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grin and bear it: popular GAY culture can be a hairy issue

Gay & Lesbian City Living | september 2013

artist Micah Lexier: Power in numbers Rise up against bullying fall arts preview

PROLIFIC PROVOCATEUR FILMMAKER XAVIER DOLAN BRINGS HIS DREAMS TO LIFE plus THE other hot tix at TIFF

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LIVING & DESIGN

SAVOUR THE CITY — with Marty Galin

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quality

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Contents

issue 40

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

26

sex is easy to find

6

28

love isn’t.

17

17

In the lair of the bear Catering to the hairy and hip is all the rage

22

Fall arts primer Plenty of colourful stuff to do when the leaves start to turn

26

amber dawn Memoir of a hustler

28

Xavier DOlan Bad boy Canadian filmmaker speaks candidly about his young but prolific career—and making dreams come true

06

stop the bullying

Riley Stewart

12

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07 Re-routing the AIDS Walk 08

eat and drink your way around Scotland

12

open house: townhouse or toyhouse?

15 Relationships: dealing with Addiction 20 September events calendar and listings 25 Steve Ross: playing tommy's creepy Uncle Ernie 30 Micah Lexier: Power in numbers at Power plant 33 Sex geek: choking can be sensual when safe 34

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toronto talk exchange VIEW FINDER → LEATHER PRIDE Nearly 1,000 people turned out on Saturday, August 10 for the 2014 Toronto Leather Pride Competitions and Leather Ball at the Phoenix Concert Theatre where Farrell Collier took the title of Mr. Leatherman Toronto 2014. The Montreal-born Collier is a family man with three children at university. After leaving his straight life behind, he entered the leather community where he found the core values and caring friendships that he always wanted. Patty took home the title of Ms Leather Toronto 2014. A board member of the So You Want to Be Kinky educational series, she won the 2012 Heart of the Flag Federation Volunteer of the Year Award. And finally, Andy Coatham is the fifth rubber ambassador taking home the title of the new Mr. Rubber Toronto 2014. His fascination with tight gear started with Power Rangers and Dean Cain as Superman. The judging panel included Mr. Leatherman Toronto 2007, Steve Martin; Jeffrey PayneRoy (Dallas,TX), International Mr. Leather 2009; Ms Bootblack/Bootblack Toronto 2012, Tarna; Mr Black Eagle 2005, Bob Watkin; and Mr Leatherman Toronto 2013, Alex Canning. Under the corporate banner of Heart of the Flag Federation Inc, Canada’s largest leather fundraising events producer, TLP is a member-based not-for-profit club dedicated to the celebration of the leather, kink and fetish lifestyle. The charity of choice for 2013 was the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives.

In their own words By MICHAEL PIHACH

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ber’s bill proposed by NDP LGBT critic Randall Garrison currently before the Senate, Bill C-279, would address this omission. Helen Kennedy, executive director of the LGBT lobby group EGALE Canada, calls the latest statistics “alarming.” She criticizes the government for not intervening enough at the schoolyard level. “There’s a political fear that when you address issues around sexual orientation, you’re not doing it in an age-appropriate way and that there will be a major push-back from parents,” says Kennedy, whose organization has so far built partnerships with the provinces of Ontario, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland, and the Yukon Territory. Preston, who has since graduated from high school, says governments need to take a stronger stance in enforcing gay-straight alliances (GSAs) in schools. “Talking to a straight person (like a school counselor) isn’t the same as talking to a gay person who can give you actual advice,” says Preston, who started his own anti-bullying campaign, Rise Against Bullying, after learning about the death of Jamie Hubley, a gay Ottawa teen who committed suicide in 2011 after being subjected to anti-gay bullying. Preston says he, too, contemplated suicide at one point, which he addresses on his campaign’s YouTube and Facebook page, capturing the attention of thousands of young followers. Preston, who wants to turn his campaign into

Wendy Teal

“He grabbed my head, slammed me into a wall, and shouted, ‘You’re a faggot. You should die,” says 20-year-old Justin Preston (pictured right), recalling the day he was “terrified for his life” when a longtime bully attacked him. “He was beating me out of anger; he was upset with me being gay,” says Preston, who was 14 at the time and had just come out of the closet. That was in 2007, but for Preston, who lives in Fort Erie, Ontario, a town of less than 30,000 people in the Niagara Region, the memory remains fresh. For young LGBT people, violent homophobia is an all-too-common reality. And according to a recent report by Statistics Canada, it’s happening more and more. Hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation increased by 10 per cent in 2011 over the previous year, the report states, while crimes motivated by other factors, such as race, ethnicity and religion declined. Hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation were the most likely to involve violent offences (65 per cent). Tellingly, hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation had the highest proportion of accused who were under age 25 (70 per cent); young victims were often in the same age bracket (50 per cent). Moreover, the report does not address hate crimes against trans and gender variant people because “gender identity” has not yet been added to the Criminal Code. A private mem-

→ “I would wear bright red skinny pants to school and people would call me a flamboyant flamingo faggot.”

