The Oyster Club: Glamdrogynous Freakshow – the Ringmaster is Calling

Ladies and gentlemen, genderless beings, queers and all ‘others’ step right up. Come a little closer; don’t be shy, as we enter the marvellous world of the Glamdrogynous Freakshow. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a boy, girl, gender neutral, amphibian, reptile or have no label– all are welcome here, in fact the weirder the better!

 

On what seemed like any other typical Thursday night in lockout Sydney we ventured down into the cave-like chambers of Knox St Bar, with little to no expectations of what fantastic feats lay ahead. Once inside my curiosity was instantly answered with glitter, glitz and bizarre creatures frolicking about. I immediately felt welcome, at ease, as an unusual sense of familiarity rushed over me. Was this the long-lost carnival family I had been searching my entire life for?

 

The night was organised by Porcelain Alice and Marlena Dali, both captivating artists who were injecting some much needed life into the Sydney performing arts scene. They presented a parade of eccentric expressionism, a circus of visual feasts – and I had a large appetite to satisfy. First to be introduced to the family was Blake Lawrence aka ‘Hannibal Rex’, a strangely masculine drag explosion of glitter and streamers, reminiscent of a modern day viking celebration. His outfits were mesmerising, a swirl of dancing streamers, that reeled you into Fantasia. A definite can’t-keep-my-eyes-away-at-the-horrific-yet-beautiful-moment was witnessing a 2 metre long balloon being swallowed by a dwarfed-in-comparison girl in its entirety. But I loved it, all the disturbing zaniness made me feel comfortable to embrace my own inner freak.

Oyster Club shot by Lucy Alcorn
Oyster Club shot by Lucy Alcorn

Other highlights included Porcelain Alice getting acrobatic on a bed of nails (ouch!), witnessing a human kitty-cat balancing on a pile of circular objects (how?!) and involuntarily being part of a champagne wet t-shirt competition during a performer’s pole routine (free drinks anyone?). Stelly G’s dance performance was powerful and mesmerising, utilising a mask, white paint and a plastic gun to make a possible political commentary on the invasion of Australia by British colonisers.

Oyster Club shot by Lucy Alcorn
Oyster Club shot by Lucy Alcorn

As the final performance ended I was left in a daze. Streamers were twirling in circles around in my head, swirling colours were hypnotically dancing around, waving gracefully through the air over and over again. I felt as though I was entering a LSD induced trip of kaleidoscopic madness. I was falling deep into the Wonderland of Glamdrogyny and I didn’t want it to end. My vision was blurring, and as the dancing colours faded into the distance I lost consciousness…

Oyster Club shot by Lucy Alcorn
Oyster Club shot by Lucy Alcorn

I woke up suddenly to the sound of my alarm blasting. Swirling colours and illuminated faces were still dancing around in my head. Had it all just been a wild and wonderful dream? I felt intense panic and remorse – could it be possible that the whirlwind of a night had simply been a figment of my imagination? And then I heard it, a voice whispering ever so softly – ‘Glamdrogynoussss. Freakshowwww. Glammmdrogynoussss Freakkkshowwww.’ It was the ringmaster calling, beckoning for me to return home once again.

Review by Sara Nicolette, photography by Lucy Alcorn.

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