Page 1

GAY & LESBIAN

CITY LIVING

|

APRIL 2013

CULTURE

THE HOT 5 FILMS AT HOT DOCS LGBT VIDEOGAMING THE CARLU’S MARK ROBERT

BUILDING HERITAGE


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M

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intorontomag.com PUBLISHER Patricia Salib EDITOR Gordon Bowness SENIOR ACCOUNT DIRECTOR Ryan Lester ART DIRECTOR Nicolás Tallarico

OUR MISSION Inspire gay men and lesbians to live life to the fullest. Expand the gay and lesbian community by valuing diversity and individual choice. Celebrate Toronto.Provide readers with compelling news, information and entertainment.

ADVERTISING & OTHER INQUIRIES (416) 800-4449 ext 100 • info@intorontomag.com EDITORIAL INQUIRIES (416) 800-4449 ext 201 • editorial@intorontomag.com PRODUCTION ads@intorontomag.com In Toronto is published by The Mint Media Group all rights reserved. 182 Davenport Rd, #300, Toronto, ON, M5R 1J2

THE MINT MEDIA GROUP PRESIDENT Patricia Salib DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS Reggie Lanuza

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY

SENIOR ACCOUNT DIRECTOR Ryan Lester

The Mint Media Group, publisher of In Toronto and Outlooks magazines, is hiring a Senior Editor for In Toronto. THIS ISSUE

The right candidate will have in-depth knowledge of the city of Toronto and its LGBT community, plus extensive journalism experience and a passion for communication.

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Paul Gallant, Krishna Rau CONTRIBUTORS Nicola Betts, Mary Dickie, Derek Dotto, Bryen Dunn, Peter Knegt,

Check mediajobsearchcanada.com for more information. Interested individuals should send resumé and cover letter to patricia@themintmediagroup.com.

Sholem Krishtalka, Alice Lawlor, Pamela Meredith, Adam Segal, Tim Stewart, Doug Wallace, Jaime Woo, Andrea Zanin ON THE COVER Photography by Nicola Betts


CONTENTS

ISSUE 35

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

8

sex is easy to find 13

8 13 26 31

26 17

POLE DANCING An adventure of a lifetime in Antarctica by Doug Wallace OPEN HOUSE WITH MARK ROBERT The “perfect” house in South Hill by Gordon Bowness PUBLIC ART There’s delight to be found on Toronto streets by Pamela Meredith GOING DEEP The Cliks’ Lucas Silveira debuts new vibe — and voice by Mary Dickie

6

CELEBRATING BARBARA HAMMER by Gordon Bowness

7

SHELLEY MARSHALL’S FAMILY by Bryen Dunn

11

SINGLE & HAPPY with Adam Segal

18

LGBT GAMING by Jaime Woo

20

APRIL CALENDAR & EVENTS

22

LOST & FOUND CLOTHING/CAFÉ by Derek Dotto

24

PATTI SMITH AT AGO by Sholem Krishtalka

29

HOT FIVE AT HOT DOCS by Peter Knegt

31

EMMA DONOGHUE GOES ASTRAY by Alice Lawlor

33

POLYAMORY 101 with Andrea Zanin

34

CAUGHT IN THE ACT by Derek Dotto & Michael Pihach

31

love isn’t.

The dilemma: You are a successful professional living a fulfilled life. You are active, dynamic, intelligent, and financially stable. Your friends and family say that you are a catch. Then why is it that sincere love is so hard to find? The soluTion: A boutique networking agency specializing in personalized matchmaking will save time and energy. Their service is designed for busy, successful professionals who cherish the idea of a loving, faithful relationship once they find the right partner. The clienTs: Preferred Partners clients value the prospect of meeting like-minded individuals who are also tired of the internet and bar scene. Typically, they are successful professionals living full and active lives who work hard and love to play, too. Preferred ParTners canada’s exclusive Gay maTchmakinG aGency

Call us today for a free Consultation

1 866-467-5252

www.preferredpartners.ca www.preferredpartners.ca


TORONTO TALK EXCHANGE

VIEW FINDER → TERRIBLE BEAUTY David Wojnarowicz’s visceral and vibrant photography, painting and collage are a hallmark of the New York avant garde in the age of AIDS. But Wojnarowicz, who died of AIDS in 1992, also made films. The Images fest screens a recent transfer of his 30-minute Super 8 film Beautiful People. Made in 1987, it suggests, among other things, one of Wojnarowicz’s recurring dreams, floating down through water to a magical cave. The Images screening is followed by a discussion featuring collaborator Jesse Hultberg (who stars in the film) and musician, producer and photographer Don Pyle. 9pm. Wed, Apr 17. Jackman Hall. See page 21.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS BARBARA HAMMER

→ “Construct an autobiography before someone

else does it for you.” So begins Barbara Hammer’s experimental film memoir Tender Fictions from 1996, one of a series of landmark queer and feminist works by Hammer that have influenced countless artists. While many adopt Hammer’s techniques and strategies — from the re-appropriation of archival materials and found footage, collage and reframing to a critical analysis of class, race and gender — few can match Hammer’s off-kilter wit and determined will to engage, even entertain. There’s a reason Tender Fictions begins with Shirley Temple; Hammer is a born showman (granted, a smart, politically motivated and brutally honest lesbian showman). Toronto hosts a de facto Hammer festival this month with a threeday retrospective at TIFF, with the NYC-based artist in attendance (running Thu, Apr 4, 6 and 7; all screenings and talks free), a live performance at Images (Apr 7) and an art show currently running at the Oakville Galleries (see page 21 for info). Over the last couple of years Hammer has been honoured with retrospectives at MOMA in New York, the Tate Modern in London and the Jeu de Paume in Paris — all part of an ongoing victory lap of sorts for the 73-year-old whose battle with ovarian cancer is documented in her 2008 short A Horse is Not a Metaphor. “My films are often called visionary, but I am not a visionary,” Hammer once told an interviewer. “I am living my lesbian life. I’m not waiting. My life today is my vision. By documenting what others would call visionary, what I would call ‘actionary,’ I hope to spark the imagination of the audience.”

6

April 2013


TORONTO TALK EXCHANGE SOUND OFF TABOO SUBJECTS BY BRYEN DUNN

→ Comedian Shelley Marshall’s new show, Hold Mom-

my’s Cigarette, tackles everything from mental illness to being the mother of two queer children. We asked the Second City alumnus to give a sneak peak into her creative process

WHY MENTAL ILLNESS AS A SUBJECT FOR A COMIC? It is my natural instinct to be funny, and humour was something I learned early that would protect me from harm. My father committed suicide when I was seven, and I would visit him in the mental hospital during his struggle with schizophrenia. My mother was a non-medicated manic-depressive who brought magic and torment to my life. My grandmother was a narcissist with homophobic and racist overtones. I simply play them the way I saw them, felt their energy, and learned to speak their language, celebrating all that I have learned from some pretty amazing teachers. I truly believe that if the illness in my family did not exist I would not have seen the beauty of make-believe and storytelling, and taking people on an emotional adventure. I’ve been living these stories and characters my entire life.

THIS ONE-WOMAN PRODUCTION IS MORE THAN STANDUP. As a standup comic, you are always going for that laugh or that applause break. In theatre you allow your audience to breathe and take in the moment, the movements, and the music. There is a scene where I’ve learned the longer I hold off on saying anything and let the audience sit with anticipation, the more real and connected I become with them. I want that laugh, but I also want to connect emotionally. YOU ONCE OPENED ON TOUR FOR PUPPETRY OF THE PENIS? That cock-a-doodle-doo tour was what set me on my fearless quest to travel. I was basically hand-given my audience of middle-aged girls’-night-out women and gay men. I think 30,000 people saw me, and thus a fan base started. I have stayed in touch with Simon

Morley, the Australian creator. Get ready because Puppetry of the Penis 3D might be hitting Toronto soon! WHY ARE YOU DONATING SOME TICKET SALES TO THE LGBT ORGANIZATION SUPPORTING OUR YOUTH (SOY)? When my daughter first moved to Toronto, she was an 18-year-old lesbian with a ruralroute hick-town-living background. She found SOY and they quickly connected her with a mentor, and from that day forward she has flourished. She is now on staff at SOY and has graduated as a social worker. Oh, and my son is gay. As I say in my show: “This is not my uterus, it’s my fruit basket!”

HOLD MOMMY’S CIGARETTE $25. 8pm. Thu, Apr 4-7. SOY fundraiser. PWYC. 2pm. Apr 7. Alumnae Theatre. 70 Berkeley St. (416) 831-1754. holdmommyscigarette.com.

intorontomag.com

7


LIVING & DESIGN

T R AV E L

NOW, VOYAGER →

Cruising the Antarctic Peninsula delivers the trip of a lifetime, with plenty of big-sky adventure, phenomenal photo ops and the occasional hot British scientist Story Doug Wallace | Photography Tim Stewart

I

had never worn a party shirt with a long-sleeve thermal base layer underneath before. First time for everything, I guess. Antarctica dished out an abundance of firsts for my partner and I, which included staggering vistas and close encounters with animals 8

April 2013

you only see at the movies. Our journey began at the southernmost tip of Argentina in Ushuaia, which bills itself as “the city at the end of the world.” It is also the site of Argentina’s first gay marriage in 2009, which started the ball rolling for same-sex marriage

becoming legal nationwide in 2010. The Ocean Diamond, leased by the Vermont-based Quark Expeditions, takes its place among the few cruise ships moored in the Ushuaia harbour throughout the season (from late November to early March), sailing south with

around 190 passengers on 10- to 23-day excursions. Expedition leader David Wood leads a full team of guides and naturalists, scientists and specialists in the fields of zoology, ornithology, marine biology and geology, who give lectures during downtimes.


