Sydney Fringe: Week 131

Xavier Toby leading the 2013: When We Were Idiots walking comedy tour, Sydney Fringe

At some point in the future, or maybe it is the past, the Australian mining tycoon Clive Palmer will melt Antarctica. The specifics are a bit unclear, but I have a suspicion it’s because he wants to be extra cautious with his new ship the Titanic II.

Shortly after the destruction of Antarctica, entire flocks of penguins swam to Australia. The good news is that they quickly adapted to the desert heat, the bad news is that their passports did not withstand the rigors of a long distance ocean swim. This is to say, all of the penguins arrived undocumented and were immediately sent to an offshore processing center until someone realized they actually make excellent tour guides.

I was lucky enough to learn all this future history thanks to an independent arts festival called Sydney Fringe. For two weeks the most famous penguin guide from 2113, Xavier Toby, came back to 2013 to transport tour groups to 2113 to be able to objectively look back on 2013. Still following?

2013: When We Were Idiots walking comedy tour- Sydney Fringe

During our stay in 2113, Xavier hired ‘actors’ to accurately recreate 2013. So as we walked down King Street in Newtown, we were assured that anyone around us was an actor and that we should engage them, photograph them, and even give them hugs (especially the actors playing police officers).

Sometimes we guessed these actors ATM numbers (did you know it was a very popular game in 2013? If you guessed correctly you won money!) and while most actors were friendly, there were some real nasties in 2013. The angry, tattooed guys eating fast food at Oporto’s deserve an Oscar- I thought they were going to stab our penguin guide!

Aside from the cultural commentary, we also learned a little about the history of Newtown and how it received its original name. *Spoiler alert*- it was named after a grocery store called New Town Stores. Before colonization, Newtown was a large field in which the Aborigines used to plant kangaroo grass. Not that they ate the grass, but as you can imagine it did attract a certain tasty herbivore.

Ninety minutes later, 2013: When We Were Idiots wrapped up at a local watering hole where the drinks were as refreshing as the walk. I had enjoyed experiencing a comedy show outside of a traditional venue; it allowed for more spontaneity and more encounters with road vomit. And correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that in 2013 vomit was traditionally seen as an indicator of a good time.

About: Sydney Fringe

About: Xavier Toby & When We Were Idiots

Jurassic Lounge: Week 110

Jurassic Lounge: Sydney, Australia. Photo courtesy of Jurassic Lounge.

You know that pivotal moment in teen movies when a small gathering invariably becomes a raging house party?  The football team shows up for keg stands, horny teenagers turn any room with a door into a makeout cove, and Mom’s precious vase gets knocked over.

Right before things really head south, the audience/attractive co-star discover that the dorky protagonist is secretly really cool and genuine. A moral lesson is learned by all not to judge a book by its cover. Or maybe the lesson was to be true to yourself. Or maybe it’s both of those, but then enters the parents/cops/cool clique. These people are total buzzkills.

This is exactly the situation I imagined when surveying the Jurassic Lounge takeover at the Australian Museum. Any moment now a scholarly citizen or museum board member would rush inside to say, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. I am drawing the line at the My Little Pony burlesque performance! EVERYBODY OUT!”

My Little Pony Burlesque at the Jurassic Lounge: Sydney, Australia. Photo courtesy of Jurassic Lounge.

Yet this wasn’t Hollywood, it was Australia, so the party continued. More and more people flooded into the museum as the night wore on. The line for the taco cart was as long as a stegosaurus and a T-rex combined, give or take a couple of those little feathery dinos that chickens descended from. Empty glasses and dirty plates slowly piled up inside a gallery displaying American Gothic: Drawings by Charles Addams.

The Search and Discover lab looked like a Rubik’s Cube disco ball had smashed onto the carpeted floor. Drunken university students jammed stuffed parrots under microscopes and posed for photos with tortoise shells on their backs. A lanky guy in a plaid shirt sipped a glass of red wine as he leaned closer towards his pretty date. She flashed a coy smile, they both studiously ignored the reference material on the monitor behind them.

In all, three floors of the museum were overtaken by live music, hula hoops, break dancing, Jumbo Jenga, DJs, Lomography booths, and standup comics from the Sydney Comedy Festival.

Sorry Hollywood, maybe the cool kids and the adults in charge aren’t such buzzkills after all.

Jurassic Lounge at the Australian Museum: Sydney, Australia

How to get to the Australian Museum: 6 College St, East Sydney NSW 2010

About: Jurassic Lounge

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