A GLAMorous guide to Midsumma in Melbourne 2019: Queerying the catalogue, curating the revolution

I thought I’d take some time to round up GLAMorous Midsumma events and recruit for the GLAM Pride Victoria contingent at Pride March in early 2019. My recommendations for bookish, emerging creative tech, and history fun! It has made me pretty excited about queer GLAMorous Melbourne – not just in the inner north and south but in Frankston, Fundoora, Footscray, St Albans, and, of course, Rainbow Valley!  I still dream of the day when GLAMorous institutions host LGBTIQA+ events, showcase LGBTIQA+ materials, and have all gender toilets all year round instead of just during Midsumma time. However, as I like to say Midsumma is an excellent gaytway and we don’t actually have to wait til then thanks to Museums Victoria – Check out Melbourne Museum’s special edition of Nocturnal this Friday night celebrating gender, identity, & queer culture and the Love exhibition at the Immigration Museum (I’ve heard very good things about it).

If you’re organising an event or display in your GLAM around Midsumma time, let me know and I’ll update this post.

I’ve included all or part of the event descriptions as they appear in the program in italicized quotes as I feel its better to keep it in artists, performers, and organisers own words.

Once again queering time and space, I have not arranged this as a chronological timeline or by particular location.

*Updated in January 2019 to include events at Prahran Mechanic’s Institute Library, St Kilda Library, Brunswick Library and ALGA, and Michaela’s Introverts guide to Midsumma 2019.*

Personal Touch

Presented by: Midsumma Festival and Incinerator Gallery in Rainbow Valley

Throughout history, self-portraiture has provided a means for artists to examine their place in society. In the time of the camera phone, self-representation by artists provokes needed discussion on the problematic binaries associated with gender and identity. Personal Touch expresses the sensitivity with which artists are addressing the evolving nature of selfhood, at a time when the political status quo fails to do so.

Featuring Archie Barry (who recently wrote this excellent piece on trans erasure and visibility in history, archives and art) Bailee-Rose Farnham, Nunzio Madden, Bon Mott, Rowan Oliver, Bobuq Sayed and Tyza Stewart, with text by Nevo Zisin.

Dates: 22 Jan – 17 Feb
Fri 25 Jan 6 – 8pm
Tue – Sun 11am – 4pm
Artist Performance and Talk:
Sat 2 Feb 2pm

Incinerator Gallery, Moonee Ponds
Find out more: http://midsumma.org.au/program/pertou19

Drag Story Time at the Incinerator Gallery

Presented by: Incinerator Gallery, Moonee Valley Libraries and Women’s Circus

Join our fabulous drag artist to hear stories, sing songs, eat fairy floss, giggle, and celebrate loving who you are. There are two sessions; 11am is age appropriate for families, and 1pm is a little bit risqué (for adults only). After the program find somewhere comfy in the garden with a rainbow library book to share with your family and friends.

Free but places are limited.
Sat 9 Feb
Families: 11 – 11.45am
Grown-ups: 1 – 2pm
Find out more: http://midsumma.org.au/program/dragst19

Rainbow Family Storytime

Presented by Hobsons Bay City Council

Join drag performers Rex Spandex and Jesse Dean for a very special Storytime celebrating diverse families, celebrating identity, and embracing who you are. We’ll be sharing our favourite rainbow books, singing songs, and having a fabulous time! All families welcome.

Newport Community Hub are throwing open the doors and inviting the whole neighbourhood!

Friday 1st February from 4pm


Find out more: https://midsumma.org.au/program/rainfs19

Writers in Conversation

Presented by: Hobsons Bay Libraries

Bobuq Sayed and Adolfo Aranjuez are friends and colleagues on Archer magazine. As writers and editors they are an intrinsic part of Melbourne’s queer lit scene.

Join them as they discuss their writing, their inspiration and the direction of queer stories for a new generation.

Find out more and book: https://midsumma.org.au/program/writer19

AIDS Memorial Garden Walking Tour

Stories of hope, heartache and horticulture from the site of the old Fairfield Hospital

Presented by: Thorne Harbour Health (VAC)

Thorne Harbour Health and Polytechnic invite you to join them in marking the 30 years of the AIDS Memorial Garden with a special walking tour and morning tea to mark the 30 years since it was opened on the grounds of the former Fairfield Hospital. Enjoy the lush grounds of what is now part of Melbourne Polytechnic College Fairfield and listen to stories from the Fairfield Hospital at the height of the AIDS crisis in Australia.