LIVING & DESIGN

Once

we

squeeze

→ SOUTHERN EXPOSURE Deception Island (opposite page), an active volcano with warm thermal waters, the ever-fascinating glacial ice (top left), the stunning Gerlache Strait as seen from the deck of the Ocean Diamond (bottom right) and making landfall near Paradise Harbour (top right).

the

three to four kilometres thick. It

cute, and very calm amid a sea of

Gerlache Strait toward the islands

increases in size during the win-

yellow-clad tourists. Some walk

that dot the coast of the Antarctic

ter with an ice belt all around the

right past you without flinching.

Peninsula,

adventure

coast, which melts and breaks

Although the zoologists accom-

begins in the form of twice-daily

up in the summertime. No, there

panying us on this trek would be

cruises on Zodiac pontoon boats.

aren’t any polar bears; that’s the

horrified, we entertain thoughts

(We

call-

Arctic. No, it isn’t minus 40, more

of sneaking a penguin into our

ing them Kodiaks, to be swiftly

like minus two — this is summer

cabin and playing with it, then

reminded that this isn’t a bear

after all.

tossing it overboard later. Worse,

ers catch sight of whales. Some of

I secretly wonder what one would

the birds are so majestic, you won-

taste like with a nice gravy, then

der how they find enough to eat.

the

mistakenly

real

into

started

cruise.) After treks on land to visit penguin colonies, tours of aban-

FAUNA & FAWNING

doned settlements and hikes up

The penguins get first billing,

feel guilty enough to drop a dona-

Then it turns out everything eats

glacial hills, there is a sort of thrill-

and there are just so many of them;

tion at the expedition desk for

the same thing, from the whales to

ing exhaustion at the end of each

28 million at last count. Waddling,

PenguinLifelines.org.

the terns: krill, a small crustacean.

day. Must be all the fresh air, but

falling, waddling some more, coo-

Seal sighting and bird watch-

the all-inclusive drinks package

ing, honking, sliding down hills

ing make up the rest of the wildlife

likely helps.

on their stomachs, porpoising in

spotting. Seals heave themselves

Your shipmates on a trip like

Politically neutral, with no gov-

groups in the water (called a “raft”

onto ice slabs to rest after many

this vary greatly, but one thing ties

ernment, Antarctica is 1.4 times

of penguins), hopping up onto the

hours in the water, so you don’t see

everyone together: a love of travel.

the size of Canada, essentially a

ice slabs, falling, hopping up again

them do much except wonder what

“Guests are generally a well-trav-

giant block of rock, covered by ice

— these creatures are capital “C”

the hell you are. Lucky adventur-

Continued on page 10

Seriously, there’s nothing else to eat here, unless you like lichen.

intorontomag.com

9


LIVING & DESIGN

this burly adventure. The schedule includes yoga most mornings and some afternoons, adapted to match the sea conditions. You don’t have to do tree poses on a rocky boat. “We keep things pretty close to the floor when the waves are high,” says wellness guide Sarah Hrdlicka. Recap

cocktail

parties

pro-

vide the chance to let the afternoon’s events sink in. On the last day, Wood gives a supposedly old-fashioned Antarctic toast: “To wives and sweethearts, may they never meet.” Laughs all around. “My second toast is to you for being intrigued enough to come to Antarctica. To all of you and your spirit of adventure.” → WILD THOUGHTS Another view of Gerlache Strait (left) and a welldressed resident, a Gentoo Penguin (right).

We’re saving up for Greenland. HOW TO GET THERE Air Canada flies to Buenos Aires from Toronto via Santiago, Chile.

Continued from page 9

couples and singles.

elled bunch, even the younger passengers,”

10

says

Expect to get to know most of the

Island welcome visitors; they have

It’s a wonderful place to spend

a museum, a souvenir shop and

time and there is lots to drink in,

a post office run by the United

including the amazing malbec. The

Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust.

city’s Palermo area has the cosmo-

At a stop on Deception Island near

politan vibe you’re looking for. The

the South Shetland Islands, we

Craft Hotel (crafthotel.com), Home

come across more Brits, a ship we

Hotel (homebuenosaires.com) and

nicknamed the Polar Po-Po — regu-

the Atempo Design Hotel (atempo-

lators inspecting how well visitors

suites.com) all stand out. The San

are adhering to the agreements set

Telmo district has a gay hotel, the

out in the Antarctic Treaty, which

Axel (axelhotels.com).

sets aside the continent as a scien-

For 2013-’14, Quark Expeditions

expedition

staff as well, who all choose single

leader David Wood. You meet The

seats at mealtimes to mix with the

Kayaking is a great way to inter-

a Greenland cruise and a Falklands,

Retirees, bored with the Caribbean

passengers. Some even entertain

act with the scenery. “It gave me

South Georgia and Antarctica voyage

and looking for something more

at pub nights in the lounge, where

the freedom to separate from the

that departs from Buenos Aires. It

challenging (she will tote at least

late-night dancing tends to get

group and paddle around icebergs,

features the first-ever Polar Floating

one guidebook to breakfast and he

challenging if the ship is rocking.

with penguins coming right up

Documentary Film Festival, and was

will have beige or green pants with

(Tip: Vodka seems to actually help

beside the kayak,” says Paul Parker

just voted one of Wanderlust Travel

legs that zip off to make shorts).

with this.) The whole staff couldn’t

from Sydney. “I appreciated the

magazine’s 50 Best Trips of 2013.

There are, of course, The Fleecies

be more accommodating, consid-

silence — not having to listen to

Check out quarkexpeditions.com. •

whose luggage looks like an ad for

ering their time off is minimal and

a motorboat, not having to speak,

Mountain Equipment Co-op, and

they very likely have to share quar-

just experiencing nature the way it

The Burlies, who have all pooped

ters. My toque goes off to them.

is.” The kayak guides are all impos-

tific preserve.

in the bush before and feel a bit

Despite the isolation in this

superior because of it. These peo-

icy landscape, you may encoun-

ple all dress in layers, even in bed.

ter

happen

night camping trip report actually

There are the shy Nerdy Nomads

upon a sailboat during a Zodiac

getting some sleep, kitted out with

as well as The Romantics in their

cruise one day and chat with the

bivvy bags and tents.

30s, getting a bit of travel in before

Australians onboard. The people

Surprisingly, there’s plenty of

they start families, plus a few gay

at Port Lochroy Station on Wiencke

time for a massage or facial on

April 2013

other

people.

We

sibly cool. Those who sign up for an over-

has a few new adventures, including


LIVING & DESIGN

RELATIONSHIP ADVICE

— with Adam Segal “I’m a 42-year-old single gay man with a fulfilling job and a close circle of friends. I came out at the age of 18 to relatively accepting parents and have felt at peace with my sexuality from a young age. At this time in my life, almost all of my friends are coupled and many of them frequently try to set me up on dates with friends and co-workers. The thing is, it’s becoming increasingly clear to me that I don’t truly want a relationship or feel like I’ll need one to feel whole in this lifetime. This clarity has felt both freeing and daunting as I’m not sure how to break the news to my family and friends that it’s just not a goal for me. I’m happy to have occasional sex, travel alone or with friends, and enjoy solitude — which has always felt like a comfortable place for me. How do you navigate a world that expects everyone to want a relationship when it’s just not your thing?” →

Colin It’s hard not to feel like a freak when you stand at odds with a world that places such an emphasis on coupledom as an essential life task — and those who fail in this pursuit as flawed or irreparably damaged. In a way, Colin, you’re now in a position where you have to come out again — as a man content with living singly. You sound confident in your stance and it doesn’t seem like your disinterest in relationships is rooted in fear or past hurts [though I’m having to rely on your brief letter]. That confidence will go a long way in inviting those around you to attain the comfort you exude. I could imagine that, mostly, those who care about you will learn to back off with their Cupid aspirations and respect your right to opt out of the love hunt. However, similar to coming out as gay, coming out as a “happy singleton” will mean having to contend with the myriad ways in which some folks could project their own insecurities and notions all over you. A typical range of reactions like denial, shock and

disbelief will likely rear its head. The classic line, “You just haven’t met the right girl yet,” that so many queer brethren have weathered could unfortunately be reincarnated into, “Sure, just wait until a great guy knocks you off your feet.” For many, the thought of never finding their soulmate is a gargantuan nightmarish scenario that keeps them awake at night. Your righteous embrace of singledom rocks folks whose lives are orbiting around the pursuit of love. It will be important that you recognize any reactivity as stemming solely from others’ personal insecurities and rampant socialized pressure.

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

sex is easy to find

love isn’t.

