Page 1

GAY & LESBIAN

CITY LIVING

|

J U LY 2 0 1 2

WAVE THE FLAG

OLYMPIC PREVIEW WITH MARK TEWKSBURY THE GREAT CANADIAN KISS-OFF

ARE WE A DIFFERENT

SPECIES

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CONTENTS

ISSUE 26

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

36

14

22

14

LA VIE EN ROSE Montreal in summer means hot pink times by Peter Knegt

22

LGBT RIGHTS Canada versus USA: A comparative history by Paul Gallant

30 36

30

MYTH AMERICA Kent Monkman crosses new frontiers by Sholem Krishtalka

RL-11-000-1d June Ad IT_4.1563 W x 5.1563 11-05-18 10:22 AM Page 1

Cool Moves

PUCKER UP The great Canadian kiss-off Artist gallery

7

NORTHSTAR Mutant wedding bells

7

CHANNING TATUM In his own words

9

CATHOLICS GOING “GAY” Sound off on GSAs

10

TINY PERFECT DESIGN by Gordon Bowness

19

SUMMER COLOUR-BLOCKING by Derek Dotto

20

BREAK-UP PEP TALK with Adam Segal

21

MARK TEWKSBURY & THE OLYMPICS by Gordon Bowness

26

JULY CALENDAR & EVENTS

28

L’OUVRIER IS A WINNER by Anna von Frances

34

10X10 PHOTOGRAPHY by Paul Aguirre-Livingston

44

ALISON BECHDEL’S NEW MEMOIR by Alice Lawlor

49

BE SEX POSITIVE with Andrea Zanin

50

CAUGHT IN THE ACT Scene photography

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TORONTO TALK EXCHANGE VIEW FINDER → CAPTAIN CANUPTIALS Marvel Comics’ gay Canadian superhero Northstar (aka JeanPaul Beaubier) marries his long-term boyfriend Kyle Jinadu in the latest issue of Astonishing X-Men. The ceremony takes place in New York City, reflecting that state’s recent legalization of same-sex marriage. The creators say they are eager to flesh out both characters and their relationship; like many mixed marriages, expect this mutant Canadian/black American couple to be tested in story lines to come. But for now it’s all Lycra and lace for the newlyweds. Written by Marjorie Liu and illustrated by Mike Perkins, issue #50 is on stands now.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS CHANNING TATUM

→ “That was the moment where it all really hit me —

where I was and where I’ve gotten to.”

Actor Channing Tatum had a moment of déjà vu while working on his latest film Magic Mike, the just-opened comedy drama where Tatum plays a veteran erotic dancer who takes a young protégé under his wing. Similarly, when Tatum was in his late teens, he, too, made a living peeling off his clothes at a male strip club in Tampa Bay, Florida — the same spot where Magic Mike was filmed (you can find the vintage footage on YouTube). “I was walking the same streets I stumbled down as a little raver kid, seeing the same stairwell where I was hooking up with girls,” he said at a recent Toronto press conference. While the studly actor’s stripper moves in the film are pretty magical, Tatum said his seductive swagger came naturally, thanks to practice he gets with his wife, actress Jenna Dewan. “Me and my wife actually do dance for one another, so I didn’t really have to learn many new moves,” he said. Magic Mike is now playing; for details go to magicmikemovie.ca.

7

July 2012

intorontomag.com

7


TORONTO TALK EXCHANGE SOUND OFF WHY “GAY” MATTERS

LOVE IS A FLAG I’LL WAVE

BY KRISHNA RAU

→ On June 5, the Liberals and the NDP in the Ontario legislature passed

Bill 13 — the Accepting Schools Act — which mandates, among other things, that students in all publicly-funded schools, including in the Catholic system, be able to form anti-bullying clubs, and call them Gay-Straight Alliances, or GSAs, if they want. Much of the Catholic hierarchy painted the bill as an attack on religious freedom; others disagreed.

“To the members of our Catholic community: I urge you to reflect on the implications for Catholic education of this sudden government change in policy, and of the extraordinary privileging of one particular way of dealing with bullying and personal support. “To our friends and neighbours of other faiths, or of no faith, including those who disagree with any or all of the beliefs of the Catholic Church, and those who personally support the beliefs that form the context for GSAs: Please consider the implications for all when legislation is enacted that overrides the deeply held beliefs of any faith community in our province, and intrudes on its freedom to act in a way that is in accord with its principles of conscience. If it happens to us, it can happen to you, on this and other

issues. When religious freedom becomes a second-class right, you also will eventually be affected.”

THOMAS COLLINS, ARCHBISHOP OF TORONTO “For our association, the bottom line is to always meet the needs of our students. Providing safe, inclusive environments and eliminating bullying wherever we can is paramount. If the students feel that a club should be called a GSA — that it makes a difference to them — then we respect and accept that choice. “Many adults have commented on what should be done in schools to help prevent discrimination and victimization of marginalized students. The reality is, this isn’t about the adults — it is about the students and student relationships — and

we need to empower the students who are a key part of this equation.”

KEVIN O’DWYER, ONTARIO ENGLISH CATHOLIC TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT “We know that words matter. The message that we’re giving to Ontario students today is you will be listened to, it’s your club. The Premier and I were both very clear that it was not for us at Queen’s Park to tell them what the name of their club should be, but neither should it be for someone else sitting in some other office in the province to tell them what the name of their club can’t be.”

I’ve covered Toronto’s LGBT community for 20 years and it’s clear that the freedom to love has won the day. It’s something that resonates strongly with Canadians — and that took hard work, by activists and ordinary folk alike. With Pride Day and Canada Day coinciding this year, it feels right to celebrate what we have accomplished, as a community and as a country. In this issue we mark the special convergence: in Paul Gallant’s comparative look at US and Canadian culture and history (page 22); in the post-colonial art of Kent Monkman (page 30), and in our artists’ lip-lock free-for-all (page 36). We carry the celebration forward to the Olympic Games and the toothy exuberance of Mark Tewksbury’s fight for LGBT visibility in sports (page 21). As a mixed-race first-generation Canadian, I’ve never been that keen on flags and unthinking nationalism. I love this country but that doesn’t mean I’m blind to historical and ongoing injustice. I find the jingoistic chestthumping of Stephen Harper, Jason Kenney, Rob Ford and other Conservative politicos disgusting. Their nostalgia for conformity, their willingness to label opponents as enemies, doesn’t reflect my Canada. The scores of citizens, community leaders and artists in the pages of this magazine, the million or so revellers on Yonge Street on July 1, that’s my country, that’s my flag. GORDON BOWNESS, EDITOR

LAUREL BROTEN, PROVINCIAL MINISTER OF EDUCATION

intorontomag.com

9


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LIVING & DESIGN

O PE N H O U S E

IT’S THE SMALL THINGS THAT MATTER →

Jeff Patterson, director of patron services at TIFF Bell Lightbox, and Jason Hudson, fashion photographer and style blogger, make the most of a tiny condo with a great view of downtown Toronto Story Gordon Bowness | Photography Nicola Betts

10

July 2012


LIVING & DESIGN

You moved into a one-bedroom condo at Yonge and Carlton three years ago. Why 21 Carlton? JH: Location, location, location. JP: We eyeballed this place even before they broke ground. JH: We went on a date for the open house. We love an open house. JP: We’d been wanting to get into the market for years. It’s a good investment. And It’s got a view of the water that will never be obstructed. When we came in here for the first time, all I noticed was the view. When friends asked about the rest of the place, like the kitchen, I said I didn’t even know there was a kitchen. JH: We definitely have different roles in life. I didn’t “love” it. Jeff led the charge. But it is a good investment, it was new, so it’s going to be better for resale. It was a rental when we got it, so a blank slate to work with. It was also about how much work we wanted to do. I didn’t want to live through some massive renovation. The tile near the front door is all we did. It was done in a week. Where were you before? JH: We rented a row house in Corktown. We had the whole place, a lot of room. So going from 1,400 square feet to 600 meant we had to chuck a lot of stuff. But what was I doing with 80 issues of Vanity Fair? We had a lot of rooms at the house, a lot of unfinished rooms, rooms with junk in them, dusty corners. The less spare room you have, the less spare room you have to fill with emotions and conflicts. It wasn’t that hard. I’m not one who has to own something to be happy. JP: I had to get rid of all of my stuff. So Jason calls the shots when it comes to design? JP: I’m happy to defer to him. I don’t necessarily know why something works… but I love it when it works. I trust Jason.

→ PRIORI T IES Jason Hudson’s photo of his great-grandmother (top); she had a profound influence on him. Jeff Patterson got the birdcage (middle) with his parents when he was a child. He and Jason repurposed it when they moved.

There’s a study that shows that, no matter how big your house is, you only live in 400 square feet of it. PH: I feel like now we have 400 thoughtful square feet that we can be proud of. How did you plan on making the most of the small space? JH: I don’t believe in condo-sized anything. What couldn’t you do without? JP: The birdcage. I got it with my parents when I was 12. My mother was buying a sleigh at an antique store; I saw the birdcage and fell in love with it. So I asked the owner to throw it in as part of the bargain. I guess because it’s a lovely memory of just the three of us… and I got it for free. When we moved here, we repurposed it as a lamp. JH: I’m not married to stuff. So there’s nothing in here that you just have to have? JH: You’re not talking about a gorgeous little cloisonné bird given to me by my great-grandmother? She was an amazing woman, went to business school, adopted her children and supported them as a single mother. Or the piggy bank she gave me? And maybe that green chair you’re sitting in. And those industrial shelves, like elementary school library shelves…. You two used to do similar work. JP: Before TIFF I used to manage Massey Hall front of house. JH: And I used to manage the venues at the Young Centre and the Royal Conservatory of Music. We shared a lifestyle. We’d work ‘til midnight and weekends. We’d often have breakfast instead of dinner. It was really hard to see our friends. We were on a different schedule. We’d socialize more with colleagues. But you can’t do that forever. JP: We’re normal now. Jason, you have a popular style blog. Did it help you change careers? JH: I studied photography at Sheridan and then moved to Toronto to become a photographer. It didn’t work out that way for 10 years. When I started blogging a couple of years ago, I just wrote about what I wanted to write about, Continued on page 12

intorontomag.com

11


LIVING & DESIGN Continued from page 11

what I wanted to shoot. It’s a high gloss

tal business. He was used to risk. He

version of our real lives. And people

instilled in me the idea that you make

liked it. I think they are drawn to my

what you can of the world. My mom

strong point of view. They know what

was a teacher and artist. So both worlds

they’re getting. And that helped spark

are in me.

my freelance career in photography.

