“What is the spectacle without the spectator?” – a philosopher, probably
Despite being billed by blogTO as the party of the week, the Glen or Glenda Party on Saturday, Jan. 26 didn’t draw a crowd so much as maybe 13 people to its doors. It might have had something to do with the location. I keep hearing people in Toronto say things like “Oh, no, I never go east of Yonge!” and I’m all, “That’s weird, get over yourself!” but then I think, “I haven’t been across the DVP since I moved here five months ago, so maybe it’s me that needs to get over myself.” Maybe we all just need to get over ourselves, quaff our hair, apply mascara to our boyfriend’s eyelashes, hop on the subway, endure a bunch of strangers’ stares, get off at Glenwood station, walk down Jones Street, and arrive late at the Projection Booth only to realize that the dance party you thought you were attending is actually just 10 people sitting in the dark watching (mostly) terrible films.
HEY, that’s cool. If we all need to do that in order to get over ourselves, then I can consider myself OVER. Been there, done that, last Saturday, it was kind of weird, great. It was my first experience of the, “There’s so much going on in Toronto that nothing’s going on,” feeling. The crowd (and don’t forget that by “crowd” I mean 13 people sitting dispersed in a dark 375-seat movie theatre) tried to be boisterous while we watched Glen or Glenda, but in the vacuous space, their cat calls and jokes fell flat. I think they were probably friends of the organizers. At least they seemed comfortable, and the atmosphere was something like that of a bunch of buds who rented cheesy flicks, got drunk, and watched them in a very large, very empty living room.
It was a pretty lighthearted night, but at one point a bearded man dressed in drag was displayed on screen before us, and the audience started laughing. They were immediately silenced when the film’s narrator called them out on it: “You’re doing it now,” he said. “Laughing.” What a moment. It was one of the most moving theatre experiences I have ever had. BOOM. SHAMEFUL SILENCE. Though I can’t account for their initial amusement, I was glad to be surrounded by people whose laughter subsided rather than rose into derisive mutterings (and whose cat calls, however faint, were supportive and cheerful). They were clearly a group of open- and like-minded people who just wanted to cross-dress and laugh together. There was a sense of embarrassment about being at an event that no one else has chosen to attend, but everyone got over it (and themselves, if they followed the instructions above!), and I think the few who stuck it out had a trans-tastic time. (Was sorry about that pun but now I’m not sorry about that pun, not at all.)
Review: 2/5 Boyfriends Who Can Now Sympathize When You Say, “My Legs Are So Cold,” While Wearing Sheer Nylons On A Cold Winter Night