I saw something on Facebook the other week about “Crimson: A Night Of Queer Cabaret” at Lismore’s Star Court Theatre.

The same theatre I went to as a child, mostly on a Saturday morning (with my school friend, Mark Anderson). Back then, children’s tickets were only twenty cents for a double matinee.

A few years later, I remember our whole school attended screenings of the film, “Gallipoli”, starring Mel Gibson and Mark Lee.

By this time, the theatre had been renovated, with a new seating configuration, and with the red chairs replaced by green. There are still green chairs in the theatre now, though I’m not sure if they’re the “originals”.

More recently, I went to the theatre for a “Tropical Fruits Film Festival” screening, part of the annual LGBTQIA+ festival held each year in Lismore.

Last night, the theatre was once again transformed into a “queer space”, as local people, across a range of genders and sexualities, performed everything from stand-up comedy to drag, and all points in between.

One of the co-hosts for Crimson

Though I was probably a little sceptical about the show (not knowing any of the performers), I really enjoyed it. There were a couple of laugh-out-loud moments, including a fun sing-along-song about meeting a woman who “had a big dick”. The whole audience loved it.

There was also a performer called Pippin who sang an impassioned song, which acknowledged both their gender and their disability. Pippin said their mother was in the audience and spoke of the support their mother had provided them in life. Beautiful.

There were a few people I know in the audience, and we chatted with a few over drinks.

An old school friend, Colin was there, and he asked, “Do you want to go to Halloween Party at the Bowling Club”? Sure, why not I thought.

Though kinda imagining a fairly conservative event, mindful of my previous visits to jazz afternoons at the club, we entered a fairly deep dance club space.

As Colin is a musician, we talked about the different styles of music which included jungle and bass. The vibrations through the floor were pretty solid.

As it was a Halloween Night, there were lots of people dressed up. “Hi Colin”, someone said to us from behind a heavily made-up face.

Dance party at Lismore Bowling Club

Anthony Albanese and Dominic Perrottet were in Lismore yesterday, announcing the city’s recovery plans which include housing buy-backs. In all likelihood, the parts of Lismore where I grew up (and still live when I’m back home with family), will be cleared and made into parkland. It’s sad in lots of ways, but also positive too because it means the city can get on with recovery.

Both events last night were wonderful surprises. A sign of hope for the future, and demonstrates there’s plenty of life in Lismore, despite this year’s events.

Even though I’ve only been in Lismore for about 10 days, I find myself so caught up with life here, sometimes, that I forget that I live in Sydney. Last night was one such occasion.

Post Script – Sunday

The bowling club was transformed again into a venue with barefoot bowls and doof-doof.

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