a non-profit organization, says he now spends his days responding to the “hundreds of messages” he receives from LGBT youth who are struggling for help, offering his own advice and links to resources. “I don’t want any kid to go through what I went through,” he says. For more on Preston’s campaign, search “Rise Against Bullying” on Facebook. The 5th annual EGALE Gala, QueerOversaries, will be held on Fri, Sep. 27 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. 181 Wellington St. W. Reception: 6:30pm; dinner at 7:30 pm. $300 per ticket. egale.ca

September 2013

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toronto talk exchange Sound off Aids Walk 2.0 by Michael Pihach → Don’t expect the same old same old at this year’s Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life. In celebration of its 25th anni-

versary, the annual fundraiser for the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) will look a lot different this year. And we have the walk’s chair Shaun Proulx (pictured below right) to thank for that. Says Proulx: “Instead of doing a walk day, we’re doing a walk week.” Worried that the walk would grow stale as fundraisers often do (remember Dancers for Life, Fashion Cares, etc), media entrepreneur Proulx, a longtime walk participant himself, thought it was high time to “turn the whole thing upside down.” But more to the point, this year the event committee wanted to ensure added effort was made to honour the community, the volunteers and all people who’ve been living with or affected by HIV/AIDS. And his expectations are high. “My hope is that by getting people thinking about the walk a bit earlier, we can surpass our goal of $500,000,” says Proulx. So what innovative ideas does Team Proulx have up its sleeve?

Church Street painted Red Starting the week of Mon, Sep 16, bars, restaurants and businesses in the Church and Wellesley Village will go red to honour the AIDS ribbon. “Businesses will paint their windows red, put red lights up, put on their own artistic display, put out balloons and streamers,” says Proulx. “It will be beautiful.” Shaun Proulx Speaker Series Proulx will take control of the mic and interview three people living with HIV/AIDS live at Buddies In Bad Times theatre. “It’s important to remind people why this is still important,” says Proulx. The event takes place at 7:30pm on Mon, Sep 16 at 12 Alexander St. It’s pay-whatyou-can with all proceeds to go to the AIDS walk. Wine and Dine Me, Darlin’ Time to take your hubby or bubby out for din-

ner on Tue, Sep 17 when participating Church Street restaurants will offer a special menu in honour of the walk. The same idea will apply on Thu, Sep 19, when select village bars will serve special red cocktails. All participating businesses will donate partial proceeds to the walk. New Year, New Route This year, Cawthra Park, where the AIDS memorial sits, will be closed and, therefore, inaccessible. Instead, walk participants will have the opportunity to participate in a giant memorial art project along the route in Allan Gardens. What is created that day will hang in the ACT office. “The route has been specially designed to take walkers past other significant spots in and around the village,” says Proulx. The ACT office, Fife House, the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, Glad Day Book Shop, to name just a few. Expect buskers along the way.

Listen Up Also this year, walkers can access an audio tour of the walk via their smartphones. For example, says Proulx, “You’ll pass The Phoenix [nightclub] and learn how it was the site of the first Fashion Cares; you’ll pass Casey House and learn more about what they do.” Downloadable links are available via gayguidetoronto.com. Party in the Parking Lot The Red Party, a post-walk dance bash, will unfold in the parking lot between Crews and Tangos, and O’Grady’s at Church and Maitland. “We’re bringing back people’s favourite dance anthems of the last 25 years,” says Proulx. “It’ll be the climax of Church Street goes red.” A red dress code is in effect. Scotiabank Aids Walk For Life. 2pm (11am registration); Sun, Sep, 22. Church and Carlton streets. Register at aidswalkforlife.ca.

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

T r avel

Highland fling → Drinking and driving in Scotland Story Doug Wallace | Photography Tim Stewart

“L

eft! Left! Keep left!” I yell

at my partner as we pull out of the car rental in Inverness in northern Scotland. Driving on the opposite side of the road isn’t the hard part, it’s driving on the other side of the car that takes some getting used to. Screaming around the Highlands in a wee Audi presents a huge range

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of fun, due in large part to the fact that having fun is something the Scots are particularly good at. And there’s just something about burly men in kilts that seems really right. First things first. We never arrive in a foreign land without first assessing the holiday plan of attack with a drink in our hands. Happily, Scotland is teeming with whisky

distilleries, some older than dirt; all delicious. The region of Speyside in the northeast is home to the most concentrated number of them, more than 50 in all. One of the reasons for this is the amazing water from the River Spey, but a far juicier story has distillers sequestering themselves in the hills of this onceremote area hundreds of years ago,

during a time when whisky making was actually illegal. Fast-forward to today, The Whisky Trail includes everything from the small and organic (Benromach near Forres) to big and popular (Glenfiddich near Dufftown). All will happily show you around, and are quite generous with a nice dram at the end. Pity whichever one of you draws

