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THIS ISSUE CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Paul Gallant, Krishna Rau CONTRIBUTORS Paul Aguirre-Livingston, Nelson Branco, Dino Dilio, Derek Dotto, Alice Lawlor, Corey Pierce, Adam Segal, Michael Thorner, Andrew Vail, Lulu Wei, Andrea Zanin
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VIEWS | LIVING & DESIGN | INSIGHT | LISTINGS | ART & ENTERTAINMENT | SEX
KITSCH ’N’ STUFF PLUS John Webster’s joyful bricolage by Gordon Bowness
PLANET CHATTO Designer Farley Chatto’s effortless glamour by Paul Gallant
MONTREAL COOL Travis Taddeo takes luxury to the street by Paul Aguirre-Livingston
LONG MAY SHE REIGN Madonna sends Canada some luvin’ by Nelson Branco
MAURICE SENDAK in his own words
GLAD DAY BOOKSHOP by Krishna Rau
FASHION WEEK TRENDS by Derek Dotto
SOCIAL ENTERPRISES by Michael Thorner
BROOKLYN’S AUTHENTIC CHARMS by Gordon Bowness
SPA YOURSELF by Dino Dilio
HOMOPHOBIA’S SURPRISING RESILIENCE by Andrew Vail
ADOPTION AND YOUR RELATIONSHIP with Adam Segal
AVENUE ROAD by Derek Dotto
SWISH BY HAN by Alice Lawlor
THE WOOSTER GROUP TACKLES WILLIAMS by David Bateman
SARAH SCHULMAN TALKS POLITICS by Alice Lawlor
JJ LEE’S THE MEASURE OF A MAN by Derek Dotto
CAUGHT IN THE ACT scene photos
TORONTO TALK EXCHANGE
VIEW FINDER → SUNNY DISPOSITION No winter trip this year? Then why not buy art and travel somewhere wonderful — or mysterious — every day you peer into it. Green around Red White and Blue by Toronto photographer James Robert Durant joins scores of great photo-based artworks on auction for Snap, the AIDS Committee of Toronto’s gala fundraiser, now celebrating its 12th year. The public preview runs Fri, Mar 16 to 18 at Edward Day Gallery. The main event is Sun, Mar 25 at the National Ballet of School. See page 25 for more details or go to snap-toronto.com; all the works are viewable online.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS MAURICE SENDAK
→ “I don’t write for children. I write. And somebody says, ‘That’s for children.’”
Satirical talk show host Stephen Colbert interviewed Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator of such famous books as Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen, in two hilarious segments televised on the Colbert Report at the end of January. A legendary grump, Sendak seemed to relish the opportunity to match wits and witlessness with Colbert, railing against everything from Newt Gingrich (“He’s an idot”) and eBooks (“I hate them, eBooks cannot be the future. They very well may be. I will be dead so I won’t give a sh*t”) to children (“I like them as few and as far between as I like adults — maybe a bit more, since I don’t like adults”). Sendak, now 83, came out to the media three years ago, following the death of his partner of 50 years, a point Sendak reiterated when Colbert asked him about flirting with sexy moms. This past fall Harper Collins published the delightfully menacing Bumble-Ardy, about a birthday-obsessed piglet whose parents have been eaten. It’s Sendak’s first full-production picture book in more than 25 years.
TORONTO TALK EXCHANGE SOUND OFF RUNWAY BOUND
GLAD DAY TIMELINE
BY DEREK DOTTO
→ The tents are back. Toronto Fashion Week returns this month, complete with new title sponsor World MasterCard, showcasing the fall 2012 collections from Canada’s best and brightest. While Toronto is far from the coveted circuit of London, Paris, New York and Milan, there is something to be said about our sartorial achievements. We talked to industry insiders about the upcoming shows and Canada’s fashion scene. With established, emerging and international designers all set to show, this season is a true celebration of all the amazing talent that is coming out of Canada now. The Fashion Collective will be working with Rad Hourani to celebrate his five-year anniversary. I have been a supporter of this work since he started and to be working with him this season means a lot to me. I definitely feel the Canadian fashion scene is growing. Thanks to social media and a generation immersed in it, it’s possible to show your work to almost anyone directly, something that seemed impossible in the past.
The menswear collections will see a lot of different influences, from baroque detailing in outerwear to screen-printed shirting, a varying degree of deconstructed looks that move away from the usual tailored aesthetic that has taken over collections the last few seasons. Canadians, I find, like to think outside the box, they’ll take risks, whether it’s working with various fabrications in a collection or incorporating techniques that, for the most part, are avoided in design. But, to my horror, [most] Canadians prefer comfort and practicality over a certain aesthetic or look.
Trends? No shirts under blazers, coloured socks, chunky belts, drop crotch pants with skinny bottoms, and colour blocking. Although I will be very surprised if Toronto fashion embraces these trends. The Canadian look? One word: commercial. We don’t really break boundaries or set any trends we just follow them... safely. The fashion scene definitely needs help, we need to take more risks and embrace style and not just labels. Everyone wants the Jeffrey Campbell Lita boot (pictured) in plain black, even the woven version in black is too out there for the Toronto consumer.
DWAYNE KENNEDY, FASHION DIRECTOR, THE FASHION COLLECTIVE
JULIO REYES, BLOGGER, FASHIONIGHTS.COM
SALEM MOUSSALLAM, STYLIST, OWNER REMIX CLOTHING ALLIANCE
1970: Jearld Moldenhauer, unhappy with the availability of gay literature in Canada, decides to open Glad Day out of his apartment in the Annex. Shortly after, the store — which shares space with ground-breaking gay publication The Body Politic — moves to 4 Kensington Ave, an apartment in Kensington Market. 1972: After The Body Politic publishes the controversial article “Men Loving Boys Loving Men,” the landlord throws both businesses out of their Market home. They land in a new house in Cabbagetown. Moldenhauer turns Glad Day into a real bookstore, and opens a storefront at 4 Collier St, near Yonge and Bloor. 1979: Moldenhauer starts a Glad Day in Boston (which closed in 2000). 1981: The Toronto Glad Day moves to its current spot at 598A Yonge St. 1982: Police seize two magazines, including The Leatherman, and charge the assistant manager with possession of obscene material for purposes of resale. He is found guilty, but the conviction is overturned. 1985: The Mulroney government specifies material Canada Customs can seize, including that depicting anal sex. Glad Day has to endure more than 400 seizures of shipments over the next six years, including The Joy of Gay Sex. 1987: A court forces the government to amend its regulations, but depictions of anal sex are still not permitted if they’re “prurient in nature.” 1991: Moldenhauer sells the Toronto store to John Scythes. 1992: Under the Supreme Court’s Butler decision, which allows Customs to seize material that is “violent, degrading or dehumanizing,” Customs seizes a shipment of lesbian magazine Bad Attitude. 2000: Glad Day takes on the Ontario Film Review Board after being charged with selling porn that had Continued on page 8
TORONTO TALK EXCHANGE Continued from page 7
HOW TWEET IT IS BY MICHAEL THORNER
→ JEARLD MOLDENHAUER Circa 1976.
not been reviewed by the board. Glad Day eventually wins its case, but in 2005, the Ontario government enacts legislation that basically duplicates the previous laws. The large costs run up by the store leave it in dire financial straits.
2007: Vancouver’s Little Sister’s bookstore has to abandon an attempt to take its case against Customs to the Supreme Court after they’re refused funding. 2012: Scythes announces that he is putting Glad Day up for sale, that he can no longer even afford to pay himself. The store looks like it might be done for, until a coalition of community members announces that it has bought the store. The group includes El-Farouk Khaki, Fatima Amarshi, Jonathan Kitchen and Spencer Charles Smith. “Glad Day Bookshop was a crucial centre for the gay and lesbian liberation movement in Canada,” says Smith, at 23 the youngest of the investors, in a press release. “I know I owe so much to the activists who came before me so I am investing my money and my time into Glad Day as a way to honour them and to give back to the queer community.” Krishna Rau
Great design can change the world. Resource depletion is an ongoing concern, as the world population continues to swell past seven billion. More and more, individuals with entrepreneurial spirit are creating social innovations and successful business ventures that address these concerns. As the interactively resourceful engage with an uncertain economic landscape, new social entrepreneurship
GOOD BUSINESS AND HELPING OTHERS ARE COMPATIBLE PURSUITS. business models are emerging. Although the term social entrepreneurship has been around for decades, it gained momentum after the Wall Street crash of 2008. As we see a societal shift in awareness of our global challenges — in part brought forth by the collective sharing that is occurring online — we are seeing an ever-growing shift in consumer behaviour, one that equates business value to products, tools and services that benefit the common good, for current and future generations. Social entrepreneurs believe that good business and helping others are compatible pursuits. The term social entrepreneur-
ship is on the surface an exercise in semantics, marrying two words that have different, possibly contrary meanings. Veiled socialist endeavours or capitalist appropriation? Call it what you want, there are success stories out there. Two Degrees (on Twitter, @TwoDegreesFood) supports a business model where a meal is given to a hungry child for every one of their crafted health food bars purchased. Tiffinday (@Tiffinday) has built into their mission that everyone has a right to delicious and nutritious meals. They are committed to environmental responsibility, community enrichment, 3. reusable equipment and equal opportunity employment. Eva’s Initiatives (@evasinitiatives) works collaboratively with homeless and at-risk youth, providing safe shelter and a range of progressive services and longterm solutions, to help those in need lead productive, self-sufficient and healthy lives. Roozt (@rooztdeals) is an online marketplace that supports otherwise hard to find socially conscious companies with strong missions, providing a convenient portal that helps the socially conscious consumer find deals on ethically produced products and services. Additionally, 1 percent of all purchases are donated to the charity of your choice. Toronto is fortunate to have
the Centre for Social Innovation (@csito), an actual bricks-andmortar enterprise that brings together and nurtures people with emerging enterprises and business models that can change the world for the better. Books are cropping up on how to start, build and run businesses that improve the world we live in. When a Social Entrepreneurship for Dummies book appears, you know a tipping point has been reached. Leaders of existing businesses would do well to consider refashioning aspects of their business to reflect this paradigm shift, communicating their reforms at a more strategic and less tactical level, to maximize potential social profitability. CEOs need to be tweeting their company’s vision for the future, not their marketing departments. The time is ripe to start a business that reduces the carbon footprint, to create tools that will help sustain our resources for future generations and products that will further positive, educated and informed social change. Do it now. Because, let’s face it, old-school greedy capitalism is so 2007.
MICHAEL THORNER Tweets at twitter.com/ michaelthorner.
