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Patricia Salib EDITOR
Gordon Bowness CREATIVE MARKETING DIRECTOR
Nelson Tomé DESIGN
Pulp & Fiber ASSOCIATE DESIGNERS
Nicolás Tallarico, Jenny Watson PRODUCTION COORDINATOR
HEA GYL LT H GE T IN 10LENHA AL JAKE WEE ’S BOD KS Y GA
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In Toronto is published by The Mint Media Group all rights reserved. 348A Queen St W, Toronto, ON, M5V 2A2 THE MINT MEDIA GROUP PRESIDENT
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Jara Solis THIS ISSUE CONTRIBUTING EDITORS
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LITICSs PARTY PO o’s growing pain
C elebrate Mozart’s 255th birthday with the Toronto S ymphony O rchestra! This January, enjoy the company of friends and warm up to the music of Mozart.
January 19 - 30, 2011
ro n ill Mun W at Torontonia embering a gre
Inspire gay men and lesbians to live life to the fullest. Expand the gay and lesbian community by valuing diversity and individual choice. Celebrate Toronto. Provide readers with compelling news, information and entertainment.
CH EC OU OUT K WE R N BS EW IT E
Jamie Alexander, David Bateman, Chris Jai Centeno, Dino Dilio, Derek Dotto, Scott Ferguson, Anna Von Frances, Serafin LaRiviere, Alice Lawlor, Keith Loukes, Glenn Mackay, Josh MacKinnon, Corey Pierce, Michael Pihach, Jason St-Laurent, Adam Segal, Pam Shime, Richard Silver, Michael Thorner, Chris Tyrell, Paula Wilson, Bruce Woods TIPPET-RICHARDSON CONCERT SEASON
C onductors’ Podium S ponsor
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Light C lassics S eries S ponsor
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ON THE COVER
Photography: Glenn Mackay Makeup: Karleigh Johnstone Location: Toronto Fashion Incubator
VIEWS | LIVING & HEALTH | INSIGHT | LISTINGS | ART & DESIGN | SEX
AT HOME WITH CANADIAN DESIGNERS Made design store co-owner Shaun Moore by Gordon Bowness
SETTING UP HOUSE Brothers Glenn and David Dixon launch Dixon House by Paul Gallant
by Scott Ferguson & Jason St-Laurent 10
HOW TWEET IT IS by Michael Thorner
COME UP TO MY ROOM by Gordon Bowness
STYLIN’ with Chris Tyrell
WINTER GIFT IDEAS by Chris Jai Centeno
SAN DIEGO COOL by Alice Lawlor
RELATIONSHIP ADVICE with Adam Segal
THE GROOMING GAME with Dino Dilio
AIKIDO DOJO by Michael Pihach
JEWISH CHRISTMAS by Pam Shime
STEPHEN SONDHEIM by David Bateman
PRISCILLA REVIEW by David Bateman
MERRY CHRISTMAS MR LAWRENCE by Michael Thorner
APPRECIATING BILLY STRAYHORN by Michael Thorner
STEVEN REINEKE & THE TSO
DISPLAY CASE by Jamie Alexander
SEX & HEALTH with Dr Keith
CAUGHT IN THE ACT photos by Michael Pihach
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TORONTO TALK EXCHANGE
VIEW FINDER →
Westward Ho The Gladstone Hotel makes the old hotelier adage ring true — it’s a real home away from home. It’s also an tre and a unique cultural hub that nurtures and inspires the local scene and beyond. Gladstone president Christina Zeidler’s bold dream for the 1889 property came to fruition in 2006… so the folks at the hotel are
party that will take over all the event spaces at 1214 Queen St W with live performances by musicians, tours of the artist-designed rooms, karaoke, a retrospective art exhibition and a big dance. The festivities are schedule for Fri, Jan 21. For other current and forthcoming events at the Gladstone (seen here duded up for Bruno Billio’s 2010 Nuit Blanche installation, Gladstone Bangs) see pages 14 and 34 or go to gladstonehotel.com.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS LIZ MARSHALL
is life. It’s not like a debate about running shoes or oil. It’s a debate about life. We all need water to survive.” “The general public believes we have this tremendous abundance of water that will never run
Marshall, speaking of her latest mentary about Canada’s relationship to its water resources. Shot in locations from the Alberta Tar
December 2010 / January 2011
tackles the question of whether water is a commercial good, like Coca-Cola or a human right, like air, while following activist and “water warrior” Maude Barlow in her pursuit to protect water from corporate privatization. “The only
direction I gave her was to not look at the camera,” says Marshall, notThough alarming, the documentary is not all doom and gloom. “We didn’t focus on drought and pollution,” says Marshall. “It’s about water as a life force.” Water On the Table won Best Canadian Feature Film at the 2010 Planet In nated for a Gemini.
WATER ON THE TABLE is available on DVD at wateronthetable.com/shop
TORONTO TALK EXCHANGE SOUND OFF THE HOLIDAYS
editing a movie and drunk cooking to helping at a homeless shelter, three community members share how they celebrate the holidays “As a Jew married to a Mennonite (t’was a Mennonewish wedding), I get to celebrate both Chanukah and Xmas, so we’ve got lots to cover over the holidays. We’ll be decorating a tree, lighting our menorah, walking in High Park with our dog Walter, and with our common commitment to social justice, editing our maze of segregated roads being constructed in the West Bank.”
ELLE FLANDERS, FILMMAKER/ACTIVIST
“Since almost everything I do is about being around a lot of people, my girlfriend and I stay home and go traditional. Maybe one or two friends come over for dinner. We start off with shots, pickle backs (bourbon and then a shot of pickle juice) or Bison Grass vodka or Jim Beam Red Stag. Then all hands on deck for dinner. Everyone is doing something. We are all in the kitchen chopping, preparing and drinking, everything from wine, Jack Daniels, scotch and more shots... then dinner.”
PATRICIA WILSON, BUDDIES BARTENDER/ROCK STAR
“My partner, Renee, and I will be spending Christmas with family, then volunteering to serve dinner at a homeless shelter. Last year we served meals at Sisterings, which is a women’s shelter and drop-in centre. This year will be the Good Neighbours Club, a homeless shelter for men. Renee is from Newfoundland and Christmas is a very big production with her family. With her being so far from home, we’ll try to recreate a meal that brings her “home.” Now that my sisters have children the holidays have an even greater importance. Although I am a Buddhist, I have always valued Christmas as the most special time of the year. When the skies turn grey, the leaves are all gone from the trees and the snow begins to fall. This is when of world peace and children’s justice.”
KRISTYN WONG-TAM, TORONTO CITY COUNCILLOR, WARD 27
→ I want to applaud In Toronto for producing great articles of a timely and important nature. Michael Pilhach’s “Will It Get Better?” (In Toronto, Nov 2010) touched lenges with trying to conquer homophobic bullying in and out of our schools. As a teacher with the TDSB who works directly with atrisk youth the article highlighted many challenges educators face along with the situations youth encounter. Recent national and international media attention has given a spotlight to an issue that’s been ongoing for decades, but it is important to continue working with organizations such as Egale and SOY to support the work they do to make LGBTTQ2S youth feel safe as they step out of the closet into our schools, community and city. Steven J Bates, CALC Secondary, Toronto
WHOSE EDUCATION? →
unnerving that UofT’s Mark S Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity at my alma mater has awarded Sue Johanson its Citizenship Award (“In Their Own Words,” In Toronto, Oct 2010). I heard Johanson speak at the Mississauga campus on Sep 22, 2009. For someone who bashes the school system for their lack of sex education on gay, lesbian and trans sexuality she was not very queer-positive herself and spoke from a very hetero-normative stance. My friends and I purposefully stuffed the question box for Continued on page 10
TORONTO TALK EXCHANGE LETTERS
HOW TWEET IT IS SHARE THE ARTS & CULTURE EXPERIENCE
Continued from page 9
the Q & A period with questions related to sex between queer persons. When she got to a question about lesbian sex
WOOF → What a great article (“Petting Zoo,” In Toronto, Nov 2010). Dr John Reeve-Newson has looked after all of my animals for 30 years. He’s compassionate and wonderful. Anita Kunz, Toronto
GET IN TOUCH → Send us your letter to: Letters to the editor, In Toronto magazine, 348 A Queen St W, Toronto, ON, M5V 2A2; email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or online at intorontomag.com. We value your feedback.
December 2010 / January 2011
City of Toronto
started with a spiel about how she didn’t have time to speak at length about homosexual relationships, so in our minds replace the appropriate pronouns (him for gays and her for lesbians) and we would glean what we needed to know. She made no mention of positions like scissoring. When she came to a question about safe sex between men she skipped it out of interest of time and said to head over to her website. I did so only to be grossly disappointed. The section entitled “Homosexuality” was pathetic; she talked about typical myths about sexuality. She also made no mention of trans people in her lecture that day or on her website. For someone who is lauded as the premier sex educator of our day, Sue Johanson seems to be very out of touch with the wide diversity of people who have sex.
BY MICHAEL THORNER
orontonians are fortunate to be able to enjoy more arts and culture events than any other city in Canada, with staples like Luminato, Nuit Blanche, the International Festival of Authors, Word on the Street, and the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, plus newer innovation events such as TEDxToronto, vals than can be counted in the space allotted here (okay, a sampling: TIFF, Hot Docs, Imaginative, Inside Out, Planet In Focus, The Fringe, Next Stage… you get the picture). There is so much diversity and choice. They all deserve to be supported. If the recession has taught us anything, however, it’s that we need to be responsible with our hard-earned dollars. Personal budgeting is the new black. Technology gives us the ability to taste all the events in Toronto from the comfort of one’s home, or from anywhere really, just by accessing shared content that others have posted online using social and information networks
such as Facebook and Twitter, and utilizing photo and video sharing tools like Twitpic, YFrog, Flickr, Plixi, YouTube, Vimeo, UStream and so on. Using these sites and
In this smart-phone-savvy, application-addicted world, it is now almost expected for forward-thinking cultural events such as Scotiabank Nuit Blanche or social innovation events such as TEDxToronto to include functional event applications for mobile phones. These free downloadable apps can accompany and enhance the event experience, allowing the community to share what they are seeing and engage with each other. It’s great marketing, good promotion, truthful communication via dialogue, and cost-effective — for a brand and for the content — while measurably gauging overall public opinion. While the power of an audience collectively sharing an experience in person can not be undervalued or underestimated, sharing
→ IS I T LIVE? Many people experience events like Nuit Blanche from the comfort of their own home. Pictured is Agnés Winter’s Monument to Smile.
some of the experience online (or allowing the public to freely share what they are experiencing online) broadens the audience dramatically, as well as the potential future audience — globally in many cases. Organizations and ventures that understand this changing market know that some art and culture must remain free and/or freely accessible. It’s fast becoming a balancing act. Smart organizations that don’t want to look feeble, insular or greedy get what’s happening. They are investing in resources and infrastructure, to stay ahead of the curve, or to at least acknowledge the social sharing phenomenon that is occurring, because if they don’t, the public will push ahead anyway.
MICHAEL THORNER tweets at twitter.com/ michaelthorner
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LI V I N G & HEA LTH
O PE N H O U S E
WELCOMING DESIGN â†’
Furniture designer Shaun Moore, co-owner of Made design store, lives with his boyfriend the edge of Cabbagetown that displays a mix of creative savvy and easy-going charm Writer Gordon Bowness | Photography Paula Wilson
December 2010 / January 2011
L I V I N G & H E A LT H
You bought this home nine and a half years ago. How did you end up downtown, on Bleeker St? We were on the hunt for a year and looked at 80 to 100 houses, mostly in the west end. It was terrifying. We had a really low budget so most everything we saw was a disaster and tiny. Here, we were able to get much more house for the dollar. Even though the back was a ruin, there were good bones and details we could work with. And we have amazing neighbours. How did you find architect Tamira Sawatzky who designed the modernist extension in the back? She was amazing. We are close friends with Tamira so we knew how she worked and her thought processes. And she’s a great listener. So the whole thing went really fast. We loved her ideas about layout and composition. Like the bulkheads in the kitchen and bathroom, how they force our attention — the views — downward into the garden instead of letting our eyes wander up in the sky or to the neighbours’ homes. You run a design store but your home isn’t pretentious or twee. I can’t stand fussy interiors. Anything that’s too pure, pristine and perfect is destroyed by the inevitable bumps and scrapes. Your store Made features amazing Canadian designs. Can you generalize about them? No. Canada was built by immigrants, many of them poor. Design is not part of our heritage. Historically, the traditions they did bring were European-based. That means, now, inspiration comes from everywhere. Even the current vogue for Canadiana has international precedence. Other cultures claim many of the same traditions. Log bowls existed everywhere. What about your personal tastes? I respond to design that has individual personality, it has to stand out in some way without being pretentious. I like wit but not a big, goofy one-line joke. It has to have depth, quality and serve its function.
