Saturday, March 6, 2010

Has the 2010 Sydney Mardi Gras gone too corporate?

Until Saturday 27th February, the closest thing to attending a Mardi Gras parade was seeing my maths teacher on the news - wearing a fluro yellow bow tie, fluro pink tutu and a glittering wand. Not to mention he was prancing along Oxford Street like a happy lamb.

While that image has now been burnt into my retina, I was still curious to see how a Mardi Gras parade unfolded. As my friends and I were walking along the streets on Sydney, we saw a plethora of costumes and the energy was intoxicating.

By the time my friends arrived at Oxford Street at five o'clock, the street had been transformed into a colourful catwalk, with several parade participants dancing around with the trademark flag. Not to mention, the street was crowded. As my friend puts it correctly, "I felt like a human sausage".

I had to stand at the crowd for three hours before the parade began. After that, the parade started off with the 200 'Dykes on Bikes' riding up on Oxford Street. As the parade continued, I was expecting to see some witty visual commentary on their political opponents featuring in the floats. Instead, I saw advertisements for State Transit, Legal Aid and a few other corporate sponsors. I felt like the Sydney Mardi Gras was more interested in corporate relationships, then community values and local activism.

While there were a few costumes that stood out, like the Thai representative group which showed off their exquisite cultural costume - it saddens me that the parade now focuses on profit. Sometimes, I feel like they've forgotten the days where a parade couldn't go a day without a protest.

For those who attended the Mardi Gras this year - what did you think of this year's events? Am I being naive or have the Mardi Gras have gone too corporate?

Happy reading!

*Photos courtesy of Kym Huynh


Kym said...

Thanks for the blog award Tina. I've never had one before! :-)

Ed Wilson said...

Hi 5ft0

I'm a fellow "shorty" from GA, USA. I found your blog during the Ladybloggers Tea Party. I just though this was funny, because one of my friends went to Mardi Gras and he was hit on several times by men. He was okay with it though. Like water off the back of a duck.

It was still funny to imagine.

Nice blog!

-Ed Wilson

Ellie said...

Agreed, I think it's become an exercise in political correctness rather than an celebration and protest.

Katie said...

Oh gah.. how poo! The corporate sponsorship I mean, it's frustrating the world revolves around money.

Mardi Gras looks so fun though!!! X

kate said...

i didn't attend. i never have. i think i would love it...if i had a front row position and didn't have to wait around for hours after getting it. that's never going to happen so i've never bothered.

stopping by via 20-something in an effort to get the sydney blogging ball rolling.

have a great weekend

gigdiary said...

Strangely enough, I think that the Mardi Gras has been overtaken by people outside of the demographic for its chic component. No wonder the gays get upset, but then again, you put it out there, asking for acceptance, then when you get it, you pull back into your clique.

On the other hand the corporate element sucks. Simple as that. There is no creativity in corporate ventures which intrude on meaningful and creative events such as this. A blues festival or jazz festival are other examples of this.

Disdain disdain, disdain

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