People don’t to go to Church much these days. Church St that is. Zelda’s, Il Fornello, Crews — all gone or moved in 2009. The old Five space is transforming into condominiums and now rumours of Zipperz not renewing its lease are up in the air! Celebrities weren’t the only ones dying in 2009, Toronto’s gay village was apparently dropping off fast as well.
Is it the rent? Or are gay villages becoming obsolete in an age where we can go to almost any club in Toronto and be ourselves? Or is it the stingy laws preventing any dance spaces from opening north of Queen St?
Despite all the gossip and closures, Halloween was certainly no indication of a perishing Church St. I made the bad decision of going out as drag vampire Lady Gaga (Tinyurl.com/simsgaga). My first time (that I’ll tell you at least) walking in heels. It was fucking freezing but six shots of Jager later, and with the body heat of thousands, I warmed up just fine. The three blocks or so which had been sectioned off were utterly rammed as if it were a sold-out rock concert. I was walking and bumping into everything, from a giant 30-foot-tall swine flu bug and Alice and Wonderland to Buffy (which I steered clear of naturally). I almost broke my ankle. A hot tranny mess of a Sims.
There were some notable costumes to say the least: Sheldon McIntosh had Asian tourists going gaga over his drag incarnate, Marc Smith went out with me as Undead Jay Leno, there was a girl dressed as declined credit cards and probably a million Michael Jacksons (and a few Taylor Swifts and Kanyes). Later we all headed to The Barn for my Saturday night party There Goes The Neighbourhood (every Saturday, 418 Church St, no cover), which was an absolute riot. Host Matt Barker and I ended up doing shots with DJ Betti Forde (from Stink Mitt fame) and we got so drunk I attempted to direct the lighting system while Betti impromptu rapped over the mic. I guess Halloween’s all fun and games, until you wake up in your wig and makeup looking like Courtney Love and Buffalo Bill had a tranny lovechild.
If you could compare nightclubs to people at this point Circa (126 John St) would be Lindsay Lohan — young but uninspired, partied out and just a plain fucking hopeless mess. After dumping 80 percent of its staff (even security) like a beer down the sink, the investors have attempted to relaunch on the club’s second-year birthday as Circa 2. We’re not really convinced. At all. After the rental sound system was stripped out of the club, complete with the famous tresses and lighting system, the only thing different about Circa is that it looks like a high school dance with the lights off. It is clear more than ever that investors should not be left with the marketing and promotions. That’s why they are investors. I mean how out of touch and socially retarded do you have to be to name your new Friday WTF Fridays after the success of a brand like Randomland? You may as well just call Circa 2 the new Coke, no pun intended. As someone who worked at Circa since before it was open, I know we had a lot of hurdles to overcome right from the get-go. But now forget losing the gays, with your lameness you’ve managed to alienate everyone but a 905 crowd (who don’t even go there anymore either). Good job guys.
And with old clubs dying comes a thirst for the new and exciting, the fresh blood for us midnight vampires to devour. Venues are opening up all across the board. There’s The Garrison Nightclub (1197 Dundas St W; Garrisontoronto.com) where Shane Percy is throwing his next Future Disco jam (on Sat, Dec 5). There’s the new café/club addition to Parkdale, Blondie’s (1378 Queen St W) opened by Julian Reyes former manager of The Social, 606 and Element. My personal favourite is Cabin 5 (225 Richmond St W) the new, cooler incarnation of the Black Betty space (down the lane from The Fifth Club). And finally for expensive and snobby tastes there’s the Roosevelt Room supper club (2 Drummond Pl; Therooseveltroom.ca) open from Nov 14 near Adelaide St W and Peter.
Closer to the gay village, Grasp is a new bar opening up in St Marc’s Spa (453 Yonge St) with its own entrance, stage and DJ — and you have to wear clothes. Aw. The opening is Dec 5.
If you’re looking for a good time outside the village the options party-wise are never-ending. Toronto’s first “drag” DJ Miss Margot hosts her infamous Cover Girl party at The Beaver (1192 Queen St W) on Fri, Nov 20. This month’s edition is Margot’s ode to Lady Gaga’s Fame Monster album releasing Nov 23; it’s called Lady Kaka: The Fat Monster. Now this I have to see. Slightly more east on Nov 20 is the Yes Yes Y’all jam with DJ super group Stunts, Elle Nino, J-Ill, Hollyrock and Sammy D. This month the roving party is at the Annex Wreckroom (794 Bathurst St; $6). If you are tired of hearing Britney Spears’ “Three” on repeat at Buddies then this night is an all hip-hop jam and just plain old sweaty fun.
But parties aside I’ve never been much of a theatre fan (although I did cry through Billy Elliot). There is one theatre show that everyone (including the Toronto Star) is buzzing about — and I simply had to open my big mouth about as well. Our beloved Nina Arsenault’s The Silicone Diaries which tells her long arduous path of eight years and 60 cosmetic procedures to look the way she does today. It runs at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander St) till Sat, Nov 21 (tix cost $15 to $29); call (416) 975-8555.
I’ll be there opening night.
So the era of good Circa parties has evidently ended, good gay jams are anywhere from Bathurst and Queen West to Ossington and Dundas and while Church St is slowly closing down, the rest of the city is just getting its face on for nights upon nights of future fun!