→ Clockwise, from top right: OUT BACK Shaun Moore, Boris, Todd Caldwell; GUES T BEDROOM by Moore; BATHROOM facing the backyard; LIVING ROOM Caldwell’s great grandmother’s chair, recovered in hand-printed fabric by Andresa Sisson-Drayton, side table by Moore, stack of felt disks by Kathryn Walters, framed foil works by Sandy Plotnikoff, Accident sconce sculpture by Jeremy Hatch; GUES T BEDROOM photos by Zoe Jaramus, blanket by Philip Sparks, cushions by Bev Hisey; SHELF DE TAIL doll by Drue Langlois, numbers by Dennis Lin; LIVING ROOM (opposite page) painting by Gillian Iles, softseating by molo, Cholera carpet by Hisey, cushions by Kerry Croghan, shelf is a student piece by Moore, with Katherine Morely’s Arctic Bookends.
Is the Hybrid furniture that you and your Made partner Julie Nicholson designed from repurposed milk crates about recycling? Not really. We wanted to create something playful based on patterns and blocks. We wanted to take that college DIY-approach and lift it to another level through proper scale and proportion. We right leg for each piece and just the right coloured surface. Instead of Radiant Dark, you’ve instituted a new design showcase called Made at Home, where you will furnish an entire apartment (located above the store) with new pieces by Canadian designers. There will be simultaneous design events all along Dundas St W. Design with an identity is still so new in Canada. We are trying to familiarize Canadians with the work of local designers. Even though they make functional objects, it’s more than design. There is such depth and personal passion in the work.
MADE AT HOME. Showcase of 33 designers including Bev Hisey, Katherine Morley, Brothers Dressler, Grant Heaps, John Webster, Melanie Zanker, Angie To and Elsworthy Wang. Thu, Jan 27-Feb 6. Above Made. 867 Dundas St W. (416) 607-6384. madedesign.ca. intorontomag.com
LI V I N G & HEA LT H
ARTEFACTS & FANTASY →Inspiring
designers to think big
Writer Gordon Bowness
→ DREAMWEAVER Design consultant Jeremy Vandermeij co-curates Come Up to My Room and co-founded the community-engaged design group Public Displays of Affection.
ome Up to My Room
DIY-crafts spreading over walls
(CUTMR) is a design event
like an infection.
how to dream and how to learn.” CUTMR
“As a curator, the tension is quite
great and by great, I mean it forces
like no other. Furniture,
“We are pushing the bound-
years ago by Christina Zeidler
you to let go of your ego and your
lighting and industrial designers
aries of what design is,” says
and Pamila Matharu. Its found-
walk right up to installation art
the Gladstone’s creative direc-
ing philosophy is very hands off.
Designers are picked on the basis
curates the January show along
of their past work. While they
hope is that we have raised the
and numerous public spaces in
with Deborah Wang. “I think of it
have some idea of what’s going to
bar on what the founding cura-
the Gladstone Hotel. The result is
as more immersive, that you are
happen in the public spaces, orga-
tors Christina and Pamila started.
an anarchic yet affectionate shot-
stepping inside a designer’s head.
nizers don’t know what will hap-
I think it’s the biggest year yet.”
gun marriage between design and
“Designers are a particular kind
pen in the rooms. “It’s great and
CUTMR 2011 will spread through-
art. Wandering through the hotel,
of person. Here they are freed up;
terrifying,” says Vandermeij. “I
out the hotel with installations
visitors are confronted with every-
they get to be artists. For them, it’s
don’t know what to expect until it
in the Melody Bar and Ballroom;
thing from fantastical chairs to
a time to play. It reminds them
there will also be a best-of retro-
December 2010 / January 2011
for Vandermeij as curator. “My
and take liberties. Designers get to do what they want in 11 rooms
LIVI NG & HEALTH
spective featuring photos of past works paired with artefacts.
sonal thing. Working with such a diverse group of people really
It’s a crazy time for Vandermeij, which is probably how he likes it.
challenges your notions of taste and good design.”
He’s co-founder of Public Displays
With more projects lined up,
of Affection (PDA), a community-
Vandermeij is excited to see how
engaged design group that part-
the designs will be used. “We have
ners designers with communi-
no idea what’s going to happen.
“There’s more interactive work
“Rob Southcott returns this year,”
ties in need. The group promotes
But now we’ll follow up and col-
this year at Come Up to My
says Vandermeij. “His United We
Room,” says co-curator Jeremy
Stand chair [shown in 2007] is now
iconic. It appeared in every design
illustrating that everyone can be a
CUTMR and PDA suit the design
makes these hand-operated small
magazine. This year he’s making
ect came to fruition in November,
consultant and self-styled “cre-
machines that are all attention to
ceramic coat hangers in the shape
detail and giddiness.”
“WE ARE PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES OF WHAT DESIGN IS. THIS IS NOT A TRADE SHOW; IT’S NOT ABOUT SHOWING A BUNCH OF PRODUCTS.”
was attending Ryerson, I dreamed
helping to furnish Edmond Place,
my values better.
like we do at PDA. Then I got work in the real world. In university they push you hard to dream very big and conceptual. So you are hoping to help the world through design. And then you end up designing bathrooms for people who already have everything.
a supportive housing develop-
“Come Up to My Room changed
ment in Parkdale run by Parkdale
my life. The energy here is so spe-
Activity Recreation Centre (PARC).
cial, everything is made with a lot
The custom designs were created
of love, and everyone is interested
over an extensive workshop pro-
in challenging assumptions and
cess by volunteer designers in
creative collaborations. If I hadn’t
partnership with PARC members.
been a part of something so big
“The furniture in these places is
and magical, I would never have
It’s often shoddy or cold,” says
on so big a scale.” “Furniture
“Mark McLean is a real estate
agent who has never shown before.
McMaster was amazing during the
bish pieces, to see the useful-
But he’s been producing and think-
Public Displays of Affection work-
ing about this work for years,” says
shop process. He volunteered for
ness of good design. At the same time, designers get to see how people want to use their objects and furniture. Good design does not necessarily mean good aesthetics. Aesthetics is such a per-
COME UP TO MY ROOM $10. Noon-8pm. Fri, Jan 28. Noon-10pm (7pm opening reception; 10pm Love Design party). Jan 29. Noon-5pm. Jan 30. Gladstone Hotel. 1214 Queen St W. comeuptomyroom.com. PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF AFFECTION publicdisplaysofaffection.ca.
Vandermeij. “It’s all based on dol-
two or three months making this chair with a participant from PARC.”
like 30,000 toy soldiers worked into
McMaster is also part of the Come
a peace sign.”
Up to My Room retrospective. •
FA S H I O N & I N T E R I O RS
SETTING UP HOUSE â†’Maximalism
meets minimalism in the creative synergy of brothers Glenn and David Dixon Writer Paul Gallant | Photography Glenn Mackay
December 2010 / January 2011
L I V I N G & H E A LT H
way show — Japanese-Irish, say,
Catholic family. They tell me their
together again as collaborators.
ages are “28” and “18” but they
“I would gear toward making
which Glenn then brings to life.
both remember watching 1980s
sure Barbie had a beautiful home,”
District, David Dixon is helping
Sometimes at great cost, $8 mil-
TV show Dynasty... in a bar. Their
pair dresses with accessories for a
lion in insurance, in the case of the
mother, a stylish woman, didn’t
“You made a house with hard-
mind having a son who loved to
“You don’t like this one? Or
couple of moments when I thought
give advice while she was clothes
wrong colour?” says the accesso-
we were going to have to stop, drop
shopping. Their dad didn’t mind
ries lady, holding one necklace
and roll the models,” Glenn says,
Glenn helping his mother redeco-
always look the best, though I’m
after another up to a sequined
laughing. In Glenn’s world, David
rate the house on a regular basis.
an A-type personality, so I would
white gown. “You want something
is the cautious pragmatist, help-
Their sole sister was, inconve-
try to outdo him.”
ing his brother think through the
niently, a tomboy. They had to rely
manufacture of, say, a throw pil-
on their nanny to take them to buy
The soft-spoken designer, comthe
low or making suggestions about
their Barbies. The doll brought out
expression on his face as by what
deportment at a social function:
the competitive streak in the boys
he says, passes on several options.
“You don’t always have to be the
and, much later, brought them
“We’re going for subtle,” he says.
life of the party, you know.”
“Do you think this is too much?”
After decades of being the wind
the woman asks him, holding up
beneath each other’s wings, the
something rhinestone encrusted.
two are about to share the same
Glenn Dixon, David’s elder brother
by four years, leans in. “Yes,”
Design Show, the Dixons will not
Glenn interjects. “How about this
only design a space together for
says David. “And
“One morning, I was like, ‘Where is her hair?’” “I put it in the dryer!” Continued on page 18
one?” As Glenn points to a less
the Sibling Revelry showcase, they
glitzy choice, he shoots a look at
will launch their new enterprise,
David, who gives an eager head
Dixon House. The venture brings
nod. The decision is made. The
their fashion and interior design
brothers Dixon have spoken.
visions together under a single
Fifteen years after the launch of
brand umbrella at department
his women’s fashion line, David
stores and, if all goes well, their
Dixon has become one of Canada’s
own Dixon House retail locations.
most celebrated designers. Not only do his elegant creations attract attention on runways, they draw as many as 200,000 viewers on The Shopping Channel, where haute meets faux in four easy payments. Though David is the brand’s face and creative talent, Glenn hardly lives in his brother’s shadow. After a stint in the corporate world — cora career as an interior designer and
TO A CLUB ONCE.... I ENDED UP ACTING LIKE HIS PIMP. HERE I WAS, THIS TEENAGER, GIVING ADVICE TO GUYS WHO WANTED TO GET CLOSE TO HIM.”
has become a TV personality, givThe risks of Dixon House are not seasons of W Network’s Take This House and Sell It. In David’s fashion world, Glenn
name on understatement, Glenn on exuberance. The new line prom-
is the enabler, the one who makes
the impossible possible. David
where between the two. The centre
will come up with ideas for a run-
of their Venn diagram could give them broad mainstream appeal — or something more bipolar.
→ FROM COMPE T I T IVE T O SUPPORT IVE As gay brothers working in design Glenn and David Dixon’s personal and professional lives are intimately enmeshed. At right, Glenn’s designs for Take This House and Sell It.
lenn and David Dixon grew up near High Park, the two
youngest of six children in an Irish intorontomag.com
LI V I N G & HEA LTH
of the family,” says David. “We
Continued from page 17
were like, ‘Who’s going to make As they got older, they held weekly competitions to determine who could draw the best model,
driven. Though Barbie has rarely
ings grew dramatically better. “I
been seen as a catalyst for busi-
TREND SPOTTING FOR 2011
knew fashion wasn’t my shtick
ness mergers, it was the ageless
FASHION BY DAVID DIXON
when I wasn’t winning anymore,”
spinster who brought their cre-
says Glenn. Their interests more
ative paths back together again.
