Arts & Entertainment
3 min

Live big, be big

'Life is too short to have attitude'

Somebody ought to make a movie of Steve Buczek’s life. Or at least give him his own reality show.

Ten years ago he was in the closet, working as a foreman in the steel industry in Guelph. Today he is one of the most prolific gay party promoters in Toronto, with friends in every area of the community.

He runs Sizzling Sundays, a very popular weekly barbecue at the Black Eagle that you need to get to before five, or you’ll have to wait in a lineup to the bottom of the stairs. There’s tons of food, no dress code and a relaxed atmosphere.

“I don’t play porn outside, because it’s distracting when you’re trying to have a conversation,” he laughs. “If you want to see some dick go in the bar!”

He also runs the Eagle’s monthly Naked Night. Fridays it’s Bear Night at O’Grady’s, which he says attracts a very cool group of guys. “You have the Gen X Bears and the Bear Buddies Toronto and the Muddy York Rugby Team.”

Mostly he caters to the 25 and over crowd, men into leather, bears, jeans, boots and T-shirts. “It’s a large social group, not little cliques,” he says. “I have regular guys who have supported my parties since I started.”

Until recently, he was also doing a monthly fetish party with Northbound Leather at the now defunct Cube. “I don’t have slings and stuff at my parties,” he says. “These are not sex parties, but they’re sexy.”

He also organizes Beef Dip, an annual leather bear week in Puerto Vallarta that will be celebrating its fourth year in 2006. He packs a small Mexican hotel with studs from all over the world and provides a week of activities including two big dances, a Mardi Gras party, snorkelling, whale watching and a bear booze cruise. “Then I take them out to Paco’s Paradise, a clothing optional beach with trails up into the jungle for exploring,” he smiles. “It’s a lot of fun.”

But Pride is the busiest and most important time of the year for Buczek. “I’m doing my third annual Beef Ball at the Opera House,” he says, “showcasing all- Toronto talent and DJs.”

He’s planning a new party this year as well, The Stonewall Ball, with a “one Pride fits all” theme. “It’s not exclusively for men or twinks or women,” he explains. “It’s for everyone, and it’s going to be a major party.”

Buczek is a really friendly guy, big on personality. He loves watching people have fun, and he’s really proud that his parties are bringing all kinds of different people together.

“Life is too short to have attitude against people for who they are or what they look like,” he says. “It’s all about how you want to be treated, and treating other people with respect…. We’re all different. I don’t care if you’re a twink or a jarhead muscleman. We’re all men, and we all worship the penis.”

Buczek knew he was gay before he hit puberty, but dated women all through high school. Until 10 years ago, he didn’t know anybody who was gay or, if he did, they were in the closet, too. “I had a very narrow vision of what gay men are,” he says. “It was strictly the limp-wristed and very femme media version.”

In his 20s, Buczek was engaged for three years, and then celibate from 25 to 31. He thought he was going to lose his mind.

“I was working in the steel industry as a foreman, with the type of men I like,” Buczek recalls. “I would have these truckers coming in with their work shirts open and their overalls right down to the bush, and smoking cigars. I just had to come out.”

When he moved to Toronto he knew nobody. But once he started working security at various bars, it all changed. “I got to know the entire gay community. All the twinks, the drag queens, the leather guys, the bears,” he says. “Everybody.”

His party promoting started with a successful one-night-only leather and bear night at Five. Now, it’s his full-time career.

“Once the show is over and the cannons are going off, I’ll stand back and get a huge thrill just because people are having a good time,” he says. “That’s really the thing that drives me.”