September 2013

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listings & events

the short straw and has to be the designated driver for the day. Take turns. With the whisky tour ticked off the list and the drams drunk, we head northwest to Loch Ness to cruise the biggest lake in the U.K. Slightly cheesy, for sure, but you can’t go that far and not block off some quality time with the European tourists clogging the gangplanks, just to say you’ve done both the lake and the nearby ruins of Urquhart Castle. This is all a short drive south of Inverness. “Did you see Nessie?” an Edinburgh cab driver asked later in the week. “No,” we said. “I didn’t think so, because she’s at my house, likely in the kitchen. The mice actually throw themselves on the traps just to get out of her way.” Could the Air Get Any Fresher? No amount of Facebook photo albums can prepare you for the

beauty of the Highlands, breathtaking at every turn. And with your days as full or as empty as you’d like, you can easily make time to hit the castles, the lookout points and the lakes. And though the “contemplative crowd” (read blue-rinse set) may head south to the larger and busier town of Fort William for adventure, you need to stop at the southern tip of Loch Ness at the town of Fort Augustus, and soak up the incredible scenery surrounding The Lovat, the region’s highly touted eco-friendly boutique hotel—not to mention more whisky. Whistling westward the next day toward the MacRae clan’s Eilean Donan Castle on our way to Skye, we stop on the side of the road to see why everyone else stopped. There, at the edge of a cliff in the middle of nowhere, stood a busking piper in full formal dress, playing for change—face as red as

a beet. His CDs were arranged artfully on a little table if you needed to take home some pipes, like anyone would ever do that. He was there the next day on the way back, too, bless him. Once over the Skye Bridge, we steel ourselves for one of the most exciting destination restaurants on the Highlands map. The Three Chimneys, helmed by handsome celebrity chef Michael Smith, truly takes Scottish cuisine to a level it has never enjoyed before. Diners book months in advance to eat his food, and to stay at The House Over-By six-suite hotel adjacent to the restaurant. Try to book the chef’s table so you can watch what goes on backstage and even take part in the prep of your own Seven Courses of Skye experience. Also up in this quadrant of Skye is Dunvegan Castle, home to the storied Fairy Flag, an heirloom of

→ highland heaven (Clockwise from top left) The stills at Glenfiddich Distillery; the Knockomie Hotel in Forres; Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. (Opposite page) Eilean Donan Castle.

the MacLeod clan. No rainbows here, just some squiggles and red dots on a piece of silk that dates back to between the 4th and 7th centuries. Dunvegan has a nice garden, too, but if you have an hour or so, take the 10-minute drive north from the castle parking lot to White Coral Beach. Once parked, it’s a 20-minute hike to this little anomaly on the edge of the Atlantic, where we kick off socks and shoes (but not bowties)—and freeze our toes in the water. The High Road to the Low Road Winding roads are narrow here, often single-lane in the rural parts, intorontomag.com

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LIVING & DESIGN

So Effin’ Bonnie!

Speyside Digs

so keep an eye on the (literally) oncoming traffic. And be wary of sheep who, at night, often fall asleep at the side of the road. And if I was prime minister, I would ban the following things from all the roads in northern Scotland: camper trailers (called caravans, like some kind of Gypsy romance novel), cyclists and motorcycles, especially the ones that travel in packs. Nothing will prevent you from popping a blood vessel in frustration over the combination of tourists and locals sharing highways with hairpin turns, steep hills, blind intersections and no shoulders. I made up a driving song, to the tune of “Bringing in the Sheaves,” called “Trying Not to Die.” Down through Glencoe we go, past lake after lake, with one even named Loch Lubhair—you can’t make this stuff up. Past Rob Roy’s grave site near Balquhidder, we pull into Monachyle Mohr, a dreamy estate-turned-hotel within the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. This is the type of place to just let go and eat as much cheese and

→ the hills are alive (Clockwise from top left) A roadside piper busking on a cliff; gay-friendly Wilmar B&B in Carbost, Skye; High Street in Edinburgh.

cream and jam and lamb as you can. After a death by pampering, it’s time to head back to the city. Whichever town you fly into and out of, plan to hit both Edinburgh and Glasgow if you have even an extra day; both are quite different. In fact, people from each town are bewildered that the others live where they do. Trains run throughout the day and night between the two, taking about 45 minutes. Edinburgh drips with huge tracts of 450-yearold Reformation-era buildings and monuments, a rich arts scene and smart restaurants; Glasgow is like the Montreal of Scotland: a bit edgier, more devil-may-care, with great shopping and art. And such nice people. Though some Scots might look like they’d just as soon head-butt you as look at you, in truth, they would all not only have a clean handkerchief, but would give it to you if you asked.

