Graphic by Elisabetta Paiano / Production Editor

With the rise in popularity of Supercrawl, Hamilton’s largest arts and culture street festival, the city is becoming increasingly known for its talented artists. Many of these artists can be seen at the Night Market at Absinthe (38 King William St.) during Supercrawl. On Friday Sept. 13 and Saturday Sept 14 from 6 p.m. - 2 a.m., the annual Night Market will once again take place at Absinthe on King William Street, providing a space for a wide range of eclectic and unique artists to showcase their work.

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Julie Fazooli, the organizer of the Night Market, calls herself a multi-disciplined creative. With work ranging from graphic design and photography to event coordination, it’s easy to see why. Five years ago she piloted the Night Market with her friend, Lauren Olson, and she has been running it ever since. What began as a small group of five or six artists has blossomed into two days of food, music and creativity. One main goal of the Night Market is to create an all-inclusive space for both artists and patrons alike.

“We do really represent everybody in our market. We try to get a huge diverse group of people because we want everyone to be represented. It’s important that it’s accessible to everyone, and interesting to everybody and to give everybody a voice … [it’s] a nice little island where everyone is accepted,” said Fazooli. 

The Market features a mix of what Fazooli calls her top quality oddity vendors. There’s truly something for everyone, whether that be the recycled bicycle rubber accessories of Black Line Accessories, the scientific experiments of Nighttime Nicholas or something in between. The Market is curated to ensure that each artist is bringing something unique to ensure that there is no overlap. Many of the artists also support the environment.

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“A lot of these vendors are repurposing or reusing or remixing existing objects, which is amazing to see, a lot of it is really sustainable,” said Fazooli. 

In order to make the most of the space, Fazooli and Absinthe have had to choose fewer artists than in years past; however, this means that the artists present are truly the best of the craft. 

“It’s going to be a little bit smaller, [but] it’s still going to be a huge party,” said Fazooli, “Bring your friends, bring your grandparents, bring your third cousin twice removed and bring your curiosity.”

The Night Market is open to all ages until 10 p.m. and is free. On Friday night, you can see Born in the Eighties, an 80s cover band that brings an exclusive Supercrawl set list that you will not want to miss. On Saturday, catch Take Cover, a 90s cover band that primarily covers grungy, late 90s songs. Both bands perform at Absinthe during their monthly decade themed nights, so if you miss them at Supercrawl you can always see them again. For up to the minute updates and a comprehensive list of vendors, check out the Night Market event page on Facebook.

Supercrawl is a huge event for the arts and culture scene, and it's important to support local artists, both big and small, in the community. Most of the artists at the Night Market are GTA centred, putting the focus on local and homegrown talent. The Market has made a space for local artists to experiment and create unique work.

 

The Night Market at Absinthe during Supercrawl - Sept. 13 & 14

Art event in Hamilton, ON, Canada by Fazooli and Absinthe Hamilton on Friday, September 13 2019 with 438 people interested.24 posts in the discussion.

 

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Photos C/O Kendell Macleod

By: Andrew Mrozowski

“In the beginning God created Adam and Eve (allegedly), but she soon realized how boring their parties were and created Adam and Steve to be their neighbours and show them how it’s done,” read the official Adam and Steve manifesto.

Since 2016, Adam George and Steve Hilliard have been throwing the queerest parties that Hamilton has seen for decades under their event planning name Adam and Steve. These two community event organizers have a single mission, to create community and carve out LGBTQ friendly events within the Hammer.

“[Our events] are unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It’s like your gayest wildest wet dream,” said George.

George moved to Hamilton in the late 2000s to attend McMaster’s science program. Shortly after meeting Hilliard on campus, the two students clicked. Hilliard went on to graduate from the nursing program and became a full-time nurse while George became a full-time realtor.

The “semi-engaged” duo — they have an ongoing competition over proposals — loved making a life together in Hamilton, but they felt something was missing in their community.

Being inspired by the fact that there weren’t any queer spaces currently in Hamilton, George and Hilliard had an idea. What if they planned and hosted parties in Hamilton that they would want to attend?

“We were tired of having to go to Toronto to have fun,” explained George.

“We were both inspired by being queer, inspired by fun, beauty and I have an intense love of drag. I really wanted to give a stage to queer artists,” added Hilliard.

