Australian 2011 Mardi Gras was riveted together with performances and spirit unlike any other I’ve seen in the world. From the parade to the parties, the momentum kept building.
The theme this year was a blank speech balloon like those used in comic books. The idea behind it was for people to ‘say something’ by filling the balloon with your personal message for Mardi Gras and GLBTQ rights.
Whether it be gay rights, trans rights, bullying, gay marriage, you could say anything you wanted.
It was explained to me, like many large events, that no matter what theme gets chosen–year after year–someone’s point of view always gets left out. However, this year there was no way to not be included as the theme was completely customizable and open ended. Pretty brilliant in my opinion.
A man named Kabi thought of the Say Something theme. I had the pleasure of hanging with during my time with the Wet Ones Swim Club and then at the Mardis Gras 2011 Harbor Party. I can say he is as brilliant as he is humble. Not to mention he is a snappy dresser.
From the Say Something 2011 Mardi Gras site:
Kabi has been volunteering for the Parade since 1988 when he made the Cupie dolls’ angel wings that accompanied the Order of Perpetual Indulgence’s infamous Fred Nile head in the Parade of that year. Kabi and his group ethel yarwood enterprises have since created some of the most memorable and iconic Parade entries of the past 23 years. They have collected 8 Parade awards for their efforts and entertained whilst contributing to the fame and prominence of the Festival.
Here he explains the reason and purpose for the 2011 season concept.
The equal rights movement for gays and lesbians in Australia was ignited because in 1978 activists took to the streets of Sydney to bravely Say Something about the criminalisation of our sexuality and the oppression of our culture. From this seed of the 78’ers dissent, The Sydney Gay Mardi Gras was established. Through the combination of art, politics and courage we have employed this platform to Say Something about ourselves, our struggles and our triumphs, our losses and our gains.
Over the ensuing period, through its many forms and structures, this protest has grown into a world renowned festival encompassing multiple disciplines of the arts, parties, community gatherings and the Parade. Saying Something is a thread that runs through the entire festival. Writers Say Something to their readership. Speakers, performers, painters, photographers, dancers, actors, film directors, artists of all persuasions want to Say Something to their audiences to share an idea, an experience, to connect.
The very fact that 70,000 proud community members assemble at the Fair Day/Launch including our supporters, friends and family really Says Something about the power of the tribe, the strength of kinship.
The parade offers the community and sponsors the opportunity, and lays down the challenge, to pass commentary about issues affecting the local and international GLTQ family, and use our uniquely camp, larrikin view of the world to highlight and lampoon topical issues. Whether a single entrant or a marching mass of muscle marys, we will have an impact that resonates beyond the moment if we actually Say Something.
Additionally we will endeavour to exploit the digital age of the interweb. We will present to you new and exciting formats in which to participate in this campaign so that your messages can be instantly broadcast around the world.
So Say Something about injustice.
Say Something to your mother.
Say Something critical.
Say Something funny.
Say Something with passion.
Say Something to the cute visitor that will have him or her return to our shores again.
Say Something about equality.
Just get out there, this is your chance to Say Something.
Find them on Facebook.
Here’s Kylie Minogue’s Mardi Gras 2011 Say Something Message: