Queer West - Serving West Toronto, Ontario



May to July 2009 - News Archive

Queer West Community Network

OUTeXpressions enewspaper

OUTEXPRESSIONS newspaper is a not for profit publication of Gay West Community Network Inc. (Masthead) Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved. We have been bringing news & event listings to readers since 1995. OUTexpressions, is one of Gay Toronto's leading media publications, with the hottest happenings in the coolest places. We are not an exclusive gay publication. Queerwest.org family of websites receives 40,000 hits a day, from within Canada and abroad. Queer West is consistently ranked #1 (Page One) in Bing and Google, for most search returns. Outexpressions on Twitter Thank you for your interest in QueerWest.org For Event Submissions, Email: outexpressions@gmail.com 416-879-7954

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Philip Cairns joins Queer West Board of Directors

Philip Cairns was Appointed to Queer West Board of Directors, on Friday July 24, 2009. Cairns is an actor/writer/visual artist from Toronto Parkdale. His work has been published in Xtra Newspaper, The Church-Wellesley Review, and the former Body Politic. 2000-09 Volunteer mentor for Supporting Our Youth, 1993-2009 On Board of Directors of Spencer Avenue Co-operative Homes, 1997 Artistic Director -- Green Hair Theatre, 1995-97 Member of Outsider Artists Collective, 1994 Member of Playwrights Network, a writers' co-operative, On Board of Directors -- Gallery Without Walls, 1988-92 Member of Collective -- Artefect Gallery, an artist-run co-op 1988-90, Member of Scarborough Arts Council

Philip has performed his poetry, performance pieces and plays at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, A Space, The Theatre Centre, Paddy’s Playhouse, Wildside Studios, Augusta House, Yellow Door Café, New School of Drama, Poor Alex Cabaret, Symptom Hall, Changing Places Theatre, Catch 22 and My Treehouse. As an actor, Cairns has performed in scores of small theatre productions and numerous independent films and short films.

He has exhibited his paintings and drawings in group and solo shows in Toronto and Edmonton. In 2008 exhibited his work during Queer West Fest - Queer Eyes and Ears art show at the Gladstone Hotel. Cairns will make a great addition to the team. (Update Philip left the Board October 13, 2010)

Queer West Fest 2009 - Wrap-up

Outexpressions Sunday July 19, 2009 - Queer West Fest is over for another year. "Forest Lightbody was Queer West Fest's innovator and events manager this year. He did an stellar job, organizing the entire 8 day festival, which ran Saturday June 13 to Saturday June 20, with the help of Daniel John (DJ De Sod), as have all our past festival organizers." said Paré, Queer West President

The Festival made some funds this year, not a lot, should cover most expenses. Money to help run it, came out Queer West founder's piggy bank, close to $1,000 and friends of Forest gave $300 in cash loans. (100 % of the profits) went to bands, performing artists, DJs, loans, tips for bartenders, and taxis for guests and miscellaneous items. Excellent feedback from the venue managers, Augusta House, Sneaky Dee's and Mitzi's Sister, say QWF organizers are welcome back anytime. Performing artists and bands, raved how well, they were treated and look forward to working with QWF again. All events were well attended, thanks to good media coverage.

Biggest crowd packed Augusta House, 152 Augusta Avenue in Kensington Market, probably because of the $300 worth of raffle prizes and dance then night away to music from DJ De Sod, DJ 4est , DJ Peas and Carrots and DJ Snickers..Queer West Fest organizers appreciated the support of their amazing sponsors, who made the Festival possible this year. Barton Hill Hotel, Thatchanel.com, West Side Stories Video,Xtra Gay and Lesbian Newspaper, Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention, Good Catch General Store, Drake Hotel and OUTeXpressions said Paré, Queer West founder.

The Festival is produced by Queer West Community Network. This year it did not receive provincial or federal government handouts or Arts Council including LGBT Community One Grants. Organizers are proud to stand on their our own two feet, with the help of local gay friendly business sponsorship, and the Network's own fund raising initiatives. Many of the bands, musicians and artists put on their shows, pro bono and QWF organizers really appreciated it. The small amount of door money They received, at each event, paid a percentage to artists, djs and equipment rentals, posters, flyer's, mailing cost and insurance. (100% of the profits) Festival organizers receive no compensation. Much of the equipment and space is donated. Every day organizers started from scratch. Visitors came to the festival and were only asked to Pay-What-You-Can.

