Tag: State Library of Victoria


Spectacular night out – but not for everyone

By Caitlin McGrane

Heaps Gay and YUMMY were the hostesses with the mostess on Wednesday night, bringing their unbridled enthusiasm and vibrancy from their home in Sydney where they host queer parties and events, and run their website writing about all things queer. I’m so glad Heaps Gay partnered with legendary cabaret act YUMMY to bring us the biggest, queerest love-in I’ve ever been to. It was delicious, but the aftermath has left a sour taste in my mouth.

Heaps Gay Heaps Yummy.png

Walking into the State Library of Victoria for a massive queer dance party on a Wednesday night, I had no idea what to expect. The State Library is ultra-familiar to me, it was where I got my first real job, and have spent many magical hours wandering the labyrinthine corridors imagining how great it would be to have a massive fucking party in the dome.

The dome itself didn’t open until 10pm, so we spent the first couple of hours in the aptly named Queens Hall dancing to some amazing DJs, and watching brilliant drag queen shows. The library opened its arms to Melbourne’s huge queer community, and it seemed like literally everyone showed up. As a shy newcomer to the queer community, I was feeling pretty apprehensive. It was one of the best nights out I’ve ever had. However, in the days since I have been forced to reconsider how much I enjoyed it; as a white cisgender able-bodied woman my experience at HGHY was not necessarily everyone’s experience. I have been told about numerous incidents of harassment from the security guards, some of whom looked ‘visibly disgusted’ at people making out and ‘grabbing you if they didn’t see your wristband as you walked past’; there was also no security outside at the end of the event, so a group of men verbally harassed people while they left. The venue also had some serious accessibility issues – the stage was not visible for disabled people; the lifts into Queens Hall and the Dome were not adequately sign-posted; the bathrooms were not gender-inclusive with ‘M/F’ still on the doors. All-in-all, these just seem like rookie mistakes in organising a LGBTIQA+ event.

The line-up was amazing, HTML Flowers upped the fucking ante with their amazing beats, and featured a special guest appearance from angelic bb Daisy Catterall. The level of talent was out of control, although artists weren’t always signposted (especially in the dome), and there wasn’t a set list that I could find, so I felt like I had to cobble together who was playing through guesswork and actually knowing who some artists were. Heaps Gay Heaps Yummy at Melbourne Music Week is an incredible platform for queer artists, and I would have appreciated knowing who was playing and when for numerous reasons, but mostly so I could a) find out more about them later, and b) write this review a little easier. It also seems a little bit tokenistic to put together such an amazing inclusive line-up, then not ensure artists and patrons are sufficiently protected from dickheads.

In any case, the night was expertly MC’d by YUMMY, and featured some incredible performances from Donny Benét, HABITS, Brooke Powers, Karen From Finance, KT Spit  and DJ Ruby Slippers among others; but for me the highlight was FURY performing the very best poem about gay marriage that I have ever heard.

Check out Heaps Gay here: http://heapsgay.com/ and YUMMY here: https://www.facebook.com/yummytheshow/?fref=ts. Melbourne Music Week is on until Saturday 19 November, get more info here: http://mmw.melbourne.vic.gov.au/


Freedom, fashion and forgotten stories

By Myron My

It’s hard to put into words the thoughts and feelings I had whilst experiencing Liberty of the Press. Even the venue for this concert/exhibition/fashion-runway/performance-based evening – the State Library of Victoria – was most unusual, yet fitting for a show like this.

Liberty of the Press

In this production inspired by the stunning “Press Dress” – an outfit constructed from panels of silk printed with the front pages of Melbourne newspapers – worn by Mrs Matilda Butters at the Mayor’s fancy dress ball in 1866, we were treated to a variety of sensory events presented within the confines of the library.

Beginning in the La Trobe Dome Reading Room, we witnessed some Chinese drumming which sent reverberations throughout your body and echoes all over the room. At one point four scrolls were thrown over the top floor railings with the last one reading “Liberty of the Press”. It had begun.

It is then you heard a distant beautiful operatic voice singing. It was hypnotic and I could have listened to it for much longer but as I was drawn towards it, I caught a glimpse of the Press Dress in the Queen’s Hall. All that’s left of the ornate costume is the dress, which now belongs in the State Library of Victoria’s Realia collection. Interestingly, little is known about the dress’ creator, Mrs William Dobbs, apart from the fact she lived in South Yarra.

Following this was a catwalk showing of some eye-catching fashion inspired by the dress from designers New Model Beauty Queen and Preston Zly. This was accompanied by a traditional Chinese performance with Chinese Dragons, which led us to the State Library Forecourt where the two worlds came together in a spectacular conclusion.

Created by Barking Spider Visual Theatre, Liberty of the Press was performed as part of Melbourne Spring Fashion Week, and acknowledged the lesser-known history of women from the past and the 40, 000 Chinese who arrived to Victoria during the Gold Rush.

There’s not much else to say about this except it was simply a visual and aural feast of fashion, design, performance and music that took place on September 4, 2014.