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political smokescreen?: canada not welcoming russian gays with open arms

Gay & Lesbian

City Living | december 2013


Things to do Places to go People to see

During the holidays

Stylist to the Stars Jie Matar

Theatre Powerhouse

morris panych Travel: Hot in Cleveland

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PLUS Madonna's Hard Candy: not just eye candy 21/11/2013 11:48:20 AM

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21/11/2013 11:49:12 AM PUBLISHER Patricia Salib EDITOR Alan A Vernon Art director


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issue 43 december 2013

views | living & design | insight | listings | Arts & entertaiNment | sex




sex is easy to find

love isn’t. 18



Freedom of speech Should employees lose their jobs over homophobic tweets?


posh pad At home with star hairstylist Jie Matar


politics as usual Is the Canadian government as warm and fuzzy about LGBT refugee claimants from Russia as they say they are?


in conversation with morris panych The famed playwright and director speaks candidly about his passions—both on and off stage

06 A MUral makeover in the gay village

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12 Madonna's HArd Candy: FITNESS in heels? 14 Relationships: accepting your inner femme 15 CLeveland? at least it's not detroit 22 December events calendar and listings 24

in spot: Surmesur


no happy endings for Gays on the big screen

30 Holiday gift ideas for dandy-ish friends 31

XMas albums a crazy grab bag of a stocking

33 Sex geek: stereotyping the submissive 34 Caught in the Act Photos

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21/11/2013 2:27:46 PM

toronto talk exchange VIEW FINDER → A Rae Day Last month Travel Gay Canada, the country’s national LGBT tourism indus-

try association, awarded former Toronto City Councillor Kyle Rae the 2013 LGBT Tourism Leadership Award for making significant contributions to Canada’s $7 billion LGBT tourism industry. Since 1981, the former politician has been a pioneer in supporting and promoting Toronto as a gay-friendly travel destination. “It is a sincere pleasure to present this award to Kyle, given the work that he has done to support the LGBT community as a whole and specifically in the gay travel industry,” says Travel Gay Canada president Colin Sines. “Kyle’s efforts to position Toronto as a leading LGBT travel destination have made a lasting impact. Both Toronto and Ontario are very dedicated to this market now and are heavily involved in hosting WorldPride in 2014.” On Toronto City Council from 1991 to 2010, Rae was the city’s first openly gay council member. He also coordinated Toronto’s first annual Toronto Pride Parade in 1981. Now a lecturer at Ryerson University, Kyle has been actively working to protect and preserve communities and neighbourhoods in Toronto. “This award is truly an honour and a privilege to receive,” says Rae. “I’ve been working to promote our city as a top travel destination for the LGBT community for 30 years, as I truly believe we have some of the best culture and attractions in the country. I dedicated my life to sharing that with others—to be recognized for it is very rewarding.”

In their own words

→ “Church Street could potentially become one giant art gallery.” —James Fowler

By MICHAEL PIHACH “We wanted something that would stand long after the barricades and balloons at Pride are taken down,” says Syrus Marcus Ware, explaining the idea behind the Church Street Mural Project, a street art initiative in Toronto’s Church and Wellesley neighbourhood that’s nearing completion. Led by Ware and Toronto-based artist James Fowler, in association with the Church Wellesley Village Business Association and city councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, the first-of-itskind art project will unveil a series of 11 unique murals on 11 buildings. The campaign, inspired by mural projects in San Francisco and Philadelphia, was conceived by a group of activists who met last year and asked, “Hey, what’s something flashy that we can do for World Pride?” says Ware. “We wanted something in the community, by the community, that could tell the stories of Toronto’s LGBT communities,” says Ware, a director of youth programming at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Two-spirited. Sex workers. People of colour. Each mural “celebrates a different faction of the community,” says Fowler, whose arts background includes spearheading 10x10, a queer Canadian photography project. The mural initiative, which took a year to organize and received 69 submissions, was nar-


rowed down to 11 artist teams. The concept for each mural was developed by connecting the artists with the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, as well as local elders and activists, from trans activist Susan Gapka to Billy Merasty, who started Two-Spirited People of the First Nations. “From that we got some truly amazing stories,” says Fowler. At drag bar Crews and Tangos, artists Nadijah Robinson and Elixir have already unveiled stylized portraits of drag performers dating back to the 1960s. At the Toronto Community Housing Corporation at 389 Church Street, Red Dress Productions unveiled Ella, a ten-foot-tall female figure holding a red umbrella (a symbol of sex workers rights) made from thousands of mosaic tiles. It’s a fresh look for a neighbourhood under siege by high rents and big-box stores. “Church Street isn’t dying, it’s changing,” says Fowler. “Visually, we’re claiming ownership.” When Ware and Fowler approached build-

→ painting the town (From left) Syrus Marcus Ware, artist Lily Butterland and James Fowler.

ing owners about the project, the resounding response each time was, “Sign me up,” says Fowler. Supply costs were covered by Dulux Paints, Home Depot and Scafom Canada; Bank of Montreal, Tourism Toronto and Street Art Toronto also provided funding. The project is slated for completion in early May 2014, just in time for World Pride. “We want people who are coming from Zimbabwe to Tokyo to see that, yes, Toronto is a world [class] city that has diverse communities, including a village,” says Ware.

December 2013

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toronto talk exchange Sound off toxic tweets: cause for dismissal? by Michael Pihach “IMO if gay activists protest the Olympics in Russia it’s going to get VERY ugly. They think its just a game but Putin knows the real stakes.” —Former Business Insider’s chief technology officer Pax Dickinson, fired last September for posting a series of homophobic, sexist and racist tweets.

“I wouldn’t fancy the bed next to Gareth Thomas #padlockeda**ehole.” —English footballer Lee Steele, fired in January 2012 for tweeting a homophobic remark directed at former Wales rugby player Gareth Thomas, who is openly gay, in response to Thomas’ appearance on the UK’s Celebrity Big Brother.

“I completely and wholeheartedly support Todd Reynolds and his support for the traditional and TRUE meaning of marriage.” —Former Rogers Sportsnet anchor Damian Goddard, fired in May 2011 for opposing same-sex marriage on his Twitter.

→ In an age where you are what you tweet, voicing your opinion via your personal Twitter account can either win you online popularity or, in some cases, land you in hot water with your employer. Organizations today are tuned into their employees’ Twitter accounts more than ever–and aren’t afraid to drop the axe for bad online behaviour. The City of Toronto did just that last November when it sacked three firefighters for posting offensive tweets that were seen as degrading to women. Officials said the tweets violated city policy. Homophobic tweets may not sit well with employers either. Such was the case with former Rogers Sportsnet anchor Damian Goddard, who was fired in May 2011 for tweeting his viewpoint on same-sex marriage in response to Todd Reynolds, a hockey agent who had tweeted about his disapproval of New York Rangers forward Sean Avery for appearing in a marriage equality advertisement. Hate speech is hate speech, but is firing an employee for tweets seen as homophobic a pro-active approach? Where should companies draw the line when it comes to censoring its employees’ Twitter accounts? We asked three pundits to weigh in on the debate:

“If you say something the court agrees is hateful, then you should be fired. If it’s just an unpopular opinion, then I don’t think people should be fired for that. When you start saying, ‘You can’t say that,’ you’re making sure people say things you’re only comfortable with. Sometimes being offended is a good thing. It makes you stop and think about what you’re reacting to.” —Brad Fraser, playwright


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“If it’s a public service job, then you’re working for the public. I’d like to make sure there were certain [social media] policies in place. Maybe you get three strikes? Do you undergo sensitivity training? If you represent a company, then that’s where one might lose their job or a privilege. [But] I don’t think firing somebody and everybody washing their hands represents progress. If someone says something homophobic on Twitter, it means we’re living in a homophobic world. Firing somebody doesn’t necessarily change the culture.”

“I can understand why an organization might want to fire because it’s worried about its reputation. But firing someone does not solve a problem. It just takes the problem off the employers to-do list… In feminism, it’s called the fragile flower approach. As if, ‘Oh my goodness. We have to shut these people down because their views are going to diminish us.’ Having people express their miserable views makes them appear like miserable people. I’m more comfortable with that than the alternative.”

—Roy Mitchell, artist/activist

—Lisa Taylor, journalism professor at Ryerson University/former lawyer

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21/11/2013 2:28:46 PM

toronto talk exchange Letters: Yes, it Does Matter, and Will You Shut Up?

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I’m sorry to be so annoyed about this but I’m really tired of hearing that it doesn’t matter anymore whether or not you are gay. And to find an article by Paul Gallant in In Toronto magazine with just that theme (Open Closet Policy: Does coming out even matter anymore?) just makes me weary with frustration. All the people that Paul mentions in his article are people I admire. But in each and every case, coming out has been, I would argue, a huge issue for them. Gallant mentions Anderson Cooper, Ellen DeGeneres, Trevor Boris, Maggie Cassella, Ann Marie MacDonald, Rick Mercer and Kathleen Wynne. And though it’s hard to figure out exactly what he’s saying about most of them, his general conclusion is: if it mattered once whether or not you came out, it’s no big deal now. I beg to disagree. I think it’s important to note that Mercer, de Generes and Cooper came out once their careers were established; and for good reason – they wanted to get a little respect before everyone made a big deal about their sexuality. Cassella and MacDonald— God bless them—are beautiful, enormously talented, femme-looking white women. Maggie has always been very out, and Ann Marie MacDonald is lesbian if anyone asks. But frankly if you’re femme, white and beautiful nobody really wants to know. Boris is funny as hell. He is also out and effeminate and—well, I don’t know how to tell him this—but as talented as he is, he is likely to be always known as one of Canada’s “gay comics.” Premier Wynne is out and though she tries to look femme, her efforts lead her to resemble your high school gym teacher dressed up for prom (again, God bless you girlfriend—but a string a pearls just isn’t going to do the trick!). So much for it all not mattering. All of these celebrities should be commended, not only for their achievements, but also for their coming out. But, for anyone to assert that it hasn’t mattered whether or not they have come out or not, is just… well, that notion is filled with more bullshit than a post-

video apology from Rob Ford. ...Yes, in the western world (and only in the western world I might add) we have two things that help us to imagine that homophobia is over: human rights and political correctness. But you can’t erase hate from the human heart. Human hypocrisy is rampant (again Rob Ford comes to mind) and the amount of acceptance we queers get from the straight community depends completely on a) how gender regular we are and b) how little we talk about sex. In other words, if you’re a boy who looks and acts like a boy, or a girl who looks and acts like a girl, you will experience less homophobia. And if you just never talk about sex—ever—straight people may manage to forget that you gobble knobs and/or munch carpet in your spare time. So why do queers these days have so much invested in pretending no one cares whether or not they are straight or gay? It really makes me laugh to watch the new prototype of the respectable fag who thinks he’s “fitting in”—um… skinny jeans, immaculately trimmed beard, funny glasses, and a bow tie? Hey, I don’t know how to tell you this, but you ain’t foolin’ nobody, no time, honey! And despite these futile efforts to look just like everyone else, straight men in most cases just don’t give a shit about that pot belly (why can’t I stop thinking about Rob Ford?). But we gays care very much. We really do. So why the denial? The best I can do is to suggest that gay men— like everyone—want life to be nice. They think they can rid the world of homophobia by wishing it away. Well I don’t know how to tell you this, Dorothy, but all the wishing in the world will not, in actuality, get you home. And in fact, the hours you spend dreaming that lies are true is valuable time wasted, time that could be used in trying to change the human hearts around you, by practicing complete honesty and timely disclosure of the full truth and nothing but (whether it makes straights queasy or not!). Sorry Paul Gallant, but on this one I happen to think you are dead wrong. —Sky Gilbert, writer/actor

