Many moons ago, I had the opportunity to volunteer my creative skills with Pride Toronto’s Art Direction committee. I had the most amazing co-coordinator, Jason Schneider, a superb designer, great bowler, and good dancer. Didn’t we make a fashionable team?
Although the hours were horrible, the work was sometimes too plentiful, and the requests increasingly crazy the closer we got to the Festival, it was all worth it once the big weekend hit and we were the only committee that could really take it easy as our work was done. Over. Can’t do anything more.
One of the perks I enjoyed the most was being able to photograph any and all of the performances throughout the weekend for Pride. It was nice to be able to use my badge to get into the press area for the concerts – and I never abused the privilege. Honest.
Pride is the reason I enjoy photographing performances so much today. The festival is where I first saw a performance by Skin Tight Outta Sight and they blew my mind. I fell in love with burlesque and the confidence these women had, putting on such sexually charged striptease for an audience of thousands. I’ve been shooting burlesque ever since.
I also really enjoyed the drag shows. They had as much pageantry, choreography, great music, and glam as the burlesque acts, just minus the striptease. One of my favourites at the time was Donnarama, a really creative act with fantastic music and creative ideas. They were always at the festival and I looked forward to catching their shows.
And finally, the concerts. I’ve had the opportunity to listen to, and photograph some wonderful local and international talent. It was a real honour to photograph Carol Pope, a Canadian music icon. My pop music fetish was satisfied with Melanie C (Sporty Spice). The highlight of the many festivals for me was Lady Miss Kier, of Deee-Lite, who looked exactly the same in the mid 2000s as she did back in the 80s. Her performance was energetic, colourful and she did an amazing extended mix of Groove Is In The Heart. It was really hard to keep the camera steady and sing & dance at the same time.
As I sit at my computer downloading photos from the wonderfully creative O Manada all-male burlesque show put on by Boylesque TO for Canada Day – a Pride Affiliated event – I think back to all these great performances that started me down this glittery path. Thank you Pride for inspiring me!
Happy Pride Toronto!
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