Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Queens of Sodom

Toronto’s favourite gay costume party turns five

Basil Hendy, glitter-bombed for Sodom: Throwback. Credit: Mitchel Raphael

Mitchel Raphael knows how to put on a good party. “They’re less frequent now [but] get bigger each time,” says the organizer of the recurring Sodom parties. “There is actually a glitter saturation point, and we are pretty close to it now.”

Known for its outrageous themes and outlandish set decorations, Sodom celebrates five years of being the go-to event in Toronto for those who like to dress up (or down, depending on the night). But beyond marking a half decade of fake blood and political lampooning, Sodom’s anniversary comes with another tradition: crowning a Sodom queen.

“The first queen, Mahogany Browne, got down with the Sodom crew and helped with the enormous setups,” Raphael says. “Mahogany represented indie fierceness. A lot of the volunteer crew looked up to her, and she dispensed much sage advice.”

Ivory Towers took the crown the second year and dazzled revellers with her costumes and performances. “She played Willy Wonka, the White Witch battling Harry Potter and a cheerleader who stole cheers,” Raphael says. And no one can forget when Sodom’s third queen, Nikki Chin, drenched herself in blood from a suspended heart. “That is how you do blood,” Raphael says.

Slimthick Monroe, Sodom’s current queen (“Sometimes you need a real woman to do a drag queen’s job,” Raphael says), will be stepping down later in the year, leaving room for new royalty to sashay into place. “The four queens represent different eras of the party. We plan on crowning a new queen at the next party, in 2015, which will be our 49th party,” he says. “Ultimately, we look for performers: people who want to put on a show. The difference between most drag queens and a performer is a drag queen talks about what they will do and a performer rehearses it.”

Before Sodom can bestow sovereignty, the city of Toronto will do much the same later in the year — a fact that hasn’t escaped Raphael’s notice. “For the anniversary party, we will have Rob Ford doing a show with Sapphire Titha Reign,” he says. “The next day is the final True Blood show. Olivia Chow is also planning to stop by. It won’t be her first time at the party. As usual, she always goes to things way before they become hot.”

Dubbed Throwback, the fifth anniversary party will play like a greatest-hits album. “If you have never been, this is the one to see,” Raphael says. “It combines the best of five years of themes, from Atlantis to zombie circus.” So grab your fake blood and brightest wigs, boys and girls: Sodom is coming to town.