Two hotels on The Whisky Trail are worth seeking out for their homespun, almost storybook air and country hospitality: Knockomie Hotel in Forres (knockomie.co.uk) and The Craigellachie Hotel in Craigellachie (bespokehotels.com/ craigellachiehotel), which was built in 1893 to house whisky merchants, and is famous for it’s Quaich Bar, which boasts about 700 different whiskies. Kings of the Castle With everything from the ruins of Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness (urquhart-castle.co.uk) to the fully restored Eilean Donan Castle (eileandonancastle.com), you can’t spit and not hit a castle. The reconstructed kitchen at Eilean Donan is particularly worth spending time in. Eco Perfection The Lovat (thelovat.com), a highly touted eco-friendly, 28-room boutique hotel, has won awards for its resource efficiency, one of the first hotels to have a biodiversity plan in place—and we don’t just mean biodegradable amenities in the bathroom. Dozens of things— from motion detecting lights to coasters made out of car tires— up the eco ante. (Have the venison carpaccio.) Pie in the Skye At the Three Chimneys (threechimneys.co.uk), everything on the menu is produced within a stone’s throw, including the freshest oysters you will ever taste, scallops with an asparagus and

rhubarb chutney, and succulent smoked fish. Even though there’s a town nearby named Balgown that sounds like camp fun, you should stay at the gay-friendly Wilmar B&B (wilmarbedandbreakfast.com) in the town of Carbost. Yay, Gay Night In Edinburgh, Picardy Place near the city centre is the gay strip. Bars and clubs change hands rapidly, so check local listings before you go. But The Street is the first bar to head to after dinner (2B Picardy Place). Ask around to see where everyone is going next, and don’t be surprised if the answer is “downstairs” to the little club in the basement that opens when upstairs closes—like a secret speakeasy. Sláinte! Keep an eye out for these Scottish delights: • Black Isle Organic: “Beervana” according to the website, particularly the Red Kite Ale. • Belhaven Ales & Stouts: Established in 1712, so they’ve really figured it out. • Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer: No, it’s not for alcoholics. • Caorunn Gin: With a nice, round loganberry undertone, this is made in Speyside with the same water as the whisky. Martinis come garnished with apple slices in most bars. Last we checked, our livers appear to still be functioning normally. But don’t dare ask me about my cholesterol levels.

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

FA M I LY

Proud Papas → Slowing down to enjoy the simple things in life was just one step on the road to becoming parents for teacher and non-profit management consultant Doug Kerr (left) and husband Michael Went, a senior financial advisor for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. So their move into a chic, urban twostorey townhouse wasn’t so they could be the envy of their friends. It was all to make room for their their Elmo-loving little man Malaki, who has turned their home into one big playroom. Story Michael Pihach | Photography Alejandro Santiago

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September 2013

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LIVING & DESIGN

L

et’s start with your two-storey townhouse. How did

→ malaki in charge It’s pretty clear who is the king of this castle.

you wind up here?

DK: We used to live at College

characteristics you would or would

and Bathurst, but we wanted a big-

not be able to accept in a child. Not

ger place because we knew we were

personality-related. More like back-

going to have a kid.

ground and medical conditions.

MW: So we moved here in 2010, the first occupants of this condo.

Didn’t that feel superficial? MW: No. On a check list, there

DK: We’re walking distance to

were questions like, “Would you be

the downtown core, St. Lawrence

willing to accept a child who is HIV

Market. We go to Sugar Beach all

positive?”

the time. We have a BBQ and patio. We love it here.

DK: Or a child who has been sexuality abused.

When did your beautiful son Malaki complete the family?

That’s a tough call. MW: Extremely. You have to

DK: He’s been with us for a year.

think hard about how much you’d

He came into our family as a fos-

be willing to change your life,

ter child through the Children’s Aid

which means you have to research

Society and then we adopted him.

every scenario.

He’s now our little boy who has two daddies: Daddy Doug and Daddy

What was it like when Malaki finally arrived? DK: It happened very fast. From

Mike. You guys met at Toronto Pride

the time we actually met him to the

in 2001 before marrying in 2008.

time he was in our house was less

When did the conversation about

than two weeks. We didn’t have

having a child come up?

anything ready.

DK: I’m adopted, so it’s always

MW: The Children’s Aid Society

been part of my story. I always

advises not to get things ready just

thought that if I did have kids I’d

in case you don’t wind up getting

adopt. I started talking to Mike

a child, but we got approved very

about it a couple of years after we

quickly. We had to put out a quick

married.

Facebook note to friends and fam-

What

reaction,

ily saying we had a son coming in a

Michael, when Doug popped the

week, asking what they could pro-

question?

vide us. We got inundated with

MW:

was

My

first

your

reaction

was,

clothes, toys and books, and advice.

“Really?” I didn’t know any other

We were overwhelmed by support

gay people at that time with kids.

from day one.

There was certainly fear around

DK: He came to us at two years

the question, “Can I be a parent?”

old and was our foster child. But

I needed to learn a lot. We started

there was a hope that we would

taking a course called “Daddies &

eventually adopt him.

Papas 2B” at The 519 where I could talk to more gay dads. It was then when I realized this was the time and place for us to have a child. What was the adoption process like?

Which you did five months later. DK: Yes, but before that he was diagnosed with leukemia. He just thought it was a hip problem. He

MW: We had to go through lots of

started chemotherapy drugs and steroids. It was a complicated rou-

medical check, reference check.

tine, but he’s a really strong lit-

The whole thing took about a year.

tle kid and responded well to the

of what kind of child you wanted? MW: Sort of. It’s a matching process. You have to identify all the

12 13 14.INTO.OpenHouse.indd 13

MUTTONCHOPS

stopped walking one day. We

different interviews. Police check,

Did you have a choice in terms

“I’M GROWING

treatment. How did you feel when you got

OR, JUST WALK FOR AIDS.