JH: I come from a long line of tradesmen and farmers, where the value of a

How do you describe the style of your

dollar was evident every day. They held

home?

onto their money. So it’s funny that,

JH: I always refer to it as faggy mascu-

now, I’m bad with money and Jeff is

line. We’re gay; we’re not afraid of flo-

great with money. I can’t resist a throw

ral pillows or purple drapes. I think that

pillow.

lends itself to good design. Most interior designers are really just interlopers

Pet peeves?

between a husband and a wife, trying to

JH: Small windows. You can’t put floor-

get them together on good design ideas.

to-ceiling drapes on tiny windows.

It’s a small place and you’ve got a big

Basic décor advice?

TV.

JH: Don’t fight the space, it has natural

JH: We’ve got two big TVs. We watch a

instincts. And beware bossy furniture.

lot of TV — I’m not ashamed of admitting it. I’m not ashamed of loving The Real Housewives. I don’t want to hide the TV. And the couch has to be comfortable. You’ve got a photo album displaying on it. JP: We got Apple TV so you can stream everything: music, movies, websites… Jason takes so many photographs; it’s a great way to show them off to friends. And YouTube parties are always threatening to break out. The midcentury home entertainment centre is great. JP: It used to work. But we might have played a record on it once a year. When we moved here, Jason suggested we rip it apart so we could hide the Rogers box and all the cables. JH: Jeff gutted it with a jigsaw. He’s very handy. You’ve got another rental property in town, a condo in Florida and share a cottage with Jeff’s brother. Are you budding real estate tycoons? JP: If the market keeps going the way it’s going, I’m going to flip until I die. I tell all my friends, get in the market, and get in early. Where did that come from? JP: My dad owned a venture capi12

July 2012

JASON HUDSON Blogs at jasonhudson.com.


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LIVING & DESIGN

Tourisme Montréal, Stéphan Poulin

T R AV E L

NO CITY DOES SUMMER LIKE MONTREAL → Forget

the student protests and that monster Magnotta, Montrealers know how to deal with the heat: Keep it simple, sexy and a little bit debauched Story Peter Knegt

14

etween the mass student

B

For one thing, Magnotta is behind

you seek out that scenario, the

summer day expect yourself to

protests and the twisted

bars eagerly awaiting the attention

most you’ll likely notice is the city-

wonder whether anyone in the

murder and dismember-

that will come with his trial. And

wide sound of banging pots and

city actually works. Instead, they

ment allegedly carried out by Lukas

the student protests are actually

pans every night at 8pm.

all just seem to spend their days

Magnotta, the news hasn’t exactly

quite pleasant. They’ve injected an

More importantly, though: No

lying in parks, books or booze (or

been a tourism ad for Montreal

energy into the city that’s pretty

city does summer like Montreal,

both) in hand, with as little cloth-

lately. But there’s absolutely no

inspiring whether you fully believe

and no group of people feel like

ing on as possible. And it’s this

reason to let that stop you from

in their cause or not. Sure, they

they deserve summer as much as

image wherein lies the true plea-

making your way there sometime

occasionally erupt into violent con-

Montrealers. Current events aren’t

sure of Montreal summer: Simple,

very soon.

frontations with police. But unless

going to change that. On any given

sexy and a little bit debauched.

July 2011


LIVING & DESIGN

Mathieu Labelle

Simply joining in on Montrealers’

Bota Bota. (botabota.ca) Bota Bota

swords (Google image this immedi-

party will give you more of a gen-

is literally a spa on a boat parked

ately). Most of them are just watch-

uine vacation than any of the city’s

in the water of the Old Port. With

ing in awe, biere ou vin in hand.

tourist traps (as fine as they are).

both indoor and outdoor spaces, it

If you want a little less riff-raff,

Remember, weather is unpre-

offers giant hot tubs, steam rooms,

the massive Parc Lafontaine is

dictable. Without nice weather,

dry saunas, massages, a restau-

located a 20-minute walk east of

a strange beast due to the fact that

Montreal can lose a drastic amount

rant and bar (though mind the

Mont Royal, and is filled on week-

they are split into two separate,

of its appeal. Like the city’s Bixi

two-drink maximum), and the best

ends with folks having boozy pic-

unassociated

bike rental system (montreal.bixi.-

view of the old city you could ask

nics. It also has a beautifully

Pride is August 13 to 19 (fiertemon-

com) — far superior to Toronto’s

for. Basic entry for the day (sans

designed and very yummy new

trealpride.com; this year question-

because there’s something like 10

massages) costs $55, but there’s

café on its northwest side.

ably themed “3011: Odyssey of the

times the bikes and stations (and a

a special on Tuesdays where two

spectacular network of segregated

people can go for just $60.

→ CROWDS? REL AX Old Montreal features the tourist mecca of Place Jacques-Cartier (opposite page) and the perfect escape in Bota Bota, a floating spa (above).

events.

Montreal

And while the city’s massive cal-

Future”), and brings with it the offi-

endar of summer festivals might

cial parade. Divers/Cité (entering

bike lanes, too) — perfect to enjoy

Entirely free is the city’s iconic

fall closer into the tourist trap col-

its 20th year) runs a few weeks ear-

the city’s inexhaustible outdoor

Mont Royal, an epic urban park in

umn, there’s simply too many of

lier (July 31 to August 6; diverscite.-

spaces. The newest of which is the

the city’s centre complete with hik-

them to ignore. The city basically

org) and bills itself as a more mul-

Clock Tower Beach, an urban not-

ing trails, an observation deck, and

becomes one giant festival from

tidisciplinary festival focusing on

quite-beach located in the city’s

the biggest lit-up cross you ever

June to September.

dance, art and music.

Old Port. (oldportofmontreal.com)

did see. But on Sunday afternoons

The Montreal Jazz Fest (June 28

Both events bring with them the

There’s sand, Adirondack chairs, a

it becomes Montreal’s best party

to July 7; montrealjazzfest.com),

crucial elements of outdoor drink-

boardwalk and a bar, plus showers

when its eastern side becomes

the world’s biggest, features free

ing, tons of events and perfor-

and mist stations to cool off. Just

packed with thousands (and thou-

concerts from Rufus Wainwright

mances, and packed streets full of

not actual swimming water. But

sands) of locals. Some of them are

and Chromeo this year, as well as

friendly folks in the mood for fun

it only costs $6, and the people-

playing drums (part of Tam Tams,

not-so-free ones from the likes of

times. Though Divers/Cité’s epic

watching is worth the price alone.

a 30-year tradition). Some of them

BB King and Janelle Monae.

La Nuit des Drags (Aug 4) — the

A less cost-effective but totally

are dressed up like medieval peo-

Then of course there are the

biggest drag queen contest in the

worthwhile option is the year-old

ple fighting each other with fake

city’s Pride celebrations, which are

Continued on page 17

intorontomag.com

15


toronto’S Friday, June 22 to Sunday, July 1 www.pridetoronto.com

Street FeStival June 30 – July 1

tranS march

Friday June 29 @ 7:30pm

dkye march

Saturday June 30 @ 2pm

pride parade Sunday July 1 @ 2pm


LIVING & DESIGN

Mathieu Labelle

Simply joining in on Montrealers’

Bota Bota. (botabota.ca) Bota Bota

swords (Google image this immedi-

party will give you more of a gen-

is literally a spa on a boat parked

ately). Most of them are just watch-

uine vacation than any of the city’s

in the water of the Old Port. With

ing in awe, biere ou vin in hand.

tourist traps (as fine as they are).

both indoor and outdoor spaces, it

If you want a little less riff-raff,

Remember, weather is unpre-

offers giant hot tubs, steam rooms,

the massive Parc Lafontaine is

dictable. Without nice weather,

dry saunas, massages, a restau-

located a 20-minute walk east of

a strange beast due to the fact that

Montreal can lose a drastic amount

rant and bar (though mind the

Mont Royal, and is filled on week-

they are split into two separate,

of its appeal. Like the city’s Bixi

two-drink maximum), and the best

ends with folks having boozy pic-

unassociated

bike rental system (montreal.bixi.-

view of the old city you could ask

nics. It also has a beautifully

Pride is August 13 to 19 (fiertemon-

com) — far superior to Toronto’s

for. Basic entry for the day (sans

designed and very yummy new

trealpride.com; this year question-

because there’s something like 10

massages) costs $55, but there’s

café on its northwest side.

ably themed “3011: Odyssey of the

times the bikes and stations (and a

a special on Tuesdays where two

spectacular network of segregated

people can go for just $60.

→ CROWDS? REL AX Old Montreal features the tourist mecca of Place Jacques-Cartier (opposite page) and the perfect escape in Bota Bota, a floating spa (above).

events.

Montreal

And while the city’s massive cal-

Future”), and brings with it the offi-

endar of summer festivals might

cial parade. Divers/Cité (entering

bike lanes, too) — perfect to enjoy

Entirely free is the city’s iconic

fall closer into the tourist trap col-

its 20th year) runs a few weeks ear-

the city’s inexhaustible outdoor

Mont Royal, an epic urban park in

umn, there’s simply too many of

lier (July 31 to August 6; diverscite.-

spaces. The newest of which is the

the city’s centre complete with hik-

them to ignore. The city basically

org) and bills itself as a more mul-

Clock Tower Beach, an urban not-

ing trails, an observation deck, and

becomes one giant festival from

tidisciplinary festival focusing on

quite-beach located in the city’s

the biggest lit-up cross you ever

June to September.

dance, art and music.

Old Port. (oldportofmontreal.com)

did see. But on Sunday afternoons

The Montreal Jazz Fest (June 28

Both events bring with them the

There’s sand, Adirondack chairs, a

it becomes Montreal’s best party

to July 7; montrealjazzfest.com),

crucial elements of outdoor drink-

boardwalk and a bar, plus showers

when its eastern side becomes

the world’s biggest, features free

ing, tons of events and perfor-

and mist stations to cool off. Just

packed with thousands (and thou-

concerts from Rufus Wainwright

mances, and packed streets full of

not actual swimming water. But

sands) of locals. Some of them are

and Chromeo this year, as well as

friendly folks in the mood for fun

it only costs $6, and the people-

playing drums (part of Tam Tams,

not-so-free ones from the likes of

times. Though Divers/Cité’s epic

watching is worth the price alone.

a 30-year tradition). Some of them

BB King and Janelle Monae.

