Saturday, February 09, 2019

Eurovision - Australia Decides 2019

Australia has been officially competing in the Eurovision Song Contest for the last four years, but this year is the first time that the Australian public has had the opportunity to pick which song and artist represents the country. Tonight on SBS was Eurovision - Australia Decides, appropriately held on the Gold Coast and hosted by Australia's Eurovision commentators Myf Warhurst and Joel Creasey. Ten artists performed their original songs live on tv for the national final, with the expert jury and popular votes counting for 50% each.

It was an entertaining evening, with Kate Miller-Heidke's song "Zero Gravity" deservedly winning the crown to represent Australia. I think it will do really well at Eurovision with its pop-opera sound and staging.

Second place went to the fantastic Electric Fields with their song "2000 and Whatever," which had parts of the song sung in language.

My other favorite performance of the night was Courtney Act with "Fight For Love."

The Eurovision Song Contest will take place in Tel Aviv, Israel from 14-18 May 2019.

Friday, February 08, 2019

RuPaul’s Drag Race Werq The World Australian Tour 2019

Tonight I went down to the Palais Theatre for the first ever visit to Australia of the official RuPaul’s Drag Race Werq The World tour. This tour featured seven queens from different seasons of RuPaul's Drag Race doing individual and group numbers accompanied by four male dancers.

The show was hosted by Season 10 finalist Asia O'Hara, who did a fantastic job keeping things moving along and wowing the crowd with her numerous costume changes throughout the night. The Season 10 alums featured at the start of the show with Kameron Michaels performing a medley of Cher songs, and Eureka O'Hara doing a routine dressed as Ursula from The Little Mermaid that contained many of her signature dance moves (and a cameo from Asia O'Hara as Ariel). After an audience game of "Wig In A Box" where three people had to lip sync for their lives, my favorite queen from Season 8, Kim Chi, did a very beautiful lip sync to an emotional ballad in a fantastic costume that was gradually torn away to reveal a sequin dress underneath.

After a short intermission the Season 10 queens kicked off the second half of the show with a 10s Across The Board boxing themed routine. One of the great things about tonight was the amount of young people in the crowd since it was an all ages show. This included a little five-year-old girl in the front row, who Asia O'Hara interacted with throughout the night. Having someone so young in the crowd was a bit of a challenge though for Season 5 and All Stars 2 finalist Detox, who did a very sexy and risque number. It was quite funny to see her doing the sign of the cross and mouthing "I'm sorry" to the little girl's mother.

RuPaul's Drag Race Werq The World Australia 2019

Next up was Season 7 winner Violet Chachki, who did a fantastic burlesque routine that included her doing aerial acrobatics using a large hoop hanging from the ceiling. It was pretty spectacular. Asia O'Hara came out and did a flag and baton twirling routine, and then it was time for Season 8 and current All Stars 4 contestant Naomi Smalls to perform. She did a high energy dance routine that featured her now iconic back bend and slide across the floor, which had the crowd cheering.

RuPaul's Drag Race Werq The World Australia 2019

For the finale all the girls came back out in silver outfits for their final bow. It was a very entertaining evening getting to watch the queens do full production numbers and exciting to see some more Ru Girls that I haven't seen live before.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Midsumma Festival: So You Think You Can Drag 2019

So You Think You Can Drag
It's currently Midsumma Festival in Melbourne and last night Sean, Mat and I went to see So You Think You Can Drag at Howler. This contest for amateur drag queens and kings was hosted by the hilarious Dolly Diamond, and featured a variety of acts across two intervals. I always enjoy performances that have a bit of humor, and my favorites during the evening were the lonely Betty Crimes, the explosive Dr Safari Boob, and Mustashe with his vegetables.

While the judges discussed their scores and determined the winner, we were treated to a performance by the reigning champions, Dazza and Keif. They were so entertaining with their dance routine, matching tracksuits and Shannon Noll t-shirts that I will likely check out their upcoming show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The winner of this year's So You Think You Can Drag was Femboyant, who had a bit of a rockabilly kabuki vibe. It was a fantastic evening and great to be able to see some of Melbourne's up and coming drag talent.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Indie Australia Sampler Vol. 9

It is nearly the end of another year, which means it's time for my annual compilation of my favorite Australian songs from 2018. As in previous years there is a mix of different genres, with this year's being a bit more of a mellow track list. Hopefully you will enjoy it and maybe discover an artist you weren't aware of before.

