Due to COVID-19 being declared a pandemic, The Good Foot has decided to postpone their first in-person event. They plan to hold an Instagram live-stream on Saturday March 21 at 8 p.m. instead, in order to lift people’s spirits up during this time. Stay tuned to their social media for updates.
Ring of Fire, You Can’t Hurry Love and Hard Day’s Night; you may not be able to name a 60s song off of the top of your head, but you definitely know the words to one. Starting soon, The Good Foot will be bringing the songs of the 60s to a dance floor near you, complete with prizes for best outfit and a songlist perfect for boogying down.
The Good Foot was created by a group of local DJs, dancers and vintage fashion lovers looking to liven up the Hamilton dance scene with 60s tunes. They include owner of Girl on the Wing Whitney McMeekin, illustrator and dancer Jacqui Oakley, DJ Spaceman a.k.a Stacey Case, DJ Donna Lovejoy a.k.a Rachael Henderson and Jen Anisef of Weft projects. Anisef says that Weft projects’ aim is to create collaborative opportunities for local creators and makers.
“[I]t's like the weft are the threads that bind everything together. So the idea is to serve the community through facilitating creative collaboration. So this project, it's brought together a lot of different folks that all have different areas of interest and expertise, to throw a really fun party that is hopefully intergenerational and is just unpretentious and to celebrate dance and fashion, and have a good time,” said Anisef.
Henderson, also known as DJ Donna Lovejoy, describes herself as a Jill of all Genres, and she definitely lives up to her name. Thanks to collaborators like her, The Good Foot is set to cover songs from every nook and cranny of the 60s.
“It’s gonna be Soul, Motown, Early Funk [and a] bit of Rocksteady, Britpop, Mod, just a bit of everything,” said Henderson.
Social distancing is making it more difficult than ever to connect with other people. The Instagram live stream that The Good Foot will be running will hopefully help bring people from all walks of life together that might never have met otherwise. Anisef and Henderson say that they are hoping that their future parties can create a sense of intergenerational bonding and community.
“I think the beauty of 60s music is that most of us kind of know it deep in our soul, even as kids it was around and the music has endured so much. Plus, it's really nostalgic for older folks like the music of their youth. And I think it also really is like, it touches a lot of different cultural communities as well. So our hope is that it draws people together,” said Anisef.
Henderson says that in all of the events that she DJs, whether they be corporate events, weddings or club nights, 60s music appeals to everyone.
“I do find that 60s music crosses generations and does actually speak to a younger crowd. I'm always impressed when the younger people know all the lyrics and they get really excited,” said Henderson.
When Anisef lived in Glasgow, Vancouver and Toronto, she says that there used to be regular 60s and soul dance nights, with attendees dressing to the nines and dancing their cares away. There will be a contest for the best 60s outfit at the event, but Anisef says that everyone is welcome to come as they are.
“Some of those nights, people would really like to make an effort to dress up. And so I'm hoping that we can also build that we're trying to build that culture in the event. You don't have to, by all means come in your sweatpants and just have a great time. But if you're inspired, we'd love for people to play around and dress up,” said Anisef.
The Good Foot may not be shimmying to a dance floor near you just yet, but once everyone is safer they hope to bring the 60s back to Hamilton. In the meantime, having a 60s dance party in your very own home might just be a great way to add some spark to your day.
By Nina Joon, Contributor
Why yes, the rumours are true. I, Nina Joon, completed (finishing with a 12) my second one-night stand and I am here to shout it loud and proud. After years spent huddling under a blanket of sexual apathy, agonizing over the inevitable awkward intimacy during sex, I have finally reached a state of no-fucks-given.
As a product of both millennial and generation Z culture, I am no stranger to the supposed perils and triumphs of hook-up culture. Now, after two engagements in the action, I think it’s safe to pronounce myself as a voice of the people, offering advice and insight into this tumultuous sexy time in our young, hot 20-something year old lives. This, my friends, is an ode to the sweaty club grind-ups and confusing “booty-Facebook-message-hookups” that you’re still trying to dissect literally months after they happened.
The classic tale of a one-night stand often begins in the club, in the middle of the month, during techno night. You’re on the dance floor, body glitter sparkling from the disco ball reflection. While looking down to admire your amazing shuffling skills, you spot a pair of humbling red converse high tops with laces caked in mud. Is this a skater? Is this a longboarder? Questions cloud your mind, so you look up to see whose face belongs to these shoes. Not to your surprise, it’s an absolute cutie sipping a rare brew of Collective Arts, dancing slowly to the tempo of the music.
You nudge your friend (hereby referred to as Derby) and point to this mysterious gem nestled on the dance floor. Derby’s eyes light up in excitement.
