Toronto
4 min

Au revoir, you gorgeous fucks

One more for the road

Scene it. Shaun Proulx got around during his Cocktail Confessions tenure.

Dear Social Scene:

You gorgeous fucks. These are my final Confessions. I’m moving on.

This space in Xtra has been my favourite since the first time I read it eons ago, back when I was so shy a guy that in telling former titleholder Daniel Paquette I loved Cocktail Confessions I almost swallowed my words. Thanks for letting me put my own stamp on it for however many years it’s been.

God, I’ve learned a lot from Toronto’s Techni-color queer scene, haven’t you?

Like, I’ve learned there are scene-friends and there are friend-friends, and there are those who straddle both in your life. Those friends are your best friends.

Let’s see: I also learned a lot from trying ecstasy too, even though I don’t think I’m supposed to say that. I’d still be in finance right now if my first E hadn’t hit during Armand Van Helden’s “You Don’t Even Know Me” at
Fly nightclub (my lips locked with a Portuguese set belonging to one brilliant Luis. You broke my heart and it’s not right, but it’s okay). When it came down to the choice of a life spent reassuring Mrs Buggins through another bumpy day on the TSX or planning how much eyeliner to wear with my custom-made leopard pants, I’m glad creativity and joy won out.
I’m glad I won out — or at least like to think I have — on the crystal meth part of the zeitgeist, not to belabour drugs. My darker friends call the smoking and the slamming the best career move I ever made, and in a twisted way that is true. Hot. 

Let’s talk now about some of the people on the scene. You entrepreneurial sorts — performers like Lena Love, Sasha Van Bon Bon and R Kelly Clipperton, you promotional types — God, hats off to Steve B and John Brodhagen and Steve Ireson and Gairy Brown, Superstein and the rest of you.

And the younger promo-hos, the Matt Sims out there, every scraptastic last one of them (grumbling once again at seeing Sims’ name in print and not theirs). These newer guys know that the smartest way to draw a crowd today is to hire the girlfriend DJ of Hollywood’s hottest mess and promo that the hot mess herself is coming, whether she is or not. Like flies to honey.

Then there’s you hard-dancing, fists-in-the-air club kids who live for Saturdays, and you shy types who put it out there and say what you have to say even if it’s only atop a set of speakers in your own world for four hours.

You activists, you culture vultures, you boys I shared toots from keys with in bathroom stalls across this great city of ours, making out. You jaw-dropping talented drag queens (my faves know who they are); you candy boys and girls, you stuck-up mixologists working your tips.

And no list would be complete without a bow to the leather people out there, so integral, and like I said when I was hosting MLT 2009 last year: Best. Fucks. Ever.

With complete pride in every scenester moment gone by, I say that you are all the hot lifeblood elements of our queer city and I have loved watching you, writing about you, talking with you and being inspired by you. A special shout out to Rolyn Chambers and Miss Butter, each in leagues of their own. Rolyn, you wore a shower curtain to an affair once — from there I was sold. Miss Butter, you drew traffic with your impromptu rhyming upon seeing me at the opening of Circa — back when Circa meant something — and I love you, you whack.

Oh, and one who shall remain nameless. You, the one on steroids. It was fun helping you down the stairs that Boxing Day night, all K’d out, wobbly kneed, slurring that your hips don’t lie.

And given that once a DJ really did save my life (a story for another time, child) I feel I’m not out of bounds in having a few things to say about the DJs on our scene. What a bunch of motherfuckercocksuckers and I mean that in the nicest way. Who in fuck has the ego to decide they should be on decks mixing for hundreds if not thousands of dancefloor babies. Yum. Our scene is populated with some of the best (in no order, ego-faces): Cajjmere Wray, Shane Percy, Neill MacLeod, TK, Sumation, Blackcat, Deko-ze, Dwayne Minard, Matt C, Sydney Blu, César Murillo, Denise Benson, Nik Red, Shawn Riker and Jamal. And you out-of-towner turntablists, of course, like Junior Vasquez, with whom I had to exchange meth stories before getting an honest chat going for an interview once, and Peter Rauhofer, with whom I had to promise to be nice before some one-on-one. And God almighty, pause and recollect this: Unity Pride parties and Manny Lehman. Ceilings dripping sweat at Kool Haus before it became Uncoolhouse, wet jeans hanging off of hips. Kissing Jody when I didn’t come to the party with Jody.

Random thought! Isn’t it great that Xtra and Fab don’t fight like two bottoms over one cock at The Cellar on a Saturday night anymore?

As a people watcher, as a story teller, as a chatty Cathy (though I prefer it with a “K”), it’s been my pleasure to watch and blend and learn with each and every one of you, even those who didn’t get me then, and so probably never will.
What’s cool to watch now on the scene is the rise again of bathhouse culture and how Toronto competition is being duked out in this techno-bloody-techno world we’re in. That the likes of Brad Fraser and Sky Gilbert and RM Vaughan remain prolific. I think up-and-comers like Jason Dinetz — who is so motherfucking aggressively pushing his music on the world you can’t help but root for him — are going to be fun to see. And every trans person out there: You rock my world.

So thank you once again.

Oh, and thank you Madonna.

I have a new column starting up with Xtra faster than you can shake a stick (should you shake sticks), a dirty book project in the works with enfant terrible Kenny Lee and my daily radio show on ProudFM is coming soon to OutTV (which I’m not sure I’m supposed to say yet, but whatever). I blog daily at Shaunproulx.ca/himbo and if Eye weekly thinks my shit there is “uproariously funny” maybe you will too. Also my new perfume is out this summer.

Kidding on the perfume.

Always,
Peace and love, Shaun.