Catherine Hennessey’s 70th Birthday

The 200 block of Sydney Street was uncommonly alive this evening, with a well-attended 70th birthday gala for Catherine Hennessey on one side of the street, and a wild indoor/outdoor gathering on the other.

Catherine (the consort, not the Hennessey) and Oliver have been recovering from a flu-like illness, so I was flung off by myself into the night. Arriving what I thought would be fashionably early at 6:45 p.m., I found the Hennessey gathering in full swing. I also found that I was the youngest person in the room, by about 40 years. Well, maybe 30. Okay, 20. Let’s just say, I didn’t feel that I was hanging out with my peer group, whoever they are.

Regardless of the demographics, it was a hip-happening party, and I emerged, none the worse for wear, 5 hours later. Which is an unusually early close-up for a Catherine Hennessey party, but then again, we’re all getting older.

Oddly, give the demographics, I saw many familiar faces: the Dowlings, Thompsons, and Boylans were there, interesting all (Ivan Dowling sang a lovely rendition of a song that everyone but I recognized, to much applause). Karen Mair was there, without husband Jack. Don Stewart and Kim Device, Beryl and Chris Cudmore, along with Chris’ mother Beth. George Kapelos from Toronto, who I haven’t seen since the big Canadian Living lobster shoot. I think Elizabeth Baird was there too, although I’m not sure. The Hamblys. David and Susan Mackenzie. Ritchie Simpson and Kendra. Gary Carroll and his friends Brian and Valerie from Amherst. Paul and Jane Michael. Many Orfords. All of Catherine’s sisters, of course, including honourary sister Claude. Karen Lipps and Ole Hammerlund. Wade MacLauchlan. John Tupper. Duncan McIntosh. Shauna McCabe. And untold others I didn’t meet, or whose names I can’t remember or spell.

A giant birthday cake was presented (somehow sister Betty and brother-in-law Claude got covered in chocolate icing as part of this proceeding). Innumerable interpretations of Happy Birthday were sung (along with a delightful presentation of hits of yesteryear on the electric piano by an excellent player, punctuated by a capable yet dreadful rendition of Feelings, complete with a switch over to “vibraphone mode” on the piano, which forced me to leave the room).

About halfway through the evening I was sitting in the living room, and caught a reflection in the front window of what appeared to be several naked people dressed only in feathers, glowsticks and Christmas tree garland, all standing holding drinks in Catherine’s kitchen. Have the demographics taken a wild turns towards excitement, I asked myself.

As it turns out, this was not, in fact, a reflection, but an actual event, happening outside and across the street: some sort of wild gathering of young people spilling out on the sidewalk. Catherine was alerted and, with the happy coincidence that Oliver’s present to her was none other than a glow stick, opened the door and rallied the partiers to her cause. Alas they stayed on their side of the street, and we on ours.

It was a good night.

Happy Birthday, Catherine.


Mandy's picture
Mandy on September 21, 2003 - 06:33 Permalink

A few boys in some feathers and a glow-sticks are hardly what I’d called transvestites. I must say I later found myself at the same place where these lads were really cutting a rug. Believe me, they were out for nothing but a good time. You should have joined them Peter. It certainly would beat cake and icing….

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on September 21, 2003 - 13:06 Permalink

I wonder if Erika Rutherford was there Peter. Now she is a real transgender and also a great artist and lives on PEI with her wife (confusing) and her daughter. No one is lining up to arrest her.

Erin's picture
Erin on September 21, 2003 - 15:32 Permalink

I think you witnessed a Danny Evans party — he is a hairstylist at Reflections and he throws wild, decadent parties like that every now and then.

Mandy's picture
Mandy on September 21, 2003 - 15:54 Permalink

Now Danny in drag is a site to behold… she makes me rethink my entire self and wish I could go on extreme makeover :-P (as many women feel when they cross her path)

Erin's picture
Erin on September 21, 2003 - 18:42 Permalink

Many men have found her attractive and have pursued her, much to Amber/Danny’s amusement.

destiny's picture
destiny on November 8, 2003 - 01:12 Permalink

for your information not one person that was at that party was dressed in drag. I myself was there and also outside, I am not gay, a tranvestite, transsexual, or anything of the sort. there was also no naked people outside. everybody was decently covered. it was a great party a chance to let go and be free. and not worry about the way your dressed. maybe you should have crossed the street to find out for yourself. and if you did i definitly wouldn’t put up a web site on your behalf i think you probably shouldn’t have done the same