Page 1

INSIGHT NEW LANGUAGE BATTLE ROILS COMMUNITY

GAY & LESBIAN CITY LIVING

|

APRIL 2012

CULTURE

OSCAR WILDE, MARRIAGE COUNSELLOR HARD-HITTING HOT DOCS OPERA ATELIER’S ARMIDE

DESIRE &

OBSESSION


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EDITOR Gordon Bowness CREATIVE MARKETING DIRECTOR Nelson Tomé DESIGNERS Nicolás Tallarico, Jenny Watson OUR MISSION Inspire gay men and lesbians to live life to the fullest. Expand the gay and lesbian community by valuing diversity and individual choice. Celebrate Toronto. Provide readers with compelling news, information and entertainment. ADVERTISING & OTHER INQUIRIES (416) 551-0444 info@intorontomag.com EDITORIAL INQUIRIES (416) 551-0449 editorial@intorontomag.com PRODUCTION ads@intorontomag.com In Toronto is published by The Mint Media Group all rights reserved. 542 Parliament St, Toronto, ON, M4X 1P6 THE MINT MEDIA GROUP PRESIDENT Patricia Salib DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS Reggie Lanuza

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DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING & MARKETING Nelson Tomé THIS ISSUE CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Paul Gallant, Krishna Rau CONTRIBUTORS Derek Dotto, Jeremy Foreshew, Anna von Frances, Marty Galin, Alice Lawlor, Peter Knegt, Adam Segal, Lulu Wei, Andrea Zanin ON THE COVER James Leja in Opera Atelier’s 2005 production of Armide. Photography: Bruce Zinger


CONTENTS

ISSUE 23

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

Aren't you tired of all the sales gimmicks?

LF Optical is still & has always been off Current Designer Eyewear

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26

BALI HIGH The sublime pleasures of this unique island paradise by Anna von Frances A CUT ABOVE Sunil Prakash and Dean Villeneuve’s love-filled home and hair salon by Gordon Bowness

25

CALL ME KUCHU Hard-hitting debut at Hot Docs by Peter Knegt

26

LULLY & ARMIDE Opera Atelier’s magnificent obsession by Gordon Bowness

6

WILD ON WILDE with Catherine Malfitano

7

FUR & FASHION Sound Off

14

PLYOMETRIC TRAINING by Jeremy Foreshew

15

HOOKING UP & RACE PREFERENCE with Adam Segal

16

QUEER GRAMMAR by Krishna Rau

18

PSYCHIATRY & HIV by Krishna Rau

20

APRIL EVENTS

22

MMM, MMM, BURGERS by Marty Galin

23

PROPER RESERVE’S STYLISH SWAGGER by Derek Dotto

30

JEANETTE WINTERSON’S MEMOIR by Alice Lawlor

33

ENVY & THREESOMES with Andrea Zanin

34

CAUGHT IN THE ACT scene photography

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TORONTO TALK EXCHANGE

VIEW FINDER → SPRING AWAKENING This month sees the Toronto premiere of In Dance’s Quicksand (left) by local choreographer Hari Krishnan. The work, created for a multiracial cast of nine male contemporary dancers, draws inspiration from navarasa or nine archetypal states of being popular in Indian dance — love, disgust, compassion, valour, humour, fear, wonder, anger and peace. These states and more are explored in April’s bumper crop of LGBT performing arts. From Oscar Wilde (below) to Sky Gilbert and Daniel MacIvor, from Jean-Baptiste Lully’s opera (page 26) to DA Hoskins’s dance and Maggie MacDonald’s musical, Toronto stages this month are bursting with a riot of colour and passion. See our calendar and listings (pages 20 to 23) for these artists and many more.

Filip Claus

IN THEIR OWN WORDS CATHERINE MALFITANO

6

April 2012

→ “Sometimes a marriage has to go to extreme places to revive, to bring a renaissance into the marriage. [How these characters] get there is rather strange and shocking… quite typical for Oscar Wilde.”

Soprano turned director Catherine Malfitano directs the Canadian Opera Company’s production of A Florentine Tragedy by Alexander Zemlinsky. Based on an unfinished story by Oscar Wilde, the opera details how a husband reignites the relationship with his wife by killing her lover. Malfitano describes the one-act opera as “a fascinating mix of ideas, very relevant to modern audiences. I think the music is glorious, supersaturated with romanticism and sensuality. The whole piece reeks of a highly erotic sensuality, because it’s also dealing with the whole idea of fidelity versus forbidden love. “It has a really extremely shocking quality to it, but nothing more so than, say, our Hitchcock thrillers that we love so much.” Starring Alan Held, Gun-Brit Barkmin and Michael König in their COC debuts, the opera is shown with Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi beginning Thu, Apr 26. See page 21 for details.


TORONTO TALK EXCHANGE SOUND OFF THE FUR FLIES

FASHION CARES RETURNS

Eric Isselée

BY KRISHNA RAU

→ Toronto Fashion Week in March marked the latest flashpoint in the

ongoing debate over the use of fur in clothing. A number of designers who presented used animal fur in their collections — including Smythe, Judith and Charles, and Mackage — leading People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to establish a presence outside the shows. Meanwhile the Origin Assured campaign by the International Fur Trade Federation and the Fur Council of Canada’s (FCC) Fur Is Green campaign have helped spark fur’s resurgence. We asked people on both sides of the issue whether fur in fashion is ethical. “You should obviously not be using endangered species. If we’re going to use animals, it must be done responsibly. It must avoid suffering. On fur farms, if you’re not treating the animals well, if you’re not feeding them properly, you can’t produce the quality of fur needed. Fur coats last 20, 30, 40 years. You can take a fur coat and rebuild it. A lot of people are recycling now. Just from the long-lasting side of it, fur makes ecological sense.”

ALAN HERSCOVICI, EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT, FCC

“I’m pretty much anti-fur all the time. I would never, ever choose to use fur. It’s an industrial usage, and when you’re looking at industrial use of fur, that’s never going to be ethical. Even if they somehow do an ethical sourcing, that’s still questionable. It’s just a sign of opulence, a sign of the one percent. People are trading tiger skin jackets on the black market. It comes down to people’s vanity. Nobody’s going to freeze to death walking from their $2-million condo to their Mercedes.”

→ POWER COUPLE David Furnish and Elton John.

SERGE LARIVIÈRE, DIRECTORGENERAL OF THE QUEBEC-BASED CREE HUNTERS AND TRAPPERS INCOME SECURITY BOARD Michael Pihach

ATOM CIANFARANI, FORMER FASHION DESIGNER AND NOW FASHION CONSULTANT ON SUSTAINABILITY

“It’s mostly using what nature provides. When an animal is harvested, aboriginal trappers use every part of that animal — fur, meat, bones — so nothing is wasted. For many species, skulls are often hung in trees as a matter of respect for the spirit of the animal. But fur is an important fabric for their clothing, and trapping and hunting are at the very heart of their culture and lifestyle.”

Elton John will headline a resurrected and revamped Fashion Cares this fall. The AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) announced that its marquee fundraiser will return for its silver anniversary on Sep 9 following a four-year hiatus. The fashion and entertainment gala will move to the 3,000-plus seat Sony Theatre and, in addition to John’s powerhouse vocals, feature a retrospective of the past 25 years and an intimate VIP dinner in the theatre’s lower lobby. Founding creative director Phillip Ing returns to helm the event; nightclub impresario Michael King and producer David Furnish (John’s Toronto-born husband) are Fashion Cares’ co-chairs. ACT has detailed a few new wrinkles: That the smaller, more exclusive event will now have national reach benefiting both ACT and the Elton John AIDS Foundation. “I consider myself an honorary Canadian,” John states in a press release from ACT, “and I’m thrilled to be able to contribute to vital programs across Canada through this partnership.” More entertainment details and tickets should be available soon; check actoronto.org.


Gordon Bowness

LIVING & DESIGN

T R AV E L

IMPOSSIBLE PARADISE → Bali

never fails seekers of sensual and spiritual wonderment Story Anna von Frances

W

ith its unique Hindu heritage and total dedication to beauty in all its forms, the island of Bali does the impossible, it stands out in Indonesia, the dizzyingly diverse country of 17,000 islands and 240 million people. Bali is a wonderfully varied paradise that attracts everyone from beach bums and surfers to seekers of art, spirituality and wellness. The easiest way to enjoy Bali’s pleasures is to stay in Seminyak, 20 minutes to an hour from the

8

April 2012

airport, depending on traffic, at the south-west end of the island. It’s the posh counterpart to the mainstream tourist trap nearby of Kuta beach. Seminyak has all the gay bars, which is really just a blocklong strip of tiny establishments that fill up so quickly with tourists and drag queen ladyboys that they spill outside like it’s Church Street on Pride. It’s hard not to get caught up in the exuberant kitschy vibe. This suburb is also home to the more high-end bars like La Barca, which is a sort of beached pirate

ship that hosts monthly deep house parties that attract people of all ages and backgrounds, locals, expats and tourist alike, and La Plancha (same owners), which is a lounge on the beach with oversized beanbag chairs set up around circular tables that light up. The perfect spot to start an evening off or wind down after a long day shopping along Legian Road. When it comes to food, the two best places to eat in Seminyak are both multifaceted. The first, Kudeta, is a sprawling restaurant and

lounge on the beach with a fantastic view of the ocean, no matter where you sit. It has a boutique (perched in the middle of the circular driveway entrance) that sells well-priced micro labels à la Yorkville but at staggeringly low Balinese prices. The second is Potato Head, a triple threat of hotel, restaurant and bar. It’s stunning to watch the sunset from the large semi-circular banquette with small cocktail tables set up for two facing the ocean. They fill up with more than a hundred dinner reservations per night. It’s


LIVING & DESIGN

got all the makings of an original W Hotel in terms of the layout, service and attention to detail. If surfing is your thing, then you

→ MOUN TAIN T O SEA The view from Besakih (previous page), the cliff above Uluwatu (this page, top), the beach at Seminyak (middle) and the Monkey Forest near Ubud (bottom).

