The top 33 events at Pride Toronto 2016
The top events at Pride 2016 are much more than parties (that comes later!). This is a whole other set of happenings, but equally as entertaining... just not in a hands-in-the-air, shirts-off, glitter-fest kind of way. These are the top talks, films, art shows and parades over the course of Pride month.
Here are my picks for the top events at Pride Toronto 2016.
Muff Society presents: But I'm a Cheerleader (June 15)
The Muff Society and Inside Out present this amazingly hilarious lesbian classic film at Carlton Cinema starting at 9 p.m. It'll cost you $9, but get there early because "lobby fun" is promised for 8 p.m.
Mean Girls screening (June 22)
Pride and the Harbourfront Centre's Free Flicks series and TIFF partner up for an outdoor screening of Mean Girls. Star Daniel Franzese will be in the house to for live commentary! There will be other special guests as well, and "on Wednesday's, we wear pink," so show up dressed to impress.
The Watermelon Woman (June 23)
Queer cinema pioneer Cheryl Dunye introduces a new digital restoration of her directorial debut, The Watermelon Woman at TIFF. Such an important moment in queer cinematic history.
Truth or Dare screening (July 2)
Hot Docs and Pride team up for a special 25th anniversary screening of Madonna's Truth or Dare at the Ryerson Quad. Movie starts and 6 p.m. but lookout, remixer DJ Paulo will start his set quickly after the film is done to start a Madge dance party.
You Can Show With Us (June 30)
This is an "open, non-curated" opportunity to show your digital artwork or digital media project at OCAD. Join artists as they celebrate diverse gender orientations, identities and expressions. Presentation slots are assigned on a first come, first serve basis and sign up is at 6 p.m., show at 8 p.m.
10X10 exhibit and Launch party (June 30)
This one is always fun. Every year 10x10 celebrates 10 Canadian, queer photographers' work as they produce 10 photos of their own and present them for the summer at the Gladstone Hotel. John Webster, N Maxwell Lander and Heartbeats duo Vivek Shraya and Karen Campos are among this year's talent.
That's So Gay: Opening Party (June 30)
The Gladstone turns into the Gaystone for the month of June, and this art party takes over the 2, 3 and 4th floors of the building. Come Together is this year's theme, which was curated by Syrus Marcus Ware and features 12 different artists.
Pride is hosting a series of super interesting Human Rights Panels over the course of the month. I went to one about the 1981 Bathhouse Raids and it was packed to the rafters. Very interesting stuff. I highly recommend these.
Pride Knife Throwing (June 23)
The Toronto Knife Throwing team is hosting a night for LGBTQ friends and family. $45 gets you a one-on-one coach, intro lesson, music and food. Just don't stab anyone in the back.
Muddy York Touch Game (July 2)
Toronto's (extremely attractive) gay rugby teams host an open clinic and touch-game in time for Pride! This is for anyone who's ever been curious about rugby and wants to learn the basics and play a no-contact game afterwards. Who knows, you might love it and join the team for their next season!
Nuit Rose (June 25)
A queer, contemporary art thing in two of the city's gayest 'hoods. Church-Wellesley Village and Queen West both get indoor and outdoor art happenings, including a light parade on Ossington, and a DJ set from Bruce LaBruce. This one is best if you're looking for an adventure of discovery out in the city... it will take some digging, but you'll find things as it runs from 7 p.m. - late.
Circus So Gay (June 25 - 26)
Church Street closes down for a colourful street festival with roaming circus performances, DJs, Drag Queens and many, many, many gorgeous/topless people.
Church Street Comedy Pride Edition (June 26)
The Church Street Comedy series at Pegasus Bar on Church Street gets a Pride upgrade with a massive lineup of LGBT comedians starting at 8 p.m. It's pay what you can.
AIDS Candlelight Vigil (June 28)
This event takes place in Barbara Hall Park at the 519 on Church St. It's a beautiful ceremony created to commemorate, celebrate and remember the many amazing people we've lost to AIDS. Take a moment away from all the parties and fun-loving activities and pay tribute anytime from 9-11 p.m. in the park.
Naked Boys Reading (June 28)
Accurately described as "a titillating queer literary salon featuring sexy, unclothed literary buffs reading, in the buff, to you." Now in its third year, the readings start on the third floor of Glad Day Bookshop at 8 p.m.
