“It is a lot harder to find a queer-friendly venue than you’d think,” says Julie Aslop and Cat Tarrant, co-coordinators of Up Yours! a brand-new monthly dance party in Montreal. “Some bars weren’t comfortable with the name of the event. One bar even told us: This is a straight bar, we have our clientelle.”
Aslop and Tarrant call themselves the New Queers on the Block and they’re part of a group of young, organized queers who don’t see themselves reflected in Montreal’s Village. Instead, they’re launching their own events in jam spaces, art galleries and willing bars.
“A lot of the people we hang out with don’t feel comfortable in the village,” says Tarrant. “We’re taught that space is apolitical, but it is not,” says Alsop. “A lot of places in the village fall on the side of homonormative. It is a space that’s really dominated by the pink dollar. We want Up Yours! to be a space where everyone feels comfortable.”
Montreal is rich is queer-friendly spaces lately, both inside and outside the Village. Faggity Ass Fridays, Cruise Control and Parking’s Overdose made The Mirror’s Best of Montreal 2009. But with FAF closing shop for the summer, Aslop and Tarrant saw a gaping niche. Up Yours! launched May 22 at the queer-friendly Playhouse; a former stripclub and current rock and roll venue on Parc Ave north of St Viateur. Its best attribute: bands and DJs play rent-free and take home the door money. Aiming for accessibility, the duo planned around other events, picked a bus-friendly location and choose a weekend so nine-to-five-ers could attend.
What went down at the Up Yours! launch? Female hip hop MCs, hot dance music from DJ Faggatron, stripteasing from Douche la Douche, a lesson from strictly sexy professor XXX, striping in the DJ booth and a pants-optional dance party. Join the Facebook group to get notified about the June event.