There's Toronto warehouse parties and then there's this
Toronto's favourite queer hiphop dance party and some of the city best best party planners turned the Hearn Generating Station into the place to be late Friday night. Dudebox and Yes Yes Y'all teamed up for a special party as part of Luminato programming this year. The collaborative effort between the two groups raised funds in support of the Regent Park School of Music and the families of the Orlando shooting victims.
I attended Yes Yes Y'all x Dudebox around midnight, an hour that felt unconscionably late for regular people but perfect for partygoers (though as soon as I walked in the door, I received an email from my mom asking for help troubleshooting her printer, which I think says a lot about her role in the rave scene).
The party was held at the music stage in the Hearn Operating Station, with the DJ booth on the stage and a giant screen on stage projecting animated videos of people dancing and occasionally, the name of the event to remind confused patrons.
There were a few colourful spotlights swirling around and a few people dancing next to the DJ booth but mostly, the party consisted of the hundreds of people surrounding the stage, listening to the booming music and getting their dance on.
Normally, I'm the type of person who wants more when it comes to events - more themes, more decor, more glitter. (The vision board for my wedding looked like a Real Housewives of Beverly Hills-inspired quincea単era.)
But in this case, the lack of anything except the screen and the lights was perfect because the focus of the party was completely on the people, the music, and the dancing.
In itself, the dancing was incredibly good. Partygoers rocked the beats dropped by featured DJs Skratch Bastid and Bambii in such an impressive way that I immediately decided to finally make it to a Beyography class (the Bob Dylanography classes I've been taking are simply no longer cutting it).
The lewks was also top-notch with a solid emphasis on shorts. A young gentleman wore a full business suits with dress shorts, like Don Draper but the warm weather version. Another gentleman wore pineapple patterned shorts and a matching embroidered shirt, like the ananas from Telefrancias, but the grown-up, high-fashion version.
The party was on full blast for most of the night, with the exception of a few minutes around 1 a.m. where the organizers had a moment of silence for the recent events in Orlando. There were also volunteers walking around with armbands marked Active Listener for any attendees who needed or wanted to talk.
Moments like these - of caring and togetherness - really underscored how the event was not just a rave in an decommissioned power plant, but an inclusive event where people can come together and get their party on while feeling a real sense of community support.
As I left the party, my feet hurt from dancing, my ribs hurt from the bone-shaking bass, and my brain hurt from trying to comprehend how people can make their bodies move in ways that somehow simultaneously evoke both Martha Graham and Michael Jackson, but I felt genuine joy at spending the evening at such a fun, supportive event.
The only thing that was missing? Someone who would willingly help me fix my mom's printer.
Photos by Hector Vasquez.
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