What I did during Mardi Gras 2009 – The middle

Friday 6 March 2009

I’m buggered. Not literally, just physically. Umm…

First the exhibition opening went over fantastic. As you’ll see from the first entry in the Mardi Gras trilogy I was even successful in selling some of the works – hurrah! I must admit I was even a little surprised; I think I’d became a little too attached and couldn’t see them as anything of great worth, just bits of fabric all stuck together. I felt both humbled and honoured that friends and strangers would think my work was worth owning and displaying. I’ll be very modest when I accept their money (gimme gimme gimme!). But there are still works available so if you are interested, drop me a line

Actually, the big seller was the t-shirt that I had knocked up for the night. I had made one of my many red tops into a version of “Just Bill”, and I spent the night taking enquiries from people wanting to know where they can get their own. I hadn’t thought about tops, just making the one as a promotional tool, but I’m going to have to think about this now; it’s just that it’s a lot of work. 

Tuesday was the Bears Essentials launch, which was an exhausting night. It didn’t help that I got told off for yelling at the bar manager (which I didn’t. I asked her what happened to the bucket that I had fetched from the restaurant for the mailbox and when she told me she’d taken it I asked if I was going to get it back) so frankly I was pretty much over this volunteering gig only a few hours in. At one point, leaning against the traffic guards sipping my umpteenth beer, I couldn’t wait to get back to work.

Wednesday was the Underbear dance (frankly I find all these “bear” names ridiculous – Underbear, Bearmail, Cybear cafe – I feel like I’m trapped in a Saturday morning cartoon) which was a great night, though if I have one more person ask me if I’ve got red pubes it’ll be Glasgow Kiss time. I did start the night by telling the first person to ask me to “go fuck a dog”, I just wasn’t in the mood. It just gets to me; is this the best pick up line they can come up with? It’s all so pathetically obvious. Same sort of thing happened Thursday at the Dinner Dance (nice food, but I think the rest of the planned night was a fizzer), where I was asked does my “colouring” go all over my body, and what’s it like to be a redhead, and told that it must be terrible being a redhead. Of course, I also got the usual “I’ve got a thing for redheads” but I’ve been getting that all my gay life. The thing is – and this is the thing – what am I supposed to say in return? Oh you poor thing, here’s the number of a Support Group you can join? Or: Gosh it must be terrible for you to be only attracted to less than one twentieth of the population? How about: Boy, what a turn on it is for you to say that, let’s go screw in the toilets now? Usually what I settle on is Thank you and a smile and try to change the conversation.

But back to the Underbear party. I did have a great night boogie-ing away (Does anyone still use the verb “to boogie”?), being the last person on the downstairs floor, then heading up and being one of the last upstairs when they turned on the lights at 6. Must admit, was very tired when I got home and was fast asleep by 7, fan on, blinds pulled tight. I finally got up in the very late afternoon to realise the telly was still on and the morning alarm on the laptop was happily buzzing away. But I was still pretty tired, which may be why I didn’t think much of the Dinner Dance. Caught the first bus back to the Flinders Hotel (Harbour City Bears Headquarters) and took off home after half a beer. 

Today (Friday) I went back to the Flinders and collected my artworks. While there a couple came up to have a look but I had already wrapped them up. I gave them a card and did my best spruik – they mentioned they were interested in “Chef Bill” who is still available so maybe they’ll call back. 

In an hour’s time started the Pool Party, which I’m now in two minds about attending. First, I’m just a bit tired of the whole Bear party thing, but more importantly I woke up on Tuesday with the tingle of a cold sore. After no longer having to concentrate so hard on the canvases my body finally gave in and let the germs invade. Straight on with the Zovirax I bet the disease but it still leaves the lip all chewed up and scabby. So I don’t look all that inviting anyway, but last thing I want is that soggy bloated mangy skin look that you get when a scab gets wet. But it was one of the most fun events of last year, so… perhaps. Afterwards we all gather at Flinders and get horrendously squashed; I think I’ll pass on that.

Tomorrow is the March (it’s not a Parade) and I’m down to help get the float ready (I think this means stringing some coloured lights around a truck), then there’s the picnic followed by the hours of standing around for the parade itself. Last year, as the third last float, the Bear’s didn’t start on the route till sometime around 10.30pm. It was a long day, and hard on the bladder too (eventually decorum gave in and any available doorway became a urinal – call it what you like, when you gotta go, you gotta go). I’m looking forward to doing the March again, it’s an amazing buzz. I’m not attending the party and will probably just head home afterwards. I think the trick is to know when enough is enough and I’m not very good at knowing when is enough.

So only a few more days to go, and why I may occasionally think it, leaning tired against a wall, I don’t think I’m ready to go back to work, not just yet.