La Nuit des Drags (Aug 4) — the

A less cost-effective but totally

are dressed up like medieval peo-

Then of course there are the

biggest drag queen contest in the

worthwhile option is the year-old

ple fighting each other with fake

city’s Pride celebrations, which are

Continued on page 17

intorontomag.com

15


LIVING & DESIGN S H O PPI N G

BLOCK PARTY → Mix

and match from three primary colours to make a bold statement this summer Story Derek Dotto

T

ake a cue from Piet Mondrian when building a colour-blocked

1

2

3

outfit this spring. A trichromatic look based on solid pieces in primary hues can make as strong a statement as any off-

the-wall print or pattern. Here’s an ensemble ready for a day on the lake or a casual backyard barbecue.

1 Ray Ban’s iconic eyewear gets a 21st-century makeover with the folding Wayfarer in a colour flattering to any skin tone. $195.95. Sunglass Hut. 82 Yorkville Ave. sunglasshut.com. 2 A lightweight cotton blazer, like this one from Scotch and Soda, keeps you cool as the days heat up. $235. Scotch and Soda. Eaton Centre. scotch-soda.ca.

Stay on-trend, even if you get caught with your pants down, with these trunks from the king of solid skivvies. $30. Calvin Klein Underwear. 110 Bloor St W. cku.ca. 3

4 Catching a chill at night? This Sea Island cotton sweater from John Smedley adds an extra layer without too much weight or warmth. $275. Mr Porter. mrporter.com. 5 Last season’s rookie of the year is this season’s must-have bag. The Cambridge Satchel makes a bold yet utilitarian statement, perfect for toting your necessities. $155. A2Zane. 753 Queen St W a2zane.com.

6 You’ve got to think outside the colour box when it comes to keeping the nautical trend alive. These yellow boat shoes from H&M will do just that. $34.95. H&M. Yorkdale Shopping Centre. hm.com.

Don’t weigh down your buoyant look with metal on your wrist. This Toy Watch timepiece with rubber strap is slick and current. $260. The Bay. 176 Yonge St. toywatchcanada.com. 7

8 Lacoste has all-but perfected the polo. With the added street cred of this collaboration with Cool Cats, it’s that much closer to heaven. The leopard print inner piping will be your little secret. $150. Lacoste. Eaton Centre. lacoste.ca.

4

7

5

8

6

9

9 Do away with heavy denim and slacks with these lightweight work pants from Outclass. Did we mention they’re made in Canada? $185. The Future of Frances Watson. 1390 Queen St W. thefutureoffranceswatson.blogspot.ca or outclass.ca.

intorontomag.com

19


LIVING & DESIGN

RELATIONSHIP ADVICE

— with Adam Segal → “I was with my partner for eight wonderful years. At least they were wonderful for me! He left me eight months ago. I still feel so haunted by our relationship and I can’t go anywhere without thinking about him and can only imagine how much better my life would be if we were still together. We don’t see each other anymore, but my heart sinks every time I think I see him in the city. I want to be open to a new relationship but my heart still feels so incredibly attached to what we had built together and I am hurt that he didn’t think I was good enough. How do you move past a break-up when you never wanted it in the first place?” Alan Separation, along with death

tal and you beneath it. While this

and job loss, is considered one

split is incredibly hard, you’ll be in

of life’s top stressors and you are

less pain if you stop thinking that

proof of this. A virtual daily kick in

something is wrong with you, your

the nuts, break-ups, especially for

ex or the fact that your relation-

the one who is left behind, have a

ship ended.

way of stirring up all of our great-

There is an opportunity here for

est fears, insecurities and esteem

you to look at how this relation-

issues. That you are struggling

ship and its ultimate demise could

eight months after the  split is no

teach you something about your-

surprise considering the dura-

self and help inform your next

tion of your relationship and how

foray into coupledom.

much your ex obviously meant to you.

act proud for 30 years we’ve seen the boldness, strength and resilience of the communities we serve.

act bold. act strong. act resilient. act now.

Like after an actual death, you

be disastrous, you won’t need

will be moving through the stages

to be completely “over” your ex

of grief and there’s no set time

either. It’s unreasonable to expect

limit for such a process. I would

that you would have no thoughts,

encourage a balanced approach,

feelings or memories of your ex

one where you allow yourself the

still floating around when start-

range of difficult feelings (sadness,

ing a new relationship. Think of

anger and so on) that are health-

your brain as a dictionary — under

fully yours while also finding ways

the word love is a huge photo of

of staying in the moment to keep

your ex at his most loving and lov-

you from obsessive trips down

able. Only once you fall hard for

memory lane.

someone new, will that definition

A central idea in Buddhist philosophy is that resistance creates

of your new fella.

the separation hadn’t happened, you are essentially piling on extra also encourage you to work hard

t @ACToronto f facebook.com/ACToronto

change and conjure up a snapshot

suffering. By constantly wishing

and unnecessary agony. I would The AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) 399 Church Street, 4th Floor, Toronto, ON M5B 2J6 T 416-340-2437 F 416-340-8225 W actoronto.org

While rushing into a new relationship to mask the pain would

at not placing him on a pedes-

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.


LIVING & DESIGN

S PO R T S

CANADA’S MEGAWATT CHEERLEADER → Mark Tewskbury

is gunning for gold in London

Story Gordon Bowness

M

ally take away accreditations — and everyone on each team needs accreditation.” Tewksbury calls the Olympics “this magical thing” — the number and variety of athletes involved, the four-year gap, the buildup, the hoopla. “Our job is to take away all of the distractions, make sure things go really seamlessly, so that the athletes’ experience is the centrepoint.” To say Tewksbury is keyed up about Canada’s appearance at the games is beyond obvious. With his megawatt smile at full beam, he says he is undaunted by the 20-hour days that lie ahead. Like the athletes he’s supporting, he wants medals and lots of ’em. It’s a demanding and confident outlook that builds upon Canada’s success at the Vancouver winter games. “For me what’s exciting is if we get what we call dark horses,” he says. “We know who the medal favourites are, but we need people who are slightly off the radar, people ranked eighth to 16th at the Worlds, to have some breakthroughs. Because that’s what’s necessary for us to reach our goal of top 12. “I love an underdog…. I think that has something to do with the LGBT story. The euphoria of going in 16th and surprising everybody and getting on the podium is just off the radar. That’s something that ignites the whole team.” Another Vancouver hallmark, the increased visibility of LGBT athletes through Pride House,

will continue in London, though, sadly, in a scaled-back version. For Tewksbury, who still gives gay talks in high schools, it’s still about “baby steps.” “There’s never been a more out chef,” he says. “That’s something, too, right? Isn’t success leading by example? It’s visibility. “The fact that I’m gay and chef de mission is a non-issue. “On a private level, I’m still contacted constantly by various gay or lesbian athletes. Sometimes it’s just to lend an ear. Sometimes it’s for support. Sometimes it’s for advice. Sometimes it’s just about performance — I know the person talking to me is a gay or lesbian athlete, but we’re just talking about performance, athlete to athlete. There’s sort of an unspoken connection, so you don’t need to go there. There’s a level of trust and intimacy that lets some things come out that are really powerful.” Tewksbury is eager to see so many sports live, but he admits to one special attachment. “I was always a closeted synchronized swimming fan. And not just because of all the makeup, the gel, and the music. They are amazing athletes — to hold your breath underwater for a minute, while exerting all that energy, as if you are running the 400-metre hurdles, in perfect synchronization!” The sport has another attachment for Tewksbury: His business partner, Debbie Muir, coached the national synchronized team to two Olympic gold medals and seven

Cate Cameron

ark Tewksbury has been a poster boy for the Olympics and one of its toughest critics. He landed on the cover of Time after winning a gold medal in the 100 metre backstroke in the 1992 Olympics (and a bronze in the relay). He also accused the International Olympic Committee of rampant corruption in 1998 and lambasted Swimming Canada for a disastrous performance in the 2004 games (when the swim team failed to win a single medal). As one of the highest-profile gay athletes in the world (he came out to the media in ’98), Tewksbury marvels at his return to the heart of Olympic action as Canada’s chef de mission to the London games (that begin July 27). “I would never imagine that coming out, speaking out against the Olympic movement, all the things that I did, would lead me back to the most important and influential position for the team at the games,” says Tewksbury. “I’m so glad to be chef now…. The COC gets that the hard work is in the trenches between the coaches and the athletes, year in year out. Naming me, a former athlete, as chef is an extension of that.” What exactly is the chef de mission? “That’s the million dollar question,” he says, laughing. “The chef de mission is an IOC term. That person is the head of [a country’s] delegation. It’s the ultimate authority in the Olympic world, the only person who can actu-

→ VISIBILI T Y “The fact that I’m gay and chef de mission is a non-issue,” says Mark Tewksbury.

world championships. Following the games, Tewksbury will focus full-time on their Calgary-based corporate motivation and training company The Great Traits. “We’re a pretty great duo.” •

intorontomag.com

21


C U LT U RE

STRONG & FREE → With

our equal rights and societal acceptance, are LGBT Canadians a unique species, wholly different from our US cousins? Story Paul Gallant | Illustration Tomio Nitto


INSIGHT

W

e’ve

all

been

there.

and

de vivre,” says Jane Ford. The

wonder conservative Americans,

At a bar in New York,

Providence. He moved to Toronto

writer/performer/director grew up

when they bother to think about

a

Los

in 2005, teasing his friends that it

in the US and has spent substan-

Canada at all, boggle at the govern-

Angeles or a party in Seattle when

was because of George W Bush’s

tial chunks of her life in Toronto,

ment of Prime Minister Stephen

a stranger starts talking to you. A

2004 re-election, but really because

Los Angeles and New York. “I

Harper. The most socially conser-

stranger. Maybe he’s trying to pick

his partner got a job here. His

don’t mean this in an offensive

vative government in a generation

you up or maybe she thinks you’re a

love affair with Canada started

way because I love Canadians and

twists itself into a pretzel to avoid

Hollywood casting agent or maybe

in Montreal in 1989, an affair so

I chose to live here, but there’s a

reopening hot-button social issues

he’s about to sell you something. It

intense he got himself a Maple Leaf

spirit you have as an American

like same-sex marriage and abor-

doesn’t matter. A stranger is talking

tattoo, not realizing he’d eventu-

person, that you can do anything.

tion? Why? Why bother?

to you. How exciting! On Toronto’s

ally end up living here. “I thought,

Not arrogance, but a desire to be

Binational creature that she is,

Church Street, you’re lucky when

if I couldn’t be Canadian I would at

great. And not just to be great, but

Ford also has a Canadian way of

anybody, even someone you know,

least brand myself as Canadian.”

to live fully.” Americans have cour-

looking at things. “It is true that

age; Canadians have consensus.

