Having pride in Sydney's own showgirls
They cut their teeth in Sydney and now these drag performers are making their mark on the world stage. SX’s newest regular contributor, Colleen Windsor, reflects on the success of four of Sydney’s showgirls.
Recently I went to the Pollys Club’s 50th anniversary dance and show at UNSW Roundhouse, which was a most wonderful celebration of Pollys – the longest running gay social club in the world. I love it as it’s my chance to catch up with my sister showgirls from way back in the day, who I only get to see at these dances. Naturally, we all end up around one table to share our gossip and of what’s what of the moment.
After a few ‘well in our day’ kind of stories the conversation moved into what’s happening now and I was delighted to hear just how much the old girls had their eyes on the current scene. One of my girlfriends turned to me and said, “Come on Colleen, you know what’s happening – anything bona (good) we should know about”.
“Well yes,” I began. Just in the last few weeks around Gay Pride celebrations, Sydney drag was punching well above its weight on a global stage.
There’s Courtney Act, who recently moved into a whole new drag queen stratosphere. I told the girls all about Courtney’s fame ride including being a contestant on Logo TV’s RuPaul Drag Race, and how she did so well to win third place – she certainly gave those US queens a little taste of the Sydney drag experience. Just recently, Courtney was on a float in the New York Pride Parade. Afterwards, Courtney was one of the headline acts at the Official NYC Logo TV Pride Party, along with a few of her sister Drag Race finalists, hosted by Michelle Visage, at the Broadway Liberty Theatre.
“It’s all on YouTube girls,” I told them. “Go vada (look) at the Courtney Act channel.”
There’s Kitty Glitter, who has become the world’s hottest drag DJ. She was the final DJ of the day at the World Pride 14 Toronto T-Dance, alongside some of the world’s biggest gay DJs. Playing a city’s pride parade after-party is big business but to play following a World Pride Parade with some 12,000 marchers in the massive Dundas Square – Toronto’s biggest public space – is something else. Everyone at my table screamed in delight acknowledging just how well Kitty is doing, always decked in the finest drag and a great ambassador of the Sydney showgirl scene.
“I’ve got one of her free podcasts, there fantabulosa,” one of the girls screamed.
There’s Dallas Dellaforce, who has appeared at the Glastonbury Festival no less. The Glastonbury Festival is the UK’s massive annual five-day summer music festival held in Somerset inthe south west of England. It attracts about 150,000 punter. Glastonbury has a famous Circus Field with a big top holding an audience of 3000 each night.
Dallas was there as part of Briefs: The Second Coming, an Australian group billed as an “all-male, all vaudeville, and an all-trash edgy circus troupe”. They headlined as the Circus Tent’s late-night act. Whilst Dallas has been developing her very theatrical genderfuck performance style for about ten years, anyone who saw her triumphant In Pursuit of Glamour in last year’s Mardi Gras festival would know this was something the world would ache to see. And through the Briefs show, that sure is happening.
I know we lost Mitzi Macintosh to the UK a few years back now, but we will forever claim her as one of Sydney’s greatest drag stars. Just bringing Mitzi’s name up in our rave had girlfriends cooing with glee – she is after all the most DIVA awarded of all queens. Mitzi was one of the headline acts at a London Pride gig, Pride and Glory, at Half Way to Haven, a very British kind of gay bar just off of Trafalgar Square and right smack in all the day’s action. Since arriving in London, Mitzi has won Boyz Awards ‘Best Newcomer’ gong and has a weekly residency at Half Way to Haven with her ‘Come Mime with Me’ show. It’s a typically tiny drinking hole with a small stage and punters who can be a hard lot to crack. I was in London a few months back and went along for a Mitzi fix and was just delighted to see her giving those Brits a very Australian taste of drag performance. Working alone and onstage for 45 minutes, it’s clever, glam and very funny – cracking them she sure is.
Meanwhile back on Table 34 we were having a bonaroo (wonderful) time, and some of the girls performed spot numbers. Maxine DuBarry reprised Colleen Hewett’s tingling ‘Waltzing Matilda’, the whole audience sang along to Judy Burnett’s performance of Idina Menzel’s ‘Let It Go’ and the legendary Karen Chant, in the final performance of a 60-year career, performed her ultimate swansong – Streisand’s ‘I’m the Greatest Star’ – and everyone gave her a fond farewell with a standing ovation. We had drinks, we danced and we reminisced – as you do.