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R ry U sa O er iv n an

ripe for a renaissance: new study takes pulse of gay village

E U ISS

Gay & Lesbian

City Living

|

june 2013

Luminato

5

best bets by Jorn

Weisbrodt

Plus puppet master

Ronnie Burkett

pride prom Youth get more vocal about gender

’70s Disco diva Patsy Gallant

{

wOMEN PAINTERS fLOWER POWER sUNNING IN ST KITTS

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LADY

Bunny

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intorontomag.com

PUBLISHER Patricia Salib EDITOR Alan A Vernon Art director Nicolás Tallarico CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Gordon Bowness, Paul Gallant, Michael Pihach, Krishna Rau CONTRIBUTORS David Bateman, Mary Dickie, Derek Dotto, Amy Knowles, Serafin LaRiviere, Alice Lawlor, Trudie Lee, Pamela Meredith, Alejandro Santiago, Adam Segal, Andrea Zanin proofreaDER Tristan McFarland ON the cover Photography by Aaron Cobbett • aaroncobbett.com

Senior Account Director Ryan Lester Account Manager Simon Ma DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS Reggie Lanuza

uur rbba anng ga al l el er ry y a r t gallery event space venue rental

Controller Luis Varesis

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.

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Contents

issue 37

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

11

26

15

08

08 15

24

28

art attack At home with Francisco Alvarez and Daniel Garcia-Herreros ripe for a renaissance Study explores the gay village’s need for a facelift

26

Bunny girl It’s not all about hair for Starry Night DJ Lady Bunny

28

The disco diva returns Patsy Gallant still kicking it up after all these years

06 Pride T.O.’s Kevin beaulieu talks money 07

clare nobbs supports our youth

11 busting a lime in st kitts 14

quality not quantity during sex

18

June events calendar and listings

20

Jorn Weisbrodt's Luminato festival faves

20

market flower power

23

Women painters are it

24

no strings attached with ronnie burkett

31

the sex geek asks: what's up doc?

34 Caught in the Act Photos

sex is easy to find

love isn’t.

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toronto talk exchange VIEW FINDER

Luke Hayes

→ A SHOO IN For the Carrie Bradshaw in all of us, the Christian Louboutin retrospective celebrates two decades of the iconic French shoe designer who pushed the boundaries—and the prices—of high fashion shoes. Curated by The Design Museum London in conjunction with Christian Louboutin, the collection is a theatrical journey of style, glamour, power, femininity and elegance, and runs the gamut from stilettos and lace-up boots to studded sneakers and bejewelled pumps. The only Canadian stop on what is expected to be a global tour, the exhibition includes shoes Louboutin created for the 2007 Fetish exhibition produced in collaboration with acclaimed artist and filmmaker David Lynch. From June 21 to Sep 15 at the Design Exchange. For more info, go to dx.org.

In their own words Kevin Beaulieu

→ “Money isn’t everything.”

By michael pihach “We’d like to have this issue settled once and for all and provide stability,” says executive director of Pride Toronto Kevin Beaulieu. For the third year in a row, the organization responsible for planning Toronto’s 10-day Pride festival faces the possible risk of losing its cultural funding from the city. Last April, Toronto city council’s executive committee addressed the legalities of banning the words “Israeli apartheid” at city-funded events. The debate mirrors past attempts by a small contingent of city councillors to remove Pride’s municipal funding following the inclusion of Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QuAIA) in the Pride parade. Despite city staff reports concluding the term “Israeli apartheid” is not a criminal offence and does not contravene city policy, the validity of Pride’s annual grant of $123,807 was still deferred to an executive committee meeting on May 27. Pride Toronto won’t know if it receives its allocation until June 11, a mere 10 days before the festival begins on June 21. For Beaulieu, this is business as usual. “One of our biggest challenges is organizing the festival as far in advance without necessarily knowing what the budget will be,” he says. Pride Toronto’s operating budget is $2 million. Would losing the city’s support put the organization in a tough situation? “Yes, it would,” says Beaulieu. “It might take a year or two to rebalance things.” If funding falls flat, the backup plan is to rely on Pride’s accumulated surplus, which, says Beaulieu, “helps even out the bumps when they happen.” He adds that Toronto’s LGBT communities would likely “step up” if funding were ever jeopardized. Last year’s Pride festival pumped

6

$214 million into the city’s economy—a big sell to city council. But “money isn’t everything,” says Beaulieu. “We’re optimistic council will recognize the opportunity to connect with and show appreciation for our queer communities. The city has been supportive despite controversies in past years and we’re hopeful they continue to be so. “We take nothing for granted, but I’m convinced good sense will prevail.”

June 2013

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toronto talk exchange Sound off Pride Prom by Gordon Bowness → When hundreds of LGBT students and their friends party together at the 18th annual Pride Prom this

month, it’s not just a rite of passage for young adults, it’s a celebration of a queerer, more just future. To get an inside look, we talked to Clare Nobbs of Supporting Our Youth (SOY), the organization that co-presents Pride Prom along with the Triangle Program, Canada’s only queer classroom. Who puts together Pride Prom and why is it important? Back in 2002, the Triangle Program approached SOY and asked us to work with them to make this event spectacular. We’ve collaborated ever since. Plus there are a number of teachers from other schools who are involved who really work to build it. Most important are the youth volunteers, mostly high-school age; they do tons of legwork. In the last five years Pride Prom has really grown. It’s gone from maybe a 150 in Tallulah’s Cabaret to a fullfacility event throughout Buddies in Bad Times with 350-plus youth attending. One year it topped over 400; that was phenomenal. It’s such a wonderful opportunity for queer and trans youth to celebrate. Some dress formal, some dress according to the theme, some come as they are; and they bring their friends. It’s just a really chill night.

What is SOY’s core mission? SOY, which turned 15 in April, works to create space by and for youth. SOY helps queer, trans and questioning youth to take up space and build healthy community with each other and beyond. Have you’ve seen any shifts in the 10 years you’ve been SOY’s coordinator of community programming? Youth are starting to be much more vocal about gender, and at a younger age—naming who they are. We as a society need to be able to catch them and allow them to be safe in all of that. That’s why, when community folks ask us what can they do around youth, I like to encourage less gendered language. I see a lot of people suffering from the violence that comes from the gender binary. So many people feel boxed in. If society had a more fluid awareness and respect for gender, and had less expectation for what gender looks like, then there would be a lot less suffering. Coming up? Following Pride Prom is the Fruit Loopz Youth stage at Buddies on the Saturday of Pride Weekend. We need volunteers for that. And SOY is always looking for mentors both for our Monday night drop-ins and one-on-one.

Gordon Bowness

Any special moments for you? When we crown an Ace, King and Queen every year it’s just a spectacular moment. There’s an Ace who’s as important as the King who’s as important as the Queen. Gender doesn’t really matter in all of that, it’s how people self-identify. The beauty of the contest is the symbolism: It’s not just about the individuals, it’s about the youth who are in the space, who’ve been dancing and partying and enjoying each other’s company, who look at the folks being honoured, who might be dressed completely different than they would at a mainstream prom, being celebrated for who they are.

They are not your stereotypical prom king and queen. It’s just a way of doing things differently, outside the box. It’s really lovely.

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

O PE N H O U S E

Proud hook-up → When

they’re not planning city festivals, Pride Toronto co-chair Francisco Alvarez and his partner Daniel Garcia-Herreros can be found in their eccentric loft—home to their cat with Sofia Vergara eyes Story Michael Pihach | Photography Alejandro Santiago

You guys have been together for two-and-a-half years. How did you meet? Francisco Alvarez (pictured top left): We met at an open meeting for Toronto Pride. Daniel was there with the Latin American gay group HOLA. Daniel Garcia-Herreros: Francisco 8

was speaking. He introduced himself as “Francisco Alvarez,” which sounded Latin. I’m originally from Colombia, so I asked where he was from and discovered he was from Colombia too. It was a nice surprise. And your first date? FA: About a week after we met we

went for Chinese food at Lobster King, which is a super cheap place. You can feed two people for 20 bucks. Now you live together in a loft near Dundas and Bathurst. FA: I bought this place nine years ago. The building used to

be a picture framing factory and is supposedly one of the oldest condo lofts in the city. It’s two floors with more than 1,400 square feet. It feels like a little house. DGH: By coincidence, my sister and mother live three blocks away near Trinity Bellwoods.

June 2013

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LIVING & DESIGN

→ LOf t love The couple fill their space, supposedly one the oldest condo lofts in the city, with objets d’art.

from 41 countries from the PanAmerican region.” So you’re the cook in the house? DGH: Actually, Francisco usually does the cooking. I’m just the sous-chef. On weekends we drink cocktails or wine, prepare food with candles. He makes shrimp. It’s delicious. You’re both in great shape. Do you work out together? FA: We do, but we ignore each other at the gym. Daniel is one of those guys who works his arms one day, his legs the next. Because of my background in dance, I do everything at the same time. So you’re not one of those couples that spot each other. FA: No. I have no idea how much he can bench press.

I see you have furry friends. FA: We have two tabby cats, Blinky and Sofia. Blinky is 10, Sofia is 2. DGH: We adopted Sofia together. She has eyes like Sofia Vergara, who’s actually from my hometown of Barranquilla. Judging by the paintings on your walls, I take it you’re art lovers. FA: I started as a visual arts major in university, but then I started taking dance and became a professional contemporary dancer. I retired from dance when I was 30 and ended up in communications, later becoming the director of the Institute for Contemporary Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum. I now run an art consultation business called Mr Pink. I see you have a painting of Deborah Harry. FA: It’s an acrylic painting by G N’ S Projects. I like it because

of the pop references. It’s punk and fashion looking. She’s saying the word “whimper,” which is spelled backwards. It’s a reference to the anime scene in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill 2. What’s the story behind the big blue circle in your living room? FA: It was one of the first things I made when I moved in. It really bugged me that the fireplace was not in the centre of the room, so I took a string and pencil and drew a circle. The centre of that circle is the centre of the room. It’s inspired by artist Yves Klein’s Blue Disc, which is an intense monochromatic blue. What do you do, Daniel? DGH: Events. I have a lot of experience with events. This year I’m directing the first-ever Pan American Food Festival, happening between Sep 20 to 22 at Harbourfront Centre. It will feature music, art and food

Francisco, as the co-chair of Pride Toronto, what kind of changes can people expect to see this year at Pride? FA: Two big things. The Trans March will go down Yonge Street for the first time. We now have support from the city to do that. We’re also extending the Pride Parade route so it now ends at Yonge and Dundas Square, rather than Gerrard. And we’re going to use Dundas Square on Pride Sunday for more programming. With the TreeHouse Party moving to Ryerson’s Quad, is this year’s trend to take the festival southbound? FA: The festival is getting bigger. We felt we had to try new things as we prepare for World Pride next year. Pride Toronto was struggling when you joined the board four years ago. Funding was at risk over Queers Against Israeli Apartheid marching in the parade, former executive director Tracey Sandilands resigned; there was a $400,000 deficit…. FA: I was there during the worst times. Why did you run as co-chair?

