This week’s list of top happenings includes an underground beat bash starring U.K. imports The Heatwave, a slowdance party, and an open mic night at the Eaton Centre.
Thursday: Urban Mic Finale
Urban Eatery, Toronto Eaton Centre, 220 Yonge. Free. Doors at 5 p.m.
In September, the Eaton Centre launched the weekly Urban Mic, a program that features Toronto’s wide range of musical talent flaunting their skills in the mall’s Urban Eatery every Thursday night. I stumbled across it on one of my rare trips out of the west end, and it had a kind of coffeehouse vibe to it. Tonight, they host the big finale: The best artist from each previous instalment, as voted by the public, will return for a showcase of our city’s top-tier indie acts. (Check out the list of artists and videos of each week’s performances here.) Runs until 9 p.m.
Friday: One Love Volume 5
With various performers. Annex Wreck Room, 794 Bathurst Street. $10 before 11 p.m, $15 after. Doors at 10 p.m.
Maybe jungle is your speed. In big milestone news, Highgrade is celebrating their sixth anniversary of bringing underground beats and love to the people. On Friday, the Annex Wreck Room will be taken over by lovers of reggae, bashment, dancehall and ragga jungle. Aside from a handful of local talent, they’re also importing The Heatwave, a U.K. collective of DJs, producers and MCs, who’ll bring a musical carnival to town to show off “how dancehall is the root of jungle, garage, grime, dubstep and funky.” There also promises to be “huge tunes and quickfire mixing, scandalous dancing and people banging on the walls for reloads.” Find a complete list of performers here and get acquainted with The Heatwave below.
Friday: Toronto Design Offsite Festival Warm-up Party
Edition Richmond, 850 Richmond Street West. Free. Doors at 8 p.m.
The Toronto Design Offsite Festival, happening next January, is so cool it needs a party to warm-up. And you know I love me a good party. The Toronto Design Offsite fest blends installation art, furniture design, industrial design, and conceptual design. Oh, and all their events are f-r-e-e. On Friday, they’re taking over Edition Richmond—that great, hidden former auto garage site of the Perks of Being a Wallflower party during TIFF). They’re are also bringing along Joe Blow, one of my favourite DJs, who was last seen in these pages organizing a party for redheads. Even better, Kensington Market’s Lilly’s Lunches will be biking food right into the party. Find out more here.
Saturday: The House of Monroe Presents The Time Traveler’s Ball
The 519 Community Centre, 519 Church Street. $20. Doors at 7 p.m.
In this week’s edition of The Grid, I looked at the pop-cult renaissance of the drag ball scene—hello, Paris Is Burning and vogueing!—and how its presence is bursting out of our own Village walls and spilling into the mainstream across the city. In Canada, the House of Monroe is the only official House that serves it up in competitions beyond our borders, and this weekend they’re celebrating their fifth anniversary with The Time Traveler’s Ball. Here’s how it works: Participants compete/model/pose/perform—simply referred to as “walking”—in a series of obscure-sounding, yet totally titillating, categories. For example, there’s “Butch Face” (“Bring it in an effect inspired by the Vikings”) and “Transman Realness” (“Bring it as a monk from the Shang Dynasty”). You’re judged and hopefully end up bringing home a trophy or a share of the $1,500 prize money. Everyone is welcome to vogue-it-out or walk-it-off, but you’ve got to do your homework to find out exactly what each category demands. Werq. Find out more here.
PRO TIP: Hit the after-party if you can’t make the ball. Or do both. Trust.
Saturday: Toronto Queer HalloWICKED Slowdance
Main Floor Ballroom, Dovercourt House, 805 Dovercourt Road. $10. Doors at 9:30 p.m.
Have we talked about the slowdance before? Because it’s awesome. Sherwin—the Montrealer behind those strip spelling bees—works double duty in this town when he throws the slowdance. And because I heart Halloween forever, I can’t recommend this edition enough. What you do is slowdance with random people—or you can borrow a designated dancer if you’re shy. There’s even a little booklet to help you plan dances and peep the playlist. (NB: There’s an intermission of fast songs every cluster of songs, so you can shake that ass too.) The whole thing looks like a prom set in a teen movie, with decorations and everything. I tell you, it’s a great way to meet people when you don’t give a shit about meeting people. (Last time, I ended up with a coffee date the next morning. It didn’t go anywhere, but hey!) Complete details here. Cue up your favourite slow songs in practice.