Toronto
4 min

Enjoying the endless parade

THIS IS GAY. Michael Jackson's This Is It is a must-see.

Cancellations and costumes.

Even without the promised guest star, Fab’s 15th anniversary was a hot party… and because of the sweet Body Shop swag, we’ ll all be smelling like mango for the next 15 years. Headliner Kevin Aviance ran into passport problems stateside, but Boylesque TO shimmied, Miss Conception and Heroine Marks beat each other up good during their Mommie Dearest/Abba number and Sheldon McIntosh’s dance crew burned up the stage. Lesson learned: Hometown talent will step it up every time. The immaculate Shane MacKinnon not only turned it out in the DJ booth, but style-wise as well. It’s no secret our people love to dress up, so major points also go to Fab’s production guy Darryl Mabey, whose rhinestone shades matched his rhinestone leg cast, and my friend-date Chris Jai Centeno, working a vintage gold lamé sleeveless shift. 

Gay life north of Wellesley seems to be picking up. There’s always a weekend lineup at Straight (553 Church St), and any idea that dykes aren’ t as dramatic as gay boys is put to rest walking by Slack’s (562 Church St)… seriously, it’s like Dynasty but dykier. I’ve spent a couple hot and bumpin’ nights at Voglie (582 Church St) recently, where people actually get down. (Toronto, if you are clubbing put down your damn drink and dance. I promise it’ll make you look sexier than standing around sucking in your cheeks). Looking forward to Voglie’s Cheap Thursday night this week with DJ Craig Dominic, who is stepping uptown from his usual perch at the Barn. Over on Yonge, Zelda’s (692 Yonge St) finally reopened with a new location but the same staff and same vibe. Hopefully the loss of that beloved patio will be made up for with stiffer drinks.

It’s been hard to miss Michael Jackson on a dancefloor in the past few months. Nearly every DJ and club has done an MJ-inspired night. I caught the very first midnight screening of This Is It. Loved it. The audience was a good mix of crazies (three costumed MJs), lots of queer folk (my row alone seemed like a Pride parade, only with more clothes and less product placement), some little kids up way past their bedtime and a lot of real fans. If his endless parade of sequinned outfits, pointy shoulder pads and hunky back-up dancers isn’t gay enough for you, the closing scene of MJ camping it up à la flight attendant and the presence of out-and-proud Kenny Ortega and Travis Payne make it a gay must-see.

The big “must” event on everyone’s calendar, of course, was Halloween. Pride Toronto’s involvement changed the vibe this year (a beer garden in October at night?) but also made for a more organized night. I liked the stage and DJ and hope the Church Wellesley Village BIA and Pride Toronto hook up again next year. Lineups everywhere were nuts, so kudos to those who knew the real party was outside. I went as Canadian soprano Measha Brueggergosman and my friend-date TMZ went as a chicken. To the adorable kid who asked if we were Madonna and Michael Jackson: Bless your confused little heart! Best costumes I saw included the group Flintstones (complete with foot-operated car), a light-up chandelier, Lady X as Lady Gaga, the house from Up, sexy queen west bartender Steven Cann as post stage-accident Hotley Crue, a drag queen Spider Woman whose dress lifted up in the back to become a giant web,  an international cheese platter, a Tyramail, a spot on Colonel Sanders, the Astroboy who I spent the end of the night with and Fishbowl’s Mark Shyzer as Hot Tranny Mess. No stealing these ideas for next year, you hear?

Speaking of hot messes (tranny and non-tranny alike) some costumes were simply overdone. If you were Swine Flu (pig in mask, pig with wings, a large plastic genome, matching H1 and N1 outfits) or Jon and Kate Gosselin, congrats for having your finger on the zeitgeist — unfortunately everyone else did as well. If you were Johnny Depp in Alice in Wonderland, your sneakiness in trying to get a jump start on a movie that hasn’t opened yet backfired because I saw at least eight of you. Actually, I’d like to call a moratorium on all Depp characters for Halloween.

Finally, if you were anything drag-related, hiking up your dress for a public pee is just tacky. Get in line at Timothy’s like the rest of us did.  Special shout out to the people in the window at Lettieri rating costumes with numbers written on napkins. Your 10s and 11s across the boards made our night.

Now that the cold weather and early sunsets are here to stay, don’t let anyone tell you nightlife is over and done with for the season. There are parties, openings, installations and stellar times galore. Chelsey Lichtwomyn’s Granny Boots every Wednesday at the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen St W) is a good place to be political and have fun at the same time. The best queer DJs and performance artists in the city have graced the stage, so it’s time for you to grace the bar. Over at Goodhandy’s (120 Church St) Sofonda Cox’s DirtySexyParty is still going strong, and we all know Goodhandy’s is a dirtysexygoodtime. Both the Sneak Attack Folk Festival and Random Order are returning to Church St on Sunday, so if anyone figures out a way to be at both Buddies (12 Alexander St) and Slack’s (562 Church St) at the same time, let me know. I might not be able to bend the rules of time and space, but I am sweet and tart, so Grapefruit’s seventh anniversary party on lucky (for me at least!) Friday the 13th has got me shopping for a new hat to celebrate. Seven years is a long time for a party to be kicking around, so I fully expect to see you all on the dancefloor. Say hi, compliment my hat, and we’ ll get along fine.