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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.
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.
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.
It'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!
Ever wondered what it's like to be a part of one of the world's greatest GLBT pride festivals? Join guidetogay.com as we meet some of the people who will be participating in this year's Mardi Gras Parade - the brightest Kaleidoscope in the gay universe!
Chris, tell us about yourself...
I am 27 years old. I have been working in Finance from the age of 19. I am of German / Kiwi descent. Does that make me an angry drunk?
I moved to Australia permanently when I was 17. I remember sitting down at a club, the 3am shut down call was just announced and I thought to myself "You know what Chris, you're about to turn 18. You will no longer need a fake ID and you can stay out longer now. Let's move to Melbourne where you can go out and chase the sun". So I did. I packed my bags and moved to Melbourne within a month. (Needless to say, my 18th was huge).
I currently live in Sydney with my partner, Daniel. We have a cat named Ceefer. She is the queen bee apparently. If I am late to feed her, she lets me know!
This coming year is going to be a huge year for me, as I am going to be traveling around Europe for their winter and the US next year.
What float will you be on and what are you going to be doing?
I am on the Pride in Diversity float. I am representing the corporate 9-5ers. We are a float of big corporations across Australia. My role is to make sure I do not fall over!
What is Pride in Diversity's theme?
The theme is corporate diversity. A lot of LGBTi employees do not feel comfortable in the workplace, and we are here to prove that you can be. We will be wearing black bottoms and white tops with blue ties. Look out for the black brief cases with lights on them!
What inspired you to enter the Parade?
I am the person who started the LGBTi Network Group at The Westpac Group. As an LGBTi advocate, I felt that marching this year is a must-do! And it crosses that off my 'To Do' list!
Well, I'll be kind of marching, I have two left feet. I am really looking forward to the parade.
I have been diagnosed with an incurable heart disease, so I am now living my life to the fullest, not allowing small things to get to me and loving as hard as I can. I want to leave my mark on this world, and I want to enrich others to do the same.
Is your family joining you?
My partner has been invited along as an honorary member and dance captain to assist us office workers with the moves. My family will watch SBS2 to see me.
This year's Mardi Gras theme is "Kaleidoscope" - what does "Kaleidoscope" mean for you?
Kaleidoscope is a fantastic theme for MG14. It is such a view on life. When you are looking at everything around you, at first, it all seems like a blur. Different cultures, different colours, different families, different sexualities, different people. When looked at individually, it does not make a lot of sense. However when you look at the whole pattern of our diverse culture, it shows a true beauty. All you need to do it appreciate the pieces to the puzzle and allow the picture to form.
Give me the gossip on your past "unforgettable" Mardi Gras movements...
In all honesty, my last Mardi Gras was a complete "I wish I could forget" moment. I had just turned 18 and I was in the VIP area with free drinks. Standing around, in the sun, with free beer was not a good idea for younger me. I was home and passed out by 10! The photos I took just got worse and worse!
What are you doing to get your body parade-ready?
Hahaha. I think I should just give up on working on my body for MG and just join the bear parade! Lol. I have been playing a lot of tennis lately and also gym and learning the steps to our routine.
Where else will we find you during the Mardi Gras Festival?
I have already been to Fair Day. That was a lot of fun. As I'm originally from Melbourne, I found Sydney's Fair Day to be a lot like Midsumma, but on crack!
Guidetogay.com is going to catch up with you during the Parade...
Watch out for me in the Parade, I will be the uncoordinated guy (really narrows that down, eh?)
Do you want to share you Mardi Gras 2014 story?
An impeccably chiseled and taught young man takes his mark, a deep breath, and dives. Thousands of fellow athletes and supporters look on, taking part in this international event of Olympic proportions... with a twist. They are in Antwerp, Belgium, celebrating their sexuality. Ladies, gentleman and miscellaneous, welcome to the World Outgames.
It most certainly is. And to make things a bit easier, the third Asia Pacific Outgames are being held in Darwin this coming May. The Glamourheads plan to send a sizable team, and I encourage others to go along and support this absolutely... fabulous event!
Boy was I excited to have the opportunity to do an EXCLUSIVE Q & A with Jordin Sparks (“Sparkle Williams”), Tika Sumpter (“Delores Williams”), Carmen Ejogo (“Sister Williams”), Mike Epps (“Satin Struthers”), Derek Luke (“Stix”) and Omari Hardwick (“Levi”) to discuss their utterly fabulous movie release SPARKLE – Executive Produced and starring non other than Whitney Houston in her last ever movie project.