American sense of self can back-

nightclub

in

cuts loose and acknowledges you with a half-hearted wave.

Vermont,

Chicago,

Boston

Kuhr doesn’t see much difference

fire. It polarizes things and polar-

in gay social behaviour on either

In the early 1990s, Ford was

I remember one time, less than

side of the border. “I don’t buy ‘Oh,

involved in Queer Nation. While

five minutes after arriving at a

Canadian people are uptight,’”

the American groups were out

gay bar in Buffalo, a mere 165

he says. “The same criticisms I

staging kiss-ins and rallies, the

Angeles

kilometres away from this aloof

hear about Toronto, I heard about

Canadian effort was stuck on self-

and board chair of The Wall-Las

town, an unbidden stranger was

Boston, I heard about Chicago.”

examination. “Canada, in its very

Memorias

on his cell trying to get me and

For Kuhr, the key difference is the

beautiful desire to be inclusive,

org), a project which promotes well-

my friend 50 percent off a hotel

Canadian mythology around group

with the constitution for Queer

ness among Latinos living with HIV,

room. Canadians take in the fancy

and collective rights, set in stark

Nation, we never got past the

to compare LGBT culture in the

bars, the well-funded LGBT orga-

contrast against America’s obses-

words, ‘We who are...,’ because

US and Canada. He spends a few

nizations and the rambunctious

sion with individual rights. In fact,

there were no LGBTs or even Qs

moments praising Canada’s human

queer culture south of the 49th

you could call it America’s obses-

in 1991. Because of the need to

rights and greater economic equal-

parallel and think: Boy, can those

sion with going it alone, no mat-

include everybody, we never got

ity before musing at length on fac-

Americans make things happen.

ter what. You can go back to the

past that and so we were a slightly

tionalism in US LGBT politics. In a

less effective activist force.”

country of tall poppies, you’re not

Yet for all of America’s assertiveness, we queer Canadians are much better at getting what we want. Manifest Destiny may be writ into US history, but Canada’s LGBT destiny has a more profound sense of inevitability. When our American cousins look at the

“SOME PEOPLE ROMANTICIZE THE TROPICS. I ALWAYS ROMANTICIZED THE NORTH.”

ization is contagious,” she says. I ask Danny Guerrero, a Los marketing

professional

(thewalllasmemorias.

Of course, that’s a very American

just standing your ground against

way of looking at things. The efforts to not upset anybody can

the enemy, you’re standing your ground against your allies.

look like stasis. But it is also prag-

“Here, you feel like it’s a constant

matic, as Canadians wait to see

fight for everything. It creates a

what emerges naturally, rather

tense

than

ultimatum.

attitude,” says Guerrero. “With

declaring

an

you’re-taking-what’s-mine

When courageous Americans pro-

Prop 8 [a successful California bal-

we have achieved, they are often

American Revolution’s break from

claim a commitment to radically

lot initiative to ban same-sex mar-

dumbstruck, unsure whether we

Britain, a willful and defiant act

transform the world, they must, at

riage,

live in the future, a future they can

compared to Canada’s self-con-

the same time, acknowledge that

likely headed to the Supreme

eventually catch up to, or if the

scious evolution into nationhood.

there are equally passionate forces

Court], you had all these ethnic

Canadian way is like a fussy exotic

We cared enough what the mon-

that want to do the exact opposite.

groups pointing their fingers at

species that will not flourish in

arch thought of us going our own

All space is contested space and

each other, blaming each other for

more southerly climes.

way that we waited until 1982

everything is at stake all the time.

what happened.”

“Some people romanticize the

to repatriate our own constitu-

The balance of power can shift

tropics. I always romanticized the

tion, almost 200 years after the

from left to right in a heartbeat.

meant

North,” says Fred Kuhr, a Brooklyn-

Americans ratified theirs.

One side will never for a moment

Toronto professor David Rayside

rights

and

societal

acceptance

raised journalist-turned-personal

“Americans are braver and that

hesitate to undo the laws and poli-

trainer who’s lived in Burlington,

comes with a little bit more joie

cies implemented by the other. No

recently

overturned

and

The Canadian way has not always progress.

University

of

Continued on page 25

intorontomag.com

23


INSIGHT

Continued from page 23

argues that Canada has lagged

mostly legal. The removal of sodomy

behind parts of the US in acknowl-

between consenting adults from the

edging sexual diversity in schools.

Criminal Code allowed Canadians

That’s because we don’t see schools

to look at gay and lesbian people as

as contested spaces. The American

something other than criminals. It

left does, because it has to.

allowed gay and lesbian people to

“Progressives

and

reformers

come out as something other than

know what they’re doing battle

criminals — as activists, teachers

against. The lines have been drawn

and parents. That wasn’t the case in

for decades around teaching cre-

big chunks of the US until a Supreme

ationism,

abstinence,”

Court decision there in 2003, the

says Rayside, who authored 2008’s

same year same-sex marriage was

Queer

legalized in Ontario and British

teaching

Inclusions,

Continental

ity have traditionally been much

THE KEY DIFFERENCE IS THE CANADIAN MYTHOLOGY AROUND GROUP AND COLLECTIVE RIGHTS, SET IN STARK CONTRAST AGAINST AMERICA’S OBSESSION WITH INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS.

slower to change than in Canada, Europe and even Latin America, in the last couple of years, the conversion rate has sped up. Most polls are finding that a slim majority of Americans now agree with same-sex marriage. Why now? Could it be that the US’s first Canadian president — that levelheaded, rational, gracious compromiser named Barack Obama — has influenced public opinion? A lot of

Divisions: Public Recognition of

Columbia.

Sexual Diversity in Canada and

Canadian queers had a 34-year

the United States.

head start in the journey from sod-

they’re still waiting to be served.

ders if, with all the other problems

So you had to laugh when, its

omy to matrimony, from criminality

And they’re hungry.

facing the US right now, the same-

tail between its legs, the Ontario

to respectability. In those 34 years,

“If I bring up any sort of criticism

Catholic school system lost the bat-

piece by piece, legal equality gradu-

of marriage as an institution, my

tle to keep Gay-Straight Alliance

ally took shape. (Trudeau, again, had

[American] friends get very touchy

“Making changes on this front is a

(GSA) clubs out of its schools. With

a key role by instituting the Charter

because I’m so spoiled with all my

way of signalling that you’re more

Ontarian public opinion against

of Rights and Freedoms, a powerful

fancy rights,” says In Toronto con-

progressive than you are,” says

them, there weren’t any argu-

tool used effectively both inside and

tributor Peter Knegt, author of

Rayside. “It’s a signal that you still

ments left for them to make. So

outside of the legal system.) Equality

About Canada: Gay Rights and an

have the flame. It doesn’t cost any

they blamed the Americans.

required perseverance and hard

editor at IndieWire who lives in the

money and most people don’t care.”

Gay-Straight

work by activists and ordinary peo-

US for stretches at a time. “They do

The flip side of American-style

Alliances itself is tied to a political

ple in all sectors of society, but back-

have a sense of Canada as a utopia.”

individualism is perpetual anxi-

advocacy action that started in the

ward steps were rare.

“The

issue

of

Because

of

Trudeau,

American commentators think so. Rayside likes Obama, but he won-

sex marriage issue has become an easier, less polarizing one.

When Canadians marvel at the

ety about identity, sexuality, fam-

United States,” Toronto Catholic

“Same-sex marriage is largely

strangeness of former president Bill

ily and modernity. In Canada, our

District School Board trustee John

a symbolic question in Canada,”

Clinton’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell pol-

fretting about consensus — about

Del Grande argued on a radio pro-

Miriam Smith, a professor in the

icy, they are really marvelling at the

what other people think — has

gram last month, “so it’s beyond

Law and Society Program at York

American ability to make an absurd

helped us all get on the same page,

just anti-bully. There’s a whole

University, wrote in a 2005 paper.

distinction between “what you are”

or close enough. Our activism is

movement behind it.”

“Canadian public policies, federal

and “what you do”— that is, con-

fuelled by a quiet confidence that

movement!

and provincial, have already legal-

duct versus status. The continued

the direction we are headed in is

Could there be anything worse?

ized sodomy, banned public and

importance of God in the US public

not an arbitrary one warped by

Could there be anything more

private discrimination against les-

life, an astonishing anomaly among

preening and posing (Rob Ford,

un-Canadian?

bians and gay men, recognized

rich countries, has also contrib-

your career as mayor will be short).

same-sex relationships, and per-

uted to the idea of “love the sinner,

We can believe in progress without

aybe there’s nothing espe-

mitted same-sex couples and les-

hate the sin,” which Canadians find

making a fuss about it.

cially

the

bian and gay people to adopt

much harder to swallow. Canadian

Canadian psyche. Maybe we just

children. In contrast, in the US,

debates over our rights were much

individuals, but we have come

had a historical quirk named Pierre

same-sex marriage would indi-

simpler because we mostly got

together collectively to create a

Elliott Trudeau. While the Americans

rectly extend partnership benefits

to skip the part where we had to

place for ourselves. Even in our

were having their Stonewall riots in

and the recognition of the legal sta-

explain that we really do exist.

dithering, LGBT Canadians forced

1969, Trudeau was in some Ottawa

tus of children in queer families.”

Oh

M office

no,

a

whole

queer

somewhere,

about

Canadians

may

be

timid

as

Still, it’s starting to look like LGBT

the country to make room for us

decriminaliz-

For us, marriage was a des-

Americans won’t have to wait a full

and to know us as we know our-

ing homosexuality. That decision’s

sert after a 34-year tapas meal.