Located in the grounds of Fairfield Hospital, which at the time was responsible for the care of the majority of HIV/AIDS patients in Victoria, it was officially opened in April 1988. The Garden, originally established by Victorian AIDS Council volunteers, remains to this day a treasured resource and place of quiet reflection.

Melbourne Polytechnic, Melbourne

Sunday 10 February 2019, 12:00pm – 2:00pm

Find out more: http://midsumma.org.au/program/aids19 


Presented by: Trocadero Artspace (Footscray), Curated by Matto Lucas

‘Polari’ brings together a selection of local, interstate and international queer artists whose practices explore methods of communication within a range of various media and visual practices.

Polari – meaning ‘to talk’ – is a form of secret, theatrical slang language used primarily by homosexual men at a time when homosexuality was criminalised, to conceal homosexuality from hostile outsiders.

Incorporating illustration, animation, video, installation, performance, photography and experimental media, the ‘Polari’ group exhibition attempts to playfully explore the ways in which queer contemporary visual artists interpret and divulge their conceptual frameworks and meanings. In what ways are our works seen as “gay art” or are we “queer practitioners” and how do we disclose our messages to patrons via our art practices?

Find out more: http://midsumma.org.au/program/polari19

Queer @ the library

Presented by: Frankston Library

Nevo Zisin is an author and inspirational speaker on personal development and social issues.

They also happen to be transgender and identify as non-binary. Releasing their memoir, Finding Nevo, on gender and sexuality at the age of 21, Nevo is unafraid to delve into difficult and often taboo topics while remaining relatable and engaging.

Free but bookings are essential.

4 Feb 2019, 6pm to 7:30pm

Frankston Library

Film Screening: Love, Simon

Presented by: Preston Library

Join us for a free screening of acclaimed film Love, Simon at the Preston Library.

From the producers of The Fault in Our Stars comes this heartfelt coming-of-age story about the adventure of finding yourself and falling in love. Everyone deserves a great love story, but for seventeen-year-old Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) it’s a bit complicated: he is yet to tell his family or friends he’s gay and he doesn’t actually know the identity of the anonymous classmate he’s fallen for online.

Light refreshments and free popcorn included!

Preston Library, Melbourne

Thursday 24 January 2019, 7:00pm – 9:00pm

Find out more and book: https://midsumma.org.au/program/lovesi19 


A finessed fashion sensibility that considers costuming, codes and the allure of the queer gaze

Presented by: Bundoora Homestead Art Centre, Curated by Angela Bailey (President of ALGA)

This exhibition features artists who have played with, constructed and considered the threads we wear and how style can both define and expose us. This exhibition connects to our queer histories, gender fluidity and acknowledges the defiantly dapper.

Artists: Ray Cook, Lin Tobias, Peter Waples-Crowe, The Butch Project, UB Topia and Anj Hans.

Find out more: https://midsumma.org.au/program/dapper19 

The Famous ALGA History Walk: Explore queer history through the streets of Melbourne!

Presented by: Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives

To celebrate over four decades of collecting, preserving and celebrating Australian LGBTQIA+ histories, the Archives is inviting you to come and join us in a special St Kilda edition of ALGA’S famous queer history walk.

Join us as we make our way around St Kilda to explore stories from our very queer past. Parties! Scandals! Nightclubs! Love affairs! Outrageous fashion! Come along for a tour of St Kilda as we get queer history out of the archives and take it to the streets.

Starting at Luna Park

Sunday 27 January 2019, 11:00am – 12:30pm

Find out more and book: http://midsumma.org.au/program/alga19

QueerTech.io: Art at your fingertips (and workshop at ACMI)

Presented by: Midsumma Festival and QueerTech.io

Go to queertech.io on your screen of choice to reveal an online art experience of imaginative, revelatory and playful works that go beyond the binary in digital art. Midsumma Festival and QueerTech.io have gathered together new works from across the globe for you to view in bed, on the tram, in the park or wherever works for you. Experience the online exhibition at queertech.io from 18 Jan.

