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Meet Your Mardi Gras DJs: Mason Andrews

VITAL STATS

NAME: Mason Andrews 
PARTY: "I’m super excited to be playing at the Mardi Gras Party in the Royal Hall of Industries (RHI) alongside some absolute legends." 
SOUND: "Sexy, Uplifting, House." 

masonThis year's Mardi Gras theme is "Passion." Tell us something you're passionate about that might surprise us.
Apart from music, I’m really passionate about youth work. I worked in the industry for a while, and it’s something that is really close to my heart. Working with Disabled, behavioural and disadvantaged youth is so rewarding and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend my life.

Tell us about your first Mardi Gras experience.
I grew up in country NSW and my first Mardi Gras was when I was 18. I remember being at the parade with some friends and being overwhelmed by the feeling of pride and love, all the beautiful floats and displays blew my mind. We went straight to the Mardi Gras after party, which was INCREDIBLE. I was like a kid in a candy shop! That was the year Alexis Jordan sang in the RHI. It was an awesome experience, and now I go every year!

How do you prepare a set?
I never really ‘prepare’ for a set per se, I generally just ensure my music is up to date the day before. I find that choosing songs and mixing based on the energy in the room when you arrive always has a better flow - rather than to plan out a set list and go off that.

What track can't you get enough of right now?
“When the Beat Drops Out” (Don Diablo Remix) – Marlon Roudette, this is my summer track and I can’t get enough of it!
What artist would we be most shocked to find on your iPod?
Now, that’s a difficult one because I have so much music from so many different genres. I think though you would be most shocked to see Nelly’s album, or even Jagged Edge. Does anyone even remember Jagged Edge?! :O

What's your wildest onstage memory?
Wildest… Hmmm… There’s been a lot, but the most recent was at Connections Nightclub in Perth. The night that I played they set the DJ booth up on the stage, which in turn meant that there was probably about 4 metres of stage behind me that was empty. During the night this part of the stage filled up with friends, staff from the club, other DJ mates and then I happen to turn around and the entire of the back of the stage was filled with people dancing, including one of my favourite producers that I’ve not met before. I think at some point we had a private drag show, and a stripper there too. I can’t remember much after about 4am…

Mardi Gras is a celebration of diversity and pride. What should the gay community be most proud of?
I think the gay community should be proud of a lot of things, one of those being the sense of acceptance and diversity they show to anyone and everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are, this community welcomes people from all races, sexual orientations and lifestyles, and I think that’s certainly something to be proud of. I can think of very few communities / groups that have that inclusion. There are so many community groups, support groups, fundraisers, parties, balls, exhibitions, film festivals, outreach groups & networks. There is always something to do, and somewhere to go no matter who you are or how you are feeling, and I think that’s incredible.

Your industry has experienced such an evolution the last few years. What are both the best and worst changes you've witnessed?
It absolutely has! I think the best changes from personal opinion is seeing more deep house and quality house coming back into the charts (I’m a house lover, so I might be a bit biased) but also over the last few years the technology in the industry has just blown up, we now have so many incredible tools to use, and continue to see companies like Pioneer make it easier to do what we love. Worst? Lockout laws in Sydney, and EDM music. Nuff Said. :P

Punters always have requests for DJs. What special requests do you have for your Mardi Gras audience?
Way to put me on the spot! What would I request from my Mardi Gras Audience? GO WILD! Have the time of your life, and don’t stop dancing, oh and clothes are optional. It’s hot in the RHI!
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Mary, Did You Know: The Must-have Holiday CDs

marydidyouknow
Modern Christmas music ranges from festive (Mariah’s ‘All I Want For Christmas’) to festy (New Kids On The Block’s ‘Funky, Funky Christmas’). 

So we decided to trudge through the snow for you, and find the one’s worth purchasing. 

Forget your mum's Michael Bublé CD - here are your must-have holiday albums, guaranteed to make the yultetide gay!


 

Kelly Clarkson - Wrapped In Red (2013)

kellywrapped

*Produced by Greg Kurstin (Sia's 'Chandelier', P!nk's 'Try', Ellie Goulding's 'Burn').

