You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have, Boy’s Life. And like real life, this legendary party, which reunites this Friday, July 20 after almost a decade, had real life consequences. “People used to party all night, go to the Tim Horton’s across the street to brush their teeth and go to work,” recalls Steve Ireson. “As a result of Boy’s Life several people ended up losing their jobs because they missed work the following day or were completely destroyed and still tried to go into work.”
Launched on Pride Sunday of 2001, Boys’ Life ran for two and a half solid years. The baby of former 5ive Nightclub managers Steve Ireson and Adam Pardy, resident DJs Cory Activate and Sylvain Girrard crad
led the decks for this Sunday night weekly that took off right from the start and would grow to become one of Toronto’s most successful weekly parties.
“It was one of the first parties that I had seen on Sunday that had the same energy as a Saturday Night,” recalls Activate. Many factors went into creating this energy. One of the biggest was their silent partner, the space itself. Originally a late 1800s men’s club, the once grandiose It Nightclub's (176 Chuch street) huge main room with high vaulted tin gilded ceilings, second floor wrap around balcony and original wood floors which bounced when people danced created a feeling of glamour, magic, adventure and high drama.
Though it was definitely a gay night Boy’s Life was also very mixed, a combination that foreshadowed the future of large parties. Two completely separate yet integrated crowds occupied two spaces; the sexually charged, high-energy circuit sounds of the main ballroom on the 2nd
floor and the ultra cool, worldly house sounds of the Pura Lounge on the 1st
floor helmed by DJ Matt C. Not being on a Saturday night also gave the party a different feel. Many service industry professionals, gay and straight, who either worked Friday and Saturday nights or who had Mondays off flocked to this “off-peak” party night like sketchy sherpas heading up Mount Everest.
Guest DJs including Victor Calderone, Barry Harris, Honey Dijon, Mark Anthony and Kenny Glasgow graced its decks and performers like Nicki Harris, Simone Denny energized its stage. Added to this mix were Toronto’s own Sofonda Cox, Misakiu and the legendary Lena Love who competed to outdo one another each week with totally unique performances. Lena Love eating and spitting out sushi into a stunned crowd while dressed as a mermaid is something not soon forgot.
In 2003, Boys Life ended. The building was sold and turned into the Jazz condos, now habituated by many gays, some who were just boys themselves when they attended this party. Though the idea for a reunion has been floated around for years certain pieces needed to fall into place. One of those was the space. “Boys Life was never in a cookie cutter space so the location for their reunion was very important,” states Alex Korittko. Chroma, the old Orange Room space in The Guvernmnent, redesigned by the legendary Kenny Baird who helmed such creative institutions as Palladium in New and Circa in Toronto, is the final piece to complete their puzzle.
With all the key players back including Ireson, Activate, DJ Billy Carroll (who began his stellar career at New York’s Paradise Garage) and Korittko (who was then just a young impressionable flyer boy with a big smile) to resurrect what might be more than just a one-off event. Will history repeat itself? Bring a toothbrush, Tootie. Just incase.
Boy’s Life Reunion Party Friday, July 20 at 10PM at Chroma at The Guvernment
Advanced tickets available online at www.itsaboyslife.ca $10 at the door before midnight and $15 after.