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Steven Beckly, Nicola Betts, Judie Calucag, Chris Jai Centeno, Peter Knegt, Byron Laviolette, Alice Lawlor, Keith Loukes, Josh MacKinnon, Mark McEwan, Rick Mercer, Michael Pihach, Adam Segal, Pam Shime, Richard Silver, Chris Tyrell ON THE COVER

Detail from Steven Beckly’s “Hurt” (2009)

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CONTENTS

issue 07

VIEWS | LIVING & HEALTH | LISTINGS | INSIGHT | ART & DESIGN | SEX

ROBERT LEPAGE LIVE ON STAGE 2 NIGHTS ONLY! “STARTLINGLY BEAUTIFUL!” – The G uardian, UK

Sylvie Guillem Robert Lepage Russell Maliphant 11

30

22

39

22

WINTER GETAWAYS Mexico’s newest luxury destination, Riviera Nayarit by Gordon Bowness

30

BULLYING Will it get better? by Michael Pihach

39

NEW PULP FICTION Lesbian pulps make a comeback by Alice Lawlor

8 11

eonnagata

by Rick Mercer FALL FASHION FROM JUMA by Chris Jai Centeno

14

STYLIN’ with Chris Tyrell

15

JOCK YOGA by Michael Pihach

BOO K NOW - G UARANTEED TO SELL O UT!

16

OPEN HOUSE: ISLAND LIVING by Gordon Bowness

18

NEIGHBOURHOOD IN FOCUS: REGENT PARK by Richard Silver

19

RELATIONSHIP ADVICE with Adam Segal

NOV 18 & 19

21

THE DISH: CHICKEN KORMA by Mark McEwan

26

by Krishna Rau

28

JUDGE HARVEY BROWNSTONE by Paul Gallant

34

NOVEMBER CALENDAR & IN SPOTS

41

GAY CANADIAN FILM CLASSICS by Peter Knegt

43

NINA ARSENAULT ON THE ROAD by Byron Laviolette

44

I FURIOSI GOES FOR BAROQUE by Judie Calucag

47

SEX & HEALTH with Dr Keith

50

CAUGHT IN THE ACT photos by Michael Pihach

| 8PM

Call 416-872-2262 or go to sonycentre.ca Groups of 8+: 416-393-7463 Sony Centre For The Performing Arts 1 Front Street East PRODUCED BY 2010/2011 SEASON SPONSOR

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TORONTO TALK EXCHANGE VIEW FINDER →

French Connection Fresh from directing his

in NYC, Canada’s most celebrated theatre artist, Robert Lepage, returns to a Toronto stage for

Érick Labbé

Wells production created and performed by Lepage and dancer Sylvie Guillem, with choreography by Russell Maliphant and costumes by the late Alexander McQueen. It tells the story of Charles de Beaumont, Chevalier d’Éon, an 18thcentury French diplomat, soldier and spy who cross-dressed on missions. Until the day he died, his true gender was a source of constant speculation. $39 to $159. 8pm. Thu, Nov 18 and 19. Sony Centre. 1 Front St E. (416) 872-2262. sonycentre.ca.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS RICK MERCER

→ “For

weeks I’ve been a weepy, cheering mess.”

L

ike every other gay adult I’ve spent a long time looking at the It Gets Better videos. People send them to me, I send them to others. For weeks I’ve been a weepy, cheering mess. Because I work on TV I even have ing around on YouTube. As adults we love this campaign. We all want to tell these kids it will get better because we know it can and will. But I also get a sinking feeling that our concern can come across as an empty promise. We know that if you are in Grade 10, waiting to get out of high school seems like an eternity. But the campaign has made me think about gay kids in a way I really haven’t before. I like to think I do my part. But, like a lot of busy adults, my activism means that I march in a parade and I write a few cheques. I realized my gay donor dollars

8

November 2010

(if that’s a term) have always concentrated on areas like AIDS, human rights and political action. It’s really been all about me or the sense that when I traditionally thought about gay causes I didn’t think about the gay kids. kids it gets better, I had better do my part to ensure that it does — tions are on the front lines, which activists are doing the heavy lifting, helping kids help themselves, then adding them to the list, lifting the phone lightly to my ear, making the call and sending the cheque.

FOR ACTIVISTS AND ORGANIZATIONS tackling bullying, see our cover story on page 30.

TORONTO TALK EXCHANGE SOUND OFF REMEMBRANCE DAY

LETTERS PEACE & COMMUNITY → Articulate and mindful, Brian Phillips’ article (Toronto Is Your City, In Toronto, Oct 2010) thoughtfully nudges us in a direction of peace and community. These are values many of us possess. Hearing about them and how they can be applied doesn’t just reinforce their power but also inspires optimism through the realization that, by making the right choices as to who will next govern our city, we can be who or what we value. Mike Didier, Toronto

TAKE A BOW

servicemen and women in past and current wars. But war exacts a terrible toll on everyone, even generations later. We asked community members to talk about how war has impacted their lives. “Being deployed overseas highand current Canadian Forces members have made. The separation from my boyfriend leading up to the Christmas holidays was challenging; I had taken so much for granted. Seeing the blessed we are in Canada.”

LIEUTENANT (NAVY) STEPHEN CHURM

“My nephew enlisted at 18 and stayed in the army for six years, during which he did two tours in Afghanistan. It was a harrowing time for his family: We felt constant dread, fearing the worst, a dread that lay underneath everything we did. Because the war in Afghanistan is so uncertain, so hard to be sure of its purpose or validity, it was doubly hard to feel he was risking his life... for what? And for whom? I remain impressed, however, with his commitment, determination and focus, how he excelled at what he set out to do. Now that he is safely home, we are able to read newspapers again, though it remains extremely upsetting when a soldier’s life is lost in this (or any) war.”

“The biggest challenge for me as a pastor at a church where we strive to apply our spirituality to life’s events has been ‘Is there such a thing as a just war?’ I believe it is a moral duty to ensure that any war we enter into is morally defendable. In my opinion, that standard was met but not in the Iraq war. I was proud of Canada for staying out of Iraq. We have a wonderful country with many protections for gays and lesbians and we owe this in part to those who defended our country in World War II.”

→ I like the Luke Macfarlane interview so much (Brother in Arms, In Toronto, Oct 2010). I think Luke is the best actor ever and a wonderful person. In my site dedicated to him (lukemacfarlane.tk) you can see how much he’s a great person. Michela Garau, Cagliari, Italy

GET IN TOUCH → Loved a story, or did you

hate it? We got something wrong? You like what we're doing? Let us know. Send us your letter to: Letters to the editor, In Toronto magazine, 348 A Queen St W, Toronto, ON, M5V 2A2; email us at editorial@intorontomag.com or online at intorontomag.com. We value your feedback.

REV BRENT HAWKES, METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CHURCH OF TORONTO

FILMMAKER LAURIE LYND (BREAKFAST WITH SCOT)

intorontomag.com

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11

LI V I N G & HEA LTH

FA S H I O N

BRING ON THE COLD →Fall

and winter style tips from Juma

Writer Chris Jai Centeno | Photography Felix Wong

W

hen the leaves change colour, so should your wardrobe. Fall represents a sudden change from comfortable light cottons to heavier fabrics. With the creeping cold, it’s time for some warm, comfortable and stylish pieces. Ultra-hip and polished brother and sister design team Juma — Torontonians Alia Juma, 30, and Jamil Juma, 32 — creates trendy globe-trotting styles that are uniquely urban, accessible, ethnic and chic. Having lived in various parts of the world including the United Arab Emirates, Kenya and the US, the siblings count art, culture and world travel as inspiration. Like their seven-yearold company, their style continues to evolve, keeping pace with a global market obsessed with the next big thing.

After graduating from George Brown College, Alia started her custom clothing label. Older sibling Jamil helped out with sales and marketing while looking for a teamed up in 2003 to launch a ready-towear line that counted exclusive boutique Fred Segal as an early client. The clientele has since expanded to include independent design stores like Serpentine and Pho Pa in Toronto and Revolve in Los Angeles and to international boutiques such as Henri Bendel in New York City and Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong. The Jumas recently unveiled their midOctober installation at The Spoke Club. But I caught up with them in New York where they dished about this season’s must-haves, style tips and affordable luxuries that would lift anyone’s wardrobe into fabulosity.

SILK SCARVES

For the creative professional, one accessory that could give your attire some luxury is a silk printed scarf. “It looks modern, distinct and can be individualistic by selecting your own print,” says Jamil Juma. “It can be worn as a replacement for a tie or over a jacket, shirt or overcoat.”

Continued on page 12

LI V I N G & HEA LTH

Continued from page 11

MAXIMAL

We’re already starting to see a shift from clean minimalist structures to the return of something more playful. “Cable knit sweaters inspired by the great white north as well as loose jersey tops draped over slouchy pants are a nice look for the season,” says Alia Juma.

12

November 2010

MILITARY & DENIM

“We see timeless classics with a directional twist,” says Jamil. “Denim shirts are key as well as military-inspired shirts and jackets for fall.”

L I V I N G & H E A LT H

LAYERS & KNITS

Layering can be tricky sometimes; it doesn’t necessarily mean putting everything on at once. Having an open mind and being versatile is key. “We don’t necessarily follow trends but we do recommend knits for the winter,” says Alia. “A nice knit can be worn as a layering piece,” offering warmth, comfort and functionality.

JUMA men’s wear in Toronto is available at Serpentine. 18 Hazelton Ave. jumastudio.com.

intorontomag.com

13

LI V I N G & HEA LTH

STYLIN' WITH CHRIS TYRELL → What’s the point of buying something very expensive if every time you go out (even in another city) someone else might be wearing your Gucci-Prada-Marc Jacobs? Designing your own look requires a hell of a

of man-about-town Gary Kammerer show the power of custom design

1

Q&A

14

2

WHAT ARE YOU WEARING?

OUTFIT 1

OUTFIT 2

Ghetto Panda custom-made Siberian wolf fur coat. Custommade super 150 brown plaid pants. Basic black cotton V-neck T-shirt. Canali handcrafted brown leather shoes.

Custom-made navy velvet jacket. Custom-made Rorschach print dress shirt. Custom plaid pants. Hugo Boss Selection patent blue leather shoes.

November 2010

WHO HAD THE MOST INFLUENCE ON YOUR SENSE OF STYLE?

that I absolutely love having some-

My mom often described my dad as a man having “champagne taste on beer man’s wages.” He loved expensive clothes and even more expensive toys. Despite being away from him most of my life, it’s really no shocker his admiration for expensive things was handed down through his “jeans,” literally. -----------------------------------------

It’s the only way to ensure you get way it should and nobody else will have anything like it. -----------------------------------------

WHAT SHOULD EVERY GUY BUY THIS SEASON IF HE DOESN’T ALREADY HAVE IT? A custom-made suit. -----------------------------------------

WHOSE STYLE DO YOU ADMIRE?

IS FASHION IMPORTANT TO YOU?

