High heeled shoe on tricycle, 'Licorice Allsorts', performance prop, metal / cloth / foam, designed by Ross Wallace, made by Dean Manderson, Freda Meckelberg, Sally Wilson, Brian Woltjen, Linda Crawford, Andrew Mcdonnell, Asher Reed Ceremonies Workshop, used in 'Parade of Icons' Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony, Sydney 2000
This tricycle shoe has significance in material culture due to its role in the closing ceremony of the 2000 Olympic Games, an important event in the recent history of Sydney and NSW. It has the potential to communicate in exhibitions and publications about the Sydney Olympic Games and has significance in its design, making, use and the cultural meanings ascribed to it.
The closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games took place on Sunday 1 October at Stadium Australia, Homebush Bay. It included solemn formalities, an informal parade of athletes and a farewell party that took the form of an unregimented parade with floats that celebrated and often mocked aspects of Australian popular culture. The intention was to conduct the ceremony with decorum until the extinction of the Olympic flame, and then to unleash a party. The artistic director of the closing ceremony David Atkins explained 'The athletes have finished competition, and are ready to party, and we have set about creating a party to end all parties. We have decided to invite everyone into our giant Australian backyard - fully equipped with Hills Hoists, barbecues, an eclectic mix of music, performers and all manner of Australiana. Australians have a tradition of throwing great parties, and this one will be imbued with a sense of fun, larrikinism and goodwill.' According to Ric Birch (speaking on Channel 7's 'Olympic Sunrise'), the opening ceremony was to represent Australia at large, but the closing ceremony was Sydney's show.
Irreverent humour was evident from the opening (untelevised) sequence, in which the sports satirists Roy Slaven and HG Nelson welcomed the crowd and coached them in how to use the contents of the small eskies that each of the 110,000 audience members could find on their seats. These contained essential Australian backyard barbecue equipment including fly-swats which, when held aloft, gave a distinctively Australian flavour to the Mexican wave.
This shoe tricycle appeared with the final float in the 'Parade of Icons'. Based on the Australian film 'Priscilla Queen of the Desert', the float took the form of drag queens Vanessa Wagner and Cindy Pastel riding the Priscilla bus, accompanied by 62 drag queens, some riding designer-shoe tricycles. The inclusion of drag queens had been revealed to the public in August and was condemned as offensive by some critics including Rev Fred Nile. Kylie Minogue concluded the 'Parade of Icons' with her hot song 'On a Night Like This'.
Licorice allsorts is the name given to a well-known confectionery assortment first created by the Bassett company in England in 1899. They include a variety of colourful fruit and coconut pastels each with a sweet licorice centre. The three-layered, multi-coloured variety is dominant in the design of the shoe. There is no obvious connection between licorice allsorts and Priscilla Queen of the Desert. As well as the licorice allsorts tricycle, there were others based on flowers, striped fur and a thong.
The wit and quality of the 'Parade of Icons' showed the influence of the late Peter Tully as artistic director of the Mardi Gras in, for example, the 'pit chicks' in silver hot pants who carried the eyelashes, stiletto shoes and giant mascara for the Priscilla bus.
The opening ceremony told a mythic story of nation-building that dwarfed individuals. It was evocative and subtle. The closing ceremony, however, celebrated personality, celebrity and attitude. Loud and brash, more like a rock concert than a profoundly theatrical event, it was an extravagant send-off -- fun, festive, shamelessly excessive and decidedly weird.
The prop was designed by Ross Wallace, Sydney NSW, 2000.
The shoe bikes were designed to be moving about the field of play with the Priscilla bus during the Parade of Icons. They needed to move easily and be manoeuvred well by performers. The beginning concepts showed the performer sitting high in the shoe, which posed a problem of balance and mechanical design. A standard adult tricycle was brought in and altered slightly to increase the wheel base of the tricycle for stability. With the performer sitting in the toe of the shoe and the rear wheels of the tricycle in the middle of the shoe, the shoe bike could easily turn in a very small radius.
The prop was made by the ceremonies construction team member Dean Manderson, Prop makers, Freda Meckelberg, Sally Wilson, Brian Woltjen, Linda Crawford, Andrew Mcdonnell, Asher Reed, Ceremonies workshop, Eveleigh, Redfern, NSW, 2000. A standard adult tricycle was altered to be wider at the rear wheels and longer. The shoe shape steel frame was built onto a jig for reproduction of multiples. Wire mesh was then welded to the frame of the shoe. The frame then welded to the tricycle. The frame was then covered with black cotton fabric to create a smooth surface for the foam liquorice allsorts. The inside of the shoe was lined with satin.
Sydney 2000 Olympic Games closing ceremony 'Parade of Icons' segment, Priscilla Queen of the Desert float, Stadium Australia, Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush, 1 October 2000
Made for and owned by the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, and donated to the Powerhouse Museum after the Games.