LIVING & DESIGN
T R AV E L
AUTHENTIC NEW YORK → Journey
off the beaten path and across the river to Brooklyn, yes, Brooklyn Story & Photography Gordon Bowness
hy Brooklyn? It’s hard to imagine travellers would ever tire of Manhattan. There is always something more to do and see. So it’s not a question of Manhattan or Brooklyn. It’s a question of Manhattan and Brooklyn, adding the borough of 2.5 million residents to your list of choice world destinations. Not for nothing did GQ last fall name Brooklyn as the coolest city on the planet. Brooklyn would be the fourth largest city in the US if it wasn’t part of NYC (and was its own city until 1898). Being in the shadow of its taller, brasher brother across the river means being overlooked.
Brooklyn shares with Toronto and Chicago that second-city vibe — in a good way, not in a provincial-desperate-for-attention kind of way. Brooklynites aren’t so concerned with the next big thing, the hippest club, the most exclusive restaurant. They are more concerned with the here and now, more invested in the local scene. And what a wonderful, eclectic scene it is for those willing to venture off the beaten path. This place is big — a smidge smaller than Toronto, and just as varied and diverse. So, that’s why Brooklyn. Plus Brooklyn offers the best
views of lower Manhattan. Its hotels are cheaper. And its bustling neighbourhoods open up to less crowded spaces and great parks. Then there’s the ocean — Coney Island is a must. And for those with cars, it’s much easier driving around Brooklyn than Manhattan. So if you bomb down I-95 to Florida, you should consider Brooklyn as a pit stop on the way back. Even if you don’t stay in Brooklyn, plan some day trips from Manhattan. It’s easy to get to by subway… or ferry or water taxi, cool alternatives to getting around on either side of the Lower East River. But planning and maps (or apps)
are key. There aren’t subway stops or taxis at every corner. This isn’t Manhattan. But that’s the point. Load in some car service numbers into your phone. Car services are a little pricier than taxis, but they will pick you up. And pity anyone trying to hail a cab in Brooklyn between 4pm and 5pm during cab shift changes. Fuggedaboudit.
id I mention Brooklyn is huge? It’s comprised of dozens of distinct neighbourhoods, big and small. Here are just three focal points to pique your interest. Continued on page 10
LIVING & DESIGN Continued from page 9
Let’s start with a perfect day near
Chicago’s The Dinner Party next to
downtown. Begin with a fortifying
dioramas of 18th-century homes
brunch at Jack the Horse Tavern
next to Kehinde Wiley’s blacki-
in Brooklyn Heights (66 Hicks St;
fied Old Masters next to cool dec-
jackthehorse.com), nestled among
orative arts galleries. There’s tons
blocks and blocks of billionaire
of gay programming, too. The just-
brownstones, and just a 20-minute
closed portraiture survey Hide/Seek
walk from Nu Hotel (see next page).
was amazing and saw galleries
Burritos and red flannel hash to per-
buzzing with stylish LGBT art-lov-
fect pancakes are served expertly in
ers both young and old. This spring
a pretty, sun-filled room. The sun
sees shows on Keith Haring, Djuna
glows more golden after a house
Barnes, Rachel Kneebone, Hank
Bloody Mary (with fennel- and rose-
Willis Thomas and Chris Johnson.
mary-infused scotch, house-cured
You can easily spend a whole
duck prosciutto and pickled cippo-
weekend at the museum, espe-
lini onions, it sounds disgusting —
cially with the Olmsted and Vaux-
it’s so not).
designed Prospect Park next door
You can then wobble around the
offering fresh air breaks. Check out
tony historic neighbourhood built on
the amazing central branch of the
the hill overlooking the East River,
Brooklyn Public Library around the
or you can make your way down to
corner on the Grand Army Plaza. It’s
the new Promenade Park. Stunning
an art deco marvel.
views of lower Manhattan abound.
There is great shopping and carousing a few blocks away in the
Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges
hip neighbourhood of Park Slope.
you’ll find the absolutely charm-
Bar 4 (444 7th Ave; bar4brooklyn.
ing Jane’s Carousel (janescarousel.
com), a stylish, laid-back and very
com), a restored merry-go-round
mixed gay and lesbian bar, offers the
now housed inside a sleek crys-
tal pavilion designed by starchitect Jean Nouvel.
By the river just between the
To the north is Williamsburg with a vibe all its own. Instead of
Next door is the River Café (theriv-
Victorian brownstones, the neigh-
ercafe.com), a floating restaurant
bourhood is packed with clapboard
that is a bit of a take-your-mom
kind of place but, again, you can’t
industrial sites. Italian, West Indian
buy a better view.
and Hasidic residents have made
There are lots of art galleries
room for recent immigrants, trendy
and a great bookshop to explore
young couples from the big city. It’s
nearby in DUMBO (Down Under
like a giant Queen Street West, but
the Manhattan Bridge Overpass).
with real money. The high street of
Or you could head off to Wall Street
Bedford Ave is crammed with big-
(up twinkles!) across the river by
booted, tight-jeaned, knitted cap-
walking the Brooklyn Bridge.
wearing couples, all very alterna-
Not too far from downtown are
tive-looking but sporting price tags
Prospect Heights, Park Slope and
in the thousands. There are great
the Brooklyn Museum (200 Eastern
second-hand stores and a real love
Pkwy; brooklynmuseum.org). This
of analogue culture here. Even the
encyclopedic museum was a reve-
fancy Hotel Williamsburg (see next
lation and has muscled its way into
page) has Crosely record players in
my top tier of NYC’s cultural insti-
every room. If you are looking for
tutions. It’s massive. Don’t think you can just breeze in and out; it’ll tion of inserting new and contemporary works among existing, historical collections. So you find Judy 10
→ HIT THE HEIGHTS Lower Manhattan from Promenade Park (opposite page), Jane’s Carousel (top right), Brooklyn Heights (upper right), Williamsburg (lower right) and Brooklyn Public Library (bottom right).
hook you. The museum has a tradi-
LIVING & DESIGN
a different kind of bargain, here’s
a must: North America’s only Paul Smith Sale Shop (280 Grand St)
— with Dino Dilio
offering a break on pricey but perfect UK style. Great restos abound. Egg (135 North 5th St; pigandegg.com) for a
An at-home spa can be such a wonderful and deserving retreat from life’s stresses and messes. It just takes a little organization. And book the time off. A full day is delightful but a morning, afternoon or evening is all you really need to escape and pamper yourself for a few stolen hours. →
yummy Southern breakfast. Ham and scrapple, anyone? El Amacen (557 Driggs Ave; elalmacennyc.com) is dark and cozy with a quaint little garden in the back. It’s Argentinian, so it’s all about the meat. But there’s great eggy things, enchiladas and avocado fries (!). Pies ’n’ Thighs (166 South 4th St; piesn-
→ KEITH HARING Spring exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum.
Setting up your own home spa
skins. Time to rinse everything
doesn’t involve buying expensive
away with a warm shower. Pat dry
thighs.com) offers more Southern-
Long a staple in the gay scene
spa products or renovations. Most
with a soft fluffy towel and while
fried scrumptiousness. And Acqua
Metropolitan (559 Lorimer St) is a
things you already have. Start with
the skin is still damp apply a face
Santa (556 Driggs Ave; acquasanta.
sprawling but comfortable complex
a clean house. If you can afford to
serum or moisturizer to soothe
com) has hearty Italian fare served
that has a huge outdoor patio in the
have someone come in and clean
and seal the face and slather the
up in a garden fantasia.
warmer months and two big fire-
your home you will really be able
body with lotion too. Step into a
places for the cooler ones.
to let go and enjoy it more. Spray
freshly laundered terry-cloth robe
bed sheets with lavender water.
or PJs. It’s delightfully decadent if
Fill a spray bottle with water and
you can heat them up in a dryer.
And who doesn’t want a dog fix when travelling? Lucky Dog (303 Bedford Ave; luckydogbrooklyn.com),
End up here and you’ve “done” Brooklyn. Lucky dog.
understandably scrappy, is a neigh-
a few drops of lavender oil. Place
Nourish yourself with a variety of
bourhood bar that welcomes dogs.
candles around the bathtub and
light foods such as veggies and dip,
by the bed. Nothing beats this kind
cheese, olives, dry sausage, soup,
of relaxing warmth and glow. A
sushi or salad. Prepared food from
scented candle from Crabtree and
Cumbrae’s or Loblaws makes it a
Evelyn changes the mood of any
snap. Be sure to include sparkling
It seems new boutique and
room and is very long-lasting, even
water with lime and lemon slices,
chain hotels are opening up in
after being blown out. Play music
herbal tea, wine or bevvy of choice.
Brooklyn every month, at all
that takes you back to a time of
Do I hear champagne?
price points. Here are two great
happiness and calm. Make a new
For the final wind-down stage,
playlist on your iPod. Sade does it
a new or favourite book or movie
you have always wanted to watch
WHERE TO STAY?
On the inexpensive side is Nu Hotel downtown (85 Smith
Bath time, the beginning of let-
is fitting. I love the old black and
ting go. Use a fragrant bath wash
white classics on TCM. Either
breezy, trendy décor might be a
or make your own. When I’m out
should be light and lifting. This
bit dinged up but the rooms are
of bath stuff I use my facial wash.
is not the time for business, self-
well-appointed, clean and quirky
A good squallop (between a squirt
help books and gossipy rags. And
and a dollop) works well. Add a few
lastly, turn off the phones, elec-
drops of essential oil and you’re
tronics and computer. This time is
living in low-cost luxury.
all about you. Enjoy!
