What’s hot at Midsumma 2014

Caravan Burlesque midsummaMelbourne is set to sizzle as Midsumma’s annual festival of queer arts and culture will mark its 26th year with an exciting program  of performance, visual arts, spoken word, community and social events that will make-up the festival.

A highlight of Victoria’s summer cultural landscape, the festival opens this Sunday 12 January and runs till Sunday 2 February. We take a look at fifteen ‘must see’ events taking place over the two week festival.

Thank You For Being A Friend
Theatre Works, St Kilda, 7 – 18 January 2014
The ultimate Golden Girls experience with Dorothy, Sophia, Rose and Blanche delivering all the classic dialogue, razor sharp gags and taboo-breaking stories you’d expect.

Gallery, 1 Spring St, Melbourne: 14 – 31 January 2014
Enter the world of the Inquisitarium where thoughts wander and minds are lost. We all seek to belong in life and strive to be treated as equal. But it is only through our minds, as unique and fragile as they are, that we can truly be ourselves. Artists include: Garrett Hughes, Illma Gore, Jimmy Twin, Kim Leutwyler, Lincoln Glover, Polina Outkina, Steven Granger and Yasmin Yusuf Les.

Chapel off Chapel, Prahran: 15 -19 January 2014
Is Oprah a talk-show queen or a cabaret goddess? This multi-award winning cabaret is brought to you by Rachel Dunham in her portrayal of the American talk-show queen, coupled with an original score by Shanon Whitelock, guarantees to have you screaming for more.

Here And Now – The Songs of Noël Coward
The Butterfly Club, Melbourne: 15 – 19 January 2014
Noël Coward was worried that his legacy would be forgotten. His plays are regularly performed throughout the world and his songs, both witty and sentimental, continue to delight. Robert Green has been passionate about all things Coward for over 30 years and always revels in the opportunity to present his music to audiences old and new.

Sweet Dream: Songs by Annie Lennox
fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne: 15 – 26 January 2014
Written and directed by Dean Bryant and performed by Michael Griffiths on piano as a cabaret double bill with In Vogue: Songs by Madonna. A clever look at the life and music of two of the world’s most famous singers.

The Vaudevillians starring Jinkx Monsoon
The GH Hotel, St Kilda: 15 – 19 January 2014
The hottest act ever frozen alive has returned from the 1920’s to reclaim their original hits! RuPaul’s Drag Race reigning queen – Jinkx Monsoon makes her Australian debut in The Vaudevillians with co-star Major Scales.

The Comfort Zone / The Wall of Sound
Gasworks Arts Park, Albert Park: 15 January – 2 February 2014
A specially curated group exhibition that showcases the incredible talents of the artists and shares all the elements of the artists’ life that make them proud to be who they are as human beings. As part of the exhibition, the Angela Robarts-Bird Gallery will transform into The Wall of Sound – a message board installation comprising of post-it notes, photos and cards stuck to the wall with positive messages about equality for all.

The Temperamentals
Brunswick Mechanics Institute Performing Arts Centre: 17 January – 1 February 2014
Chronicles the genesis of The Mattachine Society (one of the first homosexual societies in the US) as well as the love affair between two of its founding members, activist Harry Hay and well known fashion designer Rudi Gernreich. Set to the backdrop of 1950?s Los Angeles, the struggle, bravery, risk, sacrifice and passion  of Gay history is brought to life in a fascinating and utterly human way.

The Worst of Scottee
Theatre Works, St Kilda: 20 – 25 January 2014
In this wicked and hilarious Australian premiere, Scottee encounters past flames, ex-friends and people who no longer like him in an attempt to find out where he went wrong…..and wants to find out what people really think of him. Why did he pretend to have AIDS? What prompted him to steal money from his nan? Why did he tell everyone his friend committed suicide when she hadn’t, and what caused all this behaviour in the first place?

The Butterfly Club, Melbourne: 21 – 26 January 2014
Drew Downing performs as fictitious 60s rock star, Rebel, exposing his life of affairs with the likes of Rock Hudson and James Dean. Supported by his band, Rebel recalls his life as a rock star and the  closeted lifestyles of those around him in the original era of ‘don’t ask; don’t tell’.

Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays
Chapel off Chapel, Prahran: 22 January – 9 February 2014
The Australian premiere of eight short plays from top Broadway playwrights. Featuring Pia Miranda and Spencer McLaren, each of the plays gives a different spin on gay marriage – from witty, to warm to wacky.

Everything I Know I Learnt From Madonna
La Mama Theatre, Carlton: 22 January – 2 February 2014
After selling out La Mama with last year’s Midsumma hit, Fag Boy & The Married Guy, acclaimed dramatist and actor Wayne Tunks is returning to La Mama with his most personal story to date, his own. Detailing his life-long love affair with Madonna, Everything I Know I Learnt From Madonna examines Wayne’s theory that he can relate every important life moment to a Madonna lyric.

Caravan Burlesque
The Substation, Newport: 24 January – 1 February 2014
The legendary, genre-busting, globally-acclaimed seductive and subversive cult-hit storms into Newport direct from Paris & the Pilbara, Buenos Aires & Ballarat! And this time we unleash the wild in the west! Moira Finucane and her emporium fuses Parisian nightclub with jaw-dropping cabaret, sultry songs, undressing sirens and hula-hooping madness.

Without me, I’m nothing
Revolt Artspace, Kensington: 27 January – 2 February 2014
Jonathan Duffy is an accomplished actor; stand up comic and award-winning filmmaker. He is also painfully aware that most people have no idea who he is.  Give him one hour and he hopes to change that. With the help of a few friends, some well-crafted jokes and a bit of song and dance, he is sure you will never forget him.

Diamonds are for Trevor
Playhouse – Arts Centre Melbourne: 28 January – 2 February 2014
Trevor Ashley celebrates the musical legacy of one of the world’s most acclaimed concert artists, Dame Shirley Bassey – a stunning evening of song and storytelling, accompanied by a 14-piece orchestra, in a spectacular, over-the-top concert extravaganza.

For more information, visit: www.midsumma.org.au for details.

Image: Caravan Burlesque