Barry Harris with Pepper Mashay and Lydia Prim at the Backstage After-Party for Fashion Cares at Metro Toronto Convention Centre South (222 Bremner), Saturday, (June 9), midnight to 5:30 am. $40-$50. 416-870-8000 Rating: NNNNN
Barry Harris with Pepper Mashay and Lydia Prim at the Backstage After-Party for Fashion Cares at Metro Toronto Convention Centre South (222 Bremner), Saturday, (June 9), midnight to 5:30 am. $40-$50. 416-870-8000.
When Barry Harris left Toronto in 1998, he didn't know he'd achieve such success, especially after feeling stumped in Hogtown's gay club circuit.
"Throughout the 90s there wasn't really much happening in Toronto, and I was creatively sucked dry. Although moving to L.A. didn't turn out like I originally planned, it turned out much better than T.O."
Not only is he spinning at the Fashion Cares after-party this Saturday, but he's also riding the success of Dive In The Pool, the hot anthem of American gay comedy series Queer As Folk.
And just like Dive, Harris's set will be full of bass-thumping tribal beats and soulful vocals that make you want to raise your hands and dance.
"I guess the Queer As Folk producers knew of the track in the early stages, before it exploded," he says from his L.A. base. "For me, licensing the track was more of a business decision than a creative one."
A successful DJ who also touts himself as a songwriter and producer, he moves easily between Los Angeles and New York to gig and produce.
His stop in Toronto is a proud homecoming for the Barrie-born Harris. It's his first time playing the AIDS benefit, which he hasn't attended before. "I've always known of it," he says, "and I'm very proud to be able to finally contribute to it, because I've been around forever as well."
It was an invitation he couldn't refuse, especially since he's soon releasing a track called I Got My Pride, which he'll drop that evening.
The soulful Pepper Mashay will provide real live vocals for his set. Harris doesn't usually spin with her, and is excited about seeing her perform for the first time on his own new track.
"I'll enjoy watching her perform to I Got My Pride, and it'll be nice to say that I saw her do that in Toronto at Fashion Cares.
"I think the song fits in quite nicely. Putting the fashion aside, to cap off the party's vibe is a really good feeling, especially since I know what it means to help the AIDS situation."
Now in its 15th year, Fashion Cares and its sponsors have donated over $29 million to AIDS research and care for the sick in countries around the world. To June 30, 2000, over 17,ooo Canadians were diagnosed with AIDS, 197 of them children under 15. A total of 11,824 reported AIDS-related deaths have occurred here.
Money raised at the Backstage Party goes to the AIDS Committee of Toronto.