.

FOR AIDS

You don’t have to do much to make a difference. Donate, walk or pledge with SCOTIABANK AIDS WALK FOR LIFE TORONTO on September 22, 2013 and help support those living with HIV/AIDS. For more information, visit www.aidswalktoronto.ca

the news? MW: Devastated.

21/08/2013 1:54:51 PM


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

DK: But you deal with it. The way we looked at it was that we had the skills to help him get through it.

anytime, anywhere. Do you ever experience the opposite in public?

DK: We had to re-adjust our schedule

because

everything

is

about him. We’re both very busy in

→ toystory Clearly the designer of this home is son Malaki who chose modern Canadian playroom as the primary decor theme.

MW: We were so thankful it hap-

DK: Not that often. We some-

pened when it did because we had

times get looks if one of us is push-

three months to get to know him

ing him around or going to the

a bit and knew what things made

market. Sometimes people talk to

DK: It’s important to us. I’m vice-

DK: Pride is very important

him comfortable, like his tricycle,

him because he’s so cute and ask,

chair of the Sherbourne Health

because Mike and I met at Pride

his Toopy and Binoo DVD and lots

“Where’s his mommy?” That’s hap-

Centre, co-chair of the LGBT Giving

and we always go back to the same

of Elmo.

pened to me a couple times.

Network and chair of the Human

party we met at. This was the first

Rights Program for World Pride.

year where we had to think about

These are things I’ve committed to

Malaki. I watched the parade on TV

do throughout this.

because it was during his naptime.

What else does Malaki love? MW: He loves to run and hug.

What do you say when that happens?

the community. No kidding. You guys seem to be involved in everything.

DK: We were having breakfast

DK: I just say, “She’s not here.” It’s

at our breakfast bar and Mike was

really none of their business, but I’m

MW: We’re also part co-owners of

on one side, I was on the other and

not going to get into an argument

Glad Day Bookshop (hence why we

Malaki was in the middle. Malaki

with a stranger.

Facebook you had to miss this year’s Pride parade.

What has Malaki taught you about yourselves?

have lots of books in our house). I’m

MW: He’s taught us how to live

Does that bother you?

still involved with the Ontario Public

in the moment. Appreciate the

said, “Two daddies.” He then leaned

MW: I flinch, but not because

Service Pride Network and helped

smaller things: Parks, going up the

over and gave me a kiss and Mike a

we’re gay. There are so many fam-

found the Out On Bay Street busi-

stairs, granola bars. But we could

kiss.

ilies that are different; mom could

ness conference. I’m also involved

do with more babysitters next year

You’re going to make me cry.

have separated; mom could have

in city building, specifically around

at Pride so we can have more time

MW: Oh yeah. We can make our-

died. There are so many things that

bicycle lanes. I think about Malaki.

to ourselves.

could have happened, so why ask?

He might want to cycle one day.

took my hand, and Mike’s hand, and

selves cry. We can make people on the TTC bus cry. He can just do these moments that will melt your heart

12 13 14.INTO.OpenHouse.indd 14

What other challenges did you face when Malaki first arrived?

Speaking of re-adjusting your schedule: Doug, according to your

DK: Next year is World Pride so

we’re

definitely

getting

a

babysitter!

21/08/2013 1:55:15 PM


LIVING & DESIGN

A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE WITHIN REACH.

relationship advice

— with Adam Segal → “My partner and I have lived together for eight years. From the time we first met, we’ve always enjoyed a glass of wine or two with dinner and kept our partying for the weekends with minimal drug use. What can we say, we like our drinks. But the past couple of years has gotten me worried; now we find ourselves polishing off a bottle or two each night. My partner is calling in sick more often, raising suspicions from his co-workers and causing me extra stress. I’ve tried to bring it up with him, but he’s very defensive and says our drinking is normal and not excessive, and to stop worrying. I’d love to be able to have a couple of drinks and be satisfied. Any advice? I feel like I’m drowning here.”

William Dear William, Drinking is such a common part of our daily lives, it’s everywhere we go/ look/shop/read/eat. Alcohol is socialized and sanctioned from a young age and it can be challenging to break unhealthy drinking patterns given how commonplace it is in our lives. The reality is that alcohol, despite it initially offering a light emotional lift, is a chemical depressant that can have a delayed effect of making us blue and, you guessed it, longing for more booze. A question that can be helpful with any addictive tendency is this: what would I have to feel if I didn’t X? [X=drink this drink, snort this drug, buy this thing, f--- this person, etc.] Addiction is usually about moodshifts; we use substances as a way of shifting us out of certain feelings that feel uncomfortable or frightening into a more heightened and disconnected state. Your longing to be able to consume one or two drinks and stop there makes perfect sense. We live in a culture that bombards us with messages that alcohol is unlike other drugs in that we should all be able to have some in moderation. While, with time, you might be able to master this level of self-control, the reality is that some of us are unlikely to be able to get some alcohol into our system without that setting off a cascade of chemical and psychological processes that result in

