$5 b4 midnight
$5 b4 midnight captures Toronto queer spaces and the people that occupy them. Historically queer bars and clubs have acted as a space of resistance, a space of community building and organizing in response to oppression and violence by police and cisgender-heteronormativity. In the 1970s in Toronto, queer people were being arrested for not wearing enough items of clothing that corresponded with how police read their gender, they were being picked up from bars on Church street and taken to Cherry Beach to be beaten and assaulted, and drag queens and trans folks would use different entrances to clubs in order to avoid violence by folks on the street. While some of this has changed, queer bars remain a site of resistance, sexual exploration, love, desire, organizing and driven by a need to carve out spaces where we can feel seen.
Simultaneously while these spaces are transformative experiences for folks, the precarity of the DIY queer bar is a very real threat as rent prices are high and policing of these spaces is a lived experience. With this in mind, it is also my intention to archive these moments and to continue the work of other queer artists and add to our collective histories and memories.
These images are taken on my pentax point and shoot and have been exhibited as large wheat pasted posters.
Exhibition install at Artscape Youngplace, Toronto, June 2017