(love the slate chalkboard wall in
→ HOTEL WILLIAMSBURG
the bathroom). Affiliated with the International Gay and Lesbian
swiming pool. Try finding that in
Travel Association, it’s a welcom-
Manhattan. The rooftop bar offers
Scrub a dub dub. After lounging
ing hotel with great service. From
stunning views and is open to the
in the bath for 20 minutes or so
$149 to $349, with an average
it’s time to buff and polish the face
An urban oasis like this doesn’t
and body. Use a liquid face scrub
If you are looking for luxury, then
come cheap: from $199 to $460
lightly over the face. Oatmeal bar
check out the just opened Hotel
(the luxurious Treehouse suite
soap from Noah’s Natural will
can top $1,000 a night). But think
exfoliate and moisturize the body
(160 North 12th St; hwbrook-
of the money you’ll save at Paul
at the same time. Apply a face
lyn.com). Great design, cool fur-
masque to deep cleanse or super
nishings and a 40-foot outdoor
moisturize. A clay-based masque is best for oilier skin while richer cream kinds work wonders on dry
DINO DILIO The freelance makeup artist and writer is resident beauty expert on CityLine. dinodilio.com. intorontomag.com
LIVING & DESIGN
O PE N H O U S E
WIDE-EYED BOYISH WONDER →
Artist and blogger John Webster’s Parkdale apartment is chock full of vintage and flea-market finds. Cute, kitsch and crazy all coalesce into a beautiful, off-kilter home Story Gordon Bowness | Photography Lulu Wei
LIVING & DESIGN
Do you consider yourself a collector? I never did but I think I am. I never set out to collect anything. I just ended up owning groups of all this stuff. If there is one thing I do collect it’s ceramics with funny faces. They’re cute but they’re also a little screwed up. Something is off. They can be borderline creepy. That something off is really gay to me. When I look at old illustrations of kids, or illustrations that were made to appeal to kids, everything all pink and blue and cute lambs, I go, “That’s not what kids are like. That’s not what life is like.” I mean sheep don’t look like that. We eat sheep. Reading that other meaning into everything is queer — and lots of straight people get that too — loving something for all its awfulness and all its loveliness. What are the most surprising items you own? All of my original ’70s action figures from Star Wars — though I don’t display them. I was really obsessed when I was younger. And then I got back into it in the 1990s. I chucked the ’90s stuff during my last move. It was winter. I had placed my Tauntaun and AT-AT Walker on a big snow bank. Everything else was snapped up by neighbours, except those two. People must have thought it was an installation. What attracts your eye? Everything I loved as a child. Old family photos. Anything from the past — and it doesn’t have to be my past. Even as a kid I was obsessed with anything old. Fave shop? Sasmart in Kensington Market.
When did it all begin? When I first moved from Winnipeg, I lived in Mississauga. I was very lonely, there. And finding these lovely little objects became a comfort. I think it all stems back to my mother keeping a very sparse house. She’d always throw out my stuff. As I child I remember thinking that there should be more. Like the house of a favourite aunt, Aunt Audrey. She was a teacher for 30, 40 years in a small town in Manitoba. She’d always get little gifts and she’d keep them all — tiny ceramics, Christmas decorations, toys. There’d be a doily on the arm of a couch with a ceramic cat on the doily.… On your popular blog sissydude. com you constantly find and share digital ephemera — old illustrations, fashion photography, campy music videos, porn — stuff that’s quick to appreciate and easily discarded. And yet you have a passion for tangible objects. I think objects are real, that they are alive. When I was a kid, everything around me was alive. Even Smarties. I’d group them into colours and then pick my favourite from each, give it a name, a gender, a story, and I’d play with them. The rest I’d eat. I remember our chess set. I’d love playing with the pawns. I’d dress them up in Ice Capades outfits that I’d make out of construction paper. Continued on page 14
→ BRICOLAGE John Webster’s home and art are intimately entwined. “My home is a collage,” he says. intorontomag.com
LIVING & DESIGN Continued from page 13
If all these objects are alive, isn’t it a
the house is the art. And this apartment
little noisy in here?
is the first home I feel is complete. You
I find it very calming. I just don’t get the
have to see this collection as a whole.
whole Zen-plain-white-wall thing. The
The context is my life, me being happy.
more stuff I have displayed, the more I feel I’ve done. An empty white wall
Your blog often juxtaposes naïve and
would make me feel nervous.
sentimental illustrations with X-rated photos of masculine, hairy men.
Any touchstones, objects you can’t do
Again it goes back to my childhood. I
was raised in a very female-centric
I’m attached to all this stuff, but if
home. Only sisters. A lot of aunts.
something falls and breaks, I don’t care.
was obsessed with maleness. And I still
Maybe because nothing costs anything.
have that wide-eyed boyish wonder
The stuff I covet is usually $3.49. But the
one object I can’t live without is Figgy, a stuffed toy my godparents gave me. I
loved it so much I ruined it. Its legs fell
online is fascinating.
off, its eyes came off and my mother
People message me all the time about
would fix it, but totally reforming and
taking down “their” image from my
reshaping it in the process. His nose is
blog. Just because you scanned an old
a pompom, his eyes don’t match and he
label or found something and posted
still doesn’t have legs.
it online doesn’t mean you own it. You didn’t make it. An artist made it.
Much of your art is digital collage.
Everyone thinks they own everything.
Is there a connection to your design
aesthetic? Another artist/illustrator friend pointed
We’re old friends, so I know what
that out — that my home is a collage,
a wonderful host you are. You love being a happy homemaker. I’d love to be a non-repressed ’50s housewife, cooking and cleaning for my husband. That sounds magical to me. All I need is the husband who’d love June Cleaver with a beard. •
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FA S H I O N
Lauren Pirie & Darlene Huynh
LIFE IS IN THE DETAILS â†’ From
the capital of Saskatchewan to the fashion capitals of Europe, Farley Chatto has charted his own quixotic path to design success Story Paul Gallant
LIVING & DESIGN
n the weeks running up to
He wore one that was embroidered
have created original pieces to raise
his December wedding at the
awareness and funds for grassroots
instincts in yet another direc-
Carlu, Farley Chatto was sew-
“I just chalked it up to the usual
organizations involved in HIV/AIDS
tion: furrier. PETA be warned — if
ing his butt off. So were his fashion
— the cobbler’s children don’t have
in sub-Saharan Africa. He’s involved
ever there was an ideal spokesper-
students at the Academy of Design
shoes,” says Chatto, 42, laughing.
in the Heart Truth Fashion Show on
son for the fur industry, Chatto is
at RCC Institute of Technology,
“I have a few evening wear jack-
Thu, Mar 8 and, later in the spring,
it. Affable, humble, compassion-
whose stitchery skills had been
ets and tuxes to choose from. I just
he’ll appear in a pilot for Slice called
ate and intent on making fur fash-
recruited to boost the ceremony’s
went into my closet and pulled one
Wedding Dress Wars that, he boasts,
ionable again, Chatto might be just
fabulous quotient. Chatto and hub-
of them out.”
will be “Project Runway versus Say
what’s needed to breathe new life
Yes to the Dress.”
into one of this country’s oldest
bie John Bradley, a customer service
Of course he did. Having made his
manager at the Toronto Research
own clothes since he was a teen-
A Filipino-Canadian from Regina
professions. But shaking up the
Chemical Company, had already
ager, Chatto’s closets are burst-
— when his immigrant parents
stodgy industry could be an even
been married on PEI in a folk-
ing at the seams. A designer for
met in Saskatchewan in the 1960s,
bigger challenge than shaking up
sier September ceremony aimed at
more than 25 years, Chatto has
they were two of only a handful of
the politics of fur.
Bradley’s family — eight brothers and sisters and parents for whom the trip to Toronto might have been overwhelming. After those Country Mouse nuptials, the Carlu shindig had to be very much City Mouse, a black-tie event populated by many
Filipinos in the province — Chatto
“HE’S ONE OF THE MOST EASYGOING, CHARISMATIC DESIGNERS OUT THERE.”
of Chatto’s fashion industry peers.
broke into the fashion world in the early 1990s, when it was still primarily a WASP enclave. He initially
hatto originally wanted to be a gemologist, a vocation he
claims his family didn’t think was
focused on menswear in an indus-
weird. His godmother gave him
try where women’s wear rules, fol-
semi-precious stones as gifts. “My
lowing his own quixotic interests
parents were very open free-think-
as he forged contacts across North
ers. When we were growing up,
America and Europe.
there was never the word ‘no.’ If I
The black jackets, slinky gowns and
shown himself to be a prolific and
fascinators would remind every-
pervasive force in Canadian fash-
“Farley is important because he is
wanted a doll, I got a doll. If I wanted
one of the unadulterated pleasure of
ion. He’s costumed productions for
one of a handful of designers who
a gun, I got a gun.” He rethought the
Paramount and Warner Bros stu-
designs both women’s and men’s
gem career when he was 13 after
Chatto knew exactly what he
dios and Mirvish Productions, and
clothing,” says Chris Tyrell of Hoax
being invited to a black-tie event
intended to wear: a white mink
dressed celebrity clients like Chris
Couture and Dare to Wear Love
(yes, black-tie events are a reoc-
tuxedo jacket of his own design.
Noth, Andrea Martin (a major advo-
(the Stephen Lewis Foundation
curring theme on Planet Chatto).
But as the big day approached, his
cate), Duran Duran and Elton John.
Unable to find a jacket that would
attention to his guests’ needs —
This spring, along with the likes of
Week again this year). “He’s one
Who requires something taken in?
David Dixon, Brian Bailey and Linda
of the most easygoing, charismatic
From then on, he was sewing
Who needs help tying a bowtie? —
Lundström, he’s celebrated in the
designers out there. He’s a fun guy
all the time. He started making
overtook everything else. Chatto’s
Textile Museum of Canada’s Dare to
to be around and his technical
clothes for the other kids at school
jacket didn’t get finished in time.
Wear Love show of designers who
skills are legend.”
and when he was 15, a friend of a
fit, he made one himself.
LIVING & DESIGN
friend commissioned him to make
Maeder at a Regina fashion show,
her wedding dress. “Knowing what
Chatto impressed Maeder with
I was doing at that time, it proba-
his beading abilities. Maeder gave
bly had big leg o’ mutton sleeves, a
him some names of people to call
long train and appliqués all over it.”
in Paris. Chatto apprenticed for
He designed a runway collection
several months at Maison Lesage,
for his independent study course in
world famous for its beadwork,
the last year of high school and by
lacework and embroidery. “When
the time he was finishing his first
they say the dress is done by hand,
year at Ryerson, at age 17, he and
it’s done by hand,” says Chatto. “It’s
a school friend had incorporated
an art that’s slowly dying.”
their own design house.
From there, he made the rounds
The early 1990s were not the best
in Italy, eventually ending up at
time to launch a fashion business.
European menswear powerhouse
The recession was kicking in and
Fabio Inghirami in Bologne. That’s
retailers were less likely to take
where he learned to cut fabric prop-
the risks they had in the pleated
erly and appreciate the tailoring of
and big-shouldered 1980s. “Orders
men’s clothes. Unlike the fanta-
were still coming through, but the
sia of women’s wear, menswear
stores weren’t paying and we were
has a much more limited palette:
at the bottom of the list of the
shirt, pants, vest and coat, typically
creditors.” Chatto and his partner
in a limited colour range. Chatto
finally closed up shop. A stint liv-
embraced these restrictions, play-
ing with his parents and tailoring in Regina didn’t drive Chatto off to a more stable career track. Instead, he spent a good chunk of the 1990s travelling and apprenticing. After befriending US textile guru Edward
Continued on page 18
→ T IMELESS Farley Chatto’s Brigadoon collection blends big-city style with outdoorsman classics. And don’t get him started about the fur. intorontomag.com
LIVING & DESIGN Continued from page 17
ing with cut, fabric and detail-
tified with the Origin Assured label.
ing — his pieces often have a lit-
“I know exactly what farm or
tle zip of colour or some whimsical
trapper provided the fur. I know
detail just where you least expect
where it was taken. I know it was
it. “Obviously it takes a bolder man
not illegally caught,” says Chatto.
to wear some of it,” he says.
