The Glory Republic is the vision and creation of Bent Femme Finishing School Director EMMA COOK (aka DJ Scissorfist). After hosting queer-femme parties in Sydney (Girlthing, Homosocial) and performances in Tasmania (Queen’s Ball), Emma wanted to bring similar nights back to her home town Perth as an alternative to the usual queer club scene. HARVEY RAE had a chat to Emma about what makes Glory Republic different and what’s in store for the new Fringe show coming up this Saturday, February 4 at Babushka in Leederville.
For the newcomers, tell us about The Glory Republic: what is it and how did it all start?
We decided we needed a new space to go and dance and express our love for performance. A place where people can participate and express themselves however they choose to do that. We focus on alternative DJs and performers that subvert the mainstream scene whilst also feeling inclusive to anyone who feels like they need a new kind of party. Our aim is always to prioritise femme, non-binary and diverse artists on the stage. The first Glory Republic show launched in Perth in September 2016 combining DJs with live performance art and interactive installations that was more in-style with a cabaret or variety night than your usual club night. That’s why we call it a party! We want everyone we’ve never met to come along and be inspired to put yourselves in the spotlight.
It sounds like Glory Republic is made for something like Fringe World. What can people expect to be exposed to this time around and how is it different to other Fringe shows?
Yes! The model for Glory Republic fits the Fringe ethos so well and we’re very proud to be able to present something special for the Fringe World edition. We’re putting on a super-lush, magical tropical love paradise for all the visiting and local queers, allies, and the curious that will be out and about for the festival. There will be babes to feed you fruit and giving palm readings, unicorns with very long horns and a giant neon vagina to dance around. Costumes are highly encouraged to get into the Island Paradise theme. It is different to usual cabaret shows because of the welcome interactivity. You’re not sitting in a seat for an hour watching a performance, you’re immersed in the event over four hours, so people definitely get their pennies’ worth.
So, have you got any unusual acts or artists planned for the Fringe edition?
It’s a specially selected showcase of tasty local and interstate acts aimed to give you visual and audible pleasure. Our superstar of the night is the “world famous sex clown” Betty Grumble who will be putting out an exclusive performance just for Glory Republic. I worked with her while I was DJ-ing in Sydney at a weekly night called Homosocial and Betty appeared one night as a naked dancing sex clown in the window, where she cavorted around to the amazement of passers-by, and I got to play her soundtrack. There’s something about the grotesque hotness of her that lights the fire in your own belly and makes you want to save the world whilst getting your gear off. We’ve also got the queen of subversion and avant theatre artist Ash Baroque who has performed at Glastonbury, Sydney Mardi Gras and locally at Camp Doogs shocking our stage and the return of the magical unicorn Tess OZteron boylesque extraordinaire. Plus we have award-winning performance poet Scott-Patrick Mitchell doing some very personal palm reading and the mistress of drag Miishy Ling, or Mimi to the boys, reigning as Carmen Miranda. We will be guided through the night by the vibrant MC Rainbow Gash, with an eclectic mix of music provided by our deck divas, myself as DJ Scissorfist, plus the sexual synth of Amnesia and our very own dancing-DJ Miss Q. We want it to be fun and exciting, but mostly we just want to stroke your sequins and dance with you – consensually – in a very gay way.
It’s not your average Saturday night! What kind of audience do you think The Glory Republic appeals to?
This is a sex diversity and queer positive event, open to everyone. All funds raised are being donated to the Freedom Centre to help support LGBTIQ youth in Perth. We invite all the queer freaks, geeks, bears, stems, butches, twinks, ze’s, hir’s, as well as lovers, allies and whoever to come out and get bent!
The Glory Republic Queer Party Fringe Special is on Saturday, 4 February, 2017 at Babushka in Leederville. Tickets available from Fringe World.