15.Rel in Spot.indd 15

Mint Media is Canada’s premier LGBT magazine publisher and integrated marketing agency. Working across multiple platforms including print, online, digital and video, we publish gay media that transcends the stereotypes typically associated with the LGBT community. We combine the strength of our brands, passion of our peers and breadth of experience to produce compelling content and to help support meaningful change in the community.

over-consumption. We are true A nice first step would be to experiment with delaying your actual consumption or “urge surfing”—this means waiting 10 minutes between your desire to drink and actually pouring yourself a glass. This will give you a chance to see what feelings are present that typically would Mint media Adbox intoronto.indd 1 get literally washed down inside. You will need to learn ways of identifying, experiencing and soothing your emotions so that you feel less threatened by them. To assist you on your mission, seek out an addictions therapist or support group. Most people who recover from addiction successfully have benefited from a supportive community that bolsters them when familiar habits resurface. Your situation is particularly tricky as you don’t just have to face your own dependency but you will also have to face the culture of drinking that has infiltrated your home and relationship. While I hear your strong desire to get your partner onto a healthier path, it’s vital that you start with your own personal growth. Be the best model you can and show your partner that it’s possible to adapt to a life that doesn’t hinge on swallowing all your feelings.

to you.

mintmediagroup.ca

21/08/2013 11:59:50 AM

I SHAVED A RIBBON “ IN MY CHEST FOR AIDS.”

OR, JUST WALK FOR AIDS. 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.

You don’t have to do much to make a difference. Donate, walk or pledge with SCOTIABANK AIDS WALK FOR LIFE TORONTO on September 22, 2013 and help support those living with HIV/AIDS. For more information, visit www.aidswalktoronto.ca

21/08/2013 2:05:57 PM


IN TORONTO SEPTEMBER V3.pdf

1

2013-08-15

6:19 PM

C

M

Y

CM

MY

CY

CMY

K

Supporting local communities Pouring more than 500,000 glasses of wine at over 600 local community events each year We put the “fun” back in fundraising

16.AdPage.indd 2

21/08/2013 2:06:28 PM


insight

community

hip and hairy → The mainstream gay aesthetic has made a sharp left into the lair of the bear Story Paul Gallant | Photography inkedkenny.com

intorontomag.com

17 18 19 Bear.indd 17

17

21/08/2013 3:44:31 PM


insight

I

n a 1979 Advocate article called “Who’s Who in the Zoo?” George Mazzei classified

seven types of gay men as animals: owls, bears, gazelles, cygnet swans, pussycats, marmosets and pekes/ afghans. Though I have never heard anyone declare, “Oh, that gazelle! He’ll hightail it out of any party where the marmosets show their faces,” bears remain deeply embedded in the gay vocabulary.

“Bears are usually hunky, chunky types reminiscent of railroad engineers and former football greats,” wrote Mazzei. “They have larger chests and bellies than average, and notably muscular legs. Some Italian-American Bears, however, are leaner and smaller; it’s attitude that makes a bear.” But what, in fact, is the bear attitude, circa 2013? The bear reputation for being mature, low-key, manly, unpretentious, beer-bellied and hairy was radical several years back when gay mainstream culture was considered young, shrill, effeminate, judgmental, skinny and shaved. But the mainstream gay aesthetic has made a sharp left into beardom. When once trendy dyed blondes would have squeezed into Body Body Wear to dance at megaclubs, nowadays bearded hipsters sit in parks drinking canned Pabst Blue Ribbon with fried chicken and poutine. Although social groups like Bears of Toronto and Gen X Bears are no more, Church Street is awash in bear-friendly pubs and the greasy food that’s served in them. We’re all bears now. But are there too many paws in the honey jar? The spirit of bearhood, some suggest, might be disappearing into a blur of niche subgroups and, horror of horrors, attitude. If an otter attracted to cubs snubs a musclebear who’s only into leatherbears, then oldfashioned bear culture might indeed have come to an end. “From a businessman’s point of view, it’s ka-ching, bring it on,” says Geoffrey Davis, a bear-oriented 18

jewellery designer (shock-ra.com/ bear) who used to be on the steering committee of Bears of Toronto before the group went hairy-belly up. “But you have the younger generation who doesn’t know the politics and takes it for granted. It’s hard to connect a socio-political movement to a dance party. When people go for a night out, being schooled isn’t their top priority. They think mostly with their dicks.” The International Bear Brotherhood Flag—with a single paw print marking seven stripes representing the colours of (real) bears around the world—was created in 1995 as a beacon against body fascism and gay conformity. But Davis worries that the inclusive message has gotten lost in shifting sexual tastes and aggressive marketing. It’s a dilemma faced by many niche gay groups: While it’s fun to hang out with like-minded people, it’s even more fun to hang out with people you’re attracted to. Our demographics don’t always match our desires. Take Matt Mikesell, the 37-yearold San Francisco-based founder of the Bearracuda (bearracuda.com) parties now hosted in 35 cities in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Six-foot-six, fit and smooth, Mikesell was a bear chaser from an early age. “I have a long arm span and I can handle a big guy.” He created Bearracuda mainly so he could party with guys he found hot. Though he promotes his events with posters of big beefy guys, the crowd is diverse so Mikesell does not stand out. “The scene has certainly gotten younger over the years,” says Mikesell. “You walk in and there are people there from their 20s into their 50s. Very diverse body types. When you go to a bar you don’t want everybody staring at you because you’re not the gay norm. You want to feel comfortable and you want to go where you find the men attractive.” With more and more venues

targeting big beefy guys, that’s more complicated than it sounds. Especially here in Toronto.

