Two Prides in one summer like a
second dessert. And why not? During a time when the headlines
proclaim such atrocities directed at our community, what could be
more important than coming out to be seen and stand tall. Or as
Divers/Cite, the organizers of Montreal Pride, put it: To sing, to
dance, to laugh, to love.
And so to Montreal we wing it love that one-hour flight and land
at calm, modern and clean Dorval, a far cry from the tension of JFK,
and then to the brand-new W Montreal where it's Pride all year
long, providing you with Tom O'Finland pillowcases and Queer as Folk
DVDs and where every bellhop, concierge, and room service attendant
looks like he's just off the catwalk and on his way to the next
It's our first time to Montreal in summer and everything's green
and people live outside, and why not: there's no humidity. Only
these gentle breezes off the St. Lawrence and the air so clean and
so much blue sky.
And fortunately, we know the Mayor of Montreal, Her Lordship, Kat
Coric, who joins us for dinner at Holder Bistro on Friday eve with
Hotty Hubby Jay, the two of them arriving with a Montreal Pride
Welcome kit, providing all the requisite essentials: Queen cream,
Godiva coffee, Wet Naps, Evian spritzer, even Crack cream
It's a weeklong celebration, and throughout the Village, St.
Catharine is blocked to cars, making it for pedestrians only, so
it's a stream of beauty, from all over Canada, Australia, the
States. There are stages set up in one of the parks and at two other
intersections and there's music and drag spectacles and Lila Downs
from Mexico and Shequida and Lady Bunny from New York and Dr. Draw
from Montreal. There's so much to do so the first thing we do, we
go to Stock Bar to get our bearings. A lotta nudity, a lotta dick
and we're supposed to find Josh and Doug in there some place, but
our attention gets diverted. There's this one couple of dick dancers
who use an Aero mattress and white sheets and a bottle of Veuve
Clicquot to maximum advantage and the resulting spectacle becomes
the sort of thing you expect to see in the middle of an Alegria
party. Totally hot and bubbly. Book em, Ric; call Stock Bar now.
So many hotties, so many sexy bitches. They're all out in the
streets, walking through the Village. It's that Friday night
revved-up feeling, before the weekend really gets rolling. So we
hurry back to the scene on Saturday afternoon and hang at Sky Pub
and watch the parade that's not the official Parade. And then we
take the Metro to Parc Jean Drapeau because BBCM, the people behind
Black and Blue, are having a Day at the Beach, with Norm Robert and
Paulo spinning on a platform over the lake. Sounds good except
someone forget to tell us to drive a car. Ask a twenty-year-old
about how to get somewhere and he says, "Oui, c'est ca, le metro"
never thinking that a forty-minute hike along the river to la Plage
might be something better suited to being twenty years old. Well, at
least we see a beaver. A real one and he lets us photograph him.
So the nature walk to the circuit party isn't totally a write-off.
and then we're there at la Plage and there's a tent and music
and about a hundred people. Okay, so let's see: 1) the sun's out,
and 2) There's Paulo. He's playing. Hmmm. Let's think of this as an
outdoor house party on the lake. And that's how it works for us.
Because the crowd soon swells (?) to 150 people, and they're having
Montreal boyz and girlz know how to have fun with a plastic chair
and Astroturf. They know how to smile. They don't project attitude.
This is a town which has decided that money is not the answer. Or at
least not the only answer. Hair is a consumer product, that's how
one t/shirt puts it. If the jeans fit, make them dance.
So we're back in the Village where there's a huge outdoor sunset
party in Emile Gamelin Park. People are dancing on the grassy hill
rising up from the stage. All kinds of people, all ages and color.
Children with kitty sunglasses and club kids in mohawks and street
kids and hippy parents. It's exactly the kind of diversity that
makes Montreal so cool. Everyone's welcome no judgment rendered.
And there's this local group, Champion and His G-Strings, with the
singer Betty Bonifassi and suddenly, it's like everything clicks.
Everything comes together. We're having a moment, all of us on that
grassy hill. The sun going down behind us, the stage lights
flashing, that luscious voice of Betty and the crowd jumping and
dancing to this most sensual groove which just takes over all of us,
uniting us as one, making it right, utopian, one of those moments
you live for and keep on seeking.
