Does everything in June have to be at the same time? Yes, Pride is the great big granddaddy of our collective summer calendar, but it’s seriously fighting for space. The run-up to Pride always includes lots of marquee events, and I expect big things this year from Pride, if only because the competition has been merciless. But every step of the way I look at June as a warm-up for Pride.
At the Power Ball, the 25th annual fundraiser for the Power Plant, organizers went in for high-end VIP treatment. The art took a back seat to the crowd, and a little bird told me that Grey Goose had sponsored $24,000 worth of liquor. It’s no wonder that by the end of the night super-rich art patrons, scenester bloggers and lowly artists were literally swinging from the ceiling in lux clothes and jewellery Elizabeth Taylor would die for. It made for a heady scene that felt surprisingly comfortable; watching high-powered ex-pol Belinda Stronach ducking forks from gonzo performance artist Keith Cole was oddly reassuring and the kind of different-worlds-coming-together vibe I love to feel pre-Pride. The night’s highlight was a lakeside performance by power trio Dragonette. The fave band of many a Toronto gay, they served up a tight set of tunes, including the impossible-to-overplay “Hello” and new single “Let It Go.”
Chatting beforehand, the band members dished on their new album, with lead singer Martina Sorbara telling me, “People keep saying the album is called Let It Go. I don’t think it will be. In the fall we’re going to go on tour, make some videos, do some instagramming, and the album is mostly just us . . . some producers here and there, but mostly us.”
Although they’re missing Toronto Pride this year, eventually talk turned queer. Keyboardist/producer Dan Kurtz offered up three tips for ensuring a good Pride: “Stay hydrated. Don’t do too many drugs on the first day. Have some clothing in a bag in case you suddenly realize you’re not wearing any.” Words to live by, my friends.
The entire Power Ball night went off without a hitch, hedonistically and glamorously, and I’m prepared to say it was the best event of its kind I’ve been to in Toronto for many a year.
The road to Pride was going smoothly, but then the Universal Music/MMVA afterparty at Maison Mercer happened. Now, don’t get me wrong . . . it was a great party with celebs large and small: with mine own eyes I saw, danced with or photo-opped everyone from LMFAO (no, Redfoo did not rip off his pants for me, and yes, I asked) to Far East Movement (their DJ set was nowhere close to being as fly as a G6) to Glee’s Darren Criss (short, cute, good dancer) to locals Hedley, Marianas Trench and Faber Drive.
Deep in the heart of the entertainment district, if you aren’t a young-ish, trashy-ish overly made-up girl with too-high heels and a too-short skirt or a douche-y jock, you’re hustled along to a dark corner. It felt like everyone was running around celeb hunting (but trying not to look like it), pretending to be people they weren’t and hashtagging the experience instead of enjoying the moment.
Whereas Power Ball felt like a series of fab situations, the MMVA party quickly devolved into a series of overpriced drinks and spirited games of “Who will flash her cooch first?” and “Is that Justin Bieber?” Frankly, I’d rather play that at Pride, where there are plenty of lesbians who can pass for Bieber just fine.
My ideal Pride is a mix of these two events. I do like to see big celebs, but they can’t be relied on to provide a good time; that’s gotta come from inside. This Pride, dress up large, swing from a ceiling or two, and enjoy the moment. Personally, I can’t wait; by this time next month I want to be able to say this Pride was the best on record. I want to say I saw cliques mixing together, that a little hedonism served us well, that everyone’s performances went well and that Pride continues to be the best part of summer.
In some ways, the anticipation is the best thing about Pride. What could possibly be better than lounging with Dragonette or party rocking with LMFAO? Fasten your seatbelts . . . we’re about to find out.