Home' LOTL : November Issue Contents 48 LOTL Magazine • lotl.com
Feel that? It's the sigh of a warm
coastal breeze brushing against your
cheek. Hear that? It's the sound
of bodies pulsing to frenzied beats. Look
closely... what do you see? Chicks on poles,
boys in tiny outfits, burlesque dancers
swaying seductively, fire twirlers lighting
up the night sky... it's Carnivale time!
This December, the folk at Felt Up in the
Back Room will be dishing up a mashup of
twisted entertainment that's sure to appeal
to those with a queer sensibility. DJ Sve-
ta will be flying up to spin the tunes, The
Bush Foundation will get you kicking up
your heels and D'Vinyl will be MC-ing the
whole event with inimitable charm.
According to the gals of Felt Up, Car-
nivale was "born from our love of people
dressing up and coming together to tem-
porarily turn things upside down." The
organisers, Jess Bowen, Kate McCormack
and Lisa Mulholland admit they don't mind
having a good laugh -- "poking fun at our-
selves, each other and definitely those in
It is this sense of frivolity and free spir-
itedness that provoked them to create their
event, Carnivale, based on the carnivals of
old, where all would be welcome. Jess com-
ments: "[It's] where all sorts of people con-
gregate in a space; where locals welcome
visitors catching up with old friends and
making new ones. We decided to add the 'E'
after the TV series which is wildly popular in
Byron, [which is] also famous for its beauti-
ful freaks and spectacular performers."
To create what they hope will be the first
in a series of successful events, the gals
called upon the help of a few good mates:
"We decided to ask our friends to get in-
volved, not only because they've done more
of this party thing than us, but because we
knew they would share our vision for a fun
event where the performances are not just
on stage but also those created in the mo-
ment by the people attending," says Bowen.
"We hope that everyone who comes joins
in to make a spectacle of themselves and
takes away from the night memories of the
moments that they created for themselves
and each other. After all, this is everyone's
What's most surprising is that these ad-
mittedly novice promoters have been able
(with the help of their friends) to deliver a
party that looks like it will rock the socks
According to Bowen, they've been lucky
on all counts. "From the word 'go' we've
had all green lights for Carnivale." She ex-
plains: "Sveta loves coming up north for her
summertime stints at Tropical Fruits to spin
her wicked tunes and was keen to return to
Byron and play. Lisa Kemball was visit-
ing us from Melbourne and offered to fly
up her drag persona, D'Vinyl, to MC while
the incredible Lillian Starr said 'yes please'
with a wink and a smile right away. We'd
seen The Blush Foundation's sexy perform-
ances at Mardi Gras and also earlier this year
in Byron so we sent them an invite and they
immediately jumped at the prospect of return-
ing to the Bay. Kate and Lisa's art project,
The Disappointment Collective, will be pro-
viding video projections on the night. Local
lass Shaney Simpson will be pole-dancing
while Maximilian, a gorgeous boy who has
just moved back to Byron (and is known to
many Sydneysiders from the old Gilligans),
will be doing his thing on stage."
Bowen is hopeful that it's not just the locals
that ﬁnd Carnivale appealing – she wants to
entice Sydneysiders and Brisbanites to make
the drive to Byron for the event.
"Carnivale will be anything but exclusive
or precious," says Bowen. "We want every-
one who loves fun to come and play up in a
safe environment. As three lesbians who have
a solid mixture of friends and family of all
sexual orientations and genders we live hap-
pily here, not as a separate community within
a community; we live as individuals fully
participating in the diverse community that is
Byron Bay. While there is a leaning toward
fun females, we will happily bump and grind
alongside anyone who wants to dress up and
come to Carnivale."
Queer folk, from the region and cities beyond,
should nd their way into Byron Bay to queer-
up the Back Room at the Great Northern, on
December 5. Tickets are $15 plus booking fee
from thenorthern.com.au or $20 on the door.
Hit the coast for a celebration of cabaret, burlesque, drag, electro
pop and LGBT fun at Felt Up’s Carnivale. By Cec Busby.
What kind of tunes can people can
It's a carnival theme so I'll try to evoke the theme
in the music. It will be a mix of electro, house,
burlesque and some very quirky tunes!
What do you hope people will take away
from the event?
I hope that people just have a really fun night and
have all their senses shaken up!
Why do you like playing events like
Carnivale will be special because most of team of
DJs, promoters and entertainers are a bunch of
friends who really admire each other's work. We'll
all be performing at our best for the audience and
each other and there will be a sense of fun and
frivolity there because of those bonds.
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