Pride Toronto’s 30th anniversary festival features local heroes, international stars, literary lights, interactive arts and everything that is diverse, inclusive, queer and progressive on 9 stages spread over 35 blocks in downtown Toronto.
“Pride-goers can see Cyndi Lauper on the new Queen’s Park stage as part of the expanded Dyke Day program along with local favourites The Cliks, Saidah Baba Talibah, Dragonette, Betti Forde and more” says Mary Zondanos, Arts and Entertainment Manager at Pride Toronto.
Alternaqueer expands its program across the weekend with Lovers Love Haters (Debora Cohen from The Organ’s newest project), MEN, Misstress Barbara LIVE w/ Girls On A Ducati, Ryan G. Hinds, Josie Cotton, Woodhands, Diamond Rings, Private Life (Katie Stelmanis), Copenhagen’s Fagget Fairys and many more.
Divas reign supreme this year with Zelma Davis (from C+C Music Factory), Lolene, one the UK’s hottest exports, local darling Nancy Rancourt, resident Pride diva Simone Denny, Amanda Morra and R&B sensations Ivana Santilli and Jully Black.
Pride Week 2010 also features the TransVerse program, celebrating the Trans community with America’s Best Dance Crew Vogue Evolution, a commissioned dance piece by local superstar Scott Fordham (‘Full of GLEE’), Buck Angel, S. Bear Bergman, Alec Butler, Girlyman – who recently collaborated with Margaret Cho on her upcoming album, San Francisco hip hop notable Katastrophe and more including the official after party done in partnership with Pride Toronto’s South Asian program, FunkAsia!
Dance takes on many forms with Project Dance back for Round Two, along with Colour Me Dragg, Queer Idol’s tribute to Pride Toronto’s 30 year history, House of Monroe, FunkAsia’s amazing dancers, and – another first – the Pride Toronto Flashmob.
In 2010 for the first time, Pride Toronto introduces ‘Werq!’ a circuit music program which spans the whole weekend, taking over Wellesley stage.
“It all kicks off with Aqua Pride, a co-presentation between Pride Toronto and Prism Festival,” says Zondanos. “Prism is one of North America’s largest circuit festivals and we are proud to working with them again.” (PLEASE NOTE – KELIS IS NO LONGER PERFORMING, SHE IS IN EUROPE PROMOTING HER ALBUM.)
The Werq! Stage features Ana Paula, Isaac Escalante, David Morales, Australian dream Kitty Glitter, Honey Dijon, Cajjmere Wray, Mike Viera, Pierre Fitch and others.
The Blockorama stage returns for the 12th year with a solid line up of resident favourites and new discoveries in George Hislop parkette, including DJ Memphis Sugar, Nik Red, Ayo Leilani, Craig Dominic, Abstract Random, Troy Jackson, Michelle Ross, Ill Nana, Unruly Twin, DJ Bugo and Jojo Flores.
Those hot for electronic music can join JELO, Robb G, The House Moguls, Sydney Blu, Hector Fonseca, Dwayne Minard, MC Flipside, DJ Blackcat, Adam K & Soha, Panic Bomber, Deko-ze, Don Berns AKA Dr. Trance, Neill Macleod, DJ Ritu (BBC radio), Brandon Sek, Chiclet, and the Yes Yes Y’all crew.
“Pride Toronto’s Village stage includes a stellar line up of Drag Queens, Kings and Burlesque,” Zondanos says, “featuring the Degenderit Cabaret, Zippers Angels, Carlotta Carlisle, GIA, Michel Doiron, Divinesque, Eddie Barnett, Michelle Ross, Ivory, Daytona Bitch, Divine, Genderfuct, Miss Conception, Sofonda Cox, Laura Landauer, Dirk and Flare.
For the younger set, Fruit Loopz produced by Supporting our Youth includes two stages with youth artists in sunny Alexander Parkette, complete with Toronto’s most talented young musicians, slam poets, dancers, actors and drag artists.
The Community Café, Pride Toronto’s community space in which performers donate their performance to the festival in celebration of the community includes the Asian Community AIDS Services, Canadian Tamil Congress, NIA, Bold Steps Dance Studio, Queer Dance Community, Hula Sun Village Dance Troupe, Sapphire Dance Productions and 88 Days of Fortune.
The Pride Lounge, the festival’s singer/songwriter space, will feature performances from Michael Caplan, Meridith Shaw, Melissa Li (from Good Asian Drivers), Michelle Mondesir, Shawnee Lynne, eMKeh, Jaceyln Holmes, Rachel Newman, VIVIV and more.
Literary program Proud Voices is back again with curator Susan G. Cole (Senior Entertainment and Books Editor at NOW Magazine) hosting an incredible and inspiring program with the Aqsa Collective, Truth Is…, Beth Ann Fisher, Christina Starr, Jess Dobkin, Rose Cullis, Krystle Mullin, Lex Vaughn, Mariko Tamaki, Jon Redfern, Shaun Proulx, Emma Donoghue, Pink Ink and Vivek Shraya.
Plot, Engage, Disperse, Pride Toronto’s interactive art program, returns again with students from the Toronto Alternative Arts school, youth from Sketch, life size twister, the “What Does Pride Mean to You” photo project from Pride Toronto’s Youth Committee, live graffiti, sketching and many other ways people can interact with the festival!
Pride Toronto’s new Spotlight Series showcases some of the individuals and organizations who contribute year round to the vibrancy of our cultural community. Carlyle Jansen presents ‘Crave’ a women’s erotic cabaret at the Phoenix, the women behind the ‘club skirts’ Dinah Shore present ‘Jet Setter’ at 99 Sudbury, and Matt Sims presents a special Pride edition of ‘HEY REBEL!’, one of Toronto’s best monthly all ages events at one of Toronto’s best venues, The Great Hall.
In addition, Zahra Dhanani of Funkasia, Nik Red and Shafik Kamani present the official Transverse afterparty at the Phoenix Concert Theatre; Denise Benson and Cozmic Cat present ‘CHERRY BOMB: PRIDE: A DEEPER LOVE’ at Revival; Big Primpin‘ does a special edition at Wrongbar; Alan Kliffer presents ‘Gay for Comedy’ at the Panasonic Theatre and the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives present a remount of their National Portrait Collection.
“And that’s definitely not all,” says Zondanos. “There are many other performers we will be hosting at Pride this year, so stay tuned!”
For a full schedule of events, including dates, times and locations, keep checking http://www.pridetoronto.com.
About Pride Toronto:
Pride Toronto is the not-for-profit organization that hosts Pride Week, an annual festival held this year between June 25 and July 4. Pride Toronto exists to celebrate the history, courage, diversity and future of Toronto’s LGBTTIQQ2SA* communities and is one of the leading cultural events of its kind in the world with a total economic benefit in 2009 of $136 million.
Toronto’s Pride Week has been named Best Festival in Canada by the Canadian Special Events Industry in 2004, 2005 and 2009, and is recognized as one of only eight Signature Events in the City of Toronto. It is ranked one of the TOP 50 festivals in Ontario by Festivals and Events Ontario (FEO) as well as one of the 18 Marquee Festivals of Distinction in Canada. With attendance of over 1,2 million, it is the third largest Pride celebration in the world and the largest in North America. http://www.pridetoronto.com *Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, 2-Spirited and Allies