21/11/2013 11:52:40 AM



Movin’ on up → God of Hair Jie Matar ‘scales back’ at the Four Seasons Private Residences Story Michael Pihach | Photography Riley Stewart

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21/11/2013 11:53:28 AM

L I V I N G & D ES I G N


ince moving from Paris to Canada in 1991, famed hairstylist Jie Matar has left his clients nothing short of “Jie-afied” with his one-of-a-kind approach to tailored haircutting. The stylist’s scissor-sharp skills and infectious personality have earned him a faithful following of rich clientele, from high-profile celebs to well-heeled locals, all vying for a session with the man known to some as simply the “God of Hair.” Brushing off the ashes of his former business, Salon Jie, which folded in 2007, a calmer, downsized version of Matar emerges at the helm of his re-vamped beauty boutique, JiE Privé, along with new digs to boot: a chic condo at the brand new Four Seasons Private Residences. You’ve just moved out of your home in Rosedale to a compact condo in the new Four Seasons Residences in Yorkville. Is it safe to say you’re downsizing? Jie: I’ve downsized my life, from my work environment to my home to my everything. I loved every minute of the house. It was at Castle Frank and Bloor in a great residential neighbourhood. It had four bedrooms. It was huge, but it was just too much. It’s nice to have a piece of property in Toronto, so I’m renting the house out starting in December. You’ve been living here for only a short while and the place already looks so glam. How would you describe your decorating style? Jie: Eclectic. The [living room chairs] are original Mies van der Rohe from the ’40s. I like things like the statue of David (the physique makes me speechless), Nefertiti (I like the power of a full woman), Napoleon, (he was a little thief, but had style). I have a statue of Josephine Baker. The rug is a real zebra from Africa. I’m not a fan of animal skin or fur, but it made the place feel so warm. What drew you to the Four Seasons? Jie: The pool because I love to swim. And the gym. They’re on the same floor. At the same time, the condo lifestyle can be annoying when you’re dealing with elevators, especially when you want to get to work on time. But the facilities will


inspire me. It’s like living in a hotel. I want to Jie-hab myself. Jie-hab yourself? Jie: When I say “Jie-hab” I mean that I don’t have to be toxic. I don’t have to be out drinking at every party. When you’re performing behind the chair everyday from 9am to 7pm with celebrities and stuff, you have to be on at all times. I have amazing, intelligent clients. With your scissors, your hair, your comb… you have to romance it. You have to talk to your hair. You have to be sharp. Was there a point where you ever let yourself (and work) fall to the wayside?

Jie: I’m against coming to work hung-over or toxic. I’ve never let myself come to that point. It’s my background. I grew up in a strict family. I’m Lebanese, I’m French. Living in the Lebanese culture, you have to be disciplined all the time. I grew up in a home where you weren’t allowed to open up the

fridge at certain hours. If you don’t make it to dinner, that’s it. Dinner is over. Everything is on time. I’m from a family of nine kids... seven boys, two girls. Imagine. At what point did you acknowledge that you had to make changes in your life? Jie: I was giving a lot and I didn’t

December 2013

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21/11/2013 11:54:26 AM


know how to take. I got into a scene where I was at every party. I played, I partied, I touched everyone. I like to be at every event. I don’t like to be left out. But now, it’s okay. At the end of my day, I’m back to my brand. I’m back to who Jie is. When you get to a certain age, life takes charge. Tell us about JIE Privé, your salon on Davenport Road. Would you call it a scaled-down version of your previous salon on Avenue Road, Salon Jie? Jie: It’s bigger than Avenue Road. It has four floors, the third being my private set-up where I teach and host stars during the Toronto International Film Festival. I made the salon eclectic. I put up chandeliers, books. I started doing interior design… I made it dramatic. My personal art collection is now in my salon. I made it into a gallery. Who are your celebrity clients? It’s confidential. But I have about 280 stars who live in the city and overseas. From sports figures to broadcasting. Even politicians. You were forced to file for bankruptcy and close your famed salon, Salon Jie, in 2007. What did you learn from the experience? Jie: I lost everything. Real-estate agents coached me to go to [Avenue Road]—the wrong decision. There were struggles between contractors and designers. I learned so much from it. Project managers, mediators, lawyers, bankruptcy. I had to let the brand go. It cost $1.7 million to build after being told it would cost only $700,000. I ran so fast without watching where I was going. How did you build everything back up? Jie: With my hands and a great support system of clients and family like a great brother who’s next to me. Toronto made me grow. How do you cope day in, day out? Jie: I have my spiritual moments when I swim. I do my own Zen life in the morning. I meditate in the bath. When I touch clients I’m very pure in the morning. I never call in sick and make my brides wait. You’ve been called the God of Hair. What’s the secret to a perfect haircut? Jie: Technique and foundation.

When people get “Jie-afied” I make them know their bone structure. I give them identity. A good haircut is like a good quality fabric. I do not follow trends because that would insult what I do. I make sure I don’t look at fashion magazines so it doesn’t interrupt my mind. I would feel like I’m cheating myself. People always mention the cost of your services (in the range of $300-$400 for an initial cut). Do you think your prices are too high? I hate that the most. I’m not about the money at all. I give my clients a five-star experience. Hair is the first

→ living it up Matar’s recent move to the Four Seasons Private Residences is all part of his plan to detoxify and downsize in ultimate luxury.

thing you look at on a person. You look at designers like Lagerfeld. They stand on their feet as much as I do. If your budget can afford at least one pair of Louboutin shoes, then you can come to Jie one, two times a year. Anyone can see Jie. You don’t have to live in Rosedale. I have clients from Mississauga to Scarborough—housekeepers who just want to look good. Money is only [ever an issue] for people who have a lot of money.

What do you really want at the end of the day? Jie: People are always like, “Oh, it’s all about you, Jie.” But I really want to be nobody at the end of the day. This is me, this is my lifestyle. You have to forgive, forget and walk away.

JiE Privé is located at 186 Davenport Rd.

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21/11/2013 11:55:19 AM

L I V I N G & D ES I G N


Sweet spot → Madonna’s Hard Candy Fitness more than just eye candy Story and Photography JASON YANTHA

W 12

hen you think of a gym

while all of that sounds enticing,

created by Madonna,

(before you get too excited) it’s not

On her 2008 album Hard Candy,

for world peace with Secret Project

you might picture per-

quite what Madonna’s own Hard

Madonna sings, “Don’t stop me

Revolution and raising four chil-

sonal trainers in cone-shaped bras,

Candy Fitness is selling. But don’t

now, don’t need to catch my

dren (five if you count her current

her discography playing on a loop,

fret, because what the gym does

breath, I can go on and on and on.”

boyfriend), she’s somehow found

maybe even Kabbalah bracelets

offer is a solid alternative to what

Fittingly, five years later, that’s still

the time to create and open eight

instead of membership cards. And

appears to be GoodLife’s monopoly

true. In between touring the most

gyms around the world, with no

on the local fitness scene.

successful concert of 2012, fighting

December 2013

12 13.INTO.Madonna.indd 12

21/11/2013 11:56:04 AM

LIVING & DESIGN → top choice When the idea of opening the first Hard Candy in North America on Yonge St. was brought to Team Madonna, it was an easy “yes.”

Marcoux continues: “Before launching Hard Candy in 2010, Madonna sat with her team and went through a list of cities around the world where she wanted to open a gym, where

choreography from Madonna’s vid-

she was most welcomed and most

eos and world tours. It’s a work-

successful with her tours. They had

out that she actually does. If you’ve

a list of 12 cities and Toronto was on

seen her live, you know she can

it. So the connection was easy.”

jump around on stage for hours and

At the end of the day, if Madonna’s

hours, and the way she stays in the

personal opinion matters to you, it

shape that she’s in is by doing this

should be known that she has put


her own stamp of approval all over

Another class to help get you that

the Toronto location. “She has seen

Blonde Ambition Tour type of body

photos of everything we’ve done,”

is “Strength and Heels, which, yes,

says Marcoux, from the reception

is cardio in stilettos. “I’m from the

desk to the chairs to the photos

athletic part of fitness,” says Kirwan,

on the walls. She’s had to approve

“so when I first heard of that class, it

everything with her team, so she’s

didn’t appeal to me right away. But

been very involved. She’s even

throughout training, it ended up

approved every single Addicted to

being one of the most fun classes

Sweat instructor we’ve hired.”

I’ve ever done. You let loose and let go of any inhibitions you might have. Our instructors, both male and female, help bring that out in you.” (Gentlemen, please note that it’s BYOH.) sign of slowing down. The latest location, which soft

Confessions on a Dance Floor in your free condo gym?

Another highlight is the cycling studio, which looks similar to a

launched last month, hides away

At first glance, it’s clear that great

night club scene straight out of the

on the 4th floor of the eerily tall

attention to detail has been paid to

Hung Up video, with dim lighting,

Aura, what will be when completed

keeping a cohesive theme through-

glowing bikes and a live DJ spin-

Canada’s tallest residential build-

out the venue. Aesthetically, the

ning on various nights throughout

ing at Yonge and Gerrard streets.

open, airy space is beautiful. Wall

the week.

