Welcome to the 14th annual Toronto Queer Arts & Culture Festival

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Theme – Daring to be Different

spotlight slide show  of  our past festivals


We’re: Planting Flowers – Fluffing clouds – Queuing bird songs,  getting ready for you!

Queer West Arts Collective

The 2014 Toronto Queer Arts and Culture Festival wouldn’t be possible without the support of members from the Queer West Arts Collective . Thank you; Ms. Zoma Maduekwe (Abuja, Nigeria), Ms. Richa Shrotriya (Mumbai India), Ms. Lauren Tenn (Bournemouth England) , Philip Cairns (Toronto), Michel F. Paré (Toronto) and Akos Major (Budapest, Hungary).

Festival Sponsors 2014

Toronto Queer Arts Festival gratefully acknowledges the support in 2014 from;  Buddies In Bad Times Theatre; The Press Club, The Sister, Open Roof Festival; Basement ArtsimagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts FestivalBar 1602  Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival DailyXtra.com and IvarDesign.com

Simple PDF Program Guides & Poster for 2014

Full colour Official Festival Poster for 2014 Download Your Free PDF Poster here Please help Promote our festival, thank you.

Biographies of Singers for Music Concert @ The Sister. Our Poster will be on one side, reverse side Bios when printed. Event date  August 8  – Biography of Singers and Set Times

Full colour 8 page Program Guide Booklet 2014 with description of Arts Festival; who we are, what we do and the article (Battle for queer culture in Toronto) Event Date August 9. 2014 Film Festival Program Guide

Festival News Briefs

 Queer West Film Festival chosen as one of the 10 film events in Toronto for summer 2014 by BlogTO.com  – http://bit.ly/1j1nSQI

July 31 – We have a call out for an alternative festival photographer. Lauren Whalley who asked to be our photographer  two weeks ago, hasn’t responded to our emails.

Festival Operating Budget $600. $350 for DJ’s and concert musicians and $246.34 for printing cost.  Reception, and concert  are free events. $5 door for film festival and poetry evening. We will recoup all of our operating expenses and still be able to make a charitable donation to Basement Arts Film Production Company.  We have never had a debt in 14 years.

  Showcasing the best of Toronto’s queer west end

The west end of the city, primarily the Queen St. W. strip from Ossington to Dufferin and along Dundas West, has gone through a massive facelift in recent years. This rapid rejuvenation has often been attributed to the re-opening of the Drake Hotel in 2004, but before the Drake put Queen W. on the map, there was a burgeoning arts community flourishing. Dozens of galleries scattered amongst deteriorating storefronts, sandwiched between appliance retailers and pawnshops, created a new bohemia. Weekly queer parties were a regular occurrence in the warehouses and lofts within this once affordable neighbourhood.

Out of this scene in 2000 sprung a vibrant queer culture with a younger mixed crowd seeking something different, a group not hung up on their, or anyone else’s, sexuality. The area has adapted to the rising queer presence  now known  affectionately as The Queer West Village or to some Queer West Toronto

Toronto is already one of the queerest cities in the universe. And, while long known for having one of the biggest and most successful Pride celebrations in the world, a new smaller grassroots community festival aims to showcase an alternative side to queer culture in the city. Toronto Queer Arts Festival (Queer West Fest) official events takes place this year from Thursday August 7 to Sunday August 10th. The festival welcomes some additional affiliated events, earlier in the week.

Queer West Fest showcases the best of west end queer culture by taking over various establishments, some queer operated and the others queer positive. One annual event is held in the Church St gay village, namely the Queer West International Film Festival on Saturday August 9th.

The Arts Festival is a little smaller this year, lasting only four days instead of the usual ten. Organizers found it harder to find volunteer event managers, that we could train,  due to the many larger than normal festivals, being held in June.