The dilemma: You are a successful professional living a fulfilled life. You are active, dynamic, intelligent, and financially stable. Your friends and family say that you are a catch. Then why is it that sincere love is so hard to find? The soluTion: A boutique networking agency specializing in personalized matchmaking will save time and energy. Their service is designed for busy, successful professionals who cherish the idea of a loving, faithful relationship once they find the right partner. The clienTs: Preferred Partners clients value the prospect of meeting like-minded individuals who are also tired of the internet and bar scene. Typically, they are successful professionals living full and active lives who work hard and love to play, too. Preferred ParTners canada’s exclusive Gay maTchmakinG aGency

Call us today for a free Consultation

1 866-467-5252

www.preferredpartners.ca www.preferredpartners.ca


LIVING & DESIGN

O PE N H O U S E

HERITAGE →

As managing partner of The Carlu, Mark Robert knows the value of great architecture. Whether a home or business, special buildings generate special feelings Story Gordon Bowness | Photography Nicola Betts

intorontomag.com

13


LIVING & DESIGN

You and business partner Jeffry Roick took over and renovated the seventh floor of College Park 10 years ago. Since then The Carlu has become a cornerstone of the city’s social and cultural life. It’s great to have your own business of any kind, but it’s amazing to have a business that produces such special events. The Carlu is a very happy place. That’s obvious when we’re hosting all the weddings and galas, but it’s true too at our business events. You see people sitting down to a good meal in this lovely piece of architecture. People can feel it’s special. We’ve had everyone from Prince Charles and Camilla to Donald Trump through here. We just did the BlackBerry 10 launch. That was a big deal, likely amongst the most important product launches in Canada. We had two nights of Bryan Adams Unplugged; his acoustic concerts. He’s a wonderful guy but I have to admit that his music really isn’t my thing. But I remember looking out at the audience and people were really beside themselves, tears streaming down their faces. And I thought to myself how unbelievable it all was, to host this event in a room we had brought back to life, where Billie Holiday, Frank Sinatra and Duke Ellington had all performed in the day. It’s all success and applause now but take us back 10 years. It must have been a daunting project. It had been closed for 26 years. Nobody could figure out how to restore it and operate it profitably. Nobody thought we’d be able to do it. We were two gay guys who seemingly came out of nowhere. People outside our little bubble didn’t know who we were and what we were capable of. It became apparent to us that a lot of people didn’t think we’d last that first year. And now? We’ve built a great brand, a high-end multi-function special event company. We are the industry leader.

14

April 2013

What’s next? Growth for us will come from third party management, that is managing assets that we don’t own. That’s the Four Seasons’ model; they don’t own a lot of their properties. There’s been interest expressed in us running other heritage sites in the city (though I can’t be more specific because of confidentiality reasons). You have carved out a unique niche. Jeffry and I are the only two people to privately restore a national heritage site in North America with no government money. There is no other model for what we are doing, at least not in Canada. Our main competition is governmentowned venues like the ROM and the Design Exchange where special events have become an important source of their revenue. But that’s not their main business, while that’s our exclusive focus. Governments are overstretched; they’re looking for solutions. We have proven the role of the private sector in the adaptive reuse of heritage spaces. And there will be a greater role in the future to meet the needs of this growing market.


LIVING & DESIGN

→ PAST MEETS PRESENT Mark Robert and Jim Johnson’s living room (page 13) features a painting by Celia Neubauer and a Heintzman piano once owned by Robert’s great-great-grandfather. The dog, Charlie, is a two-year-old Labradoodle. In the den (opposite page, top) a Remington bronze sits across from a Paul Béliveau painting and a Jesse Boles photograph. The toile wallpaper in the guest bedroom (opposite page, bottom) depicts African scenes. The formal dining room (top) is brightened by a Douglas Coupland work and Paul Smith fabric on the chairs. The painting above the bed in the master bedroom (bottom) is by Peter Hoffer.

What do you love about it? It’s the perfect house; the math is perfect from the standpoint of symmetry and sight lines. It is so hard to find a grand small house. And it’s overbuilt: the slate roof, the onyx fireplace, the doors, everything is the best it could be. It was built by Mathers and Haldenby who built UCC and other buildings at U of T plus many fine homes in Rosedale and Forest Hill. This house was built in 1918 for the first president of Wrigley Canada. It’s in the southern Georgian style and allegedly won an award for the best-designed house in the Commonwealth. I’m the fourth owner. It’s situated in a lovely spot. I love the South Hill neighbourhood. Not a lot of the old houses were torn down to make way for monster homes like in Forest Hill. Being on the escarpment means we get city views from our bedroom window. You live with your partner of 19 years, Jim Johnson, VP, marketing, at Corus. Do you run the house equally? Jim

and

I

do

everything

So time to throw yourselves a

great night. We know that it will be

neighbourhood, so I would pass by

together, so it’s just natural to

party.

fun — we have a great guest list!

the house all the time. I’ve wanted

deal with the house together. We

to live in it since I was 15. I used to

also have a country home south of

Our 10th anniversary party is May 3. We get to celebrate the

Let’s talk about your home in

stalk it. I finally bought the house

Creemore in Mulmur where I get

good job we’ve done engaging the

Toronto’s South Hill. You have an

just before the millennium. I’ll

to indulge my love of power tools.

community and honouring this

unusual relationship to it.

never sell. They’re going to have to

I’m already on my third chainsaw.

national historical site. It will be a

Growing up I had a friend in the

take me out of it in a box.

Continued on page 16

intorontomag.com

15


LIVING & DESIGN Continued from page 15

→ PRIVATE MEETS PUBLIC Mark Robert (right) celebrates the 10th anniversary of renovating and managing the Art Moderne-style seventh floor of College Park, renamed The Carlu, after original architect Jacques Carlu. The multifunction space has re-emerged as a crucial piece of Toronto’s cultural and social life. Pictured are one of the Clipper Rooms (bottom left) and the iconic Round Room (bottom right).

Did you do major renos here? There’s always work to be done in an old house like this. We put a pool and covered porch in the back and a gym and a steam room in the basement. We kept most of the important original elements on the main floor. It’s bursting with art and antiques. I was born in Toronto. I’ve inherited a lot of antiques from the family, like the grand piano, it was my great-great-grandfather’s. So when we buy anything, it has to be contemporary; we don’t want it to get too fussy in here. And I love contemporary art. I was co-chair of Art with Heart and on the board of C magazine for a few years and I ran an online art trading company

Krista MacKinnon Photography

called the Art Vault. •

16

April 2013


INSIGHT

GAMING

TO THE NEXT LEVEL →

Can LGBT gamers blast their way into a $70 billion industry? Story Jaime Woo

I

t’s not everyday that you see a sexy Vaporeon. But Toronto’s Pride is an exceptional day. Marching in the parade last year was a young lithe man with fins attached above the ears, a ruffled collar around his neck, baby blue suspenders that flowed into a long spiked tail in the

18

April 2013

back and, finally, a tiny pair of navy shorts. For those unfamiliar with the creature, Vaporeon is a fictional beast from the popular videogame Pokemon. Alongside him was a chubby Italian plumber, an elf with a penchant for green tunics, and a few more Pokemon animals. Welcome to the world of the

Toronto Gay Gamers group (TOGG), a popular association of videogame enthusiasts both LGBT and allied. The volunteer-run group is predominantly organized on Facebook with nearly 500 members and is promoted mostly through word-of-mouth. Most queer gamers are pleas-

antly surprised when they find out about the group. TOGG organizer Hardy Boyd recalls the reaction of one gay male couple. “They thought they were the only ones,” he says. A common reaction. Toronto is bustling as a games centre. Globally, the games industry generates more than US $70 bil-


INSIGHT

lion, and Canada is the third-larg-

Studios, transgressing the assumed

bers to discuss and address queer-

wares. As a result, new games are

est country for development in the

orientation of characters was easy.

ness and games.

coming out that resist easy gender

world. In the past year, Toronto has

“In a lot of cases the lead main

Less progress has been made on

categorizations. “The more people

launched critical and commercial

characters are blank slates,” he

the player side. “It’s just not a very

start to play, the more the indus-

successes such as Mega Run, Dyad,

says. One example includes the

friendly environment,” says Julien

try will realize there are all differ-

Home and Sound Shapes.

classic video game The Legend of

ent kinds of gamers out there,” says

At the same time, Toronto has

Zelda, released in 1986, where the

Legault, an aspiring game designer. Online, players often deride each

also fostered a vibrant culture with

lead character Link never speaks.

other by calling one another “fags.”

ers don’t necessarily want products

festivals, films, performances and

“He is tasked with saving the

Many consider the worst offend-

that [have been] stereotypically tar-

meet-ups celebrating videogames.

Princess Zelda,” says Hijazi, “but

ers to be players of the Xbox game

geted towards them.”

Samson Romero, another TOGG

you can interpret him anyway you

Halo, a first-person shooter series

Turingan agrees. She thinks the

co-organizer, notes that gay gamer

want.” Instead of a romantic sub-

that has sold more than 50 million

definition of gamer must widen to

groups in other cities are jealous of

text, Link could rescue Zelda just to

copies to date.

include those who play accessible

the activity in Toronto.

be noble, reasons Hijazi.