The grand opening is slated for

to wall murals of Madonna sur-

From the 10-foot tall Madonna

early January 2014 where President

round in all her airbrushed glory;

posters, to the disco-style spin

and CEO Annick Marcoux is confi-

the workout equipment is painted

class, you’ve probably guessed that

dent that Madge herself will make

a tasty, candy apple red; even

their target market is well, you

a special appearance. This isn’t just

the locker room soap smells like

know, us. And with the gay village

another random project for the pop

something Willy Wonka would’ve

only a block away, Hard Candy’s

star. “The brand is her passion and

invented. Want a “Like a Prayer”

location is no accident.

her lifestyle,” she says, “You look at

smoothie? Hope you like almond

her at age 55 and she’s gorgeous,


But Marcoux and her partners had the space at Aura before decid-

she has arms of thunder. Hard

The weights area is on par with

ing on a gym to fill it. Says Marcoux:

Candy is luxurious and it’s who

any other gym in Toronto, and the

“It could have been branded some-

Madonna is. It’s a $6 million gym.

state-of-the-art cardio equipment is

thing else. We had a lot of other

She has high standards.”

quite impressive, but the group fit-

names to choose from, but because

And luxury doesn’t come cheap.

ness classes seem to be where your

of the proximity to the gay vil-

You’ll find that a membership here

money is really going, as they’re

lage and how strong of a follow-

is more expensive than any of the

unlike any other you’ll find, at least

ing Madonna has in the gay com-

six GoodLife Fitness spots down

in this town. Director of group exer-

munity, we decided it was the best

the street, setting you back around

cise Lori Kirwan is most proud of

brand to bring to this space.” When

$99 a month, plus an initiation fee.

their signature Addicted to Sweat

the idea of opening the first Hard

But the question is, are you going

class, created by Madonna and her

Candy in North America on Yonge

to get what you pay for here, or

personal trainer, Nicole Winhoffer.

St. was brought to Team Madonna,

should you just stick to blasting

Says Kirwan:

apparently it was an easy “yes.”

“It features actual

work out like madonna HIGH-TECH LOCKER ROOMS No padlock no worries. Lockers feature electronic locks that can be opened and closed with the tap of your membership card. MOVE IN TODAY The gym is free for Aura condominium residents. BIG SHOES TO FILL Don’t own heels? The gym will soon offer custom Hard Candy stilettos to purchase for the “Strength and Heels” class. Sizes available up to a man’s 13. ACT NOW While membership prices are starting at $99/ month, plus a one-time initiation fee of $69, prices are expected to rise. EYE CANDY Says CEO Annick Marcoux: “We’ve hired fit, good-looking men and women. We want to make fitness fun.” If that won’t get you to the gym, what will?

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21/11/2013 11:56:28 AM


relationship advice

— with Adam Segal → I have been dating a new guy for a few months and been enjoying my time with him a great deal: we have a lot of shared interests, I find him physically attractive, he is generous and kind, etcetera. The only thing wrong is that he is a lot more stereotypically gay than I am used to. I’ve always seen myself as attracted to masculine and straight-acting men and rarely to feminine guys. When we are alone, I mostly feel fine. But when we are out at a restaurant or somewhere else in public, I can tend to get self-conscious about his mannerisms and girlish laugh. I never saw myself with a guy like this but so much of it feels right. Is it fair to end a relationship over something like this or should I see if he could change at all? I don’t know what to do. Matthew


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If you had said that there was no

you are attracted to butch men that’s

connection between the two of you

fine... but this “straight-acting” busi-

and absolutely zero chemistry, I’d

ness only reinforces internalized

let you off easy and instruct you to

homophobia while placing anything

move on and find the lumberjack of

queer at the heels of the almighty

your dreams. Because self-conscious-

straight man. It’s not your fault—

ness seems to be the only hindrance

we’ve been bombarded with mes-

here, I’m going to have to ask more of

sages that being the straightest gay

you. There are going to be some peo-

man possible will somehow compen-

ple who read this response and think

sate for our “lesser” worth. For proof

something like this: “Give me a break

of this phenomenon, a quick look at

with this PC shit! There’s nothing

Craigslist will reveal an array of sup-

wrong with being attracted to certain

posed “str8 guys” seeking a penis fan-

kinds of guys and not others.” I’m not

tasia and their legion of admirers.

going to disagree with such an argu-

You ask if you should either leave

ment entirely—I am just going to sug-

the relationship or see if your honey

gest that while we might have certain

can change; a third option is that you

types that especially turn our crank,

see just how much you can adapt to a

there is likely a wider array of people

relationship that doesn’t match your

we could cultivate attraction toward

very familiar fantasies. Ultimately,

if we could open our minds a little

you will need to care less about how

and take a long look at our own judg-

others perceive you two as a couple.

ments. In a way, Matthew, you have

I’m going to venture to say that your

proved my point. You typically find

sweet new guy is simply mirroring an

super butch men scorching hot yet

aspect of your queerness you aren’t

have found yourself unexpectedly

so proud of. It would follow that culti-

drawn to a guy with a more femme

vating greater self-acceptance of your

gender performance.

inner femme would go a long way

Matthew, the frequency with which

toward increasing your appreciation

the term “straight-acting” is thrown

of your boyfriend’s full-bodied laven-

around is staggering. While I don’t

der realness.

imagine you meant harm by this


descriptor, the romanticizing and elevating of “straightness” does a disservice to the queer community. If

Adam Segal The writer and therapist works in private practice in downtown Toronto. Ask him your relationship or mental health question at

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21/11/2013 11:56:56 AM


The Castro it ain’t → But Cleveland’s LGBT community pulled off a coup when it won the bid to host the ninth Gay Games next summer Story Paul Gallant

Positively Cleveland


he crowd at Bounce (, Cleveland’s come-onecome-all nightclub, is in what might be described as a frenzy as they wait for Carmen Carrera, a contestant from the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, to walk amongst them. Drunken 20-somethings lean back on the grubby cabaret stage carpet, clenching five-dollar bills in their mouths for the

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local drag queens to pluck like flowers. Although the club owner’s grey-haired mother and aunt have the best seats, as they do each Saturday night, I’m told, the two ladies do not participate in this tipping limbo dance. Nor do they appear to be shocked when Carrera finally appears wearing a pattern of stick-on gems over body parts that would normally be covered by tassels and a G-string. The two women demurely sip their

drinks, not even remotely out of place. It would take some attitude to make them feel excluded, but there is none of that here (except for Carrera, of course). Cleveland could hardly be described as a gay mecca. At the handful of gay bars scattered across the city’s built-for-theautomobile sprawl, the vibe is more small town than cosmopolitan. At Twist, located on the city’s west side, alleged A-Gays rub

shoulders with white-faced novices from the warped drag society Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The Hawk (, whose name promises something edgy, is as neighbourhood-y and easygoing a drinking establishment as you’ll ever walk into. The Castro this ain’t. Yet Cleveland’s LGBT community pulled off something of a coup when it won the bid to host the ninth edition of the Gay Games


21/11/2013 3:12:57 PM

L I V I N G & D ES I G N

vehicle, Hot in Cleveland, which suggests that the city’s people are so unattractive that an average-looking Los Angeleno is a hottie there). But Cleveland has something going for it. Perhaps quite a few

Positively Cleveland

Artist Rendering

Dean Kaufman

( in August 2014. Cleveland’s games follow Cologne’s in 2009 and precedes Paris’ in 2017. That’s illustrious company for a city that’s the butt of so many jokes (including the title of the Betty White

→ BEautiful bones For being one of the US rustbelt cities, Cleveland has some pretty fine architecture. (From the top ) Museum of Contemporary Art; artist rendering of proposed outdoor chandelier at Playhouse Square; and a rear view of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. 16

things. “We bend over backwards to show people a good time, and nine times out of 10, we really succeed in doing that,” says Tom Nobbe, executive director of Gay Games 9. “We can’t compare ourselves to Paris, but we have lots of neighbourhoods and attractions where people can have a great time.” Cleveland is one of the US rustbelt cities, metropolises that depended too much on a handful of huge corporations whose fortunes waned as the global economy shifted its attention elsewhere. But its boom times blessed it with beautiful old bones, infrastructure and institutions built by industrialists like J. D. Rockefeller, an oil man and philanthropist who was the anchor tenant on Cleveland’s Millionaire’s Row. Rockefeller and his peers made pots of money and spent much of it on their hometown. The city’s historic museums, theatres, athletic centres and other public buildings, which have been maintained through good times and bad, highlight a lavish civic pride that never infected dowdy old Toronto. In its heyday, Cleveland played Steel Town to Detroit’s Motor City. The industrial mess around the mouth of the Cuyahoga River, which divides the city in half, makes our Don River look like pristine Amazonia. But while Detroit fell off a cliff—witness a city trying to evacuate neighbourhoods it can’t afford to service—Cleveland’s post-industrial present day has been less traumatic. While the city’s population fell to about 400,000 from 500,000 over the last 20 years, the population of Greater Cleveland, which includes many leafy suburbs, as well as nearby Akron, hasn’t strayed far from the 2.8-million people it had in 1960. Recently the city has embraced healthcare as a key to its future. The new Cleveland Convention Centre, which will host many Gay Games events, is attached to the equally new Global Center for Health Innovation ( The city also seems to be following Detroit’s methods of trying to repopulate its core by nurturing a culture of quirky entrepreneurship— urban farming, high-tech startups,

increased emphasis on the arts. But Cleveland doesn’t feel nearly so desperate as Detroit; it never fell so far. Despite a dearth of shopping in the downtown, the vibrant pub and resto is having a genuine renaissance. Across the Cuyahoga, the area at West 25th Street and Lorain Avenue, near the historic West Side Market (a foodie haunt similar to our St. Lawrence Market except with much nicer architectural finishes), has been lovingly gentrified. Over the last few years, local mover-andshaker Sam McNulty has opened no fewer than five drinking establishments in the ’hood, all of it unapologetically beer-loving. McNulty’s Market Garden Brewery and Distillery (marketgardenbrewery. com), for example, serves flights of ale, lager and pilsner with the confidence a New York lounge would serve up flights of wine. As for cultural attractions, Cleveland’s number one destination has to be the deconstructed glass pyramid that’s home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (, which will host the Gay Games closing ceremonies. Though Rock Hall’s target demographic is Middle America—fathers explaining Elvis Presley to their bored sons—it contains enough camp to keep a queer occupied: Madonna’s shoes, Little Richard’s jumpsuits, Donna Summer’s waitress outfit, Elton John’s piano. Rock Hall does have the air of a manufactured Disney-esque “build it and they will come” attraction. Strangely enough, Cleveland’s more patrician entertainment institutions actually seem closer to the hearts of locals, who rave about picnicking on the Blossom lawn while listening to the Cleveland Orchestra ( In fact, despite the city’s working class ethic and mid-western lack of pretentions, high culture may be where the city shines brightest. Playhouse Square ( is a not-for-profit arts centre comprised of nine grandiose theatres which were built in the 1920s, making Cleveland an essential stop in the Vaudeville era. As likely to host Patti LaBelle and the musical Once as to present The Paul Taylor Dance Company,