FA: When elections came up, we had no candidates. No one on the board wanted to run. If I didn’t run, some stranger would have come in. I had some call to leadership. I had to help save this organization. And Pride Toronto had a $100,000 surplus one year later. FA: We saved money by only presenting Canadian artists in 2011. We squeezed all of our suppliers to give us a price break. It’s all about strategies and very close monitoring of the budget. We have a very dedicated staff. Pride has been criticized for not reflecting the LGBT community as a whole, which led to the creation of its Community Advisory Panel. FA: You have to realize that Pride Toronto isn’t the biggest LGBT organization, but it’s the most visible because of the festival. People tend to think it’s more than it is. Everyone thinks it’s their Pride. But you have to respond to people’s expectations. A lot of people have an emotional attachment. Some people only see hard partying and circuit boys, others only see small community groups. Few people have the same experience, which is a great thing. Do you actually have time to experience the festival? FA: I’ll get distracted by things like [city councillor] Giorgio Mammoliti stalking the Dyke March and there goes my entire afternoon. Do you and Daniel even spend time together at Pride? FA: We head over there in the morning and check in by phone during the day. He’s helping collect toonie and cash donations. DGH: Last year we were on a float together promoting World Pride. We have big carnivals in Barranquilla where I’m from, so I love floats. Francisco, what has been your most memorable Pride memory as co-chair? FA: The first time I rode in one of those golf carts was amazing. I took a video of it and watch it from time to time. •

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t r av e l

Isle of Plenty → From natural beauty to bustling bars, St Kitts proves that good things come in small packages Story Alice Lawlor

F

to one particular segment of people in any one given area; the entire island is a playground for all travellers.” The slogan of the favourite local beer, Carib, says it all: “Know who you are. Drink what you like.” And drink they do. Kittitians love a good time, from beers on the boat to dancing ’til dawn. They even have their own phrase for partying hard: “Busting a lime.” Ask a Kittitian where you should be “liming” and they’ll probably say The Strip, a row of fun beach bars in Frigate Bay. It’s one of those rare spots where tourists rub shoulders with locals and everyone gets along just fine. Start at Cathy’s Ocean View Beach Bar and Grill with a plate of succulent chicken ’n’ ribs, garlic shrimp or lobster and a glass of Cathy’s famous rum punch. Everything is fresh from the barbecue and comes with tasty island sides like rice and beans or fried plantain. It’s the best kind of casual dining, where you sit on picnic tables, eat off plastic plates and sink your feet in the cool sand.

St Kitts Tourism Authority

or a small island, St Kitts really punches above its weight. The little-known Caribbean gem has beautiful beaches, gourmet cuisine and culture aplenty— all in just 68 square miles. Tourism is still relatively new and there’s only one big resort: the St Kitts Marriott, a bustling beachfront hotel, casino and spa that just celebrated 10 years. Workers haven’t yet perfected the tourist patter, which means they’re neither slick nor fake. The easygoing culture gives the place a “live and let live” vibe and, best of all, there’s none of the underlying homophobia you sometimes find in other Caribbean destinations (stand up Jamaica). “They call St Kitts ‘Sugar City’ because of the sugar cane production in the island’s history, but also because the people are so genuinely sweet,” says Lavern Stevens, St. Kitts Marriott PR Manager. “We open our arms to people of all races and backgrounds and want to make each visitor feel welcome, regardless of their sexuality. St Kitts does not cater

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

Next stop on The Strip is Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack, a happily ramshackle place that spills out onto the sand. “No shirt, no shoes, no problem mon,” is their motto and it seems to fit: unselfconscious revellers throw shapes on the dance floor as a tipsy crowd looks on. Depending on the night, you might see live music, karaoke, a bonfire or even a fire-eater. Order the island tipple, Ting with a Sting (local cane-sugar rum and citrus pop) and take it all in from a twinkly-light festooned booth on the beach. Still up for liming? Just walk along the shore to Vibes— the newest and swankiest bar on The Strip—for silly cocktails and serious dancing. It’s a party scene that’s far from pretentious. People dress casually to go out and relaxation is taken very seriously. In fact, St Kitts is a great place to do nothing at all. At the Emerald Mist Spa, serenity comes by way of their fabulouslynamed treatments—indulge in a Cocolicious Organic Facial, perhaps, or the massage-based Honey Ginger Propolis Journey. Tucked away in a corner of the St Kitts Marriott, the spa is a hidden paradise of fluffy warm towels and scented lotions. Once you’re all primped and polished, don your swimsuit and spend the day beach-hopping along the southeastern peninsula. Grab some lunch and a bed-cabana on the sand at hip hotspot Spice Mill Restaurant. Then splash along the shore to Reggae Beach and nibble their homemade banana bread pudding to the tune of Reggae Beatles. Finally, end up at Shipwreck Bar, where monkeys and mongoose

roam free and the sunset has to be seen to be believed. Beyond the beach, there’s plenty to stimulate the senses. Venture into the busy capital city of Basseterre and you’ll get a taste of workaday St Kitts— lobsters sizzling on cast-iron barbecues, pastel-coloured storefronts and the ubiquitous honking of car horns. Everyone toots everyone else. To an outsider it can seem like mass road rage. Local guide O’Neill laughs at the idea. “The horn is for a couple of things: get the hell out the way, but mainly hello,” he says. He’s the man behind O’Neill Tours (arranged through the Marriott) and what he doesn’t know about the rainforest isn’t worth knowing. His tours of the tranquil tropical oasis are fun and interactive, as he cracks open seed pods for tasting, points out monkeys in

Amy Knowles

St. Kitts Tourism Authority

Amy Knowles

Amy Knowles

→ Perfect playground There’s plenty to do on this tiny island from chillin’ at the Shipwreck Beach Bar (top left) and sightseeing in Nevis (middle left) to just walking on the sandy beach at sunset.

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LIVING & DESIGN

the trees and encourages Tarzanstyle swinging from them. He’s full of local wisdom, too. Never ever step on monkey poop, he advises, and “don’t stand under the coconut tree. You never know which one is gonna say ‘down de hill!’” Look up, way up, and you’ll see zipliners taking the scenic route above the rainforest canopy. It’s typical of laidback St Kitts that even the adventurous stuff is easily accessible. Hit the water

for scuba, snorkelling and jet-skiing, or rent a car and take off on your own private tour of the island. There are no traffic lights and it only takes a leisurely couple of hours to get all the way around. The main road snakes through Basseterre, past the bustling port and out into the countryside. Just outside the city, in a clearing at the side of the street, is a big tree hung with empty rum bottles. It’s quite a sight to behold, the glass glinting in the sun and each

branch sagging under the weight of its bottle bauble. But this is no artful collection of empties. Touching this tree, the locals say, will magically get you drunker more quickly. And who wouldn’t want that? This is Sugar City, where ending your day busting a lime— with the best people, in the most happenin’ spot, with the rum aflowin’—is just as important as starting it with a good breakfast.

THE DETAILS → WHERE TO STAY

St Kitts Marriott

ST KITTS MARRIOTT RESORT

can savour succulent lobster or red snapper in the beach club’s own secluded bay. There’s an eat-in wine cellar and an excellent sushi bar—order the Kittitian and Frigate Bay rolls for a tangy taste of heaven. carambolabeachclub.com.

→ WHAT TO DO CARIBELLE BATIK AT ROMNEY MANOR

The island’s only full-service resort has everything you could ever need, including duty-free shops, car hire, seven restaurants, a huge pool and a gorgeous beach with free cabanas. It’s also a 15-minute walk to The Strip, so it’s easy to explore without relying on taxis. stkittsmarriott.com.

Meet local artisans and find charming souvenirs at Caribelle Batik. Expert demonstrations of batik— dye-resistant hot wax painted on cloth—take place throughout the day, with work for sale in the retail shop. It’s all housed in Romney Manor, a historic 17th-century building set in a beautiful tropical garden. caribellebatikstkitts.com.

→ WHERE TO EAT

BRIMSTONE HILL FORTRESS

Even locals make the trip to the Marriott’s Calypso restaurant for their bountiful breakfast. The buffet is packed with fresh and seasonal delights, and there’s a full menu of brunch favourites with a Caribbean twist, like Cajun eggs benedict and cornflake-crusted French toast. SPICE MILL RESTAURANT

A scenic spot for lunch, the beach-chic Spice Mill looks just as good as it tastes. The global-fusion menu keeps it simple with zingy jerk chicken pasta and crunchy fish tacos. After a spot of dessert, grab a fresh-fruit punch and head to one of their luxurious four-poster-bed cabanas. spicemillrestaurant.com. CARAMBOLA BEACH CLUB

Designed by British military and built by African slaves in the 1700s, this UNESCO World Heritage site is a monument to the island’s many power struggles. The Brits and French fought for control of this profitable sugar-cane producer until 1783 when the British won out. Today, you can tour the restored fortress, browse historical artifacts and get a breathtaking view of the island. brimstonehillfortress.com.

Amy Knowles

St Kitts Marriott

CALYPSO RESTAURANT

CATAMARAN SAIL TO NEVIS

Nevis is St Kitts’s quiet little sister across the sea. It’s best experienced on a Leeward Islands catamaran trip, with some snorkelling en route and a barbecue on the beach. Walk along the sand to the infamous Sunshine’s Bar and try the Killer Bee, a potent rum punch that’ll knock your socks off. leewardislandscharters.com.