Plans are being made to hold 10th annual Queer West Fest between Friday June 18 and Sunday June 27, 2010 (11 day Festival, bigger than Pride). The G8 Summit will take place that week. If there is any protest demonstration it will all happening in the Toronto downtown core, not in the Queer West Village. It's likely there will be many radical queers groups among the demonstrators, what better way to reach out to them. By invited them to Queer West Fest, their kind of party. We will also be celebrating 40 years of queer history in Toronto.

Toronto's other gaybourhood shows its stripes with Queer West Fest

Originally published by news channel cp24.com reporter Saira Peesker, Wednesday June 17, 2009

Naco Gallery and Cafe is one of many queer-friendly businesses flourishing in the city's west end. (Photo by Thom Leigh for CP24.com)

Weeks before event organizers block off Church Street for this year's Pride Festival, an esoteric celebration of queerness has already begun at the opposite end of Toronto's downtown.

Beginning June 13 and running until this Saturday, the fourth annual Queer West Arts Festival celebrates something many in the neighbourhood have believed for years -- the west end is where the action is for a large segment of the city's gay community.

This year's event includes concerts, public art events, a film festival and a group bicycle ride.

Queer West Community Network President Michael F. Paré, 58, says the west-end crowd is one that doesn't see the need to congregate in the section of Church Street long held to be the city's Gay Village.

"For the most part, it's a younger generation," says Paré, speaking to CP24.com from his post at the organization's office. "They don't have that sort of ghetto mentality."

The neighbourhood at the centre of Queer West Fest includes Parkdale, Dundas Street West and portions of Little Portugal, and is teeming with queer-run or queer-friendly bars, restaurants and galleries.

"The owner of a cake store on Dundas was joking that it's the lesbian capital of Canada," says Paré, who went on to list about a dozen other queer-positive establishments in the area including West Side Video, Naco Gallery and Café, Mitzi's Sister and Baby Huey's.

"And it's a mixed crowd. The younger generation doesn't seem to have qualms about mixing with straight people."

The area's relaxed attitude of acceptance is exactly what appeals to 30-year-old Monica Mitchell. She lives and goes out in the area, and says she's never been partial to the scene Church Street has to offer.

"It seems like it's more of a boy's town vibe and I don't fit in," says Mitchell, who prefers Disgraceland and Hurricanes on Bloor Street West as well as Henhouse, a Dundas Street bar popular with queer women.

"I don't feel compelled to identify myself by who I choose to sleep with. That is a subset of my personality, but not the identifier of my personality," says Mitchell.

The desire for queer spaces that ditch obvious definitions is something that interests Brock University researcher Catherine Nash.

An associate professor in the school's geography department, Nash wrote her PhD thesis on the emergence of Toronto's Gay Village, and is now turning her eye toward the scene developing west of Ossington Avenue.

Her team has begun a series of interviews with business owners, their patrons and area residents in an effort to examine the difference between queer spaces and those designated as gay or lesbian spaces, particularly regarding the possible emergence of a new queer district.

"The basic set of responses we're getting (suggest the west end has) a vibe that is distinctive," says Nash, noting her team is still in the very early phases of the study, which is funded by a three-year grant.

"It generally tends to be described as a place with greater flexibility and a greater need not to identify. Your gender and sense of self can be fluid."

Mitchell agrees with Nash's suspicions, reiterating her belief that there are several aspects of her personality that are just as important as her sexual orientation.

"For me, there's less of that pull to tell people 'I'm here and I'm queer.' It's more like 'I'm here and I'm having a beer.'"

The Queer West Arts Festival runs from June 13 to June 20 at venues throughout west end Toronto.

Young Parkdale gays, Pride Toronto and Queer West Village.

Toronto Parkdale

By Tricky Watson, Toronto Parkdale - Queer cupcake enthusiast, self proclaimed feminist and olympian napper.

Outexpressions, Thursday, June 11, 2009 Queer is the word -One definition from a google search brings up queer as "...traditionally meant odd or unusual, but is now also used to refer to anyone who is not heteronormative. ..."

Spending more time in the Queer West Village, and among more people who are labelled as Queer, has got me to thinking of the terms and conditions which this word is used. I've been exposing myself to more and more of the Queer West Village, and realizing that the people I socialize with are ones who label themselves in this way. There are times when I even label my self-labelled 'straight' friends as Queer, because they might not fit into the norm, in my eyes at least.