On Friday 1 February you can literally and virtually get inside the work when the QueerTech.io artist collective present Black Box, an experiment in live digital making at Testing Grounds.

The QueerTech.io artist collective will be artists in residence at Testing Grounds 22 January – 10 February. The residency site will act as a hub, collaboration incubator and experimental exhibition space. As part of Midsumma Festival, QueerTech.io will invite artists and audiences to contribute towards artistic, verbal and online conversations that deconstruct and reconsider notions of queerness in a tech-saturated present.

Also check out the hands-on workshops for queer youth at ACMI.

When: 18 Jan – 30 Jun
Online: from Fri 18 Jan
Testing Grounds Black Box Experiment: Fri 1 Feb 6 – 10pm
Artists In Residence: 22 Jan – 10 Feb
Wed – Sat 11am – 6pm

Find out more: http://midsumma.org.au/program/qtech19

Date Night at Heide

Presented by: Heide

Heide puts the art in heart for a date night in its romantic Heart Garden. Whether you are coupled, or looking to meet the arty queer of your dreams, enjoy a cocktail and cultured conversation.

Tickets include a special performance by The Huxleys and exclusive access to the exhibition House of Ideas, set in Heide I, the original home of John and Sunday Reed and incubator of artistic passions. Focusing on the turbulent decades around World War II, House of Ideas presents many of the best known works from the Heide Collection by artists supported by the Reeds, including Sam Atyeo, Danila Vassilieff, Sidney Nolan, John Perceval, Arthur Boyd, Albert Tucker and Joy Hester.

The Heart Garden is a particularly apt setting for Date Night, as it celebrates the intense love affair and creative partnership of Sidney Nolan and Sunday Reed.

Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne

Sunday 10 February 2019, 5:30pm – 7:00pm

Find out more and register: http://midsumma.org.au/program/heide19

Nocturnal featuring Nakhane

Presented by: Midsumma Festival and Melbourne Museum

Nocturnal February, featuring South African musician and queer rights advocate, Nakhane, is more than just a party, but a transformation of the museum into an adult playground.

With a line-up of live music and DJs, plus bars, casual dining, and roving entertainment, guests can explore the exhibitions after-hours (with drinks in hand), gaze upon collection treasures and speed-meet Museum experts who will be scattered across the gallery spaces.

Melbourne Museum, Melbourne

Friday 1 February 2019, 7:00pm – 11:00pm

Find out now and register: http://midsumma.org.au/program/noctfn19

Leigh in London

Presented by: Robyn Beeche

This profoundly striking exhibition hones in on the work of Australian photographer, Robyn Beeche, during her time in London. The prolific artist documented seemingly opposing worlds: the post-punk, new romantic fashion and music scenes of 1980s London and Hindu ceremonies held in the Indian pilgrimage town of Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh. Throughout this time she was renowned for collaborating with counter-culture personalities including Zandra Rhodes, Vivienne Westwood, Divine and, of course, Sunshine’s art-fashion icon, Leigh Bowery.

The Bowery Theatre
Princess St, St Albans

Find out more: https://midsumma.org.au/program/leigh19

Sunshine Boy: The Life of Leigh Bowery

Presented by: The Bowery Theatre

Dance, text, fashion, art, sex and music. This was Leigh Bowery – the art-fashion icon of the underground clubs of 1980s London hailing from Melbourne’s working class west. You’ll be lured into the depths of his infamous nightclub, Taboo for a pulsating 90 minutes, backed by the unmistakable soundtrack of the generation. This is an in-your-face eyeshot into a life lived wildly… a long way from Sunshine.

Leigh Bowery was born in Sunshine, west of Melbourne in March 1961, but best known as a London based performance artist, club promoter and designer – an eccentric figure in the underground clubs of London and New York, as well as in art and fashion circles. He performed with the Michael Clark Dance Company, set up Taboo nightclub: “the place to be seen and be seen doing it”, and was also a significant model and muse for the English painter, Lucian Freud. He died from an AIDS-related illness on Hogmanay 1994.

Sunshine Boy concept & Performer: Andy Howitt
Sunshine Boy Costume Designer: Bryn Meredith
Music: David Bowie, Sonic Youth, The Cure, The Fall, The Stranglers, Associates and Velvet Underground.

