Having not volunteered to work an event in over a year I decided it was time to get back into the volunteer game and why not start off with something different, so I put my hand up to work this year’s Queer Expo which was held at St. Kilda Town Hall over last weekend. Queer Expo started with it's very first show last year in Melbourne and unlike previous shows I have worked which have all been Pop Culture events this event involves the Queer and LGBTI+ Community. For more information regarding Queer Expo and any future shows please visit their website.
A Celebration of Diversity in all its forms, Queer Expo brings VIP Celebrity Guests and Ticket Holders together to Celebrate Hope and Love, equally and without discrimination
I'm so pleased that I was able to volunteer at this year’s show as I had a blast, it was so much fun... there were times when I felt so far out of my element I had no idea what was happening and other times where I felt perfectly suited for the environment. One of the first questions I was asked on the weekend was what pronoun I preferred, and I really had to think about what that meant, given the event I completely understand why the question was asked but definitely made me realise just how out of my element I was but then as the weekend went on that feeling went away.
This was the first time I had ever really done anything involving the LGBTI+ Community - which in a sense I am kind of a part of being an Asexual, but then that is something I only really figured out in the last two years so it's all still so very new to me and I'm figuring things out as I go... This makes the experience of this show and being able to work it mean that little bit more to me and probably why taking in this part of the Community was so incredible. The atmosphere for this show was amazing, everyone was really friendly guests, attendees and staff alike. There were some staff and volunteers I had worked with at previous events but there were more whom I hadn't worked with before and some I hadn't even met before but we all got along and worked well together, helping each other out when necessary. It definitely brought back all those feelings of being a family like the other shows and I especially loved that.
When I write these blogs after shows I generally write a little review of them, but as this show I volunteered it’s hard to do that as I had a different perspective than anyone who attended, I will comment that the show was good but there are some improvements that could be made in the future, but that could be said about any events - improvements are always a constant from show to show... The venue was fantastic and made the event intimate and enjoyable, I'm not sure what the show was like the previous year at the Showgrounds, but I think it was a good decision to bring the show to a smaller venue. It was great that everyone was able to watch the stage during the competition and performances guests, volunteers and exhibitors were all watching and that was great to see, that everyone was really getting into the whole vibe of the show.
I started off without an allocated job but then got given one that kind of turned into something else and then basically ended up running around doing a bit of everything, which I didn't really have a problem with - I like being kept busy! At the start I was on the front desk checking tickets and putting on wristbands, I was setting up tables and chairs on the stage when needed and the job that kept be the busiest was keeping the guests hydrating with alcoholic beverages from the outside bar - because yep there was a bar and it was pretty sweet... not that I drink and would never whilst working but the way they were making cocktails was super awesome to watch - They filled from the bottom!!
The show started off with little Pink Sasss doing her first performance with all the guests watching and they loved it, she put on a great show and it was the perfect way to start off the show. The guests had all brought their own merchandise with them to sell and it was great to see them all on display around their tables, it brought a lot of colour and there were some amazing designs especially some of the shirts/tanks - There were also a lot of fans, keyrings, stickers and more. Mariah Balenciaga had some amazing tank designs and I loved them, but I don't really wear tanks so I decided on the bright pink 'Bitch Unbothered' cap instead and I love it even wore it on and off over the weekend.
There were panels held throughout the weekend where the guests would speak about their experiences and tips on how to do Drag etc... I didn't really get to hear much of the panels but what I did hear was fairly entertaining and I did manage to snap a few photos in the quieter moments.
I had some great chats with some of the show guests over the weekend, especially Mariah and Vivacious… Mariah who is a stunning Drag Queen was absolutely lovely to chat to and like all the other guests she was great with her fans as well. Vivacious is incredible, out of all of the Drag Queens at the show she was the only one that was constantly at her table and interacting with fans. I had a great chat to her on Sunday where she spoke to me about her costumes and all her different headpieces and their names – Ornacia was with her and fans could get a photo with Vivacious wearing Ornacia and Vivacious was wearing Prideacia (I think?) on the Sunday. She has amazing stories to tell and I’m honoured to have had the chance to chat with her the way I did.
It was the afternoon performances for the Drag Competition that really stood out the most though, they were amazing to watch. As someone whose idea of drag had come from movies such as Priscilla Queen of the Desert and The Birdcage it was fantastic to actually watch these performances, it has given me a new perspective of drag and makes me want to watch more and get into the scene a bit more. The lip-sync battles were great and fun to watch, I loved the camaraderie between contestants and that the judges always gave advice to better performances in the future.
I loved watching the winner of last years Drag Competition Bebe Gunn preform, she was amazing and I loved how quick she was able to flick from hosting the competition to performing and she does it so well and brings a comedy element to it which made it that much more entertaining. All the performances were amazing to watch though, the talent of these people is incredible from the make-up and costumes to the actual performances one who competitor even sang the song during their turn which was pretty awesome.
The winner of the competition was announced on the Sunday night before the show closed and it was a lot of fun to be involved with, I got to spray the winner with confetti from a giant party popper which was pretty awesome and led to some pretty cool photos of the winner – Drag King Mr. Justin Teliqure! Who was absolutely amazing and definitely deserved to win and take home the crown.
I learnt a hell of a lot over this weekend, especially about Drag… like I mentioned earlier my only idea of Drag had been from movies so it was just so great to see what it was all really like… I learnt that there aren’t just Drag Queens, but also Drag Kings as well as Bio Queens when a woman drags as a woman – these things I never knew but now I do so I’ll be more informed for next time. All in all I had an amazing time, I feel a little more connected with the Queer and LGBTI+ Community and hope I get the chance to work another event like this in the future. The Queens were all amazing to work with - keeping me busy with those trips to the bar and back! They were so friendly and kind and there was a lot of laughter and the friendship between them all was great to see and experience as well.
The show ended with all the guests getting up on stage and the crowd applauding and the owner thanking them for coming and once they had left it was then following by a thank you to the volunteers and staff and we all had to get up on the stage - first time for everything but it was nice to be acknowledged in such a way for helping out plus it was a bit of fun!
Here are all the goodies I brought over the weekend, there were a few more things I was interested in that places had unfortunately run out of - There were also some guest merchandise shirts I would have loved but because I left buying to the end of the day there were none available in my size. I thought up a good Drag name for me if I were to ever try my hand at being a Drag King, not that that is ever going to happen... as much as I love to dance and act a fool I don't really wear make-up and well that is a HUGE part of Drag... but anyway, you never know! Here is the name I think would be perfect for me as a Drag King though... (think many people will agree) 😉
As another use for this website is a place to share some of the different creative works I have done I wanted to share a new artwork I created in the lead up to Queer Expo. not only did I do it in preparation for the show but because June was also Pride month... and even though I'm still only figuring things out and putting myself out there in the community I still love the culture and have many friends within the community. I will always support Pride and Equality.
Complete Guest List: Ben De La Crème, Mariah Balenciaga, Morgan McMichaels, Mayhem Miller, Vivacious, Ongina, Hungry, Biblegirl666, LadyFKA and BebeGunn.