“[Casey] Manierka is readying another left turn for 2020.” That was the kicker to SOCAN’s Casey MQ profile  from January, and while babycasey — the solo pop album being referenced — only just came out, this year’s been one left turn after another.

“Things have been good. Like, the entire world has completely changed,” Manierka says, eight months later. “But I mean right now, things are really good. Today. When I’m waking up.”

Rewind to mid-March and Manierka was feeling the same pandemic panic as the rest of us when the world went dark. But he didn’t just hide inside. Instead, the electronic producer/DJ teamed up with friends and fellow creatives Andrés Sierra, Brad Allen, and Mingus New to offer some light in the form of queer digital dance party, Club Quarantine (aka Club Q).

“The first week we decided to throw parties online, and it really had a moment,” says Manierka. “It was a great way – it’s still a great way – to stay connected online in the midst of isolation [and] see a space where people can continue to express themselves. It stemmed from the local culture in Toronto, but quite quickly became a global club.”

The then-nightly throwdown started maxing out Zoom’s thousand-person capacity, with dancers often wearing costumes, and creating living-room art installations in hopes of seeing their feed spotlighted. Club Q’s Instagram account, which posts their now-weekly Zoom links, has 68,000 followers.

While early editions booked all locals, it soon featured everyone from Brazilian drag queens and European techno DJs to pop stars Charli XCX, Tinashe, and even Lady Gaga. “Thank you so much for being here tonight,” exclaimed a costumed, dancing Gaga, while DJing remixes of her hits at Club Q’s Chromatica release party in late June. “You’re all having so much fun together in the spirit of something so kind and beautiful.”

Manierka says the organizers are having so much fun, too, and will keep doing it every Friday. “The idea for us, at some point, is to do Club Quarantine IRL,” he adds. “But that might just take a bit more time.”