I’ve always been a fan of men’s dressing from the ’50s. Cary Grant would be someone I admired. Mostly for the way he managed to mix and match all those different patterns and still pull off looking so well put together. -----------------------------------------

I’m not really into fashion like most people think. I love clothing. I love what looks good on me or on other people. But I don’t follow designers like a hockey fan will follow the sport. At the end of the day, it’s just cloth. The bottom line is how I look in it and how I feel in it. -----------------------------------------

WHY DO YOU HAVE SO MANY CUSTOM-DESIGNED PIECES? pieces I want to wear and learned at an early age that anything ever made started with an idea. With that in mind, I have tons of ideas, but can’t draw, can’t sew and definitely don’t own a textile factory. I have quite a few design houses

BOXERS OR BRIEFS? Neither. I’m a boxer-briefs kinda man; I like my boys supported. And they are equally perfect attire for a pool party if I forget my trunks. •

L I V I N G & H E A LT H

M

ichael DeCorte says he was a “typical club kid who got messed up with party life.” His life spun out of control in the mid-’90s while promoting parties in Toronto’s gay scene. “I was a mess,” he says, talking about his struggles with addiction. “Just crazy in my giant platform shoes.” Now 35, sober, and totally bootylicious, DeCorte has found a new way to get high — yoga. Not the traditional bend-yourself-into-apretzel type, but a style of yoga

“It focusses more on strength and endurance rather than on who teaches yoga full-time. When DeCorte quit the party scene he took up marathon running and bodybuilding and shed 100 pounds. Then he found yoga. “I needed something that was both spiritual and physical,” he says. Beginners → BREAK A SWEAT. Michael DeCorte invented Jock Yoga to meet his needs as an athlete.

TONE, PEOPLE →Fitness:

A yoga trend for the more athletic

Writer Michael Pihach | Photography Maloney Aguirre

classes, however, were too boring for DeCorte’s athletic taste. There were advanced classes, but

invented his own yoga regimen, what he now dubs Jock Yoga. “You still do all the fun things, like arm balancing, but you don’t

have to do the splits, or hurt your knees by doing a lotus position,” says DeCorte. Jock Yoga targets the whole body, zeroing in on muscles you didn’t know you had. “Participants tone muscles, rather than build them,” says DeCorte. “You’ll have a big muscle dude, balancing on his hands, doing back bends. Exercises he’d never expect to be doing. “Athletes treat it as a workout. They feel accomplished because they’ve broken a sweat.” DeCorte ups the coolness factor of Jock Yoga by playing contemporary music in class. “A lot of people think yoga is too New Agey, and therefore will stay away.” DeCorte plays everything from Enigma to Massive Attack. He’ll even throw on Madonna. “I expect her to endorse me one day,” he says. “I’m serious.”

JOCK YOGA is offered at: Level Fitness. 9 St Joseph St. (647) 439-6549. Buddha Body Yoga. 473A Church St. (647) 896-9807. System Fitness. 661 Queen St E. (416) 699-6998. MICHAEL DECORTE is at strongbodystillmind.com.

LI V I N G & HEA LTH

O PE N H O U S E

ISLAND LIVING Photographer and teacher April Hickox lives in a small cottage on Toronto Island. Like many original island homes, it began as a tent 130 years ago. The island inspires much of Hickox’s work. The light, the land, the water — and the community they sustain — are also integral to her home →

Writer Gordon Bowness | Photography Nicola Betts

16

November 2010

L I V I N G & H E A LT H

You’ve lived in this house for 27 years. Your parents rented an island home when you were three and bought one when you were seven. You must be considered a real islander by now. Yes. But on the island, we always trace the history to whoever

Describe your art practise the island. I have two types of art: landscape and object. Right now I’m following around park workers who create these huge compost heaps. The gardeners are trying to eradicate invasive species at the same time as they plant non-

Powers’ house. I can tell because the back of the slats is the name of who ordered it. That wood was used everywhere. These rooms used to be like wooden crates. You are a single mom but you and your neighbours form a very interdependent network. Once I come home, my door is always open. There are always people coming and going and kids running in and out. I live here with my daughter Alexandra and Baby Cat. My “little family” consists of two other adults and three kids. And we do form an unusual relationship that’s very supportive. I don’t know what you’d call it. The kids can’t call me grandma or auntie... they just call me April. But beyond that there is a whole extended family. That’s just the way it is in small communities. You’ve said you don’t like to make large changes or renovate quickly. Why? Every house comes with its own history. By the time I got this house, my own aesthetic was formed by island homes that are cobbled together with existing materials — it was green before the term was invented. I like keeping the feeling of a house. What do you like best about the house? It has many spaces both inside and out where I can work. And the light, of course. Space is at a premium in island homes. Name one solution. I got custom built-in cupboards, a desk and bookcases in my bedist I use a lot of books. It’s amazing to be able to see them all and just reach up and grab one.

gardens. These landscape works are part of my Leo Kamen show opening this month. One of my past object-based series featured photos of teacups nesting in piles. At the Free Bridge [an island community drop-off and exchange system, sort of like a free secondhand store] there were all these lovely teacups, broken but carefully mended. When someone’s grandmother had died they were discarded. I love how objects hold memory.

don’t use the experience directly, being creative will always be in their hearts, in the way they think and work in the world. Ultimately, I hope they are happy. LINE ART AUCTION. 8pm. Wed, Nov 10. Berkeley Church. (416) 962-2232. youthline.ca. See page 37 for more info. COMPOST. Opening Sat, Nov 20, 2pm to 5pm. Until Dec 18. Leo Kamen Gallery. 80 Spadina Ave, #406. leokamengallery.com.

Your art is in a downtown studio while your home is full of folk art. kilter objects? I feel inspiration and creativity are self-generated, that they come from within yourself and from your own experiences. Folk art sidered the garage sale of art but now is very popular and collectible. You’ve put together the Line Art fundraising auction for the Gay, Lesbian and Trans Youth Line for the past two years. What do you get out of it? The artists I’ve selected are a very diverse set of individuals, all very passionate about their work and their own identities, all wanting to support an incredible cause. When the work starts coming in, that’s the exciting part for me. I just have to put it up. You’ve been teaching a variety of photography courses fulltime at the Ontario College of Art and Design for 11 years. What is the most important thing you want your students to learn? voice, of what drives them, and have the courage to speak about it in a visual way. Even if students intorontomag.com

17

LI V I NG & HEA LT H

NEIGHBOURHOOD

St E

Par

IN FOCUS

rard

Ger

e liam nt S

—Regent Park

t

By Richard Silver

F

or years Cabbagetown res-

THE GOOD NEWS

idents awaited the long-

There are some really well-priced

promised reworking of the

and well-designed apartments in

original Cabbagetown — reborn

the new buildings as well as some

in the 1940s as Canada’s largest

excellent rental and geared-to-

and oldest social housing project,

income housing. It is exciting to

Regent Park. It had a controversial

see the long-awaited changes and

history due in part to the design.

be a part of a new and changing

The lack of through streets isolated the 69-acre neighourbood, creating a ghetto.

THE BAD NEWS

In the past 10 years it has become

The next few years will be full of

home for many new Canadians

construction in the area: An aquatic

and their families making for a

centre is supposed to be ready for

lively and diverse neighbourhood

the Commonwealth Games, a large

as well as bringing lots more street

community centre is scheduled, as well as more new housing units

Gerrard.

over the next 10 years.

In the past couple of years some of the tenement housing has come

THE BOTTOM LINE

down; cranes have gone up and so

Getting in early by buying into

have nicely designed apartment

a project of this size will proba-

and condominium towers. Streets

bly be a good investment as long

are starting to appear where bar-

as you are patient and look at it

ricades existed and now cars

in the long term. Being a pioneer

and residents can saunter on the

is sometimes risky but fun as you

newly landscaped thoroughfares.

watch the development up close

Banks, coffee shops and a new

and personal.

Sobey’s Fresh market is creating an extended shopping area south of Gerrard St.

RICHARD SILVER is a salesperson with Bosley Real Estate and blogs at torontoism.com

L I V I N G & H E A LT H

Meet Your Perfect match

RELATIONSHIP ADVICE

—with Adam Segal → “My partner and I have been together for six years in an open relationship. We are happily each other’s main squeeze and have agreed to supplemental sex on the side. I’m a little worried about the frequency of my hookups over the past year. I meet guys at the gym, online and at a public washroom near work. I enjoy the sex but feel a little out of control. How do I know if I’m just a robustly horny guy or if I’m heading into sex rehab territory?” Frederic

Never before have the words “sex

other less pleasurable emotional

addiction” been so present in our

states reinforces a belief that our

collective consciousness. Endless

feelings are dangerous and need

stories about Tiger Woods’ mul-

to be avoided. For some people

titude of mistresses and reality

that high can come from endless

TV shows about recovering sex

googling of washed-up ’80s one-

addicts have resulted in a wave of

hit wonders, eating an entire bag

self-diagnosis and, frankly, over-

of chips without noticing or com-

use of this label.

ing home with every episode of

But if you are feeling wigged out

Wonder Woman on DVD and other

by your nonstop sexing, you’re

crap you don’t need. None of these

likely on to something. Sex, ide-

activities are inherently unhealthy,

ally, should feel good and not leave

but when they are abused to the

you feeling guilty or disconnected. Gay, lesbian and trans folks have

point of making us unconscious to our own lives, that spells trouble. Also, what you interpret as horn-

and as a result it’s fair to praise

iness sometimes could be a long-

our clans for being fairly sex-pos-

ing for true connection. Seeking

itive. However, mindlessly seek-

intimacy through anonymous sex

ing out sex whenever we have free

may delay a feeling of loneliness

time on our hands or want a hit of

but certainly won’t resolve it. For

validation is kind of sex-negative.

a lot of guys, it feels easier to seek

Being able to access sex at all

out closeness with a stranger rather

hours of the day via bathhouses or

than risk feeling vulnerable by truly

-

opening up to a friend or partner.

fect climate for sexual compulsiveness. Because hookups can hap-

out for a walk and get an ice-cream

pen almost immediately [“There’s

and end up with something/some-

an app for that!”], it’s more crucial

one else in your mouth, it’s likely not

than ever to pause before beginning

just serendipity. On some level, you

a sex hunt and examine how you

invited it. So take some responsibil-

are feeling. Ask yourself: Am I feel-

ity for your choices. Sex is hottest

ing lonely… sad… angry… fearful

when it’s what you really want and

about anything? Is my co-worker’s

you’re not sleepwalking through it.

passive-aggressive shit making me feel miserable? Am I upset that my last night? Using a sexual high to sidestep

ADAM SEGAL is a writer and therapist who works in private practice in downtown Toronto. Ask him your relationship or mental health question at relationship@ intorontomag.com.

intorontomag.com

11

LI V ING & HEA LT H

THE DISH Chicken korma

A STyli Sh com TEmpor A ry

c A nv AS

Recipe by Mark McEwan

→ “This is a great hearty meal that is perfect as the weather begins to cool off.”

THE lof T

T H E AT R I U M 571 Adelaide St. E, Toronto ardevents.com INGREDIENTS

In the same pan, add the remain-

1 kg boneless, skinless chicken legs,

ing garlic, cinnamon stick, bay

cut into two, or drumsticks only

leaves, crushed cardamom and fry for a few minutes, being careful

vegetable oil 3 tsp/14 ml ground cumin

not to burn the bottom of the pan. Pour in the chicken stock or

3 tsp/14 ml ground coriander

water and deglaze. Add onion

4 tsp/19 ml garlic puree

puree, ground almond and whip-

onion puree (1 sliced onion, fried

ping cream, season with salt and

in 2 tbsp/29 ml vegetable oil till

pepper.

caramelized and pureed) 60 g ground almond

Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Add in the

2 bay leaves

chicken and let simmer for 20 to

1 cinnamon stick

30 minutes or until the chicken is

250 ml 35% whipping cream

thoroughly cooked.

1 litre water or chicken stock

416 601 1454

Adjust the seasoning to your

3 cardamom pods crushed

preference with the salt, pepper

2 tsp/9 ml lemon juice

and lemon juice, take out the bay

Salt and pepper to taste

leaves and the cinnamon stick.

PREPARATION

bread and mango chutney.

M “… rich

ark asri

and powerful

voice transcends traditional boundaries of popular music…” - Jim Brickman

Serve with aromatic rice or naan Toss chicken with cumin, cori-

Serves six.

