By Jonathan Crane
CALGARY – This forthcoming Calgary Pride week, veteran DJ collective Girls On Decks and Broken City are setting out to break down the sometimes isolating confines of Calgary’s gay club culture with the fifth annual event “The Movement.”
Girls On Decks was founded in 2003 by DJ Krista Thibodeau, who performs under the moniker Molly Fi, to provide a platform for women and members of the LGBT community. The Movement is a core component of achieving that goal, as the night-long party aims to create a positive and welcoming environment for the gay community and their allies at a venue that isn’t normally defined as being a “gay bar.”
“I’ve DJed for almost 20 years, and I didn’t come out as gay until I’d been DJing for like six years, and I never really understood why gay people had to go to gay bars,” says Thibodeau.
Her journey through electronic music has taken her, and those in her group, to virtually every venue in the city and beyond. Girls On Decks’ Friday-night residency at Broken City, for example, has now been running for a year and a half and routinely features LGBT artists.
By choosing this venue to host The Movement, Thibodeau hopes others in the community will be inspired to follow the same trajectory she did.
“When I started doing The Movement it was to show that as an LGBT person I can go to any bar and curate a good night of music,” says Thibodeau. “So it’s more about the music, and just the movement of people actually leaving the gay bar and the gay community and experiencing clubs within the city, not just the gay bar.”
Thibodeau believes that many within the LGBT community are hesitant to venture outside of designated establishments because of the stigma they still face, and the fear that they won’t be accepted.
“That’s why with Girls On Decks I’ve always said this is a safe space,” says Thibodeau. “I’m very vocal about being an LGBT woman and I’m always vocal about the fact that I’m here for the music, I don’t need to go to a gay bar because I’m gay, I need to go to the best place that has the best tunes for what I want to hear.”
Doing so, she says, helps to gradually erase the lingering stigma around the LGBT community in Calgary’s nightlife.
“I’m always out and about in the club scene a lot, I’m always going to these events, and I’m always bringing queer people with me,” says Thibodeau. “So I think that’s helped change and make clubs more accepting.”
Drawing LGBT crowds to venues with a high caliber of music also fills what Thibodeau believes is a void within the community. When Girls On Decks began it was largely centred around Detour, a gay establishment that was known for its eclectic and progressive music programming.
Since it’s closure in the mid 2000’s Thibodeau says she’s seen music quality at gay establishments gradually decay.
“I think that it’s kind of took about 50 steps backwards since Detour days,” says Thibodeau. “All of our gay bars have been really mainstream. Detour and [its secondary room] Arena were really underground, and it was all about house music, more of that ‘gay 90’s scene.’”
While house music was one of the foundations of Girls On Decks, the group has always made it their mission to showcase a variety of genres. The Movement’s attendees can expect to hear top-quality selections from house, funk, top 40, and hip-hop.
In addition to DJs that are familiar to longtime Girls On Decks fans, the roster also features DJs that either haven’t been seen in Calgary yet or have appeared here very seldom, such as Jasper resident Riki Rocket and Regina resident Miss Bliss.
In keeping with Girls On Decks’ commitment to true diversity the lineup also features two male Calgary-based performers, Mr. Beltline and Detour alumni Chris Brennan. Both will be performing alongside Thibodeau and DJ Applebaum on the rooftop patio, which runs until 11 p.m. The event also features a photographer, custom visuals, and go-go dancing from Bombshell Brigade.
Pre-sale tickets are currently available online for The Movement, which takes place on August 31 at Broken City.Broken City, DJ, Girls On Decks’, Krista Thibodeau, LGBTQ, LGBTQ community, Molly Fi, The Movement, women