Where do I even begin to put my Pride performance experience into words?
I don't really feel like writing about it to be honest. I'm too busy enjoying the high, even days later, to feel like recalling and recording it all. But it was such a groundbreaking and incredibly fulfilling experience, that I feel I owe it to my future self to document these feelings while they are still fresh.
Everyone who is close to me knows I find great joy in connecting little seemingly insignificant occurrences into a woven fabric of wonder and delight. That is to say, I find meaning in banality of daily events, by straining to connect them together in interesting ways. I look at life through a pair of those polarized "star burst" glasses so that every guiding light, no matter how dim, appears to have brilliant sheen! I love to recognize patterns and use them to organize, direct, reassure and propel myself through the Earth's dizzying rotations. I see "the signs" because I actively look for them. It's a kind of selective perception that helps me filter out the negative, and focus on the positive. Manipulating which signs I see, and thus, which paths feel as though they are divine, and chosen.
So if I am someone who can find divine connectivity and unity in all of my daily doldrums, then what of a day that's anything but dull? What if I can live through something that breaks from routine and allows me a fresh new set of circumstances to connect? A situation like this is usually ripe for cultivating meaning and inspiration! What if you then make this experience something I've dreamed of doing for as long as I can remember? Something I've spent my youth practicing alone in the safety of my bedrooms, living rooms, bathrooms, car rides, or un-ending shifts stuck in mindless jobs.
This moment, this day, this 'performance', was the the genesis of this practice of pattern recognition and manipulation! It was the culmination of billions of synapses fired toward the completion of one expressive moment. It was a moment that was soaked in these connected and significant experiences. So submerged in significance was this performance, that my brain, somehow in a desperate attempt to save itself from drowning, took dynamic control of space-time! At moments completely freezing it in order to finish processing the sheer vastness of information it was being fed. Floodgates of excitement, passion, love, fear, and absolute acceptance and calm, rushed by at alarming speeds. While moments of purity and joy sat as glowing stationary orbs, filling my vision with blinding happiness that will forever be galvanized in my memory. Parts of my mind that I'd never used, were openly, willingly, and joyfully squealing in perfect harmony with parts of it I hadn't used since I was a child! New memories exploded with electromagnetic energy, stirring the old connections into a newborn fervor! Never has so much of my mind, heart, and spirit been energized in unison.
In this state, on this day, every passing SECOND rang out with truth and grandiose significance. Every smile felt like it was my 1 year old nephew smiling at me. Every mention of my name sounded though it was spoken in the familiar comforting baritone of my grandfathers voice. And I heard it with auditory nerves who's functional lifespan within my ear had long passed! Old dreams re-born in the ashes of the flame that engulfed my inner critic!
I will give ONE concrete example of the kind of synchronicity this day was coated in. When I took the stage with Robb G... it was cloudy. The ground was wet, and people were dying for some Vitamin D. About 3 songs into Robbs set I got the nod indicating that the track in current rotation was an instrumental, and that I was free to improvise over it. I stepped forward on the stage with trepidation, and as though out of my body watching from above, I heard and felt my voice come out through the speakers. I don't remember my exact words... but a friendly (and gorgeous!) girl in the crowd later reminded me that I said something along the lines of "lets dance the sun out from behind the clouds". Then I sang a couple lines from "The Sun is Shining" by Bob Marley.
"Sun is Shining, weather is sweet yeah. Make you wanna move, your dancin' feet."
Wouldn't you know it? The Sun did NOT hesitate! It's light broke through those clouds and surrounded us all in warmth and brilliance! The crowd reacted to the feeling of it's heat on their skin with a kind of gasping coo. And THIS was just the BEGINNING of the set. The rest of the day went JUST like this. Everything just HAPPENED. Robb G's daughter getting up on stage with her little Pride Socks was intense! And so was getting up on stage at the end for my initiation as one of "the new guys" on South Stage. I was so fucking proud to be there. There is no other place in the WORLD that I know of where you can feel as open, as free, and as comfortable as Toronto Pride. EVERYONE smiles, hugs, laughs, loves, and dances their freaking ASSES off. There's no other feeling that matches the purity and freedom of expression that singing and dancing on the South Stage at Toronto Pride gave me.
The whole day felt like it was playing out in some cheesy teen angst movie. I was the nerdy underdog, finally getting his chance to shine! The crowd was the buxom curvaceous sweet spirited shorty who'd just broken up with her jerk face Quarterback boyfriend and was finally seeing me for the sweet slice of destiny I was!
From the moment that sun came out, until the moment the rain poured once again, everything was perfection. Oh and that rain! That rain was as life saving as the sun had been hours before! Truly a divine day that I am blessed to have lived!
This is my 5th time sitting down to pen this entry. I keep starting to type specifics about the event, and then getting hung up on them. I've started to type out whole paragraphs of names to drop, and of individual occurrences to record. But clearly... this isn't the type of blog entry I'm meant to write! Simply touching on the details, while elaborating about the feelings is going much smoother. And that's just fine! No one wants to read 10 paragraphs of name drops and event specific braggings. I'm not writing this to brag. I'm writing it to say thank you! Thank you to the divine spirit (God, Jesus, Ala, Earth Mother... whatever name you use) for blessing me with the strength, and the friends I needed to make this dream a reality. And to say thank you for everyone who's awesome energy helped propel my soul to new heights. All the drugs in the world can't match the high that the South Stage crowd gave me that night!
I love everyone who was there. And I thank them all for their wonderful energy and support. I was SO surprised by the directness of the love I got after I came down off the stage. People were bravely walking right up to me (a perfect stranger) and hugging and congratulating me. This is something I never predicted or expected. And something I never thought would continue on as long as it has! I'm still getting e-mails, PMs, IMs, and the like telling me how good I did, or how moved someone was.
Thanks once again to everyone who's smiles, screams, dances, and hugs gave me the best high of my life! Thank you to everyone who took the time to come up and approach me and share with me how my performance made them feel! This was the best gift of all!
(One person said I inspired them to be brave, and to be true to themselves. This compliment had a profound effect on my life and will never be forgotten!)
I've come out of the other side of this experience with a massive boost of confidence, and am humbled by the support and encouragement from everyone.
I could really go on and on and on about how good I feel after having been a part of Dirty Disco on the South Stage at Toronto Pride 2009. But I feel like I've been spinning my wheels and gushing in this little composition window for too many days already. Time to just wrap it up and post the damn thing!
Besides, the next gig is already happening! Tomorrow night at Tota Lounge!
Thunder graciously invited me and Donnie (Red Lion) to MC for him as he throws down some U.K. Garage (two step for those in the U.K.)! Another long lost dream that has come back to me in a hurry! (Craig David got his start as a UKG MC with the Artful Dodger!)
If you ever get a chance to see me sing, or dance, please do me a favor, and let go of all of your inhibitions. Turn off the outside world, and join me in the liberation of your spirit! Drop your hang-ups, and your insecurities, and DANCE dammit! DANCE!
We are lucky to be alive, and we don't have a lot of time to make our mark. I'm on a mission to make as many people as I can dance and smile and dance and smile and dance and smile! I thank God for Robb G and his amazing energy. He's jump started me back on a path that I'd wandered away from far too long ago!
I can't wait for the next time I can hold a mic in my hand, and feel my voice amplified through the speakers!
Tomorrow at Tota, and again on August 14th with Robb G for the ShuffleBanger CD release party at Footwork!
What a rush!
I'm the luckiest kid on the block!