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sex is easy to find 11

8 11

14 17


LOOKBOOK OF LOVE The vibrant Queen West home/studio of Hoax Couture’s Chris Tyrell and Jim Searle by Derek Dotto BEYOND THE RESORTS Hidden gems of Mexico by Paul Gallant


PULLING ON HEARTSTRINGS Five couples dish on meeting, dating and relationships by Michael Pihach


THE GIFT OF VISION Preview the best of Snap photo auction by Pamela Meredith






GRAVITYPOPE SHOES & FASHION by Paul Aguirre-Livingston














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VIEW FINDER → SPIN ME ROUND, BABY Since LGBT folk are repeatedly written out of the historical record, it’s understandable that many queer artists have an ambivalent attitude towards history. Local curators Kelly McCray and Steph Rogerson explore the fruitful responses to that creative tension in the group show Rare and Raw opening in New York City this month at Leslie Lohman Museum (billed as the first queer art museum in the world). Intriguing parings find the work of Toronto artist and rocker GB Jones (pictured) shown with her obvious inspiration Tom of Finland — probably for the first time ever. The other featured artists are Nina Levitt, Kent Monkman, Will Munro, William E Jones, Zoe Leonard and Tara Mateik. The show opens in the TriBeCa gallery on Fri, Feb 15.


→ “One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,

peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.”

So opens “One Today,” the poem by Richard Blanco ( read at President Obama’s second inauguration last month. The Madrid-born, Maine-based Cuban-American poet is the first Latino and the first openly gay person to be an inaugural poet. The concluding lines of the poem read:

Nico Tucci

“One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes/ tired from work: some days guessing at the weather/ of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love/ that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother/ who knew how to give, or forgiving a father/ who couldn’t give what you wanted.


February 2013

“We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight/ of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always — home/ always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon/ like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop/ and every window, of one country — all of us —/ facing the stars/ hope — a new constellation/ waiting for us to map it/ waiting for us to name it — together.”

TORONTO TALK EXCHANGE SOUND OFF WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE BLACK AUTHOR? → The responses to that question noted here, in recognition of Black History

Month, reveal artists and thinkers whose works sustain and challenge all of us over the long haul (and not just during the coldest, shortest month of the year). EARL LOVELACE This Trinidadian author can write in a language that is familiar to the Trinbagonian while appealing to an international audience. One of my favourite novels of his is The Wine of Astonishment, where he retells an event in our checkered history involving Leader B and Bolo. It’s the story of persecution of the Shouter Baptists, a Christian sect practiced by post-emancipated Africans in a loud and rhythmic fervour. This boisterous religious worship was outlawed in 1917 and many followers were brought before the courts. The law wasn’t repealed until 1951. RHOMA SPENCER, ARTISTIC DIRECTOR AUDRE LORDE I have a quote of hers tattooed on my left forearm, “Deliberate and afraid of nothing.” I love a lot of her work, but have a special place in my heart for her memoir Zami: A New Spelling of My Name. Zami was evidence that Lorde left to tell us that brown queers have always existed. She tells us survival strategies and the complexities of loving and living in her particular time and context. It was also the first time I read about falling in love with a black femme. It made me realize that someone could love me whole — politics, push-up bras and kinky curls. KIM KATRIN CROSBY, WRITER, EDUCATOR, ACTIVIST

OCTAVIA E BUTLER She prefers the term speculative fiction for what she writes, over science fiction, in part because her work really does suggest a possible future that may not be far off. Her works, like Kindred and Parable of the Sower, have inspired my own activism and highlighted the importance of community building and social change. For as the main character in Parable of the Sower explains, as she works with others to build a new society after climate change poverty, extreme conservativism and war have laid waste to North America, “All that you touch You Change. All that you Change, Changes you. The only lasting truth is Change. God is Change.” SYRUS MARCUS WARE, ARTIST, ACTIVIST, DJ CHINUA ACHEBE Based on history, tradition and his conviction to humanize the colonized black body, Achebe’s work gives voice to the black African experience. I had my first encounter with his work reading Things Fall Apart when I was 14 years old. The characters were so close and intimate to the world I knew and grew up in. A year later I read No Longer at Ease, which is now my favourite novel. Achebe created a character that is very fitting of the now: the African man in relation to our interconnected world. The characters are honest and their experiences are real and still inspiring to a young art-

ist from Ghana who is navigating his African identity in a new world, in Canada. TAWIAH BEN M’CARTHY, PERFORMER, PLAYWRIGHT AUDRE LORDE Her body of work has widened the lens through which I view myself in relation to the world, emancipating my consciousness. My favourite work is her essay “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action,” where she writes, “The machine will try to grind you into dust anyway, whether or not we speak. We can sit in our corners mute forever while our sisters and our selves are wasted, while our children are distorted and destroyed, while our earth is poisoned; we can sit in our safe corners mute as bottles, and we will still be no less afraid.” My truth is this: If my body is the battleground where I wage war with interlocking systems of dehumanization, then femmeness is my armour, black queerness my ammunition and anti-colonial consciousness my rallying cry for widespread resistance. EDWARD NDOPU, WRITER, SOCIAL CRITIC, ACTIVIST

EDWARD NDOPU On a panel at Queering Black History Month on Thu, Feb 28 at Ryerson University. See page 20. KIM KATRIN CROSBY Co-curates the Resistance and Raunch cabaret at Rhubarb on Thu, Feb 28. See page 27.





Chris Tyrell and Jim Searle, the couple behind successful Toronto fashion house Hoax Couture, discuss their meteoric rise in the 1980s and their current desire to help people half a world away Story Derek Dotto | Photography Nicola Betts


February 2013


When did you two first meet each other? Jim Searle: We met many years ago. Chris Tyrell: Twenty-eight? What does January ’84 make? Twenty-nine. CT: Twenty-nine years. We were only five though [laughs]. When did you start working together? JS: It started pretty soon. We actually lived in different cities when we met. He was living in Ottawa, I was living in Toronto. CT: I moved here, we moved in together and it started just about then. I used to go around and find old chintz curtains at the Salvation Army. I would wash them and redye them and make them into the “Two and a Half Hour Dress” — that’s how long it would take to make the whole thing. We would sell them to our girlfriends and we would notice, Christ, we couldn’t make them fast enough. They were being sold out all the time. Then we did a little thing with T-shirts, where we bought a dozen T-shirts and painted on them. We took them down to Queen and Soho with a little rack on Saturday and we sold them all. And then? CT: We saw an ad in... what was it called? JS: It was an English magazine from Paris. CT: I used to read it all the time because I had this thing about Paris. I saw, in the back of this magazine, a real tiny ad that said they were having this big fashion design exposition in Toronto and there was a call for entries. I said, “Why don’t we design some clothes for this?” So we did. There were five of us involved and we made all the clothing out of... JS: Upholstery fabric, like your grandmother’s upholstery. But neither of you have any schooling in fashion design. CT: Jim went to architecture school with a bunch of kids who are now world-famous architects and

product designers. I went to law school, so not very creative. But my mom was a seamstress so I sort of knew how to make a pair of pants without zippers. Back to the collection. CT: We did this collection called Babel and it was wildly successful. JS: We came out of nowhere. CT: Most designers have a history. You know them from this school or they used to work with this guy. The fashion community was blown away. JS: Holt Renfrew bought the whole thing and put a pop-up store on the ground floor of their Bloor Street store. CT: In 1985, before pop-up stores were heard of. JS: And then we were in business. Do you think something like that would be possible today? JS: No. Now everybody wants to be their own business so there are thousands of independent designers. It’s hard to get noticed. CT: Especially when you’re somewhere like Toronto. People always think, “How come designers in Paris and London and all those places are so popular?” It’s because all the media from around the world goes there twice a year running around going, “What’s new? Do you know any new designers? What’s going on?” If that happened in Canada, the designers would be worldrenowned but we don’t have that. So after the success of Babel, you started up Hoax Couture. CT: First we were wholesaling worldwide. Tokyo, London, Belgium, Amsterdam. We did shows in Paris, LA, New York and Las Vegas twice a year, which we came to hate. Although it sounds glamorous, it wasn’t. Continued on page 10

→ VIBRANT Designers Chris Tyrell and Jim Searle say their Queen West apartment is furnished with hand-medowns from family and friends; the heads (bottom right) are some of the few objects they’ve bought. The floral paintings (next page) are by Searle; and no, that’s not them in the other painting.


LIVING & DESIGN Continued from page 9

and seeing the devastation of HIV/

JS: We opened our own store in

AIDS first hand.

Yorkville because we wanted to

CT: For me, the most heartbreak-

hand someone a dress and they

ing thing was when we went to the

give us the money. That was great

hospices. I’d never been to an AIDS

except we found that people would

hospice before. You’d basically see

come in, see something and say,

people who were dying.

“That’s great. I’d love it in pink.”

JS: We were representing the

CT: We used to analyze our sales

Stephen Lewis Foundation and they

and after a while we realized that 70

basically credit their lives to him

percent of what we did at that store

because he secured the medicine

was custom work. And we thought

that keeps them alive.

you don’t need a $10,000 a month

CT: He was the first big interna-

rented store to be dealing with cus-

tional figure that went there and

tom orders.

said, “Holy Christ, what

is going

on here? Tons of people are dying.” So you set up shop in your Queen

In some communities they said

West apartment five years ago.

they went to funerals three times a

JS: It’s worked out really well.

week. There’s a generation that just

CT: When you have a store, its

doesn’t exist in a lot of these coun-

24/7 even when you’re not there.

tries. All the people have died.

We were eating out every single meal. Now we’ve got our lives back.

And this year, you’re taking it one

We learned to cook. Though it’s

step further by challenging people

tricky having a studio at home.

to wear Canadian for the month of

JS: Having employees running through your house...

February. JS: A lot of people can’t name

CT: Can drive you crazy.

more than two or three Canadian designers. Through Twitter and Facebook and people Instagraming

CT: There’s a lot of hand-me-

to Wear Love, is entering its fifth

photos of what they’re wearing that

down stuff. I don’t think there are

year, raising funds for AIDS relief

day, it’s going to start a lot of noise

four things here that we bought.

in Africa through the Stephen

about what is Canadian. We’re try-

JS: My dad had a really good col-

Lewis Foundation. Why did you

ing to get regular Canadians, even

lection of mid-century modern stuff

choose this cause?

if they can’t come to the party, to

like this Charles Eames desk.

