Toronto
3 min

Resolve to be better

Now that 2010 is behind us, may I be frank? 2011 had better work.

There’s a lot to live up to. So much came and went, much of it dramatic. There are lots of best-of lists floating around, and even Eye Weekly recently devoted a cover to exploring why Toronto is a world-class city. I would argue that having to constantly reassure ourselves of this proves otherwise if I hadn’t had such a wicked year. Did you?

I know the gossips out there drooled over the Sofonda/Crews brouhaha, fashionistas had plenty of opportunities to dress up, and art lovers didn’t go wanting for exhibitions and performances. But instead of wrapping up the year (in brief: Statler’s came back for the 178th time, Circa bit the dust, taking St Marc Spa, Rue McClanahan and Transit City with it, and party promoters weathered lowered attendance), I want to look ahead to 2011 and offer some tried, tested and true tips to living life in Toronto at night.

If your event flops, cry for 24 hours then get over it. Don’t point fingers, name names or launch a Facebook attack against a venue for not supporting you. Figure out what’s wrong and solve problems creatively so you’re better next time. You’ll get another chance to prove yourself if you conduct yourself gracefully. The opposite is also true: if your event is a huge success, celebrate for 24 hours then go back to the drawing board and plan bigger and better. No one wants to listen to you relive the glories of an event from months ago when there are new and hungrier people working hard to get their nights up.

You’re not Gaga.
Even Gaga isn’t Gaga, and using her as a point of reference re: style or content gives you a shaky foundation. The very few who reappropriate what she does well have figured out who and what she appropriated in the first place and have added their own ingredients. This year it seemed like there were multiple Gagas everywhere, and I don’t even mean at Halloween or Pride!

Smile. Someone giving you cut-eye? Smile. Have to wait in line somewhere, even though you hate waiting in line? Smile. Bartender taking too long to get those drinks for you? Smile. In addition to making you 10 times more attractive than the ones sporting the sneers that mark Toronto as the screwface capital of the world, people respond to smiles. It may mean a free drink, a line bypass, or an extra seat — smiling works (insert smiley-face emoticon here).

Nothing is sold out, ever. Whether it’s tickets to a show, a party, or any kind of event, if someone tells you, “Oh, I’m so sorry, but we’re sold out,” what they’re actually telling you is “Please, try harder to get in. It’s worth it.” If you want in badly enough, you’ll get there, and you’ll emerge with a better story than bailing on a potentially fun evening.

Love this city, dammit! I know it’s hard sometimes. I know you hate the mayor and Church St is over and west end queer stuff is too far and gay is dead anyway and everyone cool lives in Montreal or New York. The weather sucks, no political edge, blah blah jaded blah. The fact is, every time I go elsewhere (this year New York, Montreal, Los Angeles and San Francisco) people know what’s going on here and are often jealous. Unbelievable? Try telling some SF perv about what goes on at Goodhandy’s or any Montreal activist about Take Back the Dyke and see how they react. NYC has no theatre company that does what Buddies in Bad Times does, and the diversity of parties (not the number of attendees or size) rivals the scene in LA. It might make you cool to complain (and granted, there’s lots to complain about) but my new year’s wish for you is to experience everything there is here in Toronto. The best way to lose yourself, find yourself or love yourself is to do it in the dark. You can do it as a participant or an observer, but just get out there. Happy New Year!