Official Events

caribana dance party queer positive space in torontoSunday August 3  Turnt Queer Caribana Dance Party Weekend with Afrobeat

Many queer people steer clear of the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival (formerly known as Caribana) because they feel it’s unwelcoming at best and dangerous at worst. Many queer people of colour feel marginalized from Toronto’s queer communities because of persisting racism. Sammy Rawal, a member of the multicultural hip-hop DJ collective Yes Yes Y’all, says homophobia at Caribana is often more insidious than what can be identified in police reports. “When you hear Buju Banton, for example, being played really loud, it can get kind of tense,” he says. “You’re reminded that people around you might not really have or share the same views as you.”

Tonight’s Djays are; DJ Deemaks (Aforbeat), RBMA alumnist Sikh Knowledge (beats and Dancehall and  Bambii (house),  are creating a queer-positive space for the West Indian community to share their culture. It will be the biggest and baddest LGBT event at Caribana, this year.  If you’re looking for hip-hop, dance anthems, pop, R&B, reggae/dancehall, voguing beats, soca and old school, then this is the spot.  Event location  The Lodge 559, now known as “Neck of the Woods” … STREET MAP  559 College Street. Cover: $8.00 This is a queer positive space and mixed night, in the heart of Little Italy, Queer  West Village, Toronto Ontario  (This event was added July 28, after press release went out) Time: 10 pm to 3 am https://www.facebook.com/events/678671792215270

Shakespeare in High Park Tuesday August 5  – Shakespeare In High Park: “As You Like It Toronto outdoor theatre tradition, Shakespeare in High Park is back this summer and will alternate between two shows. The first, As You Like It, a pastoral comedy, follows a young girl named Rosalind who flees from her royal uncle’s persecution into the Forest of Arden. Food, beverages and blankets will be available to purchase on-site. The outdoor performances will go on with weather permitting; any cancellations due to rain will be done by 8 p.m. Pwyc ($20 sugg). High Park Amphitheatre, 1873 Bloor W. Queer West Village, Toronto Ontario.

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titus andronicus in the park


Wednesday August 6 – Shakespeare In High Park: “Titus Andronicus”, a tragedy about the fictional Roman general Titus and his cycle of revenge the Queen of the Goth. Food, beverages and blankets will be available to purchase on-site. The outdoor performances will go on with weather permitting; any cancellations due to rain will be done by 8 p.m. Pwyc ($20 sugg). High Park Amphitheatre, 1873 Bloor W. Queer West Village, Toronto Ontario.

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DJ Nik Redman TorontoThursday August 7 – Arts Festival Launch Party as part of the Toronto Queer Arts Festival. Join the crowd  Dancing all night with music by our kickass Disk Jockeys; Steve Austin and Nik Red, 9 pm to Close. FREE  1602 (Bar with No Name) Dundas St. W., Lesbians love our parties. Queer West Village, Toronto Ontario.

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open-roof-festival-2014Thursday August 7 – Open Roof Festival The Open Roof Festival brings films, music and refreshments to rooftops in Toronto all summer. The event features independent films and local bands, and all profits support the Toronto indie film community. In case of rain, the films will be moved indoors.  FILM: The Grand Seduction Residents of a small town in Newfoundland scheme to keep a doctor living there instead of moving back to the city. BAND: Tomi Swick

The Details: 99 Sudbury Street, Queer West Village, Toronto Ontario. Map (https://goo.gl/maps/qLoqa) just south of the Queen Street West and Dovercourt Road neighbourbood. A customized, eclectic menu will be available for purchase at each show, crafted by 99 Sudbury’s in-house chefs. Tickets can be purchased at

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Amy Campbell toronto singertoronto arts festival 2014 small posterFriday August 8 – 9th annual Alterna Queer Music Concert Featuring; Ted Scarf, Anna Gutmanis, Amy Campbell, Jamieson M. Eakin and Elek Semilla from Five different bands with sounds from  punk rock to ballads to bluegrass. We love introducing you to new talent, as part of the Toronto Queer Arts Festival. 8 pm to 1 AM. Free. The Sister, 1554 Queen Street West.  Queer West Village, Toronto Ontario.

