As October draws near, circuit queens have reason to rejoice. The Black & Blue, Montreal’s epic circuit party, widely regarded as one of the best in the world, is back — and raunchier than ever.
The theme for the 22nd annual party is Evolution (it must be the Cirque du Soleil influence, as Black & Blue themes often seem kind of new age). There will be a slew of celebrated DJs, including David Morales, Tom Stephan, Stephan Grondin, Paskal Daze, Raneem, Oren D and Paul Random, as well as a leather ball, a fetish ball, a tea dance, an all-night jock party (with nude dancers!) and a grand tribute to drag (to be held at Cabaret Mado). This year there’s even an event fêting Alternative Talents, which sounds like the queer-party equivalent of a great big surprise package.
The Black & Blue, which is run by the Bad Boy Club Montreal (BBCM), has had its bumps and scrapes over the years. Some have criticized what they see as a thinly veiled promotion of drug culture and accompanying lapses in safer-sex practices. But the BBCM has worked hard to distribute condoms and safe-sex education, and BBCM founder and president Robert Vezina says their event is one of the safest on the entire circuit. At the main event — the overnight dance party — medical staff are on site in case of any overdoses. And public sex is not permitted on the premises.
The BBCM has had its run-ins with police, who once threatened to shut down the Black & Blue a few hours before the doors were to open (after careful negotiation, the crisis was averted). “We’re at a very good point right now,” Vezina says. “We have strong relations with police, and the public know that we throw a great party.”
Vezina adds that attracting new talent is now not a problem. “DJs who have never spun with us are eager to get here, because they’ve heard how great our crowd is, how good our lighting is, how strong our choreography is. And the DJs who have already been with us are happy to come back. Years of hard work and putting together a quality event has paid off.”
Vezina says criticisms of the Black & Blue — and circuit parties in general — have faded in recent years. “I don’t think circuit parties cause bad behaviour. That’s too simplistic an argument. We are about throwing a really great series of parties and bringing people together. I’m so proud of the fact that we have a very diverse crowd coming to our events. We’ve had a great time and raised a lot of money for community charities while doing so.”