Beath. “And different kinds of gam-

“If the average gay person went

and casual games. “Even if girls play

Where once videogames might

But the age-old project of queer-

on Xbox live chat for five minutes

Dance Central every day and get

have seemed incongruous to the

ing the reading of a heterosex-

and played Halo they’d be scared

100 percent on expert and can whip

queer identity, a group like TOGG

ist culture is slowly giving way to

away from videogames for the rest

any boy at that game, the industry

is part of a larger trend of out and

more inclusive games. Hijazi partic-

of their life,” says Legault. “Unless

still would not consider those girls

proud queer faces in the city play-

ularly enjoys the storyline behind a

you find the right people, it is a

gamers. That’s a problem. They

ing, writing about and creating

male character grappling with his

homophobic culture and there’s a

think to be a gamer you have to

games.

sexuality in Persona IV. “Kanji is a

lot of that running deep through a

have a PC rig or a console at home.”

For Carly Beath, videogames have

Japanese character, and has societal

lot of 13-year-old boys that like to

been part of her life since she was

pressures to be extremely mascu-

seven years old playing Nintendo

line and to make fun of girly-guys,”

with her father and sister. She and

says Hijazi. “Whenever sexuality

girlfriend Michelle Turingan say

is brought up, the character reacts

they have no shame in being gam-

by overcompensating. You really

ers. They do wish, however, that

feel for him because you’re cer-

more games would reflect their

tain so many people playing the

reality. “Games don’t tend to rep-

game have gone through exactly

resent women well,” says Beath,

that, and by the end he comes into

“you’re either pandered to with

his own.” At the end of Persona IV,

ridiculous games about making

Kanji learns to reject society’s judg-

dresses….”

ment of effeminate behaviour and

“Or raising babies,” chimes in Turingan, “or else the women in games are just there for the guys to gawk at.”

opens himself to explore desire for both men and women. Change is also happening in the

Another solution is to have more queer game players become game

“IF THE AVERAGE GAY PERSON WENT ON XBOX LIVE CHAT FOR FIVE MINUTES AND PLAYED HALO THEY’D BE SCARED AWAY FROM VIDEOGAMES FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIFE.”

creators. While many triple-A titles

play videogames. It’s just where

than ever,” says Turingan.

we’re at right now.”

require million-dollar budgets and large teams, new advances in technology have allowed more people to make smaller, independent games at home using programs like Game Maker. Beath and Turingan are both musicians. They plan to contribute music tracks to video games. “The idea that you can marry your passion for music and passion for gaming seems more accessible now The future has plenty of promise,

game studios themselves. Diversity

Legault, however, is hopeful that

as queer gamers revel in their new-

This extends to representation of

has been sorely lacking in game

change is coming. “One day when

found visibility in both their queer

lesbians. Turingan notes that, like

development globally, a field con-

these 13-year-old boys grow up and

and gamer identities. Sure, the road

much pornography, Sapphic sce-

sisting predominantly of straight

realize what’s right and what’s not,

ahead is likely to be riddled with

narios are more often for men who

white males. Encouraging people

they will teach their kids who are

obstacles and setbacks, but that’s

are into girl-on-girl action.

of different ethnicities, genders and

playing videogames. So we won’t

to be expected of an industry as

Queer representation in video

sexualities to enter the industry in

have to deal with this immaturity

young as videogaming. There will

games has traditionally been min-

all capacities will speed up the prog-

level. I think it’ll be a lot better.”

be more conferences, more games,

imal in the industry’s four decades

ress already underway. One exam-

Change may come sooner than

more discourse. Videogame play-

of history. For many veteran play-

ple is Electronic Arts, a California-

expected, as new audiences have

ers, after all, are perfectly suited to

ers, projecting a queer narrative

based company worth more than

been introduced to the joys of vid-

take things to the next level.

was the only way to see themselves

US $5.4 billion, which has released

eogames thanks to the proliferation

in the game. For Mathew Hijazi,

queer-friendly titles like the Sims,

of smartphones and tablets. While

environment artist at Drinkbox

Mass Effect and Dragon Age, and is

many people would not consider

one of the few companies to partici-

themselves gamers, their contin-

pate in Dan Savage’s anti-bullying It

ued interest in games like Temple

Gets Better campaign. In March, the

Run and Mega Jump has caused

company held a half-day event in

the industry to look beyond cater-

New York inviting industry mem-

ing to teenage boys for their latest

→ REPROGRAMMED This image from Michael Todd’s Silent Skies series was shown in For All-Gamers’ Sake, an art show last year exploring gender and queerness in videogames.

TORONTO GAY GAMERS GROUP torontogaymers.ca. JAIME WOO Is the festival director of Gamercamp (gamercamp.ca) and the author of Meet Grindr: How One App Changed The Way We Connect. intorontomag.com

19


LISTINGS & EVENTS

APRIL Bruce Zinger

IN THE CITY

3

6 OPERA ATELIER’S COLIN AINSWORTH The Magic Flute opens

10

7

ART OF FOOTBALL Jo Strømgren Kompani opens at Fleck

CAMERON CARPENTER Organ soloist at Koerner Hall

Open s starr ing C éleste Dubé

TRUE WEST Opens at Soulpepper starring Ari Cohen

13 LUC COURCHESNE Closes at Centre Space

17 LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR Anna Christy debuts with the COC

Art & Photography LUC COURCHESNE Photos, video, LED display and more bend landscape photography in new directions. Presented by Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain. 10am-5:30pm. Tue-Sat. Until Sat, Apr 13. Centre Space. 65 George St. centre-space.ca. TRANSFORMATION BY FIRE A unique project, 10 years in the making, originated by the Gardiner Museum in partnership with the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic. Women whose lives have been touched by violence tell their stories by working with clay. Free (admission to the rest of the gallery is $12). 10am-6pm. Mon-Thu. 10am-9pm. Fri. 10am-5pm. Sat & Sun. Until Sun, Apr 28. The Gardiner Museum. 111 Queen’s Park. (416) 586-8080. gardinermuseum.com. BALINT ZSAKO A selection of pretty

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ALBERTINE IN FIVE TIMES Opens starring Céleste Dubé

and unsettling works by the Hungarian-born Toronto artist. Noon-5pm daily. Until Sun, Apr 28. Gladstone Hotel, third floor gallery. 1214 Queen St W. (416) 531-4635. gladstonehotel.com. C MAGAZINE AUCTION C’s visual arts foundation presents its ninth annual contemporary art fundraiser featuring works by 60 Canadian artists. Advance ticket holders receive a limited edition Dean Baldwin. $80. 5:30pm preview; 7pm live auction. Thu, Apr 4. Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art. 952 Queen St W. tickets.cmagazine.com. JANET CARDIFF & GEORGE BURES MILLER The AGO presents renowned

Canadian duo in Lost in the Memory Palace, a selection of seven installations of soundtracks, videos, objects and images never before shown together in Canada, including a new as yet-untitled work created for the

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STILL STANDING YOU Opens at Enwave Theatre

AGO. Plus Cardiff’s celebrated soundscape Forty-Part Motet (2001) presented in the Henry Moore Sculpture Centre, featuring 40 loudspeakers, each emitting a separately recorded voice singing Thomas Tallis’s 1573 choral composition Spem in Alium. Meet the artists: 7pm-8:30pm. Wed, Apr 3. Jackman Hall. Opening. Free. 5pm-10pm. Apr 5. $12. 10am-5:30pm. Tue-Sun. Until 8:30pm Wed. Apr 6-18. Art Gallery of Ontario. 317 Dundas St W. (416) 979-6648. ago.net. MITCHELL CHAN / ALEX MCLEOD Two solo shows of recent works. Opening. 6pm-9pm. Thu, Apr 25. Noon-5pm. Wed-Sat. Until June 1. Angell Gallery. 12 Ossington Ave. (416) 530-0444. angellgallery.com. GROW OP The Gladstone’s inaugural event celebrating innovative ideas and conceptual responses to landscape and place curated by Victoria Taylor.

28

TRANSFORMATION BY FIRE Closes at the Gardiner

Featuring works throughout the hotel and nearby from Amy Siegel, Detritus & Co, Robert Cram and Matt Caudle, Jane Hutton, ERA Architects, Susan Rowe Harrison, Katie Mathieu, Nick Sweetman and many more. $10. 6pm10pm. Thu, Apr 25. 11am-10pm. Apr 26. 11am-9pm. Apr 27. 11am-5pm. Apr 28. Opening Reception with DJ Iris Fraser-Gudrunas. 7pm-10pm. Apr 26. Gladstone Hotel. 1214 Queen St W. (416) 531-4635. gladstonehotel.com.

Dance A DANCE TRIBUTE TO THE ART OF FOOTBALL World Stage presents the

Norwegian-based Jo Strømgren Kompani in a series of comic, tough and tender vignettes celebrating soccer. $15-$35. 8pm. Wed, Apr 10-13. Fleck Dance Theatre. 207 Queens Quay W. (416) 973-4000.


LISTINGS & EVENTS

Seber Ugarte & Lorena Lopez

OUR GUIDE TO YOUR MONTH

KILLING MACHINE

A 2007 piece from Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller made of mixed media, sound, pneumatics and robotics. Big retrospective opens Fri, Apr 5.