“When you look at [the sustain-
An opportunity to work at Armani
ability of] cotton, probably fur does
was dashed by European labour
the least amount of harm. There’s
rules, which sent Chatto back to
so little waste, only three to five per
Canada. In 1999, having gone as
cent. It does less harm than faux
far as he was going to go in Regina,
fur, which is made from chemicals.”
Chatto found himself in Toronto starting again from scratch.
In addition to facing down animal-rights critics, Chatto is also
“I was itching to be out. I had
declared myself to be gay but I’d
industry that bristles at change.
never had a boyfriend. Regina
Not only are fur consumers older
was pretty white. You could count
than the average fashionistas, so
the Asian guys in the club on one
are the designers. It’s been a con-
hand,” he says. “But then I had to
stant tug of war as Chatto learns
rebuild my contacts all over again.
what fur is and isn’t capable of, and
People had forgotten who I was.”
as he persuades his peers to push
Luckily, his sojourn in Europe
hadn’t merely given him the eye of
“They’ll be, ‘We don’t work that
a couturier. It had honed his skills
way. You can’t do that,’” he says.
as a social connector. He began to
For one project, his fellow furriers
attract a client base of both men
rolled their eyes as he attempted
and women for his custom work,
to mix fur of two different lengths.
as well as contracts for more cos-
When he finally worked out the
tume-oriented special events. For
design and they saw him wear-
ing the scarf, they conceded that
Cashmere Collection in 2004, a
his experiment had been worth it.
show dedicated to breast can-
“It was one of the most stunning
pieces we had done,” says Chatto.
THIS TIME IT’S PERSONAL → Montreal’s Travis Taddeo is back to walk Canada’s biggest
curates, Chatto created a soft tux-
Meanwhile, Chatto heads into his
edo in bathroom tissue. Then in
third and final wedding to Bradley,
runway this month — on his own terms
2009 he won praise for his Marie
this time in Bali. It’s where the cou-
Story Paul Aguirre-Livingston | Photography Rainer Torrado
Antoinette-inspired “Let Them Eat
ple got engaged about two years
Cake” entry. He’s shown it’s possi-
ago (Chatto was the one who pro-
ble to make fantastic creations that
posed). Hosted by friends who live
are rigorously constructed — and to
in Indonesia part of the year (an
not be a bitch while doing it.
Islander-Balinese couple who also
Bathroom tissue is a novel fabric,
hosted the PEI wedding), it will
but fur, which has been Chatto’s
be the least formal of the nup-
primary passion since 2010, is a
tial events. There will be no mink.
completely different kind of chal-
No black ties. Chatto, for once, is
lenge. Working with furrier Four
happy to let others make the fash-
Seasons Fur, a family company
founded in 1974 which supplies
“It’ll be too warm for fur,” says
Holt Renfrew, Chatto has found
Chatto. “I’m okay wearing what
himself again learning another age-
ever it is they give us to wear.”
old tradition. Nobody’s called him a murderer to his face (yet), but he’s had people yell at him from cars when he’s worn fur on the street. Chatto isn’t having any of it. He works with reclaimed fur or fur cer18
FA S H I O N
FARLEY CHATTO DESIGNS Fashion photography: Angus Rowe MacPherson. Styling: Kurt Salt. Hair and makeup: Sabrina Rinaldi. Models: Andrew Mark (Sutherland Models) and Matt King (Sutherland Models). farleychatto.com.
oung designers — often so hungry and, by consequence, so unfocused — know they want to go somewhere but aren’t quite sure how. When I first saw a Travis Taddeo show at Toronto Fashion Week’s tents in 2009, I knew there would be none of that — he’s got plenty of fire in his belly, and a vision in his head. At the ripe old age of “twentysomething” Taddeo has consistently worked at mastering his craft since migrating from Calgary to Montreal to attend LaSalle College’s illustrious fashion design program. He’s been relentless in carving out a look and manipulating a niche that works for him, dubbing his line a “lifestyle brand for individuals.”
Last October, Taddeo returned to Toronto to participate in the first annual Mercedes-Benz Start-Up competition aimed at helping the country’s top emerging stars. He didn’t win, and it’s not something he talks much about, but the competition served its purpose: placing him back on the runway and catapulting him onto the country’s collective radar as part of the 588 million media impressions garnered for last season’s shows. Taddeo is so, so good at blending a street-savvy, ear-to-the-ground approach to garment construction that works in tandem with a luxury aesthetic in fabrics, and vice versa — plus it’s all made in Montreal. He’s a risk-taker, both in busi-
LIVING & DESIGN
boomers. I read that you like to blend “luxury and street wear.” Elaborate on that. We take street wear fabrics and looks and incorporate it in a luxury way. It can be leather sweatpants or a leather sweatshirt, or a fur bomber instead of a jean jacket. It’s bringing that luxury element to street, and that street element to luxury. You’re one of the few Canadians who has managed to balance both a women’s wear and a menswear collection. Do you have a preference? → WHERE STREET MEETS LUXURY Travis Taddeo (left) and his hot spring 2012 collection (above).
getting stronger and better at what
haps a little more “cosmopolitan”
I always feel one can’t exist with-
you’re doing, constantly surviving.
— if those descriptions make any
out the other. Inspirations come
sense to you.
from both, and I often create one
When did you realize you wanted ness and design. The brand is one
to design clothing?
look for men and one look for Let’s talk about the spring 2012
women, changing with just the
of the few Canadian houses able
I guess when I figured out I couldn’t
line that’s out now — the leather
right tailoring. This season, we’re
to concurrently produce equally-
sing, so I couldn’t be a rock star.
shorts, the bleached denim, the
shifting focus more on the wom-
Kidding. In Calgary, I took a fash-
light-as-air silk chiffon creations.
en’s collection, but there will def-
en’s wear collections, and Taddeo
ion design class in high school and
We called it “Dry Heat.” It’s basi-
doesn’t shy away from translat-
started making clothes for friends.
cally trying to find an adventure in
ing a look for another gender. For
It just went from there.
the middle of summer. It’s restless
What made you decide to return
and hot, like scouring the Arizona
with a solo show this upcoming
desert for a party.
the current spring collection — available in Toronto and Montreal
Why Montreal? Why not come to
boutiques and across the country
Toronto or move internationally
online — this resulted in relaxed
like many of your peers?
initely always be the men’s items.
Toronto is just the right place for What can we expect for the upcoming fall 2012 line?
us in terms of a fashion week in
leather pants (and shorts!) for men,
Montreal is pretty much home
bleached denim for everyone, and
base, and it just made sense to
The new collection is called “The
buck.” What happens in Quebec
feathered tank tops with mini skirts
build a foundation here, and maybe
Doomed Generation.” It’s about
tends to stay in Quebec, and there’s
to match for women.
explore travelling later on in life. I
this girl (or guy). She’s not happy,
really no comparison in the amount
In advance of his return to the
could have picked up and moved, I
and she’s not sad, but she keeps
of coverage. [Fashion council presi-
Toronto runway to present his
suppose, but I don’t think it would
on fighting anyway. Even though
dent] Robin Kay has a vision and I
fall 2012 line with a solo show at
have been any easier anywhere
the world is shit, and there’s chaos
admire her greatly. She believes in
Fashion Week, I caught up with
else. The point is you have to get
everywhere, she’ll keep going until
something, and that’s important to
Taddeo to talk shop and find out
strong regardless of where you are,
the end. You’ll see some wool jer-
if he’s ready to run this town with
and Montreal feels right for what
seys, more silk chiffons, a lot of
what sounds like his strongest col-
Japanese leather. If there’s a bud-
get, maybe some fur accessories. The biggest difference between
You’ve officially been around since
Toronto and Montreal’s fashion scenes?
Canada. It’s the most “bang for the
What does the future look like? We’re looking to expand into stores across Canada, and look at
Describe the Travis Taddeo customer in a few words.
markets with bigger numbers strategically. Maybe head to Russia or
describe your journey into the
Montreal is a lot more carefree
It’s about someone who wants
South America. My ideal goal is to
fashion world, making it on your
— hemlines can go as high as you
to be an individual, looking for
have a brick-and-mortar store in
want, there are very few rules and
a cut that’s above market stan-
It’s a challenge. I was designing the
limits. I find Toronto can be a little
dard. I design for strong and con-
whole time I was in school, selling
more conservative. If I had to define
fident people — it doesn’t mat-
my clothes. I knew what to expect
each city, I would say Montreal is a
ter what age you are. We have a
coming out. For me, it’s just about
little more “edgy,” and Toronto per-
broad range of customers shop-
FASHION WEEK Travis Taddeo shows at 5pm on Fri, Mar 17. worldmastercardfashionweek.com. travistaddeo.com. intorontomag.com
WE L L - B E I N G
WHEN YOUR INNER BULLIED CHILD ACTS OUT → No
matter how successful you become as you get older, bigotry can still present surprising challenges Story Andrew Vail | Illustration Corey Pierce
ast year I was working in a big advertising agency in downtown Toronto. I had a senior position as a writer and handled a slew of projects and assignments on a daily basis. So I was shocked to find myself derailed by a casual homophobic slur. I was out to my coworkers and never encountered a single problem about being gay. Until one day I was with a group of my colleagues in a boardroom discussing via conference call a project with a group of clients. A woman on the client’s
side was struggling to describe her feelings in reference to a line of copy, eventually coming up with, “Well, it just sounds kind of gay.” A silence fell over the room. A few eyes sheepishly looked my way. Then the call continued as if nothing odd had happened — except that I felt like I had been slapped in the face. I sat stewing in a quiet rage. I was suddenly 14 years old and back in school listening to homophobic slurs. This was ridiculous; I was in my 40s and a successful professional. I thought I’d left all
that behind me. No matter how old we are or how successful we have become, homophobia can still hurt, irk and offend. While we have developed tools and coping strategies over the years to deal with these insulting faux pas, they can still affect us at work and in life. Dana Shaw is a successful educator, events planner and activist in the queer community. She is an out bisexual woman who has felt marginalized both outside and inside the queer community. She recounts
one particular incident that had long-lasting ramifications. “I was going to a bar that mainly catered to women. I walked in this particular night to meet some people and in the course of the evening I told them I was actually bisexual. I was looked at like I just told them I had a communicable disease,” she recalls. “After I asked them to explain their feelings, I was told that I was ‘buying into the patriarchy’ for being bisexual.” The shunning she received had a dramatic result on her almost
immediately. “To have been hit in
socializing during the day,” he says.
the face with bi-phobia as imme-
“Even now, years later, I still find
diately and openly as I was,” says
myself walking on the inside of
Shaw, “put me back in the closet
the sidewalk and looking over my
in the queer community for about
five years. I didn’t just feel unwelcomed, I felt pushed out.”
