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Image for Sleaze Ball replaced with Big Weekend

Sleaze Ball replaced with BigWeekend

In a Same Same exclusive, New Mardi Gras have announced what has long been speculated: one of the most iconic dance parties on the Australian calendar Sleaze Ball will not be held this year.

But it isn’t all bad news. In place of the long running event will be a new community focused initiative called Big Weekend.

The Big Weekend will see a series of smaller events held throughout the October long weekend to raise funds for Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

The concept was born out of a successful consultation with community party promoters and venues held last night.

“There are essentially three strands coming out of last night’s meeting,” NMG Head of Marketing & Communications Damien Eames says. “First is in the run-up to the weekend there would be a range of events that focus on the Parade. A mini-festival of ideas and non-party social events that focus on what the following year’s Parade should be about, what cultural themes we should pick up on and how people can get involved.”

In a partnership between New Mardi Gras and key community players, New Mardi Gras hopes to reclaim Oxford Street and inject the community vibe back into the world renowned street.

A host of promoters will be involved in throwing parties throughout the weekend, all with the common theme of a “Big Weekend”

Same Same will be involved in raising money and getting people back into local venues on the Friday night of the October long weekend. “We are going to sit down and work out with venues in detail how we can drive the maximum traffic on the night, raise funds for the Parade and give people a great time,” says Eames. “We will engage with Parade entrants to get them out on that Friday night and throughout the weekend, moving between venues in little crews, doing spontaneous performances as well as using spaces like Taylor Square for performance if we can. It should be a real carnival-type atmosphere.”

“For the rest of the weekend we will look at other easy-to-implement free and fun moments that make people get out and about and drive big numbers to the community parties that are going on.”

Specific details of what will take part exactly over the Big Weekend are yet to be announced, but make sure you check back here at Same Same to see what is coming and how you can be involved.

Are you happy or sad to see the end of Sleaze Ball after 28 years? And what do you think about the Big Weekend? Tell us below.

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Mikey67

Mikey67 said on the 6th Jul, 2011

R.I.P. Sleaze Ball... many great times, costumes, performances, fun and frivolity was had by many.

laser

laser said on the 6th Jul, 2011

Shame to see it end but its important that the community supports this new intiative

Travis de Jonk

Travis de Jonk said on the 6th Jul, 2011

Well this certainly is a big year of change. I'm sad to see Sleaze go, but I'm happy for other events which are actually sleazy, like Inquisition. Mardi Gras are doing the right thing by getting the community involved and excited about MG 2012. I don't believe democracy works in situations like this, but I'm hoping that I'm wrong, and that Sydney's GLBTI community jump in and make the most of it.

david_margeaux

david_margeaux said on the 6th Jul, 2011

The end of MG is nigh.... shame that its come to this but the organisation continues to lose its way and has been so badly managed over the past years that its demise is now surely inevitable.....

tommydavie

tommydavie said on the 6th Jul, 2011

Where's the don't like button when you REALLY need it?

leverarchfile

leverarchfile said on the 6th Jul, 2011

parade? am I confused or have they decided to move that as well?...the mian problem I have with this article is NMG Head of Marketing & Communications Damien Eames...twice in one article? get over yourself......I dont see any succesful parties/events with such bloated titles....I mean really..

Christian Taylor

Christian Taylor said on the 6th Jul, 2011

i agree david, the end is nigh...

MrAsh

MrAsh said on the 6th Jul, 2011

About time, this is more reflective of how gay culture has changed.

TheOldie

TheOldie said on the 6th Jul, 2011

Sad.

They made a few bad decisions on Sleaze Ball parties and lost people. I would have thought they should have re-invented it like they bumped up Mardi Gras party when it was in decline.

Community ? get behind it all ? I hope so for NMG's sake.

The great thing about Mardi Gras and Sleaze was the bigger venue and not just the same old same old venues on Oxford St which people bitch about already.

and yes Travis , off to Inquisition !

Brad

Brad said on the 6th Jul, 2011

Disagree re the "the end is nigh" comments. I think this change is good and I look forward to again being involved!

Phazz

Phazz said on the 6th Jul, 2011

They are presently running at a loss and despite this years results being marginally better then last years, the fact is NMG can't continue running a loss else it will fold. I applaud them for trying something different and whether it succeeds or fails, at least they are trying something.

david_margeaux

david_margeaux said on the 6th Jul, 2011

The thing is that NMG has cancelled an event with the potential to make a lot of much needed cash to move to one that will potentially make the venues and promoters a lot of cash.