W

hen restaurateur Jimmy Georgoulis opened O’Grady’s on Church about a decade ago, he decided he wanted to host a weekly bear night. His friends had hung out at the Toolbox, a legendary bar that was the city’s main gathering place for bears and leathermen until it closed in 2004. “I said I’m going to do this and I’m going to do it right,” he tells me over lunch at The Vic Public House on Church Street, which he also owns. For a while, promoter Steve

→ bear chasers Eric Desbiens (above) views bear parties as more fun than business; Steve Buczek (opposite page) takes his monthly Saturday leather bear parties at the Eagle and his Beef Dip Pride in Puerto Vallarta very seriously; and Scooter McCreight (previous page) hosts the monthly Cub Camp party at the Beaver.

Buczek, who had made his mark with bear and leather events at 5ive nightclub and the Black Eagle, hosted O’Grady’s Friday night bear party. But last year Georgoulis ended the relationship and Buczek took his night across the street to Big Johnson’s until that bar went under last winter (it’s now The Garage). Some sources suggest that

September 2013

17 18 19 Bear.indd 18

21/08/2013 2:07:44 PM


insight

Where the bears are O’Grady’s It’s like Woody’s—but with more years and hair. Fridays, 10pm-midnight. 518 Church St. Bear Code at Zipperz. These could be the golden years for dancing bears, considering that Zipperz is expected to make way for a condo soon. Fridays after midnight. 72 Carlton St. facebook.com/Zipperz.

Steve Buczek

Buczek, who hosts his annual Beef Dip party (beefdip.com) in Puerto Vallarta, was out of town too much for Georgoulis’s taste. With a “no comment” here and a purposeful pause there, Georgoulis navigates our interview like lives depend on it. “He and I worked together for a while and now we don’t. Things change,” shrugs Georgoulis. At one point, there were three simultaneous Friday night bear parties—O’Grady’s, The Vic and Big Johnson’s. Now Buczek is focussing on a monthly Saturday leatherbear party at the Eagle, as well as his Beef Dip Pride, Puerto Vallarta and holiday parties. Meanwhile, Bear Code, the Vic bear party that launched last year, moved to Zipperz, where it plays the role of a dance-oriented after-party to O’Grady’s pub time. Despite the drama of the shuffling bear nights, one thing’s for sure. Georgoulis has a proven knack for nurturing Toronto bear promoters. Francis Gaudreault and Steve Palmer launched Pitbull—a bear/mainstream crossover event if there ever was one—at The Vic back when it was called Fuzion. And Zipperz’ Bear Code came into being when Georgoulis asked bear power couple, Louis Amaral and Eric Desbiens to host a bear night after Georgoulis and Buczek parted ways. Desbiens, a 40-year-old real estate agent, moved from northern Quebec to Toronto just three years ago to be with Amaral. Though Desbiens has got the musclebear look down pat, he didn’t know what a bear was until he started travelling in Amaral’s circles. When they first met, at a birthday gathering at Hanlan’s Point, it was one of Desbiens’ first gay parties. “I’m not someone who likes to be in a certain category,” he says. “The people who are interested in categories, they usually like a certain type of guy. The label makes it a lot easier. In my hometown, some people didn’t want to date

me because I was too hairy. At bear events, you don’t have that judgment.” Desbiens makes it sound easy to be a bear promoter. Have a lot of friends on Facebook, talk to a lot of people, work the crowd at O’Grady’s so they want to come out dancing afterwards. Having sexy online pics (inkedkenny.com/ mens-room/frenchman/) probably doesn’t hurt either. “I am more famous online than in person,” he laughs. Desbiens views bear parties as more fun than business— he’s not in it for the money. One of the common denominators amongst bear business people is that bears are a no-fuss no-muss clientele—beer, rum and cokes, and no drama. There’s less agreement on other elements of the culture. While Desbiens isn’t a fan of leather, Buczek sees a bigger overlap between bears and leathermen. That’s probably because, at 49, Buczek has seen the bear community when it was too small to have venues of its own. Buczek agrees that there are more younger bears now and, like Davis, thinks there is a generation gap. “That’s because there’s a whole generation and a half that is missing [because of the AIDS crisis],” says Buczek. “The younger guys aren’t so aware.” Out on Queen West, Scooter McCreight, 31, hosts the monthly