Dinner is a stylish affair at Carambola, where you

wles Amy Kno

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LIVING & DESIGN

relationship advice

— with Adam Segal → “I’ve been dating a new guy for about a month now and am really excited about him. Our conversation is amazing and I feel very lucky to have met someone whom I’m so compatible with. I find him physically attractive but there’s one hitch—he has a very very small penis. I feel awful to take issue with this, but I find myself obsessing about it and wondering if it will lead me to end our emerging relationship. I shudder at the thought of my friends knowing that I’m with someone who is so minimally endowed and feel quite distracted by it while we have sex. How do I get over this or is it okay to just not dig dudes with small members?”

sex is easy to find

love isn’t.

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Adrian I think it’s wise to be questioning your knee-jerk reaction to your guy’s modest girth. To dismiss this new romantic venture when so much of it feels right, would be thwarting a pretty special connection. While some extent of our attraction to others might be fixed, I’m a strong believer that our desire is flexible if we are willing to open our minds and, by extension, our libidos. To have a fighting chance of moving past this seeming roadblock, you will need to shed your assumptions and stay curious about how steamy this relationship could really be. As for fearing your friends’ judgments, this simply highlights your own judgment of your BF’s body and your self-criticism for dating him. You’re the one who’s actually with him so your take on the matter is the only one that matters. Your reaction, or recoiling, from his body might reveal something about your own perfectionism. Do you have very high standards for your appearance or frequently fret about how others are perceiving you? In other words, the more you can show yourself acceptance, the more likely you will be able to embrace your boyfriend exactly as he is.

Other than your obsessive thoughts, you haven’t said much about your actual sexual experiences you’ve had together. When you are having sex with him, try to minimize the barrage of distracting negative thoughts by bringing your attention to the moment-tomoment experience of the physical interaction (a sort of a sex meditation). Perhaps the idea of his smaller penis is more detrimental to your desire than the actual thing. Making time for sexy moments that are less penisfocused might also liberate you from obsessing about this one piece (pun intended). What’s unavoidable, at least initially, is your disappointment. It’s okay to feel a little let down that your guy doesn’t perfectly live up to your expectations (at least in the genital department). If you are willing to allow this feeling and move on, it might save you the trouble of taking a great new relationship and classifying it as a problem when it really isn’t one.

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.

www.preferredpartners.ca www.preferredpartners.ca 14

April 2011

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insight

C O M M U NIT Y

Ready for a renaissance →

Can The 519 Village Study help bring back the golden age of the Church/Wellesley neighbourhood? Story Paul Gallant

S

tanding in a dusty unpaved

But the study’s stakeholders are

laneway off Church Street

also looking for results that are

between

Store

quick, dramatic and crowd-pleas-

parking lot and Pizza Nova, Jane

The

Beer

ing. Launched just weeks ago, a

Farrow is asking the 40 or so peo-

draft of the study will be presented

ple gathered around her to imag-

this Pride Week to get things roll-

ine the lane as something else. A

ing to spruce up the neighbour-

green space? A pop-up retail outlet?

hood for Toronto’s World Pride cel-

A special events venue? If Toronto

ebrations—a short year away—and

were Tokyo, Farrow imagines a

for the 2015 Pan American Games,

tiny orphaned space like this, right

during which The 519 Church Street

in the heart of the city, might have

Community Centre will host Pride

something like a movie theatre

House and the Ryerson University

squeezed into it. But the only thing

Athletics Centre in Maple Leaf

squeezed here are the bins full of

Gardens will host basketball.

smelly garbage.

While the team of researchers,

“You might be, ‘More condos—

planners and community types

can’t deal.’ But if you can’t stop

working on the study all hold firm

them, you can get ahead of the

to the idea that Toronto needs an

plan,” says Farrow. “If you’re just

LGBT hub, they are also aware that

opposing, the decisions may get

increased legal rights and social

made for you. It’s kinda awkward.

acceptance for Canadian queers,

What do you think?”

combined with the power of the

Former CBC radio host, City Hall staffer

and

founding

Internet to bring far-flung people

executive

together, have changed how LGBT

director of Jane’s Walk (janeswalk.

people connect. Gay bars and bath-

net), Farrow is leading this urban

houses, the historic focal point

tour-cum-focus group as part of The

of urban gay male life, now com-

519 Village Study. Funded by the

pete with dozens of websites, apps

city and TD Bank, the study aims

and gay-friendly hot spots all over

to take the pulse of the Church/

the city. It’s become fashionable to

Wellesley neighbourhood—roughly

declare that we no longer need the

Bloor to Carlton, Yonge to Jarvis—

village. Last month, when I sug-

and determine where its future

gested to a guy I met online that we

might lie. Relying on input from 49

meet in person on Church Street,

Meanwhile, central Toronto is

stakeholders, a survey of 1,500 peo-

his reply was: “Ewwww no village

experiencing a frenetic cultural

ple and public brainstorming ses-

lol.” It’s hard to avoid the sense that

renaissance. Cool shops, restau-

sions, the enterprise has a soul-

the village’s golden age is behind

rants and bars are popping up in the

searching long-term outlook: What

it. When Farrow directed her tour

most unlikely spots. Mobs of young

can be done to ensure the LGBT hub

to its next stop, she declared: “I’ll

hyper-social condo dwellers trip

has a major role in the life of the

meet you past Zelda’s, after where

over each other on Queen, Dundas,

LGBT people have been asking the

city?

The Steps was,” naming two land-

Bloor, College and King. So perhaps

wrong question about the village.

marks that no longer exist.

→ how times have changed The heritage building at Church and Wellesley, seen here in the 1970s (top) now houses a Pizza Pizza. The parking lot beside the now shuttered Carman’s Dining Club, (below, circa 1970), is now a park abutting Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

intorontomag.com

15 16 17.Village Study.indd 15

15

23/05/2013 3:20:04 PM


insight

Italians don’t wonder if they need

elling with the closure of Boots

Gardens development and is con-

Little Italy—it’s just a fun place to

in 2000, the closure of the origi-

tributing to the historical and cul-

“I’ve lived in the Castro in San

hang out. What the study must get

nal Barn/Stables in 2004, the clo-

tural component of The 519 Village

Francisco, in West Hollywood and

at, what we’ve never had the lux-

sure of This Ain’t the Rosedale

Study. He agrees that it’s the feel-

the village,” says Tae Hart, a psy-

ury of asking ourselves before, is

Library in 2008 or the closure of St

ing of the neighbourhood, rather

chology

what kind of village do we want?

Marc’s bathhouse in 2010. When

than its look, that makes it special.

University who now calls Leslieville

And, more dauntingly, can we get

I ask about the virtues of the vil-

“The public realm means all kinds

home. “I would say I see a lot more

something that looks like what we

lage, Farrelly, like most everybody

of people are on the street; women

older guys in the village than in

want—confident, sexy and stylish—

I talked to for this story, skips over

feel safe at night. We think of that

other cities, which I appreciate.

before WorldPride lands on our

any praise for its physical form,

as a given, but we really need to

It’s wildly safer than those other

doorstep in 2014? The 519 Village

instead using words like “open,”

treasure that,” says McClelland.

places, but it doesn’t have the spar-

Study has just one year to deliver

“tolerant,” “inclusive.” “It lives in

Enthusiasts like to call the village

what village connoisseurs have

two worlds. It lives in the old world

a “place of arrival” for newcomers,

been waiting decades for.

of the people who were here before

especially LGBT newcomers who

ditions. Unlike Queen West and

Yorkville and the Eaton Centre.

professor

at

Ryerson

kle that it could have.” Sparkle

requires

special

con-

Paul Farrelly, a founder of the

it was a decidedly gay neighbour-

will put up with the nuisances of

Dundas West, which are able to

Church Wellesley Neighbourhood

hood,” says Farrelly. “Then there’s

downtown living in order to be stag-

cough up a seemingly endless

Association (cwna.ca) who moved

what it means to LGBTQ people. It’s

gering distance from the bars and

supply of low-rent storefronts for

to the area in 1987, dates the vil-

a community of the imagination.”

transit. But many of the area’s vir-

the use of buzz-making entrepre-

lage’s state of flux back to the clo-

Although the neighbourhood is

tues have, over time, become limi-

neurs, the village is no place for

sure of the CBC building on Jarvis

historic—home of the 1981 bath-

tations. The prime central location

trend-chasing experiments. When

in 1992 and the closure of Maple

house protests and Toronto’s Pride

has driven up property values, so

it closed its basement location this

Leaf Gardens in 1999—a hell of a

celebrations since 1984—little of

residents have gotten older, richer

winter, Flatiron’s was reportedly

long time to be in limbo. Before that

that history is visible to the casual

and less interested in a loud and

paying $3,000 a month. Woody’s

the area’s ultra ritzy steakhouses

observer. Michael McClelland, prin-

proud nightlife. As a shopping des-

pays an annual $100,000 realty

started to dry up. Gay men might

cipal of ERA Architects (era.on.ca),

tination, the village is dauntingly

charge—on top of its monthly rent.

suggest the place started unrav-

worked on the Loblaws Maple Leaf

close to heavy hitters like Yonge,

No wonder people complain there’s

The evolution of a village

16

1826

1920s

1954

1966

1975

1977

Alexander Wood purchases 50 acres of land around what is now Yonge and Carlton streets.

Construction of walk-up apartments in the Church/ Wellesley neighbourhood attracts a slew of single childless tenants. The city outlaws such developments in the 1930s, claiming they promote a nonfamily-oriented lifestyle.

The Yonge subway line opens, including Wellesley station. So do the City Park apartments (later a co-op), some of the area’s first high-rise buildings.

The Village Green opens, including a round building later known as “Vaseline Tower.”

The 519 Church Street Community Centre opens up in what was once the Granite Club.

The Barn, formerly Les Cavaliers, opens up on Church Street, one of the city’s first gayowned bars.

