Toronto
3 min

Sade, aphids, summer

How to survive the insanity

It was stressful and depressing as the city was in the middle of a smog alert, meningitis worry, drought, heat wave and a disgusting aphid invasion. Hello! But I was on vacation and wanted to be in a “happy place.” Fortunately, I was able to attend one of the best concerts I’ve seen in years.



Sade is a fierce goddess and that’s all there is to it! The 42-year-old divorced chill-out diva uplifted every one of the 13,000 in attendance, which must of included at least 5,000 gorgeous fags and dykes. I had no idea that the Nigerian-born mother (with a three-year-old son) had such a massive gay following.



But at one point when Gina Loren’s screamin’ opera was heard throughout the entire Air Canada Centre, we immediately felt at home – or at least at a circuit party chill out room. She desperately tried to show off a few dance moves. Which was quite shocking and embarrassing, but let’s just say that I’ve renamed her tour The Rhythm-less Nation tour. Sade’s popularity and sales are bigger than ever in North America and yet, she has never been on the cover of People magazine. She hates interviews and wants to keep private. That’s a true sign of a diva. I wish she would give pointers to Celine or Mariah who hold press conferences every other day.



Hundreds of wig lovers from Toronto are heading this week to the 17th annual Wigstock in New York City. Founder and host Lady Bunny was recently in Toronto and was able to chat with me in between drinking her second bottle of Jack Daniels.



She is one of the top drag performers in the entire world. Her live shows, which offend most, include renditions of AC/DC, Kate Bush, Lauryn Hill and Dusty Springfield or, as the lady states it, “I’ve cornered the market on all horse-faced divas.”



Her jokes are fabulously vile. “I’m that naughty child that has found a dirty joke book in my Uncle Jed’s trailer. My blinking joke about The Christopher Reeve Workout is about as far as I can go – when I’m out of town, that is.”



On being in drag and getting laid: “Gay men put drag queens on such a pedestal, but they wouldn’t take them down and fuck them. The so-called straight-identified look that so many fags are seeking is in fact very homophobic and I tell you now, is impossible to find – unless you’re in drag.”



Twenty years ago, electronic music pioneers The Human League had the biggest single of the year with “Don’t You Want Me” – now a massive hit in karaoke clubs. Phil Oakey and the girls who brought synth pop to the masses are still going strong. I saw them perform at London Pride two years ago in a show that also included Heaven 17. They have a new album out on import called Secrets that’s getting rave reviews for being very fresh sounding (I wouldn’t go that far, but it is quite good).



Boy George’s recent Canadian DJ tour included a stop in Calgary where he seemed incredibly impressed and wants to go back – according to his widely read British newspaper column. “You wouldn’t know it was such a rocking, beat craving spot if you minced around the streets. I imagine that it can be quite butch in Calgary but I felt quite at home.”



He hated being ogled in Toronto and had major drama at customs. “I haven’t set foot in Canada for several years, due to my past dabbling with narcotics – and the Canadian authorities are tough, to say the least. Despite arriving with all the correct papers I was held up and asked to detail every substance I’d ever taken. I was tempted to just jump on the next plane home.”



Gay MPP George Smitherman has shut down his Prints On Church store, located on The Steps, to devote more time around Queen’s Park – for gay rights, or was it gay nights?



Filming is about to begin in Toronto on the Facts Of Life reunion movie. Returning cast members of the TV show that ran from 1979 to ’88, include Mrs Garrett (apparently a major alcoholic), Natalie, Tootie (a favourite of Hollywood Squares) and Blair (who became a singer on the religious gospel circuit). Tomboy Jo still hasn’t signed on. Apparently Natalie asks the girls to reunite to help her out with two different marriage proposals.



DJ Roger Sanchez has a major hit sampling an old Styx song – so to capitalize on the wave of retro interest, Styx founder and bassist Chuck Panozzo has just come out as an HIV-positive gay man, making him the highest-profile rock star since Freddie Mercury to come out of both closets. This can’t be more exciting than the return of Linda Evangelista!



Recently, while attending yet another AIDS funeral for a friend, I realized that it has been exactly five years since I created this column. It all started off by reporting on an upcoming AIDS benefit, the first of close to 100 that I have written about over the years.

I’ve always felt very lucky to have this opportunity in being able to report on so many wonderful events and people within our great community. In fact, the best part of the job has always been the amazing people that I’ve been fortunate enough to connect with. Thank you!



This column is dedicated to one of those people. Steve, may your buzz always be in a happy place.