Find out more and book: https://midsumma.org.au/program/sunboy19 

Let’s Eat Cake

Presented by: Maylei Hunt at City Library Gallery (Melbourne Library Service)

“It’s personal. I have always marched and have felt it important to document our journey, our fight for equality. I am thrilled and am proud that this has happened in my (our) life-time…”

The importance for the legalities of the recognition of equal rights for marriage is that the LGBTQIA+ communities see this as a step forward for communities and families for the equal respect, acceptance and acknowledgment of loving relationships between people. A human right to be acknowledged equally.

Australians have for more than fourteen years been taking to the streets to protest for the Equal Rights for Gay Marriage in Australia. Hunt’s photographic series documents the Sydney and Melbourne LGBTQIA+ communities, as well as our straight allies, marching together for the need and acknowledgement of gay marriages as equal to straight marriages.

This exhibition will celebrate our first year of equal marriage rights for all Australians. The opening will also be the book launch of LET’S EAT CAKE and copies will be available on the night. Maylei Hunt is a local social documentary photographer based in Melbourne.

Artist Talk: Sat 2 Feb at 2pm, at the Melbourne City Library exhibition space.

Find out more: http://midsumma.org.au/program/leteat19

Dancing Qweens: Let’s Get Critical at the Bar

Presented by: Dancehouse

Three panel discussions with leaders from the queer performance communities to discuss and dissect queer culture and its intersections with the social, the political and the performative. These conversations, a regular feature in Dancehouse’s public programs, are presented here in a first-time partnership with Midsumma, Victoria’s premier LGBTQI+ festival. Structured in three parts, this series will reflect on the specificities and forces at play in Australian queer culture(s).

Bar Topic – Queer Histories

Considering the globalisation and commodification of queer culture, what are the local specificities? Which forms of queerness resist these forces and which choose to embrace them and why? With a focus on the queer histories of Melbourne and Sydney, this conversation unpacks the entanglement of various art forms and queerness since the ’60s.

Find out more and book: https://midsumma.org.au/program/dqbar19

Once Upon a Drag Storytime

Presented by: PO PO MO CO, Rainbow Families Council and Hare Hole

I have to mention at least one Hares & Hyenas event and have opted for this storytime themed one, but highly recommend checking out more.

It’s Drag! It’s story time! It’s drag story time! This is no ordinary story time – it’s a magnificent theatrical extravaganza with picture books!

Award-winning queer comedy troupe, PO PO MO CO, bring their wacky performance art to the stage at Hares & Hyenas in three shows of family fun for people of all ages but especially the under 8s, with a more adult-oriented show in the evening.

Rainbow Families Victoria, PO PO MO CO and Hares & Hyenas are very proud to be presenting a beautiful new and timely twist on traditional storytime. With two matinee shows and an evening show for the really big kids, this is sure to be a very special show.

PO PO MO CO are Melbourne’s only queer physical comedy troupe with an established brand of rollicking, clever, physical comedy. After making Woodford Folk Festival all warm, fuzzy and fierce with Drag Storytime in 2017, it’s fitting that Midsumma Festival is next!

Find out more and book: https://midsumma.org.au/program/once19

Gender Euphoria

Goodbye gender dysphoria – hello Gender Euphoria.

Presented by: Midsumma Festival and Arts Centre Melbourne

This one might be the most traditionally glamorous event in the list, but with Mama Alto (who grew up in archives with their mum, Dr Sue McKemmish) involved, I’m sure it will also be GLAMorous! A few of my other favourite performers are involved too.

Joined by a cavalcade of transgender legends, cabaret icons Mama Alto and Maude Davey embark upon a new variety adventure – nothing less than the pursuance and promulgation of Gender Euphoria, the state of being deliriously happy with one’s own and everyone else’s gender identities, gender choices and gender expressions.
What happens when we reject the binary? When we reject the expectation of misery?

What happens when gender non-conforming people – trans, genderqueer, non-binary, agender, gender neutral, and anyone who steps outside the rigidly policed expectations of sex and gender roles – fully embrace our diversity, live our own truths, caress our traumas and triumphs alike, and don’t just scrape by to survive, but flourish and thrive? What happens when the system crumbles in the face of our fabulous divinity?

