For some time now I have been meaning to do an update about the Monster Hall. Since many of you wonderful people voted and helped directly contribute to my win I felt you needed some sort of debrief. There’s also lots of other really exciting business happening or just about to happen. So put your reading dress on, please. Ta.
Alright. Let’s do this thing.
About a month ago. Shaylen and I went to see Lady GaGa. But our story does not start there. Oh, no. Really, we should begin where I left off. In the week(s) following my phone call from Matt at Vodafone confirming that Soph and I were to be two of the lucky 140
Little Monsters chosen to attend the Sydney Monster Hall, we went real weird. Like all Warhol-trapped-in-the-factory-with-only-his-puppet-friends-to-play-with-and-ruin weird. Very early on Sophie and I decided that we wanted to hand-make our costumes in true Lil’ Monster style. Unfortunately for me (and Glenmores’ Meat, ‘cos God knows they need my hung over self negging all over their wares at 8am in the morning) the competition rules specified that there was to be NO wearing of any meat at the event. Or fake blood. I had a tantrum. Then I remembered a Vogue shoot with a Chanel matching his and her dress and tie combo. Soph really wanted to make a hair something, so we married the idea and came up with a tricoloured Chanel looking block coloured hair suit with matching hair tie (for those Opera Openings et al. that require you to make an important statement). This was really our first mistake/moment of genius. Sophie brought a skank bag (short singlet dress for those of you unversed in Christophersenspeak) from Supre or somewhere equally questionable (it was necessary, ok?) and more wigs than you could actually shake a drag queen at. No but really. Many.
After we began unpicking the weave in order to separate the strands so that they could be reattached to the skank bag, the carpet, myself, Sophie and in fact every fabric covered surface quickly became covered/coated/choked with fake hair. Pink, black and blonde nylon dreadlocks could be rolled from rubbing ones socked foot over the lounge room rug. Appalling, but fun. Sophie quickly turned into a Sewing Magician, master of running stitch and all things fine-needled and pointy. There were many ‘AH FUCKS’ from thimble related injuries and lots of ‘I’ll just finish [insert colour of wig] bit down the bottom and THEN I’ll have a cigarette’. There wasn’t much sleeping. I think we were so excited and nervous about actually winning that we just went really manic and
started to obsess about the quality of our fantasy garments. If I’d actually admitted to myself what was happening it was likely I would have suffered a small stroke.
Cut to the morning of the concert. Sophie has had approximately an hour’s sleep but has completed and created both 98% of her hair dress (it was so beautiful, we wept), my hair tie (brilliant) and a ‘Hilton pack’ consisting of alcohol, hairspray and emergency fake blood among other necessities (there may have been a couple of my ‘Disney’ stickers and gold plastic fake nails involved). We were relatively ready. I smashed my first Gin rather early whilst
Sophie Sonic-The-Hedgehogged all over Pyrmont grabbing ‘back-up tulle’ and sewing supplies for the couple of hours we had to spare before the concert (in the dreaded non smoking Hilton room). At about 3pm we left, checked into the Hilton and then business really got strange. There were fans everywhere. And not just any kind of fans. Super-fans. Most of the hotel was taken over by 17-year-old catatonic competition winners (and their Mothers) who were actually just camped out at every entrance on George St. in order to catch an unlikely view of L.G. There was a really strange feel about it. There was this forced sort of unity that came about from lack of sleep and fumes from the hot glue gun(s). Sophie and I took one
look at the denim and fish net clad teenagers and decided we didn’t really have the strength. Ever. We brought over priced salad and H+C toasty and retreated to room 1101. We used that Hotel room like a glorified dressing room. I felt like Minnie Driver. Within seconds I had bagged every free sample and assessed the bar fridge situation (damn you weight activated charging system – if I was a physicist I would have beat you) and then poured myself a large gin. We blasted ‘Born This Way’, along with EVERY other room on our floor – no, really – and used all our hairspray. Sophie took over the bathroom smoothing her hairs and I took lots of photos of myself in the floor length mirrors.Upon check in and
registration we had been told to meet in the lobby at 5pm. At 2 minutes to, we stumbled (me, not Sophie) down to meet the cohort of Vodafone winners in the ‘VIP Bar’ that was really just a cordoned off room holding lots of excited gay people in some pretty eyebrow raising costumes. There was this one girl who was wearing a PERFECT lookalike ‘Telephone’ costume that everyone swooned over. Everyone was on edge and plastering GaGa preach over each other with hugs and support. The ‘sign-my-year-book’ GaGamites were gathering people’s names, where they were from, favourite songs etc. whilst assessing their costumes with this hostile kind of happy/bitchy thing. It was kinda like the Yr 12 formal. It felt a little hollow. I was glad for the Gin. I suggested the next round consist of a nondescript energy drink and
vodka, Sophie agreed. At about 6pm we were walked by tuff looking Kiwi guys in Vodafone fleeces to the town hall. It would have been hilarious stumbling upon this sight in the city. So many people looked rather perturbed.
