Nine cant-miss artists playing Toronto Pride 2018

Who knew a bald queen would be responsible for one of the most legendary wig reveals in the history of.


Who knew a bald queen would be responsible for one of the most legendary wig reveals in the history of RuPauls Drag Race? The Brooklyn performer (and former NOW cover star) has an affinity for the brainy and avant-garde and has used her platform to nudge drag in more adventurous directions. She returns to the Green Space Festival as part of Disco Disco, the 519-run events best party.

At Barbara Hall Park (519 Church) as part of Green Space Festival: Disco Disco, Thursday (June 21), 5 pm-midnight. Free. Donations welcome. greenspaceto.org/discodisco.

For more than five years, Chris Cruses warehouse party Spotlight has been the best place in Los Angeles to find underground queer house, techno and disco anthems past and present united on a dark and sweaty dance floor. And we dont toss the word underground lightly: Cruse doesnt promo the party on social media, only through word of mouth. Hes coming to town to DJ another L.A. queer partys annual pilgrimage north for Pride.

At the Drake Hotel (1150 Queen West) as part of A Club Called Rhonda, Thursday (June 21), doors 9 pm. $19.21. ticketweb.ca.

One of east-coast ballroom scenes most prominent names, Ranika JZ Prodigy will MC four Amazon rainforest-themed categories at the Pride edition of Toronto ball-scene MC Twysted Miyake-Muglers Chopped party. The Philly commentator/producers rapid-fire chants are among the most ferocious and iconic in modern ballroom, guaranteeing this competition will be something special.

At Striker (31 St. Joseph) as part of Chopped XTRA on Friday (June 22), doors 10 pm. $15 at the door.

Last year, the Great Halls downstairs area turned into a sweaty mess at Fit Primpin (the amalgamation of parties Fit and Big Primpin), and this year Brooklyn-based Kim Ann Foxman will be heightening the action with moody, jackin and most likely un-Shazamable house and techno. After breaking out as a vocalist in Hercules and Love Affair, Foxman moved into production/DJing with sets and original tracks that heavily evoke classic sounds from across the U.S. East Coast, especially acid house.

At Great Hall (1087 Queen West) as part of Fit Primpin, Friday (June 22), doors 9 pm. $25-$30. eventbrite.ca.

One of the most exciting bookings at Pride is the Bolivian-American producer Elysia Crampton, whose rhythmic inspiration draws upon Aymaran culture and its history of championing trans identity, as well as pop culture and anime influences. On her recently released self-titled EP, that translates into ever-shifting and enveloping soundscapes brimming with colour and life.

At Village Stage (Church & Wellesley) as part of Catalyst, Friday (June 22), 7-11 pm. Free. pridetoronto.com.

Self-styled as the Black Marge Simpson, Chattanooga, Tennessee-based MC BbyMutha had rap fans buzzing (and trolls sniping) with last years pull-no-punches single Rules and its campy video. Shes since branched out from laid-back southern beats, collaborating with queer club scene producers on both coasts. In addition to releasing three solo EPs this year, shes the featured artist on the first single off San Francisco label Molly Houses debut comp and has teamed with NYC vogue scene producers Joey Labeija and LSDXOXO.

At Wellesley Stage (15 Wellesley East) as part of Sweat: Yes Yes YAll Block Party, Friday (June 22), 7 pm-2am. Free. pridetoronto.com.

Its a big year for R&B at Pride, with one of the genres brightest new stars, Kehlani, kicking off the weekend. Not unlike the Oakland singer/songwriter, local newcomers TRP.P aka producer Truss and vocalist Phoenix Pagliacci of the Sorority similarly harken back to the 90s golden era by combining silky, harmony-laden R&B runs with classic finger-snapping grooves and exuberant pop rhythms.

At Yonge-Dundas Square (1 Dundas East) as part of Opening Night, Friday (June 22), 5-11 pm. Free. pridetoronto.com.

Garage-pop group Camp Girls have gigged around the west-end indie scene for a few years and released the four-song EP Its Whatever last May. Becca Howes, Melanie Sarazin, Autumn Easterbrook and Madeline Links assured songs infuse big hooks and melodies with a sharp-sweet dynamic that veers into daydreamy territory. Should be an ideal soundtrack for a summery Pride afternoon in the park.

At Alexander Street Parkette (16 Alexander) as part of Transfest, Sunday (June 24), 1-5 pm. Free. pridetoronto.com.

Toronto has a thriving electronic scene, but live disco acts are hard to come by. It can be a difficult genre to nail onstage, which makes Kamilah Apong, Jamie Kidd, Mark Penner and James Harriss band all the more exciting. The groups live energy is really starting to translate into their recordings like on their track To Darnelladon (And Beyond), on local imprint Do Rights 15.2 comp.

At Yonge-Dundas Square (1 Dundas East) as part of Final Play featuring Brandy, Sunday (June 24), 2-11 pm. Free. pridetoronto.com.

For more Toronto Pride recommendations, check out our list of 10 essential Pride 2018 events here.

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