CT: I was really taken by the

do this and raise money for the

fact that the Foundation focuses

Foundation. For every $250 you




CT: Almost everything comes from friends and family.


raise, you get one entry into a draw

orphans. Before going into the

to walk the runway in our show in

Your rooftop garden must be

Stephen Lewis Foundation, I really

Fashion Week in a custom-designed

incredible in the summer.

wasn’t conscious of the fact that I

outfit that you get to keep.

was an orphan. I know that sounds

CT: The greatest thing about this apartment for me is the garden.

weird, but it’s because of how I was

You do a lot of theatre work,

When we first saw the apartment,

CT: That’s from the Boys and

brought up by my grandmother and

including From the House of Mirth

I saw the deck and said even if it’s

Girls Club in Halifax. A friend of

my mother’s sisters. Then I real-

playing this month (see page 24).

one little room, I’m going to rent

ours called us and said. “I saw this

ized, “Oh my God, I’ve got to do

What else are you working on?

it anyway just to have this garden

piece of art and it’s not for sale but

space and a Queen Street location.

I think you guys should buy it.” We

something for this foundation to

CT: We’re working with NEXXICE,

honour my grandmother and all

a Canadian synchronized figure

the women who raised me.” Dare to

skating team. I’m now totally into it.

Wear Love has raised $150,000 over

I didn’t know it existed when they

What about your fantastic art collection?

the last three years. It’s a two-fold

first came to see us even though

CT: Everything except one wall is

thing: supporting Canadian fashion

they’ve been the world champions

designers, showing what they can

like seven times.

raising money for the Foundation.

February 2013

done by Jim. JS: I do it when I can but that’s

he just bought it anyway and sent it to us. JS: With a bill saying we owe him so-many-hundred dollars. CT: Which we never paid.

How would you describe your style when it comes to decorating?

Tell me about your trip to Africa

have a lot of art so we said no. So

not very often because I’m too busy.

do through an event like this, and


JS: It’s clean, modern and eclectic.

Your fashion event in March, Dare

CT: Oh God! [laughs]

And the painting that’s oddly reminiscent of the two of you?

HOAX COUTURE For more on Hoax, Dare To Wear Love and the wear Canadian campaign, go to




Explore beyond Mexico’s resort towns to discover a bewitching mix of cultural vigour and sun-drenched beauty Story & photography Paul Gallant


nly in midair, when I was freefalling into the middle of the algae-green tidal pool, did it occur to me: How will I get out of this thing? About the size of an eight-man hot tub, the pool’s water level was at least five feet below its rocky rim. Looking down, the jagged black sides seemed more treacherous

than helpful. I wasn’t interested in becoming fodder for a water-logged sequel to 127 Hours. Alejandro, the local guy who had brought me over boulders and steep slopes to this secluded spot on the Oaxaca coast, seemed to know what he was doing when he suggested jumping in to cool off. I’d have to leave myself in his hands.

After splashing around for a while, I finally asked in my mangled Spanish: “How exit?” Laughing, Alejandro demonstrated his technique. You wait for a big crashing wave to raise the water level, then grab onto a particular protrusion while stepping on a particular indentation. ¡Ya quedó! Refreshed from the swim, now it

was just a matter of gathering our flip flops — call them chanclas if you want to be fancy — and scrambling again across the rocks back to Continued on page 12

→ GET LOST Hierve al Agua, a reward for venturing through the central valley of Oaxaca in the southern state’s interior.



Continued from page 11

real Mexican culture. All in “safe”

better. “The beach of love” might

managed to meet a massage ther-

civilization. That is, back to where

states that have not been besieged

be the most gay-friendly hangout

apist, a museum curator, a finan-

we could get some cold beer.

by drug cartels, they have his-

in southern Mexico.

cial advisor and a well-known

I met Alejandro on Playa del

toric sites, authentic Mexican din-

While the entire two kilome-

expert and author on a traditional

Amor in Zipolite, on the coast of

ing (wouldn’t you rather be over-

tres of Zipolite’s beach have a

Mexican drink called pulque — all

Oaxaca in the south of Mexico. The

charged for a fancy meal that

frisky vibe — it’s the only beach in

from the capital and all in love with

sparkling beachside village, a hip-

fashionable Mexicans rave about,

Mexico where nudity is tolerated

Zipolite’s ridiculously casual vibe.

pie magnet going back to the 1960s,

instead of half-assed spaghetti at a

and a good chunk of visitors stroll

Despite the arrival of upscale

is one of Mexico’s magnificent gay-

tourist trap?) and increasingly visi-

au naturale — Playa del Amor is a

eateries like El Alquimista, where

friendly gems. And it’s not the only

ble LGBT communities. Outside the

particularly queer swath of sand.

you can dine by torchlight right on


resort bubbles, prices drop, the for-

The steep cliffs surrounding it pro-

the beach, Zipolite has managed to


eigners-versus-locals barrier dis-

vide some degree of privacy. From

hold onto its funky soul. At night,

“scene” of Puerto Vallarta — where

solves and there’s much more to do

the early afternoon till sundown,

cars are banned from the ram-

the faces congregating around the

than drink and tan. Though there

American faerie nudists commingle

shackle main drag, where barefoot

Blue Chairs might be familiar from

is, indeed, lots of that to do.

with locals like Alejandro, who had

modern-day hippies sell jewelry

just moved back from Texas, party

and play with devil sticks.





Woody’s back in Toronto the other 50 weeks of the year — the easy



seekers from the region and savvy

The child-unfriendly currents,

access of Cancun and the shop-

In Zipolite, it’s more about the

professionals from Mexico City,

which can be quite treacherous,

ping malls of Acapulco, unher-

beach than history. Paintings on

who take advantage of the cheap

seem to have scared away seri-

alded destinations like Zipolite,

the side of local cabs depict Playa

airfares between the capital and

ous development; there are only a

Mérida, San Miguel de Allende and

del Amor’s mascots as topless mer-

nearby Hutulco airport. Just walk-

handful of buildings more than a

Guanajuato offer something else:

maids; Playa del Amor’s fans know

ing along the beach at sunset, I

storey high. Its counterculture rep-

February 2013



went to a gig. Strollers and fellow

ber with a domed ceiling allowing

Three and a half hours by car

patrons smiled and waved at them;

in only a single shaft of light. When

from Cancun, Mérida plays the

the ladies were just another shade

role of nerdy culture vulture to

of local colour.

the horny Argentine teenagers finally got bored and swam away,




the chamber was transcendently


almost a million residents, Mérida


is a real city with a real history —


Not far away from San Miguel is

it was the site of the Mayan city of

Sprawling across an arid hill,

Guanajuato, the compact state cap-

T’hó before Francisco de Montejo

San Miguel de Allende is what you

ital whose ostentatious theatres,

y León established it as a Spanish

might imagine if you were to imag-

churches and monumental build-

colony in 1542. It’s also a quirky,

ine a perfect Mexican town, rustic

ings rattle around the bottom of a

easygoing place with its own take

and chic at the same time. Oh, and

valley like gems in a cup. The city’s

on the arts and Mexican cuisine.

the town knows it, too. The new


of panuchos will provide you with much delight before your arteries clog up. Free nightly performances in the main square, anything from campy folkloric dancing to classical music, only hint at the performative tendencies of Yucatecos. It does take a little poking around, though, to uncover the local penchant for sequins and G-strings. Years ago, a puritanical municipal crackdown on drinking drove many of the major nightclubs to the suburbs. While the airy resto-bars of the city centre can make for magical evenings — and



some of them underground in old

The crispy-soft fried deliciousness


silver mine shafts, give the place an intense, medieval feeling I’ve never experienced anywhere else in the world. A hike up to El Pípila, a monument to a hero from the Mexican War of Independence, brings relief from the intensity: It’s breathtaking to see how the valley is covered with a hodgepodge of brightly coloured homes soaking up the Mexican sun. Guanajuato is famous for its raucous



Cervantino each fall, celebrating (for reasons that are unclear to me — maybe it’s the medieval thing) Cervantes, the Spanish author of

the rundown cruiseyness of down-

→ HIDDEN GEMS View of the atmospheric town Guanajuato from the El Pípila monument (above left), La Parroquia is the main church of San Miguel de Allende (top) and Playa del Amor in Zipolite (middle and lower right) is perhaps the most gayfriendly hangout in southern Mexico.

quiet, both spiritual and romantic.

town gay haunt Jorges Cantina can

big box location of the posh depart-

Don Quixote. So the city has become

transport you back to what it might

ment store Liverpool is well out of

known as a party town. During the

have been like to be gay in the 1950s

view of the quaint centre. A well-

day, sleepy squares provide ample

— you need to hop in a cab to see

known expat artist colony — it’s


the flashier side of gay Mérida. I got

true that the light here is fantastic

ing, while, at night, the city centre

the scoop from my hosts at Casa

— San Miguel’s queerness shows

floods with gussied-up young peo-

Santiago (,

in the stylish flourishes of its local

ple looking for a good time. Where

who were kind enough to escort me

commerce; businesses may not

the gay ones go changes with the

beyond the ring road. Hotspots like

explicitly cater to a gay clientele,

fashion, though Whoo Pees (more

Pride, Milk and Angeluz are called

but there’s a lot of “gay-owned”

upmarket than the name suggests)

discos, but they function more like


has been a favourite for a few years



utation also seems to have been a

cabarets. Mixed groups of friends

After a couple of days of brows-

buffer against hotel and restaurant

sit at tables, sharing bottle service

ing church interiors and end-

chains. Before I went there, I was

while oohing and ahhing over a



balance of sophistication and brio,

on a tour of pre-Columbian sites in

packed program of elaborately cho-

tchotchkes, my companion and

a place where you’re more likely to

the interior of Oaxaca (totally worth

reographed drag and stripper acts.