The problem as I see it is that the marketing of Sleaze has been all wrong, the production values sacrificed too far and these have combined to kill a much loved and revered event.

Rather than cancel Sleaze perhaps those responsible should resign and let others try their hand at reviving it....

Grumpy

Grumpy said on the 6th Jul, 2011

Sad.

They made a few bad decisions on Sleaze Ball parties and lost people. I would have thought they should have re-invented it like they bumped up Mardi Gras party when it was in decline.

Community ? get behind it all ? I hope so for NMG's sake.

The great thing about Mardi Gras and Sleaze was the bigger venue and not just the same old same old venues on Oxford St which people bitch about already.

and yes Travis , off to Inquisition !

I thought Inquisition died in the arse a few years back.

cnorriss

cnorriss said on the 6th Jul, 2011

Good on them for trying something different. Keep the focus on Oxford Street. Smaller parties are usually more fun. Just keep the Hordern etc for the main MG weekend.

MrAsh

MrAsh said on the 6th Jul, 2011



Sydney Leather Pride etc... are taking a chance and moving it back to the Dome to revive the 'dirty sleazy old day's'. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Grumpy

Grumpy said on the 6th Jul, 2011



They need to take a leaf out of Beyond's book's as to running a leather party.

Correz

Correz said on the 6th Jul, 2011

many would claim that it wasn't held last year.

Virgindirk

Virgindirk said on the 6th Jul, 2011

Aslong as they dont cancel or change the MG party im happy:)

david_margeaux

david_margeaux said on the 6th Jul, 2011



If they keep losing money they may not have a choice but to change or cancel MG ....

Christian Taylor

Christian Taylor said on the 6th Jul, 2011

the name "big weekend" is a much more appealing to corporate sponsors than "sleaze ball"... and it seems fitting, given that sleaze ball had become more sanitised than westfield shopping centre. it's sad that a city of 5 million can't sustain a gay party of only 5000 people... but then again, when the party is awash with police, dogs and security, who is surprised?

it's a shame that one night on the calendar that got the whole community together will essentially now be split up into several smaller parties... not sure how 'big weekend' will feel any different to any other long weekend on the strip?

on the upside, at least something new is taking sleaze's place...

david_margeaux

david_margeaux said on the 6th Jul, 2011



how many corporate sponsors want to be associated with hedonistic, all weekend drug and alcohol fuelled promiscuity & partying?? The underlying corporate sentiment has become very conservative so I'd be surprised to see corporates flocking to sponsor MG just because of a name change, especially for an unproven newly branded weekend concept party weekend from an organisation with a long history of failing events....

Correz

Correz said on the 6th Jul, 2011

I doubt many companies with big bucks to spend & their eyes firmly planted on the pink $ will be very interested in sponsoring either Sleaze or substituted events such as the so-called Big Weekend until it is clear that these events are regaining traction in the community. The only reason to have gone ahead with last year's severely downsized Sleaze was to provide the proof (if anyone needed it) that it really was at the end of it's use-by date in its original form.

Certainly Sleaze and Mardi Gras were amazing events in their Hey Day and served a hugely important role in both galvanizing the gay community & then cementing our place within the wider community.

But nowadays when we are mostly all conditioned to expect a diverse range of personalized entertainments available on demand - think itunes. pay television and streaming movies - the price that we are usually prepared accept for this convenience is that events are typically smaller, more specialized and less elaborately staged.

If New Mardi Gras exerts an appropriate level of control and coordination over events which are allowed to carry the "Made for The Big Weekend' or 'Big Weekend Passport' official seal of approval, then there is no reason that this new approach will not succeed in engaging more members of our community where the old Sleaze Party formula was fading away through lack of interest in the tired one-event-fits-all formula.

After all Small is the new Big :)

TheOldie

TheOldie said on the 6th Jul, 2011



hahahahaaa on the committee hmmmmm ?

I know everyone has their own ideas.

Most of my gang only go to the bigger weekend parties of which there are only 3 maybe 4 if NYE has something as its something different/somewhere different than Oxford St.

Sure you had to run the gauntlet at the really big ones of sniffer dogs etc but once inside Fox became gayland and you could walk unmolested between venues and you had 2 huge venues in Hordern and RHI.

Sleaze was just becoming too sanitized and didnt have the flow on from MG Parade that the MG Party gets.

I would have thought a return to something Sleazey/Fetish/Leather with more out their shows would attract back a crowd that hasnt attended for years.

With Toybox gone they could have hired some of the crew as consultants and had a go at Daybox or similar name in the Hordern and spread the bump in costs over 2 parties.

