Melbourne Music Week is nearly upon us (11 - 19 November) and the queers are coming out to play with Heaps Gay Heaps Yummy. For one night only, Kat Hopper (director and founder of Heaps Gay) and James Welsby (creative director and founder of YUMMY), will be hosting this event, which will see queers and their allies taking over the State Library of Victoria for what promises to be a night of spectacular music and fabulous performance.
Fresh from hosting "a deliciously twisted cabaret of queer-lesque delights" with YUMMY Up Late at the Melbourne Fringe Festival, Welsby is more than excited about his upcoming collaboration with Melbourne Music Week and Heaps Gay. "The scale for Heaps Gay Heaps YUMMY is like nothing that I've coordinated before. We have booked over 30 performers, and are taking over an iconic venue in Melbourne," he says. "It feels so amazing to have that level of support for an indie queer event. The skill and diversity of all the performers we have scheduled is completely out of control. It is going to be huge."
One of the “25 LGBT People to Watch in 2015″ in Gay News Network, Welsby is an established Melbourne based dancer and choreographer whose work has not only received critical acclaim throughout the country but also the opportunity to perform with some of the biggest stars in the industry. "I have worked for almost a decade in contemporary dance and cabaret, most recently with Finucane and Smith and BRIEFS," he explains. "I've always stayed based in Melbourne throughout all my traveling as there's an incredible queer scene here. I wanted to create a drag cabaret that connected and reflected a bunch of my fellow performer friends here in Melbourne. I was paying attention to criticism of mainstream drag as being misogynistic, and I thought the best way to address that problem head-on was to ensure women had equal opportunities in drag spaces, which is how YUMMY came to be."
Premiering as part of Midwinta in 2015, the show has continued to grow and win audiences with its queer fashion, avant-garde drag, and variety of performance styles. "YUMMY is an inclusive cabaret born from the alternative drag scene of inner North Melbourne," Welsby explains. "It has female, male, and gender-queer performers and straddles the line between drag, music, burlesque, and dance. It's bonkers, skilled, and has huge heart. It's an ongoing project that's alive, flexible, and unpredictable."
When the opportunity to collaborate with Hopper and Heaps Gay presented itself, Welsby was immediately on board. "Kat approached me to collaborate after the success of YUMMY. I love how ambitious this project is and agreed instantly. It feels like we have the potential here to unite numerous groups under the LGBTIQ banner together in celebration. I'm really hoping so. I think it's fantastic that I can coordinate the club acts, Kat can coordinate the musicians and DJs, and we can come together to support and celebrate each other. The agenda of the event is to think big, to bring people together, and to create something really really unique and fun."
With such a huge line-up, I have to ask Welsby which performer or act he is particular excited about seeing, and like a true parent, he cannot choose. "Don't make me pick a favourite! They're seriously all so good," He laughs. "I think the best thing about this event is the context, the time of year, the sheer scale of brilliant artists, that there's something for everyone, and the fact that the State Library and Melbourne Music Week are so supportive of us queers. It's an epic queer carnival, and we want it to be the "party of the year." It's our time queers, it's our time."
For more information, check out the Heaps Gay Heaps Yummy Facebook event page
Venue: State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston St, Melbourne
When: Wednesday 16 November
Time: 7:30pm - 1:00am
Tickets: $19 Ealy Bird | $25 General Admission | $35 at the door
Bookings: Melbourne Music Week