“Alive & Kicking”: 25 years of reducing drug related harms!
HRV’s 25th Anniversary Event
Harm Reduction Victoria (HRV) – formerly VIVAIDS – turned 25 in 2012! Our organisation was founded in 1987 in direct response to the threat of an HIV/AIDS epidemic among people who inject drugs in Australia. 25 years later, the organisation has changed and evolved in many ways. Perhaps the one thing that has not changed is our commitment to serving people who use drugs and supporting them to reduce the harms associated with drug use. The fact that we survive on a razor’s edge of uncertainty and unpopularity, as an organisation of and for people who use drugs, simply underlines the significance of our longevity. 25 years! Who would have thought?!
But how to celebrate such a milestone event? We decided to dedicate our 25th Anniversary to our community – the very people who have kept us going for all these years. We figured it should be a party and a time for celebration as well as a chance to showcase the diverse talents of many of our members and constituents. More than anything else, it was an opportunity to re-connect with our members, old and new and to welcome newer faces to the Harm Reduction Victoria fold.
An Events Committee, which comprised staff and board members as well as other HRV members, was established and met fortnightly leading up to the actual event. The ideas flowed and with limited time and resources, we set about organising a memorable event .
We called the event “Alive & Kicking”: 25years of reducing drug related harms! We found an ideal venue at the Colonial Hotel, Melbourne CBD, which included a bar area with stage where all the acts were performed and a Garden Terrace area (for smokers). Our tech wiz Jane put together a great selection of drug films, greetings & anniversary well wishes which played on a loop all evening in the garden space.
We set the date for Wednesday 5th December 2012. We put a call out over the airwaves & bush telegraph for our members, drug users & supporters of all varieties to come & celebrate with us. And they did! People came out of the woodwork from all over the place, some came from interstate!
It was a great night! An outstanding line-up of performers and amazingly diverse acts entertained the 100 or more friends and supporters who came along. Leon Fernandez, a long-time friend and former HRV staff member, was Master of Ceremonies and he kicked the evening off with inimitable style and charm.
The program of entertainment included:
Steve Lucas from X: Our headlining act. Steve performed an amazing acoustic set – and obliged with an encore when the crowd wanted more. Steve was vocalist for Sydney’s long lasting punk rock band “X” & the only survivor of the original 4 piece line up. He has had a long career in the Australian music scene.
Ashley R Rivers: Dead Echoes. Ashley & his musical partner Allky Lamont kicked off the night with songs from his 3rd LP.
Sam Sejavka: A dramatized monologue about an everyday object. Sam is a writer of fiction and plays and the singer for ‘The Ears’, a seminal Melbourne post-punk band of the early ‘80’s. (We won’t say more about his monologue because he may perform it again one day & it was so good we don’t want to spoil it for anyone!)
Aidan: Acoustic guitar set. Adrian played a mostly improvisational & down tempo style set.
Feenix: A mind bending performance to “BORN SLIPPY”with her tripped out LED hoops. Feenix is a performer, teacher & creator, who started hula hooping at the Rainbow Serpent Festival, after taking acid & getting stuck in a loop with a hoop for 4hrs!
Phil Motherwell: Reading of ‘The Native Rose’. Phil, an actor, play-wright & poet, read from one his best loved plays “The Native Rose” – a perfect choice for the night.
Sam Starr: A Hoop show with razorblade finale to “Sex with the Devil”. Sam, an accomplished clown, mime artist, circus and versatile character performer brought laughter and delight to the stage by engaging with the audience on a very personal level.
Nacho Regal: Genital Origami Workshop. Well, what can we say about this act?! It contained full frontal nudity – it was none other than “Puppetry of the Penis”!
GIRL: Girl played their own twisted version of sound, affectionately dubbed ‘Junk Rock’. Girl’s ever evolving line-up currently comprises Arun Sun on vocals & guitar, Loki Lokiss on Guitar & Synth, Meg Smallwood on cello, & an electronic drum kit named BOY. Unfortunately Meg could not make it on the night, but the show must go on! Girl even had their own fan club at the event. They were the last performance of the night.
As you can see, the line-up was awesome & amazingly diverse, just like our community! All in all, it was a night to remember. In fact, the 100 or so people who attended are still talking about it. We may be (slightly) biased but we think it’s one that will go down in the annuals of time and HRV history.