Australia

Into Trendy Balmain: Dinner and Drag Queens


We continue to be amazed by the generosity of the people of Sydney and generally of Australia.

People are genuinely friendly and open here.

Graham O’Keefe has organized dinner and a show for us and seven other people. The fact that none of us knows each other makes no difference to Australians. This is all part of the fun.

Graham picks us up (another incredibly generous gesture), and we head through rush hour traffic over the Anzac Bridge into trendy Balmain, which melds the working class, bourgeois renovators and the very well-heeled. Balmain is about a 20-minute drive from the city center and is tucked into the inner west’s harbour, and the main street is Darling Street. Dinner and a show end up to be a raucous evening of food, wine, broken glasses (not just our table) and a drag show hosted by Miss Pastie deKlyne at the very popular Café Tatu (now, unfortunately, closed). An all-inclusive evening in one venue that is quite small for the a number of people they pack in. And Miss deKlyne seems to be quite popular – many guests appeared to know her routines.

Over dinner, we discover that another two of the attending ten are Canadians but that neither has lived in Canada for over 35 years. We find out later that there are three more Canadians having dinner in the restaurant. We’re everywhere!

The show rolls on in its typical saucy drag queen way with the usual innuendo and bad dirty jokes, but it seems to fit the bill very well this evening. At one point, Pastie takes her show out the front door of the restaurant and into the street, literally stopping traffic on Darling Street.

What would Mardi Gras be without at least one tragic drag queen?

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