34 years to finish their meal. While

selves. So what if we don’t talk in

effects were not solely legal. Or even

For Americans, it’s a main course

US attitudes toward homosexual-

bars. We have nothing to prove. • intorontomag.com

25


LISTINGS & EVENTS

JULY Matt Klopot

IN THE CITY

4

5

PRIDE PARADE Hot times on Yonge St

MAHMOUD Tara Grammy opens at the Fringe

DISNEY’S BEAUTY & THE BEAST Opens at Four Seasons Centre

6

7

SOULO By Tracey Erin Smith opens at the Fringe

HIS GIRL FRIDAY Opens at Shaw

Andrew Eccles

1

12

THE BEST BROTHERS Daniel MacIvor opens at Stratford

Art & Photography HARBOURFRONT Among the medley of spring/summer exhibitions closing Sun, July 15, look for Ideas of Canada Part 2 by DodoLab, an evolving collaborative project led by artists Lisa Hirmer and Andrew Hunter. And Jubiliee is a group show of artists responding to Queen Elizabeth’s 60-year reign. Featuring works by Micah Adams, Suzanne Carlsen, Marianne Corless, Jenn Demke-Lange, Department of Unusual Certainties, Meags Fitzgerald, April and Alexa Hickox, Barbara Hobot, Jennifer Long, Anna Lindsay Macdonald, Claire Madill, Sean McQuay, Julie Moon, Cole Swanson, Andrea Vander Kooij and Jesse Watson. York Quay. 235 Queens Quay W. 416-973-4000. harbourfrontcentre.com. RED SKY AT NIGHT Weather plays havoc in works by international and Canadian

15 JUBILEE With Marianne Corless’s Fur Queen II, closes at Harbourfront

artists: Absalon, Heike Baranowsky, Jack Goldstein, Cao Guimarães and Rivane Neuenschwander, John Massey, Jonathan Monk, Bruce Nauman and Berndnaut Smilde. Curated by Sarah Robayo Sheridan. 11am-6pm. Tue-Sat. Until Sun, July 29. Mercer Union. 1286 Bloor St W. mercerunion.org. MOCCA Trans/Form: Matter as Subject. The medium is the message in this group show curated by David Liss. Featuring Jaime Angelopoulos, Georgia Dickie, Aleksander Hardashnakov, Niall McClelland, Derrick Piens, Sasha Pierce, Jennifer Rose and Hugh ScottDouglas. In the Project Room, The Shape of Things, featuring Josef Albers, Ron Martin, Luanne Martineau, Elizabeth McIntosh, Claude Tousignant and Richard Tuttle. PWYC. 11am-6pm. Tue-Sun. Until Aug 12. Museum of Canadian Contemporary Art. 952 Queen St W. (416) 395-0067. mocca.ca.

24

26

AMY CAMPBELL Launches new CD at Hugh’s Room

MISS AMERICA Recent work by Kent Monkman. Centre Space. See page 30. THE POWER PLANT Tools for Conviviality, an exhibition curated by Melanie O’Brian where the use of tools entices viewers to look anew at social and physical spaces. Featuring Raymond Boisjoly, Abbas Akhavan and Claire Fontaine, Franz West , Geoffrey Farmer, Ulla von Brandenburg, Kyla Mallett, Oscar Tuazon Swintak/Don Miller and Reece Terris. The Dissenting Histories features a new project by Dave Dyment that intervenes in and responds to the gallery’s archives. Free. Noon-6pm. Tue-Sun. Noon-8pm. Wed. Until Aug 26. 231 Queens Quay W. (416) 973-4949. thepowerplant.org. TEXTILE MUSEUM OF CANADA Dreamland: Textiles and the Canadian Landscape, a witty play on traditions with Amalie Atkins, Douglas Coupland, John Henry Fine Day, Jérôme Fortin,

JORDAN PETTLE Soulpepper opens The Sunshine Boys

Grant Heaps, Jason McLean, Graeme Patterson, Ruth Scheuing, Michael Snow and Barbara Todd. $15. 11am5pm daily. Until 8pm Wed (PWYC after 5pm). Until Sep 30. 55 Centre Ave. (416) 599-5321. textilemuseum.ca. PAUL PETRO CONTEMPORARY Charlie Katz: a Memorial Exhibition on the artist, curator, comedian and health practitioner who died in 2008. Opens. 7pm-10pm. Fri, July 20. With new work by Marie Finkelstein. Opens. 6pm-9pm. July 18. 11am-5pm. Wed-Sat. Until Aug 11. 980 Queen St W. (416) 979-7874. paulpetro.com.

Film & Video JAMES IVORY: ELEGANT PAIRINGS Noah Cowan and James Ivory twin Merchant Ivory classics with films that either inspired them or cast them in new light. Offerings include Bombay Talkie (a must-


LISTINGS & EVENTS

R o s e T h e aT R e P R e s e n T s

OUR GUIDE TO YOUR MONTH

Emily Cooper

JULY 13 - 28 $37/$32

This deliciously goofy musical revue centers on an ‘angelic’ ‘50s quartet performing the show that never was. Nostalgic pop hits, tight harmonies and charmingly outlandish choreography make the “Plaids” a guaranteed smash!

Season

The Last 5 Years July 6-28 Storm Warning August 3-25 2012 Barefoot in the Park August 17-25

summertheatre

905.874.2800 www.rosetheatre.ca

THE HIDDEN CAMERAS Play a free outdoor gig at Harbourfront on Sun, July 1.

see for the Bollywood dance sequence on a giant typewriter), the Darjeeling Limited, The Remains of the Day, Maurice and Rebecca. $12. Continues until Sun, Aug 19. TIFF Bell LIghtbox. 350 King St W. (416) 599-8433. tiff.net.

Print & Readings PROUD VOICES Pride Toronto’s revamped

literary series continues on Pride Day with Sky Gilbert (5pm), Waawaate Fobister (5:30pm), Shawn Syms (6pm) and Ari Belathar (6:30pm). Free. Sun, July 1. Glad Day Bookshop. 598 A Yonge St. 961-4161. gladdaybookshop.com.

Stage STRATFORD FESTIVAL Openings this month feature a trio of high-powered gay artists. Wanderlust is a new musical with book by Morris Panych

and music by Marek Norman. Based on the poems of Robert Service, with additional lyrics by Morris Panych. A bank clerk dreams of riches, romance and adventure in the Gold Rush up north, but the pretty co-worker he has a crush on has a more dangerous and immediate flirtation. Starring Robin Hutton, Tom Rooney and Dan Chameroy; Panych directs. $86-$106. Opens Wed, July 11. Tom Patterson Theatre. The Best Brothers Is a new play by Daniel MacIvor, featuring two brothers struggling to understand their mother after her death. Starring MacIvor and John Beale; Dean Gabourie directs. $50-$70. Opens Thu, July 12. Studio Theatre. Then in Hirsch, Alon Nashman and Paul Thompson present a theatrical biography of renowned theatre artist John Hirsch. A Hungarian refugee orphaned by the Holocaust at 13, Hirsch finds sanctuary in Canada, Continued on page 28

• HIV/AIDS • Pregnancy • Safer sex • Drug use • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

AIDS and Sexual Health InfoLine 416-392-2437 or 1-800-668-2437 • testing • referrals • options • needle exchange • clinic locations Free, anonymous counselling Multilingual advice, call for availability


LISTINGS & EVENTS

Continued from page 27

IN SPOT L’OUVRIER Review Anna von Frances | Photography Rob Drummond

The philosophy behind l’Ouvrier on Dundas West is founded on an eclectic menu paired with unpretentious but impeccable service. It’s fine dining for l’ouvrier, which means working man in French. Overall I love the food and service, they are both top shelf, but the fine dining comment tripped me up. In an age where restaurants are so fetishized that we will stand for hours for a seat at a taco bar or the latest “how-muchmeat-can-we-eat” 15-seater just to be utterly forgotten by a server hired for her tattoos more than her experience, what is fine dining these days, anyway? For me, l’Ouvirer has it in spades, but maybe we should call it casual elegance instead of fine dining. I have to admit I had my reservations. L’Ouvrier is vast, it’s white, it’s cold and arty looking. Everyone I know who lives on Dundas was raving about the slick interior, but it just didn’t do it for me. Too clinical, too trendy. Maybe I was too used to the disappointment of the west end and I didn’t want my beloved Dundas West (best street in Toronto hands down) ruined. Turns out I was really really wrong. Somehow that stark white room isn’t cold or vast at all, it’s actually quite cozy and fresh. They take reservations, they made me a sexy mocktail off the menu with Ting and cucumber that was delicious. The server was expertly

28

July 2012

→ CASUAL ELEGANCE L’Ouvrier is a great addition to the best street in Toronto, Dundas West.

informed about the menu, had a great sense of humour and generally cared about our experience. We weren’t rushed or forgotten or constantly up-sold, she even suggested a vegan option off menu for one of my dining partners with almost zero prompting. It being summer and all, our whole group was in the mood for light crispy fare. The tuna tartare ($14) was delicate and airy, served with soy caramel, potato chips (yes, real potato chips), wasabi, edamame and pickled ginger. It came out on a stone slab that must have weighed a solid 20 pounds. I followed up my Japanese-inspired starter with the daikon slaw, comprised of Japanese pickled radish, carrot, cucumber, scallion, ginger, chili, cilantro and cashew with soy-ginger vinaigrette ($9). And following that with the coconut poached Atlantic salmon with lemongrass, chili, coriander and snow peas on a rice cake ($22). Overall, I thought l’Ouvrier was a great spot for a group or a date. It’s the perfect restaurant for the over-25 set who might be AGO members and don’t quite have kids yet, but have the rest of the adult fixins in place. L’OUVRIER 791 Dundas St W. (416) 901-9581. louvrier.ca.

