This week’s top parties include a kickoff for summer at the Drake Hotel, the fifth anniversary of Cherry Bomb, and a Babes N’ Beards Backlot Bonanza.
Friday: Enter Drakeland
Drake Hotel Sky Yard, 1150 Queen Street West. #WQW Doors at 5 p.m. Free.
It’s a carnival, y’all! Or is it a theme park? Tomorrow night the Drake Hotel debuts Drakeland, a new season of summer programming that will—wink wink—actually include a ferris wheel and/or roller coaster (even if it doubles as art). Sample the new solstice menu—which includes chili cheese dogs ($2.95) and a frozen banana dipped in chocolate and rolled in peanuts ($2.50)—and hit the Lemonade Stand for rounds and rounds of Lavender Lemonade ($9), which is the only thing worth drinking past June 21. Get your face painted, your fortune foretold or send a Drake staffer into the d(r)unk tank ($5 gets you three tries, donated to Sketch). And free cotton candy. (I’ll be in the kitchen trying to convince the carnies to add deep fried Oreos to the menu.) Goes until 9 p.m., find out more here.
Saturday: Cherry Bomb Turns Five!
With various performers. Andy Poolhall, 489 College Street. #COL $5. Doors at 9 p.m.
It’s always great when a tiny party becomes a massive institution and goes on to celebrate milestones. This Saturday, The Grid’s nightlife historian Denise Benson, and her party partner Cozmic Cat are throwing down for the fifth (!) anniversary of their Cherry Bomb jam. It’s become a favourite for queer women and their friends, and the latest instalment will feature the Egyptian high priestess of rap and poetry, MC Jazz, alongside Brazilian DJ Jerus Nazdaq. Feeling shy? Until 10 p.m., there’s an early meet-and-greet for fresh faces, and Andy Poolhall is more than equipped to keep it casual (hello, billiards!). If you can’t make it, don’t fret: Cherry Bomb is hosting a massive Pride party the following week. Find out more about that here.
Saturday: Babes N’ Beards Backlot Bonanza
Various performers. Doll Factory by Damzels Retail Clothing Store, 1122 Queen Street East, backyard. #LES Free. Doors at 2 p.m.
You better get used to seeing day parties on The Night List because ‘tis the season and that shit is like the new black. The Toronto Facial Hair Club—which, by the way, I had no idea existed—is teaming up with Leslieville shop Doll Factory by Damzels for an afternoon of, and I quote, “BEARDS! BANDS! BABES! BOOZE! BURLESQUE! BEER!” Live entertainment by catl. and Leon Knight and the Neon Lights, and a white hot performance by the Toronto Burlesque Festival. Plus: a Bearded Lady Fashion Show. (Omgomgomg could this sound any better?) Uh, yeah: boys and beards too, courtesy of prizes from Beard Team Canada (again: who knew?) for those with wicked facial fur. Find out more here, and then channel that (sure to be pent-up) sexual energy at the event listed below.
Saturday: We’ve Got A Crush On You: Pride Edition
The Central, 603 Markham Street. #ANX $5. Doors at 8 p.m.
A few weeks ago, I headed to the Annex for this new singles mixer on the advice of The Grid’s Sex Detective. But simply reading about a jam like this feels way different than actually going to one—you just can’t beat the live experience. It’s simple: you walk in, get an ID number (say, #69), and you connect with other sexy (read: horny) singles/couples/confused/window shoppers/etc. (Seriously, all genders, expressions, ages, rages, orientations welcome and encouraged.) Just fill out a “Crush Note” (sample: “#67: #41 has been admiring you from a distance”) and place it in the “Crush Box.” An organizer will anonymously tweet it from the event’s Twitter account. Or you can send a message from your own account using the hashtag #CrushTO. Your choice. I went on a wild hunt for #140 and ended up connecting through a screen hours later—so down more tequila and don’t be shy. This Saturday is a Pride celebration, and there are prizes for the person who reps their rainbow pride the best. Find out more here. Fuck online dating.
Sunday: What We Talk About: Gay Men In Art
With various speakers. Drake Underground, 1150 Queen Street West. #WQW $5. Doors at 7 p.m.
I’ve been meaning to dive into this little gem of a lecture series, and I’m done keeping it to myself. Since the beginning of this year, Peter Merriman has been hosting What We Talk About, a lecture and discussion series where “people from different disciplines will deliver casual lectures on a given topic and then participate in a round-table discussion.” Each umbrella topic appears vague at first, but that’s what I love about it—it allows the discussions to turn out surprisingly all-encompassing. The first one was about “Firsts” and since then, Merriman and co. have explored “Love Triangles,” “Collaborations,” and even “Parties.” The monthly series now has a permanent home at the Drake Underground, where it will debut with “Gay Men In Art” this Sunday, with talks on Benjamin Britten’s famed opera Death in Venice, Rufus Wainwright’s personae, Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly, Last Summer, and superheroes. (Crossing fingers they’ll touch on art as fashion—and the men and personas within it—or vice versa.) It’s pretty mellow, but do you really need to be slammed by bass everywhere you go? Find out more here.