VAZALEEN with WILL MUNRO and MISS BARBRAFISCH at Lee's Palace (529 Bloor West), Friday (January 27). 416-532-1598. Rating: NNNNN
After six years of queer rock parties, Will Munro's infamous Vazaleen is gearing up for its grand finale, having fulfilled its mandate to expand where and how cool queer folk party.
In the lead-up to Vazaleen's final night, Munro has been amazed at the response from devotees, and feels some interviewers miss the point when they ask about his favourite performances.
"For me, my memories of Vazaleen are less about who played there and more about the community that developed around it, and the kind of things that it allowed to happen. I remember when we had a cocksucking contest, but since no one wanted to try to get hard onstage it ended up being a bunch of dykes with dildos being sucked off by fags, which is not something you'll see too many other places.
"Toronto is so inhibited, but there is an uninhibited side that's hidden, and Vazaleen gave that an opportunity to come out.
"People who haven't gone to Vazaleen many times usually comment on 'the naked guy', but I like 'the naked guy,' and what they don't realize is that there are probably about 20 'naked guys' who basically end up rotating."
It's now common to see gay nights far beyond the Church Street ghetto, far more common to see dykes partying together with fags (and straights), and no longer is circuit house the only soundtrack. Vazaleen led the charge and established a successful precedent, which continues to be built upon, so it isn't as necessary as it was when it began.
"I've done it for six years every month, and it's a lot of work to put together. It's also run its course, and I don't want to run it into the ground. I'd rather end on a high note."
Munro will still be doing his other smaller-scale monthlies, the no-wave-themed No T.O. and the sleazy amateur strip party Moustache, but will now devote the rest of his energy to some new ventures and a shift away from the party promoter life.
"I also wanted to be able to do more stuff outside the city, but as it turns out, I've ended up digging my roots in even further. I'd been toying with the idea of opening a bar, and that looks like it will be happening now."
So at least some of the rumours are true, although it's not going to be a big club as some were speculating. Over the next few months, he's taking over the Beaver Café and will be transforming it from a restaurant to more of a bar, building a stage in the back for live performances and small intimate parties.