Mark Masri is quickly gaining a

ander, 1 tsp/5 ml of garlic and gin-

reputation for soulful music with

ger, salt and pepper. Let stand for

timeless appeal.

1 hour. In a medium pan on medium heat, add the vegetable oil or clarover until crisp and golden brown. Remove and set aside.

MARK MCEWAN operates One restaurant at The Hazelton Hotel (116 Yorkville Ave) and McEwan grocery at the Shops at Don Mills (38 Karl Fraser Rd). mcewanfoods.com.

NOVEMBER 24 AT 8PM

experience it live! 905.874.2800 | www.rosetheatre.ca

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LI V I N G & HEA LTH

T R AV E L

LUXURY & NATURE →Mexico’s

Riviera Nayarit is planning for its moment in the sun

Writer Gordon Bowness | Photography Edgar Ladron de Guevara & Gordon Bowness

I

22

f your idea of a lavish sun

a gay clientele make PV the obvi-

holiday does not include a

ous choice. But Nayarit, dubbed

bunch of screaming drunks

Riviera Nayarit in 2007, wants to

“We want to give gay and lesbian

Zarkin recently spirited a small

-

build on the success of PV while

travellers a choice,” says Richard

group of gay journalists from the

ping back and forth across your

avoiding the pitfalls that plague

Zarkin, public relations manager

US, Canada and Mexico — includ-

ocean

many

in

of Riviera Nayarit’s Convention

ing myself — to showcase the vir-

Nayarit, the Mexican coastal state

Mexico — an endless wall of tow-

and Visitors Bureau. “When my

tues of Nayarit. “This must be the

directly north of Puerto Vallarta.

ering hotels, overcrowded beaches

friends come to Puerto Vallarta,

view

all

day,

consider

tourist

destinations

lated beaches and then sit down to

amongst gorgeous scenery. And they want the gays.

Puerto Vallarta, or PV, is the

and scant attention to the envi-

I know they want more than the

Mexico,” says Zarkin. “No other

favourite destination of most gay

ronment. Riviera Nayarit is posi-

mid-level hotels now serving the

Mexican tourist board has reached

and lesbian visitors to Mexico

tioning itself as Mexico’s newest

gay and lesbian market,” he says.

out to the gay community like

(and gay and lesbian Mexicans,

luxury destination, offering miles

“Nayarit

safety,

this.” Despite his Russian last

for that matter). The clubs, the

of unspoiled beaches and crystal

incredible food and amazing wil-

name, Zarkin, who’s gay, was born

beach scene, the promenade and

clear turquoise water with high-

derness areas. Where else can you

and raised in Mexico City. He’s

the number of hotels catering to

end resorts and eco-lodges nestled

walk for miles along barely popu-

visibly proud of his part in nudg-

November 2010

offers

service,

L I V I N G & H E A LT H

ing his agency and the hotels he

of Mexican wines, standouts from

nights are by candlelight. “There

represents to become more gay-

Baja and near Guadalajara, makes

is fantasy in the design,” says

positive. Everywhere we go, hotel

for a perfect evening.

de la Borbolla. Guests walk up

managers and marketing folk

Imagine yourself getting mar-

know they have to pay more than

ried on a rocky promontory jut-

lip service. “We want to learn

two private sandy coves below or two yoga pavilions at the top.

crash and the sun sets. The Four

The retreat offers many types of

Seasons wants to make that dream

classes, activities and excursions.

ffering unparalleled luxury,

a reality, with their onsite wed-

Haramara has also played host

the Four Seasons Punta Mita

ding planners. “We want to mar-

from you,” is a refreshing refrain.

O

and down narrow footpaths to

to numerous gay guests, even a naked yoga group (don’t worry,

is located at the northern end of

Banderas Bay, a 45-minute drive

and lesbian wedding market,” says

from PV’s international airport.

Claudia Silva, marketing director at

Despite its holistic health focus,

Built in 1999, the hotel and tourist

the Four Seasons Punta Mita. (You

the food in the restaurant and

residence complex points to the

can only have commitment cer-

tree-house terrace is anything but

future of Riviera Nayarit. There’s

emonies in Nayarit, though, like

Spartan. It can be healthy and deli-

already a St Regis in Punta Mita;

all states in Mexico, it must rec-

cious, like beet puree with sticks

a Hyatt and other fancy proper-

ognize same-sex marriages done

of carrots, cucumbers and jicama,

ties are in the works further north

in Mexico City.) Everyone from

or it can be decadent, like crème

along the coast. None of them will

the kiddies to your future mother-

brulée with passion fruit pips. (If

crowd each other.

in-law would be blissed out in this

daily yoga sounds too intimidat-

place.

ing, you can just eat here if you

The main pool and bar at the Four

a

Did I mention the glorious yacht

sweeping arc of beach, is a mag-

Seasons,

built

above

you can book for whale watching?

net for guests. But if the kids start

The resort offers easy access to

bugging you, you can retreat to

Puerto Vallarta, with day and eve-

the adult-only pool with its pri-

ning shuttles to town for shop-

vate cabanas, or the spa, or the

ping and dining. Why not mix and

adult-only beach. Gorgeous as

match your holiday with a week-

it is clever, the layout presents

end blow-out in PV and a low-

every level of privacy and social-

key retreat to Punta Mita during

they booked the whole place out).

book ahead.)

→ T HE T OUR Four Seasons at sunset (far left), mangroves near San Blas (below), Haramara retreat (bottom).

Continued on page 25

the week? The Four Seasons also out which form of indulgence

offers day trips to nearby Sayulita,

you want at any given moment.

an old hippie hang-out with a

With that in mind, the resort sur-

great beach popular with surfers.

prises sun-befuddled guests with

It’s a funky town with plenty of

impromptu treats like ice cream

shops and galleries, including the

or foot massages. You just have

lovely Huichol Centre with tradi-

to give in (I drew the line at the

tional and contemporary crafts

Evian water misting, hard nut

from

that I am). By far, the most lux-

people.

the

region’s

indigenous

urious rooms are the spacious

One of the most breathtaking

ocean-front suites with private

spots on our trip was Haramara,

plunge pools.

a yoga retreat built high up on a

With its three dinner restau-

vertiginous, forested valley over-

rants, Four Seasons Punta Mita

looking the ocean, just south of

is leading the charge to make

Sayulita. Owner Sajeela de la

Nayarit a culinary hot spot. The

Borbolla used to have another

open air Bahía by the beach can’t

retreat near Tulum on the east

be beat — ocean breezes, a great

coast until a hurricane wiped her

view of the sunset and fresh, sim-

out. Luckily, the Sierra Madres

ply prepared seafood like grilled

caught her in their spell. Each

octopus or seared red snapper

of the 15 private cabanas at

(you can pick your own from the

Haramara were lovingly designed

catch of the day brought in earlier

by de la Borbolla. There’s no elec-

in the morning). A great selection

tricity in the open-air cabanas; intorontomag.com

23

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11

L I V I N G & H E A LT H Continued from page 23

T

two-

an hour near dusk in a small out-

when the family bought the hotel it

lane highway north from PV

board boat, or panga, exploring the

made sense that she’d take over the

tomato juice with a hint of orange

kitchen. But it wasn’t a given.

zest and spices). The Mexicans in

he

winding,

mostly

through Nayarit was badly dam-

a shot of sangrita (freshly squeezed

aged by a freak rain storm in

that empties into the ocean near

“I wanted to be a pilot,” says

September (even one of the main

the fabled Isla del Rey, an island

Vazquez, 50. “But I ended up as an

we drink (cheap) tequila up north.

bridges out of PV was knocked

sacred to the Huichol Indians. Then

down). The road was still pass-

we headed into much narrower

I hated it; I couldn’t stand the

class chef Vazquez has resisted the

Though celebrated as a worldcall to work in larger cities. “I’m

able in our van, so jeeps and more

channels that snake through the

rugged vehicles will have no prob-

bush. This is a major bird-watch-

Her family encouraged her to follow

more concerned with quality of life.

lem. It’s still a very pretty drive

ing region. The variety we spotted

her passion for food. Vazquez went

I’m very happy here.” She is a good

with less and less development

was bewildering: countless types

off to Paris to study at the Cordon

place to stop this tour of Nayarit. As

Bleu Academy in Paris. With that

a passionate spokesperson for the

the further north you go; nothing but forests and farms. Spectacular

pelicans. And we got less than 15

classic French grounding, Vazquez

region, she is actively engaged in

ocean views start to tease 90 min-

feet from a hulking crocodile.

was able to return to her home-

shaping a better future for her town.

land and build on the region’s het-

“Because we are surrounded by

utes north of Sayulita (but there

We returned from our adven-

tiny

ture into the caring hands of Chef

erogeneous

our

water, San Blas has been left alone.”

beach spots along the route for

Vazquez and her superior restau-

very traditional dishes are a mix of

But she knows change is coming.

local and Spanish, and the Spanish

Development is encroaching from

guide is very helpful). Our des-

Canela hotel owned and operated by

themselves were a mix. And over

Mazatlan in the north and Puerto

tination was the natural bounty

her family. (Though charming and

the years all sorts of Asian and

Vallarta in the south. She’s encour-

surrounding the small colonial

friendly I wouldn’t call Garza Canela

town of San Blas and the cook-

a luxury hotel. The rooms are large

ing of Betty Vazquez, arguably the

and clean, however, and the air con-

“That said, you still have to pre-

want to keep what’s good about San

region’s best home-grown chef.

ditioning works.) The Vazquez fam-

serve and honour the more tradi-

Blas but change is good if change is

A centre of shipping in the 18th-

ily is from the nearby state capital

tional cuisine.”

done right.”

century, San Blas is now a sleepy

of Tepic. San Blas was the family’s

Her cooking was superb. Every-

holiday spot; Betty has fond mem-

thing from the bread and marma-

-

ories of coming here as a child. So

lades to the ices was homemade.

fect blend of luxury and nature is

Vazquez grows much of her herbs

there now, waiting for you.

are

countless

coves

and

the intrepid explorer — Frommer’s

mangrove swamps. We spent over

→ FRIENDLY Tahéima (left), Betty Vazquez and El (bottom).

cuisine.

“Even

aged by Mexicans of all stripes who was fusion before fusion existed.

are invested in those changes. “We

Hopefully Nayarit will get it right.

and citrus fruits on the property. A shot of tequila never tasted as delicious as it did here, accompanied by

RIVIERA NAYARIT rivieranayarit.com.

NAYARIT DELUXE PUNTA MITA Four Seasons Incomparable lux-

SAYULITA Haramara A luxurious yet sim-

ury, service and setting, just an hour from Puerto Vallarta. fourseasons.com/puntamita. St Regis Secluded, exclusive, gorgeous. starwoodhotels.com/stregis/puntamita.

ple yoga retreat in a spectacular setting. Ultra-romantic. haramararetreat.com.

Hotel Des Artistes Del Mar

Large, well-appointed residential suites. The restaurant, Café des Artistes del Mar, is owned by acclaimed chef Thierry Blouet (following the success of Café des Artistes in Puerto Vallarta). hoteldesartistesdelmar.com. NUEVO VALLARTA Tahéima Wellness Resort An

all-inclusive hotel with a strong health focus. In its first year, so offering good deals. Close to Puerto Vallarta but not on the beach. taheimahotel.com.

