Church Street

June 21, 7 p.m. – 3 a.m. of June 22, 2014
Church Wellesley Village and Queen Street West

This year marked the inaugural launching of Nuit Rose, a queer contemporary art event celebrating WorldPride 2014 in Toronto. Being its first year of production, the affair understandably experienced a few hiccups. Traffic was closed off at portions of the Church Wellesley Village, though the sparsely attended happenings made one question whether this was even necessary.

A colourful presence on Church Street

I meandered through the Village hoping to find something that grabbed my attention, but after realizing this was a hollow pursuit, decided to board the free art shuttle bus to a different location. The bus ride featured a performance by the Toronto mission of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an interactive theatre piece that involved sing-alongs and a healthy serving of sexual innuendo. The performance was enjoyable at first, but the ride was long, nobody really seemed to know where we were heading, and near the end even the queer nuns seemed to grow tired.

The Abbey of the Divine Wood performing on the shuttle bus

Finally, after a couple fruitless stops, we arrived at Artscape Youngplace. The space was poorly attended as well, possibly due to the late posting of the events or the alternative NXNE shows occurring nearby.

Christos Pantieras, Say What You Mean, at Artscape Youngplace

A pink pop up gallery on Queen Street

After leaving Artscape I headed towards MOCCA, the clear highlight of the evening. The show displayed holdings from the private collection of Salah Bachir and Jacob Yerex, including artwork by Stephen Andrews, Betty Goodwin, General Idea and Keith Haring. Many of the works were presented in a manner reminiscent of the salon, bunched together in large groupings that made for an interesting display.

Visitors at MOCCA’s  Over the Rainbow: Seduction and Identity

Then I decided to head towards the Gladstone Hotel for one final stop.

Erin Finley and Heather Saunders, Riotous, at Propeller Gallery

As I walked down Queen Street I passed multiple long lines of people waiting to get in to bars and concerts, before easily walking right in to the hotel, supposedly a marquee venue of the event. The site was however, more of the same. Empty of people and empty of art, a fitting finale to a disappointing evening.

Hazel Meyer, Intestinal Anarchy (City Champs), at The Gladstone Hotel

Text and photo: Mitch Billinkoff

The crowd was flowing between the exquisite shows at MOCCA and the warm embraces of a festive summer night. Over the Rainbow: Seduction and Identity, arranged in a salon-style display, comprises artworks from the collection of Salah Bachir and Jacob Yerex. Gorgeous drawings, photographs and paintings surround the visitors that are at times bold and playful, at other times sensual and nostalgic kaleidoscope.

Visitors at Over the Rainbow: Seduction and Identity at Mocca

Visitors at Over the Rainbow: Seduction and Identity at Mocca

Visitors at  Over the Rainbow: Seduction and Identity at Mocca

Visitors at Over the Rainbow: Seduction and Identity at Mocca

The athmospere is more intimate in Par Amour/Paramour exhibition, which engages with the themes of “gay male sexuality and beauty in the face of mortality”.

Visitors in from of artworks by Stephen Andrews

Visitors at  Par Amour/Paramour at Mocca

Nuit Rose continued beyond the museum, along Queen Street, buzzing with vibrant late night parties which were punctuated by overworldly displays in the vitrines of private galleries.

Text and photo: Elena Iourtaeva

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