What I did during Mardi Gras 2009 – The beginning

Monday 2 March 2009

Well, I haven’t done anything yet; this should be called “What I am going to do during Mardi Gras 2009″ but that doesn’t have much of a ring to it. But as this is Part One of a three-parter it’s nice to have some consistency with names so I’ll stick to what we have. Besides, it’s traditional.

Actually, what I have done – all I’ve done – over the last couple of days is hand sew, backstitch, and screw in little hooks, all in the name of Art. I have relied on my fingers so much, pulling on threads and pushing through needles, that I have now over-sensitised their tips. Every touch feels like tiny shards of glass. I stepped on a needle the other night, embedding it into the skin of my big toe, and it really hurt. My fingertips feel like that but one hundred needles all at once. Typing this I’m relying on my pinky and ring finger to do all the work; Tall Man and Pointer just aren’t in the mood. 

I sewed the last nose on this morning at 5.30, finished the t-shirt around 6, then started on cutting out the pieces from the A4 sheet, before getting some desperately needed sleep at 7. Back up at 11, finished the cutting, then mounted the card, wrapped the canvases in brown paper, filled my bag with hanging utensils, had a quick shower, and was out the door by 1.15. I was the first person at the hotel, which I’m little surprised at, and no one else showed up for at least another hour. When I left the hotel at 4 only three artist of a possible (what?) 11 or 14 had hung. Too bad for the last one, I say. 

I’ve just printed the little “thank you” stickers that will go on the back on envelopes for any A4 sheets I sell ($5 a sheet – cheap! Get yours today!) and was going to write up a little contract thing for any interested parties for the canvases, but have since thought wiser of it. Do need to take a note pad and my banking details if anyone does show interest ($250 a canvas – reserve your character today!). Of course you haven’t seen what any of these things look like, have you? While I took a picture of each canvas on display, silly forgot to take a group shot. I will during the exhibition and will post here, but till then, here are the twelve Bills:

Just Bill - SOLD!

Just Bill - SOLD!

Business Bill

Business Bill

Casual Clyde

Casual Bill

Chef Clyde

Chef Bill

Super Clyde

Super Bill - SOLD!

Pool Party Clyde

Pool Party Bill

Dorothy Bill

Dorothy Bill - SOLD!

Country Bill

Country Bill

Flinders Bill

Flinders Bill

Leather Bill

Leather Bill - SOLD!

Slave Bill - SOLD!

Slave Bill - SOLD!

Party Bill - SOLD!

Party Bill - SOLD!

They’re pretty cute, hey? But I have to admit it wasn’t until after midnight this morning, when I sewed on the first nose, before I was able to say “It’s worked”.

But aren’t the noses just adorable! I have my trusty Yo-Yo Maker to thank for them. Now what to do with it? Lucky there’s this webpage of attractive handcrafts using a yo-yo maker; simply over-flowing with ideas. I’m definitely making that stuffed pinecone.

Right, better go have that shower and work out what outrageously bright jacket best goes with the outrageously kitsch Bill t-shirt. Hope to see you there (of course by the time you read this it will be “Hope that I saw you there”), and if you can’t make it, then wish me luck.

More on Bill

Saturday 21 February 2009

Two days late this blog. I would like to say it’s because I’ve been up till three every night sewing away (which is true for the first part of the week) but I’ve been out pissing it up with friends instead. 

So I’m going to cheat this this entry and show you some in-progress pics of the pieces I’m getting ready for an upcoming exhibition, as part of the Harbour City Bears’ Mardi Gras festivities. I’m going to cheat even more by simply sending you to the link of the article that appeared in this week’s Sydney Star Observer (one of the two Sydney pink presses) in which I’m interviewed about the exhibition. 

More on Bill next week, or go back and meet Bill first. You might be able to garner an idea of what I’m trying to do.




Meet Bill

Sunday 25 January 2009

Ok, what to write? Well, I could write about how this week my body clock has been in such a bad condition that I haven’t been able to get to sleep until at least 1.30am every night – that is except Thursday, where I had so much sleep deprivation damage that I slept-walked locking myself out of the building (luckily I was dressed), but this could have also been brought on by me going out for a few after work in an attempt to force on tiredness. Anyway, there’s a 24 hour locksmith phone right by the neighbourhood convenience store and the nice young man was here in about 10 minutes. Note to self: leave a spare set of keys at a friend’s.

Not sure why I’m having such trouble sleeping, but one of the things that is keeping me busy at nights is this little fellow – Bill. You’ll be hearing a lot more of Bill over the next couple of months, but I thought this was a nice chance for you to come familiar with him. 

So I hope you enjoy…



(Incidentally, you may notice that Bill takes you to my very own website – I finally did it, yay! It’s early stages, but give me time.)