1. White — anything and all over 2. Urban safari — African deserts meets city streets 3. Pops of neon — citron, tangerine and hot pink used as accents with grey or stone 4. Luxury resort — preppy meets the south of France 5. Colour blocking — YSL and Mondrian 6. Stripes — all scales and widths and mixed together 7. Nautical 8. Denim — not just for jeans 9. Chinoiserie 10. Nude — from blush to sand
clearly separated, the brothers
To celebrate the doll’s 50th anni-
became less competitive, more
versary, toy-making giant Mattel
asked David and Glenn to design
Although David realized he was
a line of Barbie products in their
gay — in the “different” sense, if
respective disciplines. The whole
not the sexual one — when he was
thing might have felt like a pub-
eight, Glenn dated girls into his
licity stunt — Barbie! gay brothers!
late teens. When he did come out
pink! — except for the clothes and
at 17 or 18, he burst onto the scene
furnishings the two came up with.
with his more self-aware sibling “Glenn
“The Barbie collection was a runaway success,” says Derick Chetty,
following closely on his heels. Prince
a fashion writer at The Toronto
Star. “It was Barbie, but it didn’t
approach,” says David. “He took
look pink or junior. A lot of it was
me to a club once. I might have
business clothing, which allowed
been 15 and desperately wanted
grown women to buy into the
him to take me. I ended up act-
ing like his pimp. Here I was, this
The Barbie experience showed
teenager, giving advice to guys
the brothers there was a place
who wanted to get close to him.
between minimalism and “more
‘Give him a diamond ring but
is more” that they could inhabit
make sure you call it a friendship
together. With a plan for a rollout
ring.’” Neither remained single for
over the next two years, they’re
long. David is in a 17-year rela-
hoping Dixon House gets them to
tionship; Glenn just came out of
“just right” in the marketplace. •
an 18-year one. “His ex is still part 18
→ I T ’ S A BARBIE WORLD Working together on the 50th-anniversary Barbie Collection (left) inspired the brothers to create Dixon House, which will cover both fashion and interiors. David Dixon’s Fall 2010 Signature Collection (right).
December 2010 / January 2011
INTERIORS BY GLENN DIXON
1. Cold grey — mixed with ash grey and accented with citrus yellow and mandarin orange 2. Natural materials and colours — wood, leather, felt and earthy, olive hues 3. Family and preserving the past — personalized homes showcasing roots and identity 4. Knitted and woven materials 5. Rhubarb red coupled with creamy white and corn yellow 6. Reusing and repurposing furniture to protect the planet continues to be popular 7. Comfort and flexibility — furniture that has modular ability 8. Leather sofa making comeback 9. Heavy cold materials mixed with flowing ones 10. “Hand-made with love” furniture and highly techncal pieces with intricate detailing and meaningful design.
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LI V I N G & HEA LTH
STYLIN' WITH CHRIS TYRELL →
and personal style. Most of the time I’m never sure exactly what Adrian is wearing but he always looks to have fun, be creative and present themselves to the world, no holds barred
WHAT ARE YOU WEARING?
A dress, cardigan and scarf by me, Adrian Wu, and jeggings (black jean leggings). I had my Ray Ban glasses on with an oversized hat, a Motif leather tassle bag, and 8-inch Giuseppe Zanotti booties.
A knitted Zara dress, a wool coat from a thrift store, brown Aldo booties and vintage Escada bag.
A Marciano puffy shirt with a Forever 21 vest with a belt. Riding pants with black wedged booties from Aldo. A Club M black leather bag and a hat from my spring collection.
WHAT ITEM OR ITEMS OF CLOTHING CAN YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT? At this point in my life, wedged booties. They are the greatest fashion innovation since the little black dress. ’Cause it’s genderless, slims your leg out, fashionable, gives you height, and you can always dress it up or dress it down. Genius.
WHO OR WHAT HAD THE MOST INFLUENCE ON YOUR SENSE OF STYLE? That’s hard, ’cause to be honest I don’t know any other men who wear wedged heels everyday. But ences my style. I love looking nei-
December 2010 / January 2011
ther male or female, it’s my way of messing with people’s heads.
YOUR FIRST FASHION MEMORY? The day I realized that a baby blue collared shirt in my closet that was given to me when I was 10 was Dior. I still wear it today.
IF MONEY WERE NO OBJECT WHAT WOULD BE YOUR FASHION PURCHASE?
scious of the trends within the seasons of fashion. Having style is an expression of yourself through clothing any time of the year. Fashion is others, style is you.
WHAT SHOULD EVERY GUY/ GIRL BUY THIS SEASON? A chunky sweater. It’s oversized, comfy, fashionable, warm and you can use it as a pillow.
A 40-centimetre, grey-dyed crocodile Hermes birkin.
WHY IS FASHION IMPORTANT TO YOU?
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STYLE AND FASHION?
Fashion is important to me because of the meaning and history behind it. I do it for the goal of maybe one day being a part of history. People don’t
Being fashionable is being con-
know that Thomas Burberry invented waterproof fabric, or Roger Vivier who worked for Christian Dior invented the stiletto heel. Most people see fashion as a brand or label, I see it as a history class full of meaning. This is why it is important to me, because fashion has the pos-
DO YOU HAVE A FASHION FANTASY? It’s my fantasy to live in a world where there is no gender. Gender is what has limited fashion.
ADRIAN WU’s designs are at adrianwu.com.
LI V I N G & HEA LTH
S H O PPI N G
CHECKING IT TWICE →A
hit list of great gift ideas for the fashion-forward man Writer Chris Jai Centeno
Are you like me, and millions of Canadians, during the holiday season? Already close to panic mode when hearing Santa and Rudolph jingles at stores and on the radio, and too fraught to look at that daunting three-page Christmas shopping list burning a hole in your pocket. encounter for loved ones — include yourself on that list. Ending the year on a high note is a blessing. So too is starting the year off right. While procrastination is universal, choosing unique gift ideas isn’t. Here is a selection of products that fashion-forward men everywhere would swoon over.
PHILIP SPARKS WINTER BOOTS
Toronto winters the past few years have been nothing short of snow. Why not put your feet and their sneakers out of their miseries and adopt my newly-realized motto: function over fashion. My warm feet can thank Toronto designer Philip Sparks for his line of boots that I can wear throughout the winter with pride. Philip Sparks boots are available at Town Shoes. 2 NORTHBOUND LEATHER BOLERO HOODED VEST
hooded. Although this bolero-inspired leather good might not be your typical cotton blend hoodie, its distinguished style is a show-stopper many will be drooling over. At northbound.com.
ÉGOÏSTE, CHANEL FOR MEN
The iconic double “C” Chanel logo is usually spotted on women; Chanel is not known for men’s products. Over the years, Chanel has built an empire ranging from tailored suits to perfume, toiletries and cosmetics. Since many of us can’t afford designer-inchief Karl Lagerfeld’s pristine creations, the brand’s byproducts, like the shower gel from this fragrance, are subtle luxuries we all can indulge in.
MICHAEL KORS IPAD JET SET CASE
If you know anyone who is a sucker for Apple products, this iPad case from the gay style arbiter himself, Michael Kors, might be a winner. It’s leather, classic and sleek. What’s not to love? MK and Apple seem like the perfect gay nerd fashion marriage. iPad not included. store.apple.com.
December 2010 / January 2011
San Diego CVB
L I V I N G & H E A LT H
T R AV E L
DO ASK, DO TELL →San
Diego offers Cali cool without the attitude Writer Alice Lawlor
plenty of boys to show them around
bian travellers, a trip to
town. Being close to the Mexican
San Francisco or LA. But there’s
the large military bases supply a
more to The Golden State than its rock star cities. San Diego has all
for a night on the town.
bourhood of San Diego that’s fun the vibe is laidback and inclusive.
The burgeoning food scene is
in the gay part of town,” says Rich
another feather in San Diego’s
cultural cap. From gourmet com-
of Hillcrest’s R Gang and a former
fort food at R Gang (s’mores casserole anyone?) to caviar and black
the trappings of Cali cool with-
“Just don’t ask and don’t tell!”
Top Chef contestant. “It just feels
out the see-and-be-seen attitude.
After eight years of selling to
like I’m in this really cool neigh-
You can hang out on the beach all
other stores, the Rufskin label -
sneakers and head to Hillcrest, the
mer. Fans of their low-rise jeans
city’s vibrant gay village. No bling
and sexy sportswear have been
(nor fake tan) required.
known to drive from as far as LA
“San Diego is a beach city and
to visit the chic store. It’s located
that’s what people love so much
in North Park, a hip ’hood that bor-
about it,” says Jason Wimberly,
ders Hillcrest. Both areas are home
global sales director for local fash-
to gay-owned stores, bars and res-
ion brand Rufskin. “There’s tons
taurants. Hillcrest is party central
here for the gay traveller to see, and
— University Ave is where you’ll
“It doesn’t feel like, ‘Oh, okay, I’m
Addison, there’s something for
“THE LARGE MILITARY BASES SUPPLY A HUGE BOYS READY FOR A NIGHT ON THE TOWN. JUST DON’T ASK AND DON’T TELL!”
every palate and wallet. “It’s hard for outside people to see us as a food city because they see how casual we are,” says Sweeney. “But we’ve got a lot of awesome food in recent years, and a lot of chefs are getting national recognition for what they’re doing here.” Continued on page 25
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Continued from page 23
There’s no shortage of food for the soul, either. The city’s vibrant arts scene is a big draw for Cali’s thinking gays. The Museum of Contemporary Art gets the kind of edgy exhibits you’d expect to see in London or New York. The Old Globe is a world-class theatre where big shows are tested out before opening on Broadway. And there’s one of the oldest gay and lesbian playhouses in the US, the Diversionary Theatre — a favourite with local lesbians. “There’s not that many bars for women so a lot of activities surround the arts and culture community,” says Toni Robin, owner of neighbourhoods like Kensington and North Park that have been infused with artists and galleries,
WHERE TO GET YOUR DRINK ON Hillcrest hotspots: Start at lesbian inspot The Gossip Grill (thegossipgrill.com) for some cheap happy-hour “foreplay” (appetizers) and a Muff Diver martini or two. Then head to Urban Mo’s (urbanmos.com) and join the casual, mixed crowd for a show-tunes sing-along (Tuesdays), a spot of country dancing (Saturdays) or the popular all-you-can-eatand-drink Champagne Sunday Brunch. Next, head to Pecs (pecsbar.com) — a speakeasy-style cruise bar — for beer, pool and a great patio. Finally, get yourself in the lineup for Rich’s (richssandiego.com), San Diego’s oldest and most popular dance club.
they tend to be very gay-friendly.” The outdoor lifestyle attracts les-
Despite being a Republican-run
bians to San Diego, too. “This is a really active community so the
to the village. This is a surprisingly gay-friendly city and you’ll
on gay swim teams and running
see couples holding hands all over
clubs, and there’s a lot of lesbians
town. San Diego’s mayor, Jerry
who surf,” says Robin. It’s easy for
Sanders, has a lesbian daughter
visitors to get a piece of the out-
doors action. “You can go ride your
riage issue in 2007 it made national
bike and hike up Torrey Pines, but then you can also stay in a gay hotel and go to a gay happy hour
to the city at large. “I personally
and have it all.”
have never had an issue,” says Jason Wimberly, with a cheeky grin. “And I go everywhere from Del Mar to downtown, always carrying my YSL Muse bag and smacking my lip gloss.” •
Brett Shoaf, Artistic Visuals
→ SURF ’ S UP From dining, San Diego has it all. While Hillcrest (below) is the main gay and lesbian neighbourhood, the laidback, inclusive vibe is everywhere in town.
LI V I N G & HEA LTH
H O M E T U RF
HIGH PARK STEPPIN’ →Rex
Harrington, artist-in-residence at the National Ballet of Canada, along with his partner Robert Hope and their two dogs, has lived in the High Park neighbourhood for six years. Here are a few fave locales and amenities that help make High Park Rex’s home
BLUE PLATE same location. Great food and relaxed atmosphere. 392 Roncesvalles Ave (416) 538-7500. blueplatetoronto.com.
for all your pet’s needs. 2100 Bloor St W. (416) 604-9272. globalpetfoods.ca.
HIGH PARK Just steps from my front door. It’s a great
specialty sauces and the best homemade guacamole in the city. 2299 Bloor St W. (416) 766-6362.
WHELAN’S GATE IRISH PUB
REX HARRINGTON is currently rehearsing the National in the Nutcracker, opening Sat, Dec 11 at the Four Seasons Centre. See page 37.
December 2010 / January 2011
105 Roncesvalles Ave. (416) 532-3738. rowefarms.ca. (416) 531-1311. whelansgate.com.
L I V I N G & H E A LT H
san Plea MT.