December 2013

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21/11/2013 11:58:14 AM

LIVING & DESIGN the centre remains relevant— cocky, really. Plans are underway to install a 20-foot-high chandelier adorned with more than 4,200 crystals in the middle of the Playhouse Square intersection. Bring on the bling. Why not? The city has already survived the blinding sparkle of its new Museum of Contemporary Art (mocacleveland. org), a gem of a building designed with economy and flair by London architect Farshid Moussavi, her first North American project. The highly reflective structure—and by “highly reflective” I mean put on a pair of sunglasses if you want to look at it up close—does what the ROM reno here failed to do: fracture the exterior environment while keeping the interior focused on the installations. City boosters claim that more people attend theatre events in Cleveland each year than attend sporting events. That’s hard to believe after you’ve witnessed a tidal wave of orange T-shirts surge into the Cleveland Browns’ FirstEnergy Stadium. (Who are today’s Rockefellers? Look at the names of athletic facilities. There’s also Quicken Loans Arena, where the Gay Games opening ceremonies will be held, and Progressive Field.) This is a city that’s mad for sports and that’s one of the aces in the Gay Games’ hand. As the smallest Gay Games host city so far, organizers must rely on straight supporters as much as the LGBT community to pull off an event that expects to attract 11,000 athletes from 65 countries. “We have to be much more collaborative and cooperative, and we’ve got the support of the whole community, not just the LGBT community,” says Nobbe. “We intend to fill the arena for the opening ceremonies and we want energy coursing through there as marchers from all over the globe come out. If we’ve done our job right, they’re going to have a great experience all the way through.” That brand of pluck and humility is Cleveland’s charm. After all, everybody knows that people who fall short of model good looks try harder.


It doesn’t get any more central than this old-world hotel, a downtown landmark ( that’s right on top of the city’s bus and train transit hubs. A Gay Games sponsor, the hotel’s high-ceilinged conference rooms will host some of the event’s sporting and social activities. HYATT REGENCY CLEVELAND AT THE ARCADE


Located conveniently inside the much-bigger-andmore-prestigious-than-you-were-expecting Cleveland Museum of Art, this chic restaurant ( visit/plan-your-visit/provenance) sure does have a French name. But its influences are global—particularly Sicilian and Asian. Chef Douglas Katz runs two other Cleveland restaurants, The Katz Club (thekatzclubdiner. com) and Fire Food and Drink ( All Katz’s enterprises emphasize—wait for it—sustainable local food. PIER W

Like Toronto, Cleveland sometimes forgets it’s a waterfront town. Pier W ( pier), a neighbourhood institution since its founding in 1965, puts Lake Erie right in your face with a waterfront location that juts out over a dramatic bluff. The brunch menu is awash in fresh seafood.


In downtown’s historic Arcade building, this five-star Hyatt ( has just the right amount of swank. Staggering distance from the East 4th entertainment district and pretty much everything else downtown.

This upscale storefront bar/lounge is the most visible sign of gay life in the queer-friendly neighbourhood of Lakewood. Like Woody’s or Chicago’s Sidetrack except smaller with Ohio-style flirting. BOUNCE


If the theatres at Playhouse Square aren’t ostentatious enough for you, this gay-friendly B&B (, located in a restored 1883 heritage home, might do the trick—it’s agog with antiques. The location, near West Side Market, West 24th Street’s entertainment venues and a rail line station, is also good, though athletes will have to commute to gay spots and Gay Games venues, which are mostly downtown and towards the east. J. PALEN HOUSE

Almost as foofy as Stone Gables, J. Palen House ( is also located in the West Side area known as Ohio City (once a rival to Cleveland before the larger city ate it). Lots of stained glass and a parlour with a fainting couch.


Awfully friendly locals serving locally grown food made locally with local ingredients ( Did I mention 80 per cent of the menu, which changes with what’s locally available, is sourced local? I did? Then this is a good place to note that, when it comes to fancy cocktails, Americans blow Canadians right out of the water. Have one bourbon with Ohio peach puree, lemon and basil and you’ll never go back to mere martinis.

One of two destination gay bars (The Hawk and The Leather Station definitely have more communityoriented atmospheres), Bounce ( feels like a roadhouse when you walk in. But the disco in the back provides ample room for getting down when featured performers aren’t hogging the stage (and driving up the cover charge). PLAYHOUSE SQUARE

The mammoth downtown theatre centre ( presents an array of continuing and one-off cultural events in its nine venues—usually more than two or three things to choose from each night. It’s worth finding something appealing on the schedule just to check out the ornate interiors.

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21/11/2013 11:58:25 AM



Political smokescreen? → The Canadian government appears all warm and fuzzy about refugee claimants from Russia. But how many are they actually letting in. Two? Story Krishna Rau | Photograpy R Jeanette Martin


December 2013

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21/11/2013 3:16:08 PM


→ canadian comrades T.O. with Russia rally in downtown Toronto denouncing Putin’s draconian anti-gay laws.

In other words, says Toronto immigration



Khaki, any gay or lesbian refugees must have found a way to escape




John Baird has said, Russia has gone

from Russia to Canada or to a United

down the wrong path in restricting

Nations-recognized refugee camp

fundamental rights of a significant

before they can even file a claim. “I

group in society. We object. We have

think it’s actually political manoeu-

particular concern because Russia

vring and smoke and mirrors,” says

is hosting the world at Sochi, and

Khaki. “It’s a nice warm fuzzy, but

we will continue speaking out until

I’m not sure it has any real impact.

they correct this mistake. And we’re

The real problem is that people are

being joined by more and more other

not able to get here. And the refugee

countries in doing so. This is not a

system is predicated on the fact that

negotiable issue. It reflects our val-

the individual has to be in Canada to

ues, it reflects international human

file a claim.”

rights practice. There have been

In order to get to Canada, any-

huge gains for lesbian, gay, trans

body who wishes to file a refugee

communities in the world in seeing

claim here has to obtain a visa to

their rights protected, in ending per-

visit Canada. And, says Khaki, the

secution in many parts of the world.

Canadian government has recently

Russia’s reversed direction. And that

made such visas harder to obtain,

is sad to see. We hope that they will

precisely because they don’t want to

come to their senses.”

be flooded with refugees.

Alexander’s public statement has

So far, there are only two cases

been taken as a sign of genuine

of LGBT refugees from Russia fil-

support for gay and lesbian rights

ing claims in Canada, both in

in Russia, but the government has

Vancouver. One is a gay deaf activist

made it clear that refugee claim-

who was arrested after participat-

ants must still be in Canada to file

ing in a May Pride march, the other

a claim or be a refugee recognized

a man who has been gaybashed sev-

by the United Nations. Canadian

eral times.

embassies in Russia will not help

Immigration lawyer Rob Hughes,

any claimants. And any claim must

who is representing both claimants,

still be approved by the independent

says he doesn’t think the two cases

Immigration and Refugee Board

are the first of many. “These two


both had personal experiences that

“In order for an individual to make

made them fear persecution. But

a claim for asylum, they must be in

I don’t think we’re going to see the

Canada,” writes ministry spokesper-

floodgates open. For a lot of people,

son Sonia Lesage in an email. “To

it’s going to be impossible for them

apply for resettlement from outside

to get a visa. They [the Canadian


ment has said all the right things,

Canada, a refugee must be identified

government] are definitely trying to

Olympics beginning in

refugee advocates question whether

and referred either by the United

weed out people who are going to

two months in Sochi,

there’s any willingness to actually

Nations High Commissioner for

make a refugee claim.”

Russia’s draconian anti-LGBT laws

make it easier for LGBT Russians to

Refugees (UNHCR) or by a group of

and the country’s increasing num-

escape to Canada.

Canadians and/or permanent resi-

tion lawyer in Toronto, says the

dents who wish to sponsor that indi-

Canadian embassy in Moscow is

vidual to Canada.

not known for being sympathetic

ber of attacks on gays and lesbians









have come under heavy scrutiny.

Canada’s minister of citizenship

And while, perhaps inevitably, the

and immigration, took the unprece-

“The government of Canada has

to those seeking visas. “The prob-

calls for boycotts or sanctions have

dented step of publicly stating that

informed the UNHCR that we will

lem with Russian LGBT refugees,

faded in the run-up to the world’s

refugee claims “related to this par-

accept LGBT refugees for resettle-

as with refugees from other coun-

greatest athletic event, the call for

ticular issue will of course be looked

ment. To note, LGBT Russians in

tries, is accessing Canadian govern-

governments to open their doors

at very seriously by our very gener-

Russia would not be eligible for

ment protection. The visa office in

to LGBT refugees from Russia has

ous system.”

resettlement to Canada, as an indi-

Moscow is a notoriously strict office.

vidual must have left his/her coun-

It’s extremely difficult to obtain a

try to be considered a refugee.”


continued. But while the Canadian govern-

Alexander added, “As the Prime Minister said, as our foreign minister

18 19 20.INTO.Russia.indd 19


21/11/2013 3:16:51 PM


Citizenship and Immigration Canada

→ positive steps Canadian Embassy in Moscow; Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander announced federal support for a national memorial to millions of victims of Communist regimes around the world.

lesbians as Mexico and a number

show they have a genuine fear.”

of Eastern European nations— have

Khaki, however, is less optimis-

no right to appeal decisions that go

tic about the fate of those unable to

against them.

access Canadian visas. He says the

Both Hughes and Khaki agree that it’s getting tougher, not eas-

trapped by visa requirements?’”

ier, for potential refugee claimants

And Hughes says Canada’s safe

Canadian government has worked

to make their way to Canada. “This

third country process will make it

to make it easier for gay Iranian ref-

Battista says such difficulties, and

year, it’s projected there will be less

not just with Canadian visas, will

than 10,000 refugee claims made

make it difficult for Russian refu-

this year, as opposed to 20,000 last

gees to even access the UNHCR, as

year,” says Khaki. “Part of that is

they can’t claim refugee status when

new visa requirements. Now you

they’re still in Russia.

need to submit biometrics with your

But Hughes says that he thinks his

application, which means you need

clients, having made it to Canada,

to travel to where the visa is issued

stand a good chance of being

to get your biometrics done. A lot of

accepted by the IRB as refugees. And

LGBT people may not have the com-

he says Alexander’s comments can

munity or familial support to make

only help their chances.

that trip.”

Russia has gone down the wrong path in restricting fundamental rights of a significant group in society. We object. We have particular concern because Russia is hosting the world at Sochi, and we will continue speaking out until they correct this mistake.

“I think that individual claimants

And, of course, Canadian embas-

will be able to use the situation in

sies or consulates can refuse to issue

Russia. And Alexander is perhaps

visas, and may very well do so if they

giving a signal to the IRB that the

think it’ll lead to a refugee claim.

