Okay, so Mardi Gras has been and gone, and you would think from flicking through all the galleries online that Australia’s gay scene lives and dies in Sydney. Au contraire, my friends. Melbourne has a glittering LGBT nightlife that extends well beyond the Midsumma Festival period into gay bars, queer parties and R’n’B-fuelled grinding at one of Melbourne’s Essential Gay Bars and Parties. But if it’s drag in particular that stakes a claim in your diamante-encrusted heart, you need to check out Melbourne’s best drag shows.
Drag has come a long way since Dame Edna first satirized the mood of 1950s Melbourne suburbia with her ‘wisteria hue’ hair. It’s always been around in a sense—cross-dressing was a common theme in Shakespeare’s plays, after all! Drag can be a creative outlet, a means of self-exploration, a way to make cultural statements, or all of the above. Many queens prefer to be referred to as ‘she’ while in costume but characters such as recent superstar RuPaul don’t give a damn about pronouns and emphatically reject the notion that drag is a form of female impersonation. In RuPaul’s own words, ‘How many women do you know who wear seven-inch heels, four-foot wigs and skintight dresses?!’
Regardless of how you interpret it, drag is a pretty amazing cultural phenomenon; one we’re lucky to have heaps of in Melbourne. Everyone should attend a drag show at least once in their lifetime – the amount of effort and energy that gets poured in by the people involved is amazing. Plus, it gives you a genuine excuse to scream, ‘Yaasss queen!’ Without further ado, here are some of Melbourne’s best weekly and monthly drag nights for when you feel like getting a fab fix of feathers and sequins.
Glamazon at The GH Hotel St Kilda
The GH Hotel showcases a whole heap of drag show amazingness, but our pick of the bunch is Glamazon on Saturday nights. It features an international line-up of drag performers including Paris, Day Tona, Laura Gravity, Amena Jay Alura, Sasha Starr, Aaliyah Storm, Laura Gravity and Rita La’Coqeater in a sparkling stage spectacular that’ll bedazzle your eyeballs. The performances are Disney-inspired, and in between shows, local and international DJs make sure the action on the dance floor stays fierce. Curtains open at 10.30pm, and if you come a little earlier, a trio of platinum blonde Dinner Ladies will entertain you over a pub meal in the blue bar.
Saturday nights from 9.30pm
Showtime at Sircuit
Sircuit is firmly ingrained in the Melbourne gay bar scene for a number of reasons: it has a men-only cruise floor, a chic industrial fit-out and a regular weekday night where you can party in the buff. Also, their drag night is tops. Every Friday, the silver sequin stage curtain parts to reveal Jacqui, Sasha and Nova, three beautiful sisters who were separated at birth but reunited by their love of sequins. The ladies dance, mime and share outrageous stories while DJ Argonaut keeps the dance floor sultry and sweaty. Sircuit is probably the busiest gay bar north of the river – Showtime offers the perfect excuse to find out why.
Friday nights from 10.30pm at Sircuit
Honcho Disko at Mollie’s Bar & Diner
Thursday nights at Honcho Disko are fast shaping up to be the hottest ticket in town for the LGBT brigade. Hosted by the fabulous Pluto Savage with DJ Matt Doll on the decks and weekly special guests, it’s a delectable smorgasbord of fierce shows, deviant disco and dance floor awesomeness. Plus, Mollie’s offers $2 pots from 7pm to 10pm, and boasts a dinky kitchen out the back in a repurposed vintage caravan where you can order burgers, burritos and pizzas. As Pluto Savage would say, ‘cum get sum’.
Thursday nights from 7pm-1am
Fellas in Frocks at The 86 Cabaret Bar
The 86 Cabaret Bar is home to Fellas in Frocks on Friday nights, with the divine diva Christina Andrews ushering three guest stars on stage per week to show off their spectacular lip-syncing and dancing routines. Regulars include Karen From Finance, Lexi Jones, Polly Filla and Linda LaMont. Audience participation is a big part of this event so be prepared to jump up on stage for fun chats and challenges – down a couple of $5 Fellas Frappes to give you Dutch courage before 9pm.
Friday nights from 7pm
Bold, Bitter & Beautiful at DTs Pub
DTs is presenting Big, Bold and Beautiful on Saturday nights – a supersized drag show starring Miss Candy, Suzie Ridge, Rita La’Coqeater and more in brand new high-camp numbers as well as some golden oldies. Get there early for a plethora of drinks specials – shows start at 10.30pm and 11.30pm.
Image credit: Transyrambler