eventually becoming artistic director of Stratford. Starring Nashman; directed by Thompson. $50-$70. Opens July 12. Studio Theatre. Also VideoCabaret presents its offkilter take on Canadian history with The War of 1812, written and directed by Michael Hollingsworth. $50-$75. Opens Sun, July 1. Studio Theatre Annex. Stratford. 1-800567-1600. stratfordshakespearefestival.com. THE TORONTO FRINGE The theatrical free-for-all runs Wed, July 4 to 15. On the queerer side, Pandemic Theatre remounts Mahmoud, the one-woman show by Tara Grammy about an aging Iranian engineer-cum-taxi driver, a fabulously gay Spaniard and a young Iranian-Canadian girl, all trying to get by in Toronto. Directed and co-written by Tom Arthur Davis. Opens. 8:45pm. July 4. Tarragon Theatre Extra Space. 30 Bridgman Ave. With Somebody Who Loves Me: A Gay Dansical is Frank Manzo’s soap opera musical without singing. Opens 1:15pm. July 6. Factory Mainspace. 125 Bathurst St. The Virginity Lost and Found is trans writer S Bear Bergman’s improv-based sex comedy about a very special office of the Ministry of the Interior. Opens 10:30pm. July 4. Tarragon Extra Space. SoulO is Tracey Erin Smith’s surreal look at three very different souls. Starring Marco Bernardi, Terrence Bryant, JD Edwards, Jessica Fitzpatrick. Opens. 3pm. July 6. Robert Gill. 214 College St, 3rd floor. JP Larocque serves up Star Wars references and gay sex jokes in Gay Nerds. Starring Robert Keller, Ryan Kerr and Kirsten Dahlin Nolan. Opens 10:30pm. July 4. Factory Mainspace. There is much more. $10 door; $11 adv. Packs: 5 for $45; 10 for $82. (416) 966-1062. fringetoronto.com. SHAW FESTIVAL TThe next batch of openings features Come Back, Little Sheba, William Inge’s classic about disappointment in relationships. Starring Ric Reid and Corrine Koslo; Jackie Maxwell directs. $63-$90. Opens Fri, July 6. Royal George Theatre. Trouble in Tahiti is Leonard Bernstein’s bittersweet “one-act opera in seven scenes,” about a “perfect couple” in ’50s America yearning for happier times. Directed by Jay Turvey; starring Mark Uhre and Elodie Gillet. Musical direction by Paul Sportelli and design by Michael Gianfrancesco. $35-$73. Opens July 7. Court House Theatre. His Girl Friday, is John Guare’s adaptation of the film starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell. Starring Nicole Underhay, Kevin Bundy and Benedict Campbell; Jim Mezon directs. $35-$110. Opens July 7. Festival Theatre. Niagara-on-the-Lake. 1-800-511-shaw. shawfest.com. DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST The original Broadway creators have teamed up to put together this touring production, presented in Toronto by Dancap. $37-$150. Opens. Thu, July 5. Until July 22. Four Seasons Centre. 145 Queen St W. (416) 644-3665. dancaptickets.com. MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET Based on a true event when Johnny Cash, Carl

Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley recorded a jam session together in 1956. The national touring production stars Martin Kaye, Lee Ferris, Cody Slaughter and Derek Keeling. The book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux and musical arrangement by Chuck Mead; Eric Shaeffer directs. $51-$180. 7:30pm. Tue-Sat. 2pm. Wed, Sat & Sun. Tue, July 10-29. Toronto Centre for the Arts. 5040 Yonge St. (416) 644-3665. dancapticketscom. SOULPEPPER Speed the Plow. David Storch directs David Mamet’s savage insight into the immorality of Hollywood. Starring Ari Cohen, Jordan Pettle and Sarah Wilson. Opens Mon, July 16. In Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys, a vaudeville duo reunite for a TV special; they can’t stand each other. Featuring Oliver Dennis, Eric Peterson, Jordan Pettle, Kenneth Welsh and Sarah Wilson; Ted Dykstra directs. Opens Thu, July 26. $51-$68. Young Centre. 50 Tankhouse Lane. (416) 866-8666. soulpepper.ca.

Pop & Rock HIDDEN CAMERAS The Toronto via Berlin outfit headed by Joel Gibb presents a free outdoor concert of appealing queer curlicue pop. A perfect wind-down from Pride. 9:30pm-11pm. Sun, July 1. WestJet Stage. 235 Queens Quay W. harbourfrontcentre.com. SOUND IN MOTION An indie festival of


LISTINGS & EVENTS

IN SPOT WAXON WAXBAR Story Paul Aguirre-Livingston

Jennifer Rowsom

electronic music presented by StudioFeed and held in various downtown venues. Thu, July 13 to 15 feauring Frivolous, John Roberts, Dualism, Billy Dalessandro, Alka Rex, Matt and Mark Thibideau, Arthur Oskan, Aeina and more. The open air main stage event: Noon-10:30pm. July 14. Sugar Beach. The foot of Lower Jarvis Street. $65 weekend pass. simtoronto.org. JENNIFER LOPEZ & ENRIQUE IGLESIAS

The two hot Latin stars team up for a summer tour. Opening by Puerto Rican urban artists Wisin and Yandel. $107-$161. 7:30pm. Tue, July 17. Air Canada Centre. 40 Bay St. ticketmaster.ca. AMY CAMPBELL The Toronto-based Haligonian launches her sophomore CD of sweet, soulful folk, Letters Home, produced by Don Kerr. Kerr on drums joins Campbell and bassist Ben Whitely. $15 adv; $17 door. 8:30pm. Tue, July 24. Hugh’s Room. 2261 Dundas St W. (416) 531-6604.

Causes & Events PRIDE The main event, the Pride

Parade, kicks off at 2pm at Church and Bloor St E making its way down Yonge to Gerrard. The international grand marshall is Balkan human rights activist Goran Miletić. pridetoronto.com.

→ MERRY MAXIM Grant Heaps’ gorgeous Stag at the Textile Museum of Canada. STEINERT AND FERREIRO AWARD NOMINATIONS One of the largest cash

awards for queer leadership and creativity, $10,000, is presented annually through Community One. Nominations are open until Sun, July 15. For guidelines and applications, go to communityone.ca. FRIENDS FOR LIFE BIKE RALLY More than 400 people embark on a six-day, 600km journey from Toronto to Montreal to raise money and awareness of Toronto PWA, the largest direct support service agency of its kind for men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS in Canada. Still time to sponsor riders. The departures is quite the event. 8:30am speeches; 9am departure. Sun, July 29. Queen’s Park. University and Wellesley. (416) 506-1400. bikerally.org.

TV & Radio DEGRASSI Hit series returns for its 12th

season. 10pm. Thursdays. Beginning July 16. MuchMusic. muchmusic.com. •

Toronto is having a wax renais-

acts as a moisturizer, and one tube

sance. There are now crops of spe-

will last several visits, so it’s worth

cialized spas popping up across

the investment. For those of us

the downtown core offering just

prone to dreaded in-growns, Waxon

one thing: depilation services. It’s

also offers Prince Reigns ($30), a

the latest in grooming trends. Last

serum to ease the skin and follicles

April, Waxon Waxbar was the first

post-treatment that, just like Oprah,

of these new destination primp-

I’ll vouch for, too.

ers to open, headed by Lexi Miles, a

Toronto-based

management

consultant-turned-beauty

guru.

Better yet, her Summerhill shop is

It all works in tandem with Waxon’s “hard wax” approach, a less messy ordeal, both physically and mentally, than cloth strips.

designed for an untapped clientele;

Waxon’s got you covered from

she wants men to join the fun, too

top to bottom, front to back. For

— and she’s making it way easy.

women, all your traditional services

What makes Miles’ wax bar so

are in order. Since its April opening,

appealing is what it offers: a pain-

the shop is now fully operational,

less experience. Waxon has exclu-

including a speakeasy-esque rear

sive Canadian rights for two hot-on-

entrance for the shy dudes among

the-market sensory regulators that

us. But once you’re in, prepare for

make waxing a walk in the park:

a plethora of indulgence: brow

BareEase and Cream ($25, for the

grooming ($8 for the in-between,

ladies) and Numb Nuts ($19, for the

or $20 for a complete overhaul), an

fellas). Developed by Edna Ma, a Los

array of other facial touch-ups, like

Angeles anesthesiologist and for-

your nostrils ($13 to $15), or perhaps

mer Survivor: South Pacific contes-

every piece of torso real estate you

tant, the numbing cream works on

can imagine (full back $52, shoul-

all skin types for every part of your

ders $20, chest $24). There is also

hairy body that needs not to be.

a selection of services below the

You buy the cream, apply it 30 min-

belt, or you could just go for the

utes before your chosen treatment

Manzilian ($72), which removes

(say, at home or in the office wash-

everything in your nether region —

room), and, voilà, you won’t be curs-

including between the cheeks. No

ing your poor technician’s name or

guts, no glory, right?

clenching your teeth. I’m speaking from experience; it’s like a pat on the back. The topical solution also

WAXON WAXBAR 1246 Yonge St, #100A. (416) 924-4920. waxon.ca. intorontomag.com

29


30

July 2012

Courtesy of Pierre-Franรงois Ouellette Art Contemporain


A RT & ENTERTAINMENT

VISUAL ART

AT PLAY IN THE UNIFIED FIELDS OF HISTORY → Kent

Monkman’s grand artistic ambitions know no boundaries Story Sholem Krishtalka

K

ent Monkman is currently

on the go for Monkman. In August,

to finally be finished this paint-

mechanisms of art history; but in

in three places at once.

the show at Centre Space will travel

ing because it’s been so long in the

certain senses, it suggests a new

His

installation,

up the 401 to Ouellette’s actual

gestation and in the making, and

trajectory, an ambitious broaden-

Two Kindred Spirits, is mounted at

gallery in Montreal. And then a

it’s a shift for me,” says Monkman,

ing of horizons. “It’s not that rad-

his Berlin gallery, Galerie Florent

Monkman video will be featured

resting into a deep slouch. The

ical a shift,” he says. “I think my

Tosin; it is also part of the Oh,

as part of a program of Aboriginal

painting is enormous and a riot of

work

Canada show at the Massachusetts

film and video presented by the

activity. Crashed cars, conquista-

it just takes me a while to catch

Museum of Contemporary Art, a

Toronto International Film Festival.

dors, indigenous North Americans,

up with the physical execution

sprawling exhibition that includes

Altogether, a whirlwind of activity

Mayans and Aztecs, mermaids,

of everything. You know where

some 60 artists, the largest and

and deadlines. And once that’s all

cowboys,

Lady

you want to end up, but you have

most ambitious survey of con-

done, Monkman will sit back, take

Liberty

while

to go through the long process of

temporary Canadian art by an

a few breaths, and begin work on

holding a gold handgun, the rap-

actually making the work.” Miss

American museum; and it just

the most ambitious body of paint-

per Drake… all piled into a heav-

America, sprawling and impressive

opened at TIFF Bell Lightbox as

ings he has done to date.

ing triangular composition. Atop

as it is, is the first of four paintings,

newest

black

suckling

panthers, a

baby

is

evolving

conceptually,

part of Home on Native Land. Plus

The first entry in this new series

it all, perched on a rearing alliga-

each meant to narrate a continent:

his latest paintings and videos

is the centrepiece of the Centre

tor, decked out in gorgeous heels

America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

recently opened in Centre Space,

Space show. As I walk into his envi-

and an Alexander McQueen gown,

Monkman has always been inter-

a new Toronto gallery that acts as

ably cavernous live/work studio

profile held proudly aloft facing the

ested in the way painting has been

a satellite space for his Montreal

prior to the exhibition’s opening,

Naples yellow sunset across the

used to represent other nations;

dealer, Pierre-François Ouellette

Monkman is squinting at a 7-by-

horizon, is Monkman’s stalwart

in the past, his sources have reli-

Contemporain.