might want to walk a half hour down One of the best deals in Ubud is the

to the light sands of Kuta beach and

bicycle tour of the city, which starts

take a few lessons on the gentle

at IDR 400,000 ($40) from Ubud.

rolling surf before trying your hand

They pick you up in the morning

on the bigger waves of Uluwatu in

and take you out to Kintamani to

the south. A Blue Bird taxi will cost

a volcano where you have break-

you about $20 from Seminyak to

fast with a breathtaking view. From

Uluwatu beach, or Suluban as it’s

there the ride is about four hours

called by Balinese natives. The road

through local villages, a coffee plan-

to the beach is a 90-degree drop

tation and rice paddies en route to

made easier by a series of steps

Ubud’s centre. Monkey Forest is also

speckled with surf shops and over-

a stunning way to spend an after-

priced burger shacks. Uluwatu is a

noon. It’s one of the villages that

world-renowned surfing destina-

comprise Ubud, but has a nature

tion and the vibe is very, very laid

reserve that houses approximately

back. Most visitors are staying for

600 macaque monkeys, which are

the long haul in home-stays that

a sacred animal in Bali, especially

pepper the hills, and some of the

in the village that bears its name.

bigger villas are also housed in the

For IDR 20,000 (about $2) you can

chilled out mountains of Ulu. If

enter the park, and there are rang-

you’re looking for the best place to

ers who will show you how to feed

watch the sunset, expat bar Single

bananas to the monkeys, who come

Fin is packed with the surf crowd

right up to you to eat them. The for-

every day at 5pm to watch the sun

est also acts as a nature preserve for

go down, and Surfer’s Warung just

flora and fauna and a place of wor-

a few steps away has mind-blowing

ship with a temple from the 13th

fish tacos if you start to miss home.

century and a crematorium at the

Once you’ve spent a week or so

centre. You can get to Ubud by taxi, or

shopping, the surf and food, it

on a tour, or you can rent a scooter

might be time for a trip to Ubud,

for around $5 a day and take the

the cultural capital of Bali. Located

one to two-hour ride up from

in the middle of the island, Ubud

Seminyak yourself, stopping as

is home to a ton of yoga retreats

you wish along the way. Staying in

and vegetarian restaurants, which

Ubud means easier access to many

Bali is famous for. There are plenty

fascinating historical sites, includ-

of art stores and shops selling local

ing the largest temple complex, the

handicrafts. It’s also the best place

10th-century Pura Besakih built on

to spend an afternoon at the spa.

the slopes of the island’s central volcano Gunung Agung. Besakih

a collection of 20 villages with a

is often described as a tourist trap,

market as the centre, that’s where

so spend some time talking with

the driver or tour bus will drop you

folks about how best to get there

off. At one time it was probably a

and enjoy it. And buy your own

pretty magical and sprawling mar-

sarong before you go to any tem-

ket with food and crafts and cloth-

ple. It’s a sign of respect for men

ing, but now it’s mostly just trin-

and women to wear a sarong in a

kets and overly zealous women

temple and you will look so much

shouting at you to buy. Still, it’s

better in one you’ve bought your-

worth a look and then you can

Continued on page 10

Anna von Frances

Ubud isn’t actually a town, but

Gordon Bowness

getting to know the beach, the

duck out.

Anna von Frances

the black sand beach until it turns

intorontomag.com

9


LIVING & DESIGN

Continued from page 9

THE HIT LIST

self than in the crappy sarongs supplied to tourists at temples. If you have time to take a side trip to the Gili islands right off the coast of Bali across from Lombok, take it. By fast boat, it takes two hours each way and will cost you about $75 return. If that’s a bit rich for your taste, you can take a half day and take a boat to Lombok ($10 average), rent a scooter and drive to the port and take a $3 boat to the islands. The Gilis are three islands in total, each has accommodation ranging from beautiful high-end five stars to bungalows on stilts in the water. The pace on the Gilis is the slowest, without cars or big corporate interests and with white sand beaches as far as you can see. They are the true meaning of island paradise. •

La Plancha. Cocktails on the beach. facebook.com/ laplancha.bali.

ULUWATU

Suluban/Uluwatu Beach. Pura Luhur. Sea temple with a dramatic setting. Surfer’s Warung. Great Mexican food, especially fish tacos. facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001286271739. Single Fin. Surfer hangout, great sunsets. facebook.com/pages/Single-Fin-Bali.

Potato Head. Fancy hotel and restaurant. Make a reservation for dinner or spend the day by the pool. facebook.com/Potatoheadbeachclub. Kudeta. Great restaurant and micro label shopping all in one. kudeta.net.

Blue Point Hotel. Luxury on a cliff. bluepointbayvillas.com.

Royal Beach Hotel. Sprawling hotel right on the black sand beaches; short walk to the ladyboy clubs. theroyalbeachseminyakbali.com.

Padang Padang Beach. One of the older beaches in Bali, a good point of reference for taxis.

GILI ISLANDS

KUTA

Blue Water Express. The fast boats. bwsbali.com. Scallywags. Good organic food. scallywagsresort.com.

Cozy Spa. Great massages. Sunset Road Block A/3 (close to the airport). +0361766762.

UBUD

66. Eat the meatballs, it’s what they’re known for. Centro Shopping Mall. For ice cream. discoveryshoppingmall.com. Pro Surf. Best surfing lessons. prosurfschool.com.

Bambu Bali. Vegetarian restaurant and cooking classes. balifoods.com. Bike Tour. Half-day bike tour of surrounding towns. balibike.com.

SEMINYAK

La Barca. Best mixed dance party thrown monthly on

the beach. facebook.com/labarca.bali. RL-11-000-1d June Ad IT_4.1563 W x 5.1563 11-05-18 10:22 AM Page 1

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LIVING & DESIGN

O PE N H O U S E

INCISIVE BEAUTY Sunil Prakash opened the Lid Lounge hair salon near the bottom of Church Street 11 years ago with his boyfriend Dean Villeneuve. Together for 22 years, the hair-stylist couple lives in a large apartment above the salon filled with family heirlooms, stories and affection →

Story Gordon Bowness | Photography Lulu Wei

intorontomag.com

11


LIVING & DESIGN

Continued from page 11

You and Dean have been together for 22 years. Right from the start you combined your romantic and business relationships. Did that require extra negotiating? No. Dean and I started our own business when we were both young. He was 19 when he opened his first salon. I was 22 when I opened my first salon. This was in Edmonton. Within a month of hooking up we decided to run a salon together. We were both boys at the time. We just took everything day by day. It was just natural for us, very organic. After you moved to Toronto, you used to live in a warehouse space in the west end. It had paper-thin walls. You could hear the neighbours buttering their toast. We once had a knock-down drag-out fight and the next day the landlord called and suggested it wasn’t the right place for us. So we thought, screw this. That’s when you moved to Church Street? We moved into this apartment 13 years ago. Two years later the space downstairs came available, so we decided, now’s our chance to open a salon in Toronto. It was a decrepit old pawnshop. I remember the day we took possession. I sat on the stoop, dropped my face into my hands and started crying. “What have we done?” I thought. The place was such a mess. It was six long and hard weeks of work turning it into the salon. Queen and Church was a bit of a sketchy intersection. It’s improved a lot. When we first moved here, it felt like a no-man’s land. It’s changing now, with all the condos, there’s more families, more places to eat. There’s beautiful churches and the St Lawrence Market nearby. From the start, what we liked about the apartment was the big windows and the size of the place (1,500 square feet). As for the salon, it’s very central. Our clients come from all over. → EAST MEETS WEST Sunil Prakash collects toy soldiers and boxes, but his most valued collection is of family photos. 12

April 2012

Did you collaborate on the look of the place? We choose everything together… but since I was doing a lot of the work in the salon myself, I may have steamrolled Dean a bit. I mean when you’ve got drywall dust in your hair everyday, up a ladder with rolls of cable around your shoulders, you can push it a bit. Does it feel claustrophobic living above the shop? You might find it claustrophobic if you came into the situation from something else. But this is how it’s always been. We created our own little world. The salon is our living room. We spend a lot of time there, we entertain our clients there. Dean decided not to be a part of this interview. He prefers to let me be out front… I’m the talker. But when Dean is in the salon, he’s king. Talk about some of the beautiful objects you have. The ivory elephant carving is from my parents. They bought it together on a trip to India in 1977. When my mum came for a visit a few years ago, she asked if there was anything I wanted from home. I mentioned the elephant and she said, “You are not bloody getting that.” But then she arrived and started unravelling a big ball of paper and it was inside. My father said I should have it. For me, it symbolizes the love my parents have for us. What’s the most valuable? The old family photos. These are more valuable than money. If there was a fire, the big album would be in my arms. I have to safeguard them for my nieces and nephews. How did your parents meet? My father is from Bijnor, in the northeast of India. He was a full-fledged MD at 21 — a bit of a Doogie Howser, my dad. He went to England to attend the Royal College of Physicians. That’s where he met my mother, she was a nurse. She’s from Cumbria up in the Lake District. It was a very long drawnout courtship. It was the late ’50s and both families were very conservative.


LIVING & DESIGN

You were born in Wales, spent a cou-

close to doing what he does: I use sur-

ple of years in PEI and grew up in

gical instruments every day; I cut off

Edmonton. How do you describe

bits of people’s bodies; I make people

yourself?

feel better; and that the first surgeons

My mum and dad come from two differ-

were called “barber-surgeons.” I told

ent backgrounds, but I don’t feel more

him I had inherited his instinct for cut-

one or the other. Both are my back-

ting, “That my hands are your hands,”

ground. When people ask am I more

which, I think, made him that much

English or Indian, I answer, “Yes.” As

more proud of me.

for religious upbringing, it was a total mix, from Hindu ceremonies to Sunday

You came out to your parents at 17

school. My parents told us, “Whatever

— in Edmonton! And you didn’t back

we know, we will present to you as best

down when they had some initial

we can. When you are old enough, it’s

problems with it, did you?

up to you to decide for yourself.”

