Arts & Entertainment
3 min

Prism power

Think those big, bulging Pride circuit parties are on their way out? Think again

Carmen Carrera is the host of Aqua. Credit: Mike Ruiz

Pride means many different things to many different people, but one thing it means to everyone is sweaty parties with thick bass, shirtless hunks and ferocious drag queens. So, as Toronto queers watch the all-the-way double rainbow that is WorldPride stretch its effulgent, glimmering arch from one end of the city to the other, many of us have important questions about how Pride will be different this year. Will the drag queens be taller? Will the hunks be even more shirtless? Will we all wear jockstraps made from glitter and nothing else?

To get to the bottom of these and other mysteries, we spoke to Prism Events’ Gairy Brown and Aussie drag queen DJ Kitty Glitter. Prism is responsible for some of the most ambitious gay circuit parties on the continent, and let’s just say they don’t plan on sitting out WorldPride. “We usually do five events,” Brown explains, “but with the combination of WorldPride and Canada Day, we added an extra.”

That would be Sunday night’s Peepshow at Maison, festively stuffed into an already packed itinerary. On Thursday night, Prism says goodbye to Fly Nightclub with College. On Friday, things get GI Joe–mosexual with the military-themed Boot Camp at The Guvernment. Saturday afternoon and early evening is set aside for Aqua at Yonge-Dundas Square, featuring the likes of Kitty Glitter, Sofonda Cox and Drag Race alum Carmen Carrera. On Saturday, Sofonda is joined by a host of international DJs for the White Party–esque La Leche at Sound Academy. Finally, Prism will shut down the beloved Guvernment with Revival: Last Dance on Monday night: a marathon dance party — during which DJ Abel will spin a seven-hour set — that goes until 8am.

Is your Google Calendar quaking in fear like a size queen who has finally met her hella-girthy match? That’s a lot of parties! But let’s hope you’ve already booked some tickets, because a lot of people are coming out. “We haven’t had a year with this many ticket sales ever,” Brown says. The hottest ticket right now? La Leche. “It’s going to be a very high-energy, Ibiza-style party. It’s the biggest production that we’ve done. A lot of technology involved. Screens, lasers, décor — it’s going to be a really amazing interplay of music, sex, glamour and celebration.”

Ticket sales aside, which Prism event is Brown anticipating the most? “The one that I’m looking the most forward to is Aqua. I think the DJ lineup and the talent is exciting . . . we’re actually wrapping the entire venue in an eight-foot-tall rainbow flag. Of course, Carmen Carrera is hosting. We have Sofonda performing a Beyoncé tribute with about 15 dancers. Our DJ lineup is Kitty Glitter from Australia, DJ Aron from New York and headliners Chus & Ceballos from Spain.”

Prism regulars will already be familiar with Kitty Glitter, who has been hitting Toronto Pride every year since 2010. “Toronto Pride is so massive!” Kitty says. “It’s kinda overwhelming for a little kitten from Down Under like me, but I am undeniably addicted.” For those whose knowledge of the Aussie drag scene is limited to Dame Edna, Courtney Act and Priscilla, Kitty is top-drawer glamazon with a penchant for high-energy pop/house music and next-level fashions. But will she drop any hints about the looks she’s planning? “I never know what I’m wearing until I’m about to walk out the door,” she admits. “It all depends on how I feel at the moment . . . and who I was just with!”

After the rainbows get packed away, Yonge-Dundas Square will probably still be standing (unless Carmen Carrera starts a riot, which is highly possible). The same cannot be said for Fly Nightclub and The Guvernment, which will close after the Prism events. A huge loss for the party scene? Maybe. But Brown has an optimistic take on the closures. “I don’t look at it as sad,” he says. “I think it’s time for the city to redefine itself again. It’s time for promoters like myself to become a bit more creative in the events that we do. And to access new spaces. We will still be bringing in DJs. We’ll still be doing dance parties. In fact, we’ve already planned quite a few for the fall, which are going to be spectacular. So, for us, it is sad that Fly’s closing, because so many memories have been created there; however, I think that moving forward, it is exciting to see what can happen.”