Canadian government recognizes

This means, says Khaki, that com-

even more difficult for Russian refu-

ugees who have made it to Turkey

that there are serious human rights

ing out during the visa application

gees. The process means that if any

to enter Canada as refugees. But that

abuses. I think it will have a positive

process may be counter-produc-

refugee passes through a country

help has not been extended to other

effect. But I tell all my clients, even if

tive. “Even if you’re in a relationship,

which is considered safe en route to


I think we have a strong case, I can

you’re not going to be open about it.

Canada, even if it’s a country where

“It’s nice that you give with your

never guarantee your acceptance.

People lie about having a relation-

they feared for their safety, they

right hand to 20 or 100 or 1,000 peo-

ship to get a visa, then that’s held

have no right to file a refugee claim

ple, but with your left, you’re block-

against them in a refugee hearing.”

in Canada.

ing 10-15,000 refugees.

“The IRB has been sympathetic to sexual orientation or gender-based


human rights abuses, they have to

—Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander

discrimination. But the first thing

Khaki also points to the establish-

But Battista wants to think that



you have to do is convince them

ment in 2012 of a list of countries

comments like Alexander’s may



that the refugee is of the sexual ori-

designated as protecting human

be the start of positive steps.

means shrinking access for gays and

entation they say they are. People

rights effectively enough to have

“Regardless of motivation, it’s good

lesbians. There’s a disproportionate

who have very carefully and delib-

the refugee claim process stream-

to see, good for our community here,

effect on those who are particularly

erately hidden their identity are

lined. Refugees from those coun-

good for LGBT rights internation-

marginalized. This is the political

now expected to prove it. Even from

tries—which include countries as

ally. It provides some leverage for us

smokescreen. We’ll steal the bread,

countries where there is a record of

notoriously unfriendly to gays and

to say, ‘What about those who are

but we’ll give you the crumbs.”




December 2013

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21/11/2013 3:17:06 PM

21.AdPage.indd 23

21/11/2013 12:00:23 PM


listings & events

do gs to Thinces to go Pla ple to see Peo



Fear and Desire & the Whole Damn Thing Closes at Buddies in Bad Times

8 The Hard Way: The Films of Bette Davis Closes at TIFF Bell Lightbox

Art THE GREAT UPHEAVAL: MASTERPIECES FROM THE GUGGENHEIM COLLECTION, 1910-1918 An exhibition of art produced in Europe in the years leading up to and during the First World War. Featuring paintings from the collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum by artists such as Constantin Brancusi, Paul Cezanne, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp, Vasily Kandinsky, Fernand Leger, Henri Matisse, Amedeo Modigliani, Piet Mondrian and Pablo Picasso, among others. The show chronologically traces the achievements of these tumultuous years as artists experimented with new ways to create art while launching such movements as expressionism, futurism and cubism. The years 1910 to 1918 were a time of tremendous creativity and innovation, European cities were evolving, and artists, who were founding groups,

22 23 24.INTO.calendar .indd 22



Sinead O’Connor At Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts

13 The Wagner Files Check local showtimes

staging exhibitions and issuing manifestoes, likewise adapted and responded to 20th century modernity. $11-$19.50. 10am-5:30pm. (8:30pm Wed.) Tue-Sun. To Sun, Mar 2. Art Gallery of Ontario. 317 Dundas St W. 416-979-6648. ARTIST PROOF SALE Forgo the rush and hassle of mall shopping, and choose from hundreds of affordable, fine art prints ranging from $50 to $400. Choose from hundreds of original works, including screenprints, etchings, lithographs and relief prints—and meet the artists themselves. Also available will be an exclusive range of T-shirts, aprons, posters and original artists’ greeting cards, perfect for the holidays or any time of year, as well as Open Studio’s artist-designed playing cards and pins, which make great stocking stuffers for the art-lover on your holiday gift list. This is a fundraiser with 50 per cent of the sale price of each print going to Open Studio, a

artist proof sale Opens at Open Studio


Nnenna Freelon At Koerner Hall

charitable organization that works to provide affordable access to printmaking facilities, programs and services for artists from across Canada and abroad. Opening reception: 6pm. Thu, Dec 5. To Dec 21. Open Studio. 401 Richmond St W #104. (416) 504-8238. DAVID CRONENBERG: THROUGH THE EYE Insight into iconic filmmaker David Cronenberg’s influences. The late French artist Louise Bourgeois’ provocative hanging bronze Arch of Hysteria (1993) is one of five works. Androgynous and headless, Bourgeois’ depiction of a sexualized body arched in pleasure or pain relates to many themes in Cronenberg’s vast filmography as does Alex Colville’s Living Room (1999-2000), with its palpable sense of angst and shadowless scenery. John Scott’s Horror Files… (1993) and Mark Prent’s Ringturner (1982) are works-on-paper by artists who have captured Cronenberg’s interest and


the Christmas Story Opens at Church of the Holy Trinity

26 Sing-A-Long Sound of Music At TIFF Bell Lightbox

admiration for years. The same holds true for John Massey, whose gothic print of two disembodied arms, Versailles (1985), illustrates his fascination with the film screen, voyeurism and the intimate connections between the eye and the mind. The exhibition is rounded off by Andy Warhol’s Electric Chair (Retrospective Series) (c. 1978) and two works from Cronenberg’s own collection: a painting by the late William S. Burroughs and a print by graphic illustrator Charles Burns. Free. 11am-6pm. Tue-Sun. To Sun, Dec 29. MOCCA. 952 Queen St W. 416-395-0067. MODEST LIVELIHOOD Celebrated Canadian artists Brian Jungen and Duane Linklater (both Sobey Art Prize winners) present Modest Livelihood, their silent 50-minute film, featuring Jungen and Linklater on a series of moose-hunting trips together in northern British Columbia. The film will be presented as a

21/11/2013 12:01:36 PM


our guide to your month Fundraiser

ry Trinity

The Nutcracker At The Four Seasons Centre

Nutcracker by the Numbers 0 57 214 3,615 4,470 6,052 150,000

Number of performances cancelled due to snow Number of stage crew for each performance Number of performers in each performance

AWARDS FOR ACTION Celebrate the work of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and honour the winners of the 2013 Awards for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights. For 20 years, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal network has been a global leader fighting to ensure that people living with or affected by HIV are supported by laws and policies that promote prevention, care and dignity. The awards honour excellence and commitment to work that has a direct impact on HIV/AIDS and human rights—in particular, work that benefits marginalized individuals and communities. $75 (open bar and other refreshments). 7pm. Sun, Dec 1. Bram and Bluma Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library. 789 Yonge St. 416-595-1666 ext. 245. For more info, joyful giving The 5th annual festive cocktail fundraiser for the Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention provides clients with a happier and healthier holiday season. All funds raised support the Emergency Financial Assistance Program to help cover the costs of winter clothing, utility bills and food. The evening features singer Gary Beals and DJ Black CAT. 6:30pm-10pm. Thu, Dec 5. Gladstone Hotel. 1214 Queen St. W. 416-977-9955. RSVP at info@

Leisure & Pleasure

Number of pounds of paper released in the snow scene since 1995

DJ SKATE NIGHTS Lace 'em up tight and make your way down to the waterfront for some serious winter grooves with a rotating roster of DJs. Number of pairs of pointe shoes used by the ballerinas for The Nutcracker since 1995 Free. 8pm-11pm. Saturdays. Dec 14-Mar 1. The Natrel Rink, Harbourfront Total cost of pointe shoes for each run of The Nutcracker Centre. 235 Queens Quay W. ONE OF A KIND CHRISTMAS SHOW This annual event showcases the craftworks 12-by-21-foot installation. Jungen is Opens Fri, Dec 13. Check your local listings. of more than 800 artisans from coast to Film coast, including many local handmade internationally renowned for creating SING-A-LONG SOUND OF MUSIC The items. Great place to snap up a few last artworks that repurpose objects from THE HARD WAY: THE FILMS OF BETTE smash hit transforms the classic Julie minute gifts for the holidays. $7-$12. contemporary culture (like Nike shoes) to DAVIS This tribute to the hard-driving diva Andrews musical into a high-energy 10am-9pm. (6pm. Sun.). To Fri, Dec 8. reflect aboriginal symbols and traditions. of the silver screen traces her four-decade entertainment event complete with Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place. Jungen’s last solo exhibition at the AGO evolution from glamour girl (Marked subtitles so that the whole audience can was in 2010, when he received the Woman) to grande dame (All About Eve) to sing along. 7pm. Thu, Dec 26-28. TIFF Bell 100 Princes' Blvd. Gershon Iskowitz Prize. $11-$19.50. To Gothic gargoyle (What Ever Happened to Lightbox. 350 King St W. 416-599-TIFF. tiff. 12 TREES OF CHRISTMAs Now in its 25th year, 12 trees created by some of Sun, Jun15, 2014. AGO. 317 Dundas St W. Baby Jane?). Various times. To Sun, Dec 8. net. the city's top designers is part of a local 416-979-6648. TIFF Bell Lightbox. 350 King St W. HOLIDAY FAMILY FAVOURITES Get into holiday tradition. Participating 416-599-TIFF. the holiday spirit with three festive films. Dance designers include Hilary Farr, Michelle THE WAGNER FILES Winner of the Bring your kids and enjoy The Polar Mawby, Robert Tanz, Bert Browne, Audience Award at the 2013 Montreal World Express (Sat, Dec 7), Arthur Christmas THE NUTCRACKER James Kudelka's The Film Festival, The Wagner Files takes a (Sat, Dec 14) and Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Christine Ecclestone-McCurry, Cobi Nutcracker, a Toronto holiday tradition, Ladner, Del Weale, Suzanne Davison, unique and provocative exploration of the Stole Christmas (Sat, Dec 21) on the big has delighted audiences since its premiere life of controversial composer Richard Wag- screen. $2.50. 11am. On select screens at Julia West, Isabella Dabrowiecki, Ralph in 1995. Set in 19th-century Russia, this and Jonathon Neal, Robert and Karen ner. Exposing previously unexplored Cineplex theatres. classic ballet takes audiences on a King, and Jasmine King-Niit, and Susan aspects of Wagner's life including Cineplex is also offering families the magical journey through the glittering antisemitism, his complex marriages, opportunity to see the Royal Opera House’s Taylor, Katherine Burke and Robin world of the Snow Queen to the opulent Mulle. $6-$12. 10am-6pm. Mon-Thu. live performance of The Nutcracker on transvestism and emotional relationships splendour of the Sugar Plum Fairy's 10am-9pm. Fri. 10am-5pm. Sat-Sun. To select screens across the country. $23 with myriad gay men, the film is a blend of palace. $25-$244. Various times. Dec ($12.50 for children). 7:30pm. Thu, Dec 12. Sun Dec 15. Gardiner Museum. 111 recreations and expert testimony, creating 14-Jan 4. Four Seasons Centre. 145 Queen a wholly original, unflinching and stirring Queen’s Park. 416-586-8080. gardiner12:55pm. Sun, Dec 22. for St. W. 416-345-9595. piece of musical documentary cinema. participating theatres.

