Need some last-minute Mardi Gras inspiration? Here are the best events and happenings in Sydney that aren’t the parade

This year’s Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras will, as always, culminate in the Saturday Night Parade with enduring favorites like the 78ers, Dykes on Bikes and First Nations gays parading around the substantial SCG Oval, as well only performances (or at least appearances) from Savage Garden alumnus and gay Twitter icon Darren Hayes, incredible genderqueer musician Mo’Ju, and Vanessa Amorosi who must perform “Absolutely Everyone” or risk being cast into space. Stadium regulars The Wiggles will also make an appearance – details to be confirmed.

But that’s not all about the Parade, of course. If you can’t make it or just aren’t up to celebrating Mardi Gras in assigned seats, no problem. There are events and happenings all around Sydney covering all your Mardi Gras-adjacent interests: food, dance, performance and drag (of king and queen varieties).

Here are some of our picks, for your queerspiration and consideration.

‘BREAK OUT’ AT THE NATIONAL SCHOOL OF ARTS

The National Art School Sydney is hosting a series of LTBTQI, performance art and moving image parties to coincide with Mardi Gras as part of the ongoing series of events on Thursday evenings NAT NEO. This week’s headline event is titled “Break Out” and features live tunes from rapper/artist Jamaica Moana and DJ sets from Ayebatonye and The Dollar Bin Darlings, as well as artistic performances from Gareth Ernst, Lou Harris and Solar Gold Dancers (among others). There will be pop-up bars and food by Firepop to keep you cool while immersing yourself in contemporary queer creativity.

When: Thursday, March 3, 2022
Or: National School of Art, Cnr of Forbes & Burton Street, Darlinghurst
Recommended for: Those who like to celebrate ART.

Dollar Bin Darlings

HOT MESS HOUSE PARTY AT THE OXFORD TAVERN

For those who want to dance, the Dollar Bin Darlings take over the Oxford Tav for a huge six hour free dance party. The aptly named Hot Mess House Party will see the DBDs accompanied by their crew of Bottom Dollar Buddies and go-go dancers. Expect things to get trashy – in a good way!

When: Saturday, March 5, 2022
Or: The Oxford Tavern, 1 New Canterbury Road, Petersham
Recommended for: Dance floor aficionados eager to unleash their indoor and outdoor hot clutter.

Hot Mess Party (image courtesy of Oxford Tavern)

9 TO 5 MUSIC

Look, it’s not technically part of Mardi Gras but the fact remains that 9 to 5 (and pretty much everything Dolly Parton has done) is queer canon. So if you haven’t bought your tickets for the musical stage version of the iconic revenge-fantasy comedy yet, what the hell are you waiting for?!

When: Ongoing until Sunday, April 17, 2022.
Or: Capitol Theater13 Campbell Street, Haymarket
Recommended for: Anyone with a fierce inner queen (who is also a fan of show tunes).

9 to 5 The Musical, image by Pamela Raith

DRAG KING BOOZY BRUNCH AND PARTY ALL DAY AT ELM

The Taphouse’s rooftop restaurant recently launched the nation’s “first and only” bottomless drag king brunch, where diners enjoy brunch-friendly bites and buzz while being entertained by the stunning resident drag king, Axl Rod. For Mardi Gras, the party drags on into the wee hours, starting with a brunch, followed by an evening of viewing parades and plenty of dancefloor debauchery accompanied by DJs and circus performers. Book brunch here.

When: Saturday, March 5, 2022
Or: Elm Rooftop Bar, Level 2, 122 Flinders Street, Darlinghurst
Recommended for: A pre-show brunch date fit for a king (glam-metal) and more.

THE ADVENTURES OF PRISCILLA DRAG ‘N DINE AT IMPERIAL

It gives Gloria Gaynor a ruffled lizard couture and disco reality. The Imperial serves up an all-star cast of drag dynamos for an entire week of Drag ‘N Dine shows to celebrate Mardi Gras. And Friday and Saturday is a special show that pays homage to Priscilla queen of the desert with a cast that includes Jojo Zaho, Vonni, Polly Filla and Art Simone. I will survive (but only if I can see this show). Buy your tickets here.

When: March 1 to March 6
Or: Imperial, 35 Erskineville Road, Erskineville
Recommended for: Anthems, iconic lusts and spectacular readings.

RECOVERY LUNCH ‘CAMP’ AT IL PONTILE

Sunday night after parade can be a bit like Boxing Day. So the trick is to plan something great to prolong the good times and avoid any gloomy feelings after Mardi Gras. Woolloomooloo’s impressive Italian newcomer Il Pontile welcomes CAMP! — a long lunch with a view of the waterfront, typical Italian flavors, tailor-made cocktails, surprise guests and more. Tickets are essential and you can buy them here.

When: Sunday March 6, 2022 from 12 noon
Or: Il Pontile, 6 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo
Recommended for: Chronic FOMO sufferers and after-party foodies (sunglasses recommended).

ABSOLUT X HEAPS GAY PRESENTS THE ROAST

Another Sunday event that focuses on food and feel-good vibes. The Roast, hosted by queer party pioneers Heaps Gay, features an all-star lineup of queer food, drink, comedy and theater folks, including superstar chef Anna Polyviou in charge of the menu, the Queen First Nations Mangarai Tyra Bankstown and the Blaq Moles serving face and lewks, and Paul Mac and Johnny Seymour of Stereogamous on one and both. All ticket sales go to support ACON, Australia’s largest HIV, sexual and gender health organization, so you’ll be doing good while you’re having a great time.

When: Sunday, March 6, 2022
Where: The Refectory, 6
Recommended for: Those who want to party with heart.

Image courtesy of Heaps Gay

FREE MAKEUP TOUCH UP WITH SHADES IN CBD

Terrible at makeup but want to make your favorite Euphoria face for parade day and the myriads of parties you’ve already forgotten you’ve answered for? The Sunglass Hut flagship store on George Street offers free make-up touch-ups from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Glitter, colors, precious stones, everything is on the menu. To celebrate the unveiling of a limited-edition “Love is Love” sunglasses chain in partnership with Nikita Majajas (of extremely flamboyant jewelry brand Doodad + Fandango), the store is also giving away free scoops of the gelato flavor. the most gay of Messina “Unicorn” Friday from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

When: Gelato Messina pop-up on Friday, March 4. Make-up touch-ups on Saturday, March 5.
Or: The Sunglass Hut, Shop 4-5, Ground Floor, 413 – 421 George Street, Sydney
Recommended for: The cosmetic challenge.

DJ Charlie Villas & Nikita Majajas for The Sunglass Hut

THE SISSY BALL

Ok, so we’re cheating a bit here. This year’s Sissy Ball has been postponed to the dismay of many due to the threat of Covid restrictions. But dust off your death because Australia’s most fabulous celebration of queer prom culture has announced it’s been postponed until Sunday April 3, 2022. Mark your diary and buy your tickets before it inevitably sells out.

When: Sunday, April 3, 2022
Or: Sydney Town Hall, 483 George Street, Sydney
Recommended for: Throwdown enthusiasts.

Image of Ken Leanfore from Sissy Ball 2018

Posted on March 01, 2022 by

Suz Tucker


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