Well, my goodness. So now we're here. Bonded with the city of
Montreal. It's in our blood now. We're in the flow down St.
Catharine to the fireworks over the St. Lawrence
La Grand Danse is the all-day street party on Sunday. Four or five
blocks of people dancing think the Pier Dance in New York, except
IT'S FREE, as the local keep reminding us. Everything's free in
Montreal! Free and easy! It's all about the vibe. It's a karma
thing, baby. And so we head to Her Lordship's residence, where Mayor
Kat and Hotty Hubby walk us through the neighborhood and into the
thick of the party where we meet le tout Montreal, from the Olympic
swim champion Michael Tewksbury to resident dj extraordinaire,
Gilles Massicotte, and everyone else who looks like hotsexyfun
which is everybody. It's a very cool party, the kind of place where
security would be unnecessary because everyone's cool and so there
seems to be no security. No police lining the blocks as there are
here for Pride in New York, and no religious zealots protesting our
existence, and frankly, it's a joy to be out of Fortress America.
The sun is shining and the music's kicking, rotating deejays every
two hours, for a twelve-hour marathon set, and there's food even
corn on the cob, fresh from the country, and piping hot and homemade
salty flash-fried potato chips and freshly-squeezed lemonade and
Trojan boyz walking around handing out the largest condoms ever made
because, as everyone knows, Canadian boyz are BIG.
And slowly the sun sets and the lights take over, with the moon's
silhouette behind the cloud cover, and the video screens over the
intersections are flashing images, pink, blue and rose, letters
spelling out DIVERS/CITE and boyz are breaking it down in little
kiki groups and tourists are ogling with their grandparents and
children are clapping -- and meanwhile over at the disco stage, the
entire crowd is singing along to Enough is Enough with Babs and
Donna and the entire situation, all around us, wherever we look,
it's the world we want everyday, it's beatific, it's right, it's all
about the love.
Next stop, Stereo. Sunday night at Stereo. The BBCM party called
TWIST at Stereo. Where Victor plays monthly, the club with the most
sublime sound system, and where tonight it's Tony Moran. But first
we're buried in three layers of feathers, and a faux mink throw, and
pillows so soft and it's two a.m. and we're oh, so happy in the W
bed and thinking, How in the hell, and Why in the hell, and Are we
going to pull a Joe Caro and sleep through it? Hell, no; we're in
the club by two-thirty through a nasty security check which
insists that Altoids are illegal and should be tossed away in their
entirety (although, take note, Altoids gum has apparently been
legalized in Canada). Okay, so no mints. It's not worth a hissy. And
besides, this is the party we've been looking forward to, because
thankfully we listen to Joe Caro, not only what he records, but what
he says, and he says Tony Moran is on a roll, which we know because
we heard for ourselves at Alegria Pride, and it's true, it's Tony's
moment and what timing, we walk up the stairs, just as the
changeover in the booth takes place and it's Over and Over and
we're off. Right away, Tony's got Da Beat, and we're putty in his
hands as he makes us move. We're dancing on the landing overlooking
the crowd and Tony's got that thing. It's a little bit Alegria, a
lot of beat, a mash-up of vocals. We're hearing things we remember,
things we love right now, and things we're still not over. It's
Doncha but different and Live You All Over but better and Voices
Inside My Head spiraling around and Mariah's We Belong Together and
we do and we love it that we do and You'll Never Stand Alone which
makes us think of Power at Cherry and our It Boy Couple and then,
whoa, it's Josh and Doug, at long last. We've been missing them all
weekend, playing cell tag and now here they are, surrounded by
their posse of hotties, and Doug werking a pair from Sitges jeans,
that is, and they ask if we're having fun, as if it's not evident
from our faces, and how we like Montreal Pride, because it's their
second home, and we say, Yeah, it's all right. Are you kidding? It's
incredible; we love it; what's not to like? And Tony keeps on
werking us, layering the beats, and making us dance and reminding us
why being gay is da bomb, it's the best -- and all we gotta do is
show the rest of the world.
Montreal Pride. Divers/Cite, diversity. Pride all year long. Sing
and dance and laugh and love. It's a mission we can handle.
Thanks to all of Montreal that most generous and welcoming
citizenry, and Mayor K. Coric, and her hottyhubby Jay -- and to all
those of us who know that time in Montreal is a glimpse of what life can