IMAGES MEDIA ARTS FESTIVAL Runs Thu, Apr 11 to 20. A special prefestival performance features legendary lesbian filmmaker Barbara Hammer (see above). Witness: Palestine is live projections and performance to tell the story of the occupation of Palestine. Co-presented with Pleasure Dome, Queers against Israeli Apartheid, TIFF Cinematheque and Toronto Palestine Film Festival. $10. 7pm. Fri, Apr 7. Jackman Hall. 317 Dundas St W. Hammer’s work is also alongside the work of contemporary artists Sharon Hayes, Onya Hogan-Finlay, Allyson Mitchell, Carrie Moyer, LJ Roberts and others who explore the possibilities of feminist world-making in After My Own Heart at the Oakville Galleries. Until May 18. 120 Navy St. Oakville. oakvillegalleries.com. The Images opening gala features another live piece, a collaboration between Juno Award-winning Tim Hecker and filmmaker Robert Todd. St Anne’s Church. 270 Gladstone Ave. Off screen are numerous media installations in galleries across the city. Kicks off with Kuai Shen’s ant colony installation at InterAccess (9 Ossington Ave) and Andrea Geyer’s exhibition at A Space (401 Richmond St W), based on the contribution of Women to the development of modern art. LGBT screenings include the 1987 Super 8 film Beautiful People by David Wojnarowicz, the amazing US artist who died of AIDS in 1992. 9pm. Apr 17. Jackman Hall. 317 DundasSt W. (See page 6.) I Remember: A Film about Joe Brainard, Matt Wolf’s short montage portrait of the artist and writer and his life-long friendship with poet Rog Padgett. In the Rhythm and Reflection program. 9pm. Apr 15. imagesfestival.com. HOT DOCS Thu, Apr 25-May 5. See page 29.

Classical & Jazz

harbourfrontcentre.com. STILL STANDING YOU Belgian/ Portuguese duo Pieter Ampe and Guilherme Garrido use their bodies to explore touch, tenderness, violence and struggle between men. Presented by World Stage. $15-$35. 8pm. Tue, Apr 23-27. Enwave Theatre. 231 Queens Quay W. (416) 973-4000. harbourfrontcentre.com.

Film & Video BARBARA HAMMER TIFF presents a comprehensive retrospective of the pioneering experimental filmmaker and lesbian activist with works spanning Hammer’s prolific 45-year career. With the filmmaker in attendance over the free three-night event. In Resisting Paradise Hammer ponders the relationship between art and political resistance during the war in Kosovo. Shown

with Pools. 6:15pm. Thu, Apr 4. Tender Fictions connects self-documentation and found footage to Hammer’s identity as feminist, lesbian, and filmmaker. 9pm. Apr 4. Dyketactics is a program of short films made when Hammer lived in the San Francisco area. 1pm. Apr 6. Nitrate Kisses is Hammer’s taboo-busting first feature-length, an ode to the sensual pleasures of love and intimacy. 7pm. Apr 6. A Horse Is Not a Metaphor is a poetic look at Hammer’s battle with cancer. 4:30pm. Apr 7. Generations is a program exploring Hammer’s influence on a younger generation of queer filmmakers, as well as paying tribute to one of her own primary influences, Maya Deren. 7:15pm. Apr 7. TIFF Bell Lighbox. 350 King St W. (416)599-TIFF. tiff.net. Also, Hammer will present her new performance Witness: Palestine as part of the Images Festival (see below).

NEW MUSIC CONCERTS Six Hundred Year Anniversaries, a special concert marking the centenaries of John Cage, Barbara Pentland, John Weinzweig, Witold Lutosławski, Henry Brant and Conlon Nancarrow. With harpist Erica Goodman, pianist Stephen Clarke, cellist David Hetherington, clarinetist Max Christie, accordionist Joseph Macerollo, percussionist Rick Sacks and flutist and artistic director Robert Aitken. $100; $150 for two. 8pm. Sat, Apr 6. Gallery 345. 345 Sorauren Ave. 416 961-9594. newmusicconcerts.com. CAMERON CARPENTER The first organist ever nominated for a Grammy for a solo album (2008’s Revolutionary), comes to Toronto for a program of Copland, his own composition and selections made that night. With the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony; Edwin Outwater conducts. $25-$65. 3pm. Sun, Apr 7. Koerner Hall. 273 Bloor St W. (416) 408-0208. rcmusic.ca. EVE EGOYAN Brave new sound worlds.

To celebrate the release of her new CD, 5, featuring five posthumous works by lesbian composer Anne Southam, the pianist gives a recital of Southam, Vivier, Finnissy, Hellawell and Susam. $30. 8pm. Fri, Apr 19. Glenn Gould Studio. 250 Front St W. (416) 872-4255. Eveegoyan.com. DUO CONCERTANTE Violinist Nancy Dahn and pianist Timothy Steeves celebrate the release of Beethoven: Complete Sonatas for Violin and Piano, their three-CD box set from Marquis Classics, with a concert. $10 & $20. 8pm. Mon, Apr 22. Gallery 345. 345 Sorauren Ave. (416) 822-9781. info@gallery345.com.

Stage THIS A group of thirtysomethings navigate through death, parenthood, love and adultery. Canadian Stage presents an unromantic comedy by Canadian playwright Melissa James Gibson, the first time New York-based Gibson’s work has been presented in Toronto. Featuring Laura Condlln, Christian Laurin, Yanna McIntosh, Alon Nashman and Jonathon Young; CanStage artistic director Matthew Jocelyn directs. $22-$49. 8pm. Mon-Sat. 1:30pm. Wed. 2pm. Sat. Closes Sat, Apr 13 Berkeley Street Theatre. 26 Berkeley St. (416) 368-3110. canadianstage.com. SOULPEPPER True West is Sam Shepard’s black comedy from 1980 about sibling rivalry. Starring Ari Cohen, Patricia Hamilton, Stuart Hughes and Mike Ross; Nancy Palk directs. Opens Wed, Apr 3. In rep with La Ronde, a new Toronto-based adaptation by Jason Sherman of Arthur Schnitzler’s play (infamous in 1897) featuring 10 interconnected sexual liaisons. Starring Maev Beaty, Leah Doz, Stuart Hughes, Brandon McGibbon, Brenda Robins, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Mike Ross, Miranda Edwards, Grace Lynn Kung and Adrian Morningstar; Alan Dilworth directs. Opens Thu, Apr 4. $51-$68. Young Centre for the Performing Arts. 50 Tank House Lane. (416) 866-8666. soulpepper.ca. HOLD MOMMY’S CIGARETTE Opens Thu, Apr 4. See page 7. THE MAGIC FLUTE Opera Atelier remounts one of its most popular productions, a playful and witty take on Mozart’s fairytale adventure. With Colin Ainsworth as Tamino, Olivier LaQuerre as Papageno, Ambur Braid as The Queen of the Night, Carla Huhtanen as Papagena, Laura Albino as Pamina and João Fernandes as Sarastro. With director Marshall Pynkoski, choreographer Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg, set designer Gerard Gauci; music director David Fallis conducts the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir. In English. $35-$155. 7:30pm. Sat, Apr 6, 9, 10, 12 & 13. 3pm. Apr 7. Elgin Theatre. 189 Yonge St. 1-855Continued on page 22


LISTINGS & EVENTS

IN SPOT LOST AND FOUND Story & photography Derek Dotto

Continued from page 21

622-ARTS (2787). ticketmaster.ca. HATCH Catch innovative performing arts works early in the creative process in Harbourfront’s residency series running four Saturdays beginning Apr 13. On offer this year: Reena Katz’s Love Takes the Worry Out of Being Close: Public Assemblies in Bed with Queers, a reimagining of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s iconic bed-ins. 8pm. Apr 13. Mexican/Costa Rican performance, photography and video artist Andréa de Keijzer’s choreographic experiment Our Last Picture. 8pm. Apr 20. Toronto-based performing arts company Eventual Ashes (with AD Gein Wong) presents a dystopic future in 9 Loons. 8pm. Apr 27. The Winterreise Projekt is a crossdisciplinary exploration of Franz Schubert’s song cycle by Kawa Ada, Derek Kwan and Hazel Venzon. 8pm. May 4. $15; $40 pass. Harbourfront Centre’s Studio Theatre. 235 Queens Quay W. (416) 973-4000. harbourfrontcentre.com/ hatch. ALBERTINE EN CINQ TEMPS (ALBERTINE IN FIVE TIMES) Following a sold-

out, critically acclaimed run in Ottawa last fall, Théâtre français de Toronto presents Michel Tremblay’s 1984 masterpiece, a powerful exploration of the life of one woman by one of the gay masters of Canadian theatre. Featuring Mélanie Beauchamp, Céleste Dubé, Geneviève Dufour, Marie-Hélène Fontaine, Patricia Marceau and Lyne Tremblay; Jean Stéphane Roy directs. $33-$57; PWYC Wed. 8pm. Wed-Sat. 3;30pm. Sat. 2:30pm. Sun. Fri, Apr 19-28. English surtitled performances: 8pm. Apr 17, 19, 20, 24, 26 & 27. 3:30pm. Apr 27. Fundraising gala & (surtitled) show. $125. 6pm; 7:30pm

→ COLOUR THEORY Balint Zsako exhibition closes at the Gladstone on Sun, Apr 28.

show. Apr 25. Berkeley Street Theatre Upstairs. 26 Berkeley St. (416) 534-6604. theatrefrancais.com. CANADIAN OPERA COMPANY Here are two great reasons to lose your mind. The COC spring season kicks off with Gaetano Donizetti’s bel canto masterpiece Lucia di Lammermoor, starring US soprano Anna Christy in her COC debut in a production created specially for her by director David Alden at English National Opera. With Stephen as Edgardo, Brian Mulligan as Enrico and Nathaniel Peake as Arturo. Sets by Charles Edwards and costumes by Brigitte Reiffenstuel; Stephen Lord conducts. Wed, Apr 17, 20, 26, 30, May 9, 12, 15, 18 & 24. Then it’s the return of the COC 1996 production of Richard Strauss’s Salome, based on the play by Oscar Wilde. This modern classic is a bold mediasaturated concept from director Atom Egoyan that makes an already chilling work of art more disturbing. Swedish-American soprano Erika Sunnegårdh stars as Salome in her COC debut. With Canadian star Richard Margison in his role debut as Herod and the great mezzo Hanna Schwarz as Herodias. Sets by Derek McLane, projections by Phillip Barker (featuring works by photographer Edward Burtynsky) and costumes by Catherine Zuber; COC music director Johannes Debus conducts. Sun, Apr 21, 27, May 1, 4, 7, 10, 16 & 22. $12 (standing room) -$325. Four Seasons Centre. 145 Queen ST W. (416) 363-8231. coc.ca.