I was pretty lippy.

How did you fall into hair styling?

It’s funny how strong-willed parents

I’d say my upbringing was conserva-

make strong-willed children.

tive. My parents afforded us kids lots

My father was the first person in his

of travel and new and different expe-

family to marry a non-Indian in mil-

riences but as the eldest son I had to

lennia, millennia! He proposed to my

toe the line. When I started going to

mother on the phone, long-distance.

university I took advantage of the rel-

She was nursing in New Zealand at

ative freedom. I was so bored doing a

the time and was about to head off to

BA, so I started cutting classes. One day

Papua New Guinea to work in a leper

I went with a friend to meet someone

colony. I am their wisdom. My mother

at a salon. We had to wait a bit and I

instilled in me good values and shared

just sat there absorbing it all in. I loved

many pearls of wisdom. She always

it immediately. It felt like home. I was

said, “You can do anything you set your

mesmerized by the transformations

mind to.” And it’s true. •

that people were going through and the tools of the trade. Becoming a hair stylist was a bit of a rebellion, wasn’t it? My father was a doctor, my grandfather was a doctor, my great grandfather was a doctor. My grandfather was the chief medical officer of all of Uttar Pradesh. My dad was mortified when I told him I wanted to be a hair stylist. Recently I told him that of all his children — my two younger brothers are both teachers — I was the only one who came

YOU COULD INSTANTLY

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LIVING & DESIGN

FITNESS

SPRUNG IN SPRING → Practical

movement-focused exercises to improve summer fun Story Jeremy Foreshew

S

JUMP AROUND Top performing athletes boost their speed and power with plyometrics. Originally developed for Russian track and field athletes, these explosive and dynamic exercises (think jumping) can boost a summer athlete’s performance in virtually any sport. You’ll benefit by jumping higher, running faster, throwing farther and even hitting harder. Plus, plyometrics done in intervals is a sure-fire way to burn fat and keep a lean, athletic body. Tip: Be sure to do a quick warmup prior to your plyo session — a five-minute jog will do. If you’ve never done high-impact exercise, start slow with smaller box hops

14

April 2012

Bob Ingelhart

pring has sprung, which means that it’s time to start considering your summer sports training program. It goes without saying — whether you’re a pro, play in a recreational league or just like tossing the ball around with your buddies in the park — everyone with an active lifestyle can benefit from a performance-enhancing fitness routine. When planning your spring training, keep it simple by considering your performance goals. What is it that you’re looking to achieve? If the exercises in your fitness regimen don’t mimic the athletic movement and capacity of your preferred sport, you certainly won’t increase your skills. Ditch the non-functional exercises like bicep curls and tricep extensions opting instead for movementfocused exercises that are guaranteed to make you quicker, more agile and certainly more powerful.

before you try more advanced moves. Reduce impact in your joints by doing your plyometric exercise on soft surfaces. Plyometric Pushups Start in a standard pushup position. Lower your body toward the ground and then push up with enough explosive force that your hands leave the floor. Immediately lower yourself into the next pushup. Once you’ve mastered a set of 12, try clapping your hands in the air. Jumping Split Squats From a standing position, take a big step forward with one leg. Drop your knee and hips, lowering your butt to the floor (squat). Explode into the air with a single scissor kick to alternate your foot position in the air. Immediately lower yourself into the next squat. Put weights in your hands for more challenge. DO THE TWIST Whether it’s by creating a twist-

ing movement (swinging a golf club or baseball bat) or by resisting one with contraction (think catching a ball or defensive blocking), there’s no doubt that rotary movement is important to nearly every summer sport. Even sports like soccer, swimming and volleyball involve some type of rotation movements and agility for complex change-ofdirection play. Another great benefit to these exercises are the tight, rippling abdominals and obliques you’ll earn for your ultimate summer body. Tip: Your body can benefit from a variety of rotational exercises. Don’t just limit it to rotating at the midsection. Performing exercises that increase your rotary strength in your shoulders and your hips will produce ultimate results both on and off the field. Side Throws Begin with your shoulders perpendicular to a wall and your feet shoulder width

→ PLYOME T RICS Explosive pushups, where your hands leave the floor, even clap, are one of a series of dynamic exercises that will boost any athlete’s performance.

apart. With a medicine ball in both hands (at the hip opposite the wall), rotate while raising your arms, throwing the ball to the wall with enough force that it bounces back for you to catch. Return to starting position and repeat. Front-to-Side Planks Start by holding your body for 10 seconds on your elbows in a standard plank position with your feet shoulder width apart. Then, beginning with your feet, shift your body into a side plank while keeping your hips and shoulders in line. Repeat five times. To increase the rotational challenge, keep your feet closer together •


LIVING & DESIGN

RELATIONSHIP ADVICE

— with Adam Segal I’m currently doing the online dating and hook-up thing and showed my profile to a close friend. She was horrified to read that I explicitly state that I’m not interested in meeting Asian or black men. She told me that, as a white man, I was being racist to discourage these folks from contacting me. I thought she was being over-sensitive and ridiculously politically correct. Other white guys are just what I’m attracted to — would it be considered sexist that I’m not sexually into women?! My friend and I haven’t spoken since but I’m left wondering whether there’s something I need to look at here. What do you think? “B” →

When people can hide behind a

you express that desire in a pub-

computer or at least not have to

lic forum is a far more complex

face the folks they’re communicat-

matter. For example, if butch men

ing with, they seem to say stuff that

get you hot that’s all fine until you

they would never get away with, or

write “straight-acting men only”

even attempt, in person. Hooking

on your profile, which just adds to

up online lets us cut to the chase

already rampant gay shame.

with our personal shopping lists

If the truth, for now, is that you

and that’s not always a bad thing.

are not open to connecting with

Unfortunately, a lot of people, like

men of colour, then I think there’s

yourself, have profiles filled with

a better approach than announc-

their personal dont’s: don’t be too

ing your specific cultural/racial dis-

skinny, too fat, too young, too old,

tastes. Instead, when you are virtu-

too black, too gay. Proclaiming

ally winked at by a guy who doesn’t

your interest in only the pigment-

match your ideal, then simply

challenged really contributes to an

thank him and move on. But don’t

increasingly common racist tone

let yourself off the hook so easily

that can be found all over hook-

— if you really want to take some

up sites. My concern is that such

responsibility,

wounding profiles can worsen the

your assumptions about who you’ll

divisiveness that messes with our

find attractive, and be willing to

community.

consider that our true desires are

I do give you credit for being willing

to

get

feedback

about

this. Your preference for white dudes is something I don’t judge

keep

questioning

vastly different, and more expansive, than what we’ve been conditioned to see as hot. Oh...

and

when

constructing

— whatever floats your boat. I’m

your profile, imagine its contents

suggesting, though, that this erotic

printed on a T-shirt you’ll be wear-

focus isn’t some kind of organic

ing all over the GTA — it might

thing. Your preferences them-

help you think twice.

selves are, no doubt, informed by a world that has elevated white men as superior and sexually most attractive. Your erotic interests are exactly that, yours. But how

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

15


GAY

LGBTTIQQ2S

TRANS

URANIAN

QUEER

BISEXUAL

LONGTIME COMPANION

SAPPHIC

HOMOPHILE

INSIGHT

HOMOSEXUAL

TWO-SPIRITED

LESBIAN

INTERSEXED QUESTIONING MEDIA

THE ANTECEDENT PRECEDENT → Language

is always contentious. Now the fight moves into new territory — the gender-neutral pronoun Story Krishna Rau

L

anguage has always played a major role in the evolution of sexual identity. From Lord Alfred Douglas’s “Love that dare not speak its name” in the 1890s to 1994’s “Love That Won’t Shut Up” by Atlanta’s drag queen-fronted Opal Foxx Quartet, from whispered euphemisms to Pride banners, the words used by and about the gay community have reflected profound changes in perception, iden-

16

April 2012

tity and acceptance. The word “gay” itself, its original meaning now obliterated, is a prime example of that linguistic evolution. But in the 21st century, questions of identity have multiplied. As the gay community continues to evolve and diversify — moving from LGBT to LGBTTIQQ2S or more — the use of gay as an umbrella term has come to seem old-fashioned, even exclusionary. Thus we’ve

seen the increasing use of the word “queer,” partly as an attempt to come up with a collective term for an increasingly diverse community. But as trans people fight for human rights protections, healthcare and proper official documentation, they’re also redefining identity on a more basic level: within language itself. It’s no longer just a matter of demanding recognition in collective terms like LGBT or

queer, some trans people now want to stop using gender-specific pronouns like “he” or “she,” preferring “they” instead, used as a genderneutral singular pronoun. How this plays out in mainstream media will be hotly contested — as similar language dust-ups have been. Ron Smyth is an associate professor of psychology and linguistics at the University of Toronto who spe-


INSIGHT

cializes in language as it relates to

and some would say it isn’t always

signment surgery (SRS), says she’s

“These are the things with a lan-

gender and sexual orientation. He

respectful. After a gay publication —

surprised at how reluctant she is

guage that’s still alive. We need to

notes that mainstream media have

which has since changed its policy

to complete an official change in

make allowance for a world where

almost universally adopted “gay”

— declined to honour the request of

gender.

gender isn’t so predominant. With

as a non-judgmental descriptive,

trans artist Elisha Lim to be identi-

“The surgery was the last thing I

‘they,’ we’re talking about tweaking

but “queer” has yet to attain that

fied as “they,” angry comments and

needed to do. The only real proof of

the language, not a complete make-

status. “Using ‘queer’ has partially

accusations flooded social media

my being trans is my ID papers and

over. Part of the reason I like the

stamped out a horrible thing that

sites.

