Music-loving, butt-kicking visionary Richard O'Brien wasn't always an easy man to love, but it was impossible not to respect him.
O'Brien's and long-time business partner Patti Habib's Bamboo Club was an essential part of the magic born on the dark and greasy streets between University and Bathurst in the early 80s. The 'Boo's tropical vibe brought technicolour to the black leather and denim of Queen cool. And it wasn't just the fantastic Bamboo restaurant that featured pan-global thinking. The diversity on the stage and in the audience at the club created a cross-cultural convergence light years from random stabbings and metal detectors at the door.
Before the Bamboo, O'Brien and Habib ran one the city's greatest-ever speakeasies, the legendary MBC, a dream after-hours club in what is now Liberty Village. Despite a debilitating stroke in the 90s, O'Brien tried - and failed - to rekindle the Bamboo magic with a club by the lake in 2003.
Passionate and opinionated to the end, O'Brien's latest, very worthwhile cause was to create a more beautiful and distinctive entrance to the island ferry docks, the link from the city to his beloved Wards Island home.
O'Brien died Sunday, October 14, from neurological complications, but the creative light he shone will never be extinguished.