*Defies genre limitations to include country, rock, & Phil Spector wall of sound-styled production.

*Newly written Christmas tunes hold up beautifully alongside standards.


 

Bette Midler - Cool Yule (2006)

coolyule

*Grammy nominated (unheard of for a Christmas album!) for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.

*Includes stunning Christmas reworking of 'From A Distance'.

*Sentimental standards like 'White Christmas' delivered as only Bette can.


 

Mary J Blige – A Mary Christmas (2013)

marychristmas

*Produced by David Foster (Whitney Houston's 'Bodyguard' soundtrack).

*Lush arrangements, soulful vocals, & big orchestra backing. SO classy!

*Duets with heavy-hitters like Barbra Streisand & Marc Anthony.


 

Mariah Carey – Merry Christmas II You (2010)

christmasiiyou

*Underrated sequel to Mariah's 1994 Christmas classic.

*Beautifully arranged medleys of Chrsitmas standards & powerful new compositions. 

*Includes co-writes & production with Broadway icon, Marc Shaiman (Hairspray, Smash).


 

Kristin Chenoweth – Lovely Way To Spend Christmas (2008)

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*Soaring, sparkling vocals from a modern Broadway icon.

*Blends jazz, big band, & hints of country.

*Packed with personality & charm.


 

Barbra Streisand - The Classic Christmas Album (2013)

streisandchristmas

*A compilation of the best moments of Barbra's 1967 & 2001 Christmas albums.

*Warm, tender vocals.

*Oy to the world!


 

RuPaul - Ho Ho Ho! (1997)

rupaulchristmas

*Camp selections like 'I Saw Daddy Kissing Santa Claus', 'You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch' & 'Santa Baby'.

*Duets with 'Drag Race' judge Michelle Visage.

*'All I Want For Christmas' name checks breast implants, a tummy tuck & rhinoplasty as potential gifts.

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Meet the Mardi Gras Dancing Cop

tonyheader
He dances up a storm at each Mardi Gras parade - and this year, his video has gone viral across the globe... but who is the fun loving, shimmy, grinding dance machine from the Australian Federal Police?

Guidetogay.com caught up with Federal Agent Tony De Smet for this exclusive chat.


Your incredible dancing has been causing a stir with our readers across the globe, and has become a viral hit. What made you jump into the crowd? Was it the Kylie song?
Haha, incredible dancing?  Thanks!   I love to mingle while marshalling before the Parade and when I hear a great song I just dance and enjoy myself.  I’ve been known to spontaneously dance while at my desk at work or in the middle of the gym.  Kylie may have something to do with it……..Ssshhhhh don’t tell anyone though.
 

Your actions on Parade night have given such a positive light to community / police relations - particularly after last year's incidents on the parade route. How has the new accord (brokered by Mardi Gras, Government and the Police Forces) impacted throughout your branch of the Police - THE AFP?

As the AFP was not part of this accord this is a question for NSW Police.


Photos of Tony throught the years at Mardi Gras. Pics courtesy of Deepfield Photography


Just a few weeks ago, another publicly serving officer had to go through “an enquiry” for dancing with punters at a music festival. How has the AFP reacted to your ‘community engagement’?

The AFP has reacted positively to the dancing videos. The AFP has a strong commitment to increasing the representation of people from the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex community (GLBTI). Last year the Pride in Diversity organisation judged the AFP the highest ranking Public Sector Organisation in terms of LGBTI-friendliness.
 

For those who don’t know the differences in police forces, can you tell us what the difference between the AFP and state force is?

The AFP's role is to enforce Commonwealth criminal law and to protect Commonwealth and national interests from crime in Australia and overseas. The AFP is Australia's international law enforcement and policing representative, and the Government's chief source of advice on policing issues.
 
The AFP works closely with a range of other law enforcement bodies at state, territory, Commonwealth and international levels, enhancing safety and providing a secure regional and global environment.
 