Cielo Rojo A tiny perfect bou-

tique hotel in a tiny town, a few blocks from the beach. hotelcielorojo.com. Polo Club An elegant outdoor restaurant and, yes, polo. polovallarta.com. SAN BLAS Garza Canela Hotel Basic,

friendly, family-run hotel with a fantastic restaurant, El Delfin. Amazing nature excursions nearby. garzacanela.com.

intorontomag.com

25

LI V I N G & HEA LTH

PE O PL E

PETTING ZOO →From

grateful clients and homophobic colleagues to crazy dog-show types, veterinarian John Reeve-Newson has seen it all Writer Krishna Rau | Photography Nicola Betts

W

hen John Reeve-Newson erinary practice in Rosedale in 1966, he knew he would draw a particular type of pet owner. He had returned to his Canadian tice in the US after he learned might be drafted to Vietnam. He then took the bold step of opening The Animal Clinic opposite what was then the largest clinic in Toronto. But Reeve-Newson — who currently operates a clinic of the same name near Dundas and Jarvis streets — knew there was an untapped market. “I knew what I had to offer my clients: I was pretty cute, and I attracted a lot of gay clients. I had a lot of style; we were more upscale. I had beautiful art on the walls, music, nicely dressed staff, I always wore a shirt and tie. I knew the clients I would be attracted to and who would be attracted to me.” Reeve-Newson himself hadn’t come out yet. In fact, he was still married, although he says he knew he was attracted to men. But in those days, he says, gay men and lesbians were eager for a vet who would treat them like human beings. “There really was a client niche to encourage. There was a lot of anti-gay hostility in those days. I always treated gay clients with dignity and respect. I was someone who was empathetic.” Even when he came out himself in → BES T IN SHOW John Reeve-Newson, seen here with Cookie, his Norwich Terrier, breeds championship Borzois and judges at the famous Westminster Dog Show. 26

November 2010

1970, Reeve-Newson says he faced real prejudice as an openly gay vet in Toronto. He remembers a professional conference at the time where one of the seminar topics was how He also points to a former professor of his at the University of Guelph who had always extolled his virtues… until he came out. “He would tell people there was a wonderful vet in Toronto, it’s too bad he’s become a girl.” But Reeve-Newson’s practice continued to thrive, and his cli-

“I KNEW WHAT I HAD TO OFFER MY CLIENTS: I WAS PRETTY CUTE, AND I ATTRACTED A LOT OF GAY CLIENTS.” ents continued to stick with him, including celebrities like the Eaton family and the late Ontario premier John Robarts and his Maltese. “I never hid it. But I’m not a screamer. I’ve never run around in pastels and earrings. And I didn’t lose any clients.” In 1970, his practice yielded a who was to become his partner of the last 40 years, Dr Richard Meen, walked in the door with his Borzoi. Reeve-Newson says a lot of men had tried hitting on Meen. “Others had tried, none had succeeded.” In 1977, Reeve-Newson established a new Animal Clinic on Parliament St before moving to his current location on Mutual in 2002.

DOGGIE DETAILS

Back in 1971 Reeve-Newson and Meen — a psychiatrist (for humans) specializing in violent adolescents — opened Kishniga Kennels, north of Brighton, Ontario. “It’s where all the gay boys and girls go on the weekend,” says Reeve-Newson. Over the years, they’ve bred a variety of dogs, including prize-winning Dobermans, Old English Sheepdogs, Skye Terriers and French Bulldogs. Currently,

they

breed

Borzois,

although he says they only produce one litter a year at most these days. At their home in Toronto, the two live with a two-year-old Norwich Terrier called Cookie and an Italian Greyhound called Cecilia. They’ve also shown many of their dogs, although Reeve-Newson says Meen did most of the in-ring work. “He’s big and kind of showy. I was more behind the scenes, groom-

THE MOST POPULAR BREEDS AMONG GAY MEN

Shih Tzus Schnauzers French Bulldogs COMMON DISEASES

Dental disease, very common and often overlooked Obesity is as common among pets as people PICKING BREEDS

When picking a dog, don’t base your choice on the look. If you’re living in a downtown apartment, don’t get a large breed or a herding breed. John ReeveNewson says that border collies living downtown, for example, often have to be put on Ritalin because of their lack of work.

ing, feeding and picking up shit.” Reeve-Newson

also

became

a dog show judge. He is quali-

dog world. But I’m an anal-retentive Capricorn. I like it.”

-

Reeve-Newson, in fact, is one of

rently works at shows all over the

only a handful of Canadian judges

world, including the very biggest

able to take part in an unlimited

like the Westminster in New York.

number of shows in the US. New

In October, he judged at the pres-

regulations brought in a few years

tigious Morrison Essex show in

ago restrict judges north of the bor-

New Jersey, presiding over huge Newfoundlands

and

tiny

pugs.

“From the sublime to the ridiculous,” he says. But starting out as a judge is much less glamorous. “You have

the US. “Most Canadian judges are out of their depth. But I was grandfathered in, as much as I hate that phrase.”

to have been breeding for a num-

As far as his day job goes,

ber of years. Your reputation when

although he turned 70 this year,

you start judging is based on your

Reeve-Newson says he’s nowhere

reputation as a breeder. And you

near ready to quit. He says he was

have to start at small shows in

reminded of this recently when

Bumfuck, Alberta. You have to do

at the home of a client whose dog

your work in the trenches.”

needed to be put to sleep.

The world of big-time dog shows

“She said, ‘You know, John, I’ll

really can be crazy, says Reeve-

probably get one more dog, so you

Newson. He remembers being at

can’t retire for another 15 years.’

a show where writer and direc-

It’s been a wonderful life for me.

tor Christopher Guest and his

I’m seeing the second and third of

wife Jamie Lee Curtis were doing

generation of people and of their

research for what was to become

pets.”

the movie satire Best in Show. Dog breeders can be that obsessive, he says. “I certainly recognized most

THE ANIMAL CLINIC. 106 Mutual St. (416) 868-1545 . theanimalclinic.ca.

I NSI G H T

THE COURTS

TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER →Navigating

the treacherous waters of family law Writer Paul Gallant

S

even years after the end of a marriage that lasted all of eight years, a straight couple stands in a provincial courtroom on Sheppard Ave, arguing again about their two children. Neither has a lawyer, which is increasingly typical in Ontario’s family courts. The father, who has not seen his kids for two years, ter access. He suggests his ex-wife has poisoned the kids, 10 and 11, against him. Over the course of an hour in front of Justice Harvey Brownstone of the Ontario Court of Justice, the man’s hard-done-by storyline slowly unravels. The father admits he pled guilty several years ago to assaulting one child; letters from a counsellor suggest both kids are deeply entrenched in their anger toward him, far beyond any moth-

and the parents silently read the letters, a feeling of sadness and frustration enfolds the courtroom. The father’s application is going nowhere. But Brownstone does not leave things there. Canada’s of person to take hope away from anybody. “If they don’t want to see you now, that doesn’t mean it’s over. You’re going to have to wait ’til they’re older.... There’s no point in torturing yourself, torturing your wife, torturing your kids [with court cases]. Now you’re going to have to try with your heart — the

28

November 2010

right way — not with paper,” says Brownstone, holding up the thick As if being an openly gay judge is not enough of a distinction, Brownstone, 54, is also remarkable in his outspokenness about the things that makes family law so exasperating for everyone involved. The familial language of love, hate, bitterness, abuse, redemption and revenge does not guage of motions and stays. This only becomes clear to most people (if at all) when they are standing before the bench in their best clothes, wasting everybody’s time, when a calm heart-to-heart might have been more effective. But Canadian judges, off the bench and sometimes on it, are loathe to say anything more than they have to. For fear of prejudicing cases or perhaps damaging the dignity of the profession, they are astonishingly tight-lipped, throwing a veil of mystery, however inadvertently, over how the system works. Brownstone not only published a book, Tug of War: A Judge’s Verdict on Separation, Custody Battles and the Bitter Realities of Family Court, last January, but went on an 80-city tour to promote it. His online TV show at familymatter-

stv.com, launched this summer, gets as many as 50,000 hits a day. In Canadian judicial culture, this level of public interaction is so unprecedented I assumed he must have sought special leave. “No. You’re better to ask for forgiveness than permission,” says Brownstone, eating oatmeal in his chambers before a session. His colleagues might have raised their eyebrows but they’ve given him no grief. You have to tip your hat to a man who got a law book, now in its fourth printing, onto the Canadian bestseller list. Brownstone has big ideas about how public education can ease the pain of separation and child custody. You have to wonder, though, how long the judicial cloister can contain his ambitions.

B

orn in Paris, France, raised in Hamilton, Harvey Brownstone came out at age 19, while he was at Queen’s University. He had vague suspicions from an early age that he was different, so when

→ S T RENG T H ON T HE BENCH With a bestselling openly gay judge, Harvey Brownstone, goes to extraordinary lengths to get people talking about their families and the law.

couldn’t help but share the news with his parents. They immediately rejected their only son. In some ways, their reaction made it easier for him to be gay out in the world. “When your family rejects you, you don’t care about what anybody else thinks,” he says. From the time he was called to the

I N SI G HT

bar in 1983, Brownstone had his

an agreement that I have a role

eye on the bench, but was repeat-

in the child’s life. And then I get a

edly told that an openly gay man

boyfriend they don’t like and they

would never be made a judge.

don’t want the child around me

In the mid-1980s, he worked

and my boyfriend. They try to cut

under Attorney-General Ian Scott,

me out. We see litigation now that -

who didn’t come out until the very end of his life, after his long-time

bian community.”

lover had died. “Ian Scott told me,

Brownstone is excellent at talking

‘Let them think what they want,

without giving an opinion, an ability that has allowed him to walk the

a woman to every public event,” says Brownstone. After 10 years as a lawyer, the

minimum

tor. He earns no money from Tug of

waiting

War; author’s proceeds go toward

time,

children’s charities. Same goes for

Brownstone applied to the bench;

his online TV show; the disclaimer

he was accepted two years later.

in the introductory episode goes

He had been a clerk for Rosalie Abella, now a justice on the Supreme Court of Canada, who suggested family law was right for him because he was good at dealing with people in crisis. In the meantime, Brownstone

SEX COUPLES WILL NOT BE ANY BETTER AT MARRIAGE THAN STRAIGHT PEOPLE.”

C

M

had met his great love, a veteri-

Y

narian with whom he’s lived since

on for about two minutes and the

1985. When the Ontario Court of

sedate production values do noth-

Appeal legalized same-sex mar-

ing to compromise the dignity of

riage in 2003, Brownstone was

the judiciary. But he’s thought about how far he might take things if he left the bench.

at more than 1,500 same-sex cer-

“The

major

networks

expressed interest in our show. If the right opportunity came along,

drawn into any controversies that

the right show, yes, this could

may have come about if the deci-

evolve into another career,” he

sion was reversed. Thirty judges

says, “but that hasn’t presented

attended his wedding and watched

itself yet.” photos

autographed

ago had given up on as impossible.

since he was a kid — he’s got Judy

“Ultimately,” Brownstone says,

Garland and Marilyn Monroe —

celebrity

“same-sex couples will not be any

-

better at marriage than straight

ity for celebrity and media culture.

people.”

acknowledges

He gushes with excitement talking

they’ve brought their own twists

about his book tour. He bristles at

into the courtroom. In 2007, the

comparisons to Judge Judy — he’s

Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that

thought a lot about how to bring

a child can have three parents

the actual law, not a condensed

-

soap opera, to the general public.

cate. That might include a lesbian

It’s hard to imagine him refusing

couple and their sperm donor, or

an opportunity to reach even more

a gay couple and their egg donor.

people if TV ever came calling.