“Aye! Good shout mate!”, they claim, confirming your feelings of attraction to “red-shoes”.
You run with that bout of validation, slyly dancing your way into red-shoes’s line of vision. The music’s pumping, your earplugs are the perfect amount of hidden; this is your moment.
“Hey, I heard it’s your birthday! Happy birthday!” you shout to cutie’s face.
To be clear, it is not their birthday, nor is there any available information that would lead to that conclusion. You just hope that the mere randomness of your comment will spark intrigue in red-shoes.
“Huh?” they respond back.
“Oh my god, sorry, haha, you look just like my friend whose birthday it is today . . . my bad!”
Red-shoes uncomfortably laughs but you feel their gaze as you dance back to Derby and continue to shuffle for a half-hour straight.
It’s getting late now and you’re wondering where this cutie has gone. Derby is on their third hook-up of the night, copping two numbers and one Instagram handle. While sipping a glass of communal water, someone taps on your shoulder. You turn to see red-shoes staring into your soul with their glassy beaming eyes.
“Hey, you’re a really good dancer”, they say.
Stunned, you quickly make a fart noise and say “Lawl, no way! Thanks! I like your um, shoes, tee-hee”.
Together you start to talk, eventually moving to a booth and then locking lips in a dark corner.
After back and forth flirty banter, during which you offered red-shoes a cherry Halls and they declined, the question comes up.
“Your place or mine?”.
You’re living at your parent’s house, so that’s not even an option. To your surprise, red-shoes calls a Lyft, signifying their uniqueness, to which you self-congratulate yourself for knowing how to pick ‘em. During the car ride home, you keep your distance from red-shoes as a sign of respect to the driver, feeling shy because you harbour culturally-internalized shame towards sex. It’s all good though, you’re learning to overcome it!
Red-shoes leads you into their low-ceiling basement bedroom that smells like weed and 5 gum. As the making out escalates, you progressively get more excited. Then you remember you’re a #feminist who doesn’t shave. Despite knowing you’re beautiful and loving your body, you can’t help but recognize this is not a cultural norm and worry how red-shoes will react. As expected, they don’t even notice and the night seamlessly continues on to become an X-rated episode of Degrassi.
After hardly two hours of sleep and being awoken by red-shoes’s deaf cat jumping on your chest at 7 a.m., you decide it’s time to go home. Your cutie is slow to wake up, rolling around looking all hot as they enjoy the luxury of being a deep sleeper. They drive you home in their Prius, dropping you off in a Mac’s Convenience Store parking lot. While washing off last night’s face, you remember you left a recently thrifted sweater at cutie’s. You send a text asking for it back and never hear from them again.
In your hungover state, you struggle to submit a weekly discussion post on Avenue while smiling about last night’s events. Maybe you’ll see red-shoes again, maybe you won’t. Your sweater might be lost forever, but the smell of that nicely renovated kitchen will live on in your memory. You close your blinds and nap until 4:30 p.m., excited to do it all over again.
This article is part of our Sex and the Steel City, our annual sex-positive issue. Click here to read more content from the special issue.
As darkness claims the end of the first Wednesday of the month, Main Street East settles into a quiet rhythm against the background humming of nearby traffic. Red florescent lights spelling out ‘Sous Bas’ invite passersby down a flight of stairs and into the warm atmosphere of the candlelit space known for long nights of dancing.
At the far end of the room DJ Camron rehearses his set. The chanted vocals of Afrobeat mixed with funk and jazz tracks will catalyze carefree dance moves during Afrowave, but tonight’s unofficial audience is rather preoccupied with issues of National Geographic from the early 2000s, scissors and glue sticks.
Magazines and journals from the worlds of fashion, business, travel, lifestyle, art, music and photography are scattered along the bar’s island. A few comics, colouring pages and prints from the past can also be found among the dozens of publications that fill plastic storage bins on the ground.
Whether you came with a plan to spend the night collaging or stumbled in for a drink and decided to stay for the paper-based craft, Sous Bas owner Erika McMeekin and visual artist Stylo Starr have created the perfect environment to cut, paste and chill.
“It’s been a really great experience breaking down the stigma that collage is just a cut and paste kindergarten activity, it’s so much more…the major drive behind it was that we saw that there was a pull towards collage and the appeal was there but the response was always ‘oh I can’t do that, I’m not an artist’,” explained Starr.
When McMeekin was approached with the idea of hosting the Collage Coven’s Assemblage events at Sous Bas, she thought it was a perfect fit. The nightclub is not only a popular scene for a night out in Hamilton, it’s also deeply intertwined with the community by providing a welcoming space for meetings, R&B and disco pilates sessions and now an art space.
“People like to meet and drink but don’t really do anything… So I want to see what could happen [in spaces]… where you go hangout with your friends but also make something,” said Starr.
