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Thursday 09 April 2009

Your guide to Pride '09

Posted in: Events
By Matt Akersten - 28th January 2009

Auckland's Pride '09 Festival starts next week – featuring many returning Hero Festival events and lots of new additions! Here's all the info...


After many years of hard work, the Hero Festival team lost a few key people in 2008 and found itself unable to produce a whole Festival in 2009. The Hero committee gave their blessing for a new group to take over, made up of event organisers and interested volunteers. They decided to carry on the good February LGBT Festival tradition, but call it Pride '09 – similar Pride LGBT Festivals take place in Hamilton and Christchurch, while Wellington's festival is named Proud.

The Pride '09 crew will officially kick off this year's festivities with a launch party from 6pm on Sunday 1 February upstairs at the Naval and Family pub (cnr K' Rd and Pitt Sts). All are welcome to meet the Pride crew and learn about the exciting month of events and activities in store. Please RSVP to


Several Pride '09 events are well-known and popular Hero Festival stalwarts – and it's great to have them back.

Now in its ninth year, Big Gay Out in Pt. Chev's Coyle Park is back and bigger than ever on Sunday 8 February! With free non-stop entertainment on the main stage from Midday until 7pm, more music tents, more community stalls and delicious food, New Zealand's biggest outdoor LGBT event is unmissable... so slap on your sunscreen and fill your picnic basket with goodies! is again the online home of the Big Gay Out, so click here for the latest BGO news, stage entertainment line-up, map and guide to getting involved.

And don't forget – if you have the energy after your gay day in the park – this year's Big Gay Out Recovery Party is at Family bar from 7pm until Midnight.

LGBT support network OUTLine's popular tennis tournament evening will return on Friday 20 February. The event will be a fun evening of social tennis in a round robin format with changing partners. There will be a BBQ providing great food to keep up energy levels and a cash bar for refreshing drinks. Get in quick as spaces are limited. Registration costs $20 - for enquiries and bookings, please email promotions@outlinenz.comor phone 309 3268. The tournament starts at 6pm at West End Tennis Club, Fife Street, Cox's Bay, Westmere.

Time to Wig Out! The Wigs on the Waterfront day of drag shows at the Viaduct Basin is also returning, with organizers proud to announce this year's event will raise funds for the Breast Cancer Foundation. Family bar's hostess Miss Ribena, and well-known drag 'sisters' Buffy & Bimbo will head the line-up of guest MC's, while popular as-seen-on-TV personality Suzanne Paul will be on hand to assist with judging and prize giving. The exciting day downtown made its debut in 2001, and has now become an iconic feature of Auckland's summer season of outdoor entertainment, attracting thousands of spectators to be entertained by the country's top drag artists, complimented by a variety of diverse entertainers including live singers, dance troupes, and fashion models. Wigs will be on stage from 11am until 5pm on Sunday 22 February, with rain date Sunday 22 March.

Take a summer stroll through 22 of Auckland's best kept gardens, where no weed is left standing and no shrub is unsculptured! Get gardening tips and inspiration from the LGBT gardeners who have opened their gardens to support a good cause – Hospice NZ. The Heroic Gardens tour is happening a little later this year, on the weekend of 7 & 8 March - full details are at

Don't worry, the iconic Hero Party is still on the schedule – but with a brand new crew for '09! "We've got ten DJ's lined up for two dance floors, including Babes! Babes! Babes! and DJ A.D.A.M from Auckland's Sohomo, DJ Donald Bennett, DJ Raj and DJ Flick,” says organiser Candy Phloss. "On top of this we have a line-up of over 50 performers including the Club Kids, live act Codeine Like Candy, drag shows, fashion shows, burlesque performances, fire poi and staff performers, alive air brush body art display – available for volunteers on the night – and even a Dungeon King and Dominatrix." The party is in the Transmission Room on Friday 20 February. Get your $60 tickets from DJ Station, the Women's Bookshop and Erox stores Auckland-wide.


