Toronto
3 min

Outside the ghetto

Queen & Bathurst

GYM BUNNY, NOT. GYMbO, lead singer of the Day-Glo Abortions, is a regular at the fun and sleazy Bovine Sex Club. Credit: Anna Pournikova

How do you define a year that is soon to be past, especially when nothing springs to mind that was exciting or unforgettable?



We seek comfort as a community within a ghetto – the lines of that ghetto are drawn by us. Is where we are what we are? So many doors in this city are left unopened, scenes left unexplored. It is hard at times to fathom stepping outside of our comfort levels to find new pockets of culture and nightlife. Feeling let down by the club scene? Make a resolution to journey further a field.



Darryl Fine, owner of The Bovine Sex Club (452 Queen St W) and creator of Canadian music Gasoline Magazine, has one of the city’s best kept secrets, a moody rock bar that incorporates underground culture and desecrated art as décor. The venue is quite an intimate experience. The stage makes for close, interactive performances. The bar has both a queer and straight mentality with a lot of androgyny thrown around. The clientele always includes artists and local demi-rock gods. Robin Black, CJ Sleaze and GYMbO from hardcore group Day-Glo Abortions are regulars. During the week the bar plays host to many local and international bands with the music genre ranging from hardcore and cutting edge rock to everything in between. DJ Barbi spins electroclash every Monday with her Die Lux night, and queer duo Trixie and Beever host a demented bingo night every month or so (Bbj.ca/trailertrashbingo.htm for schedule). If you like your queer boys rough, inked and pierced and your girls sassy and with character, this is a place for you. I love the Bovine and you will, too.



Almost kitty-corner is a low-rent pub-style bar called Queenshead (659 Queen St W). Manager Jasmine Burns is quite familiar with the crowd that frequents her establishment – a mix of everything under the sun. Also a true reflection of her friendly and eclectic staff, she has witnessed many more queers coming in. She says the bar “has a huge lesbian following.” This is the type of place where you can go alone and up meet another lonely soul talking over the cheap beer and martinis. Over the past couple of months they have also featured many crème de la crème performers and DJs, from DJ Keoki to Montreal performance artists Les Georges Leningrad. Thursdays is Shack It Up with resident DJ Mikey Apples whose sets are best described as old-school agro wave.



The venue’s vibe could be compared to the upstairs crowd and “comfortable” decor of Yonge St’s The Living Well (692 Yonge St) back in the day when it had more of a Queen West alt feel to it, and way before the dry new management took over. The folks at Living Well seem to be scrambling around looking for promoters to replenish the dying vibe. One thing’s for sure, Monday’s Dirty Bingo with Shirley (with a repeat on Thursdays) is one of the only nights at Living Well that still holds its own.



John Caffery, who many also refer to as the hot go-go boy or Cock Wolf from Vazaleen, is way more than a one-man dance machine. He is also an actor, artist and musician, among other things, fronting the very popular local band Kids On TV whose vibrant shows give strippers at Remington’s a run for their money. The Kids have just made their EP Hustle available in Montreal, a sign of their growing popularity within the indie scene. They are also in the process of working with singer/actor/1980s New Romantic and Leigh Bowery impersonator Boy George in re-working a new version of the song “Breakdance Hunx” as a duet between Caffery and George. The EP which has been out for quite awhile consists of five songs each with its own distinct voice. All have the core value of danceable break beats meet punk rock aesthetics to create a rough unpolished sound and a particular likeability to the music. Decide for yourselves. With punk rock prices of $5, who can’t afford this? You can get the EP at Glad Day Bookshop, Rotate This and Soundscape. Hurry before they become larger than life. They are playing around town a lot in the month of February starting off on Thu, Feb 3 at the Poor Alex Theatre.



And in more artist news, Bruce La Bruce, creator of everything arty and controversial, is in the process of making a movie based on Wilhelm Von Gloeden’s life, due out sometime next year. For those of you who do not know, he was one of the first artists to photo-graph males in the nude. Bruce would also like us to know he loves Oliver Stone’s Alexander. And he hopes the new year brings peace, harmony and better television.



Michael Caines another social artist for change, is working on a book-length epic poem based on a hero’s journey. Caines is heading out west to work on a large-scale sculptural installation with local Vancouver artist Leah Decter.



Somebody out there has already started their Christmas shopping cum thievery earlier than most. Be on the look out for used records wrapped under your tree as DJ Adam Khan’s full collection of vinyl, including his bag of DJ gear, was recently stolen after a gig at Arc nightclub. His collection included hard to replace gems from Derrick Carter, Theo Parrish, Louie Vega, Larry Heard, Sneak and many more. Who said that the saying “God is a DJ” had died?



2005 is upon us so let’s ring in this new year with personal goals to be introduced to new forms of life and art. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.