“I think that would be really beneficial because you’re being productive in a group and that group think and group creativity is actually really cool, the synergy that’s there is insane.”
Collage makers tap into their creativity in clusters around tables, in booths, on couches and even sitting cross-legged on the floor buried in paper. Some of the attendees at last Wednesday’s event include artists, friends collaging together for the first time and two DeGroote alumni, one of whom flew in from Ireland to celebrate his birthday and ended up catching up with his friend over beers and collages.
“I love being able to provide that space for people where they could just unleash their creativity. It’s a power that not a lot of people realize they have within themselves…when they say things like ‘I’m not creative’ it’s like shoving that down in a box and I’m here to rip that shit open and let them revel in it and see what comes out of it,” explained Starr.
Aside from being a form of creativity and self-expression, collaging is also therapeutic. Attendees can learn more about themselves and feel good through partaking in the activity. Many of Starr’s own pieces were created during emotional moments, helping her sort through her thoughts, like a visual diary.
Anyone can get started with collaging. Start by collecting images that catch your eye in magazines or digital media, rip, cut, clip words, graphics, photographs or even patterns. Starr encourages collecting anything that strikes you and putting it aside for when you desire to make art or try something new.
The Collage Coven’s monthly collage parties take place on the first Wednesday of the month from 7 to 10 pm at Sous Bas. The event is open to all, pay what you can and an abundance of materials are provided.
It’s a Saturday evening and I’ve been sitting in my room all day claiming that I’ve been studying. My friends and I decide to go out. We could go to Hess and pay $10 to listen to 99.9 Virgin Radio, or we could slip beneath the earth’s surface and sizzle on the molten hot dance floor at Sous Bas.
Sous Bas is a bar located at 145 Main Street East in Hamilton. It first opened its doors this June, but started in 2015 as a pop up party series on Rebecca Street. The pop ups were started by Erika McMeekin and Kelly Seagram, who wanted to create a high quality and inclusive dance floor.
It is difficult to describe Sous Bas in one sentence, which speaks to how it is more than just a bar. The environment serves as a safe space for individuals who identify as anything. It is a place where being unique is not simply embraced, but encouraged.
Walking into Sous Bas is like walking into a house party of a close friend. Warmth lingers in the atmosphere with the personalized scented candles placed delicately around the room. Comfort is inevitable with the huge couches positioned for your friends and you to catch your breath. The environment is reminiscent of childhood sleepovers in your parents’ basement, but with an X-rated twist of sexy dance tunes.
Dancing allows me to forget daily problems and feel control on the dance floor. I don’t want societal woes like racism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, sexism and body shaming to be associated with my nights out.
In Hess, I am on hyper alert with these issues and unable to enjoy myself. At Sous Bas, I literally lose myself in the music and forget where I am.
Due to my own experiences in Hess, I have been alienated from typical club scenes altogether. When I used to go out, I would not drink too much as I wanted to stay alert and ready to defend myself against predatory men. I never wore heels because I wanted to be able to run in case I needed to.
After experiencing Sous Bas, I realized that these were not required anxieties for a night out. These anxieties only came to me because of the constant discomfort I felt in Hess’ hegemonic masculine spaces full of homophobic slurs, aggressive cat calling and large absence of racial minorities.
The environment is reminiscent of childhood sleepovers in your parents’ basement, but with an X-rated twist of sexy dance tunes.
A large part of my reasons for feeling safe at Sous Bas is the prevalence of kind and supportive staff. In many clubs, bouncers are prone to power tripping and aggression. Sous Bas does not look to scare off partygoers. It expresses that it is a judgment free zone, and hate will not be tolerated. As someone who identifies as a woman, it is important to have supportive staff members that will be reliable incase of trouble.
Aside from feeling safe, I also feel able to be myself at Sous Bas. I can wear whatever I feel for that night’s look, whether that’s seven-inch heels or black sneakers, a bomb-ass jumpsuit or leggings and a t-shirt. It’s a place where my armpit hair can flow freely on the dance floor and the sparkles on my face can glisten from the majestic disco ball. The DJs are all energetic and spin musical styles such as house, hip hop, R&B, reggae, boogie, disco, funk and soca.
Sticking with importance of diversity in the club scene, Sous Bas hires a multitude of DJs. They look to hire women, people of colour and queer DJs as much as possible as these individuals are often absent from club culture. When I am on the dance floor, I feel energized and inspired watching women curate amazing sets.
Sous Bas has a lot to offer to its partygoers. To be certain the theme for the night fits who you are, you can find descriptions of what each DJ will be playing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday on Facebook and Instagram @Sousbas. Bring your friends, a good attitude and most importantly, a towel to wipe up all the sweat from dancing.