The AFP is also responsible for providing policing services to the ACT under the auspices of a Policing Arrangement between the Commonwealth and ACT Governments.
 

How does the AFP engage with the LGBTQI community year round?

The AFP GLLO network has over 127 registered members which have undertaken a specific training program to support their GLLO role.
 
GLLO Network members foster diversity by:
·         assisting the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Australian community;
·         supporting people in the organisation who may have Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex concerns or issues and
·         providing advice to managers when dealing with sensitive sexual diversity issues.
 

With this year's Mardi Gras theme of "Kaleidoscope", we've been asking folks what colour of the kaleidoscope they would be. Which colour are you?

It might sound a little cliché but I’d be blue because it matches my outfit.
 

The dust has settled on yet another Mardi Gras season. What has been the feedback from your colleagues, both straight and gay?

I work in a team of 14 and my colleagues are the most supportive and fun group of people. About 7am on Wednesday morning I walked into work and one of  my Team Leaders (Sergeant) called me over to his desk and asked if I’d seen the video.  I had to ask which one as so many had started making the rounds. There have been a lot of laughs and I may or may not have had to buy a round of drinks for appearing on so much social media!
 
On the night of the Parade, the AFP contingent was led by an Assistant Commissioner and the AFP Senior Executive are very supportive of diversity.
 
I’ve been with the AFP almost 10 years and marched almost every year. It’s one of the most accepting and inclusive places I’ve worked even if I’m now known as “The Cop with the Bop”.
 

Will we see a “Dancing Tony” float at next years parade?

If I have anything to do with it – Yes!


You can watch the video on Guidetogay.com' Video section
tony dancing
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Meet a Mardi Gras Participant: Brodie Lane - Marching For Equality

meetamardibrodie
Happy Mardi Gras Brodie and also Happy Birthday!

Yes, it's my 48th birthday this week.

You are a long time Darlinghurst dweller – the epicentre of Sydney's gay community
I moved here from Adelaide in 1987 and have been at just about every Mardi Gras Parade and Party since. I manage a Drama School in Darlinghurst and am currently single.

You're also in the Parade this year
I'm marching in the 'Alex and Clover, More to come...' entry as a volunteer and supporter of the great work they both do and will do in the future.
I've previously marched in a Qantas entry (we won best float that year) and also with PFLAG.

Alex Greenwich is the Sydney Independent Member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly and Clover Moore is Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney - so you are going to be mixing it with some of our greatest political supporters
I marched with Clover and Alex last year for the first time despite being a long-term supporter and loved it.
The amount of attention and support Clover and Alex both receive from the crown is exhilarating! We will be joined by other volunteers and supporters, some for the first time.

I loved Alex's sexy blue sequined jacket last year... What can we look forward to from Alex and Clover this year?
In keeping with the Mardi Gras theme this year of 'Kaleidoscope', the entry will be full of colour and political messages. We'll be marching to some favourite tracks from the 70's and 80's.

What does this year's theme of "Kaleidoscope" mean for you?
The LGBTI community is a broad church and consists of many different hues, shades and colours. The theme reflects that.

Why is Mardi Gras still relevant? What are we fighting for?
Sydney's LGBTI community has achieved a lot in a short period of time from decriminalisation, to same-sex adoption, and now the campaign for marriage equality and greater anti-discrimination provision. Our message is that we should celebrate our achievements, and focus on the work ahead.

I am sure you have a huge collection of Mardi Gras memories – any that stand out?
Fred Nile's head on a platter. I can't believe that he is still out there spewing bile and hatred for our community.

What have you been doing this festival?
This year I'm keeping a fairly low profile but I did volunteer for Alex Greenwich's Fair Day stall.

We can't deny that we all like to look good for Mardi Gras. Have you had much birthday cake?
Oh no! Although I have been avoiding the gym as much as possible, I've been starving myself this week!

See you at the Parade and on the dance floor of the RHI at The Party.


winClick here for your chance to WIN tickets to the Mardi Gras Party
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Meet a Mardi Gras Participant: Simon

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We've only recently become friends, so tell me some things I don't know about you...