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Number of loads of laundry for The Nutcracker costumes since 1995

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Music (Pop) SINEAD O’CONNOR: AMERICAN KINDNESS TOUR The controversial, outspoken and multi-Grammy award winning artist Sinead O’Connor returns to North America. This is the only Canadian stop on the tour. Wonder if Miley Cyrus will be attending any of her shows? $125. 8pm. Mon, Dec 2-3. The Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts. 130 Navy Street, Oakville, ON. 905-815-2021.

Music (Classical & Jazz) THE ROYAL CONSERVATORY La Dolce Musica celebrates Frank Sinatra and Paolo Conte ($45-$85. 8pm. Sat, Dec 7) in an evening with singer and guitarist John Pizzarelli and Daniela Nardi. Plus the Regina Carter Quartet and Nnenna Freelon appear as part of TD Jazz: Celebrating Dinah & Sarah concert series ($40-$80. 8pm. Sat, Dec 14), an homage to two great dames of jazz, Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan. And highly acclaimed French coloratura soprano Natalie Dessay joins French composer, arranger, conductor, and virtuoso jazz and classical pianist Michel Legrand, as well as the Canadian Les Violons du Roy ($50-$150. 7pm. Sun, Dec 15-16), featuring the music of Legrand, who has composed more than 200 film and television scores and several musicals, and recorded more than 100 albums. Among his most famous are the Oscar-winning Summer of ’42, The Thomas Crown Affair and Yentl. Koerner Hall. 273 Bloor St W. 416-408-0208. performance.rcmusic. ca. Lights of december LGBTQ community choir Singing Out's annual holiday concert includes works from John Rutter, a roster of Renaissance style pieces and an original arrangement of Jane Siberry's Calling All Angels. $25. 3pm, 7:30pm. Sat, Dec 7. St Lawrence Centre for the Arts. 27 Front St E. MANTECA This Canadian World Jazz orchestra returns for a one-night-only performance. Toronto Star called their latest album “gut grabbing innovation”. $15. 8:30 PM. Fri, Dec 13. The Monarch Tavern. 12 Clinton St. 416-531-5833.

Stage FEAR AND DESIRE (AND THE WHOLE DAMN THING) Hosted by Keith Cole, this triple bill features two one-act plays: Hope Thompson’s mystery-comedy Stiff , and David Roche and David Bateman’s older play People Are Horrible Wherever You Go which is kind of becoming a Canadian queer classic. The programme also features a set of performances by rising young theatre stars Jenna Harris, JP Larocque and Jessica Moss. $20.

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2:30pm. Sun. Dec 1. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. 12 Alexander St. 416-975-8555. buddiesinbadtimes. com. the christmas story This dramatisation of the nativity story has been performed every December since 1937. Suggested donation $5-$15. 4:30pm. Sat-Sun. 7:30pm. Fri-Sun. Fri, Dec 6-22. Church of the Holy Trinity. 10 Trinity Square. weather the weather Inspired by winter, the Canadian Shield and our indomitable compulsion to get home for the holidays, this new play by Toronto playwright Haley McGee tells the story of a young girl who must outwit a collection of trolls, gnomes, princes and ogres to save her brother and make it back for the family feast. Part of Theatre Columbus winter play series staged outside under the snow and stars. $23-$32. 8pm. Tue-Sun. Fri, Dec 6-30 (no shows Dec 17, 24, 25, 26) Evergreen Brick Works. 550 Bayview Ave. 416-504-7529. GOD OF CARNAGE Benjamin and Henry, two 11-year-old boys, have had a serious schoolyard fight that causes Henry to lose two teeth. That night the boys' parents, two sophisticated, highly educated and well-to-do couples, are meeting for a civil discussion of the incident. At least that's the plan. Tensions flare and the gloves come off in this Tony Award-winning comedy that dares to reveal the savagery beneath society's polished facade. $19$79. 8pm. Tue-Sat. 2pm. Sat-Sun. To Sun, Dec 15. Panasonic Theatre, 651 Yonge St. 416-872-1212. PARFUMERIE As the employees in a parfumerie prepare for the busy holiday gift-buying season, fastidious head clerk George snipes at his disorganised colleague, Rosie. Both are distracted over an ongoing anonymous love affair they both have been carrying on with a penfriend. Little do they know, their daytime object of aggravation is their nighttime object of love. Directed by Morris Panych with set design by Ken MacDonald. Young Centre for the Performing Arts. 50 Tank House Lane (in the Distillery District). $32-$68. 7:30pm. Mon-Sat. (some 1:30pm matinees). To Sat, Dec 21. 416-866-8666. (See interview with Morris Panych on page 26.) IMPULSE FESTIVAL Soulpepper Theatre Company and The National Theatre of the World invites eight improvisational troupes from around the world for four days of workshops, shows and an attempt at the world's longest running live improv-a-thon. $15-$20 ($40-$65 for workshops). Various times. Thu, Dec 12-15. Young Centre for the Performing Arts. 50 Tank House Lane (Distillery District).416-866-8666 soulpepper. ca/impulse.

in spot Surmesur Story & photography Derek Dotto

He’s a rare breed, the man who can wear an off-the-rack suit and make it look bespoke. Rare, not to mention lucky. For the rest of us, getting a suit, or even shirt, to fit perfectly means either expensive alterations or forking over a fortune for custom tailoring. Surmesur aims to put an end to that dilemma. The shop, which specializes in made-to-measure clothing, was established in Quebec City three years ago by brothers Francois and Vincent Theriault before expanding to Montreal and now Toronto. “You can get a shirt or a suit that fits you perfectly. You can design it from A to Z and it’s a fraction of the cost of designers like Hugo Boss,” explains Francois. Customers can choose from over 6,000 fabrics to build their garments from the ground up, not to mention fit, cuff, collar, pocket, button placket, hemline, monogramming and contrast stitching. But don’t expect squeaky sewing machines and scraps of fabric on the floor here. Surmesur, which opened its doors at Queen and Jarvis in October, brings a modern flare to the age-old profession of suit making. The shop’s minimalist white fixtures are neatly adorned with fabric swatches and clothing samples. Cutting edge technology is key. Touch screen computers are used to

gather customer preferences while touch screen monitors display customizable garments on a dashingly handsome avatar. And then there’s the body scanner which allows for touch-less measurements. But it’s not all robots. Consultants are on hand to guide newbies through the process, which is helpful especially at a time of year filled with black-tie affairs. Picking out a tux can be intimidating even for the most experienced suit buyer. Francois shares a bit of advice: “Take baby steps if you are not familiar with the dress codes for black-tie events. The tux is all about the fit. An ill-fitting tuxedo does not reflect positively on the wearer. But a classic black tux never goes out of style.” I imagine much like a custom fitted suit that didn’t set you back a mortgage payment. But there is a minor drawback to buying bespoke: though there is magic in the way a well-fitted suit sways with your swish, you’ll just have to keep up that gym membership or risk the extra fees you’ll pay to let the suit out.

surmesur 108 Queen St E. 416-214-2840.

21/11/2013 12:02:37 PM

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December 2013

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Artistic angst → Theatrical powerhouse Morris Panych speaks about his stage fright and his passion for pink Story Paul Gallant | Photography Riley Stewart


ore than a decade ago,

tation by Adam Pettle and Brenda

Morris Panych starred

Robins of a 1937 romance by

Although Panych has worked with


Sheila McCarthy, who last worked with Panych in Canadian Stage’s

in a Vancouver produc-

Hungarian playwright Miklós László,

MacDonald on every play he’s ever


tion of Yasmina Reza’s Art. Though

for the third time. Popping up every

directed—they met more than 30

Arsonist, says his honesty doesn’t

Panych started his long theatre

second holiday season, it’s like

years ago during a production at the

mean it’s his way or the highway.

career as an actor, at that point, he

Soulpepper’s answer to the National

Belfry Theatre Company in Victoria,

His directing style is flexible and

hadn’t been on stage for seven years.

Ballet’s Nutcracker. With a remount,

B.C.—their collaborating has never


“I thought I would die,” says

most of the ground work is already

provided a comfortable safety net.


Panych, as if it was just yesterday.

done. The set, designed by Panych’s

Just the opposite. MacDonald has an

“Morris is vulnerable. Most direc-

“During the preview, I waited off-

husband Ken MacDonald, comes out

amazing ability to turn up the vol-

tors aren’t, or at least they don’t tell

stage and all the blood just ran out

of storage. The cast watch videos

ume and raise the tension, which is

you that,” says McCarthy. “I love

of my body. I don’t even know how I

from last year’s performance to help

perhaps the secret ingredient that

his dogged curiosity about every-

got on the stage. I opened my mouth

bring back the memories of what

keeps Panych engaged and creative.

thing. He is also extremely sexy

and everything came out backwards.

they should be doing on stage. “We

“We have an absolutely crazy,

and everyone thinks so, men and

It was like I was talking in Hebrew.

don’t need to reinvent the wheel

volatile working relationship. Our

women.” McCarthy, who, as you

I didn’t even know what I was say-

every time, but you do need to put

real lives aren’t like that at all, but

might guess, is a long-time friend,

ing. I walked off stage after the first

the wheel back on the car,” says

the minute we start talking about

once broke three toes jumping off a

scene and I thought, ‘I am fucked.’ I


a play, it’s just ugly,” says Panych.

table designed by MacDonald. “They








don’t know why I thought I could act

A long fruitful theatre career

“I often tell him, ‘I can’t believe the

are still numb a year later and it is

or why I came back to this horrible

means a certain amount of repeti-

way you’re talking to me, you would

Morris’s fault.”


tion and that’s where Panych’s artis-

never talk this way to another direc-

Panych recovered (in fact, critics

tic angst—which both draws him

tor.’ He’s just rude. Ken’s a Taurus,


loved his performance), though he

onto the stage and scares him off it—

which tells you everything. He really

look for Soulpepper’s 2009 season,

didn’t act again for another eight

comes in handy. Panic and fear keep

digs his heels in.”