The Town Hall looked beautiful but the outside was absolute chaos. The exterior was bathed in a crimson light which was indicative of the amount of shit everyone was about to lose. We were herded like cattle over to a branding station where over-foundationed Vodafone employees marked our wrists with plastic bands and demanded we stay ‘near the fence by the red carpet’… And when I say demanded I should say shouted, many times. It didn’t matter because we just yelled back at them or completely ignored them. There were models dressed in absurd costumes who were hired to rev the crowd up. Over eager girls pressing themselves up against the steel barriers to the red carpet to lead the crowd in group ‘Born This Way’ singalongs. It was like the Easter Show on crack. At the peak of madness Dipper, yes, the cricketer, Dipped, ascended a small grassed island near a group of rubbish bins and with a large sceptre (which featured a disco’ed egg at the end) began to usher us through the gates of the holding pen yelling that we better ‘stop fu*king pushing each other’. He looked really wasted. His presence at this event was questionable to say the very very least. AND THEN THE CAMERAS CAME. Every TV station released Van-fuls of suit monkeys who descended on the concert-goers with clipboards and foam mikes. There were interviews, there were panning shots of get-ups, there were slow motion dissolves of screaming faces descending the stairs. I smoked a lot and kept my paw up. The red carpet was really like another holding pen, but this holding pen held more effective tormentors and flood lights. This time you were watched and prodded by onlookers and expected to act wacky for national television. I snarled appropriately and just absorbed the spectacle which reeked of corporate funds and event management diplomas. It was cool. But it was weird.
After what seemed like hours (it was about an hour and a half) we were let in. Soph and I were the first couple of people to get to the stairs. And guess who was there to greet us? Mr.
Fake-Tan-Now-I’m-Nice himself. Senior Hilton. I don’t know if it was the mixing of Gin and Vodka combined with the Dipper-as-Sheppard experience or just the fact that I had just been standing on a rep carpet waiting amongst over emotional screaming teenage girls but something snapped in us in that moment of laying eyes on Perez. Sophie’s face dropped (I can see it now) and she marched over to him with her hand outstretched. She was a lady on a mission and Perez was understandably reprehensible.
‘MY NAME’S SOPHIE!!’ she remarked, thrusting her outstretched hand even closer to his face. I danced around him serenading him in a horribly high, sing-song repetition of his Christian name. I sounded like a frightened Pokemon. His eyes glazed over and he gave us a look that I’ve only ever seen once since. On the face of Amy Winehouse in the Belgrave concert, half way through ‘Back To Black’ as she looks on with disgust at fans who scream the lyrics she has forgotten, mockingly, with hate and the utmost amount of disdain physically possible to a human being. The combination of me flouncing about screaming his name and Sophie standing statue-still posed with cheesy grin and outstretched hand was clearly too much for poor Perez. He shook Sophie’s hand timidly and then accepted our request to have a photo taken. We posed but before the random I could grab could touch the screen, activating the Hipstamatic App., we were ushered over to the other side of the red carpet by a Sydney-based Hilton PR loon. This really gave Perez the shits. We had the photo taken, he grabbed my ass (in a rather predatory fashion I must say), and I responded with a more violent ass grab. This moment is immortalised in digital film and never ceases in cracking me up. Is he meant to be Robin Hood? Oh, I hope so.
