2011 NA Outgames Adds To Closing Ceremony Line-up

The GLISA North America Outgames Vancouver 2011 Closing Party is a daylong festival of LGBTQ culture with non-stop entertainment throughout the day including concerts, DJ’s, drag shows, dance performances, medal presentations, a beer garden, the Breakfast of Champions and the Closing Ceremonies of the Vancouver 2011 Outgames. Today is the final day to purchase special early bird priced tickets to the party

The Vancouver 2011 Outgames has added more artists to the previously announced Closing Party line-up of Ace Of Base, Dragonette and Carole Pope.
Joining the party is a wide range of local talent including;
Kim Kuzma, Alice Ai, Matthew Presidente, Outgames theme song artists Sugarbeach will all perform alongside local drag divas Connie Smudge and Iona Whip.

Come OUT and Play -The Closing Party is sure to be a vibrant spectacle at Plaza of Nations. Gates open at 11 am. Special Early Bird ticket pricing sale ends today Thursday June 30 at www.ticketcard.ca

Put your best foot forward at Bata Shoe Museum

The Bata Shoe Museum in downtown Toronto is a unique museum dedicated to collecting, preserving, archiving and displaying footwear from around the world.

19th Century Chestnut Crushing Clogs

One permenant display recounts the history of footwear from ancient times and cultures to our modern eras of function and fashion.  Three other revolving exhibits delve deeper into eras or specific styles.  Presently the Museum is featuring: “The Roaring Twenties; Heels Hemlines & High Spirits”, “Art in Shoes – Shoes in Art” and “Beauty, Identity, Pride; Native American

Shoes In Art: "A Deux' by Paul Wunderlich, 1973

 Footwear” . Also in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the Canadian Juno Awards a special collection is on now featuring footwear worn by Juno Award winning artists over the past four decades.

Juno Soul: 40 Years of The Juno Awards - Avril Lavigne signed sneakers

The foundation of the museum was built on the vast shoe collection of Sonja Bata. Begun in the 1940’s, as she travelled the globe with husband Thomas J Bata of Bata Shoe Company , as her collection outgrew the corporate headquarters a purpose built site was required and in 1995 the expanded work-of-art building was opened to the public. The larger site was designed by Canadian architect Raymond Moriyama to evoke the opening of a shoe box. 

The next time you’re in Toronto, put your best foot forward and open up the box yourself.

The Bata Shoe Museum is located at:
327 Bloor Street West
Toronto, ON M5S 1W7
Phone: (416) 979-7799
Hours: Mon-Wed,Fri-Sat 10am-5pm; Thu 10am-8pm; Sun 12pm-5pm

Wildlife – NXNE 2011

Wildlife – Horseshoe Tavern – NXNE 2011

Surprises are one of the best parts of NXNE Fest and this was indeed a total unexpectedly enjoyable set from a band we knew nothing about. Many people had heard a rumour that The Black Keys were going to be surprise guests in the 3am slot.  This was indeed just a rumour but perhaps to the benefit of local Toronto act, Wildlife, the audience was larger than it might have been.
We were pleasantly surprised by this five piece; with a sound slightly reminiscent of Mumford & Son.  A great stage presence and rapport demonstrates their seemingly hard work and regular touring,  as they kept the balance between songs of chatting with each other and the audience. The tunes were pleasantly fun pop/rock and to display their musical abilities many of the bandmates switched instruments throughout the 40minute set. Even though the stage was clearly baking hot, the sweaty energy from the band transferred to a boisterous audience who clammoured for more even as the set wrapped up.

The Pack A.D. – NXNE 2011

The Pack A.D. – Horseshoe Tavern – NXNE 2011

Two women – big sound & big presence, is probably the easiest way to describe The Pack A.D., but they are so much more than that.  Singer/guitarist Becky Black and drummer Maya Miller squeeze every bit of energy and sound from their instuments as their garage/rock tunes explode on stage.   Witty and self-depricating banter between the bandmates really seems to bond the band and the audience.  Being a hard working touring band seems to have paid off as their stage presence and confidence seems to have greatly improved since we last saw them a year ago. The audience seems to have improved and grown as well, as a nearly full house was moshing, fist-pumping and cheering band on throughout their set.  With a new album coming in the fall of 2011 we can expect to see more from The Pack A.D. soon.

