Small Town Coffee Shops

Small town coffee shops calling my name on a lazy Saturday night. I’ve been here before. I know this town. Not the people or the name of the streets but the way you feel when you get out of the car and make contact with the air. It’s always fall, its always an early morning. Its always a day free of commitments. Its the perfect person and music that makes you close your eyes. You have to close your eyes because if you’re sure that when you open them you’ll be taken back. Or taken forward. Either to place it all began or the place it will all come together. Music has that power and this coffee shops takes advantage of that. I’m not sure if its the caffeine or the endless  90’s playlist. I remember driving around Calgary with 10 people in my 4 seater car on my 18th birthday. Only some of us were allowed into the bar so we spent a good part of the evening driving around listening to “I’ll be” by Edwin Mcain singing at the top of our lungs. We could circle the same 4 block radius and still feel like we were making our great escapes. Sneaking away on the radio and into the discos for the first time.

This town doesn’t have discos but I’m sure if I threw a party people would come.


Vampires In Vegas

eurovegasWhen do the lights go out in Vegas? And when they do, where do they go? Who turns them out?

I imagine a giant warehouse with endless tubes of dead fluorescent.  In the city of sin where no one wants to stop, no one wants to go home there is a man who’s only job is to stop the party.  They don’t want to leave the penny slots, the free drinks, the all too accessible sex and any kind of drug you can imagine. The worlds largest candy store for the worlds fattest child. There are vampires running up and down the strip lost and confused by the sudden darkness, by the sudden silence. A place where Vampires crave the light. And the worlds biggest diva’s sink in their deep stages. Drowning because they cant breath without their spot light. And the richest poker players cant see their hands and their terrified to fold and so they freeze and the winning stops and they too start to drown. The hooker who used to twinkle like a string of christmas lights is now seen as she is, just a woman trying to get by. Trying to make it home in one piece even though there are pieces of her scattered across the desert. The resorts, the hotels, the clubs and the restaurants are just buildings. And since this is not the apocalypse and we are not seeking refuge the masses will continue to play with the zombies and the zombies will keep leading the way. Away from a dark desert and towards the next holy light.

I Am Not Human

How do you describe yourself?

Blonde hair, ripped skinny jeans, artist, entrepreneur, dreamer, brother, son, lover, friend. Rich, famous, loved, successful, grounded, balanced, happy. Gay, 30, ambitious, magical. Funny, moody, insightful.

Sounds like me.

The majority of the time I feel happy, confident, sure of my direction. I know that I am creating a magnificent life for myself. And then every once in a while I find myself  feeling stagnant. I start to question who I am, why I’m here, where I’m going. Even with a million projects on the go and even more ideas alive inside my head I cant help but feel like….its just not enough. The more I seek the more I spiral.

What am I waiting for exactly? A big cheque? A project that lasts longer than a season? A new obsession to pour my self into? All of these things will come and go forever and I know that. So what is it that I long for?


I long to exist and be completely enthralled in nothing. To be nobody.

I am not gay. I am not human.  I am not an artist or a dreamer. I am not a word.

I am a feeling, a potential. I am a vessel, a receptor, a antena open to receive information from the divine.

In my purest form I am energy. I am the thick anticipation that fills a stadium before the rock star takes the stage. I am excitement. I am the moment right before something big happens and everything suddenly makes sense. I am not the arrival of dreams come true, I am the belief that anything is possible. You cant see me, You cant touch me, You cant hold me or break me down. But I am here and always will be. Forever creating the perfect moment. A flicker of golden light. A brief expression of the universe.







So a funny thing happened to me. I got an invitation in the mail. It was for a press conference that took place at 4 am at an unmarked warehouse in Vancouver. I had never been invited to a press conference before so I didn’t really know what the protocol was but I mean…4 am? Warehouse? really?  it just seemed a bit-dramatic.

but that was just the beginning. Lucky me!

The next morning there was a knock at my door. Usually I would have pretended I was asleep until they went away but I thought maybe it was Justin Bieber coming to give me a morning kiss so I put on my silk robe and giant sunglasses and headed to the door. When I opened it there was no Justin. Just a giant box with a big pink bow. My initial reaction was that I was being punk’d but then I said to myself..