I hope it does work for them as I dont want NMG to go under. I know my gang will now just plan a long weekend away somewhere as we all loathe Oxford St.

coast_boy

coast_boy said on the 6th Jul, 2011

How crappy! The reason Sleaze has failed is because the parties have been shit over the past few years (with the exception of the zirkus party, that was off the hook!) Trying too hard to be something it isnt...

You cant say that its declined because its "too sanitized" - straight parties have just as much security presence, sniffer dogs etc, yet they manage to put on a good show!!

Phazz

Phazz said on the 7th Jul, 2011

While I enjoyed last years Sleaze, it was certainly plagued with issues such as waiting 45 min to get into the Forum at 2am. Why would people spend $100 on a ticket to Sleaze for a "mediocre" party (in recent years) when they could spend half the cost and go to more enjoyable alternatives? Last year was that Milk party that had people raving, Day Wash, Homesexual, Toybox, Extra Dirty, and a slew of other parties.

You also have to look at the fact that a large party can only really be held at Moore Park since the only other venues that can hold it would be at Homebush or other areas far away from Oxford St. Smaller parties opens up more venues closer to Oxford St and inner city.

dracon388

dracon388 said on the 7th Jul, 2011

Very sad to see it go, last year sucked, but I've only ever been to two, Game On being my first, would have loved to have been at Zirkus seeing photos and videos from it.

Hopefully this weekend will take off one way or another.

@david_margeaux: get up on the wrong side of the bed much?

zebra23

zebra23 said on the 7th Jul, 2011

Community? What 'community'?? If there was a 'community' Sleaze Ball might still be ongoing. Sign of the times I guess. Ho hum, just another weekend in the Oxford St clubs ... with cramped dance spaces. Try Germany and London to experience a decent dance night out.

dracon388

dracon388 said on the 7th Jul, 2011



+1, I agree with you to a certain extent. :)

kayjay

kayjay said on the 7th Jul, 2011

I was just booking my flight to Sydney for Sleaze weekend. I thought I'd better double check the date so I googled and found this thread. So now I'm not booking the flight and will be spending my pink $ at home. Enjoy your " Big Weekend" Sydney.

JayTee

JayTee said on the 7th Jul, 2011

Perhaps cancelling a big Horden party in october will make a big horden party in March all that more attractive?

JayTee

JayTee said on the 7th Jul, 2011



We don't like blow ins anyway....

Virgindirk

Virgindirk said on the 7th Jul, 2011



No wonder NMG events are loosing money with attitudes of likes that.

JayTee

JayTee said on the 7th Jul, 2011

yes because pride festivals in other cities are about to rival sydney's....

this is not the end of NMG. its just an evolution.

Virgindirk

Virgindirk said on the 8th Jul, 2011

yes because pride festivals in other cities are about to rival sydney's....

this is not the end of NMG. its just an evolution.

Well in my city we dont have a pride festival at all, and my preferred festival is MG which i have attended and supported for quite some time. But if the precious locals don't want 'the blow ins'then why should should i spend my hard earned money in attending if its not going to be appreciated. MG, sleaze etc wouldnt be as big and long lasting as it has been without domestic and international visitors.

Is it just me or is Sydneys gay community is it's own worst enemy?

JayTee

JayTee said on the 8th Jul, 2011

so the reason it's dying is because the over reliance of interstate and overseas visitors? I'm not sure you realise your argument is redundant.

if we build an organisation that doesn't rely on "big" parties, then we won't NEED the interstate and overseas blow ins.

Virgindirk

Virgindirk said on the 8th Jul, 2011

so the reason it's dying is because the over reliance of interstate and overseas visitors? I'm not sure you realise your argument is redundant.

if we build an organisation that doesn't rely on "big" parties, then we won't NEED the interstate and overseas blow ins.

Ok so NMG downsize everything, dont do big parties, dont do any marketing to attract visitors.....then before you know it local sydneysiders will be on forums like this bitching, moaning and whining that everyhting about MG is shit, its too dull, too boring, not like it used to be etc etc.

dracon388

dracon388 said on the 8th Jul, 2011

Blow ins are the best! I'm a blow in!... or a drive in?

But what would MG be without all the visiting yanks and so on?

TheOldie

TheOldie said on the 8th Jul, 2011

Well the parties used to be the big money spinners and Sleaze Ball gave them good cash flow for Mardi Gras.

If you ditch the big parties will the rest be enough to attract overseas/interstate visitors ? or just attract the locals ?

MG parties were falling by the way as well but they have really picked up again.