Out last week, a friend asked another friend if they were straight. I didn't care what the response was, however I knew, somewhat, what the intent behind it was. It might not have been to find out the specific sexual identity they have, but rather to find out their place inside the idea of Queerness. But I know it also had another meaning behind it. It struck me odd that this person would ask such a question, given who they are, who we are, where we were at the time, and the appropriateness of this. Is it ever appropriate to ask someone flat out how they identify, or do you let that come naturally? I say it is the later, but again, in this specific situation, I knew the direct intent behind it.

When you label yourself as Queer, it isn't as distinct and finite as saying you are "gay' or '"lesbian". Queer has come to mean a lot of things; gay, lesbian, bi, trans, asexual, pansexual, questioning and on and on. The specific word you choose to label yourself almost doesn't matter as much as being aware of your identity. I feel that knowing who you are is more important than where you fit in. But is this even possible? I think in a sense it is. I know that I exclusively sleep with men, however I label myself as Queer. The meanings are much more than simply saying "I am gay". However, being labeled as Queer is more important to me than other labels which could be imposed. So at the same time, the label is important, but sometimes I wonder where I fit in. Such a contradiction, it has different meanings at different times. Perhaps depending who I am with or where I am.

In the past two weeks I have been to the village more times than in the past year, a shame friends must live on that side of town, but it is where they have chosen to live their lives for now. Luckily, a very strong group of Queers who absolutely do not conform to any sort of social constructs, and are quite open about it. I have also been spending a lot of time in my Queer West Village, with friends who have the same attitudes about the village that I do.

When I think of the word gay, one image comes to mind. This is perhaps my problem with Pride Toronto. It is a celebration of... wait, I'm not entirely sure. However the image they portray is the widely accepted, white homosexual. The image the gay community chooses to show the world is that their community embraces men and women, as long as the men are attractive, hairless and muscled and the women take their shirts off and ride on bikes.

So when I think about Queer West Fest, a totally different image is there for me. It's the artists and political movers and shakers. The guys who sleep with other guys but don't have the polished image the east side wishes to maintain. It's the trans community who gets excluded, the Native community which is ignored from Pride. The women who sleep with women but don't have children, ride bikes or wear plaid. It's everyone who has ever been ignored, or put down, or felt they didn't even belong in a gay community of a large city (which is supposedly a community which embraces diversity? what). A community that embraces those which embrace each other, no matter who you are, or who you happen to go to bed with. Queer.

Funnily enough, Pride Toronto has been trying to host and run Pride events in the Queer West Village, but QWF has no sort of official affiliation with them.

Toronto Queer West Fest arts, politics and culture festival 2009.

Press Release Wednesday June 3, 2009 Gay West Community Network Inc. QueerWest.org | queerwestinfo@gmail.com

The Toronto Queer West Fest is an arts, politics and culture festival. It's about exploring the queer art experience. A place to encounter contemporary queer sensibility, A place to critically discuss and define queer aesthetics. At the Queer West Fest you will find visual art, dance, theatre, a series of literature and poetry readings with artists discussing their work, film and video screenings, and a wide array of multi-disciplinary programs.

The week is comprised of 8 days of programming, from musical performances and DJ dance parties, to Nights with No names and a community Pride Ride Many known queer or queer-friendly establishments will participate in the roster of events planned. Opening night, Saturday June 13th, has DJ 4est at the Cock & Tail. Sunday is the hugely-popular annual noon Pride Ride from from the Queer West Village through downtown streets over to the Church St. Village and back to Parkdale's Cadillac Lounge patio for liquid libations and ruminations.

The week continues with a queer women folk song fest, is notable highlight of the week. The Fest concludes with Reggae Ska band, the Johnnys rock 'n'rock band, Kink in Kensington dance party and a Queer Women of Colour dance party

The Gay West Community Network Inc is proudly celebrated first its first anniversary on April 28. The Network is now comprised of a full slate of Board Members and several different committees for fund raising, programming, sponsorship, and media relations. The organization is a not-for-profit centre that produces performing arts festivals and outreach programming for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, transsexual, questioning and two-spirited (queer community). Many self-directed events happen throughout the year including the Bike Club, Wilde Chats, and the newly formed Queer Peers. This new program aims to match queer youth 18+ with older mentors for discussions on personal or career decisions.

Step out of the Village. Do it at Queer West Fest

Official Event Queer West Fest - Wednesday June 10 to Saturday June 13 - What are you Searching For? A Multimedia Interactive Event @ Gallery 345 (Parkdale) There will be painting, sculptures, interactive art work, dance, and staged performances to indulge your creative pallet. It’s a one stop art show and nightlife. One of the main events is a sitcom pilot about the journey of an insecure, gay man as he comes to terms with his sexuality and his boring office job. A portion of all proceeds will be donated to Arts for Children and Youth.

