Launch party for Toronto Queer Arts Festival on DuWest Thursday Aug 7, 2014

A new renaissance is taking place in old Brockton Village a romantic peaceful neighborhood, known as Little Portugal (Runs along Dundas West between Lansdowne Ave and Ossington Avenue) as it becomes a vibrant alternative romantic community,  with recently developed mix of galleries, caf├ęs, restaurants and boutiques to serve an increasingly visible queer clientele. Where there’s no Dollarama’s or Starbucks.

Toronto Queer Arts Festival loves being part of scene at various festival venues along Dundas W., since 2009. One thing we can say for sure; Lesbians and the trans community love Queer West Arts Festival. Yet we hold no dyke March. They show up in droves to our concerts, launch and closing parties. More Lesbians live in the queer west end of the city,  than anywhere else in Toronto.

Out of this scene has sprung a vibrant queer culture with a younger mixed crowd seeking something different, a group not hung up on their, or anyone else’s, sexuality. The area has adapted to the rising queer presence area is now affectionately known as Queer West Village or just Queer West to some locals.

Toronto is already one of the queerest cities in the universe. And, while long known for having one of the biggest and most successful Pride celebrations in the world, a new smaller grassroots community festival aims to showcase an alternative side to queer culture in the city. Toronto Queer Arts Festival (Queer West Fest) takes place this year from Thursday August 7 to Sunday August 10th. Queer West Fest showcases the best of west end queer culture by taking over various establishments, some queer operated and the others queer positive. One annual event is held in the Church St gay village, namely the Queer West International Film Festival on Saturday August 10.

The Arts Festival is a little smaller this year, lasting only four days instead of the usual ten. Organizers found it harder to find quality volunteers due to many festivals during the summer.; Five hree were selected and happily became event managers for film festival, the music concert and a poetry cabaret night. Their Responses; “Wow, this sounds like a fantastic opportunity” and “Thank you sooooo much, .and life just got the best for me!!!!! Of course I can handle this!”

With little funding, a small team of dedicated volunteers  Queer West  manages to miraculously produce a moderately successful festival year after year and no debts.  Queer West Fest has always stayed true to its community roots. Its continuing success is due to the incredible efforts of so many passionate volunteers, though we also can’t overlook the invaluable contributions from our loyal sponsors.

What’s new and exciting for August 2014?

Thursday August 7 -  Launch Party   as part of the Toronto Queer Arts Festival.  9 pm to Close. Free. 1602 (Bar with No Name) Dundas St. W.,
Friday August 8 – Alterna Queer Music Concert
  (5 bands) as part of the Toronto Queer Arts Festival. 8 pm to 1 AM.  Free. The Sister, 
1554 Queen Street West. More Info

Saturday August 9 -  Queer West Film Festival
  6-10 pm. $5/pwyc. Buddies In Bad Times, 12 Alexander, 416-879-7954,
More Info

Sunday August 10  -  Smash Words (Poetry & Cabaret)  as part of the Toronto Queer Arts Festival. 7pm-10 pm. $5/pwyc. The Press Club, 850 Dundas St. W., 416-879-7954, More Info

The Festival has been in planning and production stage since January 2014. Queer West Fest as it is affectionately called, is a sober version of Pride. The evening gives us a chance to relax and celebrate our hard work and the start of our 4 day festival.

We had hoped to book a well known Toronto DJ, we didn’t get him because he only plays to crowds of 50,000 or more. That isn’t us. We have two kickass DJs for  tonight, we know you’ll enjoy.

Tonight’s Entertainment @  1602 Dundas W., Toronto ON

1602 Dundas West at Brock Avenue. bar doesn’t have a name. It changes everyday promoting that evening’s event.. Weird, but that’s cool. Step inside, and its a sweet little spot. Everyone inside is cool, no pretentiousness or anything.
People are definitely down to have a good time, and there is ZERO pretension.  Jeans, ball caps, high heels, and sneakers.  Anything goes.  The crowd varies in age, and all seems to be pretty nice.

We have found that people wander along Dundas West looking for interesting people to meet, good music and bar hopping between the HenHouse 12 doors to East at 1532 Dundas St W or the Garrison, 1197 Dundas St W,. One and all welcome to attend. You won’t go home sober. Just don’t drink and drive. 1602  on Yelp

From 9 pm to 11 pm DJ Nik Red

DJ NIK Redman as he is sometimes known in  Toronto music circles; is an outstanding artist, activist, and community worker who was born in Montreal, Canada, and grew up in both Barbados and Canada.  Nick is in a relationship with Marcus Ware, a Toronto trans rights activist 

He is a member of the GBQ Trans Men’s Working Group, the Ontario Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance, Toronto’s Prisoners Justice Action Committee, the Trans Fathers 2B Parenting Course Project Team, and the MaBwana Community Advisory Committee, which is a Black/African/Caribbean MSM research project. Redman is also one of four online facilitators for the province-wide HIV/AIDS-themed Stop Stigma campaign.

Nik currently works as a Grievance Officer with University of Toronto’s Local 1998 United Steelworkers Union. In addition, he does Anti-Harassment and Human Rights Training for the Union. Nik has also participated on a number of Boards and advisory committees including the LGBT Youth Line, Blockorama, and the Inside Out programming committee. He host a radio show every Thursday evening on Regent Radio from 5:30pm to 7:30PM (Afrotransit)

Nik loves all different genres of music.  “I like to try to play connect the dots in musical interludes and influences as queer child of the great and wide African Diaspora.” He Said  Influences he likes; Nina Simone , Fela Kuti, Otis Redding, Billie Holiday, Bebel Gilberto, and M.I.A

Nik has zest for life and a uncanny knack for stepping in muddy puddes! Follow him on Twitter;


Our 2nd DJ for the evening from 11pm to 2am is Steve Austin.

DJ Steve Austin hails from Guelph Ontario and now lives in Toronto. Steve attended Sheridan College (Oakville)  and later finish up at Etobicoke School of the Arts.

He has lifetime of experiences with various musical genres, showmanship and studio work serve as a backdrop for Steve’s relatively recent entry onto the DJ scene. His eclectic taste in music extends beyond the mainstream and infuses his mixes with soaring vocals, subtle beats and complex harmonies. His friendly manner encourages the audience to help shape their experience.

Steve combines the professionalism honed while in the studio working with the like of local producers Adam K and Soha with an unbridled enthusiasm for his art.  Steve first began developing his style in 2009 as one of the regular weekend DJs at REMINGTON’S - Men of Steel on Yonge St.

 In November 2009, his talents were showcased during Mr. Leatherman Toronto’s KLUB night at the former Barn/Stables night club on Church St in Toronto’s traditional gay village. Steve’s sets are best classified as Progressive Deep House Electro, but he continuously pushes the boundaries through the use of lesser known remixed and unexpected track combinations. This serves to engage his audience and make them willing and enthusiastic participants on the musical journey.  Steve on Soundcloud.

Venue Location

1602 Dundas St W. (North side) ( a few doors east of Brock Avenue. open 8 PM to 2 AM No Cover (Instead We will be passing the hat, please give generously to tip our DJs, who are waving their $100 hr fee for this event) Brockton Village, Toronto Ontario Arts Festival Hotline: 416-879-7954

(Public transit: westbound 505 Dundas streetcar from St. Patrick or Dundas station, 63 Ossington bus south from Ossington subway, or 29 Dufferin bus south from Dufferin subway)