some unique quirks. Helpmann Award-winning director Dean Bryant explores just this in his highly anticipated stage production, Gaybies, running across three weeks at the Eternity Playhouse. Based on interviews with the real-life children of same-sex parents, the production delves into unexplored territory with both rigour and humour.

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  • 7
    Mardi Gras Parade 2015

    The time has come again to celebrate the world’s largest LGBTQI celebration, the 37th Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade. The march up Oxford and Flinders Streets in Darlinghurst commemorates the 1978 demonstration of a few hundred people standing up against discrimination and has become a celebration that draws tens of thousands onto the street. Get up to Oxford Street early on in the afternoon to take in the visual extravaganza of costumes, floats and fabulous fun.

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  • 6
    Cock - Red Line Productions

    It’s not what you think from the title, promise. Cock is a smash hit play about love both lofty and physical, the Off-Broadway production of which prompted Variety to write, “With the precious exception of literati like Oscar Wilde and his beloved Bosie, quarrelling lovers are never as articulate and entertaining as they are [here].” Playwright Mike Bartlett explores sexual identity in a new light, telling the story of John, who while on a break from his boyfriend, falls in love with a woman

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  • 5
    Jurassic Lounge: Mardi Gras

    Presented in partnership with Sydney Mardi Gras and, Jurassic Lounge’s Mardi Gras edition plans to transform the Australian Museum into a jaw-droppingly colourful party, celebrating Sydney’s vibrant queer culture. Creating a playground for grown-ups in the hallowed museum halls, the night will see performances from drag artist Carmen Geddit, Andea Darling (and her pet python), DJ Sveta cranking out sets, performers from beloved Sydney underground queer party Unicorns, alongside your Jurassic Lounge staples — the ever-popular silent disco, loved-up Date Roulette, live reptiles casually hangin’ around, those well-used photobooths and more.

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  • 4
    Day for Night

    Part performance art, part music and part dance, Day for Night is one cut above the rest. Presented by Carriageworks and Performance Space, with curation by Jeff Khan (Performance Space) and Emma Price (The Kingpins), the event sees Carriageworks transformed into a large-scale space for queer expression for a full three days. The party (February 20, 8pm–11pm, tickets $35) will feature tunes from local electronic outfit Stereogamous (Paul Mac and Johnny Seymour), while the next two days (February 21–22, 10am–6pm, free) sees music and art combine with a series of live performances by Australia’s leading queer artists.

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  • 3
    Blue Wizard - Belvoir

    Everyone who saw Blue Wizard at 2013’s Tiny Stadiums festival has this sweet, lonely, earth-visiting, jizz-and-diamonds-eating character burned into their brains. Perfectly, the show is on at Mardi Gras time. A master of melancholic whimsy, writer and performer Nick Coyle set out to make “the gayest one-man show ever”, and he may have succeeded with this story of an intergalactic wizard just trying to get back to his home comet.

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  • 2
    Mardi Gras Fair Day 2015

    Spend the day lazing about in one of Sydney’s sweetest parks; Mardi Gras’ Fair Day is back again for 2015. With gourmet food stalls, live music and comedy acts, this day-long celebration is sure to make your Sunday just a little more colourful. From 10am on February 22, join the expected 80,000 other attendees heading along to Chippendale’s Victoria Park for a free excuse to get out and enjoy the sun. Everyone’s covered, with fairground rides, on-stage entertainment and the festival’s famous DoggyWood dog show. Round off the day by kicking on to King Street for the free After the Fair Party at the Newtown and Bank Hotels.

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  • 1
    Mardi Gras Film Festival 2015

    Queer Screen presents the Mardi Gras Film Festival, giving Sydneysiders their only chance to see these films on a big screen. Hosted at Event Cinemas George Street, this 15-day festival celebrates queer identity on screen in the lead up to the famous Mardi Gras parade on March 7. With nearly 50 feature films plus short programs, MGFF is bulging with content. Intergenerational lesbian drama Tru Love and multi-storied Mexican tale of gay acceptance Four Moons are sold out, but Boys and The Way He Looks are charming and sweet tales of teen romance from the Netherlands and Brazil respectively. Equally sweet but far more sexually explicit and hilarious is the documentary Peter De Rome: Godfather of Gay Porn.

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