Panych knew from the start that the

years. No matter. Even off stage he’s

things fresh. “It’s addictive. Even the

Panych himself is not known for

set had to be pink. Opulently pink.

a theatrical powerhouse. Panych

terror is thrilling,” he tells me over

holding back what he thinks. Joseph

Never one for minimalism, the direc-

remains one of Canada’s most ubiq-

coffee in Soulpepper’s cosy library.

Ziegler, a Soulpepper founder and

tor wants the audience to be lost in

uitous theatre artists. He’s won

Even at 61, he’s handsome and has

friend who has worked with Panych

the sights, sounds and emotions of

Governor General’s Awards for his

a temperament that remains boy-

on several productions, says the

the production. Parfumerie, also

playwrighting and directed nearly

ish. One minute he’s passionately

director can be unapologetically

the basis for the 1940 film The Shop

100 plays for every major theatre

dismissing postmodernist “bullshit,”


Around the Corner and the Tom

company in Canada. In a country

the next he’s folded up with his

“He’ll say it even if it hurts peo-

Hanks/Meg Ryan vehicle You’ve Got

where plays rarely get more than a

elbows on the table, almost blush-

ple’s feelings,” says Ziegler, who

Mail, is a classic romance of hate

single run, Panych has remounted

ing as he talks about his affection

plays a broken-hearted cuckold in

turning into love. Audiences need

his Overcoat, which he co-created

for MacDonald. Panych’s height-

Parfumerie. “Saying what has to be

to come out wanting to shop at that

with Wendy Gorling, seven times.

ened sense of what’s at stake injects

said can be a good thing. Morris is

frilly store where passion ignites.

This month he directs Parfumerie

a compelling urgency into his best

really in touch with himself as a per-

(see listing on page 24), an adap-

work. He always needs to be risking

son and what his feelings are.”

When Panych and MacDonald first



“Ken hates pink but he agreed with me. He knows I like pink,” says

26 27 28.INTO.Stage.indd 27


21/11/2013 12:04:15 PM


PANYCH’S PICKS Morris Panych doesn’t much care for crowds at the theatre or the cinema, but here are some of the things he’s liked lately (and things Ken MacDonald mostly didn’t).

The Royal Opera House’s London West End production of The Wind in the Willows earlier this year was “extraordinary.”

Both Panych and MacDonald liked August: Osage County, but MacDonald didn’t care for Peter and the Starcatcher. “He’s like, ‘It’s panto[mime].’ I’m like, ‘Sure, it’s panto, but it’s good panto.’” They were also divided on Spring Awakening.






MacDonald’s sole talent. He’s the visual




emphasis on narrative. While Panych writes in his free time, MacDonald takes pictures and collects objects. Many of the set ideas and props in their productions make their first appearance in their Riverdale home. (They sold their place in Vancouver a few years ago and have been working on the West Coast much less as

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, a 2006 novel by French writer Muriel Barbery, and Let the Great World Spin, a 2009 novel by U.S. writer Colum McCann, are Panych’s current favourite reads.

a result.) A branch MacDonald found in their garden ended up being the model for a humungous 70-footsince its 1995 debut, both got bad

long branch that was the set for a

reviews there. He’s doesn’t love

1997 Vancouver production of the

everything the British do either. On

opera Susannah. When the cou-

a recent trip to Ireland and the UK

ple was exploring ideas for Design

with Ziegler and his wife, actress

for Living at the 2006 Shaw Festival,

Nancy Palk, the straight couple went

MacDonald made a cardboard proto-

Panych. “If he wants to get on my

out to plays all the time. Panych

type that looked, to Panych’s eye, a

good side, he brings home pink flow-

and MacDonald were more likely to

little too much like past efforts.

ers. It’s so gay, I know. This is how

spend their evenings playing bridge.

“I didn’t say anything but he knew

I know he wants to get on my good

“A lot of theatre really bores me,”

exactly what I was thinking,” says

side. If I want to get on his good side,

says Panych. “It bores Ken even

Panych. “So without even saying

I cook. I cook every fucking night. I

more. I’ve decided recently I’m going

anything, he picks the whole thing

learned how to make chicken katsu

to go to theatre on my own because

up, crumples it into a ball and throws

curry because every time we go to

I can’t stand going with him. He

it on the floor. We both looked at

London, that’s what he wants.”

gets so restless, he wants to leave

it and said, ‘That’s fantastic.’ And

As much as Panych loves London,

once he’s seen the set. In fact, I have

these poor builders had to build this

the UK has never returned his affec-

to tell actors in our own produc-

crumpled-up window thing.”

tions. The Overcoat and Vigil, which

tions not to take it personally when

When the creative friction pro-

have been performed in more than

Ken falls asleep during rehearsals,

duces great ideas, something must

30 theatres in Canada and the US

because that’s what he does.”

be working. Even if it’s crazy-making.

→ perfect partners Set designer Ken MacDonald (top right) has an ability to turn up the volume and raise the tension, perhaps the secret ingredient that keeps Panych engaged and creative; a scene from Parfumerie.


12 Years a Slave: “The best. The chances that director [Steve McQueen] takes! There’s one scene where—I won’t give anything away— someone burns a piece of paper and the shot goes on for, like, a minute and a half. This director really wants you to stop and think about that moment. It makes you feel so guilty as a white person.”

“Everyone was loving Death in Venice [from the Canadian Opera Company’s 2010/2011 season]. Ken so hated that show. It was very turgid. It moved like mud.”

December 2013

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21/11/2013 12:05:01 PM


Not a pretty picture → No happy endings despite this year’s rather remarkable output of queer cinema Story Peter Knegt


t seems highly likely that folks will look back at 2013 as a pretty notable year in terms of international gay and lesbian rights advancement, at least as far as samesex marriage laws are concerned. France, New Zealand, Uruguay, Brazil and the United Kingdom were among the countries joining that particular party this year, just as the United States Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional in a landmark ruling. As things go, one would think this might be reflected in what was also quite a significant year for portrayals of lesbian and gay characters in film. The privileged part of this world where lesbians and gays can increasingly put a ring on it gave us a rather remarkable output of queer cinema this year. From France’s Blue is The Warmest Colour and Stranger By The Lake to America’s Kill Your Darlings, Concussion and Behind The Candelabra to Canada’s own Tom at the Farm and Vic and Flo Saw a Bear, the film festival circuit (not the multiplexes, though that’s hardly surprising and besides the point) was ablaze with cinematic gays. But there were certainly no same-sex weddings up on those screens. Quite the opposite, actually. Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue Is The Warmest Colour—perhaps the most discussed of any of these films thanks to it winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and, moreover, due to the intensely explicit sex scenes between its two leading ladies—is indeed the “sexy lesbian relationship drama” it’s consistently reduced to in small media blurbs. But (spoiler alert; the first of many) it doesn’t end well. After its lovers Adele (Adele Exarchopoulos) and Emma (Lea Seydoux) enjoy a passionate few years of Sapphic

bliss, their relationship crumbles into one of the most emotionally brutal breakups you’ll see on a big screen this year or any year, really. Its French male counterpart Stranger By The Lake, which also won awards at Cannes and features explicit sex between its two extremely attractive leads, is even less romantically optimistic. In Alain Guiraudie’s thriller, Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps) meets Michel (Christophe Paou) at a cruising lake and begins a sexual relationship despite being secretly aware that Michel has brutally murdered his previous tryst. Franck follows Michel down an increasingly dangerous path that ends in something much more horrifying than a simple breakup. Back here in Canada, things weren’t so lovely either. Denis Côté’s Vic and Flo Saw a Bear offered us the story of the titular lesbian couple (played by Romane Bohringer and Pierrette Robitaille), who are trying to rebuild their lives in the Quebec countryside after Vic is released from prison. But their attempt is met with some trouble from the past, leaving them, well, lying for dead in bear traps by the film’s end. Somewhere in that same countryside, Tom from Xavier Dolan’s Tom at the Farm is running for his life after developing a homoerotic relationship with the psychotic brother of his deceased male lover, who is essentially holding him hostage. Tom (played by Dolan himself) is a little more lucky by film’s end than Vic and Flo, but he definitely sees his share of bears as well. Even in America, land of the cinematic happy ending, lesbians and gays were having a rough go at their onscreen love lives. Two major true stories—Steven Soderbergh’s

blue is the warmest colour

stranger by the lake

behind the candelabra


Behind The Candelabra and John Krokidas’s Kill Your Darlings—gave us depictions of famed gays Liberace (Michael Douglas) and Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) during very crucial relationships in their lives: Liberace’s with Scott Thorson (Matt Damon), and Ginsberg’s with Lucien Carr (Dane DeHaan). Though things start out promising in both regards, Liberace ends up trying to turn Thorson into a younger version of himself via plastic surgery, leading Thorson into a path of drug addiction before Liberace throws him out. Ginsberg, meanwhile, falls for Carr during college, but Carr’s sexual confusion, and involvement in the murder of another one of his male lovers, problematizes the continuation of the romance. The relationship still ended up feeling imperative enough in retrospect that Ginsberg ended up dedicating his famous Howl to Carr years later, only for Carr to demand its removal. Another notable American entry to the gay and lesbian film canon

this year was Stacie Passon’s Concussion, the one and only example here that features a contemporary same-sex couple who are actually married. Abby (Robin Weigert) is a fortysomething lesbian who lives with her wife and two kids in New Jersey suburbia. But she’s clearly not satisfied, and begins acting out by spending her days working as (you guessed it) a high-end lesbian prostitute. It proves both thrilling and lucrative, but Abby ends up coming back to her wife and their life when she begins to fear she’ll lose both. But Abby doesn’t seem particularly happy with her ultimate decision. She simply seems too scared to pursue a less normative life that might make her feel much more fulfilled. And Abby’s is truly the happiest ending of them all. So while same-sex marriage became a growing reality in many parts of the world in 2013, filmmakers not-so-kindly reminded us that not all relationships should be destined for the altar.