“that’s ridiculous Peter….they stopped filming Punk’d years ago”

I picked up the box and brought to my room. Inside I found a pair of buffalo platform shoes, a neon orange faux fur jacket, fishnets and a baby t that said “Backdoor” along with a card that said “See You Tonight!


I had a mix of emotions. I loved the clothes but was worried why they were being sent to me. Surely this outfit was meant for Joey or Berlin. That and “BackDoor” could only mean one thing: Matt Troy

Matt Troy is like one of those little plastic balls you get from the 25 cent machine. It bounces into the room out of no where at incredibly speeds and if you don’t stop it it’ll destroy everything in sight. Hard and unpredictable  yet just charming enough that you just cant stop playing.  I always got the vibe that he would steal my drugs, fuck my boyfriend and then somehow convince me and everyone else that I screwed HIM over. Now that’s magic.

So Matt Troy is having a press conference at 4 am at some warehouse and I’m supposed to dress like baby spice to attend. Thats normal. I hope I still have my drug dealers phone number.

about an hour later I was grabbing a coffee when a headline under a stack of newspapers caught my attention. All I could see was LOCAL PROMOTER. I pulled down the other papers and nearly spit out my coffee when I read the entire headline


It suddenly all made sense. She’s gone full Trump.








Move to the big city. The lights are brighter. The people are cooler. The parties are better. You can become famous in the big city. You can get a super trendy drug addiction and get really drunk and throw things at people. It will be amazing. Everyone will talk about you. If they don’t just drink more, wear less and go out every single night. Its a no brainer. Anyone can do it. Save all your money for cigarettes and peroxide. You have to be blonde. You have to be skinny. You have to be on every guest list. If they don’t let you in then tell them they’re ugly. Everyone has to know who you are.

You just HAVE to live downtown. You absolutely cannot leave the West End. And don’t even think about changing your group of friends. Yes I know they’re assholes but its kind of a package deal. Who is gonna kiss your ass if you don’t hang out with them.

Sobriety? I DONT THINK SO MISSY! Fine you can do one month sober. So what if you like it, its not realistic to never drink again. Yes I suppose you can quit smoking. The wrinkles are getting pretty deep. You’ve looked 30 since you turned 23.

About last night. Yes I know. Heartbreaking. Maybe you should get new friends.  Maybe just a couple. I guess moving to East Van isn’t the worst idea. Its so far though. Whatever, just move to east van but there is no way in hell you are ever going further than that.

Don’t get Grindr. There’s no point. No one wants to fuck you. Ugh I cant believe you’re creating a Plenty Of Fish account. That is so tacky. What if someone sees you on there? Are you actually going to admit you want a relationship? Omg you already have a message! Oh he’s cute. As if you’re gonna go on a date with him. Oh god. I guess so. Just go, whatever.  YOU CANT BE IN LOVE WITH  HIM! YOU JUST MET HIM! WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOURE MOVING IN WITH HIM? OH GOD THIS IS JUST RIDICULOUS.

Ooooo I love this place. Never thought I would live in Gastown. This is literally the exact place you dreamt about as a teenager. There is no way you are EVER leaving this place.


Oh no.

Don’t even go there.

There is no way in hell we are leaving Vancouver.

I will always live downtown. I will always be the same. My desires will never change. Move to the big city. The lights are brighter. The people are cooler. The parties are better.

Omg  I love it here. Its so quiet. I love having a backyard and a car. I feel so free. There is no way I am ever leaving. Don’t even think about it. This is the Palm Springs of Canada. I’m never leaving.

Copyright Darren Kirby



I stood across the street from the Rio and watched the media huddle around the front door.  Every reporter and photographer in Canada was there. Hungry and waiting. The energy was electric. The sun was going down which made the tiny orange lights from The Rio sign burn even brighter. The occasional flashbulb that went off was the only thing that snapped me out of my daze. I finally had front row seats to a media spectacle!