I have an affidavit that will allow

word ‘they’ is the word is already

used to exist,” he says. “But I think

In the wake of the controversy,

me to change them. But now that

there. Part of the work is already

that reclaiming ‘queer’ isn’t fin-

trans musician Rae Spoon turned

I’ve had an SRS I’ve been waiting for

done.”

ished yet.”

down an interview request from the

for 13 years, I’m grappling with it.

But Smyth says its presence in

Sylvia Stead, the public editor

same publication, citing its deci-

Being trans is so vitally important to

the language is also what will make

of the Globe and Mail, agrees. “On

sion among other reasons in a blog

how I want people to interact with

its adoption in this context harder.

the use of ‘queer,’ our guidelines

post. “A few months after Elisha’s

me. It’s kind of sad to think it could

“There’s a resistance to changing

suggest that it can be a derogatory

petition was posted, I decided that

be erased with a wave of a bureau-

function words. In this case, it’s a

expression and should be used only

I too prefer ‘they’ as a pronoun,”

cratic finger.

change in the grammar of the lan-

if it is of news value,” she writes in

they wrote in a blog post (yes, I’m

“People will say, ‘You were born

an e-mail. “In any case, we ask that

adopting Spoon’s pronoun pref-

to be a woman,’ but that’s a very

the writers consult a senior editor

erence here). “I was tired of often

essentialist position,” says Mallette.

before they use it.”

being expected to perform a male

“It

identity.

attempting to sidestep the issue

undermines

trans

guage. It seems a little weirder and more difficult.” Smyth

also

points

out

that

But at the Toronto Star, public edi-

role because my pronoun was ‘he.’

There’s a misconception that tran-

by avoiding pronouns entirely —

tor Kathy English says writers are

After so many years fighting to be

sitioning necessarily includes SRS.

as was the case in the disputed

free to use the word as a description

called ‘he’ and having people ask

That’s a false equivalency. Not

Lim article — actually makes com-

of people or a community. English

me when I was going to modify my

every trans person is going to have

prehension

says Star reporters used “queer” 99

body (physically transition), I real-

surgery or even want surgery. For

‘repeated

times in 2011. “We don’t have a pol-

ized that for me being trans is not

me, having transitioned 14 years

in a situation where a pronoun is

icy on the use of the word ‘queer.’

about being read as a man or chang-

ago, surgery was just a small cos-

expected, but the noun is used,

My sense is we’ve moved beyond it.

ing my body. I am happy with the

metic procedure.”

comprehension goes down.”

It’s come into the Star’s vocabulary.

body that I have. What I’m unhappy

When we did get [only] one com-

with is the way things are gendered

plaint from a reader, we decided it

by society in general.

was okay.”

“What would be extremely helpful

Both Stead and English, how-

would be more queer papers willing

ever, say they are unfamiliar with

to use and even explain the ‘they’

the debate over “they.” Both papers

pronoun, so that writers from other

have a policy of using the gender

publications could reference their

the subject identifies as, and say

usage. Straight allies often access

they would need to think about

queer media to find out the protocol

“they.”

for what’s acceptable in the queer

Mallette says she chooses the

harder. name

“It’s

called

penalty,’

when

And after reading Spoon’s post on the issue, Smyth tried sending

“THESE ARE THE THINGS WITH A LANGUAGE THAT’S STILL ALIVE. WE NEED TO MAKE ALLOWANCE FOR A WORLD WHERE GENDER ISN’T SO PREDOMINANT.”

an e-mail using “they” as a gender-neutral singular pronoun. “In this e-mail I’m trying to use ‘they’ for Rae. Actually it’s not as hard as I thought it would be,” he wrote. “It does remind me of the early ’70s when

gender-neutral

pronouns

were coming into use; sometimes you slip but after the frequency of

“I don’t think there’s a policy that

world. Right now, I don’t feel like

we can use it or not use it, except

there are enough online sources for

it goes up all around you it seems

for it being improper English at this

gender-neutral pronouns, in fact,

point,” says English. “I would expect

[the paper’s] position is damaging

pronoun “she” because “identify-

a change in pronouns may reflect

our copy editors would have a prob-

and invalidates my identity and

ing as a woman is important given

a change in acceptance of trans

lem with it. It’s a conflict between

pronoun.”

the marginalization of women in

people. “I think the attitude has to

normal.” In the end, says Mallette, adopting

respect for the way people choose

According to trans writer and

the queer community.” But she

change before the language. But the

to identify themselves and respect

activist Tera Mallette, people often

understands why some trans peo-

younger generation is a lot more

for the language. If it was raised, I

mistakenly assume that trans is

ple would want to use a non-gen-

open to the question of gender

would bring it up and I think there

not an identity in and of itself, that

der specific pronoun. And she says

queerness. Change always happens

would be a respectful debate.”

the person is just waiting to take

“they” is useful because of people’s

in the end and I think language is

But within the queer commu-

on one gender or another. Mallette,

tendency to already use it when

always evolving.” •

nity, that debate has already begun,

who recently underwent sex-reas-

they want to avoid gender. intorontomag.com

17


INSIGHT

H EA LT H

REDRAWING THE FRONT LINES → Mark

Halman’s groundbreaking work on HIV and mental health is now being applied to other communities here in Toronto and around the world

St Michael’s

Story Krishna Rau

A

s a medical student at the University of Toronto in the ’80s with an interest in psychiatry and medical illness, it was inevitable that Mark Halman would end up working in the field of HIV. Two decades later, Halman has recently been awarded a Casey Award to commemorate his pioneering work in HIV and psychiatry. The awards — given out by Casey House, the Toronto specialty hospital which provides treatment, support and palliative care for people 18

April 2012

living with HIV and AIDS — recognize individuals and organizations who are leaders in working with or fighting for those with HIV/AIDS. Halman’s work over the decades has not only changed the way patients with HIV/AIDS and their doctors and caregivers approach the disease in Toronto, it has helped to bring about changes to the way that the epidemic is approached in southern Africa and around the world. But back in the ’80s, when the city

was just beginning to come to grips with HIV, Halman was at medical ground zero. “As a gay man going to school at the time, it was all around,” says Halman. “HIV and AIDS was the emerging epidemic. My rotations were at St Mike’s and one of their biggest needs was in HIV. Because of my interests, even though I was a resident, they started asking me to come on their rounds. As a gay man, it became easy to be the go-to guy for HIV.” After graduation, Halman took a fellowship at Harvard, spending two years focussing on psychiatry’s relationship to physical illness. In 1994, Halman returned to Toronto to start an HIV and psychiatry program for the recently merged departments of psychiatry at Wellesley and St Michael’s hospitals. It wasn’t a well-populated field at the time, and the treatment of HIV was still very much in its infancy, with new drugs being developed, only to fall short and dash hopes. “Whatever field of HIV it was, it’s always been a small field of doctors who’ve taken care of it,” says Halman. “And at the time, the beds were filled with people with dementia, depression and people who were dying. It was complicated, there were all the infection issues, all the stigma. “I saw lots of severe AIDS dementia, lots of catastrophic issues around death and dying. But there was tremendous strength and resilience, people coming together.

When I started doing work, we had moved out of the immediate death sentence into hope — but then we had to face the loss of hope.” Halman says the psychiatric help available in Toronto has improved dramatically over the last decades. “One of the things I’m most proud of is that we’ve been able to build an infrastructure. We’ve had 20 residents go through the program over the years.” Halman also points to the fact that at U of T, all medical residents receive a mandatory course on the relationship between psychiatry and physical illness, with the focus squarely on those with HIV. He also refers to the mental health and HIV program for AIDS service workers that helps create a more dignified and mentally comfortable atmosphere for those with the disease. As importantly, he points to changes in the way that psychiatrists approach those with HIV/ AIDS. “The model of psychiatry used to be that the patient came to the office and talked. But, understandably, a lot of gay men didn’t trust psychiatrists,” says Halman. “Learning about outreach was a new thing, leaving the department and going to the clinics and HIV wards. You’re not going to get the job done as a psychiatrist working in isolation. We practised a gayaffirming model. And outreach really increased when Casey House asked me to visit.” Now, as St Mike’s deputy chief of mental health services, Halman has


INSIGHT

been administering a new program

war and rape. But the one thing I’ve

since September, one that transfers

learned is that people are people.

Along with the changing demo-

are my relationship opportuni-

the protocols he has developed in

There’s more commonality in our

graphics and world-wide reach of

ties going to be like? My employ-

reaching out to those with HIV to

humanity than differences.”

the disease have come changes in

ment opportunities?’ We have a

But as well as working with immi-

treatment, both here and in Africa.

lot to learn around how to reduce

“We’re developing education pro-

grants from Africa, Halman has also

With the advent of anti-retrovi-

stigma.”

grams for inner-city care, trans-

been working to improve psychiat-

The relative success in treatment

ferring those programs to the

ric care for people with HIV in Africa

of HIV over the years now means

homeless and to immigrant com-

itself, beginning in 2003 when he

munities. What transfers is how

was invited to the first conference

to build programs for marginalized

on HIV and mental health in south-

populations.”

ern Africa. Since then, Halman

other communities.

These new programs also tie in

has been involved in an ongo-

with Halman’s experiences in deal-

ing project at the University of the

ing with the changing demograph-

Witwatersrand in Johannesburg,

ics of HIV. While gay men still make

working with the World Health

up the majority of his patients,

Organization to ensure the inclu-

Halman says he is seeing an

sion of a mental health component

increasing number of patients from

in the fight against AIDS.

other

communities,

particularly

Halman

says

his

projects

population of Toronto is.”

“WHEN I STARTED DOING WORK, WE HAD MOVED OUT OF THE IMMEDIATE DEATH SENTENCE INTO HOPE — BUT THEN WE HAD TO FACE THE LOSS OF HOPE.”

tized. People still think, ‘What

Halman is seeing more older people who have been living with the disease for years, sometimes decades. “What I don’t see there is people filled with anxiety. Whenever you live with a chronic illness, it’s not so much new things, it’s the accumulation of things, it’s all the losses along the way.” But

Halman

says

he’s

been

ral drugs, HIV can be managed for

inspired by his own experiences

in

many today, especially in a city

and encounters along that way, and

women from African countries and

Toronto and in Africa feed off each

like Toronto. But Halman says that

that his receipt of the Casey Award

people with conditions like schizo-

other. “Adapting what you teach

doesn’t make being diagnosed any

this year was a hugely rewarding

phrenia or bipolar disorders.

medical residents to what you

easier for anybody to hear.

highlight of his career.