What drew you to your various roles in Sparkle?
TS: When [the script] was presented to me to audition for “D,” I loved her strength, I loved the power that she had and the indignation - she’s gonna do what she really wants to do and she’s gonna do what she thinks is right – and her know-it-all-mentality. But, at the end of the day, it was more about the family and the sisters. I couldn’t believe Whitney Houston was playing our mother. Then I looked up these lovely ladies, Miss Jordin Sparks and Carmen Ejogo. I saw [Carmen’s] work as well and I was like, wow, whoever does get this role, it’s huge for them.
JS: For me, I was super drawn to it because a lot of “Sparkle’s” story is in my own story. I was so excited that I even had the opportunity to audition for this role. Just hearing about the history of it and how long it had taken, I actually didn’t want to know who else had auditioned for the part because I was so nervous already. But I had such a blast and I was completely beside myself when I got that phone call and they said that I got the part. I screamed so loud and I can’t scream, so that’s something.
CE: I was drawn to the irony of the character. The thing that seems to be most seductive about her is what destroys her. That was such a pleasure to play: somebody that can go from being super-glamorous and sexy and really alluring to totally down and out and self-destructive and ruined by her own ambition. That’s a role of a lifetime.
What Was Your Initial Reaction When You Learned You Would Be Working With Whitney Houston?
TS: I dropped to the floor and cried.
JS: I’m pretty sure all of us fell out a little bit. I knew she was executive producing so I knew I would be able to be like [waves], “Hey” in the hallway. But for her to be standing or sitting as far as you are right now or sitting this close blew my mind. I was like, “What am I going to do? Jordin, don’t make a fool of yourself. Don’t make a fool of yourself. Just don’t do it.” But it was so fun and she made it so comfortable and easy for us to just have that bond. She loved us and we loved her and that was really genuine.
What Was Your Favorite Song To Perform in the Movie?
CE: “Jump.” I love “Jump.”
TS: “Jump” was fun. That whole sequence was so fun. I loved it.
JS: It was such a blast. I loved being able to do that. I loved doing “One Wing,” as well. That song, for me, personally and stylistically, was something I had never tried before in my own voice and then with how well it fits so well to the movie. [Points to Carmen] She says, “Sister can’t fly with only one wing” and Sparkle takes that and writes a song about that and the song is so inspiring and had so much emotion I loved being able to perform that.
Had You Seen The Original Sparkle From 1976 Before You Filmed This?
CE: I didn’t want to see it because I felt like the original was this wonderful, iconic movie that inspired people like Whitney. She was a thirteen-year-old girl going to the movies every Saturday to see that film and it stands alone and it has its place. We were trying to do something that was inspired by that and that honors that but is something that is very different. So I didn’t want to be influenced. Lonette McKee [“Sister” in the original] gave a great performance in that one. We get a chance to bring this story to life in a modern age with new dynamics, new storylines, new ideas, new characters, and real depth to the characters in the way that maybe wasn’t there in the original. It’s a whole other thing.
Have You Seen Any Part Of The 1976 Version? What Is Your Favorite Song From The Original That Made It Into This Film?
TS: I saw pieces of it because I YouTube-ed it once I got the part to see what they did and what I had to do and what I kind of had to live up to. I remember, “Jump,” but the lovely thing about that original scene is that the camera’s kind of shaky and the lip-syncing’s kind of off.
JS: It’s dark.
CE: There’s room for improvement. Clearly.
TS: But I love how unpolished it was. We kind of brought that to our performances, although the camera’s not shaking or anything. It’s kind of an unpolished, organic moment.
CE: It feels like sisters really trying…
TS: To make it happen!
DL: What do you love about the original? What don’t you love? It’s laced with truth, romance and it was raw. It was a cult classic for our parents so we’re sort of reliving it in our generation.
What Was It Like Shooting This Film In Detroit?
JS: I had toured in Michigan before but I’d only been to Auburn Hills so going to Detroit was new for me. But I remember driving in the day I got there and seeing the city. It’s definitely had better days but you could still feel the energy there. I could see Diana Ross getting out of a limo with a fur and her fabulous self just walking around. I could picture Stevie Wonder walking down to a corner store. It has that feeling and I think that really helped while we were shooting there to get us in the mindset of being in that place and that era. But it was a lot of fun. It was also freezing cold. We’d be shooting at night and it was freezing. We couldn’t have certain lights on. We’re standing there singing [fake shivering], “Giving him something he can feel…” It was freezing! But it was a lot of fun. We had a blast.