Corrine Lea owns The Rio and is no stranger to making the news. She has fought the city on several issues in the past and wasn’t shy when it came to cameras. She is a fighter. A lioness protecting her den where she has the claws and the den is whatever the fuck she wants it to be. Corinne reminds me of Erin Brockovich. She looks you directly in the eye, has bouncy blonde hair (amongst other things) and lots of exposed flesh. Her sentences are a combination of politically charged statements and cutesy Lolita lilts. She exudes sex and makes you feel like at any moment she could pounce you, torture you with pleasure and make you beg for mercy. And thats exactly why every eye ball in the country was on her. She had recently pounced and everyone was grasping at the bits for her to dish on her latest victim.

On a rainy weekend in Vancouver a young and dashing Canadian politician who was experiencing a spasm of press decided to pop into The Rio for a quite night of entertainment. Somewhere he could get entertained without being the centre of attention. He could get to the theatre just as the show was starting wearing a baseball cap pulled low on his foreword, high collared jacket and a scarf.  It was fool proof. The perfect amount of disguise to let him get his ticket, a beer and take a seat without anyone recognizing. Or so he thought. Sure there was no fandom but the ticket person realized who it was and texted Corrine backstage.


An inside joke between Corinne and her staff, Corinne knew exactly who they were talking about.

On this particular Saturday night The Rio was hosting a night of long form burlesque starring…you guessed it…the lioness herself. Corinne took the stage as planned and dazzled the crowd with her hair tosses and high kicks. She straddled a chair and threw various items of clothing into the audience. Before you knew it she was practically naked on stage in front of a sold out audience. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” blared through the speakers so loud the entire theatre vibrated. Just before the climax of the piece Corinne surprised everyone by jumping off stage .The Rio doesn’t have a spot light that can follow you into the crowd so no one knew what she was doing. But that didn’t matter, they would know soon enough. When she finally popped back onto the stage she wasn’t alone. Maybe it was all those years she spent working in the dark theatre or maybe it was her superhuman female sex power but Corinne was able to find the disguised politician amongst the sea of people and drag him out of his seat and onto the stage behind her. She paraded her new friend around the stage as the crowd cheered. “Pour Some Sugar On Me” ended and “Milkshake” by Kelis started as Corinne forced the tall, dark and handsome man from Montreal into the chair that sat center stage. Not missing a beat Corinne had her legs instantly wrapped around him as she grinded wildly and laughed like the some comic book villian.  After she was done riding him like a Mary- go -Round she hopped off and crouched down in front of him. In one effortless flick of the wrist his belt came off, she pulled him to his feet and tore his pants off . At this point the crowd was loosing their minds. Corinne was born to do this.  Surprisingly the guy who initially wanted to spend the night incognito took off his jacket and his shirt and tossed his hat into the audience. There was a giant collective gasp that came from the theatre. You could hear a pin drop. He was naked and everyone knew who he was. Corinne had gone from Erin Brockovich to Monica Lewinsky by the time the song had finished. It was incredible.

Suddenly the front doors of The Rio swung open and Corinne walked out in spiked heels, red lipstick and a leather jacket. Instant. Media. Frenzy. Corinne had become the ultimate political sex symbol.

“CORINNE WHY DID YOU DO IT? ” every reporter asked

“Because I wanted to. And its 2015”



Promoting excess has been done. Being a young hot blonde drag queen isn’t exactly ground breaking. And pulling inspiration from hollywood bad girls is a no brainer for any young gay artist these days. And yet with all this recycled material there is one queen who is still managing to make it seem fresh. So I guess the question is -if its all been done before why cant we keep our eyes off Jane Smoker?

