Glamour, glitter and grit – celebrate the queer community with our top five picks at MELT 2017
The year is 2017 and while we may have a jerk of a human Cheeto leading the free world, some things are looking up. There is change in the air, and Brisbane is helping to lead the charge. Coming into its third year, MELT is a festival that celebrates all that is wonderful about queer culture. Although there is still a ways to go in the fight for equality and acceptance, MELT is all about taking these struggles, throwing some glitter on them and using them as a vehicle for moving forward. From heartfelt talks to eye-popping art and musical theatre, we’ve picked the top five things to check out when MELT returns to the Brisbane Powerhouse from January 25 to February 5.
MELT Opening Night Party – Wednesday January 25
It almost goes without saying that opening night is a top thing to do at MELT, but we’re going to say it anyway. This soiree isn’t just a little ‘drinks and nibbles’ affair – think live sets from DJ Harry K and DJ Ish, colour as far as the eye can see and a safe, positive environment for folks of all gender identities to let their hair down. Coinciding with the party is MELT’s ever-fabulous beauty pageant, wherein drag queens, drag kings and trans babes battle it out to be crowned Brisbane Beauty. Shantay, you stay!
MELT Portrait Prize – Wednesday January 25 to Sunday February 5
Visual art is a pretty rad way to express yourself, so what better way to celebrate the diversity of the LGBTI+ community than with an art show? The MELT Portrait Prize brings together entries from right here at home to all the way across the world, as artists are invited to create a portrait of someone from the global LGBTQI+ community. After a submission process that closed late last year, the shortlisted portraits will be available for viewing during the duration of MELT. The overall winner is announced in the second week of the festival, so be sure to check out all of the amazing work on offer.
Hedwig 15 – Saturday January 28
When it comes to cult queer classics, it doesn’t get much better than Hedwig and the Angry Inch. The incredible story of a genderqueer singer who left East Berlin in the 1980s and found redemption in punk and glam rock hit cinema screens in 2001 and has been inspiring audiences ever since. Hedwig 15 is a gala celebration of this iconic film, bringing the story to life with a blistering live performance of the soundtrack. Audiences first view the film, and then sit back as an all-star cast including Sandro Colarelli and Bertie Page belt out hit tunes from the show.
MELT Talks – Sunday January 29 and Sunday February 5
Although the festival brings the fun in large amounts, MELT is also about generating conversation about the LGBTQI+ community. One of the best ways to do this is to hear from smart, entertaining people who are actively involved in said community. MELT Talks are happening over the two Sundays of the festival, where figures will appear in conversation with Radio National’s Paul Barclay. First up is the hilarious Steven Oliver – the writer, actor and star of ABC TV’s groundbreaking sketch show Black Comedy will chat candidly about his life. The next week will see 2016’s GLBTI Person of the Year Georgie Stone share her story.
Quiver – Thursday February 2
The Vulcana Women’s Circus is a huge part of the MELT family and culture, and its latest production is a must-see. Quiver is a brand-new cabaret performed by a mix of queer and queer-friendly artists. Quiver is a sensory exploration of the disruptive notions of sexuality, gender and live performance. Combining the energy of circus and dance with the beauty of music and spoken word, this is a diverse and inspiring piece of work that had been designed to challenge identities and evoke change.