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Photo by Joseph Mayers

They Took Me To A Queer Bar

The Flying Nun presents THEY TOOK ME TO A QUEER BAR, by Tommy Misa, at the East Sydney Community and Arts Centre in Burton St Darlinghurst (opposite The Eternity Playhouse.) 28th February 2020.
THEY TOOK ME TO A QUEER BAR, is a devised work by Tommy Misa. Mr Misa was inspired to honour the queer artists of the past that have built through hardship, persistence, talent and luck a tradition of queer performance and the creation of spaces to present their culture and share. Mr Misa is an employee of THE BEARED TIT, a performance bar in Redfern. If those walls and many others (RED RATTLER of Marrickville) could talk, what would they tell.

This  work is a series of short vignettes illustrating interactions over the history of Sydney’s evolving queer performance growth. In spaces as diverse as a bar, a theatre, the street, a toilet etc performance has flourished. Characters became legendary. Mr Misa was supported by Sound Artist Jonny Seymour, and was mentored by Dino Dimitriades. The work was made possible with the support from Create NSW and City of Sydney.

In the venue simply organised with raised platforms and a clothing rack for costume changes for the various characters, and rudimentary Lighting, Mr Misa performed for a packed audience, filled with loving friends to encourage his creatively. It is scary to perform. It is frightening to perform solo work of your own devising, exposing, inevitably, your strengths and weaknesses to a live audience. to friends. The learning curve is monumental.

The next step is the further development and the ‘polishing’ of the writing and the performance skills. Let us hope that Mr Misa has been encouraged to explore his need to create and tell stories that are relevant to his tribe and hopefully for those outside that clique. He has begun.

As part of a contribution to the performance art shown during the time period of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras of 2020, THEY TOOK ME TO A QUEER BAR, was a walk down memory lanes for some, a revelation of the ‘folk’ history for the young, and a provocation to want to know more of the wider perspective of what has happened in the past to encourage a self-expression that is today not only tolerated but encouraged.