Well I am 36, an engineer, so you see I can do more than be a very entertaining dinner companion. I work hard and I play hard - but I always know my responsibilities and take pride in everything I do.

 

You are definitely showing us the work and party hard attitude this Mardi Gras season. What have you got planned?

I'll be hitting the dance floor of the main party, volunteering for the Harbour Party this Saturday... very early from 7:30am, joining my friends during the party and doing Laneway party after Mardi Gras and whatever I still have the strength for!

 

You're also in the Parade

Yes! I am dancing in the official Mardi Gras final float 'Strictly Mardi Gras'... and it's strictly prohibited for me to tell you anything about it. But I will say I am wearing sequined shorts. Rehearsals are the day after Harbour Party so that is another thing I will be squeezing into my busy plans.

 

What has inspired you to volunteer for Mardi Gras Parade?

I came to Australia to live in 2004. Seeing all the smiling faces and looking at the other participants having so much fun at Mardi Gras had me wanting to be part of it. Most of my friends are in the parade as well, so I get to walk around and have a sneak peek before everyone sees it in action.

 

This will be your fourth time in the parade, so you know it takes stamina to dance the entire route. What have you been doing to get ready?

I been doing lots more exercising and watching my weight. It's progressive, but slow... but hey, that's not gonna dampen my mood on the day.

 

You are one of the most colourful people I have met - your bike is electric blue with pink plates. So what comes to mind when I say "Kaleidoscope"?

Well it means a bunch of coloured patterns changing so I am guessing when it comes to Mardi Gras and our community it means everyone having fun in their own expressive patterned way.

 

Join the official Mardi Gras group on Guidetogay.com

 

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My First Mardi Gras

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It's the most wonderful time of the year, but do you remember your very first time?


Mardi Gras never fails to provide a wealth of magical memories. The parades, the parties and the people.

 

Guidetogay.com asked a panel of much-loved scene identities about their first time.


Do you remember yours?


 

gregboladian guidetogayGreg Boladian

A-List Sydney DJ

 

"My first Mardi Gras parade was unforgettable for so many reasons. I went with my best friend; we stood on milk crates on Flinders Street, made friends with complete strangers and watched the parade - which, I had never seen anything so colourful and so exciting before.

Also, up until that point in my life I'd been ashamed to be gay. That night, everything changed. I became proud. And after the parade I met a nice fella and got my very first blow job. Yep, unforgettable all round."

 

 

Join Greg's official group on Guidetogay.com

 



jameslee guidetogayJames Lee

Musical Theatre Powerhouse


"My first Mardi Gras party was 1988 and being such an innocent boy back then I think I left around 1am. However, the following year that innocence flew out the window. I was performing in my first pro show 'Les Miserables' and a few of us went from the show. My world changed that night. I was drinking a lovely Gin and Tonic when one of my fellow cast members grabbed me by the hand and pulled me into the Commonwealth Pavilion. I walked into what felt like nirvana. The lights, the music, the electricity in the air - boy this was an amazing gin and tonic, I thought!
I felt like I was walking on one of those travelators at the airport with the biggest grin on my face. The timing was amazing - I was pulled into the sea of bodies and viewed the first version of 'I Am What I Am' with 110 performers choreographed by the late great Ross Coleman and lead by the legend that was Leggs Galore. I have never jumped so high, screamed so loud, and felt like I suddenly belonged somewhere. Thank you Mardi Gras for many wonderful memories. PS. I left at 10am!"

Photo: James in Privates on Parade currently playing at the New Theatre for Mardi Gras. Photo taken by Bob Seary


 

verushkaVerushka Darling

Drag Icon


"I went to my first SGLMG party as part of a bizarre love triangle. Me, my ex and the boy I dated until my ex decided to date him instead. We were all on the dance floor together, being "respectful" of each other's emotional boundaries. I was miserable. Suddenly, The Urban Cookie Collective's 'The Key, The Secret' came on, a hot guy I had a crush on appeared out of the crowd, grabbed me, pulled me into a throng of sexy guys, and didn't let me go all night. It was like everything went "BOOM!" I met some of the people who were to become really close long-term friends that night. It kind of changed everything.

