– Press Reviews and releases 2009

Queer West Arts Festival Toronto – Press Releases and News Stories 2009


Wednesday June 17, 2009 – News Channel cp24.com – Toronto’s other gaybourhood shows its stripes with Queer West Fest. 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. | Saira Peesker, cp24.com

May 28, 2009 by Karen Ho Xtra Newspaper Southern Ontario starts celebrating (West Toronto) http://dailyxtra.com/toronto/news/prides-watch?market=210#west


Queer West Fest – Press Release Wednesday June 3, 2009 from the desk of Michael F. Paré, executive director, Gay West Community Network Inc. queerwest.org |
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.
Wedneday June 17 to Saturday June 21 – Cooking Fire Festival Performance festival celebrating theatre, food and public space with dance, theatre, dinner and more. Pwyc ($10 sugg). Dufferin Grove Park, Dufferin S of Bloor. 416-655-4841, cookingfire.ca. Jun 17 to 21 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. www.myspace.com/dinahthorpe / 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. www.myspace.com/shawneelynnetalbot 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. $$ Affordable. 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/djnikkired The 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, thegirlcanwrite.net 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 www.myspace.com/simpleelissa & 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. The Details: 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 http://www.bigonbloor.com/festival |

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

About.com – Gay and Lesbian Travel, February 2009 by Andrew Collins. Queer West Fest 2009. A great alternative to the usual Gay Pride festivals: Queer West Fest. Begun in 2006, the fast-growing Queer West Fest takes place just before the city’s official Pride Toronto Festival, from June 12 through June 21, 2009. The eclectic, community-based event comprises a series of artistic and cultural events and workshops and occurs in the city’s diverse and artsy Queer West Village, in the city’s West End, centered largely along Queen Street West, in the 1100 through 1700 blocks. It’s a neighborhood with a rich mix of populations, gay and straight, young and old, and with a decidedly progressive and counter-cultural bent.

The organizers of Queer West Fest bill their 10-day event as “an alternative! Less corporate! More grassroots All Queer!” response to the more commercialized Toronto Gay Pride events in Church Street Gay Village. Of course, there’s no reason you can’t come to Toronto and try out both events and both neighborhoods.


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