I decided to check out one of the

be drinking aged tequila than sip-

the trip). In front of the rest of the

Only after the show is over, maybe

local hot springs. Three of them are

ping a watered-down margarita.

group, the chatty guide asked me

after 1:30am, do patrons start danc-

clustered along a dusty road just on

Now that’s a holiday you can’t find

where I was going next. “Zipolite,”

ing. The large number of straight

the outskirts of town. The one we

in a package. •

I said. He directed his icy response

people at the gay clubs is telling.

picked, La Gruta, turned out to be a

to two American seniors: “That’s

It’s a thin boundary between queer

mini resort: several pools at var-

where men go to do drugs and have

and mainstream in Mérida, some-

ious temperatures, lush gardens

sex.” One man’s poison is another

thing we realized when we saw

and, best of all, pool-side drink ser-

man’s paradise.

several drag queens having drinks

vice. A swim through a long stone

in the main square before they

tunnel led to a large interior cham-



now. Guanajuato offers just the right


Michael Pihach




Five Toronto couples talk about initial sparks, first dates and that growing sense of discovering a soul mate Story Michael Pihach


February 2013


on the dancefloor

I let her!” says Lorena. The couple



now live in an art-deco-meets-vin-

Lorena is a self-identified “crazy

at Buddies in Bad

tage-gypsy-inspired home in East

cat lady” who belongs to the Crazy

Times Theatre. “We






Sharing common views on poli-, a group that raises

some rock song by

tics, animal rights and social issues

money and awareness around the

some rock chick,”

are what brought this vegan duo

plight of homeless cats. She also

recalls Lorena, 49,

together. “It was exciting to find a

collaborates as a researcher for Liz’s



Quinn Cowie





Stephen Lewis Foundation.


who loves gardening to rock ’n’ roll. Liz



films. The two are currently prepar-


ing Liz’s latest doc, The Ghosts in Our Machine (, a film that illuminates the lives of individual animals liv-


then and wasn’t available, so their

soul mate who could critique the

machine of our modern world,”

Together 8 1/2 years

first encounter didn’t go anywhere

system and see how dysfunctional

for release this spring. “We have a

recalls Liz, now 43. And that was

it was,” says Liz, whose film career

Radiohead song in the film,” says

“It was like a drug,” says docu-

that, until six years later they met

has taken her everywhere from

Liz gleefully; she’s a big fan of the

mentary filmmaker Liz Marshall,

again, this time at a friend’s perfor-

Bangladesh and Mexico with sing-

band. “We got the two thumbs up

recalling the electric energy she

mance show at the Winchester bar

ers Sam Roberts and Jully Black,

from Thom Yorke.”

felt when first meeting her part-

in Cabbagetown. “I saw Lorena in

for a piece on sweat-shop labour,

ner, Lorena Elke, at the University

the crowd and thought, ‘Okay, I’m

to Africa to shoot a trilogy of doc-

of Toronto. Liz and Lorena first met

going to kiss her,’” says Liz. “And

umentaries about HIV/AIDS for the

ing the scene back

ing within and rescued from “the

customer in Kelly’s framing depart-

(“Any problem involving power tools,

ment. “She would only deal with

I’m there,” she says).

me,” says Kelly. The only issue was






that neither woman could figure

Cambodia to photograph temples

out each other’s availability. “We

and build schools for young children,

both wore rings and we thought that

but her most memorable trip was

meant something,” says Sonja, who

going to Ottawa with Sonja last year.

eventually made a move and asked Kelly out on a date to Kalendar bisSamantha Blanchette

tro in Little Italy where the pair spent the entire night holding hands on the patio talking about art and philosophy. Today, they live in Cabbagetown


with their dog Daquel and Cornish


Rex cat Luna and operate Akasha Art

After a day touring the Caravaggio

prints and framing done. The photo

Projects (, a custom

show at the National Gallery, the

lab she usually went to was clos-

framing business and photography

art enthusiasts grabbed a bite at the

Together 9 years

ing, so she went to a different one.

gallery, which Sonja and Kelly curate,

Milestones restaurant beside the

“I walked in and saw Kelly on the

near Church and Wellesley. “Our

Chateau Laurier, where Sonja popped

“It took us nine months to move

phone behind the counter and was

friends can’t believe we’re together

the question and, like that, the best

in together, which is long by lesbian

like, “Whoa. Who’s that?” says Sonja.

24/7,” says Sonja. “Kelly and I are best

friends were engaged. “When you

standards,” says 52-year-old photog-

Kelly, who led the lab’s framing

friends.” At home, Sonja enjoys sew-

can be yourself with someone, you’re

rapher Sonja Scharf. She says she

department, was equally smitten. “I

ing and eating meals loaded with hot

with the right person,” says Sonja.

was careful not to rush things after

offered her a tour,” she says. “A tour

sauce (“I’ll have something with jala-

The pair plans to marry by the end of

meeting her partner Kelly Kyle, 45.

that would normally take 15 minutes

peños and then put franks on top of

next year.

Nine years ago, Sonja was prepar-

lasted more than an hour.”

it,” she admits). When it comes to

ing a photo exhibit and needed some

After that, Sonja became a repeat

repairs, Kelly is the hardware queen

Continued on page 16


LIVING & DESIGN Continued from page 15

by the House

Two nights later, they spotted

with his faithful foxhound Toby.


each other on the dancefloor at the

The arrangement is domestic bliss.

Toronto’s pre-

now-defunct Barn nightclub, where

“We both get into high art things,



singer Lady Miss Kier was perform-

but we can also watch shitty televi-

house, last year

ing. They had what Alejandro calls

sion and hang around in our under-

at Buddies in

“a hot-’n’-sweaty night.”

wear and eat pizza,” says Brendan.


Alejandro Santiago



Brendan was hooked. Post-Pride

When the artsy boys aren’t read-

Theatre, where

he flew to South Beach to visit his

ing plays or jamming out to their



Miami crush. “It’s not my style to


sides as artistic

hop on a plane and see someone


director. Alejan-

I don’t know,” says Brendan, who

Buddies theatre, Brendan’s sec-

dro, a photog-

wound up spending three “roman-

ond home, where he is currently




tic” days with Alejandro eating


graphic designer from South Beach,

Cuban food, crashing art galleries,

ing Arigato, Tokyo, a darkly poetic

Miami, was in town for Pride and

chasing alligators in the Everglades

play by Daniel MacIvor opening this

Together 1 1/2 years

decided to scope out the event,

and watching the sun rise at The

March. Alejandro, who stepped in as

where he instantly started chat-

Standard Hotel.

Buddies’ official event photographer

“He had this Miami swagger,

ting with Brendan. “He was cocky.


which I liked a lot,” says 37-year-old












at the theatre’s annual New Year’s

He was adorable,” says Brendan of

“Anyone who comes on a plane to

Eve bash this year, is now part of the

Brendan Healy, talking about the first

Alejandro’s beach boy attitude that

visit me has to be cool.” He now

Buddies family. He wouldn’t want it

time he met his boyfriend, Alejandro

night. “I was intrigued by the fact

divides his time between his home

any other way. “[Buddies] is a mecca

Santiago, 32. Brendan was judging a

this guy from Miami was in Toronto.

in Miami and Brendan’s King Street

for creativity,” Alejandro says.

Toronto Pride vogueing event hosted

You don’t often see that.”

West condo, which Brendan shares

TRAVOY DEER & MYKEL HALL Together 5 years “He loves Janet, I love Beyonce,” says 26-year-old Travoy Deer, offering one example of how his tastes sometimes differ from those of his boyfriends, Mykel Hall, 41. While both men, who met online, may not always see eye-to-eye (Mykel, for example, believes owning one working gadget, like an iPhone, is enough, whereas Travoy requires two cellphones and an iPad at all

“WE HAVE LEARNED TO UNDERSTAND EACH OTHER’S PERSPECTIVE… THOUGH I TEND TO ALWAYS BE RIGHT.” times), they both, as Mykel puts it, have learned to “come out the other side on the same playing field.” Over the years, says Travoy, “We have learned to understand each other’s perspective… though I tend

Christopher Cushman




February 2013

to always be right.” Happily working as entertainers is what keeps this couple confident and cool. Mykel, whose career as DJ Blackcat spans 21 years, is responsible for bringing his signature blend of house and hip-hop beats to some of Toronto’s hottest parties, including Go Hard, Sodom and Glitch at Club 120, College Night at Church on Church, and Big Primpin’ at Wrongbar. Travoy, aka Travoy in the Flesh, is a performer who can sing, rap, speak, play instruments, produce, coach vocals, do drag and vogue in the House of Monroe, the Torontobased vogueing troupe. “I wear many hats,” he says. Despite their busy schedules, the couple always makes time for TV and video games. But not cooking. “He’s famous for his lasagna, which I don’t like. I’m known for my jerk chicken, which is too ‘spicy’ for him,” says Travoy. One thing they can agree on is not to take life too seriously. “We laugh at everything,” says Mykel.

Michael Pihach



spent 72 hours together at Pride,”

Together 8 months

for most gay couples,” adds Andrew).

says Jason (“which can be traumatic But the budding romance didn’t

“He thought I was a fame whore,”

become official (at least online) until

says 25-year-old Andrew Edwards,

Andrew tweeted a photo of Jason

referring to what he imagined his

under the caption “Isn’t my boy-

boyfriend, Jason Yantha, 27, first

friend gorgeous?” to his some 15,000

thought of him. Andrew and Jason

followers on Twitter.

met through MTV Canada’s talk

The boys now cohabitate in a

show 1 Girl 5 Gays, where Jason

trendy Queen West loft, which

works as a segment producer.

they’ve pimped out with owl-

Andrew, an outspoken cast mem-

printed cushions and framed prints

ber on the show, was participating

of five of Lindsay Lohan’s mug shots

in a special episode that profiled

on their living room wall. They have

some of the cast members’ homes.

one spare room, which Andrew

Jason was producing. “When I

used to install a stripper pole. “I

found out Jason was involved I immediately stalked him on Facebook,” says Andrew. It took a few run-ins at MTV studios, and on the Queen streetcar, before the boys truly bonded. “I didn’t want to date anyone who


was on TV,” says Jason, clarifying that he never actually called

wanted an office, but Andrew won

Andrew a fame whore, but was

that battle,” says Jason.

merely learning from past “bad experiences” dating people on TV.