People were crying out for a more Sleazy party and Zirkus sort of got there but the rest of them just became no different to the MG party and as a lot have said became
too sanitized.

But Oxford St is just Oxford St no matter how you dress it up and can do it any weekend of the year.

Planning a trip for the 2nd week in Oct so had time to recover from Sleaze :) but now looking at departing that week so can have longer time away.

Virgindirk

Virgindirk said on the 8th Jul, 2011

Blow ins are the best! I'm a blow in!... or a drive in?

But what would MG be without all the visiting yanks and so on?

Exactly! thats my point, all the visiting guys and girls help make MG what it is. Pity there a few sydneysiders (JayTee) who want it all to themselves.

Barrin

Barrin said on the 8th Jul, 2011

I've been living in Sydney for almost 15 years. I doubt I'd be here if I hadn't started 'blowing-in' to MG and Sleaze almost 20 years ago.
I think the downturn in MG and all it stood for is hand in hand with the general decline in gay venues and events in Sydney. And Sydney itself hasn't had any spark since the Olympics. For most of the 20th century Sydney was engaged in huge public projects: the Harbour Bridge opened 1932, the Opera House opened 1973 and the Olympics 2000. All took years to bring off, captured the imagination of the public and the attention of the world. But what's Sydney doing now? What can it do? I expect the pendulum to swing back but it might be another ten years.

mark_

mark_ said on the 8th Jul, 2011


:confused: I feel I should respond but I will later after I've cogitated on it.

****[ thinks to self] ***millions of pounds **** more tax***** government mistrust *****people are sheep****** bread and circuses*****

Barrin

Barrin said on the 8th Jul, 2011

:confused: I feel I should respond but I will later after I've cogitated on it.

****[ thinks to self] ***millions of pounds **** more tax***** government mistrust *****people are sheep****** bread and circuses*****

And will Barangaroo deliver? :)

JayTee

JayTee said on the 8th Jul, 2011



yes thanks for your support in making Mardi Gras what it is today - an organisation that went broke once, and has just posted a loss for the 2nd financial year in a row.

if MG downsizes some of it's affairs it wont NEED overseas visitors to prop it up. the old way doesn't work so they need to try new things.


ps. it's the locals who volunteer their time to run MG so why shouldn't we want the priority to be on sydneysiders instead of blow ins? Do you realise how many unpaid hours people of sydney put in, in order for you to have your fabulous holiday here????

Phazz

Phazz said on the 8th Jul, 2011

Yes but if NMG didn't stuff up with the dates on the year before, then that years loss might not have been a loss.

TheOldie

TheOldie said on the 8th Jul, 2011



Yep.

Lots didnt have the time to spend another week in Sydney and headed off touring around Australia instead.

The International/Interstaters inject millions into Sydney over that period.

david_margeaux

david_margeaux said on the 8th Jul, 2011

Just as an aside, the 2011 Annual Report is fascinating reading, especially to see the overall decline in revenue from the parties...

http://www.mardigras.org.au/about-us/our-annual-report/index.cfm


...

Virgindirk

Virgindirk said on the 8th Jul, 2011

yes thanks for your support in making Mardi Gras what it is today - an organisation that went broke once, and has just posted a loss for the 2nd financial year in a row.

if MG downsizes some of it's affairs it wont NEED overseas visitors to prop it up. the old way doesn't work so they need to try new things.


ps. it's the locals who volunteer their time to run MG so why shouldn't we want the priority to be on sydneysiders instead of blow ins? Do you realise how many unpaid hours people of sydney put in, in order for you to have your fabulous holiday here????

Im not discounting the vaulable work the volunteers do as they do a teriffic job every year. But its the interstate and overseas visitors who pay thousands of dollars in travel and accomodation to get to sydney plus pay the event tickets etc. A couple of years ago it was reported that MG is worth $30million to the NSW economy a figure im sure 'blow ins' contribute to. So don't you think they are just as vaulable to MG as the locals?

P.S I hope you don't work in hospitality or tourism, it dosnt sound like a suitable job for you.

david_margeaux

david_margeaux said on the 8th Jul, 2011

The international and interstate visitors are vital for Mardi Gras for the economic impact they have that helps to garner state government support. Plus most of them are super nice and great fun to hang out with... I wish more international and interstate people made the effort to come and play with us....

TheOldie

TheOldie said on the 8th Jul, 2011

Yup am in the Tourism industry and its manic the week before , over the weekend and the following week with full hotels , cheap fares sold out etc.