“For example, two women decide to have a child and use my sperm,” says Brownstone. “We enter into

CMY

As someone who has collected

aisle, an honour his parents long

he

CY

K

riage until 2006, not wanting to get

But

MY

have

emonies. He delayed his own mar-

his parents walk him down the

CM

HARVEY BROWNSTONE’s web series is at familymatterstv.com.

complimentary

Design Clinics sat & sun 12-4pm

416.214.1377 173 King Street East Toronto, ON M5A 1J4 info@designonking.com

I NSI G H T

SCHOOLS

WILL IT GET BETTER? →Despite

progressive policies and media attention homophobic bullying remains a dangerous problem Writer Michael Pihach

S

hameal Daniel knew being gay in high school would be tough the day a student told him, “You should be dead.” Daniel, an artsy and outspoken student who loves painting, listening to Linkin Park and watching Glee, says he was targeted by homophobic bullies beginning in Grade 9. “It started with kids calling me a fag. You know, the usual stuff,” says Daniel, who moved to Toronto from the island of Antigua in the Caribbean when he was nine. He’s now 18 and in Grade 12. None of his tormentors got suspended because the bullies at his school would pretend to act innocent whenever a teacher intervened, he says. “Except for the time when students threw rocks and snowballs at me,” he adds. Then there was the time a student threatened Daniel with a knife because, according to Daniel, he “didn’t like the fact I was gay.” In a school with no gay-straight alliance or LGBT resources, Daniel felt utterly alone, and often contemplated suicide. “I’d tell my friends I wanted to kill myself, and they’d start crying,” he says. Daniel is now a student at the Triangle Program, an alternative school for LGBT students seeking refuge from homophobic bullying. It’s a story no friend or parent wants to hear. However, in light of a recent spike in media reports in the US and Canada about gay, lesbian and transgender teens killing themselves due to homophobic bullying, Daniel’s brush with attempted suicide sounds all too familiar. Today’s news, it seems,

30

November 2010

has become a eulogy to gay teens bullied to death because of their sexuality (or perceived sexuality). Homophobic bullying in schools is very real — even in Toronto, a city’s whose school boards have equity policies that are the envy of progressive policy makers in most parts of the world. Still, the system educators, save for a few leaders, are not responding quickly enough to stop homophobic bullying. Interventions in schools are “quite often reactive, not proactive,” says Anna Penner, program coordinator of TEACH, an anti-homophobia workshop proj-

“I WONDERED HOW ANYONE COULD EVER LOVE ME.... I STARTED TO CUT MYSELF.” ect led by students between the ages of 16 and 22. Started in 1992 by Planned Parenthood Toronto, TEACH workshops encourage students to think critically about the negative impact homophobia has on LGBT teens. Schools will invite TEACH students into classrooms to speak… but often, it’s too late. something that has already happened to a youth, instead of cutting it off at its root,” says Penner. Lives could have been saved. In 2007, there was Shaquille Wisdom, a 13-year-old student at Ajax High School in Durham Region, who hung himself because of homo-

phobic bullying. Recently, there was Tyler Clementi, 18, a freshman at Rutgers University in New Jersey, who plummeted off the George Washington Bridge after his dorm mate allegedly secretly streamed video of Clementi having sex with a man; Asher Brown, 13, from Houston, Texas, who shot himself in the head after being bullied at school (earlier Brown had revealed to his stepfather that he was gay). Mere hours before Spirit Day, a national LGBT anti-bullying campaign on Oct 20 that urged people to wear purple, Corey Jackson, a 19-year-old student at Oakland University in Michigan hanged himself. The headlines go on. “Youth who take their own lives have been pushed into a corner and made to think that there is no joy or option for them. They’ve been made to feel that way because of their peers,” says Jennifer Fodden, executive director of Toronto’s LGBT Youth Line, a toll-free Ontariowide peer-support phone service for youth in crisis. Fodden feels the media reports on gay teen suicide do not necessarily indicate an acute crisis. In light of all the coverage, however, she says, “calls to the Youth Line have gone up.” The spike in gay suicide reports is what prompted syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage to launch the It Gets Better project, a popular anti-suicide Internet campaign urging people to make YouTube videos that stress the message to LGBT youth that life is worth living. Several celebrities have recorded videos, including Ellen DeGeneres, Neil Patrick Harris,

Perez Hilton. Even US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and President Barack Obama have gone viral. “For every youth that commits suicide, there are hundreds of others who think about it, or make attempts,” says Fodden. “A light is being shone on something that has happened consistently, and quietly, for a long period of time.” In 2009, Egale Canada, a gay rights lobby group, pioneered the First National Climate Survey on Homophobia in Canadian Schools, a report that surveyed thousands of students to identify and measure the extent of homophobia in high schools. It found that three-quarters of LGBT students feel unsafe in at least one place at school, such as a change room or hallway; six out of 10 reported being verbally harassed about their sexual orientation. The numbers are higher for trans students. “I think it’s a crisis when we’re ignoring it and allowing this to go on,” says Helen Kennedy, executive director of Egale. Kennedy says Canada’s federal government isn’t taking the stand it should to eradicate homophobia in schools. “They have to start talking about this,” she says. Egale is currently seeking support for MyGSA.ca, its website that shows parents, educators and LGBT students how to start a gaystraight alliance (GSA) and make schools safer. Egale’s annual fundraiser this year raised $60,000 for the initiative, which includes assembling gay-straight alliance kits for schools.

INSIG HT

→OU T POURING OF EMO T ION The web has outrage and concern over bullying, like this image shared on Facebook, created by a 17-year-old student passionate about social justice.

tional media’s coverage of gay teen

the Toronto District School Board

suicides. Shraya, 29, says he was

(TDSB). Jeffers’ team trains teach-

called “fag” everyday from Grades

ers about homophobia and develops

7 to 12. “I used to write suicide let-

anti-bullying strategies for schools.

ters on a regular basis,” says the

“If a student wants to start a GSA,

activist, who works as a human

school administrators are now obligated to comply,” he says. Bill 157

College. “The thing that kept me

also requires educators to report

-

homophobic and gender-based bul-

ing my body,” he says.

lying, provide information to stu-

In 2007, a report by the Ontario

John Salib

Conference

T

wenty-year-old Dees

only

had

access

Hannah

wishes to

a

helped. So did meeting another

of

Catholic

dents wishing to discuss their iden-

Bishops

tity or sexuality, and conduct routine

noted that suicide rates among LGBT

surveys that measure the kinds of

students are higher than among

harassment students are facing.

their heterosexual peers. It was this

Bill 157 directly cites the words

report, among others, that prompted

“gay-straight alliance,” ���homopho-

Ontario’s Ministry of Education to

bia” and “gender-based violence,”

introduce the Equity and Inclusion

outlining Ontario students’ legal

Strategy, a program that requires

right to be gay, lesbian or transgen-

school boards to develop policies

der at school, whether students, or

that address homophobia, gender-

even teachers, like it or not.

based violence, racism, bullying

Are Catholic schools obeying the

and sexual harassment in publicly

province’s anti-bullying and equity

funded schools.

initiatives?

“Do

we

honour

the

she

lesbian student. “I met a girl on the

Ontario’s latest Safe Schools ini-

Ontario Human Rights Code? Yes,

gay-

cheerleading team,” she says. That

tiative is Bill 157, “Keeping our Kids

says Patrick Keyes, superintendent

straight alliance while attending

cheerleader wound up being Dees’

Safe at School,” which came into

of Equity and Inclusive Education at

high school in Barrie. “I came out

date to her Grade 12 prom.

the Toronto District Catholic School

when I was 12,” says Dees, who

On the evening of Oct 6, Dees was

creating positive spaces for LGBT

now lives in Toronto and studies

one of more than 500 people who

kids in schools, says Ken Jeffers,

Catholic schools, for one, circulate

social work at Ryerson University.

gathered at Church and Wellesley

coordinator for the newly formed

an annual student survey that eval-

Feeling “numb” from loneliness

streets in Toronto’s gay village for

uates each student’s experience

and her high school’s lack of LGBT

a candlelight vigil to commem-

with bullying; “sexual orientation”

resources, Dees says she spiraled

orate young lives lost to homo-

into a depression as a teen. “I

phobic bullying. Facing the bright

started to cut myself,” she says. “I

lights of television news cameras,

wondered how anyone could ever

she shared her story, alongside

love me.” She developed an eating

other queer youth who had expe-

disorder.

rienced bullying.

It wasn’t until her mother found

Local

musician

Vivek

Shraya

a suicide note Dees wrote that the

organized the event as “an emo-

student sought counselling, which

tional response” to the interna-

“A LIGHT IS BEING SHONE ON SOMETHING THAT HAS HAPPENED CONSISTENTLY, AND QUIETLY, FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME.”

Board. “It’s how we go about doing it.”

was added to the survey just this year, says Keyes. Catholic schools allow gay-straight alliances, but chances are they won’t be called that. “The term ‘gay-straight alliance’ is used by gay organizations. Do we want to be aligned with a Continued on page 32

intorontomag.com

31

I NSI G H T

Continued from page 31

gay organization? Not necessar-

Dufferin-Peel Catholic School Board

Solomon, who taught 300 diver-

ily,” Keyes says. “We have student

called us about our Pride Prom [for

sity workshops in 25 different

groups that discuss social justice

LGBT students]. They wanted to do

schools last year, says it’s hard

issues, like homophobia.”

something similar,” says Nobbs.

holding schools accountable for

There’s also what’s called the

practising what anti-bullying leg-

struggling to comply with the new

Catholic Student Leadership Impact

islation preaches. There are amaz-

policy. “One of the real problems

Team, a board-run initiative where

ing teachers, and there are teachers

is if we’re liaising with organiza-

students address social issues, like

who “just don’t buy into this kind of

tions that support gay marriage and

LGBT inclusion.

work,” says Solomon. “Most often

gay sexual activity. It’s tough for a

At the TDSB, Bill 157 comple-

it’s an LGBT parent who takes the

[Catholic] school board to liaison if

ments the board’s own equity pol-

school to task,” he says. Last year

an organization holds those posi-

icies, which have been in place for

Solomon spoke to 100 LGBT stu-

tions,” says Keyes. It’s a compro-

dents who contacted the Triangle

mise between competing sides, he

Program because they didn’t feel

says. “There are religious families who would see homosexual activity as sinful. Are their rights being honoured?” Catholic schools take a “pastoral care” approach in helping gay students, says Keyes, “to care for how a person is feeling and always show

“THERE ARE RELIGIOUS FAMILIES WHO WOULD SEE HOMOSEXUAL ACTIVITY AS SINFUL. ARE THEIR RIGHTS BEING HONOURED?”

more problematic,” says Solomon.

safe at school. And it wasn’t just kids in Mississauga or Richmond Hill. “People think the suburbs are “Not the case. A well-to-do neighbourhood

doesn’t

mean

more

accepting.” Even the provincial government

compassion.” Clare Nobbs, coordinator of com-

nearly a decade. “I’m convinced

preaches. Back in April, Premier

munity programs at Supporting Our

some schools are running with

Dalton McGuinty scrapped pro-

Youth (SOY), an LGBT youth sup-

it,” says Steven Solomon, a social

posed changes to Ontario’s sex ed

port program at the Sherbourne

worker at the TDSB’s Triangle

program for elementary schools.