IN FOCUS —Rosedale
By Richard Silver
THE BAD NEWS The houses are bigger (so too are
A few years ago we
the prices) and therefore the main-
bought a house on a great street
tenance and repairs can be daunt-
south of Bloor that I refer to as
ing. Nothing is a small expense.
Cabbagetown North. But some call
And if you want any free time, a
it Rosedale. There, I said it! It took
gardener and a friendly carpenter
me a long time to say Rosedale
are a must. The big old trees can
because it comes with a lot of pre-
cause havoc with your drains and
conceived baggage, when in reality
emergency plumbers should be on
P1397 RL In Toronto:RL
ou will r u n ou t of places befor e we r u n ou t of S E L E CT I ON
it is just a place where some people have bigger mortgages and a lot of house maintenance.
THE GOOD NEWS
I do miss my Carlton/Church
Those same big old trees are
condo but I wanted a back yard
incredible umbrellas on the curv-
and a dog. Who knew that friends
ing streets and you are close to the
would raise their eyebrows and
crossroads of Toronto, Bloor and
knowingly nod their heads when
Yonge. We walk to Cabbagetown
we moved to Rosedale? There
and the Danforth, are close to the
seems to be common cross-coun-
subway lines and have access to
try knowledge of what Rosedale
Shop our beautiful showroom now to find the perfect light for any room in your house, condo or cottage.
means: Lots of rich old ladies who lunch, men who golf and kids in private school being picked up by nannies.
MY FAVOURITES The Summerhill Market at the top of Glen Rd is a great shopping
That was the old days. Today’s reality, from what I see in my neighbours, is working par-
anything… and never have to cook again.
ents dedicated to spending as much of their free time with their kids and families as possible. Not much different from other neighbourhoods throughout Toronto.
RICHARD SILVER is a salesperson with Bosley Real Estate and blogs at torontoism.com
1549 Aven u e R d. ( N or th of L awr en ce) 416. 782.1 129 | www.r oy allig h tin g .com
LI V I NG & HEA LT H
Spinach salad with honey-balsamic vinaigrette Recipe by Bruce Woods
“I wanted to choose a recipe that was light and healthy
of spinach are numerous due to the vitamins and calcium, combined with its overall nutritional value. Pomegranates are an excellent source of antioxidants and strengthen the digestive tract. The feta cheese is a high protein food. One cup can provide nearly threequarters of a person’s daily calcium requirement.”
INGREDIENTS 1 pound/450 g spinach, cleaned and dried 1/2 cup/110 g feta cheese, crumbled 1 pomegranate split and seeded 2 cups/475 ml pomegranate juice (reduced to a syrup)
and whisk in a stainless steel bowl. Add spinach to a large stainless steel bowl. Dress the spinach with the vinaigrette, coating the leaves. Place the salad in four ceramic
salad bowls. Crumble the feta
1/4 cup/50 ml balsamic vinegar
over the salad. Dress each serving
1/4 cup/50 ml honey
with 1/4 teaspoon of pomegranate
1/8 cup/30 ml extra virgin olive oil
seeds. Drizzle the salad with the
1 tsp/5 ml low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp/5 ml rice vinegar
1 tbsp/15 ml mustard
BRUCE WOODS is executive chef at Brassaii. 61 King St W. brassaii.com.
L I V I N G & H E A LT H
—with Adam Segal → “My partner and I have been together for about 10 months and living together for the past two. The
beginning to grate. He makes quite a bit more than me and has a lot of savings. I make a decent living but have had to be frugal in ways that he is not used to. I’ve noticed my debt increase as our relationship progresses: I try, in vain, to keep up with his lifestyle (expensive dinners out, the latest technology, clothes…). Now with the annual gift-buying frenzy upon us, I’m really feeling can two people live happily together when one is making so much more than the other?” Ben Money is only really matched by
or outings which don’t involve
sex as a great relationship pitfall.
spending. And accumulating mate-
You’re wise to try and intercept this
rial things shouldn’t be anyone’s
before you become resentful (or
main source of enjoyment or con-
broke) in your attempts to keep up
nection with their partner.
with your Daddy Warbucks. It sounds like your increased
your partner who is used to spend-
spending, and lifestyle mirroring,
ing as he pleases. Essentially, he
has been an attempt at masking this
will need to compromise a little if
very big, and perhaps scary, issue.
he wants a healthy relationship
with someone who isn’t raking it
cerns with your guy. Money issues,
in the way he is. Keep in mind that
like sex issues, just get worse when
money is usually both very per-
they are ignored. Remind your man
sonal and has a strong history in
that you’re still Benny from the
our lives — so try not to judge one
Block and that this kind of spend-
another for each other’s spending
ing has left you feeling irresponsible and out of control. Simply nam-
Despite everything I’ve just said,
ing that this difference exists takes you both out of shopping la-la land
from each other’s unique assets. For example, if he can spring for
debt-loving capitalist world.
an occasional nice dinner out and
Having a wealthier partner can sometimes feel like a blow to the
you to carry more weight around
ego. So make sure that you aren’t
the house... that is not a bad thing!
perpetually comparing yourself to
You’ll have to work together to
him and his friends and instead
ensure that the omnipresent hol-
assert boundaries that respect your
iday muzak doesn’t put you in
need to stay out of debt.
a spending trance you’ll regret
Finding common ground may
require some changes in how you spend time and money together. Examine whether you can have quality time as a couple without splurging. Get creative — plan dates
ADAM SEGAL is a writer and therapist who works in private practice in downtown Toronto. Ask him your relationship or mental health question at relationship@ intorontomag.com.
Meet Your Perfect match
LI V I NG & HEA LT H
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THE GROOMING GAME
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skin to loosen and sag. The pouch
Specialty Treatments: Anti-wrinkle, Acne, Pigmentation, Scalp, Psoriasis, Couperose skin, Lifting, Eye treatment and more
eyes top the list of ongoing beauty
exacerbates the look of circles by
anxieties and confusions. Many
casting dark shadows below the
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protrusion, serving up a double
them… and don’t. The skin care
dose of eye drama. This usually
industry bombards us with quick
brings up the old Preparation H. My
work. Only a good concealer dis-
there shouldn’t be used up there.”
reply is always, “What works down guises circles (more on makeup
next time) and only surgery works
problems where they don’t exist.
on bags (let’s not go there… yet).
Often it’s because of the light they
are viewing themselves in. Side lighting is best, not overhead light-
Stress, anxiety, allergies, hor-
ing that causes shadows. So don’t
monal changes, ill health, lack of
obsess… and smile! Scowling only
sleep, travelling, excess salt, alco-
makes matters look worse.
hol, coffee and tea are all villains. So too is the improper use of skin
EYE CARE HELP
care products; not removing eye
Here’s some advice that won’t cost
makeup thoroughly can result in
bloodshot redness, shadows and
1. Never rub your eyes vigorously.
swelling. The skin around your
Sweep any debris away with
eyes, nose and lips is thin and
clean, kind hands
fragile and must always be treated with tenderloving care.
swimming or drying off
Natural factors include having deep-set eyes or a buildup of dry, damaged skin cells; it may simply be that you were born with more
balms around the eye lightly and gently 4. Sleep with your head propped up
pigment under the eye. Low fat content makes skin transparent
pooling under the eye overnight
revealing a mélange of blood ves-
5. When you have to look your best: Wake up earlier than usual, take
sels and capillaries. Skin bleaching treatments and
an antihistamine and apply cool
cloth compress while lying down.
none, vitamin C and/or Retin A
Cucumber slices, tea bags and cold
can lighten serious darkness by
spoons are other popular options
6. Always wear sunglasses to pro-
ers and underlying pigment cells.
tect eyes from sun damage.
This procedure must be done by a reputable dermatologist or
Bottom line, outside of surgery or bleaching, eye issues can be
and follow the after-treatment
best handled through the art of
religiously for the best results.
makeup: Next time.
water retention or allergies may
connective tissues weaken causing
DINO DILIO is a freelance makeup artist, writer and resident beauty expert on CityLine. dinodilio.com.
L I V I N G & H E A LT H FITNESS
BE IN THE MOMENT → Writer Michael Pihach
hen Greg Angus drinks his coffee, he thinks about his coffee. Not about what he’s going to have for buy groceries. He’s not thinking about powering up his cell phone and listening to his voicemail. The 49-year-old is taking a moment to
enjoy the moment. He’s thinking about how his coffee tastes. Such is the philosophy behind aikido, a modern form of Japanese martial arts designed to improve your sense of awareness and breaking an arm. Angus teaches aikido at his Liberty Village dojo,
Naka Ima, which translates to “inside now.” “The idea [of aikido] is to resolve anybody getting hurt,” says Angus, who started practicing martial arts when he was 13 as a way of standing up to a childhood bully. He moved to Japan in 1986 to study karate for 10 years. He discovered aikido, met a man, fell in love and eventually decided to return to Canada and open his own practice. Karate is about kicking and punching, whereas aikido is about holds and rolls. An offshoot of jujitsu, the activity is practiced with a partner and typically ends with a pin or throw. “You aim to blend with your partner and redirect energy,” says Angus. A class at Angus’s dojo usually draws 15 to 20 people, comprised mostly of young gay and straight professionanimation,” says Angus). While aikido involves vigorous stretching, can improve sleep and help with weight loss, the main objective is to become fully pres→ INSIDE NOW Students practice aikido holds and rolls at Greg Angus’s dojo.
ent in the moment when in consomeone, you think about how you can calm them down quickly,” says Angus. Feeling present may also be the ticket to feeling happier. According to a recent study published by psychologists at Harvard University, people who spend too much time daydreaming tend to be unhappy. “A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind,” psychologists Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert wrote in the November issue of the journal Science. The principles of aikido can also be applied to resolving realin
with your partner, think about the right amount of energy to apply to energy,” says Angus. “I urge students not to dwell or dream of the past,” says Angus. “It’s about appreciating what you’ve got.”
GREG ANGUS’s aikido dojo is online at nakaima.ca.
I NSI G H T
DIVERSITY, DEFIANT & DELICIOUS → Writer Pam Shime | Illustration Corey Pierce
s Christmas carols take
probably a Hindu, Muslim and
to the cinema — no lines, lots of
over the airwaves, I start
Buddhist cohort to boot, all wield-
room to spread out, and plenty of
But there’s something else, some-
ing their chopsticks and pouring
popcorn for that hungry-20-min-
thing of great consequence, going
meals. Where will our family eat
more tea amidst a sea of dark hair.
on around those round tables cov-
together this year? What tradi-
Well-rested from weeks of buying
ered in soy and mustard sauce by
tional dishes will pass from hand
no presents, (or just eight small
ones for the Jews who celebrate
Christmas at a Chinese restau-
update our rituals?
the end of the evening. Something
every day of Chanukah), families
rant and the cinema is fun. It’s
occasion to contemplate as we reel
It just wouldn’t be Christmas
banter and debate lemon chicken
stress-free and feels a bit like play-
from reading of yet another loss of
without the hum of Cantonese and
or crispy beef while catching up on
ing hooky when everyone else is
one of our little brothers or sisters
Mandarin as servers move from
Bubi’s week and putting toddlers
in school — despite the Christmas
every week or so this fall. Losses
table to table. Find me a Chinese
in high seats.
and Christmas tree envy that plays
we know we have incurred for
a role at some point in almost
years, when the newspapers didn’t
Christmas also includes a trip
every non-Christian child’s life in
cover our news or the impact of
restaurant on Christmas and I’ll
a Christmas-focussed society.
month 2010 December 2010 / January 2011
homophobia and heterosexism on
larger ones. It turned out to be eas-
small acts of invisibility and exclu-
Chinese restaurant and the cin-
sion, going somewhere I can enjoy
ema once a year. A place where we
As a little girl growing up in a
had a practice of call and response
food and communion with oth-
gather with our little ones. Not a
neighbourhood where every lawn
on the smaller ones. I refused to
ers in a similar position, being sur-
bar or a march, but a meal and a
sported a Christmas tree except
sing Christmas carols in junior
rounded by my people, not needing
movie that we share without hav-
ours, the Steins down the road,
high school, for which I was sent
to speak our experience of small
ing to say a word, so that next year
and larger acts, and then being
all our young folk are back at the
and the Millers on the next street, I didn’t have to wait until I came out
year I made a point of requesting
as a dyke to know what it meant
together in the dark at the movies
table, another year older, know-
provides me with succour, a sense
ing it does get better and this night
to be an outsider. My three siblings
when I was handed Christmas
of family and community, and the
together is part of how that hap-
and I all experienced anti-Semitic
stamps without a question — or an
strength to go back to another year
pens sooner rather than later. A
slurs before we were 10 — mine
option. Just so someone had to say,
of class with Ted Sanka (or what-
touchstone, an evening when we
courtesy of Ted Sanka, a skinny
and think about it, “We don’t have
ever the adult corollary might be).
can together just indulge in and
nine-year-old classmate with a
Chanukah stamps.” Small, but big
Maybe, in addition to the pre-
marvel at life’s small pleasures
shock of white blond hair who,
when it came to knowing who
dictably critiqued but life-saving
and then head off to the movies
without warning one sunny day in
I was and refusing to be erased.