That’s not the only fights they have. “We sometimes play Mary-

After a successful first date over

Kate and Ashley and we fight over

flavoured vodka slushies at Joey’s

who’s who,” says Andrew. The

restaurant at Bay and Dundas,

boys aren’t far off from becoming

Jason discovered that Andrew —

a celebrity couple themselves. In

when he’s not dishing dirt on 1 Girl

similar fashion to how Brad Pitt and

5 Gays — works as a sales project

Angelina Jolie became Bragelina,

manager for Empathica, a retail


marketing and consulting firm,

now call them Jandrew. “If Kim

and wasn’t just some guy who

[Kardashian] and Kanye [West’s]

only wanted to be on TV after all.

unborn baby can have a fun name,”

Andrew got a green light.

says Andrew, “I don’t see why we

“I knew it was working after we

can’t.” •



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FEBRUARY Jimmy Johansson CC-BY-SA3.0

Knut Klaßen

Rich Hein/Chicago Opera Theater






LADY GAGA First of two nights at the ACC


BHARATI Returns to the Sony Centre


Elisa Gilmour

Jason Hudson

OTHELLO, C’EST QUI Kicks off World Stage



SPENT Opens at the Young Centre

BRENT CARVER Opens at the Young Centre

Art & Photography PAUL PETRO CONTEMPORARY New works by two Winnipeg-based artists. Temperature Inversion, Leigh Bridges’ optically inventive figurative paintings; and Matte, former Torontonian Andrew Harwood’s meta-modern mixed-media abstractions. 11am-5pm. Wed-Sat. Until Sat, Feb 16. 980 Queen St W. (416) 979-7874. BY THE DOZEN Part two of Local Call group show of established artists who live or work in The Junction. Featuring Michael Antkowiak, Clint Griffin, Daniel Hutchinson, Linda Martinello, Anders Oinonen, Luke Painter, Orest Tataryn and Badanna Zack. 11am-6pm. Wed-Sat. Noon-4pm. Sun. Until Sun, Feb 17. Telephone Booth Gallery. 3148 Dundas St W. (647) 270-7903. VESSNA PERUNOVICH Stills: Moments


17 LUKE PAINTER By the Dozen group show closes

of Extreme Consequence. Whether represented on canvas, paper, film or performance the Toronto-based Perunovich often works with her own body, examining social, political and personal constraints. Until Sat, Feb 23. Angell Gallery. 12 Ossington Ave. (416) 530-0444. LOVE AND WAR Following his subject Caroline Annandale between the ages of 16 and 25, Montreal-based photographer Guillaume Simoneau documents the young US Army sergeant’s love life before, during, and after her deployment to Iraq. 11am-5pm. MonFri. Noon-5pm. Sat. Until Sat, Mar 3. Contact Gallery. 80 Spadina Ave, suite 310. RYERSON IMAGE CENTRE Four new photography exhibitions are currently running including Human Rights Human Wrongs, 316 original prints from the Black Star Collection curated

POMME IS FRENCH FOR APPLE Opens at the Young Centre

by Mark Sealy, examining how images of political struggle and suffering can work for and against humanitarian objectives. Plus Alfredo Jaar: The Politics of Images, where the Chilean-born, New York-based artist highlights ignored contemporary tragedies. Also showing: Clive Holden: Unamerican Unfamous and Dominic Nahr: Captive State. Free. 11am-6pm. Tue, Thu & Fri. 11am-8pm. Wed. 11am-5pm. Sat & Sun. Until Apr 14. 33 Gould St. (416) 979-5164. ARE YOU ALRIGHT? NEW ART FROM BRITAIN Featuring Boo Saville, Caroline

Achaintre, Clem Crosby, Dawn Mellor, Elizabeth Eamer, Graham Dolphin, Harry Burden, James Unsworth, Jonathan Baldock, Justin Mortimer, Laura Oldfield Ford and Tom Gidley. With Phil Collins’ they shoot horses, a dance marathon shot in Ramallah. Opening. 8pm-10pm. Fri, Feb 1. Artist talk. 1pm. Feb 2.

DACHSHUND UN Opens at World Stage

PWYC. Until Mar 24. 952 Queen St W. (416) 395-0067. PATTI SMITH: CAMERA SOLO A solo photography exhibition, with objects and film, by the legendary rock star. Look for performances, too. $19.50 (general admission). Sat, Feb 9-May 19. Art Gallery of Ontario. 317 Dundas St W. (416) 979-6648.


presents works by Jeni Legon, Dindi Lidge, Zab Maboungou, Paul Pettiford, Kevin Pugh, George Randolph, Jean Sheen and Sharlene Thomas, performed by Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata and others, including the Tribute Crew, an ensemble of gifted youth from COBA and the Children and Youth Dance Theatre of Toronto. Len D Henry is the



returns to Toronto for its sixth year running Fri, Feb 8 to 10. A highlight is a rare screening of the 1976 feature Salome, a queer take on Oscar Wilde’s play and a Super 8 tour de force by Mexican artist Teo Hernandez. Hernandez (1939-1992) is heralded in France for his pivotal place in what came to be known as “l’École du corps” (“the School of the Body”). A copresentation with Pleasure Dome. 11pm. Feb 8. Also look for the audience-sourced Home Movie History Project: The Design of Everyday Life and the two Bagerooo surveys of Canadian and international small-guage works. $5 per event; $25 festival pass. Workman Arts. 651 Dufferin St. 360 SCREENINGS A fusion of theatre, cinema and party. Guests enjoy hors d’oeuvres and cocktails while becoming fully immersed in the film’s environment. Familiar scenes, set designs and dialogue will suggest the film’s identity. The evening concludes with the reveal and screening of the film. The location of the venue is kept secret until 24 hours prior. $60 ($40 for art workers/or under 30). 7pm. Thu, Feb 14. 360screenings.

Classical & Jazz JUMP START The Continuum ensemble joins with NAISA (New Adventures in Sound Art) in presenting “classical” works that employ the very latest in sound technology. Featuring composers Ryan Scott and Paul Widner, Rose Bolton, Scott Smallwood, Daniel Mayer and Andrew Staniland. $30 adults; $20 seniors, arts workers; $10 students. 8pm. Sun, Feb 10. The Citadel. 304 Parliament St. (416) 924-4945. TORONTO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA


In Love and War at the Contact Gallery this month, Montreal-based photographer Guillaume Simoneau documents a US servicewoman’s life over a nine-year period.

creative director. $25-$28. 8pm. Fri, Feb 1 & 2. Fleck Dance Theatre. 207 Queens Quay W. (416)973-4000. LOVELOSS Dancemakers presents a world premiere by artistic drector Michael Trent, a personal exploration of love and loss following the recent death of his mother. Performed by Robert Abubo, Amanda Acorn, Ellen Furey, Simon Portigal, Simon Renaud. $25. 8pm. Thu-Sat. 4pm. Sun. Fri, Feb 15-24. Special fundraising performance and party. $50 Wed, Feb 20. Centre for Creation. 9 Trinity St, 3rd floor. (416) 367-1800. STEREOPHONIC Peggy Baker Dance presents three world premieres and re-interpretations of two landmark solos. Among the new works is the ambitious Split Screen Stereophonic, a series of duets exploring relationships from the women’s point of view. With

music by Knuckleduster (Robert Lippok and Debashis Sinha). The evening features dancers Sarah Fregeau, Benjamin Kamino, Sean Ling, Sahara Morimoto and Andrea Nann, with pianist John Kameel Farah. $30. 8:30pm. Wed, Feb 27, Mar 1 & 2. 4pm. Mar 3 ($75 premium tix avail). PYWC. 8:30pm. Feb 28. Betty Oliphant Theatre. 404 Jarvis St. 1 (888) 838-3006.

Film & Video THE INNOCENTS TIFF screens Jack

Clayton’s1961 terrifying thriller, based on Henry James’ classic The Turn of the Screw, introduced by author and New Yorker contributor Hilton Als. Part of the Books on Film series. $35. 7pm. Mon, Feb 11. TIFF Bell Lightbox. 350 King St W. (416) 599-TIFF. THE 8 FEST North America’s only festival devoted to all forms of small-gauge film

Programming this month includes Beethoven’s Symphony No 9 (featuring the famous Ode to Joy). With soloists Erin Wall, Allyson McHardy, Joseph Kaiser and Shenyang, plus the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir. Also Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture and Elgar’s Serenade in E minor. Matthew Halls conducts. $29$145. 8pm. Wed, Feb 13, 15 & 16. Then it’s Love Will Keep Us Together with pops conductor Steven Reineke leading the TSO through a sampling of classic romantic melodies and love songs from Hollywood films, from Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” to the love song from Ghost. With soloists Betsy Wolfe and Mike Eldred. $29-$110. 8pm. Tue, Feb 19 & 20. 2pm. Feb 20. Roy Thomson Hall 60 Simcoe St. (416) 593-4828.

Pop & Rock LADY GAGA The Born This Way Ball with Madeon and Lady Starlight. $65-$195. 7:30pm. Fri, Feb 8 & 9. Air Canada Centre. 40 Bay St. MATMOS Play Thu, Feb 14. See page 29.