When you walk into Lost and Found, it can easily feel more like you’re dropping by a friend’s place than patronizing a coffee shop or clothing store. Luckily, it’s all three of those things. “You don’t feel pressure to buy anything. You just have a coffee and sit down and chat,” says owner Jonathan Elias. Located in the heart of Hipsterville, on Dundas Street West just east of Dovercourt, this unassuming storefront houses pieces from some of the most reputable, yet arguably under-exposed, brands in clothing. And now that Lost and Found has transitioned exclusively to menswear, there is even more to choose from. Gitman Bros classic oxford shirts, coal miner-inspired knitwear from Vancouver-based Homespun, brightly printed surf shirts and shorts by Battenwear, and Nauticalthemed wristwear from “it” brand Miansai line the walls. All of these lines share common threads tied to Lost and Found’s philosophy: “Focus on quality, craftsmanship and attention to detail,” says Elias. He’s quick to rave about Alden’s leather loafers. “They’re probably the highest quality of shoes you can buy. Each pair is handmade so it takes six to eight weeks to make a pair. Everything about the brand epitomizes what our store stands for.”

→ COFFEE, TEA OR MIANSAI? There’s

no pressure at Lost and Found. Come in and browse and enjoy a cup of java.

Don’t expect anything different when you order a refreshment. The coffee is all fair trade, the baked goods supplied by the shop’s neighbours at Bake Lab, even the sugar for the vanilla bean lattes is made by a friend. Whether it’s coffee or clothing, almost everything at Lost and Found sees a portion of its production done on this side of the Pacific. “You put more money into the local economy, you’ll get more out of it,” says Elias, who’s also a big supporter of slowing the over-heated fashion cycle. “We do try to introduce a few trendy pieces, like a floral, but for all intents and purposes, most of our stuff is very basic, classic pieces that will last year-in year-out so that you don’t have to keep buying and contributing to the landfill.” You may not be encouraged to go to Lost and Found every week to buy a new pair of chinos or a shirt, but you’ll certainly be welcomed in for a cup of coffee.

LOST AND FOUND 1255 Dundas St W. (647) 348-2810.


THE OFFICIAL TORONTO

PRIDE GUIDE 2013

Join the biggest party of the year Advertising inquiries: advertise@pridetoronto.com


Collection of James Lahey & Pym Buitenhuis, Toronto © 2013 Patti Smith

A RT & E N T E RTA I N M E N T

VISUAL ART

REGISTER UNDER SMITH →

Does Patti Smith’s photography stand on its own, without reference to her famous rock star name? Review Sholem Krishtalka

W

hat you make of Camera Solo, Patti Smith’s show of photographs at the Art Gallery of Ontario, depends on what you make of Patti Smith. Granted, this is true of any show by any artist, but there is something about the conditions and context of Camera Solo that make that

24

April 2013

statement more than just an obvious truism. I have seen the show a number of times, and each time I ambled through the gallery space, there was a clear distinction of the different kinds of viewers there to see the work. Moreover, and what’s more interesting, is that this distinction revealed not just individual

reactions to the consumption of the show itself, but the reason for the respective viewers’ attendance. By my reckoning, the audience of Camera Solo is split into two categories: those who wander through the show because they find themselves at the museum, and those who find themselves at the

museum because of Patti Smith. It’s eminently clear who the Patti Smith fans are, and watching this latter category of viewer take in the show is a spectacle in and of itself. It must take them at least an hour to get through this small roomful of photographs and ephemera. Each photograph, each stroke of


A RT & ENTERTAINMENT

her pen, each palimpsestual gesture is treated like an emanation from the goddess herself, stared at and pored over with religious fervour. I thought to myself more than once how nice it would be if people Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford © 2013 Patti Smith

Courtesy of the artist & Robert Miller Gallery, NYC © 2013 Patti Smith

looked at all art that way. I like Patti Smith, as a cultural figure and as a musician — I respect and acknowledge her contribution and centrality to an influential subgenre of pop music (it’s the subgenre I align myself with most); but I am not a superfan. And so, following my own taxonomy of Camera Solo viewership, I fall somewhere between my two categories: I was at the AGO to see the Patti Smith show, but out of casual interest rather than icon worship. The show consists largely of black and white photographs: of her children, of her friends, of sites in and around Paris. There are → HONEST GAZE Patti Smith: Auto Portrait, 2009 (opposite page), Walt Whitman’s Tomb, Camden, NJ, 2007 (right) and Virginia Woolf’s Bed I, 2003, Monk’s House (left).

some other efforts as well: a recre-

text, and the charismatic force-

her recent memoir Just Kids, finds

ation of the stretcher that Arthur

fulness of her voice as she reads it,

visual expression here: sketches, a

Rimbaud had made toward the end

evokes, gritty romantic bohemia

photograph of Smith by him, a reli-

of his life to have himself carried

that the photographs fall so short of.

quary for Davey Jones that the two

across Ethiopia so that he could get

Yes, this is a show for fans,

to Marseille for medical treatment;

but it’s a fan’s show in a deeper

Likewise, her images of Paris

Pope Benedict XV’s papal slippers;

sense, too, one that makes for a

make much more sense when

and dismissive about it. But it’s far

a drawing of Robert Mapplethorpe;

much more interesting experience.

viewed in this light: the world of

more fruitful to engage with that

and Evidence Daumal, a video col-

Throughout, Smith is positioning

the French New Wave, of fin de siè-

fact as the show’s first principle; its

laboration with artist Jem Cohen.

herself as a fan. It is much more

cle poets and artists, the tower-

fruitful to think of this show not as a

ing vaulted ceilings of old cathe-

curation, presentation and didactic material are all straightforward

effort to include her in the canon

drals, their decaying altarpieces

about its whys and wherefores.

of

YES, THIS IS A SHOW FOR FANS, BUT IT’S A FAN’S SHOW IN A DEEPER SENSE, TOO, ONE THAT MAKES FOR A MUCH MORE INTERESTING EXPERIENCE.

covered over in tarpaulins; a city

Smith has emerged as a force of

of romance and decay, of statuary

contemporary pop music, and this

and tombstones, all the ghosts of

is the engine that drives that force.

her well-beloved influences hang-

She is inviting you to take a closer

ing like the cigarette smoke in

look. Perhaps you’ll find it bland

cafés. In this sense, all the charcoal

and unsurprising, but you should

black-and-white

never decline the invitation.

more or less like tourist shots from

divergent aspect of Smith’s creative

ual statements or pieces, and thus,

a gothic vacation: grainy black-

life, but as a feeder of it. The show

seem much less self-important,

and-flag white snaps of statuary,

is replete with documentary evi-

and much more honest. These are

Parisian graveyards and cathedrals.

dence of the things that inspire her.

the footnotes to a life of self-deter-

Any evidence of an artist’s vision,

Her love of Rimbaud is famous, and

mined punk bohemia.

of an eye and a mind that seeks to

here is the proof: drawings of him,

It’s incontrovertibly true that the

reflect and refract the outside world

photographs of his tombstone, the

legend of Patti Smith is what drives

into a singular, idiosyncratic vision,

recreation of his litter. Likewise, her

this show, rather than the work

is absent. The best individual work

foundational intimacy with Robert

in the show itself. This is simply a

in the show is the video: Smith’s

Mapplethorpe, so well narrated in

fact, and one can easily be cynical

As a museum show and as an contemporary

photography,

Camera Solo is unremarkable. The photographs are honest and competent — she makes gelatin silver prints from Polaroids, so there are no enhancements or alterations or any such digital juicing of the work. Smith knows how to use a camera, and she knows how to take a picture. But her photographs seem

made together.

photographs

taken on a long-obsolete camera — become part of an overall fabric of an artistic life, rather than individ-

CAMERA SOLO Continues until Sun, May 19. Art Gallery of Ontario. 317 Dundas St W. (416) 9796648. ago.net. intorontomag.com

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VISUAL ART

DELIGHT IS EVERYWHERE →

Local and international artists do startling things in public Reviews Pamela Meredith

A

toppled American soldier, a big red canoe, the thimble atop a pile of buttons, a flock of geese, an archer. Think about your daily routes around the city and the iconic, permanent artworks sprinkled throughout. Do Joe Fafard’s bronze cows out at pasture at King and Bay make you smile? Do Charlie Pachter’s Leafs and Canadiens murals in the College subway station provide any relief from your packed

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April 2013

subway ride? How about Michael Snow’s jeering crowd adorning Rogers Centre (or Skydome, as it will always be to me)? Here are five favourites of mine — projects that never fail to distract me from the drudgery of traffic jams, congested sidewalks and security lineups. One of the most subtly beautiful public projects out there is Nestor Kruger’s Pond, a 100-metre long frieze wrapping around the

second story of 628 Fleet Street. Commissioned by the condo’s developer under the Percent for Art program (that stipulates high density projects must dedicate a percentage of the gross construction costs to public art), Kruger renders arrangements of lily pads and flowers in inlaid stone representing 55 constellations. The lily pad imagery references nearby Lake Ontario while the starry patterns nod to the airborne location.