Back in the day, the house party you went to before Parade/Party was just as important as the event itself. My ex - whose pre-party I was going to - had volunteered to shave my body in preparation. When I arrived at his house, I was draped on a chaise longue in the middle of the room and was shaved whilst a circle of guys looked on drinking champagne! It was quite a memorable preparation!"

 

Friend Verushka on Guidetogay.com 


miaMia Jackson

Stage Manager Extraordinaire

 

"This year! I've never had a desire to go to Mardi Gras - purely because of the amount of people that would be there. That freaks me out a little bit! 

Whenever I tell anyone I haven't been they are shocked as I have worked in rainbow land since I was 18, so I decide to go and was offered to be a part of Mardi Gras and Stage Manage part of the events.

I am so excited to be involved and view it as a crewmember first - then maybe I can dive into being a punter next time! I had always jokingly said I would only go if I could have my own float, but this is just as good!"

 

 

  


kent guidetogayKent Gryphon

Best-selling author, 'Twisted Harmony: The Journey Of Mr. Gay Sydney'


"The first time walking into a Mardi Gras party was like arriving late at your own surprise party, where 16,000 of your closest friends were invited. The music, the costumes, the fantasy of it all. People would come up from all directions wishing you a loud "Happy Mardi Gras!" with the same jubilation normally reserved for NYE. Back then, the main dance hall was Government Hall. The heat from thousands of people dancing hit you as soon as you entered the space. A sea of shirtless men you could swim through as you danced to some of the best DJs in the world. And the meeting spot if you ever got lost? It was always under the biggest mirror ball."

 

Grab Twisted Harmony as an e-book!

iBookstore Badge US UK 126x40 0311 amazon-logo nook sonyreader

 


pennyclifford guidetogayPenny Clifford

Legendary Showgirl


"1981. My first MG was scary as it wasn't celebrated as it is now - it was more a demonstration about being Gay. I was a baby drag just starting out and was asked to walk alongside the Caps Float. Caps, short for Capriccio's, was a famous nightclub on Oxford Street where the best drag shows were produced by David Mitchell & David Penfold. I was an avid fan and most Saturdays you would find myself, Coco and Spectra sitting front row for these shows. To be asked to walk alongside their float at the time was an honour. The 3 of us all dressed up, I was a Drag Clown in a blue outfit and had the best time. The float was a massive old convertible car and had the stars of the show seated in it - Mitch Michelle, Rhonda, Trinka Mustard and a few more. I have some hazy memories of the night as it's SO long ago, but along Oxford Street we went, got harassed by police for marching and kept going. After the parade / march, we all went back to Capriccios and watched the shows. There was a photo of us in Cruiser Magazine the next issue and I remember being so excited to have made it into the press. There were many more memorable Mardi Gras parades for me after that and I have been lucky to be involved in so many. This year I am leading the 1st Official RSPCA float, but nothing will compare to my very first Mardi Gras." 


giini noh8Ginni Saraswati

Creative Director, BLING Melbourne


"Even though I've been privileged to be working in the LGBTIQ community in Melbourne for nearly a decade, this year was my first Mardi Gras. I was honoured to be apart of the team to bring down the NOH8 Campaign for the first time to Australia and watch the first photo shoot unravel at Fair Day. It was historic.

To see over 70,000 people flood into Victoria Park and everybody from different backgrounds, ages, races, sexualities unite to stand for equality and human rights for the NOH8 Campaign was something pretty special. The kaleidoscope of colours on the main stage of Fair Day, I think, is just a representation of that kind of unity as well. We're all different but when we unite, it's powerful."