11-foot canvas, walking around it,

drag avatar, the ever-present Miss

ably been drawn from early colo-

sizing it up for last-minute details

Chief Eagle Testickle. The painting

nial landscape painters, the artists

and finishing touches. It rests on

is called Miss America.

who engaged with and depicted

And this is only what’s presently → FAN TAS T ICAL A detail from Kent Monkman’s new large-scale painting, Miss America, the first in a series of four paintings depicting the continents.

two paint cans and leans against a

In some ways, Miss America fol-

Aboriginals — Albert Bierstadt and

wall, perched in front of us as we

lows in the footsteps of Monkman’s

his ilk. Monkman’s love of old mas-

sit down to chat.

overarching

absorb-

ters was always built into the work

ing and re-processing the colonial

Continued on page 33

“I’m just thrilled and relieved

project

of

intorontomag.com

31


A RT & ENTERTAINMENT

Continued from page 31

in winks and nods: a pose from

els wearing American shoes, tot-

Michelangelo here, a quote from

ing Russian guns, driving Japanese

classical

there.

cars. “Those really influenced how

This time, Monkman is wrestling

I was thinking about what is going

directly with the Old World, tak-

on around the world. That was

ing his cue from the Rococo master

how I started to think about how

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo.

the paintings would take shape.”

Greek

statuary

Monkman is cognizant, also,

Tiepolo project, a series of frescoes

about the ludicrousness of trying

installed in the WÜrzburg Residenz

to faithfully represent entire con-

palace, part of a broader cycle of

tinents. They were flights of fancy,

frescoes in which Apollo tours the

rhapsodic fantasias for Tiepolo,

universe; a kind of 18th-century

and Monkman approaches the

travelogue. “The original paintings

project with an analogous disre-

were about a form of globalism —

gard for reality. “It’s impossible

Europe expanding its vision of the

to tell all the stories anyways,”

world.” The frescoes are grand and

he says, “so you have to pick and

stately, a parade of exotic people

choose. Some are more iconic,

and animals. Of course, Monkman

and

is not interested in straightforward

and others are just fantasy.” For

points of history, some forgotten,

mimicry, and his re-processing of

Tiepolo, the Four Continents were

some indelibly imprinted in our

the Four Continents is rooted in a

an excuse to let his imagination

visual memories. In the far back-

much darker kind of globalism.

loose, to envision these far-flung

ground, three grid-like structures

telling and of narratives. For me

Continents

lands through the lens of feverish

lean against a Mayan ziggurat; they

it’s always been about working

are just as much a deconstruction

artistic imagination. For Monkman,

are unmistakably the wreckage

towards this kind of approach for

and camping of European colonial

three centuries later, the appropri-

from the Twin Towers. The compo-

a while. You don’t just get there

hubris as they are a sly commentary

ate lens through which to re-pro-

sitions, the careful attention to rich

overnight; you get through stages

questioning exactly what is meant

cess this hubristic intent is camp.

visual detail, the overwhelming size

of development artistically.”

Monkman’s

Four

some

are

more

Courtesy Galerie Florent Tosin

The four continents are, in fact, a

generic, → CAMP MIRROR Two Kindred Spirits, an installation at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

when people talk about global cul-

Miss America is a riot of pulp ico-

are all impressive, all hallmarks of

If Miss America is any indication

tures. Monkman sees a weird kind

nography, a delicate admixture

an ambitious image-maker. But it’s

of the direction of Monkman’s Four

of cosmetic universality born of the

of consumer culture, old movies,

that synthesizing of the camp sen-

Continents, and the development

seemingly all-penetrating reach of

dime-store novels and cheeky alle-

sibility with historical interpreta-

of Monkman’s art in general, this

consumerism. He pulls out a small

gorical verve: On the bottom right-

tion, the juxtaposition of the fan-

new work will take him through

pencil sketch, a diagrammatic map-

hand corner, below the heaving

tastical against the injustices and

and across some exhilarating new

ping of the composition for the

mass of figures, a giant turtle’s head

cruelties of history, that are hall-

frontiers.

next painting in the series, Africa.

emerges from the ground. “They’re

marks of an ambitious artist.

“Those images that were com-

meant to be on Turtle Island,” says

“As I’ve developed my work, both

ing through the news media,” he

Monkman — the name used by

technically and conceptually,” says

begins, “one of the sources for inspi-

northeastern tribes to connote the

Monkman, “I’ve always been inter-

ration for this was photos of reb-

landmass of North America.

ested in grand history paintings,

els in Africa — in Libya, guys in flip

The camp and the visual verve

and studying compositions and

flops and Nikes with AK-47s in the

is rooted in a kind of seriousness,

thinking about the scale of them,

back of Toyotas.” North African reb-

an attention to multiple vantage

and about the possibilities of story-

MISS AMERICA Recent paintings and video work by Kent Monkman. Until Sat, Aug 11. Centre Space. 65 George St. (416) 323-1373. centre-space.ca. HOME ON NATIVE LAND Group show. Until Sun, Aug 19. TIFF Bell Lightbox. 350 King St W. tiff.net.

intorontomag.com

33


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VISUAL ART

EXPONENTIALLY → The

10x10 photography project takes LGBT passion and creativity to the Nth degree Story Paul Aguirre-Livingston

34

July 2012


A RT & ENTERTAINMENT

L

ocal

James

of the original concept. It all began

and no trans artists. A setback, he

Fowler’s relentless commit-

art

arbiter

because Fowler saw little in the way

says, and “it showed.” To counter-

ment to connecting, foster-

of programming at larger galleries

act this, the first batch of participat-

ing and promoting the communi-

and museums that reflected queer

ing photographers sat on a jury to

ty’s brilliant faces — on both sides

history or queer contributions to

decide on talent based on a call for

of the lens — drives the success of

those spaces. “So I decided to make

submissions.

his 10x10 photography project, now

one,” he says.

in its second year.

“It takes a village to raise a child — and it takes a community to grow

What originally started as an exhibition of one photographer with 10 portraits quickly grew into 10x10, a collaborative photo project that connects 10 LGBT photographers with their choice of 10 subjects aimed at reflecting the diversity and vitality of the Toronto community.

a community project,” says Fowler.

“IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD — AND IT TAKES A COMMUNITY TO GROW A COMMUNITY PROJECT.”

“I recognized through art fund-

This year’s exhibition features rising star Adamo de Pax capturing artist Kris Night and designer David Dixon. There’s Winnipeg transplant Allyson Scott who photographed writer Ann-Marie MacDonald and comedian Deb Pearce. And veteran photographer Sonja Scharf, repre-

initiative for queer and trans youth,

sented by Edward Day Gallery, shot

to help fund a grant program. “With

raising auctions like Art with Heart

The inaugural event was in a small

gallerist Jamie Angell and come-

all the negative voices out there,

and SNAP! that Toronto’s queer

artist-run gallery in Kensington

dian Elvira Kurt. The remaining art-

being part of a program that sup-

community has an appetite for

Market. “By the response we got

ists are R Kelly Clipperton, Guntar

ports positive affirmation of young

visual art,” says Fowler, a North Bay

on Facebook, we knew the venue

Kravis, JJ Levine, Sue Lloyd, John

queer artists make me very happy,”

native who’s maintained a fulltime

was too small,” says Fowler. This

Monteith, Renee Navarro and Alex

says Fowler.

studio practice in Toronto since

year they have room to stretch their

Nursall.

2007.

legs. “The Gladstone Hotel came to

Co-curator Tania Anderson has

tival that drives some to go to the

“While Pride can be a noisy fes-

“The arts and queer communities

us and offered us the space for the

been brought on board and there’s a

cottage, I hope 10x10 offers a qui-

quickly let me know I was on the

exhibition.” (Along with 10x10 and a

fair bit of supplementary program-

eter space for celebration and

right track and offered both praise

slew of other special Pride program-

ming, including two panel discus-

reflection on our community and

and

he

ming, The Gladstone is also hosting

sions in July on queer sensibilities

achievements for which we can be

says. Fowler has now committed to

the group exhibition That’s So Gay,

in the arts moderated by Stephanie

quite proud.”

take the project forward nine more

curated by Sholem Krishtalka, con-

Rogerson. Also photographer Joey

years, an exponential expansion

tinuing until Sun, July 29.)

Bruni is back to design the exhibit’s

constructive

feedback,”

→ WE T HE PEOPLE Portraits in 10x10 include Denise Benson by Sonja Scharf (above) and Eric Wiwichar by Alex Nursall (opposite page).

How Fowler selects photographers for 10x10 has also evolved. He

coffee table book, now in a 10-by10-inch format.

wanted balance last year, but ended

Part of the proceeds from the book

up with eight men, two women

will go to The People Project, an arts

10X10 Free. Noon-5pm daily. Until Fri, July 20. Panel discussions: 7pm-9pm. Thu, July 12. 1pm-4pm. Sun, Jul 15. Gladstone Hotel. 1214 Queen St W. (416) 531-4635. gladstonehotel.com. 10x10photographyproject.com.

YOU COULD INSTANTLY

*†At outset of contest. *No Purchase Necessary. For complete Contest details see the rules posted at participating Pizza Nova stores and at www.pizzanova.com. Contest closes May 06, 2012. Mathematical skill-testing question required. ®/MD Coca-Cola Ltd., used under license • © Toshiba of Canada Limited • ©2012 Reebok International Ltd. All rights reserved Blu ray is a registered trademark of the Blu-ray Association.


