Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Move at Uhaul with Katie Stelmanis

Austra's lead singer kicks off weekly queer night at The Garrison

Austra lead singer Katie Stelmanis hosts a weekly queer night at The Garrison.
Why stay in on a Sunday night when you can venture out to The Garrison to dance to an electrifying DJ set by Austra’s lead singer, Katie Stelmanis, and friends?
Stelmanis and company are queering up the space with a new weekly party called Uhaul.
The event got its start in January and has been running consistently every Sunday. Guests have included Vag Halen’s Vanessa and Katie, Get It Got It Good’s Anni Spadafora and Aneela from Yes Yes Y’all. Austra’s fierce drummer, Maya Postepski, and her fellow Trust bandmate Karen Gordon recently took over the turntables, as did Winnie Luk, who DJs at Trashed, a monthly dance party at Henhouse.
“I felt there was a lack of queer weekly parties in Toronto at the moment and wanted to fill that void,” Stelmanis says. “I’m away so often, so I was hoping to be around enough to get it up and going and have it exist. I’d like to get as many people from different communities out here as possible.”
Stelmanis pays homage to past queer weekly events, such as The Gladstone’s Wednesday hump nights and Henhouse’s former Snakepit parties. Stelmanis says The Garrison’s location is ideal and she’s looking to hold on to its punk-rock feel.
“I wanted to do [Uhaul] somewhere that doesn’t typically host queer events. I want queer people taking over the space,” she says. “I don’t feel the DIY grungy punk scene anymore in the west end specifically, and it’s a shame because as artists we still need that. Toronto is so business-centric, but people will bring these types of parties and spaces back to life.”
Stelmanis has a busy spring ahead of her. Austra was in Austin, Texas, earlier this month for South by Southwest, and the group is preparing for an album-launch tour across Europe and the US in June. Olympia, the band’s new album, comes out June 17 via Domino and Paper Bag Records. Austra also has a home show on March 23 for Canadian Music Week.
Stelmanis has put together a group of helping homo hands to make sure that Uhaul stays in its weekly format while she’s on the road. “I hope that by June [the night] has enough of a regular clientele that I don’t have to do that much promotion,” Stelmanis adds. “Everyone wants to DJ, so as long as there are DJs, then we’re good.”
On March 24, a special edition of Uhaul in the form of a queer Canadian Music Week showcase will morph it into Uhaul Fest. The program gets going early, at 6pm, and features Toronto artists Emma McKenna and Cell Memory, as well as Berlin’s grunge-techno trio Kool Thing, who will make their first appearance on Canadian soil.
McKenna recently launched a new album and will perform with a full band, while DJ and electronic simulator Adam Terejko is presenting Cell Memory, his newest project. Kevin Hegge (director of the She Said Boom documentary) is creating visual projections.
Stelmanis says there will also be surprise guests, crafts and snacks for sale and DJ sets from Jon and Julie of Kool Thing following the show.
Check out Uhaul every Sunday at 10pm at The Garrison, 1197 Dundas St W.
Uhaul Fest is Sun, March 24, 6pm