It’s lovely at dusk as car headlights set the white marble aglow and Orion and Cassiopeia really begin to shine. While you may have missed Pond in your travels, you cannot miss James Carl’s muscular Things End, a more classic sculpture-on-a-plinth, in front of TIFF Lightbox’s condo entrance on John Street. Carl is known for rendering everyday objects with a shift in materials — Styrofoam becomes


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marble, metal becomes cardboard

but also pairs of disco balls and

ute cycle through the spectrum

— highlighting the specific “thing-

coins,

many

of colours), the piece is mesmer-

ness” of things. In this case, the

aspects of the Parkdale neighbour-

izing from within the building or

lowly but useful rubber band is

hood where Jacob lives and works.

from the street, at any time of day

elevated to grand stature in heft

A dark throughway becomes mys-

or night.

and materials. Bronze, the mate-

terious and enchanted.

referencing

the

→ FAVE PUBLIC ART On Toronto streets you can stumble across the witty whimsy of James Carl’s Things End (opposite page) and the shimmering mystery of Luis Jacob’s Spirits of the Grotto (above).

The most vivid experience I

rial of so many Henry Moores, is

While these first three pieces are

have of public art came recently at

City living can be a grind. Seek

rendered as if it were a stretchy

by homegrown talents, there are

Pearson Airport on the way home

out these works and others. Let

Möbius Strip; the shape teasingly

a number of international artists

from a family holiday. Descending

them do their work on you, if

close to some of those abstract,

working their magic in Toronto

through Sol LeWitt’s r a i n b o w -

only for a fleeting moment, your

modernist

around

and perhaps none more magically

s t r i p e d W a l l D r a w i n g 1100,

passage through the city can be

town. But the perfect blue hue

than James Turrell. The senior

Concentric Bands will never get

delightful.

zings us right back to reality and

American artist known for his

old. It’s a thrill to have LeWitt’s

foregrounds the humour and com-

“sky spaces” and his epic Roden

work in our city and this immer-

plexity of Carl’s project.

Crater project works with light,

sive, surprise encounter with his

Luis Jacob’s Spirits of the Grotto

specifically framing our experi-

art is the way that I imagine the

is perhaps the only thing that

ence and perception of changing

late conceptual pioneer would

could make me hope for a red

light. His first permanent piece in

favour. Always rigorous, carefully

light and a bit of traffic so that I

Canada is Straight Flush, an ambi-

planned exercises in line, colour,

can spend more time with these

tious project for the lobby of the

and

shimmering mosaics as I move

Bay Adelaide Centre (at Bay and

LeWitt’s wall drawings work on

through the Dufferin Underpass

Adelaide). Consisting of five tall

paper but are actually not much

(at Queen). Depicted are eyes of

glass portals or windows full of

to look at. For this tired traveller,

many descriptions (owl, snake)

slowly shifting light (a 188-min-

#1100 was transformative.

sculptures

composition,

sometimes

PAMELA MEREDITH Is TD Bank Group’s senior curator. intorontomag.com

27


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FILM & VIDEO

REAL WORLD HAUNTING → The hottest five queer titles at Hot Docs explore the hidden histories, the subterranean motivations

and the covert politics of LGBT existence Reviews Peter Knegt

C

elebrating its 20th anniversary this month, the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival has long risen out of the shadow of its mammoth fall counterpart TIFF. With its own cinema at the Bloor more than a year old (now with a license to drink beer and wine in your seat during screenings!) and a designation as the largest documentary-specific film festival in North America, Hot Docs is certainly a major event for both Torontonians and visiting industry folks (last year broke an attendance record with 165,000 admissions). And like any good major film festival, the programming is always a diverse slate of voices, with this year proving no exception when it comes to the many LGBT options. The following five recommendations are by no means the only quality docs with a queer bent at Hot Docs this year, but a sort of “greatest hits” from Sundance and SXSW festivals that this writer had the privilege of already seeing. It’s definitely advisable to browse through Hot Docs’ near 200 offerings for real-world adventures, both beautiful and horrifying.

talking heads featured in the film (unsurprising given how quick she was to distance herself from the baths once she got more famous), Ingram’s documentary is not simply about the many celebrities who either performed at the baths (LaBelle, The Pointer Sisters, Peter Allen, Lesley Gore and The New York Dolls among them) or passed through them at their peak (allegedly Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, Mick Jagger, Salvador Dali, Johnny Carson and Alfred Hitchcock all did — seriously). It’s about a fascinating institution that that offered much more than a really good time — the Continental pushed forward gay visibility and fostered a powerful sense of community. 9:15pm, Apr 28. Bloor. 4pm, Apr 30 & 8pm, May 5. Scotiabank.

GOD LOVES UGANDA

CONTINENTAL

Fresh off its world premiere at SXSW, Toronto native Malcolm Ingram (best known for his 2006 film Small Town Gay Bar) is having the hometown debut of his latest film Continental at Hot Docs. And no, it’s not about the airline or a certain hotel breakfast. It’s basically about the social opposite of a small town gay bar — New York City’s revolutionary Continental Baths, which ran from 1968 to 1975. The Continental was basically the Ritz Carlton of bathhouses, from its “Olympia blue” swimming pool to its disco featuring some of the best performers the early ’70s had to offer. Infamously, one of them was Bette Midler, who got her break singing in the baths (with Barry Manilow — often in just a towel — accompanying her on piano). Though Midler is not one of the many

One of the most substantial aspects of the documentary experience is the ability to bring you to another part of the world to see how, in many cases, truly horrifying things are for a lot of people out there. Making the issues facing most LGBT Canadians seem relatively non-existent, Roger Ross Williams’ doc takes us to Uganda, where LGBT people are facing a terrifying situation. A group of US evangelical Christians have chosen Uganda — which has Africa’s youngest population — as a main focus for their mission to fight “sexual immorality,” joining forces with Ugandan religious leaders. And by fight, they mean help pass a so-called “kill the gays” bill — which is exactly as disgusting as it sounds. Williams gains remarkable access to both the religious leaders and their communities, in addition to a few incredibly brave individuals (one of whom, David Kato, was suspiciously murdered during filming) who are fighting back against both the Americans trying to export their extreme beliefs to a vulnerable nation and the Ugandans who Continued on page 30

intorontomag.com

29


A RT & E N T E RTA I N M E N T Continued from page 29

are supporting them. It’s a maddening and at times shocking experience,

Mike Lerner and Maxim Pozdorovkin’s documentary portrays the horri-

but a wholly worthwhile one that should send you out of the theatre ready

fyingly unjust and unbelievably epic narrative that evolved as three women

to research whatever you can do to help this situation.

in activist Russian punk rock group Pussy Riot — whose lyrical themes

6pm, May 2 & 4:30pm, May 5. Lightbox. 1:30pm, May 3. Bader.

includes LGBT liberation, feminism and opposition to Russian president Vladimir Putin, who they view as a clear dictator — were arrested for hooliganism last March. Remarkable in its timeliness, A Punk Prayer is an exten-

INTERIOR.LEATHER BAR

sive and thoughtful look at the arrest and subsequent trial; it was made less than six months after the trio were sentenced to two years in prison last July, prompting outcries of support from around the world (most famously Madonna, who screamed “Free Pussy Riot” at her Moscow show last year). If you think you already know this story, Lerner and Pozdorovkin’s doc proves that there is a lot more to it. Moreover, the story continues beyond the doc’s final moments. While one of the three — Yekaterina Samutsevich — was released on appeal, the other two remain in prison. 2pm, Apr 26. Bloor. 4:30pm, Apr 28. Bader. 7pm, May 4. Scotiabank.

VALENTINE ROAD

One of the few films at Hot Docs that blends documentary with fiction (and probably contains more of the latter — but hard to say), also features one of the most high-profile names with a film at the festival: James Franco. The actor-director-playwright-academic has collaborated with up-and-coming queer filmmaker Travis Mathews for this film exploring the idea that the two of them are remaking the 40 minutes of explicit SM material cut from William Friedkin’s controversial 1980 film Cruising, allegedly to avoid an R-rating. While that in itself is a worthwhile concept for a film (and a part of Interior.Leather Bar is indeed a hardcore recreation of those scenes), the film extends well beyond to offer footage — perhaps real, perhaps not — of Franco, Mathews and their cast and crew as they attempt to pull off this cinematic coup. The result is a discussion of representations of queer sex in both Hollywood and society in general that won raves when it debuted at Sundance in January. Say what you want about Mr Franco and his current

Eighth-grade student Brandon McInerney shot his openly queer class-

bomb of a film, Oz, it’s impossible not to admire his attempt to use his celeb-

mate Larry King during first period at a school in Oxnard, California on

rity to push boundaries in this film (and others).