May 2013

15 16 17.Village Study.indd 16

23/05/2013 3:20:21 PM


insight → Memory Lane These photos show how the area has been in constant flux since the 1970s. (Opposite page, clockwise from top left) Victorian houses being renovated beside a parking lot that is now Cawthra Square; Victorian rowhouses, where Woody’s bar stands today; The St Charles Tavern on Yonge, an old firehall, is one of the first gay bars in the area; an alley with a Canada Post office on the right and the old YMCA building on the left (the YMCA building has been demolished for a new condo project while post office employees have been told this branch will also close in the not too distant future); the old storefront that once housed This Aint the Rosedale Library is now home to a gourmet cheese shop, an upscale optician and an organic butcher; The former Odeon Theatre (this page) is now home to The Magic Lantern Carlton Cinema. Photos courtesy of Toronto Archives (Series 377, E.R. White Collection).

the process has been breakneck. The 519 wants the study to make an impact before World Pride, in the hopes that improvements realized there will create momentum for long-term changes that depend on the enthusiasm of landlords, developers, city officials and business owners. Coming out of its own recent village study, the BIA is going ahead with a mural project that will see village buildings emblazoned with depictions of historic events by the

Archives’ new digs

Place, integrating The Beer Store

end of this year. Over the summer,

on

pro-

and its dreary parking lot into a

some of the street’s parking spaces

vides a showcase

larger development and turning

will be transformed into green-

for queer culture

the parking lot next to O’Grady’s

space parklets—fun in themselves,

and history.

into a green space. And he’s just

but also a test of the appetite for

getting started.

permanently eliminating a lane

Isabella

And to describe newer venues like

“It’s an area that seems ripe with

of traffic. Making a good impres-

Church on Church,

opportunities that haven’t been

sion at World Pride is paramount.

Smith,

realized,” says Madi.

London’s 2012 World Pride was

Boutique

nowhere good to eat on Church

and Fuel as “tired” seems patently

Street.

unfair.

As he and his partners pull

largely considered a PR disaster,

seem

together all the study’s feedback,

so the knives of the world’s LGBT

“High rents make it difficult to

sleepy on a Saturday afternoon

Madi has discovered another of

media will be at the ready.

attract risk-takers and innova-

compared to the Entertainment

the village’s virtues: the hunger to

“What the street needs is a big

tors,” says Liz Devine, co-chair of

District, but it’s after midnight

make the best of things. Though

bold idea for World Pride,” says

the Church Wellesley Village BIA

when it shows its true colours. The

the sidewalks “are mean,” they are

Madi. “It can’t be little landscape

(churchwellesleyvillage.ca).

dilemma is how to fill in the gaps

packed on the weekends. Pride and

strips and a couple of flags.” I sug-

“Landlords are reluctant to risk

between these assets and convince

other village festivals demonstrate

gest painting everything in the vil-

renting space to people who don’t

a sometimes jaded community

a willingness to close the streets,

lage pink. Madi laughs. “That would

have a track record.”

that cool people, as well as seniors

inconveniencing drivers for the

be a demonstration of one singu-

and fresh-off-the-boat newcomers,

sake of a good time. “People here

lar coherent idea that resonates.

hang out in the village.

are not about no, they’re about yes.

When you have thousands and

We’ve done work in communities

thousands of people on the street,

ou have to wonder how fab-

where there’s a lot of pessimism

what can make a real impact? We

ulous Church Street would

and cynicism. Here it’s very opti-

need to think vertically. We need

mistic and hopeful.”

to think horizontally. We also need

Institutionally,

Toronto’s

vil-

lage easily bests rivals like San Francisco’s Castro, New York’s Chelsea, Chicago’s Boystown or Montreal’s Rue Ste-Catherine. The 519 hosts a wide array of queer

Y

The

village

may

look if Harold Madi were appointed

organizations and activities, pro-

emperor. A partner at The Planning

Parts of the wish list that will

viding users with cheap or free

Partnership, the urban design firm

likely emerge from the village

space that gives them a presence

spearheading

study—like

they could not otherwise afford.

Study, Madi used to live at Yonge

walks

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

and Maitland and, though he’s

ers who will provide more small-

manages to keep its spaces buzzing

straight, he knows the neighbour-

scale retail spaces—will take lots of

“People will notice and they’ll

even between productions. Pride

hood inside out and upside down.

time and the cooperation of many

be proud of what they see at

Toronto hosts one of the biggest

Within a few minutes of chatting,

stakeholders. Other aspects of the

World Pride,” Madi says, “and it

annual events in Canada. And the

he’s

suggested retail on the

plan will have to come together

will build momentum for a true

ground floor of Progress

much more quickly. The pace of

transformation.” •

Canadian Lesbian and Gay

The

519

Village

1981

1984

When Metro Toronto Police raid various bathhouses, arresting 306 men and smashing up property, protesters gather at Yonge and Wellesley, chanting “No more shit! Gays fight back.” Glad Day Bookshop, founded by Jerald Moldenhauer in his Annex apartment, moves to its current Yonge Street location.

For the first time, Pride Toronto wins the bid to host celebrations are centred in World Pride in 2014. Cawthra Square. The Churwell Centre opens. So does the Second Cup, home of “The Steps.” The steps are removed in 2005.

15 16 17.Village Study.indd 17

2009

and

widening attracting

the

to think realistically about what we can implement.”

side-

Can a project that’s come together

develop-

so quickly satisfy nay-sayers who consider the village passé?

2010

2011

2013

Kristyn Wong-Tam is elected councillor for Ward 27 Toronto Centre-Rosedale after Kyle Rae, Toronto’s first openly gay city councillor, elected in 1991, steps down. She is currently the only openly queer city councillor.

Loblaws opens a new flagship store in Maple Leaf Gardens, about 12 years after the Maple Leafs leave the arena for the Air Canada Centre.

The BIA unveils rainbowcoloured steel pylons marking the village.

intorontomag.com

17

23/05/2013 3:20:44 PM


LISTINGS & EVENTS

June Sian Richards

IN THE CITY

5

national ballet of canada Carmen opens

14 THE LIFE AND DEATH OF MARINA ABRAMOVIC Opens at Luminato

Art & Photography PILLOW PICTURES Artist Annie Tung explores her obsession with shunga, the Japanese word for erotic art. Revisiting her love of drawing, materials and erotic images, strange fantasies and impossible appetites are presented as intimate dreams and nightmares. Part of the Toronto International Jewellery Festival. To Sat, June 22. Made. 867A Dundas St W. 416-607-6384. madedesign.ca DADDY’S MAD Keith Cole presents a selection of work from his ongoing series The Army of Black Lesbians. All artwork is $100. Opening night reception. 6pm-9pm. Tue, June 4. 3pm7pm. To June 8. Videofag. 187 Augusta Ave. videofag.com. STEPHEN ANDREWS Photographs from Andrews’ blog adotwentforawalk. blogspot.ca document his trip around the world, including an extended stay in

18 19 20 June.calendar.indd 18

8

DOGGY LOVE Woofstock celebrates 10 years

22 Mesopotamia Opens at the ROM

10

11

Lakes of Canada Plays North by Northeast

Cats Opens at the Panasonic Theatre

26

27

TRUTH/DARE First of two nights at Queer Pride

Michael Lyons & Jeremy Willard History Boys at Videofag

Shanghai. Andrews is also part of a concurrent group show with established gay artists Tom Dean, Robert Flack, Ron Giii, Andrew Harwood, Glenn Ligon and Will Munro. Reception 7pm-10pm. Fri, June 7. 11am-5pm. Wed-Sat. To July 6. Paul Petro Contemporary Art. 980 Queen St W. 416-979-7874. paulpetro. com. 10x10 Photography Project Celebrating queers in the arts, this annual exhibition features works by Belle Ancell, Lise Beaudry, Bruno Billio, Paul Dymond, Lynne Fox, Stev’nn Hall, Jeanette Martin, Anthony Manieri, Adam Moco and Walter Segers. Tue, June 18-July 14. Reception. 7pm. Thu, June 27. Gladstone Hotel. 1214 Queen St W. 10x10photographyproject.com. some boys i’d like to know This retrospective by Allen Shugar explores the mystique of the male figure as an object of attraction. Tue, June 18-29. Reception. 6pm-9pm. Thu, June 27.

Urban Gallery. 400 Queen St E. 647-460-1278. urbangallery.ca DANIEL FARIA GALLERY A solo show of new work by Douglas Coupland. Thu, June 20-July 27. 188 St Helens Ave. 416-538-1880.danielfariagallerycom. The Power Plant Brussels-based artist Jimmy Robert explores the corporeal potential of a range of media, including photography, drawing, film, video, sculpture and performance. At the centre this solo exhibition, Draw the Line, is a new performance project that takes place within an installation of new and past work. Free. 10am-5pm. Tue-Sun.10am-8pm. Thu. Sat, June 22-Sep 2. 231 Queen’s Quay W. 416-973-4949. thepowerplant.org. Mesopotamia More than 170 priceless objects from the British Museum span 3,000 years, most of which have never been seen in Canada. $16. Sat, June 22-Jan 5. ROM. 100 Queen’s Park. 416-586-8000. rom.on.ca/meso.

Leisure & Pleasure pocket pride guide Mark these events on your calendar: The Pride Parade starts at Church and Bloor, goes down Yonge and for the first time ends at Dundas Square. 2pm. Sun, June 30. The Dyke March starts at Haydn and Church, goes down Yonge and ends at Allan Gardens with a Dyke Rally. 2pm. Sat, June 29. The Trans March starts at Norman Jewison Park, goes down Yonge and ends at Church and Wood. 6pm. Fri, June 28. pridetoronto.com. AIDS Candlelight Vigil. 9pm. Thu, June 20. Cawthra Square. the519.org. The Pride and Remembrance Run is a 5k run and 3k walk. It begins at Church and Wellesley. 10am. Sat, June 29. priderun.org. Rainbow Flag Raising. 12pm. Mon, June 24. Toronto City Hall. 100 Queen St W. See the attached Pride Guide for more information. WOOFSTOCK This marks the 10th anniversary of the doggy love festival

23/05/2013 3:50:22 PM


listings & events

our guide to your month

27. Cawthra Square (behind The 519 Church Street Community Centre). greenspaceto.org. See page 26. Patsy Gallant The disco diva performs at Disco Disco. Free. After the Pride Parade. Sun, June 30. Cawthra Square Park (behind The 519 Church Street Community Centre).greenspaceto.ca. See page 28.