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

S PE C I A L G A L L E RY

THE GREAT CANADIAN KISS-OFF →A

score of artists share their favourite kissing images — the results are loving, joyful, sexy, even unsettling

→ A KISS BE T WEEN US, 2012, by Tanja-Tiziana

36

July 2012


A RT & ENTERTAINMENT

→ OCEAN KISSES, 2012, by Suzy Malik intorontomag.com

37


A RT & ENTERTAINMENT

→ A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A BULL-DYKE, 1995, by Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan (Finger in the Dyke Productions)

→ BIG GAY FORD, 2011, by R Jeanette Martin

→ CWS, 2010, by Walter Segers

→ HALLOWEEN ON CHURCH, 2006, by Nicola Betts

→ GLENROY AND ANTONY’S WEDDING, 2010, by Christopher Cushman

→ LADY DJS, 2007, by Richelle Forsey intorontomag.com

39


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

40

→ LURKING III, 2011, by Sholem Krishtalka

→ DOCTOR, 2007, by Jes Sachse

→ LEAVE NO STUMP UNCUT, 2008, by Kris Knight, courtesy of Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects

→ UNTITLED, 2010, by Steven Beckly, part of a group show opening in August at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives

→ SI JE T’AIME PRENDS GARDE À TOI (STUDY FOR ICON FOR A NEW EMPIRE), 2007, by Kent Monkman

→ PANEL FROM SOFT, 1997, by Fiona Smyth

July 2012


A RT & ENTERTAINMENT

→ STILL FROM KISS, 2012, by Mark Pariselli

→ STILL FROM VERONA, 2012, by Sasha Moric, a trailer for the feature film by Laurie Lynd

→ STILL FROM I’M NOT IN LOVE, 2012, by Wrik Mead

→ KISS ME BEFORE I DIE, 2010, by Daniel Barrow

→ OUT, 2000, by Maurice Vellekoop

→ AUBREY AND MARK, 2008, by John Webster

intorontomag.com

41


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

I don’t have the negatives, so there’s no way to know their chronological order. but I’ve arRanged them acCording to my own narRative.

but she can’t dresS like that with those thighs. if I had another life to live, I’d costume rock divas.

I couldn’t believe lady gaga on the grammys last night. puh-lease. I like Punk. I like weird!

then I started seEing how the transcendent would almost always creEp into the everyday.

mom is making faces and presumably sounds at me. in each shot, I reflect her expression and the shape of her mouth with uncanNy precision.

but “there is nothing mystical about this,” says donald winNicotT, in the ordinary devoted mother.

I didn’t get much sleep last night. I kept having these dreams about dad.

I guesS it’s from reading sylvia plath’s journals. she and ted hughes are always fighting.

for a long time I resiSted including my present-day interactions with mom in this boOk precisely because they’re so “ordinary.”

in my arRangement of these photos, the rapPort betweEn mom and me builds until I shriek with joy.

then the moment is shatTered as I notice the man with the camera. she’s such a spoiled brat. mom!

at threE months, I had seEN enough of my father’s rages to be wary of him.

Hi. I was at the gym. had to get my laps in.

B O O KS

GRAPHIC CONTENT → Alison

Bechdel follows up Fun Home, the hugely successful graphic memoir about her father, with a poignant exploration of the relationship she has with her mother Story Alice Lawlor

44

July 2011


A RT & ENTERTAINMENT

W

illiterate and more visually literate.

switching gears, because ultimately

Watch Out For (DTWOF),

My serious answer would be that this

I stopped doing the comic strip. It

one of the longest-run-

is an amazingly capacious medium

wasn’t hard. Even before I did Fun

ning queer comic strips of all time,

that can do remarkable things and

Home I had done a few small auto-

Alison Bechdel has since turned her

we’re only just learning its poten-

biographical comics. I did some for

deft hand to non-fiction, with stel-

tial. For a long time it was just super-

the comic book Gay Comics, and I

lar results. She scored a best-seller

hero comics, and these were a very

realized I really loved writing about

in 2006 with her first graphic mem-

effective storytelling technique but

myself and that I would love to do

oir Fun Home, a family saga that

it was the tip of the iceberg in terms

that in a deeper way, so that’s the

revolved around her closeted father

of what comics could do. The more

direction I moved in.

who ran a funeral home. Her latest,

people experiment, the more work

Are You My Mother?, revisits the

that gets done and the wider the

What inspired the new book?

author’s early life, looking at events

range of creators… the more the

The book about my father was a

from her mother’s point of view.

medium just keeps unspooling and

really big important story from my

opening up.

life and I didn’t have any more sto-

Here she discusses the connections among comics, LGBT stories and Toronto readers.

Elena Siebert

ell-loved for Dykes to

ries like that. So I conceived of a book Is it a medium that’s particularly

that would be about my romantic

well-suited to gay and lesbian

relationships and about the problem

What made you choose the Toronto

stories?

of other people in a philosophical

Comic Arts Festival to launch your

Part of why I did DTWOF was

sense. But several years in, I showed

book?

because I didn’t see images of peo-

my agent a draft of that book and

I’ve had really wonderful connec-

ple like myself in the world. Creating

she said, “This really doesn’t make

tions with audiences in Toronto.

the comic strip felt like a natural

any sense.” And I had to agree. I real-

In 2000, the Toronto Women’s

thing to do: to create a visual image

ized at that point that I was elabo-

the content of the book. She’s very

Bookstore got me in to do a pre-

rather than a written story. I feel

rately writing around a story that

clear that this is my version of real-

sentation about DTWOF and I have

like there’s something about com-

I did want to tell, which was the

ity and it has nothing to do with her.

never had such an amazing audi-

ics that’s particularly suited to auto-

story of me and my mother. I didn’t

ence. Until I came back to Toronto

biography. In that sense it’s been

intend to follow the book about my

So you’ve covered your dad and

with Fun Home! I think people in

important for gay and lesbian sto-

father with a book about my mother.

your mum… who’s next?

Canada and especially in Toronto

ries to get out in the world.

It just sort of organically happened.

I do feel like I’m not done with mem-

Was it hard switching from the fic-

How have your family reacted to

ily. I need to sit down and talk with

tional world of DTWOF to writing

seeing themselves in print?

them all about that! I’m just really

Why do you think that is?

about your own life?

My mother’s reaction is basically

excited about memoir in a way that

Because Canada is cooler!

For some of the time I was writ-

in the book. She’s said, “It’s coher-

I’m not about the fictional world of

ing the memoir I was also doing

DTWOF. It just seems like where I

have a respect for cartoonists that doesn’t exactly happen in the US.

→ BIRT HING S T ORIES Alison Bechdel talks about the importance of comics in LGBT storytelling and her mother’s reaction to her memoirs.

oir and I’m not done with my fam-

Graphic novels do seem to be

the comic strip. I’d spend half my

ent, it has clear themes,” and that’s about the extent of her judgment on

enjoying a bit of a renaissance.

month writing two episodes of the

the book. I think she’s happy about

What’s driving it?

comic strip and for the rest of the

it; when it got some good pre-publi-

My cynical answer would be because

month I’d go back into the mem-

cation reviews she was excited, but

people have become more verbally

oir. And that was a way of slowly

she doesn’t really want to talk about

need to be right now.

ARE YOU MY MOTHER? Alison Bechdel. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. $24.

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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

→ “I have yet to find that fantastic book about navigating from a sex-negative to sex-positive approach to one’s own sexuality. The books I’ve come across are either heterosexist, play on moralistic, slut-shaming concepts (like The Good Girl’s Guide to Bad Girl Sex), or unreadable in their density. Any ideas?” Pat

Even those of us who have great

not to want, pursue or enjoy sex, or

sex and think we’re enlightened

we’ll be sluts or deserve to be raped.

can find ourselves buying into

Gender-non-conforming people of

our culture’s sex-negative ideas.

all stripes are told they’re unde-

Y’know, that sex is dirty and bad, so

sirable because they’re not “real,”

do it only with the one person you

so they might as well give up. And

love, and so on.

so forth.

A sex-positive attitude means

Of course, good books can help

accepting that sex is fundamentally

us shift our mindsets. But while

good. Yes, sex can be used to hurt;

lots of books discuss sex, it can be

it can be unpleasurable; it can leave

hard to know which ones will truly

you feeling icky; it can even injure

escort you into sex-positivity.

you or lead to illness. But these things are not inherent in sex itself. Sex-positivity

means

that

I

recommend

Patrick

Califia’s

two books Speaking Sex to Power

sex

and Public Sex and Carol Queen’s

doesn’t require justification. It’s

PoMoSexuals. Califia and Queen

valid all on its own. You can have

also write incredibly hot sex-pos-

sex purely for pleasure, with no

itive queer porn — buy anything

“redeeming” context — a committed

with their names on it. Next, grab

relationship, reproduction, what-

Tristan Taormino’s recent Lambda

ever. You can have sex out of curios-

Award-winner

ity, or to make money, or all by your-

Trans and Genderqueer Erotica

self, because sex itself is not bad or

(full disclosure: I wrote one of the

wrong. Also, having sex — even

stories) and Jaclyn Friedman and

adventurous, unusual sex — doesn’t

Jessica Valenti’s Yes Means Yes:

make you “naughty” or “dirty” or a

Visions of Female Sexual Power and

“bad boy/girl” (unless such role-play

a World Without Rape. Jill Nagle’s

turns your crank). It just makes you

Whores and Other Feminists is one

a person having the sex you want.

of the first easy-to-read defenses of

Take

Me

There:

Some gay male sexual subcul-

sex work written by both sex work-

tures deserve a lot of praise for tick-

ers and academics — it’ll change

ing many of these boxes. But some

the way you look at unpaid sex, too.

can come with a numbers-game

I also hear that Susie Bright’s Full

approach, with “body fascism” (the

Exposure: Opening Up to Sexual

policing of what counts as a hot-

Creativity and Erotic Expression

enough body), or with pressure to

and Staci Haines’s The Survivor’s

use substances that can hamper

Guide to Sex are excellent.

connection and ultimately dimin-

Happy reading!

ish pleasure. Queer women have some great sexual subcultures too, but like all women, we’re also told

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

577 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario M4Y 1Z2 T 416-966-6969 | info@seduction.ca shop online

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July 2012 - In Toronto Magazine  

Gay and Lesbian City Living Magazine from Toronto

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