Historically, Hamilton has had a rough history with queer spaces amounting to raids and police brutality.

“At any given moment, there was at least four or five [gay bars and clubs]. Hamilton was almost too gay and this history is tragic. If you look up the lists of the top ten worst police raids, one of them was in Hamilton at a bathhouse downtown,” said Hilliard.

“But now, we’re moving towards a queer scene about being whoever the fuck you wanna be,” added George.

Attracting the likes of popular Toronto queens, such as Priyanka, and RuPaul’s Drag Race season 8 contestant, Thorgy Thor, the dynamic duo is always on the lookout for who can throw the greatest party.

“We wanted to throw parties that we wanted to go to. Right before we started doing events, we always thought ‘Why hasn’t a RuPaul queen come to Hamilton?’ Then once we started throwing events, it was one of those things where you didn’t think was possible and then one day, I just googled … what would it take to get a RuPaul queen to come,” said Hilliard.

“We did a survey on our Instagram to see if there was interest… in four days the first show sold out and then we added a second date, and that one sold out,” added George.

Community is a large reason why George and Hilliard throw their parties. The duo’s goal is not only create community and a space that fosters inclusivity through their events, but they also wanted to become part of the community.

“It’s about creating a family in this city,” said Hilliard. “Queerness was never something that was handed to us.”

George and Hilliard are consistently looking towards the future and are hoping to open up their own space. The goal is to have a party every night, so there will always be a safe space for the community to celebrate and have fun.

Always busy planning parties, the duo has big plans for this coming romantic weekend. Adam and Steve will be hosting Heart On: Queer Galentine’s Day Party featuring House of Filth on Feb. 16 at Absinthe Hamilton on 38 King William Street.

“Queer and gay bars left [Hamilton], but the gay and queer people didn’t. We need to give those people and ourselves a safe space where they can meet new friends, be safe, and won’t ever need to leave the city at all,” explained Hilliard.

The future for Hamilton’s LGBTQ+ looks as bright as the pride flag thanks to event organizers like George and Hilliard. Adam and Steve events are where you can put glitter on your face, wear your cutest shirts and dance the night away in a safe and inclusive space for all.

 

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Sam Colbert

Managing Editor

No, it wasn’t in a basement. But it was hot, it was crowded, and the songs of The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations and The Supremes, among others, were very much alive.

At the old place on King Street, arriving between 10:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. would usually get you in. I got to Club Absinthe’s new location on King William with my friends at 10:15 p.m. on Jan. 4 and waited in line for half an hour. This was opening night at the new spot, and it was packed.

By the time I got in, the floor was slick with sweat and spilled drinks. Trains of wet and warm bodies were pushing past me to get to the bar, bathroom, coat check and doors. This, of course, has always been Absinthe at its best – provided you never go sober enough to be concerned with much other than the music.

The move to 38 King William Street, which is one street north of King running east from James, was risky. Wednesday Motown nights at the old Absinthe were drawing huge weekly crowds of university-aged kids (some doing their clubbing almost exclusively at ‘Motown’) from all over the city. The move was from a major road to a more secluded one, and was mainly advertised by word of mouth.

But specially now with Club Absinthe, King William is becoming Hamilton’s new ‘it’ street. It’s got some spill-over culture from James Street North (home of the monthly art crawls), the Skydragon Centre with the Homegrown Hamilton café and a good nightlife scene, with Seventy Seven and the Dirty Dog Saloon down the street.

So be it because of the location or the loyalty of its patrons, Absinthe's new spot, in a building formerly occupied by the Pepper Jack Café, got really full really fast on its first night.

In front of the main entrance was a fenced-in patio. The bouncers stood at the gate, letting people trickle in, charging no cover. (The bold or the impatient were able to hop through the bushes on top of the short, concrete wall a few yards down from the gate.) Despite the larger capacity, a lot of people left after waiting too long in the cold.

The face of the building is glass. The dancing happens on the main floor, and washrooms are upstairs. The bar is at the back, and the coat check at the side of the room maintained a regular, slow-moving mob of people trying to drop off or retrieve their stuff.

But once you’re inside and on the floor, it’s Motown night as usual – same music, same crowd, same great vibe.

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