Dance

eatre

Molly Johnson

Performs a couple of gigs at the Toronto Jazz Festival

national ballet of Canada The summer season opens with a fulllength version of Carmen, one of the greatest classic stories of lust, betrayal and murder. Created by Italian choreographer Davide Bombana. $25-$180. 7:30pm. Wed, June 5-8 & 15. 2pm. June 6, 8, 9 & 16. Next up is the mixed summer program with Pur ti Miro by Finnish choreographer Jorma Elo, No. 24 set to Paganini’s Caprice No. 24 in A minor, The Man in Black choreographed by James Kudelka, and George Balanchine’s Theme and Variations. $25-$239. 7:30pm. Wed, June 19-22. 2pm. June 22-23. The one-night only gala fundraiser, Mad Hot Ballet, is inspired by Davide Bombana’s Carmen and programmed by artistic director Karen Kain. Reception to follow. $55-$133. Wed, June 12. 416-345-9595. madhotballet.ca. Four Seasons Centre. 145 Queen. St W. (416) 363-8231. Shaping Sound Emmy-nominated choreographers and So You Think You Can Dance stars Travis Wall, Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance and Kyle Robinson lead a company of contemporary dancers in an exhilarating mash-up of music genres and dance styles in a showcase of movement, speed, physical strength and passion. $35-$80. 7pm. Sat. June 15. Royal Alexandra Theatre. 260 King St W. 416-872-1212. shapingsoundco.com.

Stage that’s welcomed more than 1.5 million tail-waggers and over 2.1 million passionate pet parents from across North America. Free. 10am-6pm. Sat, June 8-9. Front St E. woofstock.ca. TALL SHIPS 1812 TOUR Part of the Redpath Waterfront Festival. Passes for ship deck tours available, plus a Parade of Sail finale. Thu, June 20-23. Queen’s Quay (from Lower Spadina Ave to Lower Sherbourne St). towaterfrontfest.com

Classical & Jazz TORONTO JAZZ FESTIVAL Festivities include a free-for-all Friday, featuring Molly Johnson and Motown’s legendary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Smokey Robinson with Martha Reeves and The Vandellas. 8pm. Fri, June 21. Nathan Phillips Square. 100 Queen St W. Big names coming this year also include Lighthouse (Sat, June 22), Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings (Fri, June 28), Boz Scaggs (Fri, June 28) and Steve Martin &

18 19 20 June.calendar.indd 19

The Steep Canyon Rangers with Edie Brickell (Sat, June 29). torontojazz.com. Rock and Pop NORTH BY NORTHEAST (NXNE) The lineup at the 19th annual music fest includes The DA (11pm. Fri, June 14. Rancho Relaxo), an indie dance rock band out of El Paso, Boston steampunkers Walter Sickert and the Army of Broken Toys (9pm. Sat, June 15. The Great Hall), and Montreal-based bands, including experimental indie rockers Archery Guild (1am. Thu, June 13. Monarch Tavern), and the lyrically driven songs of Lakes of Canada (1am, Fri, June 14. Monarch Tavern) and Mad June (2am, Thu, June 13. Hideout), an all-female indie/alt rock band. June 10-16. Various venues. nxne.com/tickets. Lady Bunny The drag legend DJs at the annual Starry Night titled Love is in the Hair. Guests are encouraged to wear wigs. Free. 7pm to midnight. Thu, June

The Daisy Theatre Inspired by the illegal underground “daisy” puppet shows of Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, puppeteer Ronnie Burkett’s The Daisy Theatre blends nightly improvisation, variety acts and music, monologues and morality tales. $25-$35. 9:30pm-10:45pm. Fri, June 14-23. Berkeley Street Theatre (Downstairs). 26 Berkeley St. 416-3683110. luminatofestival.com. See page 24. sister mary’s a dyke This Cahoots Theatre production, written and performed by Flerida Pena, tells the story of a pious and naive teenager who finds herself on a quest that takes her beyond the walls of her all-girls school. It’s a coming-of-age and coming-out-of-thecloset tale. $15-$25 (PWYC Sun) 2pm & 8pm. To Sun, June 16. Aki Studio Theatre. 585 Dundas St E. 1-800-204-0855. cahoots.ca. QUEER PRIDE at buddies A festival of queer theatre, comedy, art and music, including PrideCab (Wed, June 19), a multi-disciplinary cabaret, created by

members of the Buddies Queer Youth Arts Program, that explores what it means to be young and queer today. Truth/Dare (Thu, June 26-27), a live re-creation of the famous 1991 concert DVD from Madonna’s Blond Ambition Tour, performed by local celebs Salvatore Antonio, Gavin Crawford, Keith Cole and Sharron Matthews. Award-winning comic and star of This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Gavin Crawford returns with Sh--tting Rainbows (Fri, June 21-22), his signature combination of oddball characters and impressions. Plus perennial favourites Bitch Salad (Fri, June 28)and Homo Night in Canada (Sat, June 29), showcasing the comedic talents of Julie Klausner, Emma Hunter, Mae Martin, Vong Sundara, Dawn Whitwell, as well as the return of the Paul Hutcheson’s Pride Package III (Fri, June 14-15) and a new showcase from Mariko Tamaki. And dance sensations Ill Nana (Thu, June 13-14) bring back their Rhubarb hit Fire as part of a two-day showcase and conference on queer artists of colour in dance and performance. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. 12 Alexander St. 416-975-8555. buddiesinbadtimes.com. CATS The second-longest-running show in Broadway history is back with an all-Canadian cast. Composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber and based on “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats’ and other poems” by TS Eliot, Cats opened in London in 1981, where it ran for 21 years. Translated into more than 20 languages, it’s been 28 years since Canadian producer Marlene Smith first produced it at Toronto’s Elgin Theatre. $40-$110. Tue, June 11-July 28. 7:30pm. Tue-Sat. 1:30pm. Wed, Sat, Sun. Panasonic Theatre. 651 Yonge St. 416-872-1212. mirvish.com/ticketking DORA MAVOR MOORE AWARDS Toronto’s biggest theatre night of the year celebrates extraordinary talent in the performing arts. Naomi Snieckus and Matt Baram, Second City alumni and founding co-artistic directors of the three-time Canadian Comedy Award-winning improv company, The National Theatre of the World, co-host the 34th annual ceremony, featuring 13 new award categories. $65. 7pm. Mon, June 24. St Lawrence Centre. 27 Front St E. Under the Stars street party to follow outside the theatre. 10:30pm. 416-366-7723. tapa.ca or totix.ca. HISTORY BOYS Ready for some academic discipline? You’ve broken all the rules, you bombed your oral exam, you didn’t do any of your homework. Now you need to be taught a lesson. Come to summer school and learn about queer and trans movements and events throughout history with your teachers, professor emerit-anus Maud Lynn Erotica (Michael Lyons), ersatz-Oxonian Jeremy Willard and illustrator Eric Kostiuk Williams. $5. 8pm. Thu, June 27. Videofag. 187 Augusta Ave. videofag.com.

23/05/2013 3:39:27 PM


listings & events

in spot Toronto Flower Market

Tony Hauser

Story & photography Derek Dotto

Five festival faves Luminato artistic director Jorn Weisbrodt shares his best bets The Daisy Theatre “One never knows what Ronnie Burkett will do next. Or better what his marionettes will do next. He is an artist of amazing stature on the smallest stage possible. His marionettes can voice what we would not be able to. What I love is that he is subversive, queer, funny, romantic, raunchy, aggressive, and sweet all at the same time. And the wonderful thing about The Daisy Theatre is, every night will be different. Ronnie improvises. How daring is that?” $25-$35. 9:30pm-10:45pm. Fri, June 14-23. Berkeley Street Theatre (Downstairs). 26 Berkeley St. 416-368-3110. See page 24. The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic ”It is one of those theatrical pieces that defies categorization. Robert Wilson, the grandfather of avant-garde theatre stages the life of Marina Abramovic, the grandmother of performance art. The transgender musical genius Antony from Antony and the Johnsons writes original songs and performs some of those live. Willem Dafoe is the narrator and male counterpart to Marina and really bundles all his theatrical magic into one explosive performance.” $55-$125. 7:30pm. Fri, June 14, 15 & 17. 2pm. June 16. Bluma Appel Theatre. 27 Front St E. 416-368-4849. Dolls by Viktor & Rolf “Here you have two gay dreams in one: fashion and dolls. For 20 years, Viktor & Rolf have dazzled the fashion world with their conceptual glamour; their fashion shows are theatrical feasts. To create a career overview, rather than putting clothes on a mannequin, they crafted exact miniature porcelain dolls of one or two iconic looks from each of their collections on a specially designed catwalk.”

18 19 20 June.calendar.indd 20

Free. 10am-5:30pm. Sat-Thu. 10am8:30pm. Fri, June 9-30. ROM. 100 Queen’s Park. Joni: A Portrait in Song —A Birthday Happening Live at Massey Hall ”Joni Mitchell told me that there are about 10 Hollywood movies where the female star is being laughed at by her male counterpart for being a Joni Mitchell fan. Joni Mitchell fans are women and gays, people who understand the complexity of the human emotions and thoughts that her songs paint. Is that really true, guys? LGBT people, bring your hetero best friend to experience one of two extraordinary nights with one of the most exquisite bands you will ever hear in your life with artists Chaka Khan, Rufus Wainwright and Glen Hansard singing the songs of one of the greatest songwriters ever.” $35-$175. 7:30pm-10pm. Tue, June 18-19. Massey Hall. 178 Victoria St. Music Mob ”Toronto might see the largest orchestra that ever played in this city. Everyone is invited to bring an instrument of their choice from violin and bagpipe to ukulele, tuba, kazoo or triangle, or just your voice to play Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries (yes, from Apocalypse Now) and Verdi’s Triumphal March (written for the opening of the Suez Canal) with members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, with Peter Oundjian conducting. All the parts and tutorial videos are available on our website.” Free. 2pm-3pm. Sat, June 22. The Hub at David Pecaut Square. 55 John St.