1. Sarah Blasko - "Phantom"

2. The Harpoons - "Set Me Up To Fall"

3. Mojo Juju - "Native Tongue"

4. Sampa The Great - "Energy"

5. Jack Ladder & The Dreamlanders - "Susan"

6. The Living End - "Don't Lose It"

7. Emilee South - "Heartbreaker"

8. Bloods - "Penny's Song"

9. Olympia - "Star City"

10. Oh Mercy - "Keep A Light On"

11. Emma Russack & Lachlan Denton - "I'm Right Here"

12. The Ocean Party - "Let Go"

13. Glenn Richards - "Cossack Tide"

Friday, December 28, 2018

To Jesus, Thanks For Everything! Jinkx and DeLa

I was fortunate that while I was home I got to attend the holiday-themed show To Jesus, Thanks For Everything! Jinkx and DeLa by two of my favorite RuPaul's Drag Race alums Jinkx Monsoon and BenDeLaCreme. My cousin Leilani joined me and we first had a yummy Mexican dinner at Papito Hayes before walking to the Herbst Theatre at the San Francisco War Memorial for the last show of this tour.

As Ben and Jinkx pointed out, December is a very popular month for drag-themed holiday shows. This one was written by both of them and played on their drag personalities, with the upbeat DeLa being a Christmas tour de force while Jinkx was dragged along for the ride, drinking side of stage and trying to get DeLa to acknowledge her Jewish heritage. There were many musical numbers and costume changes throughout the show, with my favorite being DeLa as a Christmas tree and Jinkx in a Star of David blue dress with menorah strapped to her back.

To Jesus, Thanks for Everything! Jinkx and DeLa
The show touched on a lot of different topics in a really intelligent way, including religion, politics, cultural appropriation, and toxic masculinity and misogyny. It was all very funny and we were laughing out loud throughout, especially when the tables turned and Jinkx had to motivate a despondent DeLa to finish the show. I also enjoyed the clips of DeLa's attempt to create a Rudolph-like stop motion animation that were interspersed through the evening.

I am so happy I was able to go to this show, and finally get to see DeLa perform live. I hope that both them will bring either their solo shows or do one together in Australia in 2019.

Santa Cruz

Today was my final day with Leilani and Fiorella so we headed down to Santa Cruz to wander around. Our first stop was the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History where they had a big toy train set with multiple tracks set up in the lobby for kids to play with. Fiorella enjoyed controlling the trains, particularly the Disney themed one.

Next we went to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, which I haven’t been to in many years. It was such a beautiful winter day that we sat down on a bench by the beach to eat some lunch in the sunshine. Then we walked around the boardwalk to take in the sights and sounds of the games, roller coasters and food stalls. Fiorella really enjoyed watching people go by on the roller coaster cars. We stopped and had some sweet and savory crepes before calling it a day.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Roaring Camp Railroads Redwood Forest Steam Train

The Roaring Camp Railroads in Felton take you back in time with its recreated 1880s logging camp and steam engine trains. This morning Lei, Fiorella and I rode the Redwood Forest Steam Train up to Bear Mountain and back. The nearly 90 minutes trip in the open air passenger cars takes you on the narrow-gauge tracks that wind through the redwood groves to the summit. A conductor narrates the journey, telling everyone about the history of the railroad and the forest.

It was amazing to be so close to the redwoods as we wound up and down Bear Mountain. The steam from the train created some great shots as the sunlight shone through the forest. We were also very lucky to have chosen the 11am train as the wind picked up and when we returned to Roaring Camp they announced the subsequent trains were cancelled.

Afterwards we stopped at the Italian restaurant Casa Nostra in Ben Lomond for lunch. While the name and logo were slightly unfortunate, the food was delicious. I had a chicken parmigiana with roasted vegetables.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Last night I drove down with my cousin Leilani and her daughter Fiorella to their new home in Boulder Creek, which is located in between San Jose and Santa Cruz. It’s a cute little town surrounded by redwoods, so it was appropriate that today we ventured to the local tourist attraction, Big Basin Redwoods State Park (which thankfully was open and not impacted by the federal government shutdown).

The park was established in 1902 as the first ever state park in California. It features different trails going through ancient old-growth redwoods and other vegetation spread across over 18,000 acres in the Santa Cruz Mountains. We wandered around the Redwood Loop Trail, which is a flat half mile trail that loops around some of the significant trees in the park, including the Mother and Father of the Forest. The trail has different sign posts along the way where you can read the trail brochure to learn about the forest environment and adaptation of the redwoods to survive. It's a great trail if you have small children or mobility issues.

Here are just a few of the many photos I took while we walked around the park:

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