Growing up in the 1980s and early ’90s, we had very little connection to the idea of being queer. Especially living in the outer suburbs of Perth and in the Gold Coast. We felt like rare tropical fish out of water, surrounded by the hetero homogeny of the ’burbs. As young queer boys, being gay wasn’t spoken about unless it was used as an insult – which came daily! – and it often made us feel incredibly alone and fearful, and that is why this celebration of queer communities, unashamed and outrageous, is so important.

We’ve been coming to Midsumma since 2005, and our first performance was in 2016. Things have only gotten wilder for both us and the festival. Midsumma even has shows for rainbow families and art for children. Which is so vital. It fills our hearts with joy that young kids can have access to art that allows difference and diversity to be a thing to be joyful and hopeful about.

This year, we’re presenting an exhibition called Bloodlines, which connects the beautiful lineage of queer storytelling and queer artists across the decades, and it honours those voices who came before us and gave us the freedom and inspiration to make the art that we do.

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We’ve created large-scale photographic, costume and video works designed to honour and emulate our formative heroes – those icons taken way too soon by the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the ’80s and ’90s. Growing up being different, isolated and at odds with the stifling suburban homogeneity, it was glimpses of queer artists, musicians and performers that allowed us to dream of worlds more magical, free and a whole lot more fun. We owe them our lives. They fuelled our fires and set us free.

Those artists include Leigh Bowery, Sylvester, Robert Mapplethorpe, Peter Tully, David McDiarmid, Keith Haring, Derek Jarman, Hibiscus, Freddie Mercury, Willi Ninja. These fearless visionaries, among others, lit the path and fought first and harder for us all to be able to love and shine under the great queer disco ball in the sky.

Their legacy lives on in all of us. Bloodlines brings back their vibrant, rebellious, unapologetic and defiantly creative spirit. It sheds light on icons known and unknown, and asks viewers to embrace that joy and that freedom and imagine a world where these luminaries are still with us. It is a sharing of our magical queer history. Remembrance wrapped in a whole lot of love and sequins.

The Huxleys’ top five picks of Midsumma 2024

A Body at Work – Frankie Valentine

Frankie Valentine is one of the most fearless, powerful performers we know. Watching her perform, the air almost freezes around you and you become held in her gaze and her motion. Hypnotised by the sensual, feminine magic of her storytelling. Through lived experience, honesty and the embrace of a defiantly sex-positive outlook. Frankie is a phenomenon and we are lucky to have worked with her and be in her orbit.

Queer Photo

Queer Photo will be incredible. We were so lucky to be invited by PHOTO22 to show the beginnings of our Bloodlines exhibition at the CCP in 2022. And PHOTO lit up our whole city, bringing the dynamic storytelling of photography in a way we hadn’t seen done before in Naarm/Melbourne. They also champion queer artists, and this collection looks like the most amazing opportunity to see a potent cross-section of image makers that should really capture what it means to be queer in contemporary society. It looks daring, bold and expansive. Curator Brendan McCleary is so passionate and immersed in his work. And we will be so lucky to experience his vision. As the Village People famously sang, “Go west”.

First Nations Drag Festival

This looks so fabulous. Not only will it be ridiculously fun but it is a beautiful way to celebrate and honour First Nations queens. One of the highlights for us of Sydney World Pride 2023 was seeing the Miss First Nations competition at Carriageworks in Sydney. It was the best drag show we’ve seen in years. And the phenomenon that is Cerulean took home the prize. And Cerulean (one of our favourite queens) will be hosting this night at Midsumma and she doesn’t come to PLAY. She is a sensation.

Club Compost

How could you miss this incredible combination of compost, disco, joy and absurdity? If there is a god it would be Betty Grumble. We truly believe she can save the world. And she is joined by the most joyful creative maker of magic, the divine Dandrogyny, who is like the sun, full of warmth, nourishment and life. A force of nature that can’t help but make you smile, not to mention make you move! We were lucky enough to see their show last time and left feeling hope for the world, and I think that’s what we need most at the moment.

Victoria’s Pride Street Party

On February 11, the Pride Street Party takes over Gertrude and Smith streets in Fitzroy. It’s like gay Christmas. It’s a festival celebrating our collective pride and it’s just so much bloody fun. Performances, free art, parties, mini discos everywhere. It’s how life should be.