The Last Dance
Sat, July 5 at Fly
Water can be internal, flowing forth uncontrollably from our bodies as sadness, pain and loss take hold. In some places, like Mexico, death is celebrated, so before the waterworks begin at Fly nightclub’s final night, we party like club killers. Co-owners Michael Schwarz and Keir MacRae are here with us to bear witness to the final moments of the club that was an integral part of Toronto’s gay club scene for more than a decade. Like in its heyday, the lineup to get in is huge. In the spotlights, I celebrate with those who remember the beginning. In the shadows, I quietly remember those who didn’t make it this far. As Montreal’s Stephan Grondin takes us on a journey of musical hits over the years, my thoughts go back. Back then, the E was pure and our minds were clear. Back then, local legends Jackaé Baker, Dr Draw and Lena Love performed. Back then, promoters Boost Boys, Steve Ireson and Gairy Brown brought us chart-topping acts. Back then, international DJs Victor Calderone, Ana Paula, Manny Lehman and Tracy Young owned the booth alongside local beat masters Shawn Riker, Mark Falco, Cajjmere Wray, Sumation, Deko-ze, Jamal, Neill MacLeod, Shane Percy and Aural. Back then, the impressive décor changed weekly and lineups extended to Yonge Street for hours. Remember? Unfortunately, tonight’s final show comes packaged two for one. Kapri performs songs very few of us have heard of. It’s a bit anticlimactic, as many were expecting a powerful performance by Sofonda and her mighty backup dancers. And where were the Fly mementos that Schwarz said everyone would get as a farewell gift? Perhaps they secretly knew they would need them again, as a last-minute deal has been reached with the landlord and Fly is set to reopen. Tears of joy wash away tears of sadness.
Tighty Whitey Car Wash
Sun, July 13 in the Steamworks alley
Water can be external, flowing forth from a hose with great control as soap, sponges and, yes, even soggy underwear take hold of your car. Unlike in cities like Abu Dhabi where washing cars in public is illegal, today it’s celebrated. As the skies clear, a platoon of men in white Calvin Klein underwear, including John Brodhagen and members of the Muddy York rugby club, descend the stairs of a bathhouse armed with rubber hoses, washing mitts, twinkles in their eyes and bounces in their gotchies for the ninth annual Steamworks Tighty Whitey Car Wash. “I don’t have a car myself,” says DJ Cesar, whose tracks help keep the momentum going. “But I’m playing a lot of sunny, happy tunes with Spanish guitars and Latin rhythms to keep everyone shaking.” It works. To date, they have raised more than $40,000 for the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation. Most who take advantage of the sexy service come in cars, but a couple pedal through on bikes, and one filthy fella decides to strip down to his briefs and walk through for a full-service shower and buff dry. But no one is happier than the 50ish Portuguese woman who stumbles upon this wondrous water world while driving (perhaps from Sunday Mass) and insists (while tipping all the guys like they’re strippers) on having photographer Tony Fong film her getting her car washed on her iPhone so she can “post it right away, right away” on Facebook for her sure-to-be envious girlfriends. Inhibitions can be washed away. Clean water washes away dirty inhibitions.