The Details: June 10-13 2009 Doors open: 7:30 - Show begins: 8:00. Gallery 345 345 Sorauren Avenue Advance Tickets (Recommended): $20 At the door: $30 A 19+ event (Valid ID Required) A portion of all proceeds will be donated to Arts for Children and Youth. Come and see what Toronto artists have been creating for you to discover.

Sunday June 14 - 5th Annual Pride Ride, put on by the Gay West Bicycle Club. The largest LGBT cycling club in the Province of Ontario. A little different route this year. We meet 12:30 pm at ZOOTS CAFE, one business west of Gladstone north side of street at noon. Cycle up Gladstone Avenue to College St. W., along to Ossington and North, to Harbord St.. Then East on Harbord through Queen's Park to Wellesley St. W. and over to Church St. Village. cycling back along Queen St. W. to the CADILLAC LOUNGE, 1300 Queen St W., in Parkdale, the heart of the Queer West Village for jugs of libations and ruminations from 3 pm to 5 pm, for a Queer West Festival party. www.QueerWest.org/bikeclub.php

Monday June 15 - Random Order, the Johnnys and Heavy Filth @ Sneaky Dee's

Heavy Filth (9 pm) -- The shouts of Heavy Filth will start before the rock band hits the stage, and immediately after they finished their last song. Heavy metal frenzy is what HEAVY FILTH is all about. Animales Cortez's (SHLONK, The Qweefs, Beatrix) crazy tight drumming, the intricate and cocksure guitar riffs of Maija Martin (the Gay, I Mudder Accordion) and Stu Marvel (Lindsay, the harmony mobilization project), and the dirty, distorted bass lines of Miss Kitty Galore (subterranean rumbles) are guaranteed to make your knees weak and your ears bleed.

Random Order (10 pm) - Toronto Canada's premiere reggae ska band who pack floors quickly with politics you can dance to! Vocalist/guitarist S. Lynn Phillips is the driving force behind Random Order whose vocal style traverses the musical spectrum ranging from playful rap, to soulful reggae, to blow-you-away punk/funk and rawk. http://www.randomorder.ca/

The Johnnys ( Headliners 11 pm) is a fast, furious and fun rock'n'roll band rooted in the genre's origins; music of manic, rebellious energy. Add a dash of classic punk sensibility and garage rock ethics and you get the picture. Since relocating to Toronto from the Northwest Territories, in 2005, The JOHNNYS' fiery brand of rock'n'roll is earning them a place in the hearts of audiences wherever they play. Veronica Johnny - Vocals, Percussion, Guitar Dave Johnny - Drums, Backup Vocals Tim Bones - Lead Guitar, Backup Vocals Oriana Barbato - Bass, Backup Vocals http://www.thejohnnys.com/ | www.myspace.com/thejohnnysrock

Location: Sneaky Dee's, corner of College and Bathurst. (Kensington Market) 416-504-7934. Doors at 8 pm, Show starts at 9 pm. minimum $5 PWYC. 431 College Street, Websites http://www.sneaky-dees.com/, Queer West, Toronto Ontario

Tuesday June 16 - Queer Women Songfest @ Mitzi's Sister. Featuring eMKeh, Dinah Thorpe, Shawnee Lynne Talbot and Anna Gutmanis.

Anna Gutmanis (headliner 11.30 pm to 12 am) was born in London, Ontario, but now lives in Toronto. Anna’s tradition of social activism through her music. Together with “Let It Slide”, her new CD single showcases a maturing artist who still has something to say after more than a quarter-century of making music. http://www.annagutmanis.com/ | www.myspace.com/annagutmanis

Indie Artist eMKeh (9.15 pm to 9.45 pm) Born and raised in Toronto, eMKeh is a new and emerging folk-indie artist, having played numerous Toronto venues since her solo debut in 2007. Deep, smoky vocals, reminiscent of a time when women were breaking through the rock scene, eMKeh brings the same raw and unique flare to her folk-indie songs. www.myspace.com/eMKeh

Indie Artist Dinah Thorpe (10 pm to 10.30 pm) Since graduating from the University of Toronto last year, at 25, she has been rediscovering a passion for music, latent since high school. The singer-songwriter, whose focus has been acoustic folk, finds dance music to be a growing preoccupation. She burst onto the Toronto music scene in May 2008 with the release of her self-titled debut EP. Since then, she has been drawing crowds at local venues and festivals. Her beats have induced fevers in dance clubs, while her silvery voice and sweet melodies have brought tears to folk clubs. http://www.dinahthorpe.com/ / dinahthorpe@hotmail.com

