Main | Sunday, August 01, 2010

RECAP: Montreal Day 4

Saturday began with a trip to the "24-hour hipster joint and poutine mecca," La Banquise, where my able homo-guide ordered us the traditional version of Montreal's specialty seen several posts below this one. From there we went to Parc Lafontaine in the Le Plateau-Mont Royal borough, where we lounged on the grass and scarfed our fries and curds. Lafontaine seems like a mini-Central Park, with an open-air theater, playing fields, bike paths, fountains, and waterfalls. Lovely.

Next we headed down to the waterfront, as Daniel had promised a jet boat ride around the Island of Montreal. What I hadn't realized is that we were actually going to ride the white waters of the Lachine Rapids on the St. Lawrence, which it turned out are second only in ferocity to the Colorado River. When I saw the safety gear, rubber boots, and giant padded head-protectors on the boat...I very nearly backed out. Especially when the pilot shouted to me, "New York City? FRONT ROW!" I am so not a thrill-ride person, particularly when the pre-ride spiel includes barfing instructions. (Into the hood of your poncho, please.) The ride was actually exhilarating (and terrifying) and I'm glad I did it, even if my shoulders ache today from holding on. BTW, those ankle-length rubber ponchos, haute couture though they may be, are useless when the water is up to your chest in the boat.

After dropping our sopping clothes with hotel housekeeping, Daniel and I joined the Farmboyz for the solo show debut of Blowoff artist Linas Garsys, where local and USA bear-types ogled the artwork and dished about that coming evening's entertainment options. From there we headed to rotisserie specialist St. Hubert for some of that there organic, free range, only-spoken-softly-to chicken.

And then we were off to Mascara, Les Nuit Des Drags, Montreal's Divers/Cite version of Wigstock, where long-reigning queen of the city Mado held court before 25,000 wildly enthusiastic fans in between numerous highly choreographed group drag numbers. Mado is apparently quite hilarious, judging by audience response, but of course I couldn't understand a thing. After a couple of hours, we moved to the other end of Divers/Cite's sprawling blocks-long area to hear legendary DJ Frankie Knuckles work his Whistle Song magic at the Sunset Party (above photo.) As longtime readers know, I consider dancing with thousands of homos in the dwindling light to glorious swirling house music to be one of life's greatest pleasure. Happy happy JMG.

Then it was back to the hotel, where Frankie's final notes rattled our windows from a block away as we changed for our assault on St. Catherine's zillion bars and clubs. First stop was the L'Aigle Noir, where some kind of electric-fetish demonstration was taking place, after which we headed once again to my new favorite bar, Le Stud, where they thoughtfully do not pump the dance floor's audio into the adjacent rooms. I should have hit a lot more of the clubs and bars purely for investigative purposes, but the long lines of youthful clubbers outside places like Complexe Sky and Club Unity dissuaded me from even a casual poke-in. Anyway, more to come on my first visit to Montreal, including some video from Mascara and the Sunset Dance. Big hugs to all the JMG readers who stopped to say hello yesterday! Full-screen versions of the below slideshow are here.

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