 

 

Join the official BLING Group on Guidetogay.com


leedagger guidetogayLee Dagger of Bimbo Jones

International chart topping DJ / Producer


"I had always wanted to perform at the world famous Sydney Mardi Gras. I had heard so many good things about the party, not to mention the famous guests they have year after year. 2010 was a dream come true! Being my first Mardi Gras, I wanted to play a true party set. I was playing in the main room, along with David Guetta, Kelly Rowland, Adam Lambert, Dan Murphy... and to my amazement, my set was followed by George Michael! It doesn't get much better than that.
The excitement of playing to such a big crowd at Mardi Gras was amazing! I made sure that every tune was a TUNE, mixing up anthems with new remixes, the odd classic and pure feel good sing-along factor with a little push too. The crowd was awesome. After my set I immediately mingled into the crowd to personally hand out my CDs to everyone. It was one of the highlights of my career and I felt very blessed and honoured to have been invited to perform."

 

Join Lee's official group on Guidetogay.com


sheilableigeSheila Bliege

DIVA Awards committee chair


"Picture this. College Street, 1987. A little pale boy from Newcastle arrives just on dusk. The crowd was deep and the atmosphere was incredible. I didn't have any gay friends that night, just two amazing friends who knew what being there meant to me. I just knew this was where I was meant to be.
There's been a lot of misadventure since then and more forgotten than remembered, but that little wide-eyed boy would never have thought 27 years later I'd be on a truck sliding up Oxford Street with some of the most incredible friends you could ever wish for. My wish for Mardi Gras is that every kid, in every country town gets to experience that one night, when our people are free to be whatever or whoever we want to be and feel without judgement."

 

Join the official group for the DIVA Awards

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Meet a Mardi Gras Participant: Brendan Arnold – Dancing in the Parade

Ever wondered what it's like to be party of one of the world's greatest GLBTI pride festivals? Join Guidetogay.com as we meet some of the people who make the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade the brightest Kaleidoscope in the gay universe.

meetmardi brendan

 

Brendan Arnold – Dancing in the Parade

 

I know you from the dance floor at some of Sydney's hottest parties, but there is a lot more to you than great moves.
I'm a genius hairdresser in the Sydney CBD. I am in my 20's and live in Surry Hills with my partner Damien. I am addicted to watching 'Buffy' reruns and making Mexican food and cocktails for friends at home. I love the ocean and the snow.

 

Your love of snow, now, that makes me think about what you're up to for Mardi Gras
I'm part of the Glamazon ALL STARS. Our theme is 'To Russia With Love', because we want to send a message of support and love to the GLBTIQ community in Russia. We are using Melissa Etheridge's 'Uprising Of Love' as one of our songs, and she has tweeted us her support.

 

melisssa-tweetIt's not your first year with the Glamazon ALL STARS, is it?
No, my first time was in 2012. It was one of the most amazing times of my life and I am so proud to be a Glamazon! Dressing up as male "Wonder Woman" and expressing infinite love was incredible.

This year I'm a dance coach / dancer in the routine.

 

It takes dedication to be part of the Parade. What motivates you?
I love to perform and I love that people just let their hair down and have fun. I really love the message of Mardi Gras as well, after all it was originally a protest for our rights.

 

You are full of passion. Is anyone sharing your passion on the night?
My Glamazon friends from the last two years will be joining me. My amazing partner Damien will also be joining me for the first time. My parents will be cheering me on from the TV at their home.

 

The first night we met, you were in some very bright tight pants. Have you been working to keep those buns in tip top condition?
I'm exercising lots - weights and cardio, eating very clean and drinking lots of water. I've also banned wine! (Seriously, no wine? My routine involves increasing wine intake!)

 

What does the Mardi Gras theme of "Kaleidoscope" mean for you?
The theme "Kaleidoscope" to me means all the different types and sides to the gay community. We are made up of all different types of people and Mardi Gras allows us to all come together.

 

Where else are we going to catch up over the Mardi Gras Festival?
I went to Fair Day and offered you some of my yummy guacamole... but we never found each other in the crowd. I will be attending the official party after the Parade. I'm sure I'll end up at a few other events along the way.

 

See you at the Parade.

 

You can join the official Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras group for all the latest info, competitions and more!

 

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