It Gets Better viral explosion, we
with our young people in tow, very
fourth grade, opened his mouth,
At the end of a season of being
all need an LGBT Jewish-Muslim-
much alive. •
looked right at me and let slip,
worn down by the accumulation of
Hindu-Buddhist Christmas at a
“Dirty Jew.” The cascading loss of innocence in the next few sec-
AMBASSADOR OF FLAVOUR
onds served me well as I became a or sexuality mold of the hetero-
I spent most of my childhood
after weeks of Christmas build-up
sexual world I tried to puzzle out
Christmases dining with the tribe
— the sweet and sour vinaigrette
while making my way through the
on Spadina Ave, but these days
is delicious and breaking bread
shoals of high school.
it’s Richmond Hill or bust. This
with and among others who share
Christmas, beat a path to the door
your experience of the Christmas
pride felt better than shame as a
of Ambassador Chinese Cuisine,
season is just the (Chinese?) medi-
response to exclusion and invisi-
just off Highway 7, east of Bayview.
cine the doctor ordered.
bility. Acts of exclusion are often
They serve their famous dim sum
And, as with so many of the
small, though their impact is sig-
from 11am to 4pm every day,
dishes on the chef’s special menu
which leaves time for a double bill
at the Ambassador, you just won’t
unfortunately aware. As the “dirty
at the movies.
I CAN’T THINK OF A BETTER CHINESE CHRISTMAS DISH FOR JEWS IN THE NEW WORLD THAN BRAISED PORK KNUCKLE, EGG AND GINGER IN CHINESE VINAIGRETTE.
Jew” in those classrooms of chil-
I can’t think of a better Chinese
eral, be adventurous here. It pays
dren singing “Let There Be Peace
Christmas dish for Jews in the New
off. Solicitous waitstaff will warn
perfect for the celebratory mood of
on Earth,” I learned to step up and
World than braised pork knuckle,
you away from the chef’s specials
speak out in response to the small
egg and ginger in Chinese vinai-
if you are not Chinese — ignore
Christmas. Crisp white tablecloths,
grette. Despite multiple attempts,
these cautions. An example: You
wood panelling, nifty ’70s deco
it’s in vain that I’ve cajoled the
won’t want to go back to French
lighting by the east windows and
chefs to share their secret recipe.
a carpet alight with orange, yellow
The sweet and sour delicacy is tra-
tic bitter melon coated with salty
ditionally served to new mothers
duck egg yolk — trust me on this.
I DIDN’T HAVE TO WAIT UNTIL I CAME OUT AS A DYKE TO KNOW WHAT IT MEANT TO BE AN OUTSIDER.
for this ritual of the season.
Leave room for the Ambassador’s they give birth, to replenish their
yummy desserts. Recommended:
energy and rebuild their bodies. I
the deep-fried red bean patties.
recommend it for replenishment
The Ambassador is upscale —
AMBASSADOR CHINESE CUISINE 280 West Beaver Creek Rd. Richmond Hill. (905) 731-5570. ambassadorcc.com. intorontomag.com
LISTINGS & EVENTS EXPERIENCE
DECEMBER IN THE CITY
Credit Sandy Nicholson
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BRUCE THOMAS Opens at Gallery 1313
RUFUS WAINWRIGHT In concert at Massey Hall
SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM Stephen Sondheim in person at Princess of Wales
A CHRISTMAS CAROL Soulpepper’s opening night starring Joseph Ziegler
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BRUCE DOW A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum opens
ANDREW DAVIS Opening night of the TSO’s Messiah
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ASSASSINS Opens at the Theatre Centre starring Graham Abbey
LISTINGS & EVENTS
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ADAMS/DEMAND/ FARMER Last day for sculpture show at MOCCA
DEC 11 MCCOY TYNER Aspects of Oscar at Koerner Hall
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SONJA MILLS Opening night of her new play The Bird at Buddies
YANNA MCINTOSH Opening night of Ruined at Berkeley Street
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S I N C E
MADE AT HOME OPENS Works by Connie Chisholm and many more Listings continue on next page
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LI S TI NG S & E V EN TS Continued from page 35
IN SPOT BLONDIE’S BAR & RESTAURANT Writer Anna Von Frances
The eastern strip of Parkdale, just past the bridge at Dufferin, is one of the most up-and-coming neighbourhoods in Toronto. I swear something new and exciting opens there every week. Blondies is right in the middle of the expansion, and is fast becoming the new Social. Or at least, an alternative to what is basically an alternative-club district on West Queen West. Very fitting, since two out of the three owners at Blondie’s, Julian Reyes and Francesca Zeilinski, are expats of the Social themselves. By day, Blondie’s is a boutique-style coffee shop, serving espresso and gourmet teas as well as nibbles like muffins and croissants. The café is open from 7am to 6pm, Monday to Thursday, and the bar opens up for cocktails and dancing, 8pm to 3am, Thursday to Saturday. The space is small for a club but large for a coffee shop. The intimate vibe is definitely one of the selling points for the late-night crowd. 36
December 2010 / January 2011
→ BIWEEKLY Blondie’s is a daytime café during the week and a nighttime drinking spot weekends.
Much like the artists and aging hipsters that frequent the Social, Blondie’s has grabbed a lot of the original West Queen Westers who are all moving further west as Ossington overflows and King St closes in. What to expect at Blondie’s? House music. Leather jackets. Mixed gender, race and sexual orientation. A lot of regulars who know the bartenders by name. Beers on tap. A disco ball and a stripper pole in the back. Lots of room for dancing, even though it’s a small spot. But the long bar also provides plenty of room for posting up, chatting and checking out hotties.
BLONDIE’S. 1378 Queen St W. (416) 352.7410. blondiesbar.ca.
Art & Photography ADAMS/DEMAND/FARMER
The National Gallery of Canada inaugurates a new partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art with a sculpture-based show by Toronto’s Kim Adams, Berlin’s Thomas Demand and Vancouver’s Geoffrey Farmer. Until Fri, Dec 31. MOCCA. 952 Queen St W. (416) 395-7598. mocca.ca. JACOB YEREX Influence, monotypes of appropriated images. Until Sun, Jan 9. Edward Day Gallery. 952 Queen St W, #200. edwarddaygallery.com. HARD TWIST Chroma, textile works by Amy Bagshaw, Kerry Croghan, Farha Dharshi, Renata Meirelles, Kat O’Shaughnessy, Marcy Sperry and more. Noon-5pm. Until Sun, Jan 30. Gladstone Hotel (third and fourth floor). 1214 Queen St W. gladstonehotel.com. BRUCE THOMAS Canadian Pulse Project II: The East. Toronto artist Bruce Thomas presents installations, paintings, drawings and audio exploring Eastern Canadian identity ( a follow up to his 2009 project set in Western Canada). Opening. 6pm-9pm. Thu, Dec 2. Gallery 1313. 1313 Queen St W. (416) 536-6778. g1313.org. RON GIII Thought Court, new drawings. Opening. 7pm-10pm. Fri, Jan 21. Until Feb 19. Paul Petro Contemporary. 980 Queen St W. (416) 979-7874. paulpetro.com.
Design INTERIOR DESIGN SHOW
The largest contemporary design event in Canada features more than 300 exhibitors. Plus talks by Jean Marie Massaud, Thom Mayne, Michael Young, Douglas Coupland and more. Sibling Revelry showcase with Theo and Sarah Richardson, David and Glenn Dixon (see page 16) Jason and Lars Dressler and Thien and My Ta Trung (of Montreal’s Periphere). Public days: $19adv; $22 door. 10am-7pm. Jan 29. 10am-6pm. Jan 30. Metro Toronto Convention
Centre. 255 Front St W. The opening party, Dinner by Design, is a fundraiser for AIDS hospice Casey House (caseyhouse.com). Twenty designers have each refurbished an iconic Vitra Panton chair to be auctioned off. Participants include II By IV Design, 3rd Uncle Design, Bruce Mau Studio, Castor Design, Cecconi Simone, Greta Constantine, Karim Rashid, l’Atelier and more. $55 adv; $60 door. 7pm-11pm. Thu, Jan 27. (416) 599-3222. interiordesignshow.com. MADE AT HOME New Canadian designs presented in an apartment located above cool Canadian design outlet Made. Featuring a who’s who of local designers: Kerry Croghan, Heidi Earnshaw, Brothers Dressler, Bev Hisey, Katherine Morley of Joe and Josephine, Grant Heaps, Christine Lieu, Yvonne Ip, Orest Tataryn, AHDI, Jason Wheeler, Angela Iarocci, Shana Anderson, Connie Chisholm Studio, Kathryn Walter, Shaun Moore (see page 12) and others. 11am-7pm. Tue-Sat. Noon-6pm. Sun. Thu, Jan 27-Feb 6. 867 Dundas St W. (416) 647-6384 madedesign.ca. CAPACITY A showcase of industrial, graphic, textile and product design by women featuring works by Maiwenn Castellan, Joy Charbonneau, Michelle Ivankovic, Ayla Newhouse, Erin McCutcheon, Katherine Morley and more. Thu, Jan 27-Feb 6. Bookhou. 798 Dundas St W. (416) 732-6069. bookhou.com. COME UP TO MY ROOM
Fri, Jan 28-30. Gladstone Hotel. See page 14.
Film & Video MEN WHO SWIM Doc Soup screens Dylan Williams’ feature documentary on middle-aged underachievers who come together to form Sweden’s only all-male synchronized swimming team. $12. 6:30pm & 9:15pm. Wed, Dec 1. Bloor Cinema. 506 Bloor St W. hotdocs.ca. WILL MUNRO’S FAVOUR ITES Jean Genet’s Un
→ LUS T ER Seductive lights by Zac Ridgely at IDS.
Chant d’Amour, Jerry Tartaglia’s Ecce Homo, Barbara Hammer’s Dyketactics and more. A fundrasider for the Will Munro Fund for Queer and Trans People with Cancer. $5-$10 suggested. 7:30pm. Thu, Dec 16. Gladstone Art Bar. 1214 Queen St W. earlymonthlysegments.com.
Leisure & Pleasure DJ SKATE NIGHTS The Natrel Rink at Harbourfront is open daily from 1am to 9pm. Open later on Saturdays with DJs spinning. Denise Benson and Cozmic Cat.
LI STI NG S & EV ENT S and his new book Finishing the Hat (see page 39). $22-$69. 8pm. Mon, Dec 6. Princess of Wales Theatre. 300 King St W. (416) 872-1212. mirvish.com.
Rock & Pop RUFUS WAINWRIGHT
Performing his brooding masterpiece All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu with visuals by Douglas Gordon in the first half. Other hits in the second. With guest Teddy Thompson. $49-$79 Sat, Dec 4. Massey Hall. 178 Victoria St. (416) 872-4255. masseyhall.com.
Classical & Jazz FOUR STRONG WINDS: SONGS FOR A CANADIAN WINTER Forte: The
Toronto Men’s Chorus presents a holiday program with works by Stan Rogers, Ian Tyson, R Murray Schafer, Joni Mitchell, Loreena McKennitt and more. $20 adv; $25 door. 7:30pm. Sat, Dec 11. Metropolitan United Church. 56 Queen St E. (647) 218-4322. forte-chorus.com. TAFELMUSIK BAROQUE ORCHESTRA Handel’s
8pm-11pm. Sat, Dec 4. 235 Queen’s Quay W. harbourfrontcentre.com.