Health Centre, says that SOY’s web-

Program. Many Toronto schools,

One

site, a resource for LGBT youth,

he says, have embraced LGBT ini-

teach young students about diver-

proposed

change

was

to

Youth Line Toll-free Ontariowide peer-support phone line for youth in crisis. 1 (800) 268-9688. youthline.ca. Line Art, a fundraising auction for the Youth Line, is Wed, Nov 10 (see pages 16 & 37). Egale National gay lobby group with a strong focus on schools. (416) 964-7887. egale.ca. MyGSA Egale website for parents, educators and students wishing to start a gay-straight alliance in schools. mygsa.ca. TEACH (Teens Educating and Confronting Homophobia) Offers anti-homophobia peer education in high schools and community settings across the city. Run by Planned Parenthood Toronto. (416) 961-0113. ppt.on.ca/anti-homophobia_teach. Triangle Program Canada’s only high school classroom for LGBT students. Part of the Oasis Alternative Secondary School. triangleprogram.ca. SOY A Toronto-based support network for LGBT youth offering a wide variety of drop-ins, mentoring programs and art events. (416) 324-5077. soytoronto.org.

was once blocked by the Catholic

tiatives, such as starting GSAs or

sity, such as same-sex families.

school system’s computer server.

promoting Pink Shirt Day, a day

Educators and activists argue it’s

She says the block has since been

where staff and students wear pink

never too early to address this kind

lifted. “Anything that restricts one’s

to raise awareness about bullying.

of diversity work. “The proposed

says Clare Nobbs at SOY. “If it’s only

access to a healthy self-image and

But positive change is not happen-

sex ed changes would have brought

queer teachers who are stepping up,

attitude is problematic,” she says.

ing everywhere. “I wouldn’t be sur-

a positive change in young kids,”

schools will continue to be danger-

prised if not all schools have taken

says Shraya. Those changes might

ous places.”

it up with enthusiasm.”

have made a world of difference

Despite progress made at the pol-

to the next batch of queer teenag-

icy level, the religious and political

Some Catholic schools make an effort to reach out to gay teens. “The

ers making their way through high

concerns of adults are too often given

school.

precedence over the rights and con-

T

cerns of youth. Until that changes, he onus to protect our chil-

there will continue to be victims of

dren’s lives is on school

homophobic bullying. And survivors.

staff, whether they work in

Survivors like Shameal Daniel, who’s

elementary or high schools, in the

planning to leave alternative school-

public, private or Catholic systems.

ing this year to attend an arts high

A principal setting a good example

school in Scarborough. He hopes to

can make all the difference. “There

get into OCAD and major in visual

are teachers who are afraid of inter-

arts. Before ending our interview, he

rupting homophobia because they

insists on sending a message to gay teens contemplating suicide that

Michael Pihach 32

HELP

→ SURVIVORS At the Oct 6 vigil in Toronto, Hannah Dees and Shameal Daniel spoke about the school system failing them. November 2010

they’re not alone. “They gotta stick through it,” he says. “Stick with your friends and do what you love to do. “In the long run, it will get better.” •

Today: Casual Fridays. Someday: Casual Everydays.

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VOICE BOX Closing night of Urbanvessel’s boxing opera

Art & Photography PAUL PETRO CONTEMPORARY K-bell,

original abstractions and pegboard constructions by FASTWÜRMS. The Picture of Dorian Gray is an exhibition of Jim Dine’s lithographs from 1968. 11am-5pm. Wed-Sat. Until Sat, Nov 13. Foehn by Peter Bowyer is an installation of new drawings and a steel sculpture by the Toronto-based artist. Opening. 7pm-10pm. Fri, Nov 19. 11am-5pm. Wed-Sat. Until Dec 18. Paul Petro Contemporary Art. 980 Queen St W. (416) 979-7874. paulpetro.com. ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO A Girl’s Journey to the Well of Forbidden Knowledge. Local artist Allyson Mitchell transforms the Young Gallery into a fantastical lesbian feminist library with her installation

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TORONTO DANCE THEATRE Severe Clear opens at Fleck Dance Theatre

18 MAURICE VELLEKOOP His art on the block at Art Attack, the Buddies auction

of sculpture and drawing. Free. Young Gallery. Closes Sun, Nov 28. Henry Moore: The Shape of Anxiety. Organized by Tate Britain in collaboration with the AGO, featuring 53 works, 37 of which have never before been seen in Canada, including 36 sculptures and 17 drawings. Now open through Feb 6. Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts, organized in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum, explores the opulent world of the maharajas and their unique culture of artistic patronage. Over 200 objects are featured, including paintings, ceremonial weapons, elaborate jewellery and photographs by artists such as Man Ray and Cecil Beaton. Sat, Nov 20-Apr 3. $22 (Maharaja: free for those under 25). AGO. 317

BETHUNE IMAGINED Opening night, starring Ron White, at Factory Theatre

Dundas St W. ago.net. DEREK LIDDINGTON: COUP DE GRACE

Toronto artist Derek Liddington uses Bruce Springsteen songs in an attempt to trace the varying visual and cultural histories of the working class in North America. The gallery hosts two performances featuring two pairs of semi-conjoined duelling pianists who will repeatedly play Springsteen’s anthem “Born to Run” in its entirety while dressed in custom-made Victorian dandy Springsteen garb. The piece will be performed by the junctQín keyboard collective, accompanied by Lily Ling. Opening. 6pm-8pm. Fri, Nov 12. 10am–6pm. Tue-Sat. Noon-5:30pm. Sun. Until Dec 31. Clark & Faria. 55 Mill St, bldg 2. (416) 703-1700. monteclarkgallery.com. ELAINE STOCKI & DENNIS EKSTEDT

intoronto_nov

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LISTINGS & EVENTS

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CINDERELLA National Ballet opening night, starring Guillaume Côté

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SERENADE The National’s mixed program opens with Stephanie Hutchison

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26

TIM BURTON Big MOMA exhibition and film retrospective opens at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

University. Her crossgender, cross-cultural comedic short and debut Japanese TV feature, Sugar Sweet (2002), played to sold-out audiences at major LGBT film festivals around the world. Her new work, Home, explores the humanrights abuses committed on Burmese refugees in her birth country. This two-part docu-drama unveils their stories through testimonials and reenactments. 6:30pm. Wed, Nov 10. Toilet, directed by Naoko Ogigami, is a Japanese comedy set in Toronto, starring Masako Motai as a Japanese grandmother who comes to live with three off-kilter siblings (played by Canadians Alex House, David Rendall and Tatiana Maslany). 7:15pm. Sat, Nov 13. $12 per film. Innis Town Hall. 2 Sussex Ave. reelasian.com.

TIM BURTON This massive film and art retrospective come to Toronto from NYC’s Museum of Modern Art (the first MOMA show to come to Canada). The gallery portion is a journey through Burton’s creative vision, with a selection of the artist’s oversized Polaroid prints, graphic art texts for non-film projects, and collectible figure series. The film portion reaches back to Burton’s student and early non-professional films and his long-unseen television adaptation Hansel and Gretel. The opening weekend features a blitz with back-to-back screenings of all his theatrical releases, from Pee-wee’s Big Adventure to Alice in Wonderland. Gallery exhibition: $22.75. 10am-7pm. Tue-Sat. 10am-6pm Sun. Fri, Nov 26-Apr 17. TIFF Bell Lightbox. 350 King St W. (416) 599-TIFF. tiff.net. Continued on page 36

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Recitals presents the star-powered soprano performing songs from her latest CD of Mozart, Debussy and others, Night and Dreams. With Justus Zeyen on piano. $69.50-$89.50. 8pm. Wed, Nov 3. Roy Thomson Hall. 60 Simcoe St. (416) 872-4255. roythomson.com. PINK MARTINI Portland’s eclectic pop orchestra plays infectious jazz and cocktail music with a splash of irony. $49.50-$79.50. 8pm. Fri, Nov 19. Roy Thomson Hall. 60 Simcoe St. (416) 872-4255. roythomson.com.

Writer Pam Shime

Theatre & Dance SKETCH COMEDY FESTIVAL More than 40

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November 2010

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troupes from across North America perform at Second City, Comedy Bar and Lower Ossington Theatre from Tue, Nov 2 to 7. Some of the more bent offerings include Stone Cold Fox, the longest-running house sketch team at the UCB Theatre in New York, FUCT, also from NYC, and Toronto’s Warm Summer Hotness. Second City Chicago alum Brian Gallivan brings to Toronto his YouTube sensation Sassy Gay Friend, a character who saves classic literary heroines from making bad relationship choices. torontosketchfest.com for totix.ca

QUEER CAB Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s monthly youth open mic night. Performer sign-up. 7:30pm. Show: PWYC. 8pm. Wed, Nov 3. Tallulah’s Cabaret. 12 Alexander St. (416) 975-8555. artsexy.ca. FUTURE MEMORY HEARTBREAK JUNCTION

DanceWorks presents Blackandblue Dance Projects’ choreographer/ performer Sasha Ivanochko and dancer Brendan Wyatt in a candid double-portrait of fatal love. With composer Catherine Thompson. $33.50. 8pm. Thu, Nov 4- 6. Enwave Theatre. 231

Queens Quay W. (416) 973-4000 danceworks.ca. YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING One woman

grapples with the sudden loss of her husband of 40 years and their only child in this dramatic adaptation of Joan Didion’s award-winning memoir. Seana McKenna reprises her critically acclaimed performance from the Belfry Theatre’s production (Victoria, BC); directed by Michael Shamata $37-$44. 8pm. Tue-Sat. 2:30pm. Sat & Sun. Tue, Nov 9-Dec. 12. Tarragon Theatre. 30 Bridgman Ave. (416) 531-1827. tarragontheatre.com. VOICE BOX Defy assumptions about female aggression. World Stage presents the world premiere of Urbanvessel’s boxing opera, uniting the talents of choreographer Julia Aplin, writer Anna Chatterton and composer Juliet Palmer. $35. 8pm. Wed, Nov 10-13. 2pm. Nov 14. Brigantine Room. 235 Queens Quay W. (416) 973-4000. harbourfrontcentre.com. NATIONAL BALLET OF CANADA James

Kudelka’s 2004 version of Cinderella is a fantastical fairy tale that showcases the hilarious comedic talent of the company and the subtly anarchic underpinnings of the narrative. Score by Sergei Prokofiev, Erté-inspired art deco set and costumes by David Boechler. A delight. The opening performance will feature Sonia Rodriguez as Cinderella, Guillaume Côté as Her Prince Charming, Rebekah Rimsay as Her Other Stepsister and Lorna Geddes as the Fairy Godmother, all of whom originated the roles. Debuting in the title role in Cinderella are Xiao Nan Yu and Bridgett Zehr. Thu, Nov 11-20. The fall season mixed program features the Canadian premiere of Wayne McGregor’s Chroma, George Balanchine’s Serenade and Crystal Pite’s Dora Award-winning Emergence. Wed, Nov

24–28. $22-152. Four Seasons Centre. 145 Queen St W. (416) 345-9595. national. ballet.ca. SEVERE CLEAR Toronto Dance Theatre remounts from 2000 Christopher House’s lauded journey into Canada’s mythical north. Sound design by Phil Strong, using nature sounds, an infectious techno groove, a cappella harmonies from the dancers and spoken text by House. The dynamic water and ice set is by

LI STI NG S & EV ENT S violently discordant worlds of conflict photographers. Part of Fresh Ground new works, Harbourfront Centre’s national commissioning program. $35. 8pm. Wed, Nov 17-20. Enwave Theatre. 231 Queen’s Quay W. (416) 973-4000. harbourfrontcentre.com.

Sir Bhupindra Singh, Maharaja of Patiala © National Portrait Gallery, London

THE CURE FOR EVERY THING Created and

→ MAHARAJA : T HE SPLENDOUR OF INDIA’ S ROYAL COURT S Exhibition opens Sat, Nov 20 at the AGO.