JayTee

JayTee said on the 8th Jul, 2011

Im not discounting the vaulable work the volunteers do as they do a teriffic job every year. But its the interstate and overseas visitors who pay thousands of dollars in travel and accomodation to get to sydney plus pay the event tickets etc. A couple of years ago it was reported that MG is worth $30million to the NSW economy a figure im sure 'blow ins' contribute to. So don't you think they are just as vaulable to MG as the locals?

P.S I hope you don't work in hospitality or tourism, it dosnt sound like a suitable job for you.

Sorry, but I don't buy the "MG brings in millions so the government should support it" line.

Chinese new year and NAIDOC celebrations don't bring in thiusands of visitors to Sydney and the goevernment supports them as much as MG.

Our community should be careful about basing our worth on the amount of $$$$ that we provide, because others may believe the line and when the visitors don't come (like our "I joined samesame in October 2008 but have only made 4 posts" friend) then the government will rethink their funding.

We should get funding because MG is a celebration of our community, regardless of how many blow ins we get!

Speaking of blow ins, it's obvious Mr (or Ms) "four posts in 3 years" only came onto samesame to slag off MG - those same volunteers who make MG what it is. Don't defend that kind of attitude.....

MrAsh

MrAsh said on the 8th Jul, 2011

Mardi Gras is sex tourism and should be promoted as such. That's what attracts the tourists mostly and it's what attracts them to events like Sleaze ball as well.

Yet also after that huge controversy about harrassement at last years Sleaze in SX and SSO by a woman who chose to go topless and complained about being groped by a lot of people. I'm not surprised the event has been toned down over the years.

dracon388

dracon388 said on the 12th Jul, 2011


ps. it's the locals who volunteer their time to run MG so why shouldn't we want the priority to be on sydneysiders instead of blow ins? Do you realise how many unpaid hours people of sydney put in, in order for you to have your fabulous holiday here????

This part is wrong, of the volunteers I got to talk to this year, one was a Brit living in Sydney, but not a local, and many of the parade volunteers were from interstate.

Not the majority by any means, but its not just Sydney people.

Needless to say the extra travel time and money I myself put it this year, as a blow in who was still organising a parade group.

dracon388

dracon388 said on the 12th Jul, 2011

Mardi Gras is sex tourism and should be promoted as such. That's what attracts the tourists mostly and it's what attracts them to events like Sleaze ball as well.



It's not all about the sex, and as a televised event I don't think it would be wise to advertise it as such.

Some of us actually care about the parties and the fun, and others come to pick up, people on both sides of the fence mr :)

Virgindirk

Virgindirk said on the 12th Jul, 2011

Purely marketing MG as sex tourism just gives Fred Nile, ACL and the like more fuel to thier argument that the gay community is a bunch of sex obsessed maniacs.

TheOldie

TheOldie said on the 12th Jul, 2011

It's not all about the sex, and as a televised event I don't think it would be wise to advertise it as such.

Some of us actually care about the parties and the fun, and others come to pick up, people on both sides of the fence mr :)

yep

close to 25 years of these parties and my gang go for the dance party and the fun.

Can have the sex thing any other time etc

The Parade and after Party is what put it all on the map and attracted the overseas visitors as did Sleaze to start off Spring and bring everyone out of hibernation.

dracon388

dracon388 said on the 12th Jul, 2011

yep

close to 25 years of these parties and my gang go for the dance party and the fun.

Can have the sex thing any other time etc

The Parade and after Party is what put it all on the map and attracted the overseas visitors as did Sleaze to start off Spring and bring everyone out of hibernation.

Glad it's not just me ;) - I come to Sydney for the BIG parties too, if it's something normal, whats the point in travelling?

TheOldie

TheOldie said on the 12th Jul, 2011



Truly this guy I know would spend most of the night leaning against the wall in the mens just oggling ! WTF

but my whole gang thinks the same way ie its a DANCE party and we enjoy dancing etc. Mind you sex has happened but thats twice in 25 years and only because it was so spontaneous , no time wasted cruising. Was wham bam thank you ma'am and back onto the dance floor :)

There are 362 other nights ( excluding Mardi Gras, Sleaze , NYE ) where can go and get sex.

but each to his own

brodes13

brodes13 said on the 13th Jul, 2011

Im going to carnivale this year.

TheOldie

TheOldie said on the 13th Jul, 2011



Ash cloud ! :rolleyes:

MrAsh

MrAsh said on the 13th Jul, 2011



but my whole gang thinks the same way ie its a DANCE party and we enjoy dancing etc.



Your gang sounds like they are a cool bunch of guys to party with Oldie! :D