Saturday, July 17, 2010

Lady Gaga impersonator @ Byzantium on Church




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another night at Smokeless Joe

you seriously have to give this place a try (if you're a beer-lover) so many interesting beers to try!

Tonight: Konings Hoeven (Trappist) - thumbs up; and St Sebastiaan Dark - hmmmm...




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have a go at a delicious Mumbai dish - dabeli

(and it's vegan!)
@ the Festival of South Asia, on Gerrard St E



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Friday, July 16, 2010

awesome beer and even a vegan chili con carne!

Smokeless Joe, a little gem in the middle of the Entertainment District









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Friday, July 09, 2010

rain!

call me crazy, but I love rain, especially as a nice balance to the previous ultra-sunny days.



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Thursday, July 08, 2010

Pride Toronto 2010

WARNING:   1.  This is one of my longer posts, and has many photos, may load slowly.  2.  It contains nudity and queer-related images; please stop reading and turn back if such themes and images offend you or are illegal where you live.


Last week Toronto celebrated Pride Week.   Pride, which is a celebration of the queer liberation movement (and, please, allow me to use the word "queer" as an umbrella term, if only to avoid the latest acronym, LGBTTIQQ2S, which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgendered, Intersexual, Queer, Questioning and 2-Spirited), has its origins in the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York.  To put it shortly (and probably risk oversimplifying), the riots are taken as the first time the American homosexual community fought back against government-sponsored sexual minorities harassing.   Nowadays, plenty of cities have their own Pride celebrations ("pride" is used to stand against what queer people were supposed to feel:  shame), and unfortunately many of them still suffer from terrible persecution, sometimes backed by the government, by religious groups, by society in general, or all three.   Fortunately for us, Pride Toronto is, for all practical purposes, the most important celebration in Toronto and, probably, the biggest one in Canada.

Though Pride Week lasted, well, one week, we only attended events on the last 3 days (and, judging from how absolutely dead tired we were at the end, I can't imagine celebrating for a full seven days!).   Friday July 2nd we went to the Trans March, which proudly celebrated its second anniversary marching down Church St.   What can I say, watching so many people gather and walk down the street, holding signs demanding an end to transphobia, asking people to stop thinking in binary (male-female, man-woman, gay-straight, etc) terms, proclaiming their love for their trans children and siblings, was very moving.   And completely justified.  We have only one life to live, and rejection because of ignorance, tradition or plain bigotry is cruel and unnecessary; thumbs up for tolerance and the right to flourish, for the right to be a person unbound by imposed and narrow categories of gender and sex:


After the march, we headed to the South Stage.   Church St was closed to traffic and had a number of stages where DJ's were playing, performances took place, and so on.  And at the South Stage, quite in tune with the day's march, "Transverse" was taking place, with performances from different trans artists and, amongst them, an icon of popular culture:  Buck Angel!   A truely outstanding female-to-male transsexual, he gave his public some words and quite a show and he deserves (and will get) his own entry in this blog.  

So, after such an amazing beginning, we were ready for Saturday and its Dyke March!   "Dyke", like "queer" and even "fag", has been reclaimed by some in the queer community to divest it from its pejorative meaning, much like the use of the word "nigger" amongst some African-Americans.   Much bigger than the Trans March, hundreds of proud, diverse women of all ages marched to the cheers of the crowds lining Yonge St.   


And charged up with all that energy from the Dyke March, we headed to Church St, which had turned into a kind of 8 block-long open-air fest, with stalls, numerous stages and, of course, countless revelers!   Enough to keep you busy ALL NIGHT LONG (as it, in fact, did: we went to bed at 5am).   There was so much to do, so many parties, so many people!  

The last day, Sunday July 4th, was the BIG parade:  3 hours long, with groups representing different fetishes, orientations, groups, political parties...  And, I must say, the leather float and the Totally Naked Toronto men were quite a success.  And, I must ad, the parade is quite the family event.  Everybody from Toronto, and quite a few from other cities, were there; women, men, old, young, children, straight, bi, trans, gay, couples, families, triads, you name it!   That was one accepting, tolerant, inclusive, welcoming crowd enduring one of the hottest and sunniest days so far to get a glimpse of three hours of proud people.  So energising!


Of course, after such a long time under the unrelenting sun, we headed for a short rest at home before heading out once more.  And we wouldn't have gone out anymore, but we were supposed to meet Buck Angel (that's a story that will have to wait; all I can say is that he's one of the most approachable and pleasant people on earth!) at an open air party at the George Hislop parkette ("pocket park") off Church St, and the party, "Blockorama", organised by Blackness Yes!, was supposed to be quite unique, giving a space to black artists and very welcoming to the black, trans and alternative communities.  So we made the extra effort, and we went, and we had a blast.   The music was great, the park was packed with mostly people of African descent and their friends, the performances were amazing, we saw Buck...   I felt really lucky to have gone to Blockorama, which we could have easily missed amongst the dozens of other things to do.


We were knackered.  Our legs and feet hurt.  So we decided to take one last walk on Church, from north to south, and bid Pride farewell.   And even though it was the last day, a Sunday, and that everything was going to be over after a few hours, people were partying like crazy (probably crazier than the previous days) and having the time of their lives.  There was so much energy!  And we lived off that energy, at least for a bit, until we could take it no more and went back home.




Most queer people in the world have to endure a fair share of suffering, imposed guilt, undeserved shame and unequal laws.  For many, it's no small feat to be queer and lead a happy life, and one should definitely be proud of prevailing over.  And it's not that many cities where people can celebrate queerness without fear of repression or violence.   For clearly being a place that celebrates diversity, Happy and proud Pride Toronto!   




Sunday, July 04, 2010

Friday, July 02, 2010

Buck Angel @ South Stage

WARNING: NUDITY AND ADULT CONTENT AND IMAGES.  THE SLIDESHOW IS NOT SET TO AUTOPLAY.  IF YOU'RE OFFENDED BY NUDITY, DO NOT CLICK PLAY ON THE SLIDESHOW AND LEAVE THIS POST IMMEDIATELY.

Buck Angel, the man with a pussy, porn actor and trans awareness advocate, at Toronto's Pride.



HAPPY PRIDE TORONTO!




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Pride Toronto's TRANS FORM NATION March

in support of transgendered people









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Thursday, July 01, 2010

Canada Day @ Dundas Square

how else would Toronto celebrate Canada Day but with a MULTICULTURAL celebration?







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