“For a lot of African women, the

teach front-line workers was good

“They are as devastated as they

“It comes from my peers and the

stigma is overwhelming. I’ve had to

training. And year after year, it’s

were 15 years ago. It’s still a chronic

communities I work with. I was

learn a lot more about trauma from

startling to see how diverse the

disease. HIV is still highly stigma-

irresistibly touched by it.” •

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19


LISTINGS & EVENTS

APRIL IN THE CITY

David Sweeney

UTE LEMPER Performs at Koerner Hall

4

WAS SPRING Daniel MacIvor opens at Tarragon

MAD COUTURE CATWALK Lisa Walter, part of Extraordinary Artists

13

SHOW CHOIR CANADA High school competition kicks off

15

ADI BRAUN At the Conservatory Theatre

Tanja-Tiziana

18

THE ADAPTATION PROJECT Choreography by Michael Trent opens

19

21

DANCING QUEEN Opens starring Nick Green

Art & Photography

Fashion & Design

DEREK LIDDINGTON Today a Legend Died. Viva la Revolution. New performance-based work by the Torontobased artist that imagines the relationship between a son and father as reflected through the dreams embodied in a 1968 Mustang coupe. Opening. 6pm8pm. Fri, Apr 20. In three acts, the first two feature dance, opera and electric guitar performance. Act 1: Today a Legend Died (for the workers). 2pm-4pm. Sun, Apr 29. Act II: Today a Legend Died (by the workers). 2pm-4pm. Sat, May 12. 6pm-8pm. Thu, May 17. Act III: Viva La Revolution (featuring Liddington and his dad attempting to rebuild the Mustang). 11am-6pm. Tue, May 22-26. Daniel Faria Gallery. 188 St Helens Ave. danielfariagallery.com.

FAT Fashion Art Toronto runs Tue, Apr 24 to 28 (around 7pm to midnight each night) with runway shows, fashion installations, film screenings, music performances, photography exhibits and more. Featured labels and designers include BE Shields, Dilly Daisy, Dystropolis by Wendy Ng, House of Etiquette, Parade, Raji Aujla, Victory and Vice, Worth by David C Wigley and many more. $30 day pass; $75 week pass. 213 Stirling Rd. fashionarttoronto.ca.

Film & Video THE IMAGES FESTIVAL The 25th anni-

versary of this cool, sprawling media arts fest runs Thu, Apr 12 to 21. Look for an installation from Deanna Bowen at Gallery 44 (410 Richmond St W), Mark Boulos at Gallery TPW (56 Ossington Ave)

28

MICKEY & JUDY Michael Hughes, one night only

and screenings of works by Michael Robinson, Oliver Husain, John Creson and Adam Rosen. The electro dub hop trio Abstract Random (Jamilah Malika, F Nocera and Ayo Leilani) plays a live show on Fri, April 13. Images Lounge. 204 Spadina Ave. imagesfestival.com. HOT DOCS The documentary festival runs Thu, Apr 26 to May 6. One intriguing offering is Call Me Kuchu (page 25). $14.50 most screenings; various passes available. (416) 637-5150. hotdocs.ca.

Dance THE ADAPTATION PROJECT Dancemakers artistic director Michael Trent choreographs a new work in response to Mitchell Rose’s 1974 work Following Station Identification. Performed by Robert Abubo, Amanda Acorn, Kate Holden, Benjamin Kamino and Simon

PAPER LACED WITH GOLD New musical at Hatch

Renaud. $25. 8pm. Wed-Sat. 4pm. Sun. Wed, Apr 18-29. Dancemakers Centre for Creation. 55 Mill St, bldg 58, #313. (416) 367-1800. dancemakers.org. INDANCE Quicksand and Nine, choreographed by Hari Krishnan. Quicksand, for nine male contemporary dancers, draws inspiration from the idea of navarasa or nine archetypal moods popular in Indian dance (page 6). As a prologue Nine features nine brief classical solos showcasing the navarasa — love, disgust, compassion, valour, humour, fear, wonder, anger and peace. $30-$35. 8pm. Thu, Apr 12-14. Fleck Dance Theatre. 207 Queens Quay W. (416) 973-4000. indance.ca.

Stage WAS SPRING The local premiere of Daniel MacIvor’s story of three women locked together by tragedy. Starring Clare Coulter, Caroline Gillis and Jess-


LISTINGS & EVENTS

OUR GUIDE TO YOUR MONTH

ARE YOU READY TO RIDE?

PARIS 1994/GALLERY The Dietrich Group at World Stage from Wed, Apr 25 to 28

ica Moss; MacIvor directs. $24-$51. 8pm. Tue-Sat. 2:30pm. Sun. Wed, Apr 4May 6. Tarragon Theatre’s Extra Space. 30 Bridgman Ave. (416) 531-1827. tarragontheatre.com. CLYBOURNE PARK Studio 180 Theatre presents the Canadian premiere of Bruce Norris’s Pulitzer-winning drama, a modern take on race, class and property ownership. Starring Audrey Dwyer, Michael Healey, Sterling Jarvis, Jeff Lillico, Mark McGrinder, Kimwun Perhinec and Maria Ricossa; Joel Greenberg directs, with designs by David Boechler. $22-$49; PWYC Mon. 8pm. Mon-Sat. 1:30pm. Wed. 2pm. Sat. Thu, Apr 5-28. Berkeley Street Theatre Downstairs. 26 Berkeley St. (416) 368-3110. studio180theatre.com. CANADIAN OPERA COMPANY The Tales of Hoffmann by Jacques Offenbach, the dark romantic masterpiece about a troubled artist’s failure to find love. US

tenor Russell Thomas stars as Hoffmann (with COC Ensemble Studio graduate David Pomeroy singing two performances: May 3 and 8). Celebrated Canadian bass John Relyea makes his COC debut as Hoffmann’s four nemeses; and Erin Wall and Keri Alkema are the women at the heart of each story. In his COC debut Lee Blakeley directs what’s been called a “Tim Burtonesque” production; Johannes Debus conducts. Tue, Apr 10, 14, 18, 21, 27, May 3, 6, 8 & 14. A Florentine Tragedy/Gianni Schicchi, a double bill of one-act operas set in Florence. The Canadian premiere of A Florentine Tragedy by Alexander Zemlinsky is based on the unfinished story by Oscar Wilde where a husband shoots his wife’s lover thereby reigniting their relationship (see page 6). With Alan Held, Gun-Brit Barkmin and Michael König all making their COC Continued on page 22

TORONTO–MONTRÉAL JULY 29-AUGUST 3, 2012

design: raymondhelkio.com

Jeremy Mimnagh

TORONTO PEOPLE WITH AIDS FOUNDATION’S

Email iwant2ride@bikerally.org or call 416-506-1400 x.238 for more information. www.bikerally.org

RE GIS TE RT OD AY !


LISTINGS & EVENTS

Continued from page 21

IN SPOT THE BURGER SHACK Review Marty Galin

→ FRESH AND FRIENDLY Homemade burgers are a must.

What is it about burgers? They seem to bring people together. Everyone always asks me where to find the best burger in town. For my money, Burger Shack has had

THIS STUFF IS GOOD, WE ARE TALKIN’ LIP SMACKIN’ SO GOOD. that honour for the last 30 years. Brothers Joe and John Batshon made their dream a reality when they opened Burger Shack on Eglinton Avenue West near the Oriole Parkway. Theirs is a basic fast-food joint but it has a lovely, homey vibe. When you go, the Batshons always ask your name 22

April 2012

and they always tell you who they are. They make a six-ounce burger that is never frozen, literally made fresh each day. This is why they have a devoted following. But then again, the French fries are hand cut. Then there’s the gravy and barbecue sauce, like a family memory. Each and every onion ring is hand dipped. There’s a Greek salad and a veggie burger option, too. And milkshakes. This stuff is good, we are talkin’ lip smackin’ so good. If you love chili they’ve got the real thing. Cowboys give it thumbs up and the horses smile. The chicken souvlaki is another house specialty, tender pieces of marinated chicken served in pita with veggies and a homemade tzaziki sauce. Greek sailors find love here. So will you.

