Trough Uncut.

21 11 2013

NSFW promo video for the Melbourne’s club night “Trough X” after the break, wittily pitching the instant pop up gratification of grindr against the earthier attractions of men on the dancefloor.

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The dragon…

22 09 2013

This weekend the Chinese-speaking world celebrated its Mid-Autumn festival with a crystalline full moon riding high in the Northern hemisphere sky, signalling the Autumnal equinox. Hong Kong celebrated with a long weekend holiday, a giant light sphere pulsating with techno music in Victoria Park (above), an avalanche of ever-more expensive mooncakes and the traditional dance of the Fire Dragon through one of the city’s loveliest neighbourhoods, Tai Hang.

The long, sinewy fire dragon is constructed of straw and decorated with garlands of fat and still-burning incense sticks and paraded through the streets to the accompaniment of more fire twirlers (as above) and drums.  Its a Hong Kong tradition, supposedly dating back to a village in China where it was delivered as an offering to the dragon spirit that had delivered the city from a plague.

Unfortunately for me though, it is also a popular spectacle. On the last of its three days of marching I arrived at Tai Hang to find the streets crowded with tourists and locals squeezed against crowd control barriers. There were fires burning in the street (to light the incense), girls in silk Chinese dresses and fluoro raver bangles ( a nice modern touch) and police holding back irate residents who just wanted to get back to their apartments with groceries and didn’t give a fuck about the festivities.

I pushed my way forward almost to the head of the dragon, where it lay in wait in a sidestreet for the signal that would bring it to life. Sweat was dripping and my feet were aching. An hour later, despite endless speeches from local celebs and dignitaries and a procession of staff with huge bundles of incense to set the fire alight, the thing still had not moved. I could see its twisted straw horns above the crowd’s head but decided to give up…I had other places to be ( a night out at Salon Ten and Midnight and Company, to be specific).

Sao Paulo comes out for Pride

13 06 2012

Just one week after Tel Aviv had its Pride party, another red hot gay Mecca hit the streets for its annual celebration. Sao Paulo’s Pride was – as usual –  huge. Three million partygoers marched. But also as usual (puzzlingly) there was a dearth of good pics of the party on the net afterwards. For a supposedly very colourful street festival with three million in attendance, you would think someone would take  a few snaps of something other than ‘outrageous’ drag queens ™ or buff boys in shorts dancing on trucks.

The image below is interesting: skinheads and punks against homophobia, presumably a reaction to the skinhead ‘anarchists’ who went on a stabbing rampage at the event a few years ago, supposedly inspired by “A Clockwork Orange”.

Kylie announces an “Anti-tour”

6 03 2012

Fresh from her stereotypically feathered and flashy performance at the Sydney (formerly Gay and Lesbian) Mardis Gras, Kylie Minogue has announced a slightly more intriguing proposition. Her “anti tour” of Australia (perhaps to be extended to Europe) promises small theatres, no dancers and daringly, “no hits”. It is to be a gift to the small cadre of hardcore Kylie obsessives, playing a selection of never-released tracks, B-sides and Kylie rarities for their obscurist enjoyment.

Kylie is an enviable position in her career at the moment. Her last few albums have been modest, if not massive, hits and, coasting on the goodwill from her cancer scare, she gives the impression that she is really beyond caring. Instead, she does things for her own enjoyment, like launching a concert tour of Latin America, recording a rumoured jazz-acoustic album of greatest hits reinterpretations … or singing B-sides to her fans. And she is admired by critics – a long and bitterly fought battle. Once derided for immitating Madonna, recently the tables have turned with the Material Girl pilfering two of her recent looks for her Superbowl Halftime Show (Grecian and cheerleader). Kylie’s influence now stretches far and wide; Hong Kong pop star Joey Yung rips off her looks and moves wholesale:

…Just wait for the “Joey Yung Anti Tour 2013!”

Two tribes

3 03 2012

This Saturday, in two different countries, two very different tribes gathered for their own pagan celebrations. Outside Bangkok, hordes converged on the Bang Phra, the famous tattoo temple, for its annual festival. Here, those inked at the temple return for touch-ups and become mysteriously possessed with the spirits of the creatures tattooed onto their skins, rampaging through the crowds in scary and mysterious displays of mass hysteria.

In Sydney meanwhile, under damp and rainy skies, Australia’s gay party people are gathering for the annual Sydney Mardi Gras. It is to be the first party since the controversial and ill-advised move to drop “gay and lesbian” from the event’s title to make it “more inclusive”. One of my facebook friends commented that he hoped “straight mardi gras drowned”. Despite these tensions, it is one of the more high profile Mardi Gras parties of recent years (a study in the law of diminshing returns) with Kylie Minogue jetting in to perform – her third time at the event, but the first in a good decade and a half. She is in town  to launch the K25 promotions to mark her 25th year in the music industry.

New Year Monsters

15 02 2011

All over Bali, in temple forecourts and on verandahs, we saw giant papier mache effgies of ogres, monstrous men and women (usually headless). Our driver explained that these were preparations for the Balinese New Year, Nyepi, in March. On New Years Eve, the grotesque figures known as ogoh-ogoh are burned, which symbolizes evil leaving the earth. The next day, all activity on the island ceases. Fires cannot be lit, and cars stay off the road. The New year is welcomed with complete, contemplative silence – yet another way in which Bali does things its own way.

Welcoming in the Year of the Rabbit, Thai style

4 02 2011

For the Lunar New Year celebrations, Chinatown’s Yaowarat Road is closed off for a massive, and jam-packed Carnival of loud drums, lion dances, over-excited children, mafia-imported Khmer “snakemen” (leprous beggars crawling through the streets wearing little babies like backpacks) and excrutiatingly slow ambling couples. And food.

The crowds were, naturally, insane. My least favourite part was when some bright spark decided to drive through this:

Amd of course in Thailand, its not a party until there is a drag queen – this one playing “Country road, take me home” on the ukelele.