Summer 2003 Cancer Fundraiser with Dale Arsenault , Dino & Terry , Felix & Gani , Dave Cooper , Corrado and Mike K at Una Mas (422 Adelaide), Friday (August 1). $5, with proceeds going to Canadian Cancer Society. www.unamas.net Rating: NNNNN
House music and charity aren't words that often come up in the same sentence, but a house music fundraiser isn't such a bad idea. Disgruntled partiers are fond of complaining about the perceived greed of promoters and DJs, so the upcoming Summer 2003 Cancer Fundraiser seems like great way to clear up that unfortunate generalization while supporting a worthy cause. "The odds are one in four that you'll get cancer," explains DJ Dale Arsenault, "so everyone will be affected by it at some point.
"I got cancer over the winter, and luckily I'm doing OK right now. I have one more checkup to go. My mom passed away from cancer last March. If it weren't for the music, I probably would have gone downhill quick."
Arsenault and two promoter friends, Jen and Alex, along with Mike K of Blueprint, decided to mount a fundraiser party as a way of dealing with how the disease has affected their lives. All the DJs have donated their services, and another group are discussing the next instalment.
Arsenault is a relative newcomer, having only played in clubs for the past two years. But despite his rookie status, he's already scored a number of high-profile gigs, including a residency at Charlie's (in the Guvernment) with Felix and Gani.
Before he started DJing out, many in the deep house scene already knew Arsenault for his flamboyant and acrobatic dancing. Most DJs don't dance, let alone dance well enough to get attention for it, so everyone was curious to hear what he'd spin.
"House music took my heart, from tribal to deep to garage to Latin - the whole spectrum. I live and breathe it now. There's no turning back for me. I wake up, I put on some house. Sometimes when I go out, if the DJ doesn't do it for me I'll go home and put on some records. I need it every day."
He recently hooked up with the women of Flirt Entertainment (not to be confused with Flirt Canada). Also newcomers to the business, Flirt Entertainment's made a big splash in a short time by helping Montreal's jojoflores make his Toronto events a success. The deep house scene needs the enthusiasm of people like Arsenault and Flirt if it's going to recapture its past glory.
These days, you can catch Arsenault spinning Sunday nights at Li'ly and Tuesday nights at Alto Basso, and he'll soon be starting a new Friday-night residency at 471 Richmond. Those Sunday sessions have been slowly building steam over the past few months, helping Arsenault build confidence, since Li'ly is often full of much more experienced DJs chilling out on their night off.