National Library of New Zealand
Harvested by the National Library of New Zealand on: Oct 8 2008 at 11:35:51 GMT
Search boxes and external links may not function. Having trouble viewing this page? Click here
Close Minimize Help
Wayback Machine
GayNZ Logo & Link
Thursday 09 October 2008

2007’s HERO Party in review

Posted in: Events
By Matt Akersten - 27th February 2007

HERO 2007 Party-goers
“NZ's polysexual dance extravaganza” last weekend took full advantage of the bigger St. James venue, attracting many more partygoers than last year.

Early reports suggested that around 2,000 people were in attendance – party organiser Michael Modrich says he's still waiting for exact numbers to be confirmed, but admits "it wasn't quite 2,000, but it was more than last year." In 2006, 1,495 people packed the 1,500 capacity Galatos.

"The door sales were a bit lighter than what we'd expected," says Modrich. "We attribute that to the Boy George gig the night before. People who were going to buy their Hero ticket at the door and had a big night at Boy George probably didn't think they could handle another big night."

And it seems we all behaved ourselves. "There were no complaints from the council in relation to noise, and no complaints about the liquor licensing. So it ran pretty smoothly," says Modrich.

A 'party pill' company was one of the sponsors of the event. "We didn't have any people pass out from alcohol, party pills or any other drugs," Modrich assures us. "St. John ambulance staff told me that they only had one person with a slight upset stomach, and that was attributed to what she had eaten."

The Community Alcohol and Drug Service was there handing out lollipops and safety guides, and the NZAF were there with big buckets full of condom and lube packs.

Douglas Jenkin, the Team Co-ordinator at Gay Men's Health says it's not always easy to get casual volunteers for events like the Hero Party, which many people want to attend.

"Gay Men's Health Promoter Edward Cowley was at the party as Buckwheat, handing out condoms from the start of the party until 1am," says Jenkin. Jordon Harris, the Kai Mahi/Health Promoter with the Hau Ora Takataapui team was also there from midnight till 4.30am, handing out condoms and making sure key locations like the bar and toilets were stocked up.

Attendee feedback from the event seems generally good – some readers got in touch to say they were happy the event was popular and that the vibe in the St. James was fun and funky. As usual, DeeZaStar's over-the-top appearance caught the attention of many who asked, “who the fuck was that?” His mirrored, shimmery 'Spaceman' outfit was ‘fabulous', ‘stunning' and described by one partygoer as 'scary'.

Others thought the shows on stage were noticeably lower key than in previous years. There were some technical issues with Mika's show on the main stage at 2.30am, says Modrich. “We had hard-drives crash, and tried to rebuild the imagery for the show. The production people had put a lot of work into creating the stuff to make the show more elaborate – and then for it not to have worked, it was frustrating."

The 'transgender zone' on the Mezzanine floor, featuring live shows by Cindy of Samoa, Ramon and many more, was a popular and busy area for those who wanted a break from the intensity of the main dance floor. And the 'Flirt' space seemed to be a hit with the girls. "It was good," says Flirt space organiser Kelvery Longopoa – "the new DJ (Miss Eleni from Melbourne) was awesome.

"The lesbians loved the couches most. They love to sit down, have a beer, hang out with their girlfriend and just listen to good music."

However, the many stairs to get up to the woman's zone were "a pain in the arse," Longopoa laughs. "Quite a few flights of stairs! That was hard for the girls who smoked. And it got quite hot in there – no air conditioning! It would have been nicer if we were closer to everyone else. We felt we were far away from the main dancefloor... But our space was huge this year. We had some good feedback about that."

As a Hero Party 'go-go boy', Jarred Foster, 22, was on the main stage bopping, posing and generally fooling around in his underwear for a couple of hours. "For those of you who didn't know which one I was, I started off second in from the right," he tells us.

"It felt great to be on stage, hundreds of people watching you dance. I'm just glad I had the opportunity to help entertain the crowd at such an awesome event - and I must admit I wasn't nervous at all. I had a great bunch of people dancing with me, and I was only out to have fun if anything."

The party was awesome, says Foster. "I met heaps of new people, even found an old friend. People backstage were awesome, whether they were gay or straight. I'd definitely insist if you haven't been to a Hero Party before to go to the next one… and the one after that and the one after that.

"I'd like to say a big thanks to all the people who cheered us on - the extra encouragement made me dance even more. Also a big thanks to the other dancers, you guys were hot!"

Numbers most be crunched before Hero organisers can tell our community how much money the party raised, but Michael Modrich is confidant, saying the Hero Party always raises money, even during the 'difficult period' of the early 2000's.

It seems it's the little things that keep Modrich going through nerve-wracking times. "I had someone come up to me on the dance floor and say 'I've just been told you organised this'. I said 'yeah, why?' and he said 'I just wanted to thank you, because I didn't realise anything like this existed'. They were from up north, and said they'd be back next year.

"You only have to get one person saying that, and it makes all your work worthwhile."

Matt Akersten - 27th February 2007