Entertainment Arts Midsumma festival 2014 to heat Melbourne
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Midsumma festival 2014 to heat Melbourne

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Midsumma returns with gay abandon this Sunday, January 12, with Carnival’s cornucopia of stallholders, bars and the entirely random dog show returning to its much-loved Alexandra Gardens location. A cruisy fun day in the sun, it’s one of the highlights on the LGBTI) calendar and this year the outdoor T Dance is completely free, featuring local DJs including Last Mistress, EmiliOh and Miss Beats.

Not content with one big hoo ha, 2014 sees the debut of CONFETTI, the new official Midsumma opening night dance at The Palace Theatre. Australia’s biggest dance act The Presets are headlining the main stage with support from World’s End Press, Cakes Da Killa and YO! Mafia, amongst others. Upstairs the Stereogamous boys hit the decks alongside DJ Kitti and Gavin Campbell.

Possibly the gayest event of all will be the pop-up Bar Kylie at The 86 cocktail bar, playing La Minogue’s hits almost exclusively.

Shutterstock
Bar Kylie, playing Kylie Minogue’s hits, is expected to be the Midsumma festival hotspot. Photo: Shutterstock

St Kilda’s Theatre Works has an unholy trinity of LGBTI theatre with The Worst of Scottee unveiling the controversy-courting British comedian’s deepest, darkest history. Insightful US-based performance artist Tim Miller’s latest show, Lay of the Land, relays his struggles against homophobia while growing up and Dirty Pretty Theatre brings Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s racy, nudity-included The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant with its all-girl cast.

Elsewhere in theatre Grease: A Tragedy at The Tote Hotel reimagines everyone’s favourite high school musical as a bisexual love triangle between Danny, Sandy and Kenickie. Carousel – The Little Battle, brings its sexy, physical theatre to Gasworks Arts Park. Neil LaBute and Wendy Macleod are among the writers lending their talents to Standing on Ceremony – The Gay Marriage Plays starring Spencer McLaren, Pia Miranda and Michael Veitch, with all proceeds going towards Australian Marriage Equality.

The Ginger and Tonic girls’ killer harmonies will roll out fifty of the gayest pop tunes acappella-style in 50 Shades of Gay at The Butterfly Club. Trevor Ashley drags up as the legendary Dame Shirley Bassey to blast out the likes of Goldfinger and Big Spender In Diamonds Are For Trevor at the Arts Centre. La Mama Courthouse hosts Homophonic!, an evening of new classical music by queer composers while Michael Griffiths invokes the (not dead yet) spirits of two gay icons in a double bill of paired-back piano performances at fortyfivedownstairs in Sweet Dreams: Songs by Annie Lennox and In Vogue: Songs by Madonna.

Dreams and fantasy is the theme for this year’s Miss Gay & Miss Transsexual Australia, a beauty pageant open to all gay men, cross-dressers, drag queens, transgender and transsexuals. Each Saturday night during Midsumma The Little Queer Film Festival brings a mix of short film and the feature-length Exposed, while ACMI will showcase doco Battle of the Sexes, a fascinating exploration of gender politics in tennis.

Possibly the gayest event of all will be the pop-up Bar Kylie at The 86 cocktail bar, playing La Minogue’s hits almost exclusively and featuring guest appearances by impersonator Millie Minogue and camp pop star Brendan Maclean. The smooth moves will be out at the Australian Same-Sex Dancesport Championships at St Kilda’s Town Hall.

It all ends up in St Kilda on Sunday, February 2 with the 19th annual Pride March down Fitzroy Street to Catani Gardens where the final shindig kicks off, and it wouldn’t be Midsumma if you didn’t end up making new friends in The Prince of Wales.

Midsumma runs from Jan 12 to Feb 2. For the full program and to book tickets, go to www.midsumma.org.au