James Robertson. $25-$38. 8pm Wed, Nov 17-20. 2pm Nov 20. Fleck Dance Theatre. 207 Queens Quay W. (416) 973-4000. tdt.org. PHOTOG An imaginary look at the uncompromising life of Thomas Smith. Vancouver’s Boca del Lupo explores the

performed by Maja Ardal, directed by Mary FrancisMoore. Teenage Elsa is the precocious central character from Ardal’s You Fancy Yourself. Elsa returns in this new play; she is approaching 15 and flung into a world of sex, drugs, rock n’ roll. $25-$30; PWYC Sun. Wed, Nov 10-Dec 4. Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace. 60 Ryerson Ave. (416) 504-7529. passemuraille.on.ca. ROSHNI Anusree Roy’s story of two fearless youths who work as beggars in a Calcutta train station. Starring Roy and Byron Abalos, directed by Thomas Morgan-Jones. $25-$30; PWYC Sun. Thu, Nov 18-Dec 11. Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace. 60 Ryerson Ave. (416) 504-7529. passemuraille.on.ca. BETHUNE IMAGINED Ken Gass humanizes the Canadian icon Norman Bethune, celebrated in China as a hero for his unstinting medical and humanitarian work during the revolution. Starring Ron White as Bethune and Fiona Byrne, Sascha Cole and Irene Poole as three remarkable women in his life. World premiere. $25-$48. 8pm. Tue-Sat. 2pm. Sun. PWYC. Thu, Nov 18-Dec 12. Factory Theatre. 125 Bathurst St. (416) 504-9971. factorytheatre.ca. ESPEJO DE ORO (MIRROR OF GOLD) Esmeralda

Enrique Spanish Dance Company’s flamenco dance and music reveal a world of ritual and symbolism reflecting Spain’s cultural complexity. $25-$41. 8pm. Thu, Nov 25-27. 3pm. Nov 28. Fleck Dance Theatre. 207 Queens Quay W. (416) 973-4000. flamencos.net.

LOAN SHARKING

DanceWorks presents Montreal’s Rubberbandance Group and Victor Quijada’s quixotic mix of breakdancing, ballet and contemporary dance. $33.50. 8pm Fri, Nov 26 & 27. Enwave Theatre. 231 Queens Quay W. (416) 973-4000 danceworks.ca.

IN SPOT L’ATELIER Writer Josh MacKinnon | Photography Daniel Grande

Causes & Events LINE ART AUCTION The Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youth Line fundraising event features both live and silent auctions. On the block are works by Stephen Andrews, Suzy Lake, Derek Sullivan, Monica Alder, Dana Holst, Nicolas Pye, Rafael Ochoa, Alex Kisliev-

Ironside, Micah Lexier, Melissa Doherty, Chris Curreri, Kris Knight, Dianne Davis, Scott McEwan, Doug Guildford, Maurice Vellekoop and Barbara Astman, to name just a few. 6pm VIP reception. 8pm auction. Wed, Nov 10. Berkeley Church. (416) 962-2232. youthline.ca. For more on youth, see page 30. For more on Line Art curator April Hickox, see page 12. ART ATTACK The annual auction in support of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre is a fun, boozy night of art and theatrical shenanigans. Visual art curated by Robert Windrum, Andrew Harwood, Michelle Jacques and Ryan G Hinds, auctioneer Charlene Nero, and musical guest Light Fires $20. 7pm preview; 8pm auction. Thu, Nov 18. Tallulah’s Cabaret. 12 Alexander St. (416) 975-8555. BLOOR STREET ENTER TAINS Canfar, the

Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research, presents its annual fundraising gala. Book dinner from top chefs like Jamie Kennedy, Marc Thuet and Keith Froggett served in unusual venues like the Bloor St stores Cartier, Tiffany and Holt’s. Followed by a glam party at the ROM. $600; $100 party only. 6:30pm dinner. 9pm party. Wed, Nov 24. bloorstreetentertains.com. (416) 361-6281 ext 34. •

L’Atelier, a boutique furniture and antique shop in Summerhill, is unquestionably one of Toronto’s

a French 19th-century tin eagle, wood-carved Ionic columns, a 1940s Venetian mirror… the list

Lucite loveseat and bookstand, a polished steel architect’s desk and a white leather desk chair. L’Atelier carries Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams furniture, along with their catalogues and fabric swatches. You can work with the staff to customize pieces based on your tastes. Custom-made throw pillows are also available and are showcased throughout the store — perfect for impulse buying. Something Hasbani admits to. “When I see something I love I have to buy it,” he says. This would explain why the goods are literally stacked to the ceiling in some areas. L’Atelier opened more than 20 years ago in this location and Hasbani is proud that he helped establish Yonge and Summerhill as one of Toronto’s foremost design districts. What makes the store unique? “Everything, really,” says Hasbani. “The mix of pieces, some of them exclusive to my store. And of course, the presentation.”

live among more modern pieces like chrome and suede chairs, a

L’ATELIER. 1224 Yonge St. (416) 966-0200.

Owner Youssef Hasbani travels the globe as often as he can for and accents he showcases in his store. Hasbani considers L’Atelier not just another furniture store, but rather a “lifestyle shop.” You immediately understand what he means upon entering, greeted by upbeat music, a trickling fountain, and the comforting smell of Votivo aromatic candles. The entire shop is set up so that the modern and classical are constantly intermixed. “I don’t like everything modern,” says Hasbani. There are countless, one-of-akind antique pieces carefully displayed throughout the space. water jugs from India, an Egyptian

intorontomag.com

37

2009

intorontomag.com

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ART & DESIG N

→ CAREER GIRLS San Fran author Monica Nolan gives hard-working lesbians a happy ending.

B O O KS

NEW PULP FICTION →A

21st-century Journey To a Woman Writer Alice Lawlor

F

or

many

years,

lesbian

laughingstock. With melodramatic plots, unhappy endings and a general whiff of trashiness, it was a chapter of our history many lesbians would rather forget. But in recent years, the tide has turned. In 2005, Katherine V Forrest’s Lesbian Pulp Fiction reclaimed the genre as a catalyst

for liberation. Around the same time, The L-Word returned for a second, season, its crazy plots, heightened emotions and steamy sex scenes straight out of the pulp tradition. And now there’s tion author for the 21st century. and writer living in San Francisco. -

ody was The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories, published in 2003. But her love of the genre stretches all the way back to college days. “I picked up Ann Bannon’s Journey To a Woman one night [in my dorm],” says Nolan, referring to an infamous pulp from 1960. “I thought it was bizarre and hilarious. In fact, three friends and I took turns reading it aloud and

even acting bits out. To us it was an unbelievable world — melodramatic and strange. And quite entertaining.” Already a collector of wholesaw lesbian pulp as the “hidden history” of that decade. Then she attended a panel on queer history, and an idea was born. “A woman Continued on page 40

intorontomag.com

39

A RT & DE S I GN Continued from page 39

who went around collecting oral

“The books were written to titil-

community to laugh at itself; to

histories from LGBT elders who’d

made lesbian life possible.” Nolan

late heterosexual men. But we can

reclaim fun as part of our pop-

lived through the pre-Stonewall

also corrects aspects of the origi-

steal the genre, adapt it and use it

culture identity. After all, the boys

era — which we think of as a very

nals that didn’t quite make sense

for ourselves.”

have Priscilla, Modern Family and

dark and closeted time — said

— like career girls constantly call-

-

more witty drag queens than you

that what struck her was that a

ing in sick but keeping their jobs

tion was a way for women to “try

can shake a stick at. The girls

lot of the interviewees remem-

on” lesbian identities. One of the

have… uh, Ellen DeGeneres? For a

bered having a lot of fun then,”

interviewees got together with her

well-rounded lesbian identity, we

friend through exchanging paper-

need the silly stuff just as much

backs. And when the couple went

as the serious.

she says. “This didn’t always come through in the original pulp are my correction to the historical record.” Her

latest

novel,

Bobby

Blanchard, Lesbian Gym Teacher (from Kensington Books), is a lively romp set in a girls’ board-

“THE BOOKS ARE A WAY FOR ME TO TELL STORIES ABOUT LESBIAN ISSUES OR TOPICS THAT JUST IN HISTORICAL DRAG”

to New York in search of the sexy

“What’s changed is that as les-

Greenwich Village lesbians they’d

bians we’ve achieved a modicum of acceptance, such that we can

women at all. But it didn’t matter.

relax and let down our defenses

They were really exploring a way

a little bit,” says Nolan. “We don’t

of thinking about themselves that

have to worry so much about how

the books had helped to bring

we’re presenting ourselves to the

into focus. “It speaks to the fact

straight world. The books are a

are either lesbian or open to a bit

— while still retaining the deli-

that it’s not just the real way we

way for me to tell stories about

of lady loving, especially from our

cious campiness of the genre that

live our lives that’s important,”

lesbian issues or topics that inter-

she’s parodying.

says Fernie, “but our hopes and

est me — just in historical drag.”

ing school. Most of the teachers

hockey star whose sporting career

Interestingly, though, the camp-

was cut short by a tragic accident.

iness we see in lesbian pulp is very

After a guidance counsellor rec-

much a contemporary reread-

-

ommends her for a teaching job

ing. The original novels were in

tion is a way for the lesbian

dreams and notions, too.” This idea is at the heart of BOBBY BLANCHARD, Lesbian Gym Teacher. Monica Nolan. Kensington Books. $18.

keeping with other paperback Academy, a hotbed of teen angst.

romances of the time, bought cheaply at drugstores and air-

pashes,

or

exchanging

mash

ports. “The writers of the pulps

notes, or even fooling around in

took their books pretty seri-

the bicycle shed,” says the attrac-

ously,” says Nolan. “I think it’s

tive young hockey captain to her

the changing context — the con-

dashingly dykey games mistress.

trast these pulps make to our

“Since you came to Metamora this

contemporary

fall, you’re all I think about, all I

make

dream about.” Cue a special kind

large. And I have a tendency to

of student-teacher conference.

pick up on such absurdities and

What’s interesting about this Lesbian Career Girl series, Lois Lenz, Lesbian Secretary — is not

their

world

absurdities

that loom

make fun of them.”

N

olan’s work is the next step in a journey that began

so much what she takes from

with Lynne Fernie and Aerlyn

the original genre, but what she

Weissman’s 1993 documentary,

changes. Due to censorship laws,

Forbidden Love: The Unashamed

many of the ’50s romances ended

Stories of Lesbian Lives. In the

with the protagonist killing herself or marrying a man. Nolan’s

women about life in the ’50s and

novels, though, have happy end-

-

ings. “I kept the sex and drama

tional girl-meets-girl romance.

and took out the self-hating bits,”

Like Nolan’s novels the story is

she says.

classic pulp, minus the negative

“I also added in the whole topic

outcome. “We wanted to take on

of careers and jobs, partly because

a genre that had affected every-

the

women

one we spoke to and make a

entering the job market in grow-

happy ending for it,” says Fernie

ing numbers and the resulting

today.

historical

fact

of

www.naborspaint.com 40

November 2010

ART & DESIG N

B O O KS & F I L M

OUR RICH CINEMATIC HERITAGE →Queer

Film Classics showcases a surprising number of Canadian features Writer Peter Knegt

Q

such an important part of LGBTQ cul-

critic Thomas Waugh, “and they are being forgotten by the younger generation. So it seemed to make sense that this could be a way of keeping them alive.” For the past four decades, Waugh has proven to be one of Canada’s criticism — particularly gay and lesbian cinema. Based out of Concordia University in Montreal, Waugh’s work has included crucial anthologies like Hard To Imagine: Male Eroticism in Photography and Film from their Beginnings to Stonewall (from 1996), The Fruit Machine: Twenty Years of Writings on Queer Cinema (2000), and The Romance of Transgression in Canada: Sexualities, Nations, Moving Images (2006). For the past few years, he’s been working hard with fellow gay ing together pioneering Queer Film Classics, a book series with 21 titles planned so far. The six books already released include takes on Bill Condon’s Gods and Monsters, Pedro Alm dovar’s Law of Desire, Paul Morrissey’s Trash, Chen Kaige’s Farewell My Concubine, Deepa Mehta’s Fire and Frank Vitale’s Montreal Main (co-written by Waugh himself). “People asked us why X and Y weren’t included,” Waugh says of the roster. “But it’s not meant to

canon. We were responding to the proposals we received and the people who wanted to get on board.” The list includes quite a few homegrown titles already, with many more to come (see sidebar). “People raise their eyebrows [at the Canadian titles] a bit in the States because they haven’t heard of some of these titles,” Waugh says. “But we stand behind it. It’s great, and we hope that it will restore the reputation of some tional reputation of others.”

is Montreal Main, a pivotal 1974 ably neglected. One of the counitly explore homosexual themes, Montreal Main follows a group of twentysomething outcasts living in Montreal’s Saint Laurent neighourhood in the 1970s, one of whom develops a curious and intense relationship with a 12-year-old boy (a plot point as contentious then as it is today). because it’s about the neighbourhood I live in,” says Waugh. It’s the

Waugh will sit down with the director of another Canadian

to take on personally (alongside co-writer Jason Garrison). “It’s really about local geography and how that geography is a lived space full of characters and characters’ lives and sexualities and

John Greyson, for a talk at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto on Mon, Nov 8, presented by This Is Not a Reading Series. “We’re going to talk about how

and it does deserve to get revived.”

would call the LGBTQ communities over the years,” Waugh says.