Stage WINTER AT THE YOUNG Soulpepper/ Young Centre presents a series of four unique works. On now is the revelatory

Rare, co-written by its nine performers with Down Syndrome. Created and directed by Judith Thompson; written and performed by Sarah Carney, Dylan Harman, James Hazlett, Nick Herd, Suzanne Love, Mike Liu, Nada Mayla, Krystal Nausbaum and Andreas Prinz, with musician Victoria Carr. Until Thu, Feb 7. Spent is a two-person showcase of physical comedy performed by Ravi Jain and Adam Paolozza. Directed by Dean Gilmour and Michele Smith. $20$30. 8pm. Tue, Feb 12-14, 16, 21 & 22. Then sensational Tony Award-winning actor/singer Brent Carver presents a series of cabaret performances featuring a repertoire ranging from Leonard Cohen’s “Take This Waltz” to The Searchers’ “Love Potion No 9,” accompanied by his long-time musical collaborator Laura Burton on piano, with violinist Anna Atkinson and cellist George Meanwell. In the intimate Michael Young Theatre. $30-$40. 8pm. Fri, Feb 15-17, 23, 24, Mar 2 & 3. pomme is french for apple is a hit from last year’s Fringe, a vaudevillian and distinctly West Indian exploration of the absurdity of women’s lives around the world. Created and performed by Liza Paul and Bahia Watson. $20-$30. 8pm. Thu, Feb 28, Mar 1, 8 & 9. Young Centre. 50 Tank House Lane. (416) 866-8666. WORLD STAGE The sprawling festival of the best in world performance opens with Othello, c’est qui (Othello, who’s that). This German/Côte d’Ivoire coproduction from Gintersdorfer/Klaßen starts with the fact that Shakespeare is virtually unknown in Africa. A playful conversation about the clichés surrounding Othello and Desdemona quickly evolves into a confrontation between two cultures. Starring Cornelia Dörr and Franck Edmond Yao. $15-$35. 8pm. Wed, Feb 6-9. Enwave Theatre. 231 Queens Quay W. Then Brazil’s Grupo Corpo returns with two spectacular dance productions: In Sem Mim (Without Me) tattooed dancers merge the rhythm of the sea with medieval PortugueseGalician chants; the second work, Ímã (Magnet) takes inspiration from magnetism. $15-$50. 8pm. Tue, Feb 19-23. Fleck Dance Theatre. 207 Queens Quay W. And then, what we’ve all been waiting for, Dachshund UN from Australian sculptor and installation artist Bennett Miller. A meeting of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights is staged with the help of specially recruited dachshunds. Performances to be webcast. Free. 7pm. Thu, Feb 28 & Mar 1. 2pm. Mar 2 & 3. Enwave Theatre. (416) 973-4000. LA CLEMENZA DI TITO Director Christopher Alden’s bold retelling of Mozart’s late masterpiece on the nature of power. On the heels of his sparkling production of Die Fledermaus this past fall, Alden returns to the COC with his production of La clemenza di Tito which premiered in 2009 at Chicago Opera Theater. With young maestro Daniel Cohen in his company debut, leading an acclaimed Continued on page 20




Story Paul Aguirre-Livingston

Continued from page 19

ensemble featuring Canadian tenor Michael Schade and US mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard. $12-$325. 2pm. Sun, Feb 3. 7:30pm. Feb 7, 9, 11, 13, 19 and 22. 4:30pm. Feb 16. Members of the COC’s Ensemble Studio take over the lead roles for one performance. $22 & $55. 7:30 p.m. Wed, Feb 6. Four Seasons Centre. 145 Queen St W. (416) 363-8231. DO YOU WANT WHAT I HAVE GOT?

Opens Thu, Feb 7. See page 23. BHARATI The story of a US-raised Indian reurning to India to discover love and culture, featuring original background music and 19 of the greatest hit songs of Indian cinema, all played and sung live. $39-$99. 2pm. Sat, Feb 9 & 10. 8pm. Feb 9. Sony Centre. 1 Front St E. 1 (855) 872-SONY (7669). FROM THE HOUSE OF MIRTH Opens Thu, Feb 14. See page 24. TO MYSELF AT 28 To mark his 60th birthday, playwright and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre cofounder Sky Gilbert has a theatrical discussion with his younger self, played by Spencer Charles Smith. Gilbert promises, “one of the most embarrassing, humiliating, and masochistic confessional plays  ever written.” PWYC. 8pm. Fri, Feb 15 & 16. 2pm. Feb 16. Videofag. 187 August Ave. RHUBARB Opens Wed, Feb 20. See page 27.

Causes & Events RON WHITE SHOE DRIVE For the 17th year, Canadian shoe designer Ron White collects “gently worn” winter footwear (see page 34 for launch). Shoes and boots are sorted and cleaned before being distributed to

→ SALOME Rare Teo Hernandez screening at 8 Fest on Fri, Feb 8.

shelters and organizations in need. Collecting continues through Sun, Feb 10. At all Ron White Shoes locations in Toronto. KUUMBA Harbourfront’s celebration of local and international artists from the African and Caribbean diaspora runs Fri, Feb 1 to 3. Highlights includes the 10th anniversary celebration of jazz and soul hub The Trane Studio with Alexander Brown, Waleed Abdulhamid, Ernest Dawkins and Ursula Rucker; Garvia Bailey hosts. $15. 8pm. Feb 2. Brigantine Room. 235 Queens Quay W. The Hair Show has industry professionals exploring the wonders of black hair through panel discussions, a hair show and film screening. Free. 7pm. Feb 2. Studio Theatre. 235 Queens Quay W. harbourfrontcentre. com/kuumba. TORONTO EROTIC ARTS AND CRAFTS FAIR Come As You Are sex shop pre-

sents a refreshing mix of erotic art, shopping and fun. Artists and vendors offer up everything from crocheted pasties, handmade lingerie and corsets to suggestive baked goods, posters and knitted dildo cozies. Fair. Noon-8pm. Cabaret. 9:30pm-10:30pm. Afterparty. 10:30pm. Sat, Feb 9. Free. Gladstone Hotel Ballroom. 1214 Queen St W. QUEERING BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Photo exhibit and panel discussion, featuring Ottawa-based social critic and writer Edward Ndopu, a Namibianborn, South African-raised queer disabled activist (see page 10). Lali Mohamed and Rodney Diverlus host. 5:30pm. Thu, Feb 28. Ryerson Student Centre. 55 Gould St. Check Facebook for updates. •

The Ossington strip keeps morphing — and it’s just been upgraded to a higher plane of style with the arrival of Gravitypope, an independently-owned boutique that originated in Edmonton in 1990. The footwear-driven shop has expanded its product line and territory, dominating Western Canada with outposts in Calgary and Vancouver, and e-commerce with worldwide shipping. As its second-biggest web market, Toronto couldn’t be more excited. “The Gravitypope concept is to provide customers with a beautiful space to shop, with the confidence that they will find fine design, function and quality at a range of pricepoints from a knowledgeable staff,” says owner Louise Dirks. That means leather high-top Adidas boots ($140) next to ultra-mod brogue oxford leather lace-ups (with platform soles!) from Japanese label Comme des Garcons ($460), plus styles from Hugo Boss, John Fluevog, Dr Martens and even a house label. The “fine design” mandate is also reflected in a 4,000-squarefoot interior: modern meets Louis XVI furnishings, a 15-foot doublesided tufted mohair couch, opulent French chandeliers from the ’20s and a breathtaking art deco staircase reclaimed from the Paramount Theatre in Buenos Aires. While the shoe remains a core


based chain Gravitypope has branched out into all manner of cool designs.

focus, you’ll find more than 100 brands and clothing labels like the new lower-priced line from German Jil Sander Navy, British prep from Paul Smith, and avant-garde Parisian rock-’n’-roll threads from Rick Owens. Plus accessories like colourful and vibrant Happy Socks ($13 pair) and even Alexander Wang if you’re lucky. There’s also a modest apothecary selection including luxury candle formulations from French line Cire Trudon and mild, innovative, unisex scents from acclaimed CB I Hate Perfume. For spring/summer 2013, Dirks says to look forward to collections from Council of Fashion Designers of America best menswear winner Billy Reid, and the new Veronique Branquinho women’s collection. The shop will also be the exclusive carrier of Olfactive Studio, an exciting scent collection based in Paris and inspired by photography and Adieu, a footwear line designed by Isabelle Geudon, a former right hand to the mastermind behind French power-label Lanvin. .

GRAVITYPOPE 10am-7pm. Mon-Wed & Sat. 10am-9pm. Thu & Fri. 11am-6pm. Sun. 1010 Queen St W. (647) 748-5155.

We think having a plan for the future, is a really good plan for the future.

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Making a plan for the future begins with knowing

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Art auctions like Snap succeed or not based on the quality of the work Story Pamela Meredith


harity auctions are the perfect opportunity to support your favorite causes and acquire great art simultaneously. Sometimes there are deals to be had, or the chance to buy a print or edition from artists whose work may typically be out of reach. But, as always, buyers should acquire works that they love… works that they can’t live without. For this reason, these auctions succeed or not based on the quality of the donated artwork. I am looking forward to the Snap auction in the beginning of March, benefitting the AIDS Committee of Toronto. Full disclosure: I am on the curatorial committee, which selected the artists, so I am clearly biased in my thinking that we’ve got some great art. As a fan of photo-based work, I appreciate the auction’s focus on photography and this year’s selection covers a broad spectrum of innovative practices. Some lots to look out for include Liss Platt’s Constant: 3 Minutes, a digitally assembled grid of photographs of a swimming raft taken, as the title suggests, of a consistent view over a set duration. All is constant except the weather, waves and light — in other words, not much! Platt uses photography as a tool to examine familiar, meaningful places in a sustained way (she has been photographing the north shore of Nova Scotia for a decade). Can our understanding of the landscape grow as the photographs accumulate in a systemic way? Or will it always be mysterious and unpredictable? Worlds away, Alex McLeod eschews nature for psychedelic, 3-D environments that he builds in the computer. Glitter, metallic foils, crystals and colours rarely found in 22

February 2013

nature combine to create utopic (or dystopic, depending on your mood) landscapes. White Blue is a very strong example of McLeod’s wild imagination, attention to detail and totally unique approach to picturemaking. Welcome to the future. Similarly, Alex Fischer works in the virtual world and composes his landscapes by digitally layering his sources like brushstrokes on a canvas. In fact, the lush forest view reads like a painting from a distance but reveals itself to be something quite different upon closer examination. Technology aside, Untitled Greens is timeless. Richard Johnson’s work, like Platt’s, is a study in repetition. His Ice Huts series examines this iconic

architectural typology across the provinces. His straightforward frontal views simultaneously capture the simplicity of the form alongside the richness of the many details that make each hut unique. Ice Hut #528 from Great Slave Lake in Alberta is special because of the graphic split between snow, water and sky and the stunning combination of green and chartreuse. David Welch’s Laundry Totem captures a tower of dirty laundry, which is equal parts humorous and critical. Welch creates these monuments of “accumulation and materiality” with a view to encouraging discussions of our rampant consumer culture, but the absurdity of the stack injects the debate with

→ THE GIFT OF VISION David Welch’s Laundry Totem (above left), Alex McLeod’s White Blue (above right) and Richard Johnson’s Ice Hut #528 (lower right).

some much-appreciated whimsy. Thank you to all of the potential bidders out there. It will feel doubly good to support Snap while going home with something special. But a particularly big thank you to the artists for your creativity and generosity, and for giving the good stuff.

