The nucleus of Halifax's drag scene; one of the few remaining small venues where bands could get their feet wet with live performance; a key player in the house music scene; an anchor for the 2SLGBTQ+ community: The hole-in-the-wall entry at 2182 Gottingen Street belied the fact that what awaited inside was all this and more. In April, when Menz announced it would close for good, we realized COVID isn't the great equalizer—it hit the marginalized harder, like everything else does.
"Where will the king and queen of Pride get their crowns from now on?" we asked, before setting forth a space for you to share what made Menz such a special place for so many. Here, we share your anonymously submitted responses—all while dreaming of nights spent on a crowded dance floor:
"Last summer I went to see a show of Hedwig and the Angry Inch at Menz and have such a vivid memory of watching Hedwig (Andrew Morrissey) perform "Wig in a Box" and surprising myself by absolutely sobbing. It was so tender and vulnerable, and I felt so exposed, but so warm sitting watching. I had just had a very painful breakup a few weeks before and I felt like I 'turned back to myself' watching."
"I have only been there once: To see Hedwig and the Angry Inch last summer. What an honour to have the opportunity to see a groundbreaking performance in a legendary place."
"Gathering to watch RuPaul's Drag Race together. That always felt so intimate and special. We'd head into the karaoke room afterward for songs and dance."
I’ve lost IDs, cash, jackets, and short-term memory here more times than I’d care to admit, but it’s all a part of the learning curve of growing up. One brazen and uncharacteristic memory I have there is from my early twenties, in which I was dancing up a storm one night with a crew of my straight guy and girl friends, and catching eyes with another guy on the dance floor. One thing led to another and I guess I sort of...ended up...ripping his shirt in half while we aggressively made out on the dance floor. I was definitely in shock of myself. We tried to make a go of a normal sober date in days following the incident, but things didn’t pan out. If he’s out there reading this right now, my sincerest apologies about the shirt and I hope you are well! We will miss you Menz, and I’m sorry my last memory there will forever be an unpleasant one."
Absolutely Free play at Obey Convention."
"So many Halloweens and New Years Eves spent here. Always a blast. Thank you for everything you did to help my friend find herself and the new community she was meant to be a part of. You will be missed!"
"I'll never forget holding hands with my then-secret girlfriend and kissing in a room alone. I still had a boyfriend then but I never felt judged and only safe with my queers. I dumped him the next day."
"My band Good Dear Good had the pleasure of playing there for Pride in 2019. Three of the four members of our band are part of the queer community so it was such a fun experience to be a part of the celebrations. After spending the day at the parade and surviving some pretty intense heat, we were able to go and have probably the funnest and care-free show we’ve played together as a band. The energy was great and stress-free. Definitely disappointed we aren’t able to play there again."
"I will never forget the energy that I felt in that room when I went to see my first drag show. A few dozen people created such an accepting and welcoming atmosphere that made me want to embrace my community even more."
"I started my bands playing shows at Menz: we started with Gottijams [the weekly free-jam incubator for new talent] and then moved on to playing weekend shows. I've played on every stage of that bar multiple times and had some of the best nights of my life there. We've played to packed rooms, we've played just to the sound guy (Gary, who is a goddamn saint and a Halifax treasure). If it wasn't for this place, we wouldn't have had the stepping stone that is crucial to move forward as a band. It's a huge loss for the LGBTQ+ community and the Halifax music community as a whole."