→ MAIN MAN Thomas Waugh has been of his favourite neglected classics is Montreal Main from 1974.

“And [John and I] have different vantage points — he as a producer myself as a critic for even longer. So maybe together we have a hisContinued on page 42

intorontomag.com

41

A RT & DE S I GN

Continued from page 41

torical perspective on the way the evolved over those years.” What really stands out for Waugh during that historical time period is a lessening of what he calls the “burden of representation.” criticized from within the community for not doing everything or for leaving something out,” he says. “But now, 30 years later, the younger generation have voices that are much more personalized and distinctive. They don’t have this mandate to talk about everything and they can approach issues of sexuality and life from a very

CANUCK CANON Including the already published Montreal Main and Fire, the Queer Film Classics series will feature a total of six Canadian titles by 2015. Each film is essential viewing for any gay, lesbian and trans Canadian if you’ve yet to do so. CRAZY (Jean-Marc Vallee, 2005)

CRAZY is perhaps Canada’s most mainstream addition into LGBT film canon. Winning a slew of Genie Awards and raking in record-breaking box office, the film follows a young man coming to terms with his homosexuality, a conservative father, a doting mother and the turbulence of 1960s and 1970s Quebec. FIRE (Deepa Mehta, 1996)

THOMAS WAUGH and JOHN GREYSON. Free. 8pm. Mon, Nov 8. Gladstone Hotel Ballroom. 1214 Queen St W. (416) 531-4635. tinars.ca.

The first of three films in Deepa Mehta’s “elemental trilogy,” Fire was billed as “the first

Indian film about lesbianism.” Canadian-produced and Indianset, the film follows two women married to brothers who come together in light of the deprivation of their husbands’ affections. FORBIDDEN LOVE: THE UNASHAMED STORIES OF LESBIAN LIVES (Lynne Fernie and Aerlyn Weissman, 1992)

Examining Canadian lesbian subculture in the 1950s and 1960s, Lynne Fernie and Aerlyn Weissman’s documentary puts together a remarkable oral history by interviewing 10 women from a variety of races, classes and geographies who lived through the time period. I’VE HEARD THE MERMAIDS SINGING (Patricia Rozema, 1987)

Patricia Rozema’s acclaimed, directorial debut feature depicts

comedian Sheila McCarthy as Polly, a secretary in Toronto who finds herself in a hilariously challenging romantic relationship with her boss, the curator of an art gallery. ZERO PATIENCE (John Greyson, 1993)

A ferocious musical focussing on misconceptions of the origin of AIDS, John Greyson’s Zero Patience is both exceptionally informative and exceptionally entertaining. Taking on the infamous Quebecois flight attendant accused of bringing AIDS to North America, Patience is truly unlike any other entry into the AIDS-related cinema lexicon. QUEER FILM CLASSICS. Arsenal Pulp Press. arsenalpulp.com

A RT & DE SI G N

TRANS CANADA →Stage:

On the road with Nina Arsenault

Writer Byron Laviolette | Photography Tanja-Tiziana

I

t’s generally considered impolite to look at someone’s diary. Nina Arsenault, however, doesn’t mind. In fact, she wants you to watch. Watch and wonder. Styled as Canada’s most famous transsexual, Arsenault has been a whirlwind of activity of late, touring her renowned solo show, The Silicone Diaries, around Canada, including a stint up in the Yukon. Asked if the piece resonates the same in the North as it does in Toronto (where it will be remounted this month), Arsenault beams proudly, “People saw that it was really about a journey of the heart, taking leaps of faith, suffering, ecstasy and human emotions that we all have. That experience made me think that the show could work in any city in the world.” The Silicone Diaries is about Arsenault’s 60 cosmetic surgeries that transformed her from an awkward man into a 36D-26-40 bombshell. The remount (the show played to packed houses at Buddies back in 2009) promises to build on the evolution of Arsenault’s work as an artist as well as her understanding of what she has created. “In the last year I’ve thought a lot about how fragile beauty is,” she says. “I sense how quickly it fades.

TO R O NTO LIFE

→ BEAU T IFUL YEARNING Nina Arsenault returns to Buddies with The Silicone Diaries.

I see more clearly how tragic such yearning for beauty is, and yet I still wouldn’t change a thing I did.” The production is once again directed by Buddies’ artistic director Brendan Healy, who must be credited with helping Arsenault

Sarah Kane’s Blasted, the pressure is on to keep up the quality. After her Toronto run, Arsenault takes The Silicone Dairies to Montreal. Then she heads back to the Yukon with another of her biographical works, I Was Barbie, detailing her experience playing the most famous plastic woman in the world. Regardless of what work she’s involved with at the moment, Arsenault is always willing to share her secrets. “I’ve written about some of the most emotional parts of my life,” she says, “the feelings are just there.”

the most of her performance skills. “Brendan encourages me to be strong,” says Arsenault, “to be vulnerable and to trust that there is beauty in my stories.” After the

THE SILICONE DIARIES. $19-$33. 8pm Tue-Sun. Thu, Nov 25- Dec 11. Buddies in Bad Times 12 Alexander St. (416) 975-8555. totix.ca.

pursuit of glamour. I didn’t antici-

“A grand, majes tic s pectacle that s hould be s een and heard by every Torontonian”

December 16 – 21 Now with marimba! Don’t miss S ir Andrew Davis’s bold new version of this beloved holiday classic. Tickets start at only $ 38!

tso.ca 416.593.4828

TIPPET-RICHARDSON CONCERT SEASON

C onductors’ Podium S ponsor

intorontomag.com

11

A RT & DE SI G N

LEATHER & LACE →Music:

Serious sounds with a light touch

Writer Judie Calucag | Photography Cylla von Tiedemann

T

he “wild, passionate ones” is one translation of I Furiosi, the Latin name of Toronto’s accomplished baroque ensemble ting leather garb. Comprised of early music specialists — soprano Gabrielle McLaughlin, violinists Aisslinn Nosky and Julia Wedman and violoncello and viola da gamba player Felix Deak — the ensemble has been together for 12 years, presenting theme-based concerts that make baroque music accessible and exciting. The group’s look and approach has helped attract new audiences to the works of Handel, Uccellini, Vivaldi and the like. “Key to our shows is the thematic programming,” says McLaughlin. “We make the concerts make sense to anyone by presenting everyday themes and often poking fun at the serious nature of the music. “That said, we take the music very seriously. We just want the audiences to enjoy every minute,” she says. “We differ from other ensembles in our presentation. We give people something to look at — and I’m not just referring to the amount of skin we show. There is a theatrical element which keeps the audience hooked from beginning to end.”

→ SEDUCERS Toronto’s I Furiosi baroque ensemble presents accessible and entertaining concerts.

The new season begins Sat, Nov 27 with The Empire Strikes Baroque, exploring the theme of empires, monarchies and borders through works by Handel, Purcell, Mudarra and more. Olivier Fortin joins the ensemble on harpsichord. “We certainly invite our audience to dress thematically like we do. We get some pretty interesting costumes — from people in complete Star Wars attire to a guy with leaves all over his head” says McLaughlin. Upcoming in January is My Big Fat Baroque Wedding complete with a huge staged wedding. The music will be characteristic of weddings of the baroque period and the ensemble will be decked out by fashion designer Rosemarie Umetsu’s modern interpretation of a baroque wedding. “Come for the party, stay for the music,” says McLaughlin, summing up I Furiosi’s approach. “Experience baroque like you have never heard it before.”

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BAROQUE. $20. 8pm. Sat, Nov 27. Church of St Mary Magdalene. 477 Manning Ave. (416) 536-2943. ifuriosi.com.

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SEX & HEALTH —with Dr Keith

→ “I want to make my cock bigger so guys will like me more. I’m four and half inches but I see guys all the time that are bigger and thicker. What are my options?” Justin

Size queens. That’s apparently what all of us gay men are. The big-

catastrophic damage to your willy. Permanent

penile

enlargement

ger the better. The size of our car,

is a whole other matter. Thickness

our wallets, our condos — and our

can be increased by injecting biolog-

manhood. So the more penis you

ical and inert material (silicone) into

have, the more of a big, strong, mas-

the sides of the penis. Satisfactory

culine man you are as well. Right?

results have been reported, but so

Wrong.

has scarring, deformity, loss of sen-

We, as a society, have come a long

sation and erectile dysfunction.

way in realizing that there is much

Lengthening procedures tend to be

more to being male than the size of

surgical. Since a third to a half of the

our sexual organs. Despite the anec-

penis is actually inside your body

dotal “I broke up with him because

under fat, going up into the abdo-

his penis was too small” stories we

men, reputable surgeons favour

have all heard, all of the studies I’ve

liposuction and/or cutting the liga-

seen show that the majority of gay

ment that holds the internal portion

men really don’t care. Very few actu-

of your penis inside, letting it pro-

ally consider size when deciding if

trude more than previously. These

someone is attractive or not.

surgeries, while popular, are very

Penis enlargement ads frequently plug up our email with spam trying

expensive and have been shown to have high dissatisfaction rates.

to sell us things to make us bigger

Stretching the penis with con-

and happier. These products are

stant traction over a very long

misleading in that if (and that’s a

period

pretty big if) they do increase your

months to a year) is also an option

of

time

(minimum

six

size, it’s temporary not permanent.

which may give a modest increase

They tend to be herbal products,

but it’s uncomfortable and includes

which according to research may

wearing a device 24/7.

often contain harmful substances

The easiest way to gain length if

like lead, e coli and mould amongst

you are overweight is to lose weight

other things. There is absolutely

— it reduces the fat pad that the

no evidence to show they actually

penis is buried in, exposing more.

work. Save your money.

Oh, and by the way — aver-

Penis pumps are quite popular — and work by temporarily bringing

size matters, Justin, but you are

and retaining blood in the penile

roughly bigger than 50 percent of

spongy tissues causing them to

the population. Just sayin’.

become engorged. This mimics a natural erection but tends to draw more in than your average hardon therefore adding some size. Caution: They can be dangerous and need to be used carefully and not excessively, otherwise you risk

DR KEITH LOUKES works in emergency in a Toronto hospital. Send him your sexual health question at sexhealth@intorontomag.com. This column should not be viewed as medical advice; always consult your physician.

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November -2010 - In Toronto Magazine