THE BURGER SHACK 8am-1:30am. Seven days a week. 233 Eglinton Ave W. (416) 487-1974.

debuts. In Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, a peasant schemes to get his share of a rich bequest. Starring Held and Simone Osborne, Barbara Dever, Rene Barbera, Adam Luther, Barkmin and more. Catherine Malfitano directs; Sir Andrew Davis conducts. Apr 26, May 2, 5, 12, 15, 18, 20 & 25. $12-$318. Four Seasons Centre. 145 Queen St W. (416) 363-8231. coc.ca. HATCH 2012 This year’s performing arts residency program at Harbourfront is curated by Jess Dobkin and kicks off with Mortified from choreographer Jenn Goodwin and visual artist Camilla Singh, an experimental performance of drumming, cheerleading and tap dancing. Sat, Apr 14. Then it’s The Sheets, The… a look at intimacy or its absence from Salvatore Antonio. Apr 21. Paper Laced with Gold is a musical from writer/co-director Maggie MacDonald and producer/co-director Stephanie Markowitz, the people who brought you The Rat King. It’s the story of a closeted teen who crosses paths years later with his old babysitter under less than ideal conditions. Starring Lisa Bozikovic, Vanessa Dunn, Liz Peterson, Katie Ritchie, Drew Smith and Bojana Stancic. With music by MacDonald and Stevie Jackson (of Belle and Sebastian fame). Apr 28. The series ends with Pantheon, a celebration of the real and imagined personalities who make up the hip-hop house band Kids on TV (aka John Caffery, Minus Smile and Roxanne Luchak). Sat, May 5. $15 ea; $40 for all. 8pm. Studio Theatre. 235 Queens Quay W. (416) 973-4000. harbourfrontcentre.com. ONE NIGHT ONLY An evening of song and laughter with Thom Allison, Micah Barnes, Mitch Smolkin, Theresa Tova, Gabi Epstein, Jeff Madden, Charlotte Moore and Mark Camilleri. The National Theatre of the World (Mat Baram, Naomi Snieckus and Rod Pederson) also improvise a play. Linda Kash and Sheila McCarthy host. A fundraiser for the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company. $50; $150 VIP dinner. 8pm. Mon, Apr 16. Jane Mallett Theatre. 27 Front St E. (416) 366-7723. hgjewishtheatre.com. DANCING QUEEN Sky Gilbert’s new play on aging, monogamy and love. Starring Nick Green, Ryan Kelly and David-Benjamin Tomlinson with choreography by Keith Cole. Gilbert directs this Cabaret Company production. $20-$30. 8pm. Wed-Sat. PWYC. 2:30pm. Sun. Thu, Apr 19-29. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. 12 Alexander St. (416) 975-8555. buddiesinbadtimes.com. YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU Soulpepper presents the original crazy-meetsnormal family comedy from George S Kaufman and Moss Hart. Starring Derek Boyes, Nancy Palk, Eric Peterson and Krystin Pellerin. Joseph Ziegler directs. Opening. 7:30pm. Thu, Apr 26. Baillie Theatre, Young Centre. 55 Mill St. (416) 866-8666. soulpepper.ca. MICKEY AND JUDY Michael Hughes’ Fringe hit about his journey from the psychiatric ward to off-Broadway returns for one night only to raise money for the show’s run at the Edinburgh

Fringe this summer. Featuring a musical score that borrows from Broadway classics and the Judy Garland songbook. $25. 8pm. Sat, Apr 21. Toronto Centre for the Arts, Studio Theatre. 5040 Yonge St. ticketmaster.com. mickeyandjudy.ca. PARIS 1994/GALLERY Longing, love and memory. World Stage presents dance cum visual art by choreographer DA Hoskins and The Dietrich Group. Performed by Danielle Baskerville and Tyler Gledhill, with spoken word by Jill Battson and film by Nico Stagias. $28 & $53. 8pm. Wed, Apr 25-28. Enwave Theatre. 231 Queens Quay W. (416) 973-4000. harbourfontcentre.com.

Pop, Rock & World LIVE LOVE LARGE A benefit concert in support of the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation and participants in the fundraising Friends for Life Bike Rally. Featuring local indie bands the A-Men, Kelly Perras and The Screamin’ Sarahs. Silent and live auction and more. $25 adv; $30 door. 8pm show. Fri, Apr 20. Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto. 115 Simpson Ave. livelovelarge.com.

Jazz, Cabaret & Classical NATIONAL BALLET OF CANADA ORCHESTRA As part of the National’s

60th anniversary celebrations is this concert featuring works by Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Prokofiev, Minkus, Delibes, Satie, Talbot, Bernstein and Stravinsky. Colm Feore hosts; David Briskin conducts. $30-$55 8pm. Tue, Apr 3. Koerner Hall. 273 Bloor St W. (416) 408-0208. rcmusic.ca. UTE LEMPER The German singer and actor performs with the Vogler Quartet


LISTINGS & EVENTS

IN SPOT PROPER RESERVE

Kai Wa Yapp

Story & photography Derek Dotto

Proper Reserve is easily overlooked with its black, signless storefront. But once past the minand pianist Stefan Malzew in a program of Weimar-era songs and classical works they inspired, from Weill and Schulhoff to Piazzolla and Piaf. $39$85. 8pm. Wed, Apr 4. Koerner Hall. 273 Bloor St W. (416) 408-0208. rcmusic.ca. SHOW CHOIR CANADA It’s real-life Glee with the second-annual high school show choir competition. Hosted by Shawn Desman with judges Jeri Brown, Mark Camilleri, David Connolly, Tricia Penner and Mike Weaver. $18-$25. 11am-7:30pm. Fri, Apr 13. 2pm-8:30pm. Apr 14. Sony Centre. 1 Front St E. 1-855-872-SONY. sonycentre.ca. SING: THE TORONTO VOCAL ARTS FESTIVAL A three-day series of

concerts and workshops devoted to a cappella music, many of them free, featuring performances by the Toronto Chamber Choir, Retrocity, The Nylons (8:30pm, Apr 14, Brigantine Room), the Elmer Iseler Singers and The Swingle Singers (7:30pm, Apr 15, Enwave Theatre). Fri, Apr 13-15. Harbourfront Centre. 231 & 235 Queens Quay W. (416) 973-4000. torontovocalartsfestival.com. ADI BRAUN The local jazz singer and her trio (Jordan Kapmann, George Koller and Daniel Barnes) perform a concert titled Noir featuring music from film noir classics. $31.50. 7:30pm. Sun, Apr 15. Royal Conservatory Theatre. 273 Bloor St W. (416) 408-0208. rcmusic.ca.

Causes & Events EXTRAORDINARY ARTISTS Workman

Arts and the Art Gallery of Toronto present the one-day symposium Exceptional Minds: The Convergence of Art and Mental Illness in the 21st Century. Featuring Kay Redfield

→ RANDOM ABS T RACT Plays a live gig for Images fest on Thu, Apr 13.

Jamison, Otto Wahl, Hans Looijen, Janos Marton, Deirdre Logue, Michelle Kopczyk, Lisa Walter and David Goldbloom. $135. 9:30am-5:30pm. Sat, Apr 14. AGO Baillie Court. The event kicks off the night before with the Mad Couture Catwalk, 33 wearable pieces of art from 11 artists including Stephanie Creede, Catherine Jones, Barbara Greene Mann, Peter Mulcair, Sheri Ranger, Annette Seip, Skycastle, Susan Berthelot Spagnuolo, Jace Traz, Annaliese Walmer and Lisa Walter. $20. [Sliding scale tickets: (416) 583-4339.] 7pm-10pm. Apr 13. Weston Family Learning Centre. AGO. 317 Dundas St W. (416) 979-6608. workmanarts.com. MASSIVE PARTY The Art Gallery of Ontario’s annual gala returns with the theme, conceived by Bruno Billio, Light Sound Object Past Present Future. Featuring commissioned works by Justin Broadbent, Cesar Forero, Renée Lear, An Te Liu, Jenn E Norton, Jade Rude, Walter Willems and Camilla Singh, interactive art, food and beverages and entertainment. $150. 9pm. Thu, Apr 19. AGO. 317 Dundas St W. ago.net TASTE FOR LIFE Select restaurants around town will donate a percentage of their dinner sales on Wed, Apr 25 to raise money for Fife House, which provides supportive housing and other services for people living with HIV. From Allen’s on the Danforth and Sassafraz on Cumberland to Byzantium on Church and the Butter Chicken Factory on Parliament… up to 40 restos to choose from. For a complete list, go to fifehouse.org. •

→ BEAT T HE S T REE T From big-name international labels to the best in TO design, that’s Proper Reserve.

imalist exterior, it’s obvious this

Bruce Wayne Yip. Yes, his name

men’s street-wear boutique is far

really is Bruce Wayne. Just think of

from humble.

him as the caped crusader for all

The

shop

boasts

big-name

things urban — minus the cape.

international

labels

Comme

He leads a veritable Justice League

des Garcons, Moncler and Neil Barrett.

More

Proper locally

of super aesthetes.

impressive

is

Proper Reserve is currently work-

Reserve’s

emphasis

on

ing with Get Fresh to create an in-

designed

pieces.

From

house clothing and accessory line.

Nuestro’s leather holsters (for wal-

Sheldon Chong and his team at

lets and cell phones, not guns) to

Escency work in the store’s second

Coalition’s slick caps, the store

floor gallery space to create a jew-

showcases some of the best in

elry line characterized by impec-

Toronto’s

cable bead work. Artist Jimmy

under-the-radar

gar-

ment industry.

Chiale presents his colourful, graf-

All the brands carried here pay

fiti-inspired work in the shop, too.

particular attention to detail. For

And Yip is heading up a video

example, a red and black buffalo

gaming portal for Toshiba.

check shirt from Marshal Artist

“We all have our hustle, so to

seems typical, but on closer inspec-

speak,” says Yip, explaining his

tion one finds asymmetrical pock-

scheme to offer the best of all

ets, a rounded collar and misaligned

worlds. “It’s good to focus and spe-

buttons. “A lot of the clothing we

cialize in your niche but I think, as

have is a mix of west coast culture

a collective, we’re kind of ADD.”

and New York culture,” says head

If it sounds like Proper Reserve

buyer Rahmuhl Nurse, who strives

has everything a streetwise fash-

to bring in lines unavailable any-

ionisto could want, and then

where else in the city.

some, then I won’t even mention

Proper Reserve operates as a collective, bringing together cre-

the barbershop set to open in the back of the store.

ative types from across the artistic spectrum. “It’s everything to do with culture, art, music, fashion and the digital world,” says owner

PROPER RESERVE 498 Queen St W. (647) 341-8000. properreserve.com. intorontomag.com

23


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A RT & ENTERTAINMENT

FILM

‘A NORMAL MAN’ → David Kato went to astounding lengths to protect LGBT individuals in Uganda — and he was murdered for it Story Peter Knegt

W

inner

Teddy

interview. “He reeled off names

Award for best LGBT-

of

the

and numbers and introduced us to

themed

documentary

various people in the kuchu com-

at February’s Berlin International

munity, so initially he was some-

Film Festival, Call Me Kuchu tells

what of a fixer to us. But as we

the

harrowing

spent more time with him, we were

story

of

life-and-death

Uganda’s

first

openly

increasingly intrigued by his fierce

gay man, David Kato. Directed by

intelligence and passion, and real-

first-time

Katherine

ized that he was one of the most

Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-

outspoken activists in the commu-

Worrall, the film — having its North

nity. It soon became clear that he

American premiere here at Hot

was the protagonist of our film.”

filmmakers

Docs — offers viewers access into

Through Kato, the US filmmak-

a year in Kato’s life. It follows him

ers

got

through his work to combat both

to

Uganda’s

an anti-gay bill that proposed the

nity. Kato’s introductions led to a

death penalty for gay men, and a

quick trust between community

gay-bashing tabloid newspaper that

members and both Wright and

was outing members of the LGBT

Zougali-Worrall, who took careful

community with vicious fervour. It

measures to approach everyone

also sadly documents Kato’s brutal

respectfully.

murder early last year. Wright

and

unprecedented kuchu

access commu-

“We tried to make clear to them

their individual experiences.” Of

course,

Kato’s

murder

→ CHARISMA Activist David Kato in Kampala.

changed the filmmakers’ motivations for working on the film.