— with Adam Segal
Howard Shulman, who is the Community Services Coordinator at the 519 Church Street Community Centre,
I WAS SUDDENLY 14 YEARS OLD AND BACK IN SCHOOL LISTENING TO HOMOPHOBIC SLURS.
Violence Program, is all too familiar with these types of stories. He deals with a growing number of adult queer people who are facing varied forms of bigotry. “Homophobia in adulthood is a continuation of homophobia from
My partner and I are in the adoption process and will soon become parents to a seven-month-old baby boy. We’re so excited and have worked so hard to make this happen. With all of the joy we are experiencing it has been hard to express to him that I’m also pretty freaked out. I’m scared of what impact a child will have on our relationship. For six years, it’s been just us and now our whole dynamic will quickly change as we become not just lovers but parents. I’ve seen several of our friends have their romantic relationships deteriorate once kids arrive. How can we prepare ourselves and stand a fighting chance once our boy is in the picture? Elijah →
Situations like these can leave
our youth,” Shulman says. “We get
people feeling alienated. They may
harassed when we are a kid, and we
even stir up long-buried feelings
see that it continues into adulthood
of guilt and self-loathing thought
either by bashing or verbal harass-
to be long dealt with and resolved.
ment and so on,” he says. “It’s a
Clearly, just because one is a suc-
traumatic thing, especially bashing.
cessful, middle-aged professional
Bashing can be so random. Victims
First, I just want to congratu-
brate the munchkin’s first word....
does not necessarily make you bul-
of bashing try to make sense of
late you and your guy for getting
or first successful poop on the
letproof when it comes to dealing
what happened to them. They end
this far with the adoption process.
potty (serious sleep deprivation
with bigotry. Sometimes the occa-
up blaming themselves. They try
There’s nothing I can say that can
will make such a celebration make
sional arrow pierces our armour.
to rationalize it by thinking they
create a baby-proof seal for your
And, of course, we are not immune
shouldn’t have been dressed a cer-
relationship but I can suggest a
Another potential source of con-
to the physical attacks that can still
tain way or not holding their part-
few ways of supporting yourselves
flict could come from differing
happen when we least expect them.
ner’s hand. In some cases,” he says,
as daddyhood inches closer. That
parenting styles. Criticizing each
“out of fear they go back in the
freaked-out feeling you’re expe-
other’s parenting approaches is a
request), 45, remembers an inci-
closet or try to ‘straighten out’ to
riencing is perfectly normal and
surefire way of creating relation-
dent that happened a few years ago
conform to expected gender roles
the best thing you can do, for now,
ship distress rather than nourish-
after leaving a popular nightspot
is let yourself share those feel-
ing a healthy and functional fam-
in the Church/Wellesley Village. “I
ings with your hubby because, on
ily. Do your best to compliment
had left the bar after last call with
remark in the workplace, an anti-
some level, he’s feeling similarly.
your guy’s finer kid moments —
a few friends,” he says. “There were
gay slur heard on the street or a bla-
Trying to pretend that having a
this way you’ll set the best tone.
still lots of guys milling around
tant, violent attack, bigotry takes
child is all cuddles and giggles is
Also, the “It takes a village” stuff
outside and I felt completely safe,
many forms and affects LGBT peo-
likely to strain things and lead to
is true — work toward creating
didn’t give it a second thought.
ple in many different ways. There is
the kinds of conflict and discon-
a network of support in friends
Then, these guys pulled up in a car
no quick fix. The best way to man-
nection you’re trying to avoid.
and family so that you can share
and one guy waved me over to ask
age is to remember your strength as
A first child is one of the great-
tips, struggles, joys and strategies.
for directions.” Ken, thinking noth-
an individual and stay close to your
est stressors on a relationship.
Sharing with others will validate
ing of it, approached the car with
friends both inside and outside the
Why? Both of you will be adapt-
the stuff you’re already doing well
the passenger smiling brightly at
ing to new roles, identities, expec-
and prop you up when either of you is feeling overwhelmed.
him when he was blindsided. “The
“Because some people have expe-
tations and to a drastic decrease
guy who was smiling and asking
rienced [homophobia] for so long,”
in the amount of personal time
directions suddenly pulled out a
says Shulman, “they just come to
you’re accustomed to. A lot of
metal object like a pipe or a wrench
the idea they will just experience
parents privately grieve the loss
from the experience — in ways
and smashed me across the side of
it as part of their daily life. They
of their previous, more liberated
that won’t make sense ’til you get
think, ‘Well, this is just the way it
days. Do the opposite: Voice your
has to be,’ when in fact it doesn’t.” •
fears and normalize each other’s
Ken was left with massive bruising on his face and head and a
range of feelings about all fac-
swollen eye. But the scars ran much
ets of this journey. If you’re both
deeper. “I found it harder to go out
being honest about the hardships
at night and spent a lot of my time
it will clear the way to really cele-
Despite the sacrifices involved, also
ADAM SEGAL The writer and therapist works in private practice in downtown Toronto. Ask him your relationship or mental health question at email@example.com. intorontomag.com
LISTINGS & EVENTS
La ur en tP hi li
Cylla von Tiedemann
IN THE CITY
TARA BEAGAN Free as Injuns opens at Buddies
DO IT ON THE ICE Bonspiel play begins
WAYNE MCGREGOR Entity closes at Fleck Dance Theatre
LES DEMIMONDES Cabaret closes at Buddies
TKO MONROE Definitions ball at Goodhandy’s
Art & Photography ANGELL GALLERY Half-Light over the Baltic Sea, Daniel Hutchison’s inaugural hometown solo show of seascape paintings. With Josh Schwebel’s Currencies in the East Gallery and Renee Duval’s Now Skyward in the Project Room. Noon5pm. Wed-Sat. Until Sat, Mar 24. 12 Ossington Ave. (416) 530-0444. angellgallery.com. KWT Two solo exhibitions: printmaker Daryl Vocat’s One Continuous Mistake and painter Fiona Crangle’s Be Prepared. Noon-6pm. Until Sat, Mar 31. 624 Richmond St W. (416) 646-2706. kwtcontemporary.com. MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY CANADIAN ART The Main Space exhibition is
Tasman Richardson’s Necropolis, a multi-media meditation on the nature of video and its strong affiliations with
THE SLEEPING BEAUTY National Ballet of Canada opening night
ANGELIQUE KIDJO Performs at Koerner Hall
SEVEN DEADLY SINS Starring Lindsay Sutherland Boal, first of two nights
death culture. Consisting of six installations housed within a twisting, darkened superstructure. The Project Room features Spectral Landscape with photo-based works from Peter Doig, Tim Gardner and Sarah Anne Johnson. PWYC. 11am-6pm. Tue-Sun. Until Mon, Apr 1. MOCCA. 952 Queen St W. (416) 395-7490. mocca.ca. DANIEL FARIA GALLERY Welcome to the Twenty-First Century. Recent landscapes, abstract works and text-based pieces by cultural provocateur Douglas Coupland. 11am-6pm. Tue-Fri. 10am6pm. Sat. Until Sat, Apr 7. 188 St Helens Ave. (416) 538-1880. danielfariagallery.com. THE ARTIST PROJECT Meet and purchase art directly from the artist. From digital art, painting and photography, to glass, sculpture and textile works. Expert tours, emerging artist competition, studio videos and more.
LUCAS SILVEIRA Performs at Hugh’s Room
Participants include Mark Laliberte, Shelagh Stewart, Clayton Haigh, Scott Griffin, Beverly Owens, Russell Brohier, Ross Bonfanti and Clement Cheng. Opening party. $25. 7pm-10pm. Thu, Mar 1. $14. Noon-9pm. Mar 2. 11am9pm. Mar 3. 11am-6pm. Mar 4. Queen Elizabeth Building, Exhibition Place. 180 Princes’ Blvd. theartistprojecttoronto.com. ELLE FLANDERS & TAMIRA SAWATZKY
Fresh from their appearance at the Berlinale, the Toronto couple presents Road Shots, a series of photographs tracking the political landscape at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Opening. 6pm-9pm. Fri, Mar 16. 11am6pm. Tue-Sat. Until Apr 21. O’born Contemporary. 131 Ossington Ave. (647) 478-5782. oborncontemporary.com.
BLISS Delphine Bienvenu as Celine Dion opens at Buddies
Fashion & Design FASHION WEEK Runs Mon, Mar 12 to 17. Featured designers this season include David Dixon, Cara Cheung, Chloe comme Parris, Juma, Korhani Home, Pink Tartan, Travis Taddeo (see page 18) and Bustle. The fashion showcase closes with Dare to Wear Love (daretowearlove.com), Hoax Couture’s unique fundraiser for the Stephen Lewis Foundation which sees local designers like Brian Bailey, David Dixon, Adrian Wu, Paul Hardy, Linda Lundström, Pat McDonagh, Izzy Camilleri, Lida Baday, Greta Constantine and Lovas Wesley Badanjak creating unique one-offs out of African prints to help showcase and support the foundation’s work fighting AIDS in Africa. $75. 9pm. Fri, Mar 16. David Pecaut Square. King St W and Simcoe. worldmastercardfashionweek.com.
LISTINGS & EVENTS
OUR GUIDE TO YOUR MONTH
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The National Ballet of Canada’s Sonia Rodriguez and Zdenek Konvalina. John Neumeier’s adaptation of Chekhov runs Wed, Mar 21 to 25.
Robert Van Rhijn
Film & Video THE BALLAD OF GENESIS AND LADY JAYE
Marie Losier’s documentary on rock music innovator Genesis P-Orridge who undertook his most radical project when he began a series of surgeries designed to turn him into the mirror image of his long-time lover and artistic partner Lady Jaye Breyer. Fri, Mar 16-22. TIFF Bell Lightbox. 350 King St W. (416) 599-8433. tiff.net. JOHN GREYSON The AGO, V Tape, Inside Out and TIFF Bell Lightbox present a retrospective of shorts and features by Toronto gay filmmaker John Greyson. The series kicks off Fri, Mar 30 at 6pm with the launch of a DVD and book set and a conversation with Greyson and Noah Cowan, Wendy Gay Pearson, Susan Knabe and Wanda Vanderstoop. That’s followed at 7pm by a screening
of Greyson’s irreverent AIDS musical from 1993, Zero Patience. TIFF Bell Lightbox. 350 King St W. Over at the AGO at 9:30pm is a screening of Proteus, 2003’s wonderful but sadly overlooked romance between a Dutch sailor and a Khoisan herdsman in 18th-century South Africa. 317 Dundas St W. The retrospective continues through Apr 5 with The Law of Enclosures, Uncut, Lilies, Fig Trees, two shorts programs and Greyson’s “Carte Blanche” choice of Derek Jarman’s Edward II. ago.net/ john-greyson-retrospective.