SNAP Preview. Free. Fri, Mar 1-3. Arta Gallery. 14 Distillery Lane. Auction. $100. Thu, Mar 7. Andrew Richard Designs. 571 Adelaide St E. PAMELA MEREDITH Is TD Bank Group’s senior curator.




From the House of Mirth is a moving, beautiful work of art haunted by sorrow Story Gordon Bowness | Photography Paul Antoine Taillefer


beautiful, intelligent and popular woman fails in the game of love and marriage. She has everything going for her but independence (that is, money or power); the game is rigged. Impoverished, abandoned,


February 2013

she succumbs to despair and substance abuse. She dies alone. That inexorable, terrifying arc is traced by Lily Bart, the heroine of Edith Wharton’s celebrated 1905 novel of manners The House of Mirth. It’s the book that made

Wharton’s reputation, at the age of 43, launching her career as one of the most important writers of the 20th century. The novel’s success won Wharton, trapped in a failing marriage to a man eventually institutionalized because

of mental illness, the independence she so desperately craved. It allowed her to chart her own dazzling course — with careers as an author and designer, friendships among the cultural elite (including Henry James, Jean Cocteau


and André Gide), fabulous homes,

tion,” says Kudelka, choking up.

world travel, a Pulitzer for the 1920

“It’s so much of what he wanted



ally. It’s big money. And you are

novel The Age of Innocence and

me to do, it contains so much of

was like some rare flower grown

accountable. Nobody else can help

significant philanthropic work.

what he taught me.”

for exhibition,” writes Wharton, “a

you,” says Lemieux. “So I related to


flower from which every bud had

Lily around money matters… and

haunted Wharton as it haunted all

Lemieux, “I thought to myself

been nipped except the crowning

her pride.”

women of her era. It haunted too

that there’s no way this produc-

blossom of her beauty.” Surely that

Right from the start of the show,

some of Canada’s finest artists,

tion was going to happen. Then I

line is the inspiration for librettist

you feel complicit in its deadly

inspiring them to create a tiny per-

got a call from James two weeks


game of manners. You enter the

fect musical. This month Coleman

later wanting to set up rehearsals.

“No one sees the flower falling.”

Lemieux & Compagnie remounts

That’s when I saw his true colours.

“The parallels between Lily, and

house, with members of the cast

From the House of Mirth, a stand-

Goddamn, he’s a great artist. He’s

her path in this piece, and mine

nodding at you; you are an invited

out of the 2012 theatre calendar. Or

a good worker, he’s committed and

with the capital campaign and the

guest, you have a role to play.

was it a standout of the dance cal-

he’s serious. He went out and did

breakdown of my marriage,” says

endar? Or the opera calendar? With


But the tragedy of Lily Bart




choreography by James Kudelka,

Lemieux spoke to me at the

music by Rodney Sharman and

company’s new home, The Citadel,

libretto by Alex Poch-Goldin, the

near Parliament and Dundas Street

unusual hybrid brings together

East. The show’s creation hap-

four dancers, all female, four sing-

pened in tandem with the launch

ers, all male, and a five-member

of a hugely ambitious $1-million

musical ensemble in a potent dis-

capital campaign (still ongoing) to

tillation of Lily’s story — whatever

buy and renovate the building. And

you call it, it’s a must-see. At the

during all these high-stakes finan-

heart of the show is a bewitching

cial and creative efforts Lemieux’s

performance as Lily by Laurence

marriage to company cofounder

Lemieux, cofounder and co-artis-

Bill Coleman fell apart. They sepa-

tic director of Coleman Lemieux &

rated this past year.

In the novel hardships burnish astonishing




donors, dealing with that person-

theatre as if it’s a salon in a grand

The choreography by Kudelka, 57, former artistic director of the


National Ballet of Canada and one of the best choreographers working today, is intimate and inward looking. “It’s not about high kicks,” he says. “It’s all about how you carry yourself, how — and if — you touch someone else.” The Citadel seats only 61; From the House of Mirth is a chamber piece that won’t work in theatres much bigger. Ideally, the creators want to stage it in an actual

Lemieux, “it kept hitting me in

salon. Lemieux is still hoping get

“I relate to the love aspect of Lily’s

rehearsals how similar they were.”

it into The Mount, Wharton’s self-

Heartbreak was never far from

story,” says Lemieux, gorgeous at 48.

“When we were rehearsing it, we

designed home and now museum

Kudelka and Lemieux when they

“As a woman, I feel the clock tick-

kept saying it was our lives,” says

created From the House of Mirth.

ing now that I’m back on the mar-

Kudelka, echoing a key line in the

“I wanted to keep it small, keep

Kudelka’s partner of 19 years, Jim

ket. And not back on the market like

libretto. “No one knows the cost of

it intimate,” says Kudelka, “the

Wies, died suddenly in 2009 just

when I was 28, but back on the mar-

beauty better than a not-for-profit

audience can’t keep the action at

weeks before the first workshop.

ket with two kids and lots of trou-

arts organization. Laurence kept

a distance. In some ways it was a

“Jim would have loved this produc-

ble,” she says, laughing. “But seri-

saying, ‘Oh my God, my life is Lily’s

backlash against all the big insti-

ously, I’m not back on the market. I

life: I have to go meet another man

tutions I’ve been involved in. But

can’t rebuild that future. I’m transi-

about money.’”

it’s also about my interest in mak-


→ DEVASTATING Laurence Lemieux as Lily Bart in Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie’s From the House of Mirth.

tioning into a new period of my life where I don’t know what to expect.”

“All of the struggles we had around




in Lennox, Massachusetts.

ing theatre today… in a time when Continued on page 26



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Continued from page 25

a cell phone can bring a screen

from grace. And no one has said a

closer to your face than anything

single word about infidelity, real or

on stage, it’s incredibly difficult


to make that strong a connection

“That’s what Edith Wharton is

to the audience. So now you lit-

all about,” says Kudelka. “Those

erally have to put them onstage,

unspoken rules, how something

too…. I want people to see not just

unspoken can change someone’s


whole world forever.”

And hear. The gorgeous period

Judy is played perfectly elegant

costumes by Jim Searle and Chris

and calculating by Claudia Moore.

Tyrell of Hoax Couture (see page

Victoria Bertram gives a power-

8) carefully map Lily’s economic

ful stoic performance as Aunt

decline. The ruffle of silk adds a

Peniston, the older woman who

wonderfully claustrophobic effect,

has seen too much. Christianne

a taffeta prison.

Ullmark is flawless as the naïve

Early on in the creative process,


protégée. Only her eyes tell of the

decided to have only the women

fearful lessons she’s learning. The

dance and the men sing; the

audience, like the women, watch

men tell the story, the women

and learn too. All the dancers fully



embody Poch-Goldin’s poetic (and

the same cast as the 2012 pre-

at under an hour) efficient libretto.

miere. Countertenor Scott Belluz,


tenor Graham Thomson, bari-

lovely/ Vendettas and lavender

tone Alexander Dobson and bass

perfume the air/ Nothing to say/ A

baritone Geoffrey Sirett are four

kind invitation to eat or be eaten/

very talented singers. They make

So lady beware.”







the most of Sharman’s brooding,

With furtive glances and turned

sophisticated score with its mix

backs, Lily is ostracized, eventu-

of expressionistic, even-strident

ally dying of an overdose, perhaps

moments and lovely, heartbreak-

accidental, by taking too much of a

ing melodies. The men’s role in

sleeping draught. Her final dances

the production offers an evoca-

are immensely moving, as much a

tive statement on the gender poli-

tour de force of acting as of dance.

tics of 19th-century New York. It’s

“In the final dance, Lily is a ghost

in the spaces between the men

figure in the quartet,” says Kudelka.

where Lily and the other women

“She’s the odd one out and they act

are forced to make their moves.

as if she was never there.”

It’s in silence that the women wield their power.

Who knows how inspiration, talent and hard work combine with

Silence, what’s left unsaid, is

heartbreak in the creation of art.

a key theme in Wharton. In the

But during a time of great sorrow

novel, Lily is invited on a European

Kudelka and Lemieux have crafted

Need money now? It’s quick and easy!

cruise only to be kicked off by

an absolutely devastating work

the wife of the yacht’s owner. In

of art, one that, to use Wharton’s

part it’s a smokescreen to hide

words, allows us to see “deep into

the wife’s own indiscretions; in

the hidden things of love.”

Apply online or find a location near you!

willful act is given to Judy Trenor Serving the LGBT community with pride. 26

but impossibly beautiful young




February 2013

part it’s just plain jealousy. In this paired-down version, that who speaks the only line uttered by a woman, the infamous, “Miss Bart is not going back to the yacht.” In both novel and dance this is the turn of the screw, the start of Lily’s final and fatal fall

FROM THE HOUSE OF MIRTH $50. 8pm. Tue-Sat (& Feb 17). 4pm. Sat & Sun. Thu, Feb 14-24. PWYC. 3pm. Wed, Feb 20. The Citadel. 304 Parliament St. (416) 364-8011.

Raquel Da Silva




Rhubarb Festival offers three very different types of performance this year Story Serafin LaRiviere


oronto offers an abundance of affordably-priced entertainment, be it music, theatre or dance. We’re particularly lucky to have a vibrant indie-theatre scene, with annual festivals like Toronto Fringe, Summerworks and this month’s Rhubarb Festival hosted by the fine folks at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. With the so-called mainstream theatre’s increasing forays into LGBT themes, Buddies has been steadily shifting its focus towards more experimental fare the past few years, as evidenced by three very different flavours of Rhubarb

on offer this year: more standard theatre and cabaret fare, dance and performances for one person only. Perhaps most exciting is Rhubarb’s One-to-One Performances series. The premise is simple: one performer, one audience member, one room. The possibilities (and potential pitfalls) are both promising and terrifying. “The dynamic is so very different from a larger piece,” says playwright and director Bruce Barton, whose piece All Good Things will be premiering at this year’s festival. “The relationship with the

audience is profoundly different, and they’re drawn into the performance in a very real way.” The solo performance features Toronto actor Martin Julien, and centres around his character’s discussion of a near-death experience. As details of the incident emerge, the sole audience member is brought into the story and invited to share their own related experiences. “I was inspired by an experience I had a year and a half ago, where I came as close to dying as anybody gets, and is still able to talk about it afterward,” Barton says.