Talks AN EVENING WITH STEPHEN SONDHEIM The
most important composer and lyricist of American musicals of the late 20th century; he’s won more Tonys than any other composer, an Oscar, a Pulitzer and countless other prizes. Sondheim sits down with journalist Robert Cushman to discuss his incredible oeuvre (West Side Story, Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods…)
Messiah with soloists Christine Brandes, Daniel Taylor, Rufus Müller, Brett Polegato; conducted by Ivars Taurins. $25-$95. 7:30pm. Wed, Dec 15-18. Trinity-St Paul’s Centre. 427 Bloor St W. Sing-Along Messiah. $26-$41. 2pm. Dec 19. Massey Hall. 178 Victoria St. (416) 964-6337. tafelmusik.org. MESSIAH Handel’s ubiquitous holiday classic gets a classy big presentation with TSO conductor laureate Sir Andrew Davis leading his own re-orchestration. With soloists Andriana Chuchman, Jill Grove, Toby Spence, John Relyea and the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir joining the TSO. $38$107. 8pm. Thu, Dec 16, 18, 20 & 21. 3pm Dec 19. Roy Thomson Hall. 60 Simcoe St. (416) 593-4828. tso.ca. CHRISTMAS WITH THE TSO
Wed, Dec 22 & 23. See page 45. LEILA JOSEFOWICZ The virtuoso Canadian violinist plays a program of
Tüür, Brahms, Shostakovich, Stravinsky and Schubert. $20-$55. 8pm Fri, Dec 10. Koerner Hall. 273 Bloor St W. rcmusic.ca. (416) 408-0208. ASPECTS OF OSCAR To celebrate the legacy of Oscar Peterson, legendary pianist McCoy Tyner, John Coltrane’s first chair pianist, plays a solo set. Joined by Canadian star Alfredo Rodríguez. $20$65. 8pm. Sat, Dec 11. Koerner Hall. 273 Bloor St W. rcmusic.ca. (416) 408-0208. BRAVISSIMO A gala opera concert with Isabel Bayrakdarian, Richard Margison, Alberto Bazale and Sara Maria Punga joining conductor Roberto Rizzi and the Opera Canada Symphony. $90$145. 7pm. Fri, Dec 31. Roy Thomson Hall. 60 Simcoe St. (416) 872-4255. roythomson.com.
IN SPOT ATELIER 688 Writer Josh MacKinnon | Photography Alex Jowett
Theatre & Dance THE NUTCRACKER The National Ballet of Canada’s 1995 production remains incredibly popular due to James Kudelka’s compelling and complicated choreography, Santo Loquasto’s luscious sets and costumes and, of course, Tchaikovsky’s irresistible music. $21-$151 Sat, Dec 11-Jan 2. Four Seasons Centre 145 Queen St.W. (416) 345-9595. nationalballet.ca BESIDE EACH OTHER
Dancer and choreographer Andrea Nann presents the world premiere of this series of short duets performed by Nann and Brendan Wyatt and featuring the music and poetry of Gord Downie. Part of Dance at the Young Centre. $20$29. Thu, Dec 2-9. Young Centre. Young Centre. 55 Mill St, bldg 49. (416) 866-8666. youngcentre.ca. A CHRISTMAS CAROL “Oh, the goose, Martha. The goose.” Joseph Ziegler reprises his acclaimed performance as Ebenezer Scrooge in Soulpepper Theatre’s production of Charles Dickens’ classic (last mounted in 2008); directed by Michael Shamata. $29-$70; $22 for those aged 21 to 30. Mon, Dec 6-30. Young Continued on page 38
Slightly off the beaten path of Queen St W lives the eclectic and understated art and furnishings gallery Atelier 688. Alex Jowett, founder and owner, began his art career doing shows at various well-known galleries throughout Toronto, like Spin (when it existed) and the Spoke Club. About a year ago he decided to open a space of his own to showcase both his own work and that of several other young, local artists. Jowett says that he didn’t want Atelier 688 to be designed like a typical gallery. “The space is set up to mimic the feel of an old-style French salon. I want people to get a feel for the art and be able to picture it in their own space,” says Jowett. All of the pieces are originals, like Jowett’s Horizon series, inspired places like Hawaii, the Caribbean, Indonesia and the Middle East. In addition to more traditional art, like drawings by Jay Dart, photography by Dean West, and mixed-media pieces by Jowett himself (none of which are that traditional at all), there’s a fair
→ SALON Atelier 688 offers original art and funky designs.
amount of furniture, lighting and art made of reclaimed materials ing are adorned with bike seats and handlebars turned into a variety of animal heads, barbed wire turned chandelier, and spun metal turned coffee table and pendant lamp — all hand-crafted and individually successful. “I recently sold a chandelier that Paul Hardy made from a 12-foot vintage 1920s kayak,” says Jowett. With regular turnover and new pieces being introduced all the time, like the current Wanderers exhibition featuring collaborative work between Dart and West, there’s something for almost every Canadiana-art-loving person at Atelier 688, even if you’re not an avid collector.
ATELIER 688. Noon-6pm. Thu-Sat. Or by appointment. 688 Richmond St W, #201. (416) 671-2537. atelier688.com. intorontomag.com
Build Your D ream H ome Today elegance
Sat, Jan 8-23. Theatre Centre. 1087 Queen St W. (416) 504-7529. artsboxoffice.ca.
DR SEUSS’S HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRIST MAS: THE MUSICAL The
Continued from page 37
Centre. 55 Mill St, bldg 49. (416) 866-8666. soulpepper.ca. SHAKESPEARE: IF MUSIC BE Art of Time Ensemble
presents music, dance and musings inspired by Shakespeare’s works. Featuring compositions by Rufus Wainwright, Korngold, John Cage and Prokofiev. Choreography by James Kudelka, Peggy Baker. Theatrical performances by Ted Dykstra and Lucy Peacock and more. $25-$59. 8pm. Thu, Dec 9-11. Enwave Theatre. 231 Queen’s Quay W. (416) 973-4000. artoftimeensemble.com.
COLLISIONS DANCE FESTIVAL Multidisci-
Les L i etBricusse
December 16 December 18
Book, Music and Lyrics T
- 19 at 7 pm & 19 at 2 pm THEATRE BRAMPTON
plinary dance performances, spontaneous creations, interviews, and social dances. Experience up to five shows of your choice: Emoticonics directed by Weyni Mengesha; Barlight, choreographed by Susie Burpee; Exploded Music/ Expanded Dance created by David Buchbinder, Roberto Campanella and Robert Glumbek; Hot Seat, dancers, musicians, a spoken word artist and a choreographer create a 20-minute piece on the spot; and Virtuosic Toronto, by Waleed Abdulhamid, involves music and choreography created to film footage of everyday Torontonians doing their jobs. Also interviews with Evelyn Hart, Peggy Baker and others. Part of Dance at the Young Centre. $15. Fri, Dec 10-12. Young Centre. 55 Mill St, bldg 49. (416) 866-8666. youngcentre.ca.
→ INFLUENCE Jacob Yerex at Edward Day. FULL BLOOM The demands of manhood explored by choreographer and dancers Robert Glumbek, Kevin O’Day and Luches Huddleston Jr. Part of Dance at the Young Centre. $20-$29. Tue, Dec 14-18. Young Centre. 55 Mill St, bldg 49. (416) 866-8666. youngcentre.ca. A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM The
Stratford fest brings its uproariously campy production of Stephen Sondheim’s 1962 comedy to town. Starring Bruce Dow and Sean Cullen, alternating in the lead role. 8pm. Tue-Sat. 2pm. Sat & Sun. Wed, Dec 15-Jan 16. Canon Theatre. 244 Victoria St. (416) 872-1212. ASSASSINS Birdland Theatre remounts its Dora-winning production of Stephen Sondheim’s dark satire of the American dream from 1990. Seven real-life presidential assassins, or would-be assassins, from different historical periods meet and inspire each other. It’s as if Sondheim (see page 39) anticipated the ultimate reality TV show and set it to thrilling music. Original cast members Paul McQuillan, Trish Lindstrom, Graham Abbey, Jay Davis, Martin Julien, Steve Ross, Christopher Stanton, Jonathan Tan, Alicia Toner and Geoffrey Tyler are joined by Alex Fiddes and Lisa Hormer. Adam Brazier again directs. $35. 8pm. WedMon. 2pm Sat & Sun.
North American touring production of Mason and Mel Marvin’s 2006 hit Broadway show sleds into town. Starring Stefán Karl. Sets by John Lee Beatty and costumes by Robert Morgan. $25-$74. Various times. Sun, Dec 19-Jan 2 (no shows Dec 24 & 25). Sony Centre. 1 Front St E. (416) 872-2262. sonycentre.ca. THE BIRD Kate, a marketing executive and Mia, her taxidermist spouse, host a cocktail party conceived by jealousy and mistrust. A contemporary lesbian drawing-room farce by Sonja Mills. Featuring Anna Chatterton, Lesley Dowey, Bruce Hunter, Veronika Hurnik, Caitlin Morris-Cornfield, Jimi Shlag and Astrid Van Wieren; Ruth Madoc-Jones directs. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents the Union Eight Theatre production. $19-$33; PYWC Sun. 8pm. Tue-Sat. 2:30pm. Sun. Wed, Jan 12-30. Buddies. 12 Alexander St. (416) 975-8555. buddiesinbadtimes.com. RUINED Obsidian Theatre and Nightwood Theatre present the Toronto premiere of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize-wining play by Lynn Nottage. As civil war ravages the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a young woman both protects and profits from other vulnerable women. Starring Yanna McIntosh and Sterling Jones; Philip Akin directs. $15-$35. 8pm. Tue-Sat. 12:30pm Wed. 2pm. Sat & Sun. Thu, Jan 20-Feb 12. Berkeley Street Theatre Downstairs. 26 Berkeley St. (416) 368-3110.
Spirituality MCCT CHRISTMAS EVE A joyful, ecumenical service with traditional carol singing accompanied by the choir of MCC Toronto as well as special musical performance by Thom Allison. $25. 9:30pm doors. 10:30pm start. Fri, Dec 24. Roy Thomson Hall. 60 Simcoe St. (416) 872-4255. •
ART & DESIG N
B O O K RE V I EW
VODKA STINGER →Master
lyricist /composer Stephen Sondheim gets a rise out of a musical theatre fan Writer David Bateman
Sir Noel’s stylistic brilliance.
along in our graves.
Bringing the late Coward into
Ultimately this can be the stuff
the larger picture of Sondheim’s
of good, bitchy fun, and Sondheim
text reveals a general dilemma. By
is careful to include the words
taking his own work so seriously
“grudges and whines” in his title.
Sondheim has produced a strange
My only major complaint is that
hybrid of academic text and slight
there isn’t enough bitching. For the
whimsy, sidestepping any insight
most part it’s a dry ride through a
into ways in which his life may
museum of lyric proliferation that
have affected his art. Considered
a private person who didn’t yank
course entitled Sondheim 101. But
open the closet door until he was
it’s not very gay, and when it is,
40, Sondheim, now 80, certainly
it seems Sondheim has a distaste
has a right to privacy. In analyz-
ing his own lyrics, and to a lesser
tion that some of his homosexual
extent his music, he sprinkles in
the odd bitchy-licious anecdote
Are sung, frequently dirge-like
without including any juicy mor-
ballads à la Sondheim really all
sels about himself.
that different from campy, smoul-
Delightful hen musical queens collide it can be stren-
→ SIDE BY SIDE Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein circa 1957.
uous to decide whose
occur when he reminisces about
dering ditties? Or is it just a deceptive change of tone?