Lastly 21 year old Aboriginal Indie Artist Shawnee Lynne 10.45 pm to 11.15 pm) has come a long way from a small town, near Welland Ontario, to a big downtown life in Toronto. Shawnee Lynne began to climb her musical “Everest” from an early age. Shawnee’s curiosity of musical instruments started to bloom as she began to show interest in both guitar and piano- often recording her musical creations alone in the basement for hours. This was a sign of things to come. shawneemusic.com The Details: Mitzi's Sister , 1554 Queen Street West. (Parkdale) PWYC Doors 8 pm to 1 am

Tuesday June 16 Postponed to 23 - DJ 4est's "Night with No Name" @ The Beaver DJ 4est loves Cunt rock...most anything with a female singer. Especially if it's crunchy guitars, dirty electro or screaming vocals. 10pm. Open 9 am to 2 am. DJ 4est's Night with No Name The Beaver 1192 Queen St. W.www.thebeavertoronto.com . www.myspace.com/dj4est

Wednesday June 17 - A 2 -spirit, queer Indigenous, Black and Peeps of Colour Party @ The Gladstone Featuring Dj Nik Red www.myspace.com/djnikkiredThe Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St W. Party starts at 11 pm to 2 am. No Cover. This will become a new weekly party. One and all welcome to attend

Thursday June 18 - Kink of Kensington Presents Under the Covers @ Augusta House - The songs we love...covered. The Details: DJ De Sod, DJ 4est , DJ Peas and Carrots and DJ Snickers. The Legendary Queen Donnarama www.myspace.com/queendonnarama performs. Donnarama was honored by NOW Magazine in 2006 as one of the "200 Reasons Toronto Rocks" as an accomplished drag queen and celebrity impersonator. Author Lorette C. Luzajic, Launches her new book "Weird Monologues for a Rainy Life (Irreverent Ramblings) From the end of the World." A fundraising raffle to Support Queer West Fest, and a ton of door prizes to give away. 152 Augusta Ave (at Wales Ave.) 8 til late

Friday June 19 - SWAGGA LIKE US An "Urban" Queer Women of Colour event. By Girls with Swagger for Girls with Swagger (& their allies) @ Pacha Lounge. Featuring... DJs Lissa Monét and & Kalmplex www.myspace.com/kalmplex1 Playing hip-hop, house, dance and mashup into the wee hours. An all female line-up including Kay-Ann Ward's dance troupe, Innovative, Sexy, Creative, Raw, Soulful and Passionate are just a few words used to describe Kay-Ann Ward. www.kayannward.com A true dancer at heart, she is known for her strong Dancehall background, her ability to freestyle and pull from a place deep within when she performs. Other happenings burlesque, musicians + surprise performances you don't want to miss. PLUS specialty drinks, sexy women and tonnes of swagg donated by our generous partners. ... & of course lots of swagger. from 9 pm-3 am. Pacha Lounge. 1305 Dundas Street W.

Saturday June 20 - Queer West Fest and BIG on Bloor Festival @ 147 Delaware Avenue, Queer Bloorcourt Village. (Darcy, Tanya, Amanda and Lindsey's place) Second annual Queer Pride on the Patio - this year, coinciding with the close of the Queer West Fest, BIG on Bloor Come celebrate the community spirit. Ote'a Tane will be dancing at the stage at Russett Avenue and Bloor (near Dufferin) at 1pm and members are invited to the party - stop by earlier in the aft if you can check us out, and enjoy Bloor St, car free from Lansdowne to Christie! Bring your own drinks, plan transportation ahead - and feel free to bring any veg snacks. Likely head out to parties afterwards. Near Ossington station. RSVP darcyhiggins@gmail.com | bigonbloorfestival.com |

Saturday June 20 - The 2nd Annual Queer West Film Festival @ Fixt Point Studio. The Film Festival on Saturday June 20 will have films by New York Filmmaker, photographer, artist and producer, Katrina del Mar; Iron DVDS.com; ASAAP plus a few surprises. The selection commitee is now reviewing the videos.Saturday June 20 at Fixt Point Theatre, 1550 Queen St W. beside Mitzi's Sister and Good Catch General Store. (Parkdale) PWYC Doors: 8 pm to 10:30 pm film fest archives

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