Tales from Montréal Part Deux: Divers/Cité 2008
Because Divers/Cité annually attracts thousands of out-of-town revelers — mainly from New York and Toronto — many other groups piggyback on the fun with their own unaffiliated events. Pervers/Cité, in the city’s artistic community on Mt. Royal, offers some alternative artistic queer entertainment while the Bad Boys Club Montréal Foundation (best known for their Black and Blue weekend in November) organizes a series of parties known collectively as Twist.
Following a quick and inexpensive breakfast on Saturday at the massive Club Sandwich [514-523-4679], we made our way back to Notre Dame Island for the BBCM Pool Party at the Sainte-Hélène Aquatic Center in Jean-Drapeau Park. Incoming thunderstorms caused little interruption as many of the hundreds of bathing suit clad patrons opted to just keep on dancing in the rain.
Later that night on the epic Berri/Ontario Stagewe hit up Mascara, one of Divers/Cité's biggest events. This evening of glitter and high heels welcomes three hours of drag acts from around the country to perform for the thousands of eager onlookers.
One of the major draws here is hometown drag hero Mado — the self described “Queen of Montreal” — who not only hosted the spectacular show in both English and French but performed the nights most elaborate numbers and also made a costume change for every new appearance on stage! “This isn’t Canada,” she proclaimed to the crowd, “This is Quebec!” touching on the tongue-and-cheek arrogance that makes the French people here so proud of their city.
Meanwhile, Divers/Cité continued to rage around the city as top DJs spun some of the weekend’s hottest parties. The Loto-Québec Stage's Sunset Party had a distinctly Brazilian beat with a special appearance from the popular DJ Ana Paula while DJ Susan Morabito brought her distinctive sound to the lesbian-filled Lesbomonde. Hometown favorite DJ Danny Tourance brought the party into the after-hours at The Telus Theatre.
Everywhere on Saturday night was packed, as throngs of patrons brought the parties out of the crowded clubs and into the street. From here they often wandered onto the fringes of St. Catherine where private house parties acted as pre- or post-alternatives to the major club scene.
Sunday offered a full day of free entertainment with Le Grande Danse, an afternoon long tea dance in the streets of the Berri/Ontario stage. Over in the Gamelin Park, Le Grande Bal Disco offered slightly more light hearted fare with the family-friendly Boogie Wonderland Band — a disco cover-band complete with oversized and colorful costumes.
Then around 10:30pm, the biggest crowds of the weekend gathered at the Loto/Quebec stage for the festival centerpiece appearance of dance diva Deborah Cox. Cox graced her adoring fans with a rousing selection of new songs and old favorites, including her famous hit “Nobody's Supposed To Be Here” (watch video here!).
In the end, Divers/Cité weekend may just be an extreme version of a normal summer weekend in Montréal’s gay village, but its most enjoyable quality was very literally its “diversity”. During the weekend we partied in several languages (English, French, Spanish and beyond) with many cultures, nationalities and races, and — somewhat most surprising — many sexualities, as the groups we befriended often included a smattering of straight men and women, illustrating that in this modern and accepting corner of the world celebrating the queer culture is something everyone can do