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Dance ENTITY World Stage presents Random Dance and cutting-edge British choreographer Wayne McGregor who imagines a post-human beauty through a soundscape of Coldplay, Massive Attack collaborator Jon Hopkins and Continued on page 24
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LISTINGS & EVENTS
Continued from page 23
IN SPOT AVENUE ROAD Story Derek Dotto | Photography Evan Dion
Understated luxury, thy name is Avenue Road. Where other highend furniture stores may encourage patrons to flaunt their wealth, this shop’s meticulously curated collection makes opulence look easy. Modern contemporary furniture and accessories from top designers including Christophe Delcourt, Ricardo Fasanello and Anna Torfs fill the Eastern Ave showroom. Even Avenue Road’s president and co-founder Stephan Weishaupt is stylishly reserved when bragging about his store. “It’s an assembly of unique stories that, altogether, create a bigger picture,” he says. “I hope to provide a pool of ideas that people can take pieces from and make their own.” Weishaupt doesn’t simply choose lines to carry, he often has a hand in their design. The store’s exclusive line, Avenue Edition, started in 2007 with a handful of designs created in collaboration with celebrated Toronto design firm Yabu Pushelberg. It has since grown into a collection of hundreds of pieces. Two years ago, Avenue Road moved from Booth Ave into its current home, a heritage building that originally served as a warehouse for the Consumers Gas Company and later a Chinese newspaper. “It was in really rough shape,” says Weishaupt. “So we had the freedom to do whatever we wanted to do.” It took two years to gut the hundred-and-something-year24
→ DON’ T LOOK AT T HE PRICE TAG Just be inspired by great design at Avenue Road.
old, 16,000-square-foot space. The result: A chic, industrial interior, complete with white-washed brick and glass walls. Helping to warm the otherwise stark space are stunning wooden chairs, tables and accessories by Brazilian designers, a community sparsely represented in Toronto before Avenue Road opened its doors. “Brazil is very interesting because of its heritage. It had a lot of European immigrants who brought their skills there,” Weishaupt says. Cross those with the precious woods found in the Amazon and you end up with stunning designs by the likes of Sergio Rodrigues and Etel Carmona. You’re bound to fall in love with something at Avenue Road, whether it’s the $27,000 crystal chandelier or the $6,000 lotus dining chair. Even if you can’t afford any of it, the experience will still be nothing short of stimulating. “There is a lot to discover here,” says Weishaupt. “Even if it’s just to walk through and be inspired.”
AVENUE ROAD 10am-6pm. Mon-Fri. 11am-5pm. Sat. 415 Eastern Ave. (416) 548-7788. avenue-road.com.
Joby Talbot. (McGregor’s Chroma last year was one of the sexiest things the National Ballet has ever done.) $45. 8pm. Until Sat, Mar 3. Fleck Dance Theatre. 207 Queens Quay W. (416) 973-4000. harbourfrontcentre.com. TIGER PRINCESS DANCE PROJECTS Two new works from choreographer Yvonne Ng: Frequency, an abstract work featuring Zhenya Cerneacov, Mairéad Filgate, Amy Hampton, Meredith Thompson, Brendan Wyatt and video by Jacob Niedzwiecki, and Untitled Solo, performed by Ng. $20. 8pm. Thu, Mar 810. 2pm. Mar 11. The Citadel Theatre. 304 Parliament St. princessproductions.ca. NATIONAL BALLET OF CANADA Two full-lengths on offer this month: The fouffiest, grandest, most-plumed production ever returns, the beautifully refurbished The Sleeping Beauty, first mounted on the National in 1972 by Rudolf Nureyev in a bold move that made the reputation of the company and many of its stars. It’s a series of star-turns — including legendary designer Nicholas Georgiadis — just sit back and see who, or what, grabs your attention. Sat, Mar 10-18. Then it’s John Neumeier’s The Seagull which the company first performed in 2008. It’s Chekhov’s tale of love spurned and rebuked across generations and between an artist and his muse, translated into the world of dance. Set to a gamelan-like score from Evelyn Glennie. Wed, Mar 21-25. $25-$177. Four Seasons Centre. 145 Queen St W. (416) 345-9595. national.ballet.ca.
Stage THE NEVERENDING STORY A bullied young boy escapes into books and Fantastica, the land of stories. Based upon the much-loved novel by Michael Ende, adapted and directed by David S Craig. The Roseneath Theatre production stars Natasha Greenblatt (as the boy), Walter Borden, Billy Merasty, Adamo Ruggiero, Derek Scott, Dalal Badr, Kate Besworth and Richard Lee. $10-$20. Until Sat, Mar 17. Young Peoples Theatre. 165 Front St E. (416) 862-2222. youngpeoplestheatre.ca. THIS WIDE NIGHT Mermaid Parade presents British playwright Chloe Moss’s hard-hitting portrayal of friendship between two women who once shared a jail cell. Starring Astrid van Wieren and Clair Burns; Jon Michaelson directs this production staged in a gritty store-front venue. $20. 8pm. Thu-Sat. PWYC. 2:30pm. Sun (and 8pm, Mon, Mar 12). Thu, Mar 117. Red Sandcastle Theatre. 922 Queen St E. (416) 845-9411. thiswidenight.com. FREE AS INJUNS Native Earth Performing Arts presents Tara Beagan’s poetic take on identity and birthright, inspired by Eugene O’Neill’s Desire Under the Elms. Ruth Madoc-Jones directs. Starring James Cade, Lisa Codrington, Jerry Franken, John Ng, Yvette Nolan, PJ Prudat and Ash Knight. PWYC-$20. 8pm. Tue-Sat. 2:30pm. Sun. Thu, Mar 1-18. Buddies in Bad Times. 12 Alexander St. (416) 975-8555. nativeearth.ca.
LES DEMIMONDES Toronto’s smartest and sexiest burlesque troupe The Scandelles is changing its name to Operation Snatch and its members are coming out from behind their stage names. Co-artistic directors Alexandra Tigchelaar (Sasha Van Bon Bon) and Catherine Nimmo (Kitty Neptune) present a thought-provoking and entertaining tour through the history and representation of the sex trade. With Jesse Dell and Andrya Duff. $20. 8pm. Fri, Mar 2-4. $15. 3pm. Mar 4. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. 12 Alexander St. (416) 975-8555. buddiesinbadtimes.com. THE HAPPY WOMAN The imminent arrival of a new baby brings into focus the difference between idealism and truth in Rose Cullis’s dark family comedy. Starring Maev Beaty, Ingrid Rae Doucet, Barbara Gordon, Martin Happer and Maria Vacratsis; Kelly Thornton directs. $22-$46. 8pm. Mon-Sat. 1:30pm. Wed. 2pm. Sun. Wed, Mar 7-24. Berkeley Street Theatre Downstairs. 26 Berkeley St. (416) 368-3110. nightwoodtheatre.net. THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS (AND HOLIER FARE) Against the Grain Theatre
presents soprano Lindsay Sutherland Boal headlining Kurt Weill’s cabaret The Seven Deadly Sins. Plus John Adams’ two-piano masterpiece Hallelujah Junction and Steve Reich’s Piano Phase. Also Abraham and Isaac from Benjamin Britten’s Canticle II with choreography and dance by Matjash Mrozewski. Joel Ivany directs. $30 & $50. 8pm. Fri, Mar 16 & 17. Gallery 345. 345 Sorauren Ave. againstthegraintheatre.com LA CALISTO The Glenn Gould School
LISTINGS & EVENTS 8pm. Mar 7. Other offerings include music director Jukka-Pekka Saraste conducting Brahms’ Symphony No 3. 8pm. Thu, Mar 29 &31. $35-$145. Roy Thomson Hall. 60 Simcoe St. (416) 593-4828. tso.ca.
Pop, Rock & World
IN SPOT SWISH BY HAN Review Alice Lawlor | Photography Gordon Bowness
Kai Wa Yapp
A CELEBRATION OF CANADIAN ART SONG Canadian Art Song Project
launches with the premiere of Brian Harman’s Sewing the Earthworm written for soprano Carla Huhtanen. Plus David Passmore’s Seven “Dark Lady” Sonnets performed by mezzo Krisztina Szabo. Free. Noon-1pm. Tue, Mar 6. Four Seasons Centre. 145 Queen St W. coc.ca. ANGELIQUE KIDJO The African diva performs a concert of her unique brand of Afro-funk fusion. From $33. 8pm. Sat, Mar 10. Koerner Hall. 273 Bloor St W. (416) 408-0208. rcmusic.ca. LUCAS SILVEIRA Local rocker performs as part of the Proud to be Portuguese Canadian fest (running Mar 15 to 25; portuguesecanadian.com), some of it in Portuguese for the first time. With Nancy Dutra. $35. 8:30pm. Mon, Mar 19. Hugh’s Room. 2261 Dundas St W. (416) 531-6604.
Leisure & Sports DO IT ON THE ICE BONSPIEL The
→ T HE BALL AD OF GENESIS & L ADY JAYE Marie Losier’s documentary at TIFF Bell Lightbox Fri, Mar 16 to 22.
Opera presents Cavalli’s 17th-century opera where gods and mortals get caught up in love. $22-$39. 8pm. Wed, Mar 21 & 23. Koerner Hall. 273 Bloor St W. (416) 408-0208. rcmusic.ca. VIEUX CARRÉ The Wooster Group tackles Tennessee Williams. Wed, Mar 28-31. Enwave Theatre. See page 29. BLISS Céline Dion speaks through an oracle to a group of cashiers at WalMart. Québécois dramatist Olivier Choinière’s darkly surreal hit play developed by Montreal’s Candles Are for Burning and directed by artistic director Steven McCarthy; translation by Caryl Churchill. Starring Delphine Bienvenu, Jean-Robert Bourdage, Trent Pardy and France Rolland. $23-$33. 8pm. Tue-Sat. PWYC. 2:30pm. Sun. Thu, Mar 29-Apr 8. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. 12 Alexander St. (416) 975-8555. buddiesinbadtimes.com.