Luminato Fri, June 14-23. 416-368-3110. luminatofestival.com.

On a gloomy, overcast day the outdoor Toronto Flower Market at 99 Sudbury is bustling with people eager to add new blooms to their living rooms. About half a dozen vendors from outside the city bring their flowers to the heart of downtown Toronto so urban dwellers can get a much-needed dose of colour. The market, which takes place the second Saturday of each month from now through September, is the brainchild of Natasa Kajganic, who was inspired after visiting London’s historic Columbia Road Flower Market last August. “It’s been around for 75 years so there’s a long history,” she says. “When I visited, I said, ‘How does Toronto not have one of these?’ It’s amazing; the bustle, the heckling by the growers, the abundance of flowers. I came back and it was on my mind.” There are more than 200 greenhouses in Ontario, growing 80 cut flower varieties and 120 potted plant varieties. Sixty per cent of those greenhouses are in the southern part of the province, but for city folk, the trip outside the core can be unappealing and inconvenient. This market brings it right to your doorstep. Potted plants, hanging baskets and bouquets of every hue line the street just across from yet another condo

→ Flower power Greenhouses from

all over Ontario bring their blooms to the Toronto Flower Market on Sudbury Street.

tower jutting into the sky. Much like the locavore movement, which sees foodies consume locally produced ingredients, this locaflora movement, if you will, benefits not only the greenhouse economy here at home but also the end consumer in the form of longer lasting, healthier plants. “You’re getting flowers that have been cut days ago,” says Kajganic, “maybe even hours ago versus flowers being shipped in from the US or South America which were cut a week ago.” There is also the added bonus of being able to talk face to face with the people who grow the plants themselves. For an apartment dweller like myself, whose thumbs are anything but green, they’re able to provide tips to greening your living quarters. “Grab a mixed pan with bulbs [such as tulips, hyacinths or lilies], put it out on your patio and just water it,” says Miekes Spruit of Pioneer Flower Farms of St Catharines. Simple advice for the botanically challenged, but even the most experience gardener can always pick up a thing or two. •

24/05/2013 12:45:29 PM


Dear mortgage, I’m taking time off to play peekaboo.

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ART & ENTERTAINMENT

V i s u a l art

Women are doing it →

Five female artists break new ground Story Pamela Meredith

I

n a recent column I expressed

selection,

my admiration for five power-

Dault

Julia (Jessica

ful public artworks in Toronto.

Bradley Gallery) is

As it turns out, all five were created

a sculptor as well

by male artists. I made this selec-

as a painter. With

tion truthfully and without any pre-

tools and scrapers

conceived categorization, but the

of her own devis-

Guerilla Girl in me isn’t thrilled with

ing,

this state of affairs. We could ana-

paint around the

lyze and critique the system that

surfaces

creates such an imbalance in the

paintings

public art sphere, and we absolutely

like she assert-

should. But one of my goals for this

ively bends and

column is to illuminate all that is

controls Plexi in

engaging and good in the art world.

three dimensions.

And one of the brightest spots for

The first or bot-

me right now is the range of compel-

tom layer on the

ling painting that’s going on. And, if

stretcher is often

I approach it truthfully and without

a patterned textile

any

categorization,

or textured fabric, which is then cov-

The work of Vanessa Maltese

canvases. Painted (and sometimes

my top five young painters at the

ered by clear vinyl onto which paint

(Erin Stump Projects), the winner of

real) nets and ropes droop into view

moment all happen to be women.

is applied and removed in portions

the 2012 RBC Painting Competition,

deepening the maritime vibe. This

Painting has always been alive,

to reveal the pattern below. Typically

is wonderfully puzzling to me, and

young artist is taking on age-old sub-

well and relevant despite any reports

another layer and then another will

perhaps by design. Maltese has said

ject matter and finding a graceful,

to the contrary. Toronto has a long

follow creating windows down to

that she’s not setting out to prove a

ethereal style to make it all her own.

and rich history of ground-break-

layers far below, and a depth of pat-

point or to arrive at any conclusions

“The Bride’s Last Encounter with

ing painting practices but right now

tern and complexity that is com-

about where painting is at today, but

her Lovers.” Even the title of one

feels like a particular boom in fresh

pletely dynamic and unique.

moves of

her

much Daniel Faria Gallery

preconceived

she

given fresh meaning.

icate and misty light pervades the

rather to pose more questions about

of Kristine Moran’s (Daniel Faria

Faria

where it might be going. I marvel

Gallery) recent paintings (pictured)

I look for in a successful painting? I

Gallery) silk paintings also have a

at her unexpected colour choices,

is sensuous and inviting. With pas-

appreciate techniques and processes

layered, temporal quality to them.

her use of painted frames and por-

sages in the painting that nod to foli-

that I have never seen or considered

Using, among other techniques,

tals creating depth and structure,

age, blossoms and architecture, the

before. I look for a conceptual frame-

batik dye and bleach baths, which

and her inscrutable patterns. It all

paintings remain mostly abstract.

work that points to a bigger idea; an

requires

certain

resolves somehow, but with a cer-

The way that Moran applies paint is

artist may be rendering a forest or a

amount of control over to chance

tain amount of tension and strange-

the real revelation, sometimes thick,

face or a solid blue square, but does

effects, Bool layers ornamental pat-

ness that keeps me looking and

wild and loose side-by-side with

it contribute to the ongoing conver-

tern and figures onto a surface that

thinking.

precise, transparent veils of colour.

sation on landscape painting or fig-

feels rich with references to art his-

Hanna Hur’s (O’Born Contemporary)

These layers pile up with an inten-

uration or monochromes? It can be

tory alongside motifs from ironwork,

recent work references the sea, the

tion and an energy that is incredibly

a very subtle tweak to tradition, but

mosaics and carpets as well as con-

sky, the weather—powerful, heady

confident and authentic.

when you see it, it speaks volumes.

temporary pop culture. The blend

phenomena that are immaterial and

These five artists are breaking new

is fantastical. The works feel simul-

mysterious but rich in allusion and

ground.

taneously ancient and completely

sensory effects. Paint is applied in

new. All symbols and sources are

washes that read as watery, and del-

approaches to the medium. What do

Like most of the artists in this

Shannon

Bool’s

(Daniel

relinquishing

a

PAMELA meredith Is TD Bank Group’s senior curator. intorontomag.com

23 Art.indd 23

23

23/05/2013 3:29:00 PM


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

L u minat o

Split personality →

Puppeteer Ronnie Burkett a bit bitter old showgirl, fairy boy and outspoken housewife

Trudie Lee

Story David Bateman

I

nternationally acclaimed mar-

strong sense of camp, influenced by

and personalities that will emerge

nity is all about now, all these new

ionette artist Ronnie Burkett

the raucous comedy of the British

when it all appears onstage.

perspectives.”

describes himself as a “very

Carry On films, Burkett was able to

public hermit.” What has been

the

And for Burkett, it’s always from

develop a unique blend of the out-

1980s, he formed his own com-

a queer vantage point; he is com-

called “end of the world romance”

rageous and the truly poignant, a

pany and mingled professionally

fortable

by the UCLA Center for the Art of

theatrical mixture that can appear

with the acclaimed “rabbits” of the

with socially relevant voices. After

Performance, and “beautiful and

in

Calgary

in

somewhat “queer.”

among

younger

artists

One Yellow Rabbit performance

a string of popular musical mario-

shocking mastery” by the Globe

“I suppose to the outside eye it is

fame. Two decades later, at 43, he

nette pieces, Burkett felt his career

and Mail, his approach to mar-

incredibly queer,” says Burkett. “My

moved to Toronto where, he says,

path had been laid out. Then he

ionette theatre is elaborate and

mother, God bless her soul, used to

he became the “go-to guy on puppet

read about artists during the Nazi

provocative.

say, ‘Oh your friend Bill is so queer,’

history for young puppeteers.

regime and everything changed.

Discovering early on that no one was going to give him the roles

24

Beginning

as in different. I guess I am an odd duck.”

“I’m a puppet history junkie. I

“I was an angry young man, says

have about 140 books on puppetry.

Burkett. “What I mean is that I

he truly desired, Ronnie Burkett

He spends countless hours in his

I post albums of dead puppeteers,

really thought I was going to be an

chose to create them for himself.

studio creating drawings of the pup-

where they came from—where I

airhead fag who liked musicals and

Faded showgirls, rural housewives

pets, building the bodies, joining

came from. I taught last year at a

going out dancing. I was dragged

and fairy boys without wings pop-

limbs to a meticulously crafted cast

puppet conference with gay boys,

kicking and screaming into my pol-

ulate his many plays. Growing up

of characters, designing costumes,

dykey girls and trans kids. The

itics.” A kind of queer angst began

in Medicine Hat, Alberta, with a

and beginning to imagine the voices

landscape of the puppet commu-

to emerge. The beginning of the

June 2013

24 25.Ronne Burkett.indd 24

23/05/2013 3:29:23 PM


ART & ENTERTAINMENT

“I really thought I was going to be an airhead fag who liked musicals and going out dancing. I was dragged kicking and screaming into my politics.”

aging, fundamentalism and inflat-

ter traits he’s created for his

able pink genitals.

marionettes. “I’ve said for

With his show titled The Daisy

years that Canadians will

Theatre (at this month’s Luminato),

give you the shirt off your back

Burkett invited several Canadian

then criticize you for not having a

playwrights

original

shirt,” says Burkett. “Sometimes I

scripts: Daniel MacIvor, Damien

get a bit judgy, a bit up your ass. My

Atkins, Brad Fraser, Anusree Roy,

characters allow me to reveal more

Joan MacLeod, Amy Lee Lavoie,

of Ronnie Burkett than just me on

Karen Hines, David Yee, Chris

stage telling you about my life. I love

Craddock and Morris Panych were

my craft. I’m a vampire; I need that

tant.

