1997 - Keith Haring: Party of Life


Keith Haring: Party of Life was presented with the "Best Small Group Entrant (Parade)" award for the 1997 parade. Proudly Sponsored by The Beresford Hotel

28th April, 1997

Each year we approach the Mardi Gras workshop, a motley bunch of parade aspirants and the initial look on Ian McMillan's face is one of sheer dread. "Oh no!!", I can see him thinking, "not again". We so torture them with our ideas. But the crew are marvellous. Guiding, advising, encouraging and committed.

Then after an exhausting month of events and openings, designing, constructing and Happy Sperm cruising at the workshop, it is the big day. You assemble at the bottom of Darlinghurst. Chaos rules supreme and the atmosphere is astonishing. Everyone involved, Mardi Gras administration, the participants, the marshals, security and support staff are all committed to the same goal. To navigate this multiheaded, provocative, fire-breathing beast with in your face attitude, from one end of Oxford Street to the other.

Now Only Friend and I attended Lea Delaria's performance at the Harold Park about a month back, and she was able to articulate for me exactly what embodies the strength of our community.

We are not normal, normal people could not do this. Don't pretend that we are just like everyone else, we are not like everyone else. Everyone else does not have our experiences, nor fought the battle we must continually wage. Normal people, everyone else, could not stage a Mardi Gras such as ours with such vibrancy and style.

No, we are fucking extraordinary, and it is only through the commitment of these extraordinary people that this expression of ourselves and our culture is possible, against such adversities as torrential rain, fundamentalist rantings, AIDS backlash and drag itch.

This for me is Mardi Gras. The confirmation that this community is special.

Thank you for this. See you next year and Dykes on Bikes beware.

mg1998 Award