Rather than endlessly churn out wildly speculative pieces on what the make-up of the next government will be, I did what any self-respecting columnist does in the lull between a general election and a result.? Why, I partayed of course. I full-on Pleasuredomed myself.

If you haven't heard of Pleasuredome The Musical yet, then let me entertain you. And because I'm far from a regular theatregoer, nor a graduate of Toi Whakaari, think of it less a review, and more a memoir of memory wrapped inside a meditation. It was my 20s handed back to me on an 80's orange platter.

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Star of the show Lucy Lawless plays a middle-aged - but still hotter than a cattle brand - nightclub diva with more than a few addictions. She likes girls, and girls like her. It is one of the wickedest, merkin-filled, frottage-ridden nights of your life; chock full of drag queens, dancing queens, and drug kings all pumping and pounding to the biggest hits of the 80s. It's immersive. No, not in a tea bag kind of way. There are no walls, the stage is T-shaped, and you're part of the performance. If you wanna' dance, you dance. If you wanna' bump and grind, you bump and grind.


It was the first big night out in months for my partner who, all this year, has been staying close to home while undergoing treatment for breast cancer. The chemo has not been fun, and the radiation has just begun.

She transported herself back to her youth with a $5 wig from Spotlight - fitting easily over her bald head - aviator glasses, leopard skin tights, and a Cyndi Lauper-ish bunched-up, scrunched up over skirt thingy. (Can you tell I'm not a fashion reviewer either?)

One of the things about any cancer diagnosis is that, once the shock has washed away, you start to focus on the things that matter. Attending the gala opening night of Pleauredome mattered to me on a number of levels.

Firstly, Lucy Lawless invited us. Who's gonna' say no to that? It was kind, it was genuine, it was personal. I love Lucy, but I'll come back to that.

Second, it was fun and frivolity. With everything going on in the world right now - and you know what I'm talking about - we all need this more than ever. Singing, dancing, laughing, reminiscing. Oh, and a bit of boozing and schmoozing. Meaningless or deeply important? I'm going with the latter.

The other thing? I'm not known for gay activism. I've just been content not being stoned to death for loving a woman. But - and it's a big "but" - lately I've come to grasp how homophobia works, and how crucial it is that we all do the heavy lifting on that. Note to myself: Not just straight people.

Here's what Lucy said to express Magazine last week. "This is activism guys, this is not us singing pretty songs and being sassy, this is activism, this is the front line."

That's inspiring, and given the rise of intolerance and diversity around the world right now, it is something I've previously underestimated. But, no more.


Now, back to Lucy. Unlike many lesbians I did not come to her via Xena. Sure, I knew who she was but never watched it, and I laughed derisively at the gals swooning and mooning over her.

Nope. I came to Lucy through her environmental activism. I was writing columns for a Taranaki paper when she came to town, stormed up the mast of some evil oil exploration ship, and perched there for four days like a golden eagle guarding her chicks.

Redneck Taranaki was outraged. I was outraged they were outraged. I gave them a serve via my column. The locals were more worried about her actions as a Greenpeace protester about climate change, than they were about climate change.

I remember thinking what is wrong with our society when it enjoys tearing her down, yet builds up environmental rapists like oil companies? You know, because money and jobs. The usual cognitive dissonance.

Soon after her Port Taranaki protest she appeared on TVNZ's Sunday programme. When asked about the possibility of a criminal conviction impacting on travel to the US for acting jobs she said, ''I can't let a tiny little thing like a career get in the way''.

That was the moment I connected with the real warrior princess named Lucy Lawless. And once you connect you can't go back. From that point on, you're awake to someone's grit and authenticity. Everything they do is central to who they are; it's a superlative thing to watch.

Which is partly why Pleasuredome, for me, was far more than sweat, tears, and strobe lights. It was kindness. It was life.

Choose life.