Along with the Hero Party's return, February is also busy with other parties worth a mention…

Get ready for another sizzling under-ground party when Phoenix dance party returns to the Galatos Basement on Valentine's Day for more fun, friendly faces and down & dirty beats! DJs Donald Bennett, Marty, Mauri and Raj are set for an awesome night of dirty house & light electro. Plus there'll be DJ Station 'Cupids' will be there to help with the match-making process! Tickets are $15 when booked online at

A free Sunday evening Foam Party at Family will see punters slipping and sliding around on a dancefloor filled with soapy suds. Doesn't that sound fun! Family's resident DJs will provide the beats as a foam cannon ejects the bubbles! Join the FOMO Party from 5pm until 11:30pm on Sunday 15 February.

Facebook's GayRepublic group has got a special treat for you – their own Pride Party, a free event to finish off Auckland's Pride celebrations on gay old Ponsonby Road. Featuring Republic DJs Katie Rey (UK) & Rachel Sabin (UK), the GayRepublic Pride Party will happen at Chicane, 198 Ponsonby Road from 8pm until 3am on Friday 27 February.


Hello ladies! Surely there's something on during Pride '09 to sate every Sapphic appetite…

The Auckland Lesbian Business Association will cruise the Manukau Harbour in the first official event of 2009's Pride Festival. Setting off from Mangere Bridge at 9am on Sunday 1 February, the 40-seater MV Manukau Cat will cruise to Orua Bay and visit the restored Manukau Heads Lighthouse, featuring stunning views. Lunch will be served at Earthtalk Awhitu with hosts Tanya and Charmaine, who will show off their organic gardens. Then the 12-metre catamaran will head back to Mangere for 4pm. Tickets cost $75 for ALBA members, $80 for non-members - available from The Women's Bookshop or by emailing

Flirt's Bikini Party is on Saturday 7 February - that's right girls, here's your chance to show off or just come dressed for some fun and frolicking! Flirt is a friendly, unpretentious women's only club night on the first and third Saturday of every month in Auckland. Let the Flirt Police help you meet new friends - and they'll tell you who's single and available! Head to Purple Bar (Cnr K' Rd and Pitt Street). Doors open 10pm, $5 entry before 11pm, $10 after.

Valentine's Day will be HOT! A 24-hour party at Epolito's Pizzeria will celebrate girl-love, with all profits going towards Positive Women. The event kicks off at 8am with A Lovers Breakfast running until midday. From 2-6pm there will be live music/Drag/Comedy/Barber Shop… etc... by LGBT artists. The main event will be a Epolito's Pizzeria Specialty - a 'White Party' New York styles! Many special guest artists are confirmed, including Bumpa Love, Madam Elegance, Jak Twisted and Karen Hunter. Shows will start at 11pm, at 1 Rawhiti Road, One Tree Hill.

Also on Valentine's Day, the lovely ladies at Garnet Station will host 'a party for lesbians thrown by thespians'! Starting at 7pm, $25 includes a cocktail on arrival and a light supper. Tickets for the Sappho Express are now available from Garnet Station, 85 Garnet Road, Westmere.

From its early lesbian theatre collection, The Charlotte Museum will present the original Robert Steele Film of Freda Stark dancing in 1940. This will be followed with a DVD of Amanda Rees talking about her performance of Stark. Catch them on Saturday 14 February from 2pm. The following Saturday features a talk by Miriam Saphira on the funny side of looking for lesbians overseas. Join them at the Charlotte Museum, 6/58 Surrey Crescent, Grey Lynn.

Westies unite! Heroes OUT West will be a full evening of music and entertainment in Henderson's Falls Park from 4-10pm on Saturday 28 February. The musical line up is strong with a definite lesbian flavour - The Muse, Edwina and Marilyn, Paua Fritters, Razor and a special tribute to Mahinarangi Tocker. Anne Spier is MCing the evening – injecting her wonderful sense of humour throughout. Tickets are $15 waged, $10 unwaged.

