Connections ready to celebrate 40 years

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Connections Nightclub marks its 40th birthday, celebrating four decades of amazing nights and community spirit.

I don’t know when I first went to Connections, it was sometime in the 1990s. My friend Robert took me there, I remember climbing that flight of stairs and entering another world. I remember not knowing what to make of the Drag Queens, it was dark and crowded. I liked the music.

It must have been April 24th because ANZAC Day was the next day, I remember the drag queen at the end of the show encouraging people to stay up and go to the dawn service because there must have been gay servicemen who died who might not have grandchildren to remember them – that speech has always stuck with me.

Since its doors first opened in 1975 how many people have climbed those recently realigned stairs? How many hundreds of adventures have taken place under those disco balls? How many love stories have had their first spark in that room?

In his autobiography ‘Holding the Man’ Timothy Conigrave recounts visiting Connections while he was appearing the play ‘Brighton Beach Memoirs’ at His Majesty’s Theatre. Conigrave recalls taking a boy he’d met at the gym to the club who “disappeared with the love of his life”. Conigrave went home with an admirer who’d complimented him at the plays opening night a few days earlier.

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A host of luminaries have appeared at the club too, a few years ago I was chatting to Martha Wash who sang on everything from Sylvester’s disco hits, to the Weather Girls ‘It’s Raining Men’ and the ‘90s dance hits of C+C Music Factory and Black Box, she remembered Connections as the place where everyone sat down on the dance floor during the show.

The late disco god Sylvester himself played at the club back in the mid 80s, performing over two nights. One night his show was seriously delayed and he took to the stage launching a verbal spray at the club’s management. The show has been remembered as a sensational performance.

Boy George has DJ’d at the club several times, as has Jon Pleased Wimmin and the late great Frankie Knuckles. Alongside the world famous DJs a host of long standing dedicated resident DJs have filled the dance floor with their choice selections.

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Looking back through old copies of The West Observer, Perth’s gay magazine from the ‘80s and ‘90s, reveals the music that was popular in the club at the time. Connections Top 10 of September 1987 includes Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ and Mel and Kim’s ‘Respectable’ alongside The Pet Shop Boys, Kylie Minogue and Laura Branigan. (Surprisingly almost the same playlist from POP! Last Thursday.)

At one time the main room had pot plants next to the stage, some people will remember when the club’s shows were audacious productions that ran for 45 minutes, sometimes there’s a giant tree – turning the room into a magical forest, its forever changing.

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Maybe your favourite drag queen is Tooshie, Audrey Woodstock Rose or Barbie Q, an ever changing rotation of personalities have made us laugh and thrown shade in every direction.

Congratulations to everyone who has been part of Connections 40 year history, so many stories to be shared, so many nights to be remembered. There really is no place like home.

Connection’s 40th Birthday party is on Saturday December 5th from 8pm. It’s sure to be a night that nobody will want to miss.  

Graeme Watson

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Tobey Black

Fabulous photographer Tobey Black shot our November cover celebrating Connections 40th Birthday celebrations.

Tobey previously shot Strykermeyer and Ash Baroque for our February 2011 cover. Head to
tobeyblack-photographer.dphoto.com to check out her amazing portfolio of work. Tobey has a wealth of experience in portraits, events and corporate photography.

Take a look at our behind the scenes video from the cover shoot.

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