Feb 12, 2008, after King sent him a Valentine card. On Valentine’s Day King

Midnight, Apr 26. Bloor. 1:30pm, Apr 28. Lightbox.

died in the hospital and his story became a topic of considerable discussion across the US and beyond. Filmmaker Marta Cunningham takes us beyond

PUSSY RIOT: A PUNK PRAYER

what we saw then and into an extensive and heartbreaking investigation of that terrible incident. And she doesn’t simply look at King’s side of the story. She provocatively also looks at the ideas of McInerney — who was sentenced to 21 years in prison back in 2011 — portraying the then 14-yearold as an additional victim in the narrative. Both King and McInerney rose damaged from physically and emotionally abusive childhoods, and Valentine Road, though certainly respectful of the undeniable tragedy that came from murderous and horrifying behavior, also asks why McInerney’s behaviour came to be in the first place. Both a tribute to King and a discussion of the state of society in America, Valentine Road is as haunting a film as you’ll find at Hot Docs this year. 4pm, Apr 27 & 9pm, Apr 28. Lightbox. 8pm, May 4. Hart House.

HOT DOCS Thu, Apr 25-May 5. Most screenings: $15; $6.50 late night; various passes avail. Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. 506 Bloor St W. (416) 637-5150. hotdocs.ca. 30

April 2013


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MAKEOVER MADNESS →

THE VOICE →

MUSIC: The Cliks’ Black Tie Elevator Review Mary Dickie

BOOKS: Astray by Emma Donoghue Review Alice Lawlor

H

ow do you follow an award-winning novel that sold more than a million copies and earned raves around the world? For Emma Donoghue, author of the wildly successful Room, the answer is with the literary equivalent of a palate cleanser. Her recent book, Astray, is a collection of short stories that span four centuries. Each one concerns a journey of some kind, whether it’s joining the gold rush in 1890s Yukon or a trip down memory lane in 1960s Toronto. For the characters, though, reaching a destination is only part of the story. “Many of them stray in several senses, when in the course of their journeys across geographical and political boundaries, they find themselves stepping over other ones: law, sex or race,” writes Donoghue in the book’s afterword. “Emigrants, immigrants, adventurers and runaways — they fascinate me because they loiter on the margins, stripped of the markers of family and nation; they’re out of place, out of their depth.” An Irish emigrant herself, Donoghue based all the stories on real historical facts. Some of them grew from a few mentions here and there; others from chasing down a tall tale through various sources. Collected over many years, these details — often incomplete, always intriguing — were ripe for fictionalizing. In Donoghue’s deft hands, they are moulded into a series of intense moments in long-forgotten lives. Although it lacks the emotional punch of Room, this is still Donoghue at her imaginative best. Several of the stories

B include queer elements, including a moving depiction of legendary Toronto sculptors Frances Loring and Florence Wyle. “Snowblind” is a Brokeback Mountain-esque tale of two gold prospectors and “The Lost Seed” shows the impact

“EMIGRANTS, IMMIGRANTS, ADVENTURERS AND RUNAWAYS — THEY FASCINATE ME.” of a sapphic tryst on a new community. Whatever character Donoghue inhabits, from disapproving pastor to feisty widow, she neatly captures the many ways that changing place can impact your outlook on life. “So often these tales of emigration turn into tales of transformation,” she writes, “as if changing place is just a cover for changing yourself.”

ASTRAY Emma Donoghue. Harper Collins. $25.

e prepared for a surprise when you put on The Cliks’ latest album Black Tie Elevator. Instead of the poppy, guitar-based alternative rock with aggressive female vocals that we heard on the Toronto band’s previous releases, Snakehouse and Dirty King, Black Tie Elevator offers a decidedly altered sound: more soulful, more retro, more… mature. It opens with “Savanna,” a lilting tune that, initially at least, brings to mind The Supremes’ “Can’t Hurry Love,” followed by a heavier reggae track called “Stop Drinking My Wine” — both are sung by a deep male voice. After splitting with the band, trans singer and principal songwriter Lucas Silveira took some time off in 2009 to effect his F-to-M transition. During the hiatus from The Cliks, he released a solo album and went to Brooklyn to write new material. Whether it was the locale change or the personal transformation, the songs emerged with a different vibe; now he’s back with the band in Toronto, ready to unleash it, as well as his new deeper voice and look, on the world. Traditional ’60s soul and R&B, along with Prince and the decade-hopping sonic explorations of Lenny Kravitz, are the jumping-off points for the intriguing new style,

which is ably supported by producer Hill Kourkoutis with an expanded musical palette that includes horns, strings, vocal harmonies and piano. It’s an album full of odes to love and romance, even if the tone is often dark: “Walking in a Graveyard” isn’t the only track with a ghoulish atmosphere; on “Dark Passenger” Silveira asks ominously, “What if love is not a friend?” Contrasting female harmonies are provided by powerhouse singer Saidah Babah Talibah on “Gone” and by Silveira’s fiancée, Skye Chevolleau, on “4 Letter Words.” Meanwhile, on “1000 Violins,” the loveliest and catchiest tune on the album, Silveira’s voice is placed upfront and surrounded by delicate guitar, strings and keyboards. Silveira certainly seems to be taking pleasure in exploring his voice’s range and rich tones in songs like “Cerise,” “She Was the One” and the high-energy “No Good Do’er.” In a way, the voice seems like the key to the retro sound. But whichever came first, they’re perfectly suited to each other.

BLACK TIE ELEVATOR. The Cliks. Releases Tue, Apr 16. thecliks.com. intorontomag.com

31


S EX s p onsored by spa excess

ASK THE SEX GEEK — with Andrea Zanin

→ “I’m

a 20-year-old college student who has gradually realized there is a preferable alternative to monogamy. Recently, I started seeing this guy, B. Although what I initially offered was casual sex, I’ve actually wound up being more intrigued by him as a person than as a piece of ass. In a moment of post-coital stupidity, I let B know my opinion of monogamy, partly in the futile hope that he shared it and partly because this guy is way too hot to keep to myself. He wasn’t familiar with polyamory, and I must not have communicated very clearly, because the conclusion he drew was that I was sort of a free agent who would leave him in a month when the next shiny new thing came along. I told him this was not what I meant. B suggested that I wasn’t expressing myself very clearly, and while that’s true, I’m not quite sure how to explain my values coherently to someone who’s never even been exposed to the idea of polyamory. I’ve even been tempted to backpedal and say my polyamorous convictions aren’t so strong but the last thing I want to do is be dishonest. Do you have any thoughts?” Dylan

Mostly I have questions for you

your listening skills? Can you do

— things for you to think about in

concrete things to show him you

preparation for your next date.

are open to hearing his concerns

You mention you’re not sure you

and genuinely interested in his

can articulate your values to some-

perspective? That’s often the turn-

one

with

ing point in this kind of discussion

polyamory. Fair enough. But what

— less how carefully scripted your

are your relationship values? That

speech is (though clear communi-

feels like a clear place to start.

cation is important) and more how

Barbara Carrellas’s book Ecstasy Is

well you can hear him.

who’s

inexperienced

Necessary has a great exercise in it to help you figure them out.

Remember that you’re obviously quite new at this, and so is he. It’s

Second, what do you hope to see

okay to say you don’t exactly know

happen with B specifically? As in,

how it all works yet, just that it

ideal outcome? And what would

feels like the right direction for

be a clear no-go for you, a deal-

you. Perhaps he will be willing to

breaker, the kind of relationship

join you on an adventure of figur-

parameters you are sure you don’t

ing it out together.

want? Starting from these points, can you anticipate what sorts of questions he might have, or discomforts? Did he give you any clues about such things in your previous conversation? Sharing your reading material might help stimulate discussion, if he is open to that. And last but not least, how are

ANDREA ZANIN The Sex Geek blogs at sexgeek.wordpress.com.


O N T HE T OWN

CAUGHT IN THE ACT by Michael Pihach & Derek Dotto

2

SNAP AUCTION, ANDREW RICHARD DESIGNS

1

4

5

23

6

9

TORONTO FASHION WEEK, PECAUT SQUARE 8

7

12

13

11

10

14

→ 1. Michael Theodorou 2. Aaron GlynWilliams, Matthew Cutler 3. Geoff Vokes, Peter Taylor 4. Kevin Beaulieu 5. Sabrina Pirillo, Philip Tetro, Patrick Marano, Shaun Proulx 6. Scott Mullin, Simon Clements, Michael Allen 7. Tommy Smythe, Arlene Dickinson, Patrick Lightheart 8. Kimberly Newport-Mimran 9. Melissa Dixon, Shane Coleman, Lindsay Jennings 10. Amber Croteau, Anthony James 11. Cary Tauben 12. Chris Hyndman, Steven Sabados, Lauren Hammersley 13. Raine Maida 14. Jean Glitterati, Justin Bignall, Andrew Coimbra. • 34

April 2013


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