ME: Rainy. Some good days. But you know how the Midwest can be dreary. It really, really matched the continuity of the movie. The emotion of the movie, too.
OH: We can’t picture it being any other place so shout-outs to Detroit. They really welcomed us.
What drew you to your various roles in Sparkle?
ME: It was a much different role than I’ve ever played in that he was a comedian - that’s what I do - and I felt like I could put a spin on it and bring a totally different approach to a comedian actor in a movie.
DL: Sparkle is a theme throughout my parents’ lives. The same way [“Stix” and “Sparkle”] met in the movie is the same way my parents met at church and they followed that by making an album together with her sisters. I just felt like I was reliving their paths. That’s what drew me to Sparkle, mostly.
OH: The period. I love the old period. A lot of us have old souls in us so I definitely feel like, in yester year, we lived in that era in a former life. Plus the writing was really just impeccable and the cast they put together.
What Was Your Favorite Scene That You Shot With Whitney Houston?
ME: When me and her were sitting at the table was my best scene with her. I didn’t have any more spots with her.
DL: My favorite scene with Whitney was watching her and my favorite moment was behind the scenes because that’s where you got to see a legend down to earth, just being human, being a mom, a friend, an aunt and all that good stuff.
Tell Us About Your Scenes With Your Love Interests In The Film.
ME: I ain’t ever been mister romantic so I was trying to work my Dos Equis man the best way I can.
OH: Well put.
Thanks to our friends at Universal Sony – you can score yourself copies of SPARKLE on DVD and BLURAY – but hurry – the comp closes Feb 14 2013.
It's one of Sydney's party treasures: a brand that has taken it all back to what counts - great people, amazing DJs and stunning locations.
The Frequency brand has put on some of the funkiest, freshest parties on the Sydney scene, and they are about to get even more fabulous with a stellar line up for their first birthday harbour cruise and after party club events on Saturday 10th November - headlined by Kitty Glitter - named Sydney's Favourite DJ at the recent DIVA Awards.
Guidetogay.com caught up with joint promoters, Anna and Brad to see what all the buzz is about!
Frequency is celebrating its first birthday with the upcoming cruise and party. How did you guys come together initially over 12 months ago?
Anna and I came together through friends on a harbour cruise just like Frequency. We found out that we knew a lot of the same people, got along like a house on fire and had an awesome day partying on the harbour. We both thought that these cruises were too few and far between and so with 10 months of deliberation Frequency was born.
So what does "Frequency" actually mean as a party brand?
Frequency is the number of cycles per second electricity travels at, which is measured in Hertz. It's also a term commonly used when referring to music and sound. We're all about the music bringing friends together, so this was the perfect name and symbol for our parties!
Is there a signature sound or key musical style to expect at the Frequency events?
Frequency has a range of music genres ranging from Dance, House, Funky House, Electro, ranging into a bit of High Energy and I am sure that the music we play at our events will forever evolve according to our guest DJ's and party-goers interests.
What types of crowds do you get at your parties?
The Frequency crowd so far has been a mainly straight dance party crowd with a slight gay contingency, and while the parties have been fantastic we are aiming our parties further towards the gay community hoping to get that so-called perfect balance. Anna and myself have been partying in and around Oxford Street for the past 10 years and we have both found that we have LOVED the scene and people we have met along the way. This is the crowd that we are looking for at our parties. The fun crowd of both straight and gay!
What can people expect from the 1st Birthday celebrations?
Guests at our 1st Birthday celebrations can first and foremost expect a fun and friendly vibe with great people. The music is a top priority and of the highest standard with a vast array of the best DJ's Sydney has to offer. You can expect to be blown away with what you're about to experience - starting on the picturesque Sydney Harbour, you couldn't ask for a better backdrop for a dance party. The After Party will continue right where the Cruise left off, so those who can't make the Cruise will definately not be disappointed. I am sure after all the partying is said and done, people will be wanting more and talking about Frequency with their new found friends and old partying buddies until the next.
Don't miss out on this fantastic opportunity to hear DJ's like Kitty Glitter, Jimmy Dee, DJ Israel and more - check out www.frequencyparties.com.au for more info and tickets.