Ethel Merman and Elaine Stritch,
I adore Sondheim’s morbid fas-
two legendary Broadway divas.
cination with murderers (Sweeney
royal ally to become — Stephen
pages or so he takes another loving
Stritch is reported to have said to
Todd, Assassins), horny bache-
Sondheim, the revolutionary mas-
jab at the gay bard’s wordplay. At
a bartender, “just give me a bot-
lors (Company), and polyamorous
ter craftsman of darkly comic real-
one point he claims that Coward’s
ism in mid- to late-twentieth-
interpretation of “Mad Dogs and
Sondheim’s Merman quote reveals
Music). I just cannot for the life of
century musical theatre, or Noel
Englishmen” is delivered with such
more about his distaste for the voy-
me see why he considers them less
Coward, the campy aesthete of
“dispassionate, breakneck speed,
euristic gaze of drooling fans and
campy than the characters who
an earlier, bygone era when we
every word clipped as if it were
nothing about dear Ethel herself.
have inhabited some of the other
gay men of a more bitchy mien
topiary in order to give the impres-
He complains about an audience of
great musicals of the past century.
were given all kinds of musical air
sion of brilliance” that it becomes
“mostly middle-aged culture seek-
They are singing about their lives,
time onstage to disguise our heart-
“almost incomprehensible.” This
ers” less interested in “anapests
after all, and what could be camp-
and sprung rhythm and tonic-
ier, what could be gayer, than that?
soaked romances under the fabu-
upper-class divas (A Little Night
lous guise of mostly heterosexual
like me, constantly delighted by
subdominant progressions” than
couplings and word play.
the live in Las Vegas recording of
the pressing question, “What was
You may feel compelled to take
this particular lyric. I am always
Ethel Merman really like?” What
sides while reading Sondheim’s
impressed by the articulate enun-
Sondheim must know, but seems to forget in this instance, is that
account of his life within the pantheon of Broadway lyricist/com-
“patter” (as Sondheim calls the
the same audiences he eschews
posers. On page one of his intro-
lyric). Clever cultural critique and
have been his bread and butter
duction, Sondheim writes that he
breathlessly paced delivery are
for the past 50 years, and if we’re
“cordially but intensely dislikes”
perfectly matched with the quick
not dead yet some of Sondheim’s
Coward’s lyrics; every hundred
rhymes and repetition integral to
quips may have us rolling merrily
FINISHING THE HAT: Collected Lyrics (19541981) with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes. Stephen Sondheim. Knopf. $30. AN EVENING WITH STEPHEN SONDHEIM $22$69. 8pm. Mon, Dec 6. Princess of Wales Theatre. 300 King St W. (416) 872-1212. mirvish.com. intorontomag.com
A RT & DE S I GN
TYING THE QUEER CANON IN A KNOT → Films
so bad they’re good
Writers Scott Ferguson & Jason St-Laurent
→ GIF T GUIDE? You better know your friends well before giving them any of these titles.
ilms like The Killing of Sister George, Boys in the Band, Philadelphia, Boys Don’t Cry, Brokeback Mountain and Milk have brought our stories stream audiences. But for every TransAmerica, there is a Glen or guided that they have to be seen to be believed.
There is nothing more enjoyable than getting together with a gaggle of gays who revel in the guilty pleasure of over-the-top portrayals of swishy queens, lustful lesbians and desexualized gay men. then we don’t want to be right.
December 2010 / January 2011
SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER If you thought bad things hapwait until you see this Joseph L Mankiewicz classic from 1959. The cannibalistic scene is unforgettable, but so are Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift. Even today, the jury is out on this one; people either love it or hate it. The tagline for the ers and passions without precedent in motion pictures.” With Gore Vidal and Tennessee Williams at the script-writing helm, could we have expected anything less? THAT TENDER TOUCH A trashy pulp novel come to life, from 1969 revolves around the twisted break-up of lesbian lovers
Marsha and Terri. Featuring plenty of breathy declarations of lust, heaving lingerie-clad bosoms and some wickedly groovy 1960s décor, ously — even when Terri is decked out in slinky animal costumes with little pointy ears. By turns hilarious, disturbing and perplexing, this melodramatic camp classic is best enjoyed sprawled out on a bearskin rug in a see-through negligee and a pitcher of martinis within reach. MYRA BRECKINRIDGE Based on Gore Vidal’s best-selling novel, this incomprehensible car crash of a movie is almost imposfocusses on a man who wants to become a woman in order to bring about “the total destruction of the
last vestigial traces of traditional manhood.” Well, nothing like setting modest goals. The 1970 movie asks audiences to believe that scrawny
change operation and emerge as the gorgeous sex goddess Raquel Welch. With a young and fresh-faced Farrah Fawcett and an embalmed-looking, 77-year-old Mae West. PINK FLAMINGOS John Waters exploded into international infamy and secured the crown of the King of Bad Taste with his third feature in 1972, a darkly comic, no-budget parade of the perverse starring his muse, the larger-than-life Divine. It may be But it is also one of the funniest.
A RT & DE S I GN
time, 1982, the New York Post
community in New York mobi-
latest crime against humanity in
killers who show their crotches?
lized against the production of
general and homosexuals in par-
Paul Verhoeven’s 1992 thriller infu-
ticular is a dumb creepshow called
riated many, but titillated count-
from rooftops to ruin lighting for
Partners.” We’ll forgive John Hurt
less others, thus cementing Sharon
scenes, blasting whistles and air
because he’s played so many
Stone as an unlikely lesbian icon.
horns near locations, and playing
great queer roles, notably Quentin
loud music. Gay bars even refused
Crisp, the ultimate queen.
In the summer of 1979, the gay
Who doesn’t love lesbian serial
access. One of us (Jason) saw this as a 12-year-old (with his grandmother!?) and it totally fright-
PERSONAL BEST A lesbian version of Chariots
IF LOVING THESE FILMS IS WRONG, THEN WE DON’T WANT TO BE RIGHT.
ened him. Thankfully, his grand-
mother’s English was limited and
soundtrack. Two athletes, Chris
she interpreted the leather stuff as
Halloween. Is it any wonder why
(real-life track champion Patrice
It was a toss-up between this
the Black Eagle is his favourite bar
Donnelly) fall in love while com-
and To Wong Foo: Thanks for
in Toronto and that he’s always
peting for positions on the US
watching his back in that place?
Olympic track team.
prime examples of mainstream
Or swooning at men with bulgy Al
on the track overwhelms their
Hollywood’s lack of original ideas
even when it comes to queer-
Pacino eyes? CAN’T STOP THE MUSIC
euristic, gratuitous and sometimes
absolutely pointless 1996 remake of
the classic French farce La Cage auxM
Bruce Jenner walking through Greenwich Village in a crop top
Folles stars Robin Williams as a gayY
and Daisy Dukes? By 1980, the
Slava Tsukerman’s 1982 low-
disco inferno that raged through
budget but highly stylized cele-
Miami nightclub owner and NathanCM MY
bration of early ’80s club culture
try to play it straight to fool the con-
cée. With Calista Flockhart as the
years had been extinguished. But
Grease producer Allan Carr still
shines in the dual role of bisex-
thought a musical chronicling the
ual actress Margaret and her arro-
formation and rise of the Village
gant gay nemesis Jimmy. Tiny
even before Ally McBeal) and Gene
People was a good idea. It wasn’t.
aliens land in New York City look-
Hackman in full grandma drag, The
ing for victims to feed their addic-
Birdcage feels like it is home to a
tion to a substance produced in
Are you a sucker for bad come-
the human brain during orgasm.
dies? This one is just terrible. Two
Since Margaret has a lot of sex, the
cops go undercover as a gay cou-
aliens camp out in her apartment
A feast of cheesy sight gags and
ple and “comedy” ensues. At the
and end up vaporizing most of her
over-ripe one-liners. Appropriating
lovers. By turns a fairly grim sex
the plot of classic teen sex com-
ANOTHER GAY MOVIE
edies, Todd Stephen’s 2006 comedy follows a foursome of gay high THE HUNGER
school friends who make a pact to
Not only is it great to see Susan Sarandon
lose their virginity before heading
off to university in the fall. The script
’80s-style, but it’s the famous
includes gerbiling, BDSM web-cam
vampire love scene with Catherine
horror shows, enema gross-outs and
Deneuve, a fog machine, billowing
the sexual abuse of a quiche. Lewd,
curtains and spilled red wine that
crude and pretty damn funny, this
makes Tony Scott’s 1983 stylish
farce is just what the overly serious
melodrama irresistible. Deneuve delivers one of the best glam-
Design Clinics sat & sun 12-4pm
about the sequel.
our-puss performances ever and Sarandon → SMILE FOR T HE CAMERA Sharon Stone in 1992’s Basic Instinct.
herself for the camera, showing every perfect inch of her body.
Scott Ferguson is executive director and Jason St-Laurent is director of programming at the Inside Out film festival. insideout.ca.
416.214.1377 173 King Street East Toronto, ON M5A 1J4 email@example.com
A RT & DE S I GN
SPIRIT MADE FLESH →DVD
review: Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence Writer Michael Thorner
estern guilt faces off against eastern shame in the Nagisa Ôshima art-house classic from 1983, Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence, the long-unavailable war melodrama lovingly remastered on DVD by Criterion. Loosely based on Laurens van der Post’s memoir The Seed and the Sower, screenwriter Paul Mayersberg adapts and transforms the tale into a story about spiritual connection and undeniable homoerotic sexual attraction that, because of the time and environment in which it is set, only explodes through violence. Set in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in Indonesia in 1942, rock legend David Bowie plays Maj Jack “Strafer” Celliers, a well-to-do New Zealand POW and troop morale booster, squaring off against statuesque, porcelain-faced Ryûichi Sakamoto as Capt Yonoi, the stiff commander of the camp who, from the moment he sets eyes on Bowie, obsesses about him. Tom Conti, as Lawrence, is the western moral compass and bilingual bridge between the two cultures, mirrored by the Japanese soldier, Sgt Gengo Hara. Takeshi Kitano plays Hara, who also utters ond time being one of the more iconic moments of melodrama in Japanese cinematic history. was a lingering question by those involved over whether or not it was explicitly or implicitly a gay movie, at least as screenwriter Mayersberg recalls in the DVD extras. He acknowledges the gay subtext, even though the director Ôshima maintained at the time that it was more about the two soldiers’ fascination with each other’s 42
December 2010 / January 2011
WHEN DRAG FLIES →Theatre
review: Priscilla is jet-fueled airborne fun
Writer David Bateman | Photography Joan Marcus
spirits than anything else. That is not to say that Ôshima was denying the homoerotic undertones. He was by then the foremost Japanese not one to shy away from sexStory of Youth (1960) or In the Realm of the Senses (1976). In a 1983 interview included in the set, Bowie has a somewhat opaque, yet diplomatic opinion on the matter. Sakamoto was a rock star himself in his native Japan in the late 1970s with the Yellow Magic Orchestra. In the second extras disc, he discusses how he composed the hypnotic, deceptively win an Oscar for his work scoring half of The Last Emperor (1987). The transfer to DVD is marvelstays with you. If you’ve never heard the main theme music, once you do, you’ll have trouble getting it out of your mind for days afterward, with the masterfully coming your dreams. MERRY CHRISTMAS MR LAWRENCE Criterion. $42.
f Salvador Dali met RuPaul and Walt Disney on a stormy night in the Outback it would look a lot like Priscilla Queen of the Desert, the Musical. Filled with 1980s pop music, this high-powered show is graced by gorgeous costumes that are simultaneously of this world and out of this world. Giant paintbrushes crafted into fabulous gowns sweep across the stage, sometimes
in stilettos, sometimes pursued by an emu-like creature with a black boa headdress. Even the roadkill is in drag in this tale of three diverse drag queens trying to make their way across arduous physical and emotional terrain. And there’s some poignant family drama thrown in, providing a brief and beautifully performed Elvis moment near the end. Costume design by Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner, and production design by Brian Thompson, steal the show as gigantic set pieces lift resplendent queens high above the audience. Jacqueline B Arnold, Anastacia McCleskey and Ashley Spencer as the Divas hover above the action as they match the power and the glory of the hydraulics, belting out fabulous renditions of “It’s Raining
Men,” “Hot Stuff” and “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” The three principal actors deliver solid performances as the hapless queenly trio: Tony Sheldon’s Bernadette is a lovely, nuanced tribute to an older style of drag (Sheldon is Helen Reddy’s nephew, by the way); Will Swenson’s Tick is a layered depiction of sexual ambiguity, drag performer and devoted father; and Nick Adam’s Felicia gives us perfect pecs, abfab abs and a voice that gives Madonna a run for her money in a grand, genderskewed version of “Material Girl.” A highlight of the evening occurs in the character of Shirley, as performer Keala Settle introduces the number “I Love the Nightlife” and steals the hearts of audiences who fall hopelessly in love with the mullet-bearing bravado of a truly memorable character. If you want to see drag big, bold then don’t miss this queenly tour de force.
PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT, THE MUSICAL Extended to Sun, Jan 2. $20-$130. Princess of Wales Theatre. 300 King St W. (416) 872-1212. mirvish.com.
ART & DESIG N
SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR →Get
the feel of life from jazz and cocktails — an appreciation of Billy Strayhorn Writer Michael Thorner
→ PEERLESS Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington’s collaborator for almost three decades, purposefully stayed out of the spotlight.
Pittsburgh. They were introduced in a dressing room by a mutual acquaintance between shows, on the pretense that Strayhorn would audition some original numbers at the piano. Instead, while Ellington rested on the couch, Strayhorn played
Lady,” Ellington’s own composition, playing it exactly in Ellington’s style. Then Strayhorn purportedly played the same song again, in a higher key, in a hipper, more “out there” arrangement. By the time he ing behind Strayhorn, eyes transplayed, yelling to his assistants to grab the rest of the band immediately. Ellington was struck there and then by Strayhorn’s talent and personality; the young man was hired on the spot. Even more impressively, Strayhorn composed “Take the ‘A’ Train”
Ellington Orchestra out of the subveryone
Ellington’s massive contributions.
was born in Dayton, Ohio, and
name Duke Ellington, even
Many are familiar with Ellington
raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
to get to the Duke’s home in New
those uninitiated to the
staples “Lush Life,” “Something
He studied classical music as a
York City. Strayhorn had the com-
child, and actually wrote the song
position ready on arrival to the
“Lush Life” while still in his teens.
Big Apple, although the famous
world of jazz. Far fewer are famil-
iar with the name Billy Strayhorn,
way directions Ellington gave him
Duke Ellington’s right-hand man
Ellington signature piece, “Take
It is now recognized as one of the
and collaborator for almost three
the ‘A’ Train” — all are Strayhorn
greatest, most sophisticated jazz
decades. There are those who
songs ever written — one of the
Strayhorn thrived as an out,
On Nov 29, Billy Strayhorn would
most recorded standards in the
proud, gay black American in an
compositions and arrangements
have been 95 years old. He died in
jazz canon. At 22 in 1938, Strayhorn
age of great oppression and racism
for the Duke Ellington Orchestra
met Ellington while the Ellington
— the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. His
are every bit as important as
William Thomas “Billy” Strayhorn
Continued on page 45
ART & DESIG N
Continued from page 43
brain waves in his head, and his in talent as a songwriter and orches-
mine.” There was a deep love and
tra arranger ensured he was not
affection for each other that res-
only tolerated but embraced and
onated in the music they created
beloved by the musicians who
BRASS TACKS → Music:
Composer & conductor Steven Reineke Writer
worked with him and by the jazz intelligentsia that surrounded him. To his close friends and musician family, Strayhorn was affectionately dubbed Sweet Pea. Strayhorn was shy to many, and gregarious only to those in his inner circle. He was best buddies with Lena Horne, mentor-
“LUSH LIFE” IS NOW RECOGNIZED AS ONE OF THE GREATEST, MOST SOPHISTICATED JAZZ SONGS EVER WRITTEN.
ing her musically, and was a wellacquainted friend of and advocate
To date, there have been no seri-
for civil rights activist Rev Martin
ous attempts to bring the story of
Luther King Jr.
Billy Strayhorn to the big screen,
The Duke Ellington Orchestra was
although through the years, the
a huge, international success for
names Will Smith, Wesley Snipes,
almost half a century. During the
and Don Cheadle have been ban-
peak 28 years Strayhorn worked
died about for the role of Billy.
with Ellington, he chose not seek
As well, although there are liter-
the spotlight. The perception was
ally hundreds if not thousands
that his inarguable gayness would
of recordings of Strayhorn songs
not be acceptable to a universal
available by other artists, includ-
audience. Straight man Ellington
ing recordings made by the Duke
would take the public stage bows
unfortunately very few recordings
remained on the sidelines, off-
currently available domestically
stage, crafting songs, involved at
by the composer himself. Verve’s
recording sessions, arranging parts
for the orchestra, and a host of
Soloist, with Billy Strayhorn and
the Orchestra, is one recording
still available where you can hear est work was his collabora-
tion with Ellington on 1957’s Such
although many of the players on
this album — including Johnny
tal suite inspired by the works
Hodges himself — were Ellington
It would be “something to live
Festival. It contains what may be
for” if a new cross-label compila-
tion of Strayhorn’s work — sam-
romantic composition, “The Star-
pling his tremendously productive
Crossed Lovers.” It is an unequiv-
work as a composer, arranger, col-
ocal masterpiece of orchestral jazz
laborator and pianist — could be
lovingly assembled, annotated and
A heavy smoker and drinker,
released domestically. He deserves
Strayhorn died of cancer of the
that kind of singular treatment,
esophagus at age 51. A few years
and jazz lovers deserve access to
this important material, work that
Strayhorn’s importance in his auto-
changed the face of music forever.
biography, stating, “Billy Strayhorn was my right arm, my left arm, all the eyes in the back of my head, my
INTORONTOMAG.COM hosts a longer version of this story.
he Toronto Symphony Orchestra is always a banquet for the ears, but the eyes get their own treat this month when hunky conductor Steven Reineke mounts the podium to spend Christmas with the TSO. Reineke has a long and happy association with the orchestra, most recently with October’s successful Broadway Divas series. When Reineke’s at the helm, it’s impossible not to be caught up in his excitement with both the material and his musicians. Plus he does this really cute dance during the big up-tempo numbers. “It’s very much my passion,” says Reineke, who likens a good concert to fantastic sex. “It’s all about foreplay, getting a really nice build to the songs until the audience starts to go crazy. Like a great orgasm.” of the TSO 13 years ago, when he was already an established conductor with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. The last two years have found him serving as music director for the New York Pops. It’s a long way from Reineke’s ophone at age 10, before switching to trumpet. His horn sensibilities
→ CL ASSICAL POP Steven Reineke likens a good concert to fantastic sex.
leap forth from the violin section; you really notice the difference in both sound and energy. The Christmas show with tenor Mike Eldred, the Canadian Children’s Opera Company and the Etobicoke School of the Arts Chorus will feature traditional takes on holiday favourites as well Reineke’s own unique arrangements for classic tunes. “‘Silver Bells’ is the favourite of mine in this program,” he says. “It’s a song that I was never really fond of, but these often end up being my favourite arrangements.” Reineke confesses to some difance between the secular and spiritual aspects of the season when choosing concert material. “Christmas can be a touchy subject,” says Reineke. “But we keep some Christian aspects as well as Chanukah and Kwanzaa. It’s really quite an ecumenical, all-encompassing program. And yes, there’s some Santa, too.”
CHRISTMAS WITH THE TSO $26-$109. 8pm. Wed, Dec 22 & 23. 2pm. Dec 23. Roy Thomson Hall. 60 Simcoe St. (416) 593-4828. tso.ca. intorontomag.com
A RT & DE SI GN
by Jamie Alexander
choosing the right sofa, is there more to consider than just
them, but quality and personal comfort surpass all. Ironic but perhaps partners. Is it really what is on the inside that counts? Determined to King St E
First stop, Urban Essential (175 King St E). The Oliver sofa had all kinds of bells and whistles, good ones to say the least. This super functional petite chaise sofa had a bed tucked away. With its clean lines and very affordable price, people choose this piece for its looks and for what’s on the inside. In this case you could have a soft sofa and a comfy bed all in one. 2
DOUBLE THE FUN
Off to Studio B (334 King St E; studiobhome.com) where I found the Thomas Pheasant Paris Loveseat, stunning by design with deep, rich button-tufting and hammer-head tacking. This piece is a real eye-catcher. A look, perfect for an entertaining room, with a cocktail in hand and Sometimes the right seat for the right space is the perfect answer.
Finally, I could not resist the downKing St E; montauksofa.com). There’s one in particular, Emmanuelle: New to the collection, she demands attention; with luscious curves
would best describe her. For those seeking distinguishing comfort and one-of-a-kind design, this sofa compares to no other.
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→ “I constantly gag when trying to give a blowjob. What can I do? It is embarrassing, and I am afraid I will throw up all over the guy.”
anesthetic in them, intended to
lem for many men. I agree: Unless
treat sore throats, can also be use-
you’re in a kinky situation that calls
ful. These work by numbing your
for it, or on a not untypical episode
throat, turning off the nerve end-
of Jerry Springer, vomiting on your activated. The down side is that
man’s penis is not cool. You gag when the sides and
you can’t feel or taste anything,
back of your throat are touched by
two of the perks of blowing some-
something other than food. It is the
one. Not to mention it makes your
body’s way of preventing you from
partner’s penis go numb too, which
choking unless you are eating; the
he may or may not appreciate.
nerve endings are triggered, the
There are some things which
brain recognizes that swallowing
HEA GYL LT H GE IN 10LENHA A T JAKE WEE L’S BO KS DY GA
Y & LE
S T YL
Y L IV
LOC FIG AL DE IN AHT AIDSSIGNERS FRIC A J
R 2 0
T RA BEYOVEL S T ND T RAT F HE S ORD TAGE
particularly anxiety. If you are ner-
tary muscle response is produced
vous, all of your body’s nerve end-
causing rejection of the “foreign
ings are just begging for an excuse
invader” by reversing the process of digestion — food going back
back of your throat. Relaxing and
out instead of in. Thus the util-
remaining calm will go a long way, trust me.
EA ICONNNE BE OGRA KER PHY
FATSA CONSTANT FOR HIO INE WA N
HECK OUT R NEW OOK!
is not occurring, and an involun-
your throat to vomit when you feel
If all else fails, try doing other
nauseous and you just want to get
things besides deep-throating, con-
it over with. And like everything
centrating on the part of the penis
else, some people are more sensi-
you can get into your mouth with
tive than others and have surpris-
no problem. This is the most sen-
sitive part of the penis anyway,
ers have very small ones. CAN ADA TE ’S UP CLUKE MHEART TLEVISION LOSE ACF HROB A & PE RLAN RSON E AL 27/09
especially the head. Kissing, suck-
Avoiding contact with the trigger
ing, nibbling, blowing, licking —
areas is one approach. Try repo-
all of these actions can be used to turn on your partner. Ask him
great success, have tried lying on
what he likes. Use your hands, too.
their backs with their head hang-
Following your hands up and down
ing over the edge of the bed, so that
when taking him in and out of your
the neck and head are tilted back-
mouth usually feels very nice and
wards (a position similar to that
is essentially the same as deep-
used by sword swallowers!). Other positions may work too. You’ll
some way to drive him crazy without having to swallow his whole
ones are best for you. The impor-
tant thing is to keep your partner’s
penis centred in your mouth to avoid touching the gag areas at the sides and very back of your throat. Lozenges and throat sprays with
DR KEITH LOUKES works in emergency in a Toronto hospital. Send him your sexual health question at email@example.com. This column should not be viewed as medical advice; always consult your physician. intorontomag.com
O N T HE T OWN
CAUGHT IN THE ACT
by Michael Pihach
YOUTH LINE ART AUCTION, BERKELEY EVENT THEATRE 1
THE ADVENTURES OF PHILIPPE BOOK LAUNCH, FIRE ON THE EAST SIDE
SODOM APOCALYPSE, GOODHANDY’S
→ 1. Olivia Chow 2. Laura Shewchuk, Aniska Ali 3. Daniel Smilo 4. Spencer J. Harrison 13
5. Maha Rishi 6. Dan Burbridge, Ilham and Lali Mohamed 7. Steven Bereznai 8. Dave Piche, Andrew Leak, Gerardo Betancourt 9. Cheryl Misener 10. Ryan Carter, Daniel Bushe 11. Matt Wilson 12. Jordi Santo 13. Ivory Towers 14. Steven Joseph 15. Sum Wong 16. Mitchel Raphael.
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IN Toronto Magazine: December 2010/January 2011 ISSUE: 08 Gay and Lesbian City Living Magazine from Toronto