The Serpentine Queen slithered onto the drag scene like she’s been there all along. Watching us. Stalking us. Waiting for the perfect moment to strike. And what started out as a one night only Lindsay Lohan tribute has turned into a full blown take over. Jane Smoker hasn’t been around the longest and she might not even be the best at anything in particular but she is undisputed kween of cool. Need proof? She is the most followed drag queen in Vancouver on Instagram. Probably BC. She’s got hipster blood and was an underground idol before snatching the oh so mainstream title of Vancouver’s Next Drag Superstar. I remember sitting in the audience watching her win thinking it was almost like a joke she was playing on everyone.  She wasn’t from around here and yet she was slaying so effortlessly. Marking her territory in a place that didn’t really know what to do with her.  She definitely wasn’t going to be any cooler for dominating davie street but having her as their leader definitely brought Davie’s dying scene up a couple notches. Jane Smoker can go from old school davie drag party to an obscure underground rave and fit in perfectly at either. No one bats an eye. She can stand out and fit in. She’s the most popular girl in school and she’s not a total bitch! Shocking , I know!  She knows what the fuck is up. She is artistically present and has a brand that puts apple to shame. She looks expensive. Maybe not on stage- but on paper Jane Smoker is a multi million dollar media sensation. She is living and breathing her future success like its already happened. She isnt going to become a star, she is already a superstar. I guess thats why I relate to her so much. We were born famous. I used to wonder what it would be like if Parker ever met Lindsay Lohan but now I’m wonder if Jane Smoker would even notice that Lindsay was in the room.

I caught up with Jane at her Bel Air mansion to ask her how things have changed since she became a superstar. She had sent a car to pick me up from my hotel. A big white giant stretch limo. Even though I typically hated limos she some how made it seem cool. First of all the driver was some blonde girl with cleavage you could hide a baby in. Secondly the back of the limo was filled with pabst blue ribbon on ice. I giggled thinking that she must have added the beer cuz she thought it was funny. She could certainly afford to give me champagne. Maybe it was a nod to our hipster past. We were supposed to star in a reality show together you know! The Real Hipster Of Vancouver! I wasn’t cool enough for the show but she got pretty close. VHI eventually passed. Their loss!

The drive through LA was abnormally hot so I rolled down the windows as we made our way through West Hollywood. As I looked out of the car window I saw a giant Jane Smoker billboard. It was for her cigarettes. The first celebrity to have their own brand on cigarettes. She certainly got a lot of flack for that one but that was probably the whole point. No point doing something unless its gonna piss someone off! We drove by what feels like a million different mansions before the car finally slowed down at a gigantic white gate. The driver mumbled something into the intercom and the gates opened up. I felt like I was entering heaven. Only this heaven that had endless amounts of whiskey and cocaine. When I got out of the limo the driver took me around back. We would do the interview by the pool. There were giant floating champagne glasses in the pool and solid gold lounging chairs that lined the blue water.  Britney Spear’s blackout album blared through speakers hidden throughout the yard. I sat down on one of them and thought my skin was going to melt it was so fucking hot.


and there she was. Billowing smoke, bloody lips and heels to heaven.

“I’m so happy you’re here! Its been so long!”

“Thanks I love your place”

“I know, right! it was only $12 million”

“Oh thats it?”

We both laughed. Some things never change. Humor has always been the common ground for Jane and I.

We talked for what seemed like hours about her and career. Just like the old days except this time we were sober. At least I was. She told me how she finally decided to leave vancouver, her hit TV show, platinum selling album, celebrity party scene and of course….that relationship of hers! What struck me most about Jane wasn’t what she was talking about but that she was still just as excited talking about her success as she was before it all happened. I think thats what made her so special to begin with. Her raw, authentic passion. Even if it was for fame. It made her shine back then and kept her shining now.

her phone rang and we both glanced down

“LINDSAY LOHAN’s name blinked on the screen.

I looked at her in disbelief. Had she finally become besties with her teen idol? My eyes must have bulging out of my head I was so eager to hear about why Lindsay was calling her!

“That bitch owes me money” Jane said and hit the ignore button

Jane Smoker ignoring Lindsay Lohan. Wow. For some reason I wasn’t surprised. The A listers always avoided Lindsay. We both laughed and I looked up at her sprawling mansion and smiled. I couldnt help but wonder if somewhere in Vancouver right now there is a gay boy fucked out of his mind getting “SMOKER” tattooed across his arm.