Brisbane’s biggest celebration of equality, diversity and LGBTIQ+ culture sashays back to Brisbane Powerhouse in May when the popular MELT Festival returns.
An awe-inspiring festival of all things queer, MELT promises an unforgettable line-up of more than 20 productions and events across 11 nights of revelry, kick-starting 17 May to coincide with IDAHOT, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.
MELT Festival Director James Lees said MELT, now in its fourth year, was more significant than ever following an overwhelming ‘YES’ vote for marriage equality.
“MELT is an annual celebration of Queensland’s vibrant queer community, providing an opportunity for our LGBTIQ+ friends and allies to come together for two weeks of revelry,” Lees said.
“In a climate of renewed optimism and positivity for LGBTIQ+ rights and outward support for the community, we are privileged and excited to present our biggest and most ambitious program to date,” Lees said.
The 2018 program features an eclectic range of international artists, home-grown heroes and MELT Festival favourites, spanning diverse genres including comedy, dance, circus, burlesque, visual arts and more.
Program highlights include the Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra and special guests reclaiming pop classics for LGBTIQ+ audiences in Coupling (19 May); and the world’s hottest all-male boylesque stars BRIEFS returning with the crowd-pleasing Close Encounters, an epic show of galactic glamour, astro- athleticism and interstellar aerials.
Showstopper event MELT Beauty Pageant (18 May) returns to crown this year’s most charismatic drag queen, drag king or trans beauty with help from an all-star judging panel; while Gayming Night (24 May) by Hella Gay Games assures a hella queer and inclusive gaming experience for the local gayming community. For trivia buffs (aka Trivia Newton-Johns), Tragic Trivia (19 May) offers an utterly outrageous night as Brisbane’s drag superstars take us through the colourful pages of the Queer herstory books for a pop culture comp with a difference.
Bringing the festival to a triumphant close is the The Bowery Haus: Closing Party (26 May); a costume party celebrating inclusivity, self-expression and one of Australia’s most legendary queer icons, Leigh Bowery. Come as your interpretation of the Australian icon for this dazzling fashion and costume dance party featuring some of Brisbane’s best DJs.
“MELT 2018 sparkles with pride, passion and humour, extending an invitation for people of all genders, sexual orientations, ages, ethnicities, abilities and artistic interests to join in the party,” Lees said.
IDAHOT Day Ceremony
A community celebration in support of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biophobia (IDAHOT Day) including special guest speakers, a flag ceremony and the lighting of the building.
A provocative, fresh, and utterly honest contemporary pop rock LGBTIQ+ musical following a group of boarding school students grappling with their sexuality.
Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra and special guests reclaim pop classics for LGBTIQ+ audiences that will make even a love cynic tingle.
Briefs: Close Encounters
The world’s hottest all-male boylesque stars return with an epic show of galactic glamour, astro-athleticism and interstellar aerials.
Join the Briefs boys and their favourite freaky friends in a show of incredible circus, burlesque, music, performance and mayhem.
Power and identity come face-to-face with contemporary ballet and live music in this intimate and personal work.
MELT’s showstopper event returns to crown this year’s most gorgeous drag queen, drag king or trans beauty with an all-star judging panel, a special secret music performance and hosted by the fabulous Tina Bikki.
Legendary author Quentin Crisp opens the door to his famously filthy New York apartment for an unforgettable heart to heart about life as only he knows it.
The spirit of Mariah Carey is made known & manifested by local camp cabaret sensation Josh Daveta.
An improvised show using real life stories that play with the awkwardness, vulnerability and fun of having sex with strangers.
YES! Brisbane Pride Choir: 20 years on stage
Celebrating the choir’s 20th anniversary and the historic ‘YES’ vote, enjoy an uplifting evening of songs and stories.
The Measure of a Man
A gripping show that stares directly into the heart of one man’s sexual anxieties and draws out stories shrouded in years of embarrassment and shame.
Cassandra and the Boy Doll
Cassandra is a woman. She always has been, but her whole life people told her she was a man. She transitioned, and now it’s time to put away her ‘boy doll’; her constructed male identity.
Share My Blankets
With a two-piece band, Aly will guide you through the last five years of her life; coming into her queerness, processing sexual experiences – good and bad, and reclaiming their identity.
MELT After Dark Party
Featuring DJ Black Amex, celebrate Brisbane’s diverse and generous queer culture at MELT’s free opening party and help make it a year to remember.
The Bowery Haus: Closing Party
Celebrate the MELT closing party at The Bowery House, a costume party celebrating inclusivity, self-expression and one of Australia’s most legendary queer icons, Leigh Bowery.
Brisbane’s most glorious (and sweaty) drag superstars take us through the colourful pages of the Queer History books – testing your knowledge along the way.
Coordinated by Hella Gay Games, step-up to a mix of tabletop gaming and digital platforms for a gaming experience that’s as diverse as it is inclusive.
Robert Webb and Benjamin Law: How Not To Be a Boy
Benjamin Law sits down with Robert Webb (Peep Show, That Mitchell and Webb Look) to look back over his life and delve into the absurd expectations boys and men have thrust upon them at every stage of life.
Creating Ourselves: A Queer Youth Panel
Benjamin Law introduces MELT audiences to indigenous activist Aretha Stewart-Brown, writer/performer Aly Lorén and musician/singer Josh Daveta to discover their journeys of growing up queer.
Quinn Eades: Endings and Beginnings: Writing the 2017 Equal Marriage Postal Survey
Come and listen to poet, writer, and academic Quinn Eades read a selection of his writing, discuss writing as activism, and answer your questions!
MELT Portrait Prize
Now in its third year, the MELT Portrait Prize is an opportunity for visual artists across the globe to celebrate their heroes in the LGBTIQ+ community.
A retrospective exhibition of Hillary Green – a visual artist who explores ideas of selfhood, representation, and performance through the lens of portrait photography.
An exploration of what it’s like to be a gay man in a sex-crazed culture.
A single-player computer game that investigates the philosophical function of storytelling through drawing, sound and installation using comic book aesthetics and the subversion of mythological symbolism.
Men opening up and revealing their pain through the tears they shed in video portraits.
Robbing the Muse
A collection of photographic portraits inspired by the words and lyrics of Tori Amos’ 2014 LP ‘Unrepentant Geraldines’.
True Toxic Love (Tyson)
An exploration into the highest highs and the lowest lows of queer relationships, presented using augmented reality technology and invisible to the naked eye until revealed using a device and a free iOS/Android app.