Words by Jeff.
Motafrenz went to the Coburg Drive-in movie night for the Grease Singalong as presented by the MQFF.
You probably know the movie and the songs, and even if you hadn’t seen the movie, you still know the songs.
We arrived nice and early not knowing how to get in with the driveway already pretty full, but soon we were greeted by our Melbourne Queer Film Festival host, Damien, who got us to convoy in amongst what seemed like a thousand others. Around half the cars arriving were not daily drivers. Hot rods, street rods, classic cars, fully sick things, burbling cars, classic English ladies cars, and so many dressed up for the rock-a-billy theme of the movie that it was simply a delight to be there. Themed hosts were running around entertaining anyone and everyone and performed in front of cars during the sing-alongs. These best of Melbourne’s most gorgeous Cadillacs and Thunderbirds certainly stood out and the list goes on. The Motafrenz crew certainly looked great and stood out well with a wonderful variety of cars.
With a couple of hours to wait for the sun to go down, it was getting exciting seeing all this happening at a queer led event with what would be probably the biggest attendance of ‘Associates’ (That’s the ‘A’ in GLBTIQA+) coming along for a camp sing-along movie featuring Olivia as Sandy the Australian, and John Travolta as greaser Danny.
There could well have been a thousand people watching this movie at the Coburg triple drive in. It was a sell-out. The other two screens had only a hand full of boring cars watching boring movies. The Grease Sing-along is a remastered revised version of the movie with bouncing subtitles for the songs. After each song, the hooters, honkers and tooters got on their horn buttons which just added to the craziness of the experience. We had someone with OCD on a Japanese horn near us who had trouble knowing when to stop, but that’s okay.
Mike, Cesc and crew sat back in ultra-open air comfort with plenty of legroom in their Plymouth Sports Fury. Others were in the comfort of European luxury with a roof over their heads. Joseph, Gordon and I sat on the tailgate of my HR Holden rugged up a bit as it was getting chilly. A DC3 flew over in the dark at 2000 feet almost looking like a big drone at first giving us a feel of the late 50s which is when the move was set we think. In fact Gordon told us that that culture shown in this movie was unique to the USA and didn’t exist here until later.
A big thanks to Mike and Cesc for the scrumptious home made pastries too. The cafeteria had about 40 staff running flat out all night. The concept and the colour of this event is something to be remembered as a cultural event of sorts at the drive in. I think we could say that we would all do it again and hopefully MQFF will do it again. It was a hoot and a toot to boot, and well done to MQFF for staging what was a sell-out and fantastic event that everyone enjoyed. Sub-note: When I was a late teenager, a tech-head friend of my fathers who had a ham radio in his men’s shed in Ringwood, showed me a local newspaper clipping he kept in his scrap-book. Who remembers having a scrap-book? This clipping was about a young teenage girl called Olivia Newton-John who would once a week sing on ham radio to a non-commercial audience around the world. Ham radio operators would keenly tune in once a week to hear Olivia sing and get to talk to her as well. Olivia had an interactive international audience even before she was known locally. Kind of like social media before the internet and before we would use the phrase ‘going-viral’.