However, over the time that they

Zouhali-Worrall

that we wanted to document their

“While we had always been

spent filming with him, they also

had both been horrified with the

stories well beyond the sound bites

keen to get the story of Kampala’s

got to know a man who was “char-

tabling of the Anti-Homosexuality

they were accustomed to provid-

kuchus out into the world, that

ismatic yet vulnerable, sharp-wit-

Bill and decided to join forces to

ing to journalists,” they write. “We

sentiment became far more urgent

ted, and often afraid to sleep alone.”

take on a project about Uganda’s

really had to convince them we

and personal when David died,”

“As is true of the heroes of any

stance on the rights of LGBT — or

were in it for the long run, that

they write. “We had essentially

movement, some of these charac-

“kuchus” as they are called in the

we wanted to be around for hours

documented the entire last year of

ter and situational subtleties have

country. The filmmakers quickly

on end as they moved house, had

his life, and since his life was cut

been overshadowed by the broad

learned that there was an increas-

meetings, watched TV, ate dinner,

short, we had been filming during

strokes of his accomplishments,”

ingly organized LGBT community

etc. There were definitely people

a time when he was at the pinna-

they write. “Our hope is that Call

in Uganda that was fighting state-

who chose not to be filmed, and we

cle of his activism, when his phi-

Me Kuchu, as a long-format char-

sanctioned homophobia through

respected their wishes of course.

losophies and oration were most

acter study, will help supplement

the courts and other means. They

But those who decided to let us

concrete and well-formulated, and

the canonized David Kato, and

got on a plane to begin filming, and

into their lives did so because they

when his voice and understanding

ensure that people understand

Kato was the first person they met

wanted to be involved in a project

of the complexity of the scenario

that he was a normal man who

upon arrival in Kampala, Uganda’s

that would get their stories out, and

was strongest.”

went to astounding lengths to lib-

capital and largest city.

we were surprised at the intimacy

Since his murder, Kato has been

“We had to find him in the restau-

that engendered. In many cases, it

mythologized as a courageous and

rant of a specific hotel — the only

seemed that those members of the

passionate human rights activ-

place he felt safe in the city centre,”

LGBT community were looking for

ist, which Wright and Zougali-

they recalled jointly in an e-mail

an outlet through which to share

Worrall say is exactly what he was.

erate Uganda’s LGBT community.”

CALL ME KUCHU Screens at Hot Docs. $14.50. Wed, May 2, 3, 5. Various locations. hotdocs.ca. intorontomag.com

25


A RT & ENTERTAINMENT

STAGE

ANNIHILATED BY LOVE → Opera

Atelier’s Armide serves up a sumptuous feast of repulsion and desire Story Gordon Bowness | Photography Bruce Zinger

A

t the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Opera Atelier mounted an opera set during the Crusades that pitted a Muslim sorceress against an invading Christian knight. The opera was composed by a renowned “sodomite.” The choice of production wasn’t an act of provocation or folly; it was an act of love, a magical, obsessive love. The North American premiere of Armide in 2005 was one of OA’s best offerings, showcasing the company’s unique brand of period production and its heady mix of theatre, music, dance and design. OA remounts Armide this April before taking it on the road to the Royal Opera of Versailles and the Glimmerglass Festival in New York. First produced in 1686 for the court of Louis XIV, the opera Armide — and its composer JeanBaptiste Lully — serve up a sumptuous feast of repulsion and desire. → LOVE’ S CRUSADER Armide’s Renaud is sung by tenor Colin Ainsworth who director Marshall Pynkoski calls “beautiful six-foot-three Colin with the white skin and gold hair… but he’s way more than that.”

In the opera, the knight Renaud (Canadian tenor Colin Ainsworth, reprising his role) frees captives taken by the warrior princess Armide (US soprano Peggy Kriha Dye, in her role debut), an irresistible creature so beautiful soldiers freeze in their tracks. Armide swears revenge but when she wins the opportunity to kill Renaud, she can’t. She’s fallen in love. Enraged by his seeming indifference, Armide makes Renaud love her through magic. She tells herself that, in this way, his forced love will make her hate him enough to kill. Things don’t turn out as planned. “What I find incredible is that the Muslims were the great threat in Europe in the 17th century,” says director Marshall Pynkoski, “everyone was terrified of them, and terrified with good reason. They were at the gates of Vienna; Europe almost became a Muslim world. Christianity and the West were seriously at risk. “So I would take for granted that with this story of Jerusalem Delivered [the epic poem on which Armide is based] we would see the Muslims depicted as monsters

and the Christians as saints, with Christianity triumphing over the Muslim world. “But at the end of Armide, there’s a level playing field between these two protagonists. They are reduced to the same level… they are annihilated by each other. They are annihilated by love, by desire.” The heart-wrenching tragedy is that Armide and Renaud never hear each other’s professions of love. The last opera Lully composed, Armide is heralded as a 17th-century masterpiece and marks the pinnacle of Lully and librettist Philippe Quinault’s 15-year collaboration. Their masterworks were created to glorify the reign of Louis XIV and were presented at lavish court spectacles. “You have the stupendous combination of the most famous composer in the world, and the most famous poet in the world, working for the most privileged, highly educated, extremely discriminating patrons probably in all of Western history,” says Pynkoski. “It’s a complete melding of all the arts.” Life at court was a world unto

itself, where the intricate rules of etiquette were a high stakes game. How you spoke, what you wore, how you moved, all revealed where you belonged on the rigid hierarchy that had the king at its apex. It’s a glittering, confident world with dark, paranoid shadows. “People went to the theatre for different reasons. They didn’t go to be entertained. Certainly entertainment was part of the whole spectrum, but they went to the theatre for release,” says Pynkoski. “We’re dealing with a society where emotions were kept under absolute control at all times, not because of some [psychoses] but because they thought it was healthy. It was a completely different idea of how a human mind works, a completely different idea of human psychology. Today, we feel if you don’t tell someone, a therapist, somebody, everything you’re feeling, you are going to die of cancer. In Lully’s time they believed that if you discussed [an emotional dilemma] out loud, you gave it life and it would destroy you.” Pynkoski says all the great tragic heroines of the time, like Phaedra Continued on page 28

intorontomag.com

27


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

Continued from page 27

and Dido, exemplify that perspec-

is as close as you can get to a tape

tastes for dance without sacrific-

invention of French opera.

recorder [in the 17th century].

ing a work’s narrative drive. Dance

tive. So too Armide. “This woman

“Lully started life like hundreds

“So you have this spectacular and

is in love with someone who she

of artists whose names are barely

unique relationship between the

Balancing opposing forces is a

hasn’t even met yet — the gods

recorded,”

Bolduc,

spoken and sung word. It becomes

hallmark of Lully’s genius: words

have decided to play that horrible

associate professor of French at

so seamless it’s hard to tell at

versus music, dance versus drama,

game that they play so often. He

NYU. “The fact that he rose from

times when the singing begins

psychological details versus large

exists in her mind but she’s never

anonymity to the king’s superin-

and the talking starts,” he says.

musical forces, highbrow versus

seen him. She’s obsessed with a

tendent of music is a testimony to

“Conductors always joke when

lowbrow tastes, French sophisti-

highly sexual dream, a completely

his huge ambition and his excep-

innocent virgin, just like her. She

tional talents.”

says

Benoît

has no idea what it means… but

When Lully first arrived in France,

the moment she articulates that

Italians ruled the operatic roost. It

dream, it’s just a matter of time.”

was said that French was ill-suited

L

28

a musical genius, credited with the

to opera, the rhythm of the spoully’s life beggars belief. The

ken language couldn’t fit into the

always advanced the plot.

cation versus Italian spectacle. He

“FOR ANY ANGRY FRENCHMAN, THE EASIEST WAY TO DISMISS A POWER-HUNGRY IMMIGRANT FROM ITALY IS TO CALL HIM A SODOMITE.”

also showed genius in balancing his public life at court with his hidden life in the homosexual subculture of Paris. Lully ran with a group of nobles and commoners, known as lib-

son of peasants in Florence

structure of Italian arias and rec-

he began his career as an itiner-

itative. But Lully found a way to

ant musician, literally a wandering

bend musical lines to accommo-

minstrel. His talent, wit and social

date the sound — and intellectual

acumen propelled Lully quickly to

heft — of French poetry and prose.

the pinnacle of French music and

“You have those wonderful anec-

we are doing Lully, when some-

men

the French court, a virtual dicta-

dotes, and I don’t think they’re

one has eight bars of music, they

though Bolduc adds one caveat:

tor over all musical production

apocryphal, that Lully would go

go, ‘Ah, there’s your aria. Enjoy it,

“The

in the country. He was a favou-

with his recitatives and have them

eight bars of singing.’ But it’s all

omy an Italian vice, imported,

rite of King Louis XIV and eventu-

declaimed by some of the great

singing, it’s all talking.”

like syphilis, from the peninsula.

ally made a noble. Lully was a very

players of the Comédie-Française.