“I was swimming in a lake near Manitoulin Island. I’m a fairly good swimmer, and I was familiar with the lake, but I got caught in a current in uncommonly cold water. It was the spiral of exhaustion and hypothermia that did me in.” Pulled from the water and resuscitated, Barton was left pondering the nature of life and death. His conclusions may seem somewhat surprising. “It didn’t leave me with a sense of trauma,” says Barton. “Instead I was left with a sense of selfawareness and calm about things. Continued on page 28


A RT & E N T E RTA I N M E N T Continued from page 27

But there are people in my family

felt so out of place in the ’90s when

that were left very traumatized by

I interviewed him, and certainly

it all.”

not in step with the kind of ‘let’s

Barton is quick to point out

tear down the walls and have a

that All Good Things isn’t really

revolution’ spirit that I was part of

about the details of his own expe-

in the ’80s.” Given that Crisp was nearing his

of how people respond to these

90th year at the time of their meet-

reminders that our bodies are not

ing, Stamos feels it’s understand-


able that his elderly subject’s take

“Martin will be playing both himself and a version of me, a con-

on homosexuality came from a very different social climate.

struct that will invite the audience

“In the ’80s there was a kind of

to take part in his story. Inevitably,

visceral energy happening when

I’m happy that my genetics and

collective in 2007, with the goal

this is a very personal piece, but

people were dying all around

the fact I’ve had vigorous dance

of fostering supportive spaces for

it’s less about me and more about

us,” Stamos says. “Whereas in

practice as part of my life has

other dancers and artists. “My

how we and the people in our

Quentin’s time, it was more wait-

kept me healthy, but I can easily

piece is about the way I experi-

lives handle these things. When

ing things out and trying not to get

imagine Quentin’s life in a small,

enced racism, as well as the rac-

you come close to almost passing,

killed. Back in the ‘80s, if you said

dank apartment somewhere if I let

ism within coming out, in rela-

nothing is ever quite the same. Life

something smart they wouldn’t

myself go.”

tionships and in different gay and

is very much altered.”

kill you. They might beat you up,

All Good things runs Fri, Feb 22

but they wouldn’t kill you.”

Dandy Decay plays Fri, Mar 1

queer communities,” says Sze-

and 2 at 9:30pm in the Chamber at

Yang. “It’s also how I experienced


homophobia, racism and body

to 24 at 6pm, 7pm, 8pm and 9pm

In the nearly two decades that

at the 519 Community Centre (519

have passed since the interview,



Stamos feels a stronger sense of

Racisim. Sexism. They’re crimes

is 30 minutes and admission is

understanding towards the infa-

perpetrated upon us, certainly,

Newest member Kumari Giles


mous Naked Civil Servant. “I think

but they are sadly also crimes we

empathizes with her co-members,





image in both dance school and the dance industry.”

Mortality was much on George

I was really kind of naïve when I

are guilty of within our own com-

having received a fair (or rather,

Stamos’ mind when he began con-

interviewed Quentin,” he says. “I

munity. Dance troupe Ill Nana

unfair) share of negative judgment

struction of Dandy Decay, a sweep-

had enough instinct to know that

explores their own experiences

in both her personal life and her

ing examination of aging, activism

I was interested in the intergen-

with these issues in their newest

dance career.

show, Fire.

and queer history told from his own perspective. Woven throughout





Stamos and Quentin Crisp filmed two years before Crisp’s death in 1999. “I’ve kind of sat on this video for 16 years,” says Stamos. “It’s been part of a puzzle that I’ve spent years trying to piece together, the


atmosphere,” she says. “I’ve had

intimate stories that the dancers are telling,” says Gein Wong, who

to discover what my skin colour,

acted as dramaturge during the

my sexuality mean to other peo-

piece’s creation. “They’re talking

ple and to myself. All of those neg-

about growing up as queer folks

ative judgments that I’ve internal-

of colour, navigating life in a way

ized don’t have to exist in an angry

that is complicated and frighten-

way. There are other possibilities

ing and inspiring.”

of moving through the world in a

erational thing, but I was still in

Fire is actually the first part of

a bigger picture of AIDS activism in

my 20s and, frankly, hadn’t lived

what will be a dance trilogy, and

the ’80s, and the evolution of gay

enough to know for myself, and to

features the troupe both as soloists

Pride over the last hundred years.

be asking those questions. Now I

and an ensemble. For the tightly-

“Quentin was definitely part of

respond, I think, with more com-

woven group, collaboration is key.

the puzzle, as I tried to understand

passion towards him, where then I

“All three of us co-created the

his temperament and views which

might have respected him as a sort

piece and choreographed our own

of elderly aunt.”

solos,” says dancer Jelani Ade-Lam.

February 2013

And does viewing his 20-year-

“It takes such a lot of trust to do

old self on film give the performer

our work safely, and to hold each

pause when thinking of his own

other if we get triggered by what

future, 50 years hence, at the age

we’re working on. It’s essential

Quentin had reached when they

that we have a safe environment.”

first met? “Oh God. All the fucking time.

“I grew up in a very regulated

“These are all very personal,

puzzle of intergenerational stories,

→ MIX IT UP Ill Nana presents Fire (preceding page), one of many dance productions at this year’s festival. Dandy Decay by George Stamos (above right) is more standard theatrical fare, while All Good Things by Bruce Barton (above left) is part of the One-to-One Performances series. 28

Susan Moss

rience, but rather an exploration

Ade-Lam and troupe co-founder Sze-Yang Ade-Lam created the

my body, my race, my gender and

much kinder, loving way.” Fire runs Wed, Feb 20 to 24 at 9pm in the Chamber at Buddies.

RHUBARB $20 per evening. Wed-Sun. Wed, Feb 20–Mar 3. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. 12 Alexander St. (416) 975-9130.




sonic imaginings born of a unique musical marriage Story Mary Dickie | Photography James Thomas Marsh


elepathy is a strange phenomenon that happens between people operating on the same wavelength — musicians performing together, for instance, or lovers finishing each other’s sentences. As a couple for 20 years, and partners in

their band Matmos for the same amount of time, Drew Daniel and Martin Schmidt are familiar with that mysterious connection, and they decided to employ it in the making of their latest album, The Marriage of True Minds. “We wanted a metaphor not

just for a romantic partnership but also for a musical partnership,” says Daniel. “I love the feeling when you’re improvising with somebody and you’re so in tune that you make a big stylistic change at exactly the same time. It’s just like what happens in the

bedroom.” The duo brings its unique brand of synchronicity to Toronto, suitably enough on Thu, Feb 14. Matmos, best known outside the experimental music world for their career-boosting collaboraContinued on page 30



ciate it as music. “I want people

“We argue like two mean cats.

to get something out of knowing

Oh, man, making music together

the sources of the songs, but I also

is the source of more arguments

want them to listen actively and

than anything else in our lives,

try to figure it out,” says Daniel.

hands down.”

“We make such a thing about our

“It’s true,” says Daniel, laugh-

concept, which implies that aes-

ing. “Part of how we deal with it is

thetics are secondary. But it mat-

that we take turns being in charge

ters a lot to me that something is

of records, and I was in charge of

worth someone’s time, that it has

this one, which meant Martin had

textural surprise and balance and

to be the one to say, ‘This song is

sonic threads to pull them along

not psychic enough,’ or whatever.”

from song to song.

In fact, Schmidt was against

“And I like using things that

the idea of recording the album’s

aren’t exotic. People talk about the

two covers, including a version

extreme things in our work, like burning skin or snails, but a lot

of the Buzzcocks’ “ESP” that features them both singing. “I’m furi-

of it is pretty everyday stuff that

ous that Drew had such a fantastic

also can be musical. Some of the

idea and didn’t have the guts to do

harshest, weirdest noises on this

all the songs that way,” he says. “I

album are just Martin using our

love the covers, but we have 50 or

espresso machine.”

60 awesome psychic sessions. We

“The milk steamer,” Schmidt It makes a listener wonder if Continued from page 29

those responses, accompanied by






bined the conceptual and the

are less obvious, like “Aetheric

almost frighteningly palpable in


their work. They make beauti-

a session with musician Keith

ful, danceable music by recording

Fullerton Whitman. “Keith heard

and manipulating the sounds of

a non-repeating five-note mel-

roses, Bible pages, rock salt, cos-

ody, and I found one that’s used

metic surgery and snails moving

in Egyptian music,” says Daniel.

across a laser beam connected to

“Martin set up a synthesizer patch

a theremin, among other things.

which would only play notes

This time the Baltimore-based duo

within that interval, so he could

conducted experiments in which

kind of solo in a free way.”

subjects lay in a room, with eyes covered and white noise on their


interpretations resulted



helped me get at something about the project as a whole, and that’s why it was important to have it as the last word. It’s part of the reason why Martin and I are singing together, which we’ve never done on any Matmos record and will probably never do again. “It’s also why the arrangement moves from dark and negative to joyous and exuberant. It’s the idea of love and connection, ending the

“You can’t play a bad note; it’s liberating,” says Schmidt.

up from sounds made of flesh,

paranoid nightmare of being stuck



in yourself to really intersect with



headphones, while Daniel sat in

“Keith mentioned metal brack-

tion is interesting,” says Daniel.

another person. That’s why any-

another room and tried to trans-

ets, so I bought some handcuffs,

“Somebody who has been arrested

one would care about telepathy.”

mit the concept of the album to

made noises with them, sam-

is going to hear the handcuffs in

them. Their responses were taped,

pled them and made them into

‘Aetheric Vehicle’ in a very differ-

interpreted and made into songs.

rhythmic kits,” says Daniel. “And

ent spirit than somebody who gets

Daniel kept the message secret,

he heard singing, so we got Jenn

off on handcuffs as part of sex

even from Schmidt, but interest-

Wasner from Wye Oak to pro-

play. So while the sound is sort of

ingly, many of the subjects saw

vide vocals. We worked on it and

universal, everybody gets a differ-

triangles. The track “In Search of

played it live and it went through

ent vibe.”

a Lost Faculty” collects some of


→ ROMANTIC & MUSICAL PARTNERS Telepathy is at the heart of The Marriage of True Minds, the new album by Matmos (aka Drew Daniel and Martin Schmidt). 30


“It feels so wrong, and yet right,” says Daniel of “ESP.” “The lyrical focus on telepathy really

violin, wine glasses and, naturally, tions with Björk, have long com-

could make 10 albums! But he was in charge, so I had to say yes.”