Inside, the town hall was decked out in faux-vintage fleur de lis wallpaper and elegantish mirrors. We had time to grab a Champagne Cocktail – complimentary of course and sit down to watch the various plasmas simultaneously displaying the bump in of the Monster Set, the winning photos and Vodafone propaganda in the form of ‘All Time Credit Ads’ featuring a blue monster (oh! I see what you did there).
We posed for a nice looking, appearing-more-decent-than-we-were photo and the doors of the hall creaked open. And then all hell broke loose. Like a field of foxes, 200 glittered, glossed and painted heads turned in unison and people RAN for the doors. I saw this happen a couple of nano seconds before Soph and gracefully, exhibiting my one year of ballet training, smashed my way through the latex jungle, tipping 80% of my drink all over me and forcing Sophie to do the same. We got to the front though. Just. And just in time to see Charli from High 5 and Blonde-Guy-Off-Getaway recording takes for the televised edit. Now, this was something else. For starters, poor Charli had been given a bum steer by wardrobe and was dressed in a ‘vintage’ (broken) sequined dress which I’m sure looked a million bucks on film (ugh). Unfortunately for her a couple of things were working against her in the flesh, so to speak. For starters the costume mistress had disregarded the negative space cut into the back of the dress, which showed off the Target bra label and size as well as the fake tan streaks. The hem at the bottom was sagging and she kind of look like Courtney Love had styled her with a beating. Now this is fine when you’re in front of a group of confused 3 year olds who just want to nail the clapping choreography for the Channel 9 cameras HOWEVER, when you’re in front of a Hall full of half-drunk-over-excited Gay men you better actually duck for cover motherducker. Vicious (and sometimes painfully hilarious) verbal abuse was hurtled through the crowd and there were some red faces and many vicious bray-like peels of laughter. The poor woman. At least it made the time go faster. The Channel V presenter (straight cones much??) got up next and hacked his way through his intros and back-from-a-commercial-segways and then we were plunged into darkness and told to ‘be excited’ by Kyle Sandinhispants who looked like he had been free-basing PCP in a bunker somewhere near Liverpool. It was ironic. The gay guys behind us (Tom and Alex – in fabulous home-made McQueen) gushed over Jackie and ripped the mean, blonde, fat one a new one. And then it all happened.
‘It doesn’t matter if you love him, or capital H-I-M. Just put your paws up Sydney, ‘cos you were born this way’.
And just like that, the crowd of once compassionate, bouncy, smiling GaGaqueers turned. You could smell the fury. Heels were stomped, hair was pulled and giant paper mache monster claws were used as defense shields against near fatal pit slammings. Every single person in the hall focussed on getting closer to Mother Monster, who was pre-set, perched upon a giant black perspex slippery dip, back-lit from the massive spot-focus lights rigged to the Town Hall Organ, which spanned the entirety of the back wall of the Hall. Epic. She was a tornado of teal and Versace one-offs. She played:
- Born This Way
- Just Dance
- Poker Face
- You & I
- Bad Romance
- Edge of Glory
Since that memorable eve heaps of other shiznit has been going down. Firstly, Machine
Atlas is fast approaching us! ONE WEEK LEFT!? Our stalls are almost all complete and we bump into the space in a couple of days! Things are looking incredible. And you’d be a fool to miss out on this incredible interactive night market. Designed by a group of quite incredible young people, the work in Machine Atlas has been created by over a hundred young people from a plethora of racial and economic backgrounds and is a very special piece of installation and performance theatre. Sarah Emery, Shopfront’s Outreach Officer and I have been running workshops at the Kogarah PCYC making work for the show. These workshops are some of many that are happening all over Kogarah, Hurstville and the neighbouring suburbs which aim at getting the community involved with the work and the project. The marketing images and banners which are being flown down the street holding the piazza, which will be cordoned off for the show, look absolutely beautiful.