Starry Night (June 30)
A night under the stars to help kick off the Greenspace Festival at the 519, this is the event to see everyone before the parties really kick off. Rupaul's Drag Race fan fave Kim Chi will be there along with Fay Slift, Sonfonda Cox, Brooke Lynn Hytes, Tynomi Banks, Donnarama, and a small army of other wonderfully talented local queens. This is a night to mix and mingle and see a good show.
Street Fair (July 1 - 3)
The Gay Village gets even gayer with a weekend-long street fair of food and vendors, all surrounded by multiple stages of entertainment and DJs. Put a bouncy case on your camera, cause you'll be whipping that thing out for photos not stop. Also: sunscreen.
French Rendez-vous (July 3)
Franco Fierte celebrates Pride for Francophones in the city with a day of live music from 2 - 5 p.m. Check out the Tresor Otshudi choir and Royal Tribal Belly dancing at Church and Wellesley.
Buddies Pride (June 12 - July 3)
The Pride programming at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre every year is always super impressive. This year doesn't disappoint. Annual shows like Bitch Salad, Butch Femme Salon, Bizarre Ball are essential, but so are new things like Raid: Operation Soap , Rough, and the Bi Visibility Cabaret.
Black Boys: A night of spiritual Pride (June 18)
Artists and community join forces to celebrate black queerness during Pride. Hosted by Saga Collectif Virgilia Griffith, Stephen Jackman-Torkoff, Tawiah Ben MCarthy, Thomas Olajide, and Jonathan Seinen, it's a night of performance, art, music and a preview of the Black Boys show.
Rufus Does Judy (June 23)
Part of the Luminato Festival, Rufus takes on Judy Garland's legendary 1961 concert from start to finish, inside The Hearn. It doesn't get gayer than this, and there will most definitely be special guests.
An Evening with George Takei (June 26)
Take a comfy seat the Ryerson Theatre and listen to Star Trek's own George Takei talk about his life. If you follow him on Twitter you know how brilliant and smart and quick he is, this should be a hilarious and insightful evening. Bonus: there's a Q&A afterwards!
Viva Cabaret (June 30)
A one-man show of Diva impersonations at The Rivoli. This show constantly sells out, so beware. Yury Ruzhyev takes on 25 divas during the show, which turns into a dance party afterwards.
Fruit Loopz (July 2)
Queer and Trans youth take over this stage at the Ryerson Quad for a day of art, words and ideas. Spoken word artists, poetry, music and dance will all happen.
Drag On! (July 2)
Yonge-Dundas Square hosts this drag queen extravaganza starting at 2 p.m. This year the show attemps to set a Guinness Book of World Records title for Largest Drag Stage Performance. It's hosted by Lady Bunny and Bianca De Rio and features over 50 local queens as well as Rupaul's Drag Race Britney bitch, Derrick Barry.
Showtunes Karaoke (June 15)
The Second City, Acting Up Stage Company and Theatre 20 hosts a night of showtunes, karaoke style. From Kinky Boots to Rent to Kander and Ebb and Les Miserables, this is your chance to shine and belt it out for some forgiving strangers at a comedy club.
Yalla Bara (July 2 - 3)
A celebration of Middle Eastern culture during Pride, this night of music and performance is headlined by Beirut's Mashrou' Leila. There'll also be DJs Louay and Sylosurf and Arabesque Dance Company, Troupe Joy. Set over two days, there's a lot more to watch and move to.
Trans March (July 1)
The rally starts at 7 p.m. and the March stars at 8 p.m. So get to the corner of Church and Hayden streets and get ready for a powerful moment in the streets. This is one of the largest trans events in Canada.
Dyke March (July 2)
The annual march starts at 2 p.m. at Church and Bloor streets. This Dyke March is less of a parade and more of a political demonstration of critical mass, celebrating the passion and power of LGBTTIQQ2SA women and trans people.
Pride Parade (July 3)
Starting at 2 p.m. at Yonge and Church streets, this is the big one. Our Prime Minister will march in the parade for the first time in Canadian history, which will be lead by The Prancing Elites, Black Lives Matter and trans superstar athlete Aydian Dowling, among many other very cool people.
Did I miss anything? Let us know in the comments.
Photo by Mauricio Calero.
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