I love my loft. It’s a three minute walk to the JAZZ.FM91 studios, I have rehearsals in it with my band Bonzai Suzuki and I host loft parties fairly often, that seem to keep getting better. I am so fortunate to have the most awesome neighbours anyone could imagine: Two of them…Cheryl and Nikki, act as co-hosts, hanging coats and making drinks…Dave provides some gear when necessary and Mike Schram reads his brilliant and clever poetry! Invite a couple dozen friends – along with those who live in my building – and I’ve got 30 or more droping in for an old skool salon once or twice a month. It keeps me warm and fuzzy in the cold months: I never host parties at my place in the summer – I’d rather be sailing or out riding my bike!
Now, it’s no coincidence that my loft is close to work as I believe a shortcut to happiness is to avoiding commuting whenever possible. The past three years at Chez Bee have proven to be the best for hosting mellow parties, early on weeknights during the winter months.
Before I go any further, I’d like to share some photos from December 2013 taken by Tibi Hegyesi, a wonderful painter and photographer. I think his photos have captured the vibe of my loft parties better than anyone!
(By the way I’ve always given my homes a handle. The Bee Farm, The Bee Hive, Timely Manor…but Chez Bee is my favourite home so far! I’ve lived in most neighbourhoods in Toronto, in all manner of dwellings and I can say without hesitation that this place is my fave!
Because my place isn’t huge, I try (often in vain) to keep it to about 30 people. Cozy! In my old loft, about six years ago, I had a huge place on top of Druxy’s (at Liberty and Mowat) and had guests like Kenny Rankin, Kurt Elling, Bob Dorough and pianists Steve Koven, John Sherwood, Robert Scott and Laurence Hobgood…very small parties for the most part.
In my current digs I try to mix up the guest list. Singers, musicians, poets, puppeteers, acrobats and some close friends who are not involved in the arts in any way. Also, sometimes I’ll invite a few new acquaintances on a hunch they’ll dig it.
My parties remind me of sailing…there are so many changing factors at play…the experience is unique every time! I try to switch up the guest list often, make a theme occasionally and never know who will show up to play because even if someone says they are coming, the second a paying gig comes up they wisely take it. One time only singers and poets showed up – it turned out to be a beautiful and truly memorable evening. Sometimes five pianists show up. Tony Quarrington is an old friend and one of my few regulars. He plays all styles of guitar and loves the variety of single malt scotch I offer up – my kinda guy!
More pics to be added soon. Come on back!