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B o o ks

Magical treasures → Three fascinating art books make gift giving easy Story Gordon Bowness


ooking for something special to give that shy kid in your life, the one who withdraws into a private world of drawing or, say, embroidery? Perhaps you need a gift for that dandyish friend who cuts a dashing figure on the world stage? Three recent thoughtprovoking art books inspired by historically informed gallery shows could offer the perfect fit for both. The AGYU (Art Gallery of York University) continues its love affair with Will Munro, the artist, DJ, party promoter and community builder who died in 2010 at the age of 35, by producing a luxurious coffee-table book as a follow-up to its 2012 retrospective exhibition Will Munro: History, Glamour, Magic. It’s a comprehensive tome handsomely put together by designer Lisa Kiss featuring art and ephemera from all of Munro’s exhibitions between 1998 and 2010, everything from invites to his Who’s Emma show while still a student at OCAD to his last exhibition at Paul Petro, which was actually recreated in the AGYU retrospective. Scores of Munro’s sexy and fun underwear art are presented in a gorgeous portfolio, as is the colourful anarchy of his party posters, most designed and printed by Toronto artist Michael Comeau. Fleshing out the great images, more than 400 in all, are essays by Luis Jacob and Bruce LaBruce, and curators Emelie Chhangur and Philip Monk, plus an interview between Leila Pourtavaf and Munro conducted just months before his death. Altogether, the book makes an impassioned argument that Munro’s life was one great big collective art project. A quick story: Eric Kostiuk Williams is a young illustrator, too young to know Munro. But he had heard of Munro’s legendary parties and so went to the AGYU retrospective. The show inspired Williams to draw a touching comic expressing his regret at not knowing Munro and his desire to somehow continue Munro’s legacy. After publishing the comic in this magazine, we received an email from Munro’s brother flabbergasted that


someone understood what Will was about without knowing him, that his art could still do the job of inspiring people to create, to connect. If this book can do the same, I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to such a beautiful generous man: the gift of community. Of course the earliest known pick-up line is, “What a nice ass you have,” said between two males in a poem recorded on papyrus in Egypt around 1,800 BCE. RB Parkinson, curator of ancient Egyptian culture at the British Museum, has written A Little Gay History: Desire and Diversity across the World, a fascinating guide to roughly 40 objects from the British Museum, each opening a window on a particular moment or aspect of LGBT history around the world. Parkinson has a remarkable command of both world history and modern LGBT politics; he breezily summarizes and cuts through numerous thorny issues confronting academics and activists alike. Whether discussing the 1st-century Roman goblet known as the Warren Cup, an 18th-century Maori treasure chest, or the entry for a trans woman on a Sioux Winter Count from 1891, Parkinson deftly parses the subtle and perplexing differences and similarities among same-sex and trans desire and love across time and place. In the book’s epilogue, Parkinson circles back to a discussion of Hadrian, the Roman emperor whose epic love for Antinous is recounted and embellished in the 1951 novel, Memoires d’Hadrien, by Marguerite Yourcenar, the first woman ever elected to the French Academy. Yourcenar, who moved to the US to live with her translator Grace Frick, viewed history as a “school of liberty”—a notion Parkinson relishes. “History does not belong only to the ‘mainstream’ victors,” he writes, “and ‘minorities’ should not feel that they are marginal. On a long view, no one occupies the centre. It belongs to us all.” A Little Gay History is a powerful little book.

Ironically, the weightiest and most text-heavy of these books is on fashion. A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk accompanies an exhibition of the same name currently running at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York (until Jan 4, 2014). But as the introductory essay by editor Valerie Steele, director and chief curator of the Museum at FIT, makes clear, fashion and style are vast, rich topics, ineluctably linked to LGBT cultures and personalities. How we present ourselves throughout history is intimately linked to our evolving concepts of ourselves and our ability to connect with other LGBT folk. Something profound connects the effete “macaronis” of the 18th century, the austere dandies, like Robert de Montesquiou, in the 19th-century, and our present-day fashion industry that makes superstars out of gay designers as different as Marc Jacobs and Jean Paul Gaultier. The various essays wrestle with this material to mixed results. The best is by Elizabeth Wilson, who surveys lesbian style from the early 19th century to the present. Wilson, who wrote the 1985 classic about fashion and modernism, Adorned in Dreams, authoritatively dissects the lives and looks of fascinating characters like Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby, two Anglo-Irish aristocrats who eloped in the early 19th century. For such an expensive-looking book, however, there’s something slap-dash about it: the essays form an awkward jumble (one of them barely readable), there’s too much academic jargon and a recurring typographical error. Still, the queer theorist or the fashion-obsessive on your gift list will find many golden threads to treasure here.

WILL MUNRO: HISTORY, GLAMOUR, MAGIC. Art Gallery of York University. $40 A LITTLE GAY HISTORY. RB Parkinson. Columbia University Press. $19.95. A QUEER HISTORY OF FASHION. Edited by Valerie Steele. Yale University Press. $50.

December 2013

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Not so silent night → This year’s crop of holiday albums hasn’t a single ‘don we now our gay apparel’ in the mix Story Mary Dickie

KELLY CLARKSON, Wrapped in Red The vocal powerhouse’s inevitable holiday album features R&B and country takes on chestnuts like I’ll Be Home for Christmas and Baby It’s Cold Outside. She sounds great, but some copycat arrangements might make you want to hear the superior Charles Brown/Phil Spector/Ella Fitzgerald versions. Highlights: A trad country Blue Christmas, an understated White Christmas Cringeworthy moment: The bling-begging 4 Carats. Traditional carol: Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel, solemn, raw and brief. Holiday original: Underneath the Tree: a bit of Phil Spector and Mariah’s All I Want for Christmas. Wacky moment: Run Rudolph Run. Maudlin factor: Low. Silent Night? Yes, with Reba McEntire.Best for: Drunken holiday singalongs.

GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPS, The Classic Christmas Album Some divas transcend kitsch, and Gladys is one of them. This album gathers material originally released in 1975 and 1982, so she’s in top vocal form, and the Pips are the ultimate backing singers. Highlight: A soulful What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve? Cringeworthy moment: Knight’s son singing Santa Claus Is Coming to Town . Jesus appearances: The Lord’s Prayer. Traditional carol: Away in a Manger. Wacky moment: Disco Jingle Bells. Maudlin factor: Medium. Silent Night? Yes, and it’s a doozy Best for: Disco-dance Christmas party.

NICK LOWE, Quality Street A slightly tongue-incheek, wonderfully understated album of unexpected tunes, sung with wry humour and refreshingly non-syrupy accompaniment. Highlights: Christmas Can’t Be Far Away, Ron Sexsmith’s jazzy Hooves on the Roof Cringeworthy moment: None. Jesus appearances: I Was Born in Bethlehem. Holiday original: A Dollar Short of Happy, co-written with Ry Cooder Wacky moment: Christmas at the Airport (“Don’t save me any turkey, I found a burger in the bin”) Silent Night? Yes, a jaunty version. Maudlin factor: Low. Best for: When you need an antidote to candycane sweetness.

BAD RELIGION, Christmas Songs This starts with an a cappella Hark the Herald Angels Sing, then revs up to an aggressive pace as they tear through the carols. Singer Greg Graffin was once a choirboy, and proceeds will be donated to an organization that helps people abused by priests. Highlight: White Christmas à la I Wanna Be Sedated. Cringeworthy moment: Little Drummer Boy (as always, except for when David Bowie does it). Jesus appearances: Many. Traditional carols: Lots, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and What Child Is This? among them. Holiday original: A remix of American Jesus by Andy Wallace. Wacky moment: The “Gloooooooria”s on Angels We Have Heard on High. Maudlin factor: Low. Silent Night? No! The only one without it. Best for: Getting your holiday aggression out.

ERASURE, Snow Globe British synth pop purveyors Vince Clarke and Andy Bell seem like the least likely musicians to make a holiday album; maybe that’s why they did. There’s a melancholy tinge, but the harmonies are lovely. Highlights: A beautiful Bleak Midwinter. Cringeworthy moment: Blood on the Snow. Jesus appearances: The medieval Latin hymn Gaudete. Traditional carol: Midnight Clear. Holiday original: Loving Man. Beautiful, though more an ode to Andy Bell’s late partner than a holiday number. Wacky moment: The Christmas Song, which sounds like it was recorded in a Pong game. Maudlin factor: Minimal. Silent Night? Yes, with beautiful harmonies Best for: A truly blue Christmas.

BARBRA STREISAND, The Classic Christmas Album Babs originally released these holiday songs in 1967 and 2001, and it’s fun to see if you can hear those 30 years in her voice. I can’t—she’s something else. Highlight: An understated White Christmas. Cringeworthy moment: The Best Gift, which is a baby (“I guess I’d have to say that it made all the other presents twice as gay”). Jesus appearances: I Wonder as I Wander. Traditional carol: O Little Town of Bethlehem. Wacky moment: A frenetic Jingle Bells. Maudlin factor: Medium. Silent Night? Yes, but it’s called Sleep in Heavenly Peace, and it’s gorgeous. Best for: Barbra fanatics, and I know you’re out there.

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21/11/2013 12:06:54 PM

s ex s p o n s o r e d b y s p a e x c e s s

ask the sex geek — with Andrea Zanin → I am kinky and I have someone I would like to play with. On paper we seem good, but there’s a but (of course there’s a but, or I wouldn’t be writing): in the past he just wanted me to bottom, but now he wants me to be submissive and to be honest, I don’t know if I can do that. Right now, in my admittedly ignorant state, to me submission means being forced to do what someone else wants, while my wants and needs go unmet; it means being subservient and inferior. I don’t feel like I can tell him all this without feeling like I’m disappointing him or having him think that I’ve failed him somehow. I doubt he’d actually be disappointed or think I’m a failure, but being honest about this seems so scary and threatening. How can I be fully honest (telling him that I don’t think I can be submissive, or at least, not yet), while still getting what I want (fun play time with a sexy, kinky guy)? How can I begin to bust my stereotype of what being submissive entails? John

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the realm of pure fantasy—playing

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roles, embodying characters, or

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acts look like. There is no universal

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try things and decide you don’t

John, here’s the thing: I sense

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33.INTO.Sex.indd 33

ANDREA ZANIN The Sex Geek blogs at Email her at

21/11/2013 12:07:28 PM


caught in the act by Michael Pihach & Gaelan Love


Booby Ball at Sound Academy






Hard Candy Fitness launch







Community One starstruck gala at st james cathedral





→ 1. Booby Bear 2. Robert Reider, Jenny DeSousa 3. Mike Chalut, Terrance Freeman 4. Ian Lynch 5. Rachel Saevil 6. Max MacDonald 7. Lori Kirwan 8. Donnarama 9. Jack Skellington 10. Blair Boudreau, Mike Montes 11. Andrew Gouveia 12. Wendy Phua, Eric Hurtel, Natalie Healy 13. Terrence Rodriguez, Arabi Rajeswaran 14. Ty Smith, Zahava as Joan Rivers, Larissa Holmes 15. Deb Pearce, Craig Daniel, Andrea Love •


December 2013 pics.indd 50

21/11/2013 12:08:33 PM

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21/11/2013 3:23:14 PM

Profile for IN Magazine

IN Toronto Magazine: December 2013  

IN Toronto Magazine: July 2011 Issue ISSUE: 43 Gay and Lesbian City Living Magazine from Toronto

IN Toronto Magazine: December 2013  

IN Toronto Magazine: July 2011 Issue ISSUE: 43 Gay and Lesbian City Living Magazine from Toronto