And all dancing. Lully began life

It is therefore hard to separate

wealthy land developer, the mar-

And he would write down the

at court as a dancer and person-

rumours from facts: accusations

ried father of 10, and lover to a

pitch and inflection with which

ally coached the dance-obsessed

of sodomy are often associated

string of young men. He was also

they spoke,” says Pynkoski. “This

king. His operas satisfied French

with xenophobia,” he says. “For

April 2012

ertines, most of whom preferred male couplings over opposite-sex ones. His circle included Cyrano de Bergerac and the Chevalier de Lorraine. That Lully loved young is

universally

French

accepted,

considered

sod-


A RT & ENTERTAINMENT

any angry Frenchman, the easi-

“Would he dared have said it? I

est way to dismiss a power-hun-

don’t know,” says Pynkoski. “He’s

gry immigrant from Italy is to call

at the point now where he can

him a sodomite.”

write what he feels. Lully was

Slandered or not, Lully was allowed

relative

liberty

partly

because of his friendship with

untouchable at this point. I wonder if we are not getting a revelation of sorts.

the king and partly because of

“He’s exposed,” says Pynkoski.

the indulgence the king showed

“He’s exposing himself and how

toward his gay brother Philippe

that sort of love can’t be con-

and his circle. (It should be noted

trolled, it has to play itself out.

that the modern gay identity

This is a love attack.”

doesn’t really apply in the 17th century; sodomite sounds more colourful, anyway.) That

freedom

was

L

ove attack” is a term that applies equally well to the

tentative.

opera Armide itself and the near

When a secret ring of sodomites,

mystical hold it has over OA artis-

whose “converts” included one

tic directors Pynkoski and his

of the king’s (illegitimate) sons,

wife,

was discovered and its members

Lajeunesse Zingg.

choreographer

Jeannette

“YOU HAVE THE STUPENDOUS COMBINATION OF THE MOST FAMOUS COMPOSER IN THE WORLD, AND THE MOST FAMOUS POET IN THE WORLD, WORKING FOR THE MOST PRIVILEGED, HIGHLY EDUCATED, EXTREMELY DISCRIMINATING PATRONS PROBABLY IN ALL OF WESTERN HISTORY.”

ing the story as clearly as possible. And that has become the focus for us. And that’s the beauty of being with one company, of growing one company for 26 years. “We’ve

really

been

obsessed

with the idea for a long time that period

production

means

any

period,” says Pynkoski. “It simply has to do with taking your inspiration from the original intention.” And so the company heads into uncharted waters, OA’s first foray into the romantic repertoire of the 19th century. Next season will see a period production of Weber’s Der Freischütz (The Marksman). “It’s a natural progression for us, dramatically,

musically,

choreographi-

punished, Lully went for straight

“There is something about Lully’s

ences. So OA stalwart Gerard

cally,” says Pynkoski. “And yet, in

cover in a more acceptable form

life, the way he sees life, how he

Gauci freed himself from many

the most marvelous way, it flies

of adultery, a mistress. Ironically,

explains the emotional turmoil

period constraints and based his

in the face aesthetically of every-

according to biographer RHF Scott,

of life, that has enormous reso-

set designs on Persian miniatures.

thing we’ve been talking about.

this liaison brought him closest

nance for me, without question,”

The resulting work was some of

to disaster. The young woman’s

says Pynkoski. “And after all these

his best. (Because of the part-

a

mother, angry at Lully over money,

years there are certain sections of

nership with Glimmerglass, the

mate point of view. What Opera

fired off a letter to the king detail-

Armide where I am still reduced to

remount allowed OA to complete

Atelier does is what people in the

ing Lully’s ongoing affair with his

blubbering, listening to it, or even

all of Gauci’s bold but detailed

19th century knew…. They were

live-in page Brunet. Brunet was

just talking about it.”

designs.) “I’m very proud of the

immersed in this [and Weber] was

with

design,” says Pynkoski. “It’s mag-

a reaction against it.”

tioned. But once Brunet started

Armide and its premiere in 2005

nificent and it took us on a new

But for now, all eyes and ears

naming names he couldn’t shut up,

forced him and Lajeunesse Zingg

direction; we are still going in that

turn to that ephemeral beauty

incriminating a long list of impor-

to

direction.”

Armide where, as she sings near

tant people including the son of

20-year-old company approached

the chief of police. The affair was

baroque works.

taken from Lully’s house and ques-

Pynkoski’s

reappraise

obsession

how

their

then

The 2005 production marked a break in the company’s history.

“I think we are going to have wonderful

the

opera’s

and

end,

very

legiti-

demons

are

transformed into lovely breezes.

hushed up, though it did mark a

“When we first started, we were

While still delivering OA’s trade-

cooling in the 35-year friendship

obsessed with recreating anything

mark sexy and sumptuous style,

says

“I have to be honest with you,”

between Lully and Louis.

we could find,” says Pynkoski. “If it

Armide displayed a more flexible

remains a mystery to me. It’s one of

Pynkoski.

“Armide’s

story

The Brunet affair happened the

was a costume design or choreol-

design and directorial approach,

those things that make it so wonder-

same year Lully began work on

ogy, if we could recreate it, we did.

one that OA has been building

ful… every time you move toward it,

Armide. With its story of all-con-

It’s a superb starting point because

upon in the intervening years.

it moves. I think that’s the sign of a

suming love, a dangerous love

it’s a beginning that enforces a

“Every time we come back to

that obliterates social boundaries,

certain rigour academically and

a piece, we get more and more

is there a connection between the

artistically. But eventually that

subservient to the work itself.

opera and Lully’s secret life?

becomes a dead end.”

We never come back and say,

→ TEAM DREAM Opera Atelier artistic directors Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg and Marshall Pynkoski. Soprano Peggy Kriha Dye (right) debuts as Armide.

Many records of the original

‘Where’s the video? We are going

17th-century designs for Armide

to remount what we did before.’ It

still exist. But certain aspects,

changes and changes and contin-

like the comedic turbans, seemed

ues being stripped back.

inappropriate for modern audi-

“Everything has to go toward tell-

masterpiece, that’s it’s so ephemeral it’s always just out of reach.”

ARMIDE $35-$180. 7:30pm. Sat, Apr 14, 17, 18, 20 & 21. 3pm. Apr 15. Elgin Theatre. 189 Yonge St. (855) 622-2787. ticketmaster.ca. operaatelier.com. intorontomag.com

29


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

B O O KS

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE →

How the written word saved Jeanette Winterson Review Alice Lawlor

R

eading a bad literary memoir is like peeping behind a curtain, only to find the mundane details of a life like any other. But when that life is extraordinary — when it keeps you guessing and makes you cry — biography can do things that literature can’t. Jeanette Winterson’s Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is one such memoir. It’s

a rollercoaster ride through a life that’s stranger than fiction. A literary superstar in her native England, Winterson is best known for her debut novel Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. It’s a semiautobiographical story of the writer’s strict Pentecostal upbringing in Lancashire, and what happens when she falls in love with a girl. More than 25 years later, Winterson

returns to this subject matter — but this time it’s not fiction. “I suppose that the saddest thing for me, thinking about the cover version that is Oranges, is that I wrote a story I could live with,” she reflects in the memoir. “The other one was too painful. I could not survive it.” Like all of Winterson’s works, there’s no linear narrative. This is not about clarifying fact and fiction;

she’s telling her stories through a different lens. This time she writes about being locked out all night as punishment for some unknown sin. About the revolver her mother keeps in the duster drawer. And the transformative power of the written word. “That is what literature offers — a language powerful enough to say how it is,” she writes. “It isn’t a hiding place. It is a finding place.” This idea of searching for what has been lost — family, identity, love — is at the very heart of the book. When Winterson finds her adoption papers in her elderly father’s possessions, she begins a journey that consumes her wholly. Her quest will speak to anyone who has ever felt like they’re on the outside looking in. “Writers are often exiles, outsiders, runaways and castaways,” she writes. “Every book was a message in a bottle. Open it.”

WHY BE HAPPY WHEN YOU COULD BE NORMAL? Jeanette Winterson. Knopf Canada. $20.

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

ASK THE SEX GEEK — with Andrea Zanin

How do you deal with envy when having a threesome or moresome? Especially when you see the ways others can do something with your lover that you cannot, something that seems to make your lover really happy? →

Sam Threesomes and group sex are

Third, it’s worth asking your

the classic mixed bag if you’re in

lover what it is they so specifi-

an existing partnership. It can be

cally enjoy about a given physi-

ridiculously hot to watch your

cal act that you aren’t able to per-

lover get off with someone else.

form. Is it really the act itself, or is

But... then they’re getting off with

it the particular emotional texture

someone else! Even for seasoned

of the experience, or the sensation

non-monogamists, this simple sit-

it provides? Someone who likes

uation can be both outrageously

to get a delicious spanking before

sexy and intensely frightening.

sex might be just as excited about

I don’t have a magic bullet for

some other physical act that, to

this one, but I can offer a few

them, represents dominance — so

potential ideas.

your pesky carpal tunnel need not

First, if the new addition to the

be a problem if you can rustle up

mix has a skill set you don’t share,

a blindfold and some clothes pegs.

then in theory at least, there’s

Now this all addresses the tech-

nothing stopping you from learn-

nical side of things. To speak more

ing it. Workshops and instruc-

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tional manuals abound on just

mention, note that for a lot of peo-

about every technique under the

ple, that feeling breaks down into

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a unique opportunity for hands-on

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fear both on your own — mind-

extra-sexy times and the kind of

fulness meditation seems to work

bonding that builds group trust if

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your threesome becomes a regular

there’s nothing wrong with finding

or ongoing thing.

a good therapist — and with your

Second, if your shared partner

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ance and support. Also, ask what

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configuration, say — you may be

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be like someone else, you can sim-

ways, for instance by investing in

ply enjoy knowing that your lover

a strap-on (if you’d like to have a

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April 2012 - In Toronto Magazine  

Gay and Lesbian City Living Magazine from Toronto

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