February 2013



And did Daniel and Schmidt


agree on how to interpret the ses-

meets ’70s jam meets celestial free

sions? Is that the real marriage of

jazz, with a lot of bells.”

true minds — being on the same





It’s tempting to listen to the

page when you make art together?

album in ignorance, just to appre-

“Good God, no!” says Schmidt.

MATMOS With Horse Lords. $10adv; $13 door. 9pm. Thu, Feb 14. The Garrison. 1197 Dundas St W.



HARD TO PIN DOWN → Thumbtacks

and Glue is the excellent new album from globe-trotting Canadian Mark Hamilton and his folky pop outfit Woodpigeon Story Mary Dickie | Photography Paolo Calmita


ark Hamilton clearly has restless feet syndrome — an urge for going, as Joni Mitchell once put it. The singer/ songwriter who fronts the folky pop collective Woodpigeon grew up in Calgary, then lived for a time in Edinburgh and is now based in Vienna, although he’s also visited and worked in Berlin, Naples, Montreal, Reykjavik and Regina — where the songs for his excellent new album, Thumbtacks and Glue, were written. “I have this kind of thirst, I guess,” he says over the phone from Vienna. “I’d rather have a really great adventure behind me than a really great job, when all’s said and done. I had a career, working in advertising and marketing in Calgary, and then I realized I didn’t want to live my life out on a little patch of carpet, you know? So I left. I’ve been a lot of places, but I still don’t really feel that I’ve seen much of the world.” Driven by an interest in his father’s Scottish background, Hamilton moved to Edinburgh in 2002, which changed his life in more ways than one: He felt able to live openly as a gay man for the first time; he began to write songs. “I guess on a pretty basic level it was the first time I was far enough away from home that I could just be whoever I wanted to be,” he says. “I could be out, and I didn’t have to explain anything to anybody. I was an unknown quantity, so I was just what I was from the start. You don’t have to come out to anybody who doesn’t know you, right? You just arrive that way.” In 2005 Hamilton made his way back to Calgary, where he hooked up with a group of like-

minded musicians, called the project Woodpigeon and released a few albums of beautifully crafted, deceptively gentle songs which, like the work of so many other Canadian musicians, ended up being greeted more warmly in Europe than at home. In 2011, he travelled to Vienna, where his mother is from — Woodpigeon’s 2010 album Die Stadt Muzikanten explored his grandparents’ Austrian heritage — met his partner and decided to stay. “It was one of those cheesy love at first sight things,” he says. “He kind of followed me across Europe as I was travelling with my parents, which makes me sound like I was 17. And my parents were fine with it — they told me to stay.” At some point in his wanderings Hamilton stayed still long enough to write and record the songs on Thumbtacks and Glue, which range from delicate acoustic guitar tunes (“The Saddest Music

in the World,” “Little Wings”) to intricate upbeat folk-rock numbers (“Children Should Be Seen and Not Heard,” “Sufferin’ Suckotash”) and no doubt the sweetest song ever written about burying someone alive (“As Read in the Pine Bluff Commercial”). But whatever their basis, Hamilton’s songs never begin as they end, shifting tone and pace, subsiding into sublime guitar breaks, adding and subtracting instruments and voices and ending up being much biggersounding than they initially seem. “Well, twice now I thought I’d make a really stripped-down record, and it didn’t turn out that way,” says Hamilton, whose band now includes almost 70 contributors around the world. “I’m so in love with the way that harmonies can play off each other, I can’t get over it. I’m just amazed at the way you can have one instrument doing this and another one can play off of that, and there are almost infinite

possibilities. But then of course the important thing is to know when to stop, and I’m still learning. I also can’t make a record quickly: This has been over two years of work. The writing happens really quickly and the recording sometimes happens in fast bursts, and then I spend maybe a year and a half taking things off and putting new things on. “I don’t really know what I’m doing. I hope I never know what I’m doing; I think I’d get bored if I did. I kind of like those moments when I get super frustrated and I don’t know what I’m supposed to do, and then I just kick something to pieces.”

WOODPIGEON Thumbtacks and Glue releases Tue, Feb 26. There’s the possibility of a Toronto performance in February; the band will definitely be in town later in the spring.


S EX s p onsored by spa excess




— with Andrea Zanin

— with Adam Segal “I’ve been feeling utterly obsessed with a man who, it seems, has no interest in me whatsoever. We work together and have cultivated a casual workplace friendship. I’ve always felt drawn to him and, when we were first getting to know each other, I flirted with him shamelessly to no avail. I tried to let it go once I saw that he wasn’t flirting back but just couldn’t shake my interest. He is incredibly kind, smart and we have so much in common. Once, at a workplace party, he clearly conveyed a desire to remain platonic but I’m still hopeful that he could shift his interest. I know I shouldn’t be chasing someone like him but find myself ruminating relentlessly about what he might dislike about me. How can I let this go?” →

Raoul Oh, unrequited love... damn you... you horrifying thing. Sometimes when we covet someone who isn’t offering back the validation we seek, that person becomes something almost mythical. You may be putting this guy on a pedestal and grasping for his validation precisely because he isn’t giving it to you. A faulty logic can emerge: If you were better, this guy would be interested. This perception can then lead to a blind hope that if you just knock this guy’s socks off with your charm and good looks, he will wake up and realize what he’s missing. All of this is sending you on an unending manhunt that is wreaking havoc on both your esteem and mood. An essential first step in moving on is working toward acceptance. Your refusal to let go of wanting things to be different is making you suffer and, as a result, consuming way too much of your precious energy. Acceptance will be easier when you stop elevating this guy (and his worth) above yourself. To be blunt: Stop putting your esteem and self-worth in this man’s hands. Getting him to like you wouldn’t make you a better

person nor would it confirm your desirability. I would encourage you to take stock of previous crushes or relationships to suss out if any patterns emerge — specifically one where you seek out men who are not truly making themselves available to you. If this tendency is one that resonates, it might be a symptom of an underlying issue. Perhaps you feel undeserving of reciprocal love? Perhaps you fear truly having something that you could then lose? A final step would be to simply stop trying — that means no more flirting as he heats up his leftovers at the office microwave. It might also help to turn your attention toward the dating pool so that you can remind yourself that your sexy co-worker isn’t the only man in the universe.

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

“How much can people with vulvas really ejaculate? Are people who squirt more prone to UTIs (they seem to be correlated)? Why?” Rife →


“It’s kind of an endless supply,”

sionals insist that G-spot ejacula-




says Winston. “We make ejaculate

tion doesn’t exist, trust me on this:

in response to the blood flow to the

It does. Anyone who possesses a

area and stimulation. So you can

vulva can in theory ejaculate. (This is

squirt innumerable times, and each

also known as “female ejaculation,”

squirt can be anywhere from a few

though you don’t have to identify as

drops to a few ounces, easily half a

female to have a G-spot.)

cup in a squirt. The fluid is ultimately

People with vulvas have a tube of

coming from your circulatory sys-

spongy tissue inside the body sur-

tem, so you need to rehydrate. Chug

rounding the urethral passage —

a huge glass of water and then go

the conduit that connects the ure-

back and squirt more!”

thra (the small opening where you

As for the UTI question, Winston

pee out of) to the bladder. That tis-

has an interesting theory. “My expe-

sue is packed with small glands.

rience is that learning to squirt and

During arousal, those glands pull

squirting reduces and often elimi-

fluid from the bloodstream via sur-

nates UTIs. I believe that’s actually

rounding capillaries, and the tissue

the purpose of the fluid, that it con-

swells up with watery liquid. The

tains anti-microbial properties, and

bottom curve of that tissue tube rests

the reason it’s there is to protect

against the top wall of the vagina,

from infection.”

so you can feel it by inserting your

Sheri has no data (there’s paltry

fingers an inch or two and curling

research on G-spot ejaculation), but

upward toward the belly. This is the

she notes that everywhere else we

famous G-spot — not a spot, really,

have orifices that might be a con-

more like an area. As it swells with

duit for infection, we have glands —

fluid, it can feel almost like a water

think tonsils and adenoids. “And my

balloon. Stimulation can cause that

anecdotal experience is pretty much

fluid to squirt out. For many people,

100 percent that when women learn

heavy, rhythmic stroking works best,

to ejaculate, that reduces UTIs,” she

but with practice, some people can

says. “For recurrent ones, it can even

even ejaculate just from contract-

eliminate them.”

ing their muscles. Sometimes ejac-

As for the reverse problem you

ulation happens along with orgasm;

describe, Winston says, “Most UTIs

sometimes the two are separate.

are caused by butt bacteria, so be

For the quantity question, I spoke

really conscious that anything in

with my go-to expert on all things

or around your butt doesn’t come

anatomically juicy: Sheri Winston

near, in or around your vagina.” That

(, registered

includes fingers, cocks and toys.

nurse, former midwife, sexuality

Fortunately, your squirting is likely

educator and author of the award-

not the issue!

winning book Women’s Anatomy of Arousal.

ANDREA ZANIN The Sex Geek blogs at



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Profile for IN Magazine

IN Toronto Magazine: February 2013  

IN Toronto Magazine: February 2013 Issue: 33 IN Toronto Magazine's February 2013 issue, featuring stories on gay and lesbian living.

IN Toronto Magazine: February 2013  

IN Toronto Magazine: February 2013 Issue: 33 IN Toronto Magazine's February 2013 issue, featuring stories on gay and lesbian living.