Classical Music TORONTO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA New
Creations Festival kicks off with a program featuring works by Brian Current, Claude Vivier, Peter Eötvös and György Kurtág. Eötvös, who curates the festival, conducts. With soprano Barbara Hannigan and violinist Akiko Suwanai. 8pm. Thu, Mar 1. The fest closes with the North American premiere of the TSO commission of Eötvös’s Cello Conerto Grosso, plus works by Jörg Widmann and Vivier.
Riverdale Curling League hosts teams from across North America for three days. Fri, Mar 2-4. Around 9am to 9pm, Fri & Sat; until around 7pm, Sun. Royal Canadian Curling Club. 131 Broadview Ave. gaycurl.ca.
Nightlife DEFINITIONS Mother TKO Monroe
presents a mini ball, a vogue/ballroom competition with DJ Charmed Monroe. Partial procees to the AIDS Walk. $10. 10pm doors. Sat, Mar 10. Goohandy’s. 120 Church St. See Facebook.
Causes & Events KITCHEN SISTERS Top women chefs team up for a night of great food and wine to raise money for Sistering, the local nonprofit that supplies hot meals and other support for low income women. $500. 6pm. Thu, Mar 8. Mildred’s Temple Kitchen. 85 Hanna Ave. (416) 926-9762 ext 243. sistering.org. SNAP The AIDS Committee of Toronto’s annual photo auction. Works on offer this year, their 10th, from Herb Ritts, Geoffrey Pugen, Suzy Lake, Roberta Bondar, Stev’nn Hall, Beverly Owens, Eldon Garnet, Graham French, Steven Beckly, Joan Kaufman and many more. A superb mix of established and emerging artists. Preview: 10am-6pm. Fri, Mar 16 & 17. Noon5pm. Mar 18. (Invite-only events on Mar 15 & 16). Edward Day Gallery. 952 Queen St W. The works are all online, too. The big night: $90. Reception: 6pm. Acution: 7pm. Sun, Mar 25. Canada’s National Ballet School. 400 Jarvis St. snap-toronto.com. •
Swish by Han is no ordinary Korean
find a greasy BBQ bowl in your
→ CON T EMPORARY MEE T S OLD SCHOOL Swish by Han is Korean fusion at its best.
table, and the menu goes way
fixings, a Korean re-imagining of
beyond the standard bibimbap-
and-bulgogi fare. The Wellington
At dinner, order from the Swish
Street hotspot is the brainchild of
List, a complete meal of broth,
veggies and either beef, sea-
brothers, Leeto and Leemo Han,
food or mushroom, followed by
who wanted to introduce a bit of
a bonus course of rice or noodles
Seoul chic to downtown Toronto.
to soak up all the juices. The dish
The restaurant opened in 2009
is inspired by the chain of shabu-
and has been busy ever since.
shabu restaurants run by the
The décor is an unexpected mix
brothers’ parents in Korea. Shabu-
of contemporary chic and old-
shabu (an Asian version of hotpot)
school elegance: lacquered blond-
translates as “swish-swish,” the
wood tables and vintage steel
sound made by the meat when
it’s being swirled around in the
chandeliers. A mural of kimchee
broth. Fans of the Korean staples
pots runs the length of one wall.
won’t be disappointed, either. An
It’s sophisticated without trying
updated version of tabletop BBQ
too hard — a vibe that’s reflected
is available. Bibimbap rolls are a
in Leeto’s self-assured wait staff.
fresh twist on an old favourite.
While Leeto runs the front-of-
And spicy pork buns pair tangy
house, Leemo is in the kitchen.
meat with onion-studded kaisers.
His mission is to bring a style
Whatever you order, there’s a
of Korean cuisine to Canadian
refreshing lack of pretension in
diners that’s outside the box.
the presentation that allows the
He takes a playful approach to
simple, strong flavours to come
through. This is clever fusion
tizers — “kimchee’d” pears with
cooking, where tradition gets both
stilton, anyone? — all the way
a nod and a playful wink.
through to cocktails (Big Bullocks is a Pimm’s-infused special). At lunchtime, don’t miss the Ssam Baap. It’s a sweet-and-spicy dish of DIY lettuce wraps with all the
SWISH BY HAN 38 Wellington St E. (647) 343-0268. intorontomag.com
A RT & E N T E RTA I N M E N T
THE IRON DIVA → In
troubled times, there’s something reassuring about the perennial resurrection of Madonna Story Nelson Branco
s Madonna still relevant? More than ever. Since Madonna Louise Ciccone last toured with her outrageously successful Sticky and Sweet extravaganza ($400 million, thank you), the world lost two of music’s most indelible influences, fallen ’80s super icons Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. And music’s next great hope, Amy Winehouse. All to drugs. 26
Luckily, we don’t have to worry about the Eternal Girl. Knowing Queen Madge and her stubborn spirit, she’ll outlast us all. After all, her drug of choice isn’t dangerous or life-threatening. “Life and love inspire me,” says Madonna. “I think reinventing yourself is vital to your survival as an artist and a human being. I know it’s cliché to say about me at this point, but it’s true. My curios-
ity definitely is the driving force in my life and career. When you stop learning, engaging and growing, you’re dead.” For mourning pop fans, Madonna’s perennial resurrections have been soothing and reassuring in these tumultuous, complex times. She’s still kissing girls (this time, the lucky whippersnapper is Nicki Minaj), selling-out stadiums, producing infectious hit singles (“Give
Me All Your Luvin’”), thumbing her nose at movie critics, reshaping her age-defying body, cussing out hydrangeas and inspiring us all by raising a modern family as a single mom. Whew. Somewhere in between all that managed chaos and fun, Madonna scored her second Golden Globe Award for “Masterpiece.” She even beat her longtime rival Elton John in the category. In a rare act of
A RT & ENTERTAINMENT
diplomacy, Madonna didn’t take
Would she, like Edward, give up
Elton’s bait when the surly musi-
her throne for love? “Yes,” she
especially in this youth-obsessed
crime, William Orbit, helping me
market of ours.
cian — and his Toronto-born part-
answers. “But then again, I’m of
Moving forward, it’s her lat-
out with the substance. MDNA is
ner David Furnish — attacked her
the mind: Why can’t I have both?
est album MDNA and upcoming
a good hybrid of the introspective and fun.”
mercilessly in the press afterward.
tours fans are most excited about.
She’s looking forward to visiting
When I bring up John’s snarky,
Canada, where’s she performing
ing movies, touring and record-
in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa
knowingly. “Yes, it appears he’s
“I LOVE CANADA. YOU GUYS GET IT.”
“While my new passion is making will always be my first love,”
late summer and early fall. “I love
always mad at me about some-
I don’t think we need to compro-
she says. “My music career pays
Canada. You guys get it,” she says.
thing, isn’t he? I’m honest when
mise. Of course, these are differ-
the mortgage — and keeps me in
When asked if she still thinks
I say I have nothing against him.
ent times and I am not a royal.”
shape. Plus, it’s fun. I think the
Toronto is a “fascist state,” an
pointed attacks, Madonna smiles
I’m a fan of his music. He’s a bril-
She is royalty of a kind, remind-
fans are going to love it. I didn’t
infamous moniker from her Truth
liant artist. And I will always
ing everyone she’s still the great-
want to do anything too serious
or Dare documentary, fallout from
adore and respect him. And he
est performer of ’em all by sin-
because the film was so taxing for
her Blonde Ambition tour in 1990
has the right to gripe as much
gle-handedly stealing the Super
me on an artistic level. I can’t wait
and a visit from Toronto’s moral-
as he wants. I like knowing he’s
Bowl earlier this year with a
to get up there and dance and
ity squad. “No, of course not,” she
thinking about me a lot.”
lively, record-breaking half-time
sing. Some of my little ones have
says, shaking her head. “My how
Her recently released movie WE
performance which people are
yet to see that side of my life.
times have changed, huh?
tackles Madonna’s two favourite
still talking about. Her Egyptian-
“I wanted to make an album
subjects, fame and love, through
that was unapologetically happy.
inspired spectacle was the most-
I think we all need to dance a bit
Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson.
watched halftime show on record,
more these days. The world needs
While the movie received mixed
and actually edged out the game’s
reviews, Madonna managed to
averages in both ratings and total
Martin [Solveig] knows how to put
escape the personal attacks she’s
a smile on people’s faces. And,
faced in the past for her films.
Not bad for a 53-year-old star,
“My country could learn a lot from you guys.” •
of course, I have my partner-in-
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A RT & ENTERTAINMENT T H EAT RE
DARK LYRICISM MEETS RAUCOUS SATIRE → Tennessee Williams’
contentious love for humanity
Story David Bateman | Photography Franck Beloncle
usan Sontag’s essay “Notes on Camp” harbours a quiet, somewhat insidious distrust of camp, the commingling of love and satire, as a natural mode of emotion — the perfect entrée to our favourite camp playwright and the upcoming production of Tennessee Williams’ Vieux Carré by NYC’s legendary avant-garde theatre company The Wooster Group (officially known as The Wooster Group’s Version of Tennessee Williams’ Vieux Carré). When director Elizabeth LeCompte began to look carefully at the script she says she detected a “dark side of it that was cut by this other weird thing that I didn’t know what it was… some kind of a farcical thing. “The blending of those two things, the earlier Tennessee Williams, the kind of dark and lyrical voice, next to this kind of raucous satirical one, I thought was good for us.” The Wooster Group version sports all its signature theatrics, ranging from a visceral, moody ambience cut with video projections and evocative soundscapes to brilliant performances by an ensemble dedicated to profoundly inventive and experimental interrogations of classic scripts. Vieux Carré has been considered one of Williams’ weakest plays, taking almost 40 years to complete. The early incarnations began when he was writing The Glass Menagerie, and the completed script is often described as a thinly disguised autobiographical treatment of the playwright’s early days as a struggling writer living in the French Quarter. When LeCompte travelled to New Orleans during the early post-Katrina years, she remembers seeing “so many foun-
dations of houses, just the flat outline of where rooms with steps up to them used to be, but no walls or roof, just piles and piles of junk that used to be people’s loved objects, the detritus of a life on the surface.” These striking images became extremely influential for the overall design of the production. The deeply carnal qualities of the text, representing a kind of sexual awakening, are augmented through video citations reminiscent of the pornographic films of Joe Dallesandro. Thongs and dildos take the stage and become
→ BENEATH THE DETRITUS OF LIFE The Wooster Group’s avant-garde version of Tennessee Williams’ Vieux Carré.
fitting bedfellows for the caustic lyrical satire that first attracted LeCompte. A brief encounter with Scott Shepherd, a member of the Wooster Group ensemble, and a southerner himself, had the actor challenging LeCompte on a comment she had made about Williams being “the greatest of American playwrights.” Then he asked why she
had never done any Williams. She couldn’t come up with a satisfactory answer, and the seeds of the Wooster Group version of Vieux Carré were planted firmly. When I remind LeCompte about Blanche’s famous line from Streetcar, “I don’t want realism, I want magic,” she chuckles. “I just try to put something up there that thrills me,” she says, “things that are about the theatre, that can’t be done in any other way or in any other medium, which probably means that I veer away from a certain kind of realism.” The LA Times review of the hourlong Wooster version raved, “I’d trade a dozen or so Broadway retreads of Williams’ acknowledged masterpieces for this… brilliant production.” While the culture journal Times Quotidian called it “a tortured miscreant… untidy, oddly unresolved in itself, a wounded limping thing… that the Woosters seize in their jaws like rabid wolverines.” Sounds like a mighty queer play to me. The World Stage run promises to reveal some fascinating, titillating and theatrically stimulating fare for those of us who devoutly believe that Williams was a great camp prophet throughout his entire career, laying bare the artifice of human emotion as a camp construct in and unto itself. Alas, there are no natural emotions. There are only theatrical representations of the things we truly feel, both onstage and off.
