Disco, Drag And Dark Art: Inside Brisbane’s New Queer Party ‘Shangri-La’


Shangri-La Party

Some of Australia’s best underground artists will perform at a new edgy, artistic queer party that promises to be a one-of-a-kind experience in Brisbane.

The Tivoli in Brisbane will be transformed into the Shangri-La Queer Disco, boasting a non-stop program of art and music from queer DJs and performers on May 19.

Organisers say the event is in the vein of the Museum of Old and New Art’s (MONA) subversive and controversial Dark Mofo festival, held every year in Tasmania.

“We went to the Dark Mofo party for many years. That event’s closing night party is so wicked and wild,” organiser Renata Roberts said.

“When my business partner and I moved to China, we put on the first gay and lesbian party in mainland China, in Shanghai. When we came back to Australia, we realised there were no amazing, darkly artistic queer parties in Brisbane.”

Headlining the Shangri La Queer Disco is acclaimed cabaret performer and self-described “sex clown” Betty Grumble (pictured, left), whose 2017 show Sex Clown Saves The World smashed preconceptions of gender, sex and identity and wowed audiences and critics at the Brisbane Festival.

Mononymous Melbourne drag queen Paris (pictured, right), an icon of the Australian drag scene for more than three decades, will also take to the stage to perform at the event.

DJ Du Jour, DJ Brooke Powers, DJ Danny, Hotep and Isaac Ismail will be on the decks throughout the night.

Art lovers will get a visual feast when artist Kellie O’Dempsey uses light and intoxicating colours to spray the discotheque with a psychedelic wallpaper using digital projections.

Theatre of Thunder’s team of sound, space and movement makers will intertwine dance with immersive sound to create an atmospheric landscape.

“We’ve got a star-studded cast of entertainers, performers and DJs that are going to play all night, between 20 and 30 performers,” Roberts said.

“Putting Shangri La on in the Tivoli is really exciting, it’s such a beautiful and iconic building in Brisbane. We want to make it really accessible to queer men and women young and old and rock their socks off with very edgy entertainment.

“Instead of having a single subculture coming along to a party, like all the boys at the dance club, or all the lesbians at the lesbian venue, we’re really striving to get everybody together for a really edgy and avant garde night of entertainment.”

The 18+ Shangri-La Queer Disco is on at the Tivoli in Brisbane on Saturday, May 19. Tickets are $40 and are available here.