Thursday 24 January 2019, 7:00pm – 8:15pm

Find out more and book: https://midsumma.org.au/program/geneur19

Queer economies

I also think this Queer economies concept is worth exploring more in the GLAM sector, but may need another blog or several to do so: https://midsumma.org.au/participate/queer-economies 

People’s history of Moreland: LGBTQIA+ community workshop for Midsumma 2019

Moreland Libraries

To celebrate Moreland’s rich LGBTQIA+ history we are collecting stories from our LGTBQIA+ community to create an audio walking tour of Moreland.

Sat. 9 February 2019

11:00 am – 1:00 pm

Brunswick Library

233 Sydney Road

Cnr Dawson St – enter via Dawson st

Brunswick, Vic 3056

Free, but registration essential: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/peoples-history-of-moreland-lgbtqia-community-workshop-for-midsumma-2019-registration-53717434292 

Sodomy: A tangental exploration of the dark swamps of Prahran

Presented by: Cam Knuckey, printmaker & illustrator at Prahran Mechanic’s Institute Library

Come along on a journey with Cam Knuckey as he talks about the sordid history of Prahran. From boy floggings, baby farming, brothels, rapes and murders to the trials in the Prahran Court, explore the relationship of the gays of the period in contrast to the high life and Town Hall Balls and Banquets of the rich establishment that sat and judged them.

Thursday 7 February, 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm
PMI Victorian History Library, 39 St. Edmonds Road
Prahran, Victoria 3181
Free, but bookings essential: https://midsumma.org.au/program/SDMY19

Thoughts On Queer Storytelling with Mama Alto

Port Phillip Library Service 

Storytelling and artistic expression are a vibrant, central and vital part of queer culture. In this special presentation for the Port Phillip Library Service, transgender jazz singer, cabaret artiste and community activist Mama Alto will explore the nature of queer storytelling. She will focus on examining the importance of storytelling in building and nurturing identity, community, solidarity and empathy, and consider how we use storytelling to not only envision brighter futures, but to enact them.

As mentioned previously on this blog, Mama Alto is amazing and had a very GLAMorous upbringing in archives – her mum is Dr Sue McKemmish! I recommend you read this article on how Mama Alto evokes queer history through cabaret.

Thursday 31 January 2019 at 6:30pm

St Kilda Library
150 Carlisle Street, St Kilda, Victoria 3182

Queer Pals – ALGA Zine Tour

In conjunction with Sticky Institute’s Festival of the Photocopier and the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives, Q!C is thrilled to co-facilitate another visit to the ALGA Queer Zine Library.

Word is 2018 was a great year for queer zines, so many new titles have already made their way to the archive. The purpose of the zine tour, however, is to engage those queer zinesters (both readers and creators) who aren’t familiar with the archives yet. We want to connect you with its custodian, Nick Henderson, while collecting emerging titles to enrich the collection.

It’s together that we record and engage with our queer history.

This year we’re running two ninety-minute sessions (1-1.30pm and 1.30-3pm) with only ten seats available in each session. Attendance is free, but you’ll need to email queercontent@gmail.com with the subject ‘queer zine tour’ and your preferred time slot to secure a seat. Alternatively, you can always organise your own visit to the archives by contacting their Facebook page directly.

Sunday, February 10th, 3-5pm

Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives @ Thorne Harbour Health offices, St Kilda Rd

Introverts guide to Midsumma 2019

Some more GLAMorous and introvert-friendly events can be found in this guide prepared by Michaela as she answers Hannah Gadbsy’s question: where do the quiet gays go?: https://originaldisorder.wordpress.com/2019/01/03/introverts-guide-to-midsumma-2019/

GLAM Pride Victoria return to Pride March


Although we almost melted in the heat this year, we’ve registered for Melbourne Pride March again 2019! Sign up via this form if you’re keen to join a cohort of LGBTIQA+ & ally GLAMorous and heritage workers, students, volunteers, and history researchers & enthusiasts in queerying the catalogue & curating the revolution. Contact us via Twitter (@clareifications or @maudeygirl) or email (glampridevic@gmail.com) for more details.


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1 Response to A GLAMorous guide to Midsumma in Melbourne 2019: Queerying the catalogue, curating the revolution

  1. Pingback: Introverts guide to midsumma 2019 | originaldisorder

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