Light Fingered is a contemporary art exhibition by PULSE: Lesbian Art Collective - including Miriam Saphira, Dorina Jotti, Fran Marno, Sue Vincent, Beth Hudson and Rachael Collier-Wilson. "Our artworks offer adroit and nimble female fingers," they say. "We have spotted fingering frogs and feline-esque females. We have the stealing of souls….and the legacy of the Paris salons. We have the post-modern ironic 'lesbian' movements of the 21st century and twist them to fit our belief in a necessary lesbian future." It's on from 10-21 February at the Satellite Gallery, corner St. Benedicts St & Newton Rd.


FILM: A special screening of Milk – the film story of the life and death of US gay equality advocate Harvey Milk, starring Sean Penn – will raise funds for OUTLine NZ and give Aucklanders a chance to see it just before its nationwide release. OUTLine NZ will host the film at the Rialto Cinema in Newmarket on Wednesday 4 February. Film-goers will receive a complimentary glass of wine on arrival. Tickets are $20 – for bookings please phone the office on 09 309 3268 or email Tickets are also available at Marvel Menswear, the Women's Bookshop, Kamo and the OUT! Bookshop.

THEATRE: Night Club owner Georges and his dazzling drag queen partner Albin's idyllic existence is shattered when Georges' son announces his engagement to the daughter of a bigoted politician. Chaos ensues as our heroes attempt to become a "normal" family amid the sequins, frills, feathers, and glitter. And that's just the boys! La Cage Aux Folles is a multi award-winning musical, all set to gorgeous tunes and stunning dance routines and a whole lot of heart. On from 26 Feb at Westpoint Performing Arts Centre in Western Springs.

ART: Rebecca Swan's Assume Nothing art exhibition is a challenging and sensitive exploration and celebration of the intimacies, complexitites and nuances of gender diversity. The exhibition features a stunning series of portrait photographs by Rebecca Swan and eight short films and a feature documentary by award-winning film maker, Kirsty MacDonald. See it at MIC Toi Rerehiko (321 K' Rd), on show now until 19 February. There are also three transgender workshops happening in conjunction with the axhibition - find more info at

EXERCISE (?): Drag sisters Buffy and Bimbo will coach a crowd in their Drag Aerobics at Tapac in Western Springs on Saturday 14 February. The dynamic duo will also bring you a Mamma Mia sing-a-long at the Academy Cinemas (Lorne St, Auckland City) from 8pm on Monday 9 Feb. All proceeds go towards the Queens of the Whole Universe fundraiser. Tickets are $15 - visit for more details.

CLUBBING: Sohomo nights out every second Thursday from 10pm at 373 K' Road feature live acts, an eclectic mixture of DJ's, and different themed stuff each time! 5 February's Sohomo features a Where Is Homo? film screening from 9pm.This popular alternative clubbing night features some of the best-dressed partygoers you'll see in Auckland.

TALENT: Kings & Queens talent show kicks off at 9pm at the Naval & Family pub on Saturday 14 February, with Drag King and Drag Queen entertainers and musicians. There's a $5 door charge, and DJ Love spinning the discs all night.

and UNDIES!: Strip down for the Underware Party at Urge bar (490 K' Rd) on 5 Feb - tickets are $10 each - get them at the bar before the party… these nights always sell out so get in quick! Then Sydney DJ Seymour Butz visits Urge on Saturday 7 Feb for Sauna Sessions 3. Tickets are $10 - pre-book at the bar.


There's even more events we could mention - new ones are being confirmed almost on a daily basis… so we'll keep you up-to-date with the latest news on developing events in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, check our official Pride '09 events schedule on the link below and look out for's free glossy GIG GUIDE at LGBT venues around NZ for our day-by-day listings of events thoughout February and beyond. Here's to an action-packed festival - get out there and enjoy!

Matt Akersten - 28th January 2009