Top 10 Hits & Misses of my NXNE

North By NorthEast Festival wrapped up earlier this week.
My friends and I tried to get to a lot of the events but as with any multi-venue festival it’s nearly impossible to see it all.
From the parties, bands and sessions we made it to, here’s my hits and misses.

Hit: Nineties nostalgia with Evan Dando & Julianna Hatfield at Lee’s Palace
Miss: Asian Pseudo-Elvis Impression from Dirty Beaches, it just seemed pretentious, indulgent nonsense.
Hit: Interactive; we didn’t make it to that many but I was impressed by the scope and content of the sessions
Miss: XM Satellite Party at Skybar – why did so many people call this a BBQ when there was no food? Not that we needed food but having just one type of drink; beer at $4.50/can, was a bit of a miss too!
Hit: XM Satellite Party at Skybar – although the party portion was a miss the music was a hit; featuring Hollerado, Zeus, Dinosaur Bones, and Washington!
Miss: Deerhoof; Special Guests at Horseshoe Tavern, even though this was a surprise performance, which are usually highly anticipated, very few people hung around. Watching Deerhoof is like seeing two bands competing, a lead singer performing energetic Japa-Pop and the rest of the band putting on a punk-pop show.
Hit: The Pack A.D. ; Chick-rock at it’s best, in the year since seeing them at NXNE ’10 they’ve honed their stage presence and performance into a winning combination of personality and great music.
Miss: Taxis & Traffic; not really directly related to NXNE but atrocious traffic and expensive taxis heavily influence the overall experience.
Hit: Cults; not knowing anything about this band resulted in a very pleasant surprise.
Hit: Wildlife; an unexpecte, unplanned stop at Horseshoe Tavern resulted in hearing this great local band.
Hit: Yonge-Dundas Square: A great FREE line-up of bands each night bring this public space to life and introduces NXNE to a huge audience.

As you can see there was more hits than misses, I could go on with more too. If you get a chance to participate in NXNE in the future, you should check it out.

Cults – NXNE 2011

Cults – Lee’s Palace – NXNE 2011

Sometimes an unknown buzz band lives up to, some fail and others exceed expectations. New York based indie-pop group Cults definitely fall into the latter category.
During NXNE we heard some friends commenting that Cults should be seen, so we thought we’d check them out at their Lee’s Palace set.
We were thoroughly impressed by what we saw and heard.
Lead singer Madeline Follin has an outstanding voice, able to belt out a number or softly lull the audience to hang on every note.  Backed by bandmate Brian Oblivion and a three piece touring band the whole package won over the audience during their all too brief 40 minute set. I look forward to seeing more from this group

Dum Dum Girls – NXNE 2011

Dum Dum Girls – Lee’s Palace – NXNE 2011

Cute girls, sexy outfits, great punk/pop tunes, add all of these ingredients together and you come up with the super fun, super talents act; Dum Dum Girls.
Dee Dee, Jules, Bambi and Sandy play in a style remeniscent of early Goo Goos and Bangles combined with hints of Veruca Salt and Hole.
Sandy especially puts on a tour de force banging her drum kick with a vengence for each track. 
Their set at Lee’s Palace during NXNE ’11 was the second time I’d seen the band and have noticed a growth in their stage presence since last summer.  At that time there was barely any audience recognition or any connection other than banging out tunes. While they still seem a bit like the girls in a Robert Palmer video, this time Dee Dee attempted to engage the audience a bit more with some chit chat…it still seems that she’s a bit nervous speaking and would rather be singing.  As long as she keeps singing and playing like this, I’m happy to let her stay down.