given free reign. Burkett cast the

group of strangers in the dark every

puppets

shows from a selection of puppets

night to feed. Every night I think I

possible for him to bring his mes-

he’s been creating over the past

bring a lot of authenticity to them

sage across. Conversations hap-

several months. Performances will

that other forms of performance

pening in the arts are always way

also include improvisational inter-

wouldn’t allow.”

ahead of political discussions.”

to

create

His make

it

ludes where Burkett comes onstage

The Daisy Theatre is a metaphor

The Daisy Theatre is a co-com-

with beloved past characters. He

about growing in the dark, surviving

mission with UCLA Live, a per-

will then improvise scenes around

under difficult circumstances, like

forming arts program in Bel Air,

current political and social events.

the Czech puppeteers. “The main

California. Weisbrodt helped to ini-

A new element where he invites

hinge,” says Burkett “is improvis-

tiate the co-sponsorship that led to

an audience member onstage to

ing with characters based on what is

a Los Angeles premiere of another

take on various roles, from pull-

happening currently.”

of Burkett’s pieces, Penny Plain,

ing strings to voicing social con-

Queries from friends and col-

slated for January of 2014. “It is

cerns, will add a whole new layer

leagues over the past few years

always very important to me that

AIDS pandemic, coinciding with

to his political landscape. One or

about

Burkett’s awareness of Czech artists

two plays per night, selected from

of

who were forced underground dur-

the

possible

resurgence

what we produce and commission

flowery

characters

at Luminato is not a dead end,” says

these 10 writers, will also be per-

inspired Burkett to pitch the idea

Weisbrodt. “I want to get the work

ing the Nazi occupation, was a pro-

formed by a repertory company of

to Luminato artistic director Jorn

we produce outside of Toronto and

found turning point. A mid-20th-

new characters.

Weisbrodt. “When I saw Penny Plain

out into the world.”

these

century generation of puppeteers,

For the improv segments, Burkett

at Factory Theatre I was totally fasci-

Original scripts by various artists

more than 100 of whom were sent

is bringing three beloved charac-

nated,” says Weisbrodt. “I had never

coupled with improvisational inter-

to the concentration camps, had

ters out of retirement. He says that

seen this kind of mixture of queer,

ludes will bring a body of work full

created socially relevant marionette

these characters “actually repre-

slightly subversive, nasty, funny,

circle, revealing even more about

plays during very turbulent and

sent the three equal parts of me at

romantic, raunchy, kind of theatre,

a queer Canadian artist who con-

dangerous times. Burkett’s decision

this age: Esme, the campy theatri-

all performed by one person—and

tinues to be brutally honest about

to become political was an astute

cal bitter old showgirl, Schnitzel,

all puppets. It was a great revelation.

himself, the world around him, and

career move, allowing him to cre-

the completely innocent little pure

I immediately thought it would be

his many finely strung characters.

ate complex scripts that addressed

fairy boy and Edna Rural,” the out-

amazing to do something with him

diverse social issues: Street of Blood

spoken housewife living in a farm-

for Luminato.

(1998) dealt with celebrity worship,

house near Turnip Corners.

“Art is a vehicle for expressing

religion and AIDS. Billy Twinkle:

Burkett speaks openly of his

content that you might not be able

Requiem for a Golden Boy (2009),

sense of being Canadian as a com-

to talk about on a social or political

and 10 Days on Earth (2006) took on

plex amalgamation of the charac-

level. That’s why art is so impor-

The Daisy Theatre. $25-$35. 9:30pm10:45pm. Fri, June 14-23. Berkeley Street Theatre (Downstairs). 26 Berkeley St. 416368-3110. luminatofestival.com. intorontomag.com

24 25.Ronne Burkett.indd 25

25

24/05/2013 12:08:06 PM


t n a f f u Bo and brains →

Don’t tell this drag legend to shut up and just look pretty Story Serafin LaRiviere

26

hanteuse. Actress. Disc jockey.

the closet,” she says. “When you’re somewhat

Bunny? One of drag’s classic qua-

effeminate, everyone else knows you’re gay,

druple threats, the Lady Bunny

even before you yourself know what gay is.

has been thrilling audiences for

“My parents often said they didn’t know

more than 30 years with her

whether they should give me the Barbie dolls

wit, her homespun southern charm and

I’d been requesting since age four, and later

the fiercest blonde bouffant since Marie

confessed that they thought it might make

Antoinette’s final days as dessert advisor to

me gay. Well honey, if I’m asking for ’em,

the poor.

chances are I am.”

She was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee,

Given her parents’ religious convictions,

a town known perhaps less for its female

the budding cottontail didn’t have much of

impersonators and more for a certain epon-

a real-life role model when it came to dis-

ymous choo-choo. Back then the Lady was

covering her inner fabulousness. Thank God

known simply as Jon Ingle, son of a vegetarian

for 1960s television. “I love my mom dearly,

Quaker couple who moved around a lot due

but she is no glamourpuss,” Bunny says. “She

to Daddy Bunny’s work as a history profes-

can’t even put on mascara. So maybe that’s

sor. The clan led quite a nomadic experience,

why I latched onto shows like Bewitched and I

hopping from Chattanooga to Connecticut,

Dream of Jeannie. I loved the idea that I could

England and even Africa, where our gal’s fash-

be transported somewhere and be a gorgeous

ion sense really began to bloom.

blonde with supernatural powers.

“My parents were, shall we say, frugal,” says

“In the first grade we had a circus-themed

Bunny. “Oh hell, they were cheap. When we

show and I was the snake charmer—and

came back to the US from Africa they brought

honey, I’ve charmed a few snakes since then.

tons of these dashikis that they had picked up

But I was obsessed with Barbara Eden, so my

cheap. So there I was, 11 years old, on my first

mom made me these red velvet harem pants

day of school dressed in what everyone else

and I wore pretty much the same eye make-

assumed was a dress. I wore my hair long as

up that I wear today.”

a child, and the teacher referred to me as Jan

This may provide at least a partial explana-

instead of Jon, thinking I was a girl. The kids

tion as to why the Ingles decided to send their

in my class never let me live that down, I can

son abroad to a boarding school in England;

tell you.”

perhaps a sojourn in Mary Old England would

Looking back, our Lady acknowledges there

toughen up their young Jon into the strapping

may have been other signs that little Jon may

red-blooded American lad all parents hope

be destined for a more fabulous life than

for (yeah, because those Brits are so notori-

many of his peers. “I joke that I was never in

ously butch). “They were thinking it would

June 2013

26 27.Lady Bunny.indd 26

23/05/2013 3:30:10 PM


ART & ENTERTAINMENT

put me on the straight and nar-

speaker, while her stage act got rac-

row, but instead it introduced me to

ier and more topical.

Punk and New Wave and, best of all, pubs!” Of course the Thatcher years

Some pretty heady thoughts from

and see those magnifying mirrors

someone that some may be tempted

and think, who would ever want to

“I often laugh because, growing up,

to dismiss as just a fluffy drag

see that up close? Now it’s like, you,

politics was the furthest thing from

queen, but it’s clear that this Lady

you blind bitch.”

my mind,” she says.

knows her stuff, and is unwilling to

“But I’m 50

And she’s also not shy about her

were all about pink hair, bad pierc-

now. I know who I am and I’m look-

ings and rebellion, a trio of fun that

ing around at the world and seeing a

“There’s always a bee in my bon-

tainment these days, particularly

suited Ingle perfectly. It also encour-

lot of things going wrong. Our gov-

net,” she chuckles. “Things just seem

when it comes to the slurry currently

aged his dalliance with drag to flour-

ernments do not represent us. They

so messed up. It’s alarming that HIV

being shovelled through television

ish upon returning home to the

are so crooked and policy is dictated

infection rates among American gay

and movie screens. “I would just like

States. “When I was in high school

by whoever’s given them money.

youth are up,” she continues, wor-

to say, what was Madonna thinking

I was very influenced by New Wave

It’s so corrupt and I think we need a

ried about the growing culture of

with that horrible WE movie? Does

and the androgynous boy in make-

change in the two-party system.

barebacking. “Why bother with safe

she think she’s like Orson Welles,

just shut up and look pretty.

disdain for what passes for enter-

up look,” says Bunny. “But once I got

“America’s middle class is dying.

sex, because your life may not be

one of those great actors that went

into heels it was like, ‘Okay, hello

These austerity measures we’re see-

that worthwhile if you live past the

on to become a great director? Well

there.’”

ing in Portugal and Greece are going

time when you’re considered hot?

she’s a crap actor, how dare she

Moving to Atlanta signified a huge

to come here. The government is

That’s a really horrible message, and

think she can direct? And Britney?

life-change for the Chattanooga

realizing that they can do Robin

unfortunately I think a lot of people

I’ve met her; she’s a moron, a sweet

waif. Suddenly she was surrounded

Hood in reverse; rob from the poor

got it loud and clear.”

moron, but a moron just the same.

by other like-minded peers who

and give to the rich. The crazy thing

were also taking those first teeter-

is we’re all buying it.”

ing steps into dragdom. The Lady

And while many of us north

Certainly being a queen of a cer-

Now we’ve got her and Nicki Minaj

tain age affords this Lady a per-

on TV judging singing competitions,

spective on life. Still, aging does

25 cents. My first pair had those ’60s

demands an evolu“My a sigh of relief tion of both style n e t f o over our neighand substance s t paren bour’s current as the years w no k ’t n d Commanderi pass. Looking at d e said they v in-Chief, archival photos, i g should y e Lady Bunny Bunny appears h t r e h ” . whet is among much the same s l l e do i b r a many in her as she is now, but B e me th country’s LGBT one can’t help but

pointed toes with an hourglass heel.

community

It was the ’80s, and my look was

feel let down by his per-

influenced by people like the B52s.”