WHERE: Tune in on ya soundbox on 94.5fm or you can stream the show HERE live on the day.
SPREAD THE WORD: Use the tag #OutofTomsBox and mention @fbiradio to tell your friends and promote the heck out of the whole debacle.
Featuring The Pixies, original tracks from Machine Atlas’ Outreach workshops and The Queen of Fucking Everything.
Below this graph you can find all the useful links, an invite and a couple of the mentions we’ve had in the press in the last couple of weeks for Machine Atlas. A reminder that this a completely 100% FREE event, all you have to do is call Shopfront and register the night you will be attending. Opening night is sold out, but you still have three opportunities to come along and support brand-spanking-new, high calibre, exciting Australian theatre.
- The Machine Atlas Facebook Event Page.
- Machine Atlas on the front page of the Kogarah Leader.
- Machine Atlas write up on the Kogarah Council Site.
- Machine Atlas write up on Heaps Decent.
Moving on to recent artists endeavours, on Sunday I had the privilege to work with Machine Atlas designer Robin Whitmore (Duckie, UK) to create, with one other Queer artist and our lovely tech guy Jamie (ooh and Shopfront AD Howard), a massive wall sized drawing installation/Mardi Gras float. The workshop was suitably titled ‘Queer Draw‘ and was run in conjunction with Performance Space. Robin got us to use a Brian Eno devised system of random inspirational, thought inducing cards. These cards denoted the subject of a drawing/painting and what techniques must be employed to create the image. All the cards asked you to create work around notions of gender, sexuality and identity as well as referencing your own personal experiences and ideas of your own sexuality. There were permanent markers, OHP’s, transparencies, masking tape, paint, water, brushes, cardboard, paper and a wall. We were asked to bring in reference pictures and quotes from Queer artists/philosophers/thinkers that had influenced the way we had formed and think about our sexuality. I had images from La Chapelle, Bacon, Beardsley, Scheile, Jean, Warhol and McQueen. I had quotes from Largerfeld, Plato, Wilde and Cho. The results were great and after the 6 hour session I felt creatively recharged and exhausted. It was grouse. Check out what we did in the Dungeon at Shopfront below ( the Beth Ditto, ‘cock’ head is obviously mine).
Switching mediums now, you should also check out the image we (the Shaylen and I, of course) created for the Black Milk Facebook Page. I got a black super-villian cape from their online store – which is mega kick ass and I wanted to get in on this new cult which has begun on their FB Page. This happens to be: taking VICE-like self-portraits modelling the BM gear. The shots turned out rather well. Damn, Hipstamatic. You’re almost too good. Cast your eyes on her, she’s a beauty.
And finally, Soph and I had another shoot (the last for a little while until after the shows) the other night for my submission for ‘Fur’. A group exhibition at Monstrosity Gallery around the theme of, exactly that, fur. I’m going to leave you with the photos and the preview of the composition that I pitched to the Gallery, sans rationale – because I think the images speak for themselves. I will tell you this much though, the title of the series is called ‘Echopraxia‘. Hopefully the work is accepted for the exhibition and I’m telling you all to get your asses down to the gallery in the next blog.
I know this was a lot of writings, thank you for sticking with me thus far. I hope I can see you at one of the shows coming up. We need more people like you in the audience. I also hope we can have a drink soon. On you, of course.
Love, jewels, nipples and beehives to you all,