THE WOOSTER GROUP’S VERSION OF TENNESSEE WILLIAMS’ VIEUX CARRÉ. $45. 8pm. Wed, Mar 28-31. Fleck Dance Theatre. 207 Queen’s Quay W. (416) 973-4000. harbourfrontcentre.com. intorontomag.com
A RT & E N T E RTA I N M E N T
B O O KS & I D EA S
AVENGING STILL → Writer
and activist Sarah Schulman loves stirring up trouble Story Alice Lawlor | Photography Nayland Blake
rom writing the queer classic Rat Bohemia and organizing the first-ever Dyke March with San Francisco’s Lesbian Avengers to chronicling the AIDS crisis in 1980s New York, Sarah Schulman’s impact on gay and lesbian rights shouldn’t be underestimated. These days, the acclaimed novelist, playwright and activist has her sights set on Palestine. After 30
a solidarity visit to the West Bank in 2010, Schulman brought a group of prominent queer Palestinians to the US for a highly successful sixweek tour. In January 2012, a delegation of Americans returned the favour. With her new AIDS memoir, The Gentrification of the Mind, just out, Schulman shares her thoughts on censorship, “homonationalism”
and the Canadian novels on her nightstand. Talk about your work in the Middle East. More and more queer people are interested in connecting with the emerging Palestinian queer movement. The potential for this to become a regular conversation in the queer community is very high.
I just organized the first US LGBT delegation to Palestine. It’s very prominent, openly queer people in a wide range of fields: religious, legal, medical. I [selected] people who have a lot of credibility in a number of communities and who influence policy. It was a dozen people on a seven-day tour all around the West Bank, some really interesting people. Hopefully it’ll
A RT & ENTERTAINMENT
→ “ WHO IS WE?” From anti-Semitism to “homonationalism” Sarah Schulman shakes up the group dynamics many follow blithely.
translate into conversation, policy,
What is the state of lesbian fiction?
and institutional attitude. When
It’s very sad being a US lesbian
you have a community that’s this
writer; we always feel it’s in England.
small, 12 key figures becoming
aware and having more conscious-
Winterson and a bunch of others. I
ness about something can really be
mean I look at them with great envy:
They’re treated like people, their
books are treated like books, they’re reviewed alongside everybody else,
controversy in Toronto involving
nominated for the Booker like every-
Queers against Israeli Apartheid?
body else and their books become TV specials.
Semitism where Jews are expected
I think that it’s American publish-
to be a monolith — and it’s from
ers, not readers, who have never
inside and outside the commu-
been able to identify with a lesbian
nity. Of course, that’s the definition
protagonist. They have a very high
of racism, that a group can only
“ick” factor and lesbian editors do
have one point of view. So these
not advocate. And it’s not because
Christian entities or leaderships of
of sales — our sales are just as good
gay communities who are terrified
as plenty of straight people — it’s
of doing anything wrong actually
a perception of being a diminished
end up capitulating to these gross
racial stereotypes and censoring everybody.
What are you reading?
What about post-liberation homo-
Canadian books that came out last
year: Zoe Whittall, her book is fan-
“There are some really great
[US-based academic] Jasbir Puar made probably the most important
tastic, and I like Amber Dawn and Daniel Allen Cox’s Krakow Melt.
contribution to queer theory, which
But the US lesbian books… I
is this word “homonationalism”
mean the best lesbian novel of last
that’s now being used all over the
year was Inferno by Eileen Myles
Middle East and Western Europe.
— she’s an iconic writer, she’s
This is a kind of gay person, usu-
been writing lesbian work in multi-
ally a white male but not always,
genres for 30 years and has influ-
who has so many rights they start
enced two generations of writers.
to identify with all the racist con-
And this book is printed by order!
structions that the society operates
You cannot go into a store and
on, so they become anti-immigrant
buy it, you can’t get it on Amazon,
and this is the best lesbian novel
This is an increasing phenom-
of the year in the US. That’s how
ena in countries like Canada per-
our books are treated. I find it very
haps, certainly the Netherlands and
annoying. It’s like, close your eyes
Germany, where gay people have
and think of England!”
a lot of rights. It does ask an interesting question which is, “Who is we?” There are plenty of we’s in the world who have quite a ways to go. SARAH SCHULMAN In conversation with Shani Mootoo 7:30pm. Sun, Mar 11. Gladstone Hotel. 1214 Queen St W. (416) 531-4635.
Measure of a Man
Review Derek Dotto
What’s your spin on the ongoing
There’s this new kind of anti-
→ BOOKS: The
he suit is quite possibly the most loaded garment in a man’s wardrobe. It can make you feel like a warrior ready to conquer the world or a quivering fool who’s in over his head. “A suit is never just a suit,” writes Vancouver-based fashion columnist and broadcaster JJ Lee in The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son and a Suit. In this touching memoir cum history lesson, Lee successfully dissects the suit both literally and figuratively. It begins with Lee pulling his father’s last suit out of the closet. It’s been a decade since John Hing Foon Lee passed away. His son has decided to alter the suit to better fit his own frame. This throws Lee headlong into memories of his childhood, clearing away the haze of childish idealism to see who his father was and understand his tragic fall from grace. John Lee grew up in Sherbrooke, Quebec, sent from China at the age of four to live with his grandparents. He struck out on his own at 13 and by age 19 was married with two kids. John Lee made the hard climb up the service industry ladder, reaching the height of general manager of a top Montreal restaurant. With his power career came custom suits, Bally loafers, and aviator sunglasses — instilling in his son, early on, the value of style. But poor business decisions, alcoholism, spousal abuse, an affair and eventually estrangement made for a disastrous end to his good fortune. During his campaign to retrofit the suit while honouring his father, JJ Lee seeks out an apprenticeship at Vancouver’s Modernize Tailors, in turn, finding a surrogate fatherfigure in the store’s owner Bill Wong. Lee’s attempt to pay tribute
→ SUIT UP JJ Lee’s memoir cum fashion history.
to an aging profession takes him on a path down the broader history of menswear. He explores the suit’s ancestry in medieval armour, the icons of men’s fashion who wore it best and its universal appeal, writing, “The suit has the ability to summon the unbidden and liminal; it has an X-factor, a mojo.” This aspect of the book is informative if slightly disjointed. While it serves as a good primer for those not fully versed in the roots and rules of menswear, the transitions seem, at times, forced. Lee offers a solid sartorial philosophy but it can come off as preachy — though, in all honesty, how many fashion writers don’t? From its early beginnings to his own experiences with the garment, Lee expertly captures the complexity of the suit. In doing so, The Measure of a Man forces you to reexamine not only your wardrobe, but also your childhood, your relationship with your father and, for this reader, what it means to be a man.
THE MEASURE OF A MAN JJ Lee. McClelland and Stewart. $30. intorontomag.com
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 interested in spiritual approaches to sex, but in the past I’ve found all the Tantric/energy/spiritual writings out there to be heavily entrenched in a male/female gender binary, which really doesn’t work for me. Do you have anything to recommend?” Cash →
Heteronormativity, the bias toward
American sexual explorers in the
heterosexuality that suffuses our
1970s, “the roots of Tantra are really
culture, and the resulting male/
ancient, and the most ancient ones
female gender binary are rampant
are completely artistic and undisci-
in almost all the resources you’ll find
plined, transgressive as hell. It was
on spirituality and sex. While a few
a wild revolutionary kind of practice
same-sex Tantra resources exist,
that got tamed — certainly by the
they often use the kind of flower-
time the British got there, but ear-
metaphor language that makes me
lier even than that. About 800 years
instantly lose my hard-on (“Now the
ago a sort of white Tantra, a more
rose begins to rub sesame or olive
oil on the orchid”). Plus, it bugs me
along.” According to Carrellas, that’s
when Tantric practices are appropri-
when the present-day gender bias in
ated by white people as being some
Tantra first came about.
sort of exciting, easy-to-fetishize Thank
“The Hindu religion is extraordinarily complex if you didn’t grow up
in it. In Tantra, Shakti and Shiva [the
Hindu deities most often referred to]
a queer New York-based Tantra
are not girl and boy. Shiva is pure
teacher and author of Urban Tantra:
consciousness and Shakti is pure
Sacred Sex for the 21st Century, who
energy. Somehow in our pure sim-
kindly agreed to talk with me about
gender and Tantra.
got interpreted as Shiva’s the boy
Carrellas defines Tantra as “an
and Shakti’s the girl, and therefore
embodied spirituality. It’s not a reli-
that’s what our practice needs to
gion,” she says. “In Tantra, all earthly
look like. It’s reduced to that. I don’t
paths and pursuits can lead to the
even use ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’
divine. This includes but is not lim-
as descriptors anymore, because
ited to sex. Tantra is wonderful for
they’re so loaded. I use principles
showing us the energetic aspects of
like ‘active’ and ‘receptive,’ which
sex, and that’s what it has to offer all
basically tells you whose turn it is to
communities. Tantra is the perfect
do what when.”
antidote to a gender binary, paradox-
Carrellas also recommends the
ically enough, because it focuses on
work of Mark Michaels and Patricia
the energy of sex, not what genital
Johnson (tantrapm.com). “They’re
bits one is born with. So in fact learn-
a male-female couple, but for our
ing how energy flows — that’s where
purposes, they’re queer as all hell,”
the juice and the power comes from.
That’s one of the reasons it’s so per-
fect for queer people.” Carrellas says that while Tantra became a trendy pursuit for North
ANDREA ZANIN The Sex Geek blogs at sexgeek.wordpress.com.
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Gay and Lesbian City Living Magazine from Toronto