Bunny sprang to life alongside other

of Bunny’s border may

luminaries like RuPaul and Larry

continue to breathe

Tee, finding her voice and her look as she burst onto Atlanta’s thriving gay scene. “When I lived in Atlanta I was fairly penniless, so I had to create my look from second-hand stuff. I was a thrift store queen for all my clothes, hell, a pair of heels was only

have its drawbacks, and

that

and they can’t even sing.” Lady Bunny can sing, and does on several club hits, including “Shame Shame Shame” and “The Pussycat Song.” She prefers working behind the turntables as a DJ though, a role she’ll be taking on at this year’s Pride celebrations in Toronto. For her, stepping a toe onto Canuck soil is always a special treat. “It’s so great to come to Canada,” says the Lady. “Somewhere they actually

notice an increase

have health care and gay marriage.

in the height and volume of

It’s not just a big deal up there. You

formance. “Obama is a huge disap-

that famous platinum bouffant. “As

know, sometimes Americans like to

But her arrival in New York really

pointment,” she says. “And so many

the gut gets bigger the wig gets big-

paint Canadians as slow, but they’re

ratcheted things up a notch. Bunny

gays are all nostalgic and gagging for

ger,” she laughs. “It’s all about pro-

leaving us in the dust honey.”

and Ru had already begun to make

Hillary, but if the system itself is bro-

portion honey!”

a name for themselves among the

ken then changing one of the play-

I beg to differ, given that her face

Bunny’s summer tour of festivals

Atlanta club circuit, having starred

ers won’t do much. When 91 percent

is unlined and smooth, and those

and events, a far cry from that lit-

in Starbooty, the cult classic film

of Americans want enhanced (gun)

gorgeous gams still go on forever.

tle boy denied a Barbie by his flum-

series. But the Big Apple was a whole

background checks, and they can’t

Yet Lady Bunny herself can’t escape

moxed parents. But time, as they

new ball game. It was also the begin-

even get that put through, it’s clear

her own brand of caustic wit. “I’m

say, heals all wounds.

ning of Wigstock, history’s biggest

that there is a problem. The gov-

chubby, but I don’t do the corset

celebration of fierce boys in girls’

ernment has taken so much money

thing anymore. My legs never got

clothing. Bunny launched the festi-

from gun manufacturers that they

fat thankfully, but that’s because

val in 1985 and remained at its helm

can’t do a thing.

they’re hauling around my massive

until her swan song 20 years later.

“Another

thing

that

baffles

gut. But weight does soften the fea-

Even as Wigstock began its long

me is this bombing in Boston. I

tures. You know, a lot of women pay

sashay into the sunset, Bunny’s star

mean, where are these guys from,

to have fillers. Just eat. It’s much

continued to rise, with appearances

Chechnya?

cheaper and more fun.

in shows like Sex and the City and,

they hated us over there. America

“Also, now that I’m getting old,

more currently, RuPaul’s Drag U. Her

has to come to terms with the fact

my eyesight is going. And just try

penchant for quick comebacks and

that we’ve been screwing around all

putting make-up on while wear-

thoughtful opinions made her an

over the world and it’s going to have

ing glasses. I need one of those lor-

in-demand social commentator and

consequences.”

gnettes. I used to go into hotel rooms

I didn’t even know

It’s one of many stops on the Lady

Lady Bunny Performs at the sixth annual Starry Night titled Love is in the Hair (part of the Green Space series, a fundraiser for The 519). Guests are encouraged to wear wigs. Free, but proceeds from drink sales and donations support the centre’s programs and services. 7pm to midnight. Thu, June 27. Cawthra Square (behind The 519 Church Street Community Centre). greenspaceto.org. intorontomag.com

26 27.Lady Bunny.indd 27

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

music

disco lady →

Patsy Gallant still kicking it up after all these years Story Serafin LaRiviere

I

remember it like it was yester-

and literally, long before as part of

day: a tall, lanky blonde, hold-

Les Soeurs Gallant. Starting out at

ing one of those 1970s mega-

the tender age of three, Gallant sang

long microphones as she descends

the sweet melodies of groups like

gracefully from the carpeted risers

the Andrews Sisters with her sis-

of a tacky Canadian TV set. Then

ters Angie, Florence and Ghislaine.

that voice, that glorious, crystal-

It was the start of a long career.

line voice, singing: “In my mind,

“I’ve been in show business for

there’s a face, on my lips there’s a

60 years,” Gallant says, chuckling

name/ In my life there’s no place

warmly. “I can’t count from when I

for the man that I love/ ’Cause I’m

was three, because I don’t remem-

living my life just to sing and be

ber it. But I had my own show at the

free/ From LA to New York, from

age of 10. It’s been my whole life.”

New York to LA.” Acadian

singer

Six decades to exact. It’s almost Patsy

Gallant

impossible to imagine, but Gallant

ruled the 1970s disco scene in

is still going strong, having recently

Canada. She had her own televi-

finished an 11-year stint doing musi-

sion variety show, The Patsy Gallant

cal theatre in Paris. Though she’s

Show, performed at sold-out con-

happy to be back home in Canada,

certs and graced magazine covers

there is still a part of her longing for

usually reserved for American disco

France. “I truly loved it there. I had

divas.

a three bedroom apartment, and I

But it was her biggest hit, “From

was in the biggest show Paris ever

New York to LA,” from the 1976

had. I was treated like a queen, and

that shit so much. My high is going

album Are You Ready For Love, that

maybe that’s okay at my age.”

onstage.”

shattered the borders of Canadian

It was with some trepidation that

Not only is Gallant still belting out

music and surged up record charts

I sought out some recent live per-

her classics with the same power

all around the world: UK (#6), Ireland

formances, nervous that my child-

and clarity of the disco era, but she

(#5), Australia (#10), the Netherlands (#15), Norway (#7), South Africa (#5)

frequently punctuates songs like

“I went to my doctor about menopause and he said don’t worry about hormones, just keep your young lovers.”

“Proud Mary” with a high kick that

Gallant still struts her stuff on stage

is downright astounding. She shim-

in Louboutins and miniskirts. She

mies and dances around the stage

credits healthy eating, exercise and

like a woman in her 20s.

a robust sex life.

ner, who now makes her home in

and Sweden (#17). Quite a feat for a song whose melody was taken from a classic Québécois folk anthem, “Mon Pays,” written by Francophone

“I absolutely do the high kicks

“I’ve had young lovers all the

to show off,” she says, laughing.

time,” she says. “I still have one in

“I swear to God, I want to see any

Paris. I went to my doctor about

other 65-year-old do that. I still

menopause and he said don’t worry

can’t believe I’m going to be 65

about hormones, just keep your

hood idol would be croaking out old

in September. I almost threw up

young lovers.”

Montreal. “We were none of us pre-

hits an octave below the original ver-

when I got the papers for my Social

pared for how big it went.”

sion. But Gallant still looks fabulous

Security.”

Gilles Vigneault (with English lyrics by Gene Williams). “That song was just huge,” says Gallant, a multi-Juno award win-

Gallant had already scored some national hits before “From New York

28

→ T hen t here’ s t he high kicks Writer and fan Serafin LaRiviere was trepidatious over the current voice of disco legend Patsy Gallant; he needn’t have worried.

and sounds sublime. I need not have worried.

Age certainly hasn’t slowed this diva down; she books her own

to LA” propelled her to so-called

“I think it’s because I didn’t

shows, chooses her own songs and

“overnight success” but she’d cut

smoke,” she says. “I did drugs like

manages every aspect of her career.

her showbiz teeth, both figuratively

everybody in the ’70s, but I hated

Despite some aches and pains,

Patsy Gallant Performs at Disco Disco (Part of the Green Space series, a fundraiser for The 519). Free. After the Pride Parade. Sun, June 30. Cawthra Square Park (behind The 519 Church Street Community Centre). greenspaceto.org.

June 2013

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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’m a GP, and it is like pulling hens’ teeth to get patients to tell me the truth about their sex life. Is it just that it’s weird to talk sex in a super unsexy place? Is it that you think I won’t know what you’re talking about? Or do you not want to hear the safety rules I’m going to explain to you? Once it’s said out loud, folks have heaps of questions, but it takes 85 per cent of our time to get it said. Tell me how to help (I’m out and known as being ‘cool.’)”

Susan This seemed like the perfect question to take to Doc, my favourite

male/female gender identification or allow for a broader range?

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“We as doctors need to prove we’re trustworthy,” Doc says. “No

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Doc suggests the following schema

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30 whom I sense [are members of a

and no one has said things are dif-

sexual or gender minority]. Between

Come see this amazing new camera at Vistek. Talk it over with a Vistek

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encounter is about proving that it’s

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different now.”

80 it’s ‘are you sexually active?’” Doc

But you, Susan, have to be that

admits this isn’t perfect, but when

difference. You have to build trust

you’ve got four minutes to take a

against serious odds. This begins by

sexual history, you have to make

acknowledging that as a physician,

fast judgement calls.

you hold enormous power and it’s

Then, how do you react to the sex-

your responsibility to create a safer

related information they provide?

space. Start with your office: infor-

What does your body language con-

mation pamphlets, posters, rainbow

vey, your facial expression, your

flags. These won’t do the job for you,

advice?

but they set the tone for patients

This is complicated stuff. There is

and provide valuable info without

no perfect approach. Good on ya for

requiring disclosure.

working on it.

Truly a compact without compromise, the COOLPIX A delivers the quality of a DSLR in a slim compact body.

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O N T H E T OWN

caught in the act by Michael Pihach, George Pimentel & Kai Wa Yapp

Inside Out launch at the Burroughes Building

1

3

2

5

9

Mojo Lounge Opening 7

6

4

8

11

The Carlu 10th Anniversary Gala

9

10

12

13

14

→ 1. Michele Pearson Clarke, Suzanne Carte 2. Jess Russell, Melanie Hider, Jonny Morgan, Stephanie Busuttil 3. Max McQuinn, Thom Bryce, Peter McHugh, Robert McKaye, Alex Lampsos 4. Sofonda Cox 5. Brandon Pollard 6. Woodrow Monteiro, Gairy Brown 7. Joey Viola, Monty T 8. Bill Coulter, Fabio Mendonca 9. Mark Robert, Jeffry Roick 10. Glenn Dixon, David Dixon 11. Christian Mathieu, Christie Smythe, Tommy Smythe 12. Anne O’Hagen, Raymond Perkins 13. Andrew Lopez, Marianna Valente 14. John Macleod, Wendy Natale •

34

June 2013

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June 2013 -In Toronto Magazine  

Gay Toronto magazine

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