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2012-Queer-West-Film-Festival-official-logofilm_festivalSaturday August 9 - 6th annual Queer West International Film Festival This year we will be showing a dozen award winning LGBT films never seen in North America; from Finland, two from Spain, France, Australia,  London Ontario  and of course  from Toronto in our home province of Ontario. We’re a small but quality film festival. 6-10 pm. $5/pwyc. Buddies In Bad Times, 12 Alexander, 416-879-7954,


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Saturday August 9 – annual Human Rights Unconference with special guests: Toronto teacher Lee Hicks & Film Director: Azed Majeed. Exclusive to Queer West; live panel discussion about  making the film  Both/And: —  The Lee Hicks Story.. FREE 9: 15 PM Buddies In Bad Times, 12 Alexander, 416-879-7954, See never before exclusive video to be show during  Film Festival.

Also in attendance to will be Film Directors Eric Casaccio, from Los Angeles we are screening his film “Narcissist” and Andrew Randall Toronto, who directed “Performing Masculinity.”

Lee (Hicks) is an artist and designs wearable art. Visit his website today to see the 6 new designs, as of July 21,  that now exist there! (many shirt styles and colours!)

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frank g hull professional wheelchair dancerSunday August 10  – Smash Words Festival (A night of queer Poetry & Cabaret) Six of Toronto’s best known LGBT spoken word artists;  Philip Cairns, Alec Butler, Katie Sly, J.P. Larocque,  Jenna Harris and Power Chair Dancer, Frank G. Hull. as part of the Toronto Queer Arts Festival. 7pm-10 pm. $5/pwyc. The Press Club, 850 Dundas St. W., Queer West Village, Toronto Ontario. 416-879-7954,

event information gifTestimonial“Every summer in August, Queer West celebrates its lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered artistic community with the Queer Arts Festival– a week-long event that includes a film festival, spoken word events, concerts, art gallery tours by bicycle, and more. Take in art that challenges and explores the concept of sexuality.” ~ Tourism Toronto

With little funding and a budget of $600, a small team of dedicated volunteers  Queer West  manages to miraculously produce a moderately successful festival year after year and no debts.  Queer West Fest has always stayed true to its community roots. Its continuing success is due to the incredible efforts of so many passionate volunteers, though we also can’t overlook the invaluable contributions from our loyal sponsors.

Film Festival Program Director- Lauren Tenn queerwestfilmfestival@gmail.com

Art Festival Artistic Director – Michel F. Paré –   queerwestartsfestival@gmail.com

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queer west film festival program directorFilm Festival Program Director

Lauren Tenn – Lauren is from Bournemouth England. She  holds a Masters in Cultural and Arts Management with skills in administration and customer service roles, University of Winchester, U.K and Honours BA (Hons) History degree, from University of Exeter. Lauren will be looking after 2014 Queer West Film Festival; grant writing, screening film submissions and preparing Queer West Film Festival for 2015.  Lauren on Twitter Her email is queerwestfilmfestival@gmail.com


michel f pare toronto artistiic directorFestival Artistic Director

Michel F. Paré – Michel holds double Master Degrees in Information Science and Philosophy. He is Founder of the Festival and a visionary and one of the ten founding members of QueerWest.org. When not overseeing the festival Michel works on web site as a web editor.  Michel lives with his common law partner of five years, Akos Major, a Hungarian Roma hairstylist, both love the joy of cycling, entertaining friends, and cooking together. Akos is currently visiting his Mother in Budapest.


Friends, Sponsors and Supporters

  Gay West Community Network Inc (Queer West) was founded in 2000 and incorporated in 2008, as a not for profit organization. We are dedicated to producing performing arts festivals for the purposes of educating and advancing the public’s understanding and appreciation of performing arts and to educate artists through participation in such festivals and related workshops.

Mailing Address 562 Dufferin St. 2nd floor B1 Toronto ON M6K 2A9. Visits By Appointment Only. 416-879-7954 queerwestartsfestival@gmail.com

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