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February 5, 2015

Paris is Burning at Surrender

Adulthood is dull and largely bereft of the opportunity to dress-up and be fabulous whilst lots of people look at you (unless that’s your job). Surrender, once again fulfilling their vow to make life better in all ways, is righting this oversight with their Paris is Burning competition.

Named and modelled on the film of the same name, Surrender’s Paris is Burning tribute will take the form of weekly runway shows.


As well as hosting Paris is Burning, Hans will also be appearing during the Fringe with the show Hans: In Das House, during which he will foray into the wide world of rap, but with a cabaret twist. As he says; “I’ll be doing Jay-Z in a German accent in the Spiegeltent, what could possibly go wrong?”. Tickets here.

Hosted by Adelaide icon Hans (aka Matt Gilbertson), each walk-off will see up to 50 entrants, dressed extravagantly to fulfil one of five categories, parade for the crowd before a winner is crowned based on popular vote. Each night’s winner takes home $500, and the top 5 from every parade will be invited back to compete in the finale on March 14.

The eventual glorious overall winner will be rewarded with two return airfares to Paris.

The parade hopes to capture a little of the energy that was recorded in director Jennie Livingston’s 1990 documentary about New York’s ball culture.

“In Paris is Burning the film you could see it’s like the Wizard of Oz kind of feeling of wanting to find something better than what you have. Darling, it’s all about striving for something greater than reality,” says Hans, who can quote almost every line from the doco.

“I think the good thing about the balls in the film and what we’re going to be doing is its not just a drag thing. If you’ve seen the film they’ve even got this segment called “executive” and it’s really about putting together the outfit and wearing it with confidence.”

People wishing to walk in Surrender’s parades will be asked to create costumes to fit in with either the school, high fashion, executive, realness or voguing categories. These might seem a little confusing, but if you watch the film (see below!) things will become much clearer.

Further, every participant – as well as making an outfit and bringing their best strut – will need to give their ensemble a sub-category, a name and provide a 25-word explanation for what on earth they are wearing. Advice offered by Hans for doing well is straightforward.

“My big tip is ‘Don’t fuck it up’,” he says.

“I think the other big thing is to do something unpredictable and be as creative as possible and whatever you’re doing be really confident. Even if you’re wearing the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever worn in your life you should sell it like you are Naomi Campbell – just give as much attitude as possible darling, bring it.”

Beyond the pressure of competition though, the walk-offs really are a chance to be yourself at as high intensity as possible while lots of people look on.


Surrender is a new arts and club experience from the creators of Barrio that will operate for three weeks on the Riverbank from February 20. CityMag is Surrender’s media partner and Dr YaYa’s preferred propaganda machine, stay with us for regular updates on Surrender or visit the website.

“In the film, all these people have been shunned by society and their families and they’ve managed to find each other, create these families and some are literally living together – it just shows you how you can rejuvenate yourself,” says Hans.

“That’s the same kind of feeling that we want for Surrender, we want people to think ‘I can be whatever I want here’.”

If you know what you want to be and you want to be it in front of lots of onlookers, register for the Paris is Burning walk-offs at the links below.

Round One, Saturday 21st February 2015

Round Two, Saturday 28th February 2015

Round Three, Saturday 7th March 2015






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