Throughout 1989 there was a dance party in Sydney every week, often on both Friday and Saturday. At Sweatbox dance parties, the music was frequently provided by DJ's Mark Alsop, Pee Wee Ferris, Stephen Ferris, Stephen Allkins, Robert Racic, Ben Drayton. There were several themes injected into the Sweatbox parties: Let The Eat Cake was a baroque extravaganza with a rococo theme; Royal Command was a performance based dance party; Barbarella had a space ship on the dance floor - drag queen Cindy Pastel played Barbarella; Sign of the Times showcased 1980s design, displaying 80s iconography such as the smiley face, VW sign, Mercedes Benz sign, hammer and sickle, and hearts with wings.
In June 1990 the Liquor Administration Board clamped down on dance parties at the Hordern Pavilion after complaints from local residents about noise and disturbance. All events involving amplified music were banned. This drove dance parties underground and was the beginning of the rave scene that flourished in the early 90s.
The late 1980s was the era of the nightclub promoter. The donors of this archive did not own nightclubs; however, they promoted regular weekly nights at clubs like Site - in the Piccadilly Hotel in Victoria Street Potts Point, and at Kinsela's at Taylor Square in Darlinghurst, Sydney. Site featured DJ Maynard's Madd Club on Monday nights, Sensoria or Blitz on Wednesday nights, the very elite Meltdown (based on New York's Studio 54) on Thursday nights and Junkyard on Friday nights. The Famous club on was held on Wednesdays nights at Kinsela's. Famous first took place on the night Kinsela's opened in 1989. The idea was for patrons to have fifteen minutes of fame. A photo ID was taken and made into a laminate. The idea (and the artwork) for this was of course inspired by popular culture artist Andy Warhol.
The donor and his partner established Chinese Laundry nightclub in 1990. They actually owned the rights to the concept of the club, rather than just being the promoters. It was located where the Slip Inn pub is situated on Sussex Street Sydney currently. The name Chinese Laundry was registered; however, the donor let it lapse and now Justin Hemmes has a club of the same name at the same place.
This archive documents in a clear and comprehensive way a subculture that flourished and diverged into other subcultures. It also illustrates the passion that the designers and creators had for providing a dance party and nightclub experience that transcended the popular culture notion of this genre of entertainment.