In with a bang

Celebrating the new year with pride, parties and queers

‘Twas the week before New Year’s and all through the city, every gay man and lesbian stayed home, looking pretty. The bi-folk and trans-folk lay snug in their beds, and all of us dreamed of the good times ahead. With 2014 all shiny with promise, our New Year’s Eve parties had better be flawless. Visions of Church Street loomed large in some heads, while west-ender parties filled others with dread.

The end of a year creates much celebration, but looking back gives us cause for elation. We live in a town ruled over by a lord, a buffoon of a mayor named Robert Bruce Ford. He’s tried to cut funding, for AIDS and for Pride, but all us queers gave him a helluva ride. From club life to theatre to athletics and all, we always come in like a wrecking ball. Our numbers are many, our accomplishments grand … so cheers to these queers, the best in the land:

James Fowler’s a gentleman, a curator and artist, whose idea for murals was simply the smartest. From sheroes to history to club kids at balls, he’s the one responsible for our community’s walls. Look in alleys or storefronts in the Village today, and you’ll see his creations celebrating the gay. The Church Street Mural Project should make us all smile — and serve beautification, at least for a while.

When Mandy Goodhandy turned 60 this year, the doyenne of nightlife simply smiled with cheer. She rules Club120 with a velvet-gloved fist and is first to welcome you with a hug and a kiss. She doesn’t suffer fools and won’t tolerate your mess, but loves to show off in a hot low-cut dress. She’s part mother, part stripper, part comedian, part whore, and if you’re curious about T-girls, she’ll help you explore.

To Maggie Cassella and her Flying Beaver, all revellers flock and become devout believers. It’s a cabaret, it’s a pub and is all-the-way gay; the best shows in town are at her Pubaret. Reviving a strip of Parliament Street, The Beaver’s made Cabbagetown en vogue and in heat. For comedy, for music, for drag and for more, a night at The Beaver leaves you begging for more.

And speaking of drag, we’ve got the best in the country; our queens and our kings are sickening, hunty! Drag is an art and a calling for some, and magic abounds with these daughters and sons. To name just the best is a difficult thing, there’s so many divas with wigs in the ring. A rise to the top takes strength, guts and luck, but to reign on the scene needs an industrial tuck. Whether lip-synching, singing or voguing away, these queens are all worthy, so shanté … you stay:


Tynomi and Bunni and Donnarama

Michelle Ross and Jenna Syde
and Jade Elektra

Divinesque and Igby and Fay Slift (so hairy)

and the regal matriarch: our
Michelle DuBarry

Ivory and Nikki and Nicolette Brown

and Atmos Fierce,
a fab newbie on the town.

And then there’s the kings
who are cock of the walk

King Flare and Tyler Uptight
— my gawd, you guys rock.

And so with a bang, the new year begins! Let’s start off with romance, adventure and friends. I wish you good parties and short lineups a-plenty, and wallets with condoms and shiny new 20s. For 2014, we have potential to fill, dreams to succeed at and much tea to spill. “No shade” and “one love” are goals that are mine, and whatever you do, I hope that you shine. You’ll find me on dancefloors and onstage in high gear, so happy new year, my queers, and to all a great year!

Ryan G Hinds’s column appears in every other issue of Xtra. He wishes all his readers a happy and gay new year.

Read More About:
Culture, Opinion, Nightlife, Canada, Toronto, Comedy

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