Back for its 39th year, Mardi Gras will fill the city this month with its trademark wild energy. Here are some of our event picks, from art, theatre and film, to fashion, parades and parties.
Queer Thinking Symposium: Queer Warhol
Part of the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ latest exhibition, Adman: Warhol Before Pop, the Mardi Gras’ Queer Thinking series will explore the legacy of Andy Warhol.
Find out how Warhol continues to shape and influence the work of LGBTIQ artists across the world. The panel will be led by Stanford University art history professor, Richard Meyer. He will be joined by the first curator of 20th century art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; several artists working in various disciplines, and the founder of My People | My Tribe, a group focusing on LGBTIQ stories. Tickets include entry to the exhibition.
Saturday February 25, 1pm
Domain Theatre, Art Gallery of New South Wales
Buy tickets: $26–$30
Chili Philly: Crochet Social
Melbourne-based artist Phil Ferguson is unveiling his first major solo exhibition of crocheted wearable art in Sydney. He started sharing his bright, self-modelled, food-inspired hats on Instagram two years ago, and now has more than 142,000 followers. From burgers and avocados to croissants, he’s woven all varieties of treats. Look out for the Golden Gaytime – it’s definitely our favourite.
Thursday February 2 to Wednesday March 15
Australian Design Centre
Mardi Gras Film Festival
The 24th annual Mardi Gras Film Festival is back, complete with 100 screenings across Sydney, Canberra and regional NSW. The Sydney venues include Events Cinemas George Street, Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre and the Refectory at the University of Sydney.
Australian premieres include Teenage Kicks, about a young man from a migrant family coming to terms with his sexuality and the loss of his brother.
Parties and Parades
Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade
Beginning as a political protest in 1978, the parade has since grown to capture the true spirit of this city. On the night of March 4, 12,000 of Sydney’s most fabulous will descend on Oxford Street, the heart of Sydney’s LGBTIQ district.
Saturday March 4, from 7pm
Corner of Oxford and Flinders streets, Darlinghurst
Welcome to Breastiville
Marrickville Town Hall will be transformed into a village-green dance hall for the Breastiville day-to-night festival. Celebrating LBQ women, the event will feature tea and cake, workshops, stalls, and a talk from Amelia Lush, manager of Better Read Than Dead. There will also be a performance by the Gay and Lesbian Choir. The over-40s are invited to have a free mammogram onsite by BreastScreen NSW.
Saturday February 25, 10am–12am
Marrickville Town Hall
Free (donation based)
Planetdwellers Mardi Gras Sunset Cruise
Planetdwellers, Australia’s largest tour operator for LGBTIQ travellers, will take over the rooftop deck of a luxury boat. Guests will be entertained by MC Felicity Frockaccino and Australian DJ Matt Effect. Canapés will be served all night.
Tuesday February 28, 6pm–10pm
Man O’War Steps, 2 Circular Quay
Buy tickets: $89
Madonna Tribute Party
A dance-floor dedicated to the tunes of Madonna? This event does what it says on the tin: it’s a night of pure, unadulterated non-stop hits. There will be DJ sets as well as live performances and giveaways throughout the night. The best bit is there is no lockout, so you can pop in at any point of the night.
Friday March 3, 9pm-2am
The Imperial Hotel, Erskineville
Buy tickets: $20
Fag Tag Mardi Gras
Fag Tag is back for its 13th year. It was originally created as a way of discovering some of Sydney’s best party venues. This year there’ll be a rooftop party, complete with a line-up of DJs and summery cocktails.
Sydney’s finest drag queens, Candy Box, Tora Hymen and Maxi Shield, will be there to host you.
Sunday February 26, 3pm–11.30pm
The Sky Terrace @ The Star
[STYLE] Agender – A Gender-Queer Fashion Parade
Hosted by The Aurora Group – a charity fundraising for gay, lesbian and transgender community organisations – this is not your typical runway show. It will explore the trends of gender-fluid fashion. Digital Kittn will display contemporary denim streetwear and luxurious kimonos. The Social Outfit will also be included.
Following the show, there will be a Fashion Talks panel of industry experts to explore the impact gender-fluid style has within the fashion world.
Friday February 24, 7pm-10pm
901 Bourke Road, Waterloo
Buy tickets: $50-$150
Butch/Stud: A Celebration of Identity and Culture
Butch/Stud is a celebration of butch identity and culture, featuring local and international LBQ singers, drag kings, poets and performers. Creator Michelle Ring came up with the concept after attending a butch-focused party, and realised that Mardi Gras lacked anything like it.
Thursday February 23, 7pm–10pm
Red Rattler Theatre, Marrickville
Tickets available here: $15
An aspect of Australian history that is often overlooked, Ben Noble’s one-man show addresses the gang-driven violence against homosexuals in Sydney during the ’80s and ’90s. In researching the period, Noble discovered 80 murders and 30 unsolved cases, all of which were alleged hate crimes. “It felt like no one really knew about these stories – our history in Australia – that’s what hit home for me,” says Noble. “People were surprised that it could happen here.”
Tuesday February 21 to Saturday March 4, 7.30pm (2pm matinees on both Saturdays)
Blood Moon Theatre, Kings Cross
Buy tickets: $20-$29