Cub Camp party at the Beaver. Although “cubs” are part of the established bear lexicon—basically furry young guys—the party’s crowd is a little artier, a little more stylin’ than you’d see at O’Grady’s, Zipperz or the Black Eagle. When McCreight thinks of bears, he thinks of older, furry guys. “I wouldn’t say that when you turn 40 you become a bear,” he says. “Cubs can grow up to be bears, but you can also stay a cub.” McCreight is quick to point out that the Cub Camp party is not meant to be exclusive. Body size and age take a backseat to an appreciation for electro-house music and, hopefully, beardedness. Still, it’s hard to imagine a swath of Queen West cubs finding their way to the Black Eagle barbecue. The Beaver is more likely to run out of Jägermeister than beer. By the time these guys are 40, they might have decided that shaving is what’s sexy. Or not. “For the hipsters, their aesthetic isn’t connected to their sexuality,” says Davis. “It’s like putting on a Le Chateau outfit.” Though Davis mourns the dilution of bear culture, he admits he’s only a partial bear himself. However, his partner of nine years is a stocky man with a belly and facial hair “who’s very proud of walking around naked.” Maybe we’re not all bears now. Maybe we’re all just bear chasers.

Leather Bear Night at the Black Eagle. Might remind you of the Toolbox days. No dress code, though fetishwear is encouraged. After 10pm on the first Saturday of the month. 457 Church St. blackeagletoronto.com/ leather-bear-night. Cub Camp at The Beaver. Hipsters or pre-bears? You decide. A San Francisco Cub Camp this September demonstrates this is a party on the rise. 1192 Queen St W. facebook.com/cubcamp. Beef Dip, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Once Pride’s Beef Ball is behind him, promoter Steve Buczek starts planning this week-long bear fest that draws a Canadian and US crowd, as well as osos Mexicanos. Jan 26-Feb 2. beefdip.com. Bearracuda, multiple cities. This dance party, which hails from San Francisco, touched down in Toronto last spring. Promoter Matt Mikesell is eager to come back. bearracuda.com/Toronto.

intorontomag.com

17 18 19 Bear.indd 19

19

21/08/2013 2:07:58 PM


LISTINGS & EVENTS

september Micha el Coo per

IN THE CITY

5

6

Freddie for a Day At The Gladstone Hotel

Dion Johnstone (l) and Graham Abbey In Othello at Stratford

17 Daniel MacIvor In The Best Brothers Opens at Tarragon

14

Pig Opens at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

20

27

28

Micah Lexier: One, And Two, And More Than two Opens at The Power Plant

Darren Stewart-Jones of Gay Play Day At Alumnae Theatre

Audra McDonald At Koerner Hall

Art & Photography AIMLESS Toronto-born Scott Boniface’s debut solo show is about finding comfort in the ambiguous and solace in the unknown. Opening: 7pm. Thu, Sep 5. 10am-5pm. To Sep 11. Moniker Gallery. 452 Richmond St W. 647-699 -8803. monikergallery.ca. GHOST DANCE: ACTIVISM AND RESISTANCE IN INDIGENOUS ART Curated by Steven Loft, this exhibition examines the artist as activist, as chronicler and as provocateur in the ongoing struggle for indigenous rights, self-determination and sovereignty. Artists include Sonny Assu, Vernon Ah Kee, Scott Benesiinaabandan, Dana Claxton, Cheryl L’Hirondelle, Alan Michelson, Theo Sims, Skawennati and Jackson 2bears. Opening reception: 6pm. Wed, Sep 18. Free. To Dec 15. Ryerson Image Centre Main Gallery, University Gallery, Salah J. Bachir New Media Wall. 33 Gould St. ryerson.ca/ric.

20 21.calendar .indd 20

8

the Gossip plays the Inspiration Gala A benefit for ACT

MICAH LEXIER: ONE, AND TWO, AND MORE THAN TWO A survey of significant work by Toronto-based artist Micah Lexier. United by his interests in temporal and graphic systems of organization and measurement, this exhibition brings together an important selection of recent work that reflects the artist’s diverse and dynamic practice. Featuring four solo pieces, three collaborations, and one new, ambitious curatorial project, One, and Two, and More Than Two witnesses Lexier at all levels of his practice. Opening: Free. 8pm. Fri, Sep 20. 10pm-8pm. Thu-Sat. 10pm-6pm. Tue, Wed, Sun. To Jan 5. The Power Plant. 231 Queens Quay W. 416-973-4949. thepowerplant.org. (See page 30.) HISTORY BECOMES YOU This group exhibition explores the impact of history and our connection with the past. Opening reception: 7pm-10pm. Fri, Sep 6. 11am-5pm. Wed-Sat. To Oct 5. Paul

Petro Contemporary Art. 980 Queen St W. 416-979-7874. paulpetro.com.

Books IFOA READING SERIES The International Festival of Authors (IFOA) begins its 40th season of weekly readings, interviews and roundtable discussions. Since 1974, more than 8,000 of the world’s most distinguished authors have read at Harbourfront Centre, including 20 Nobel Prize Laureates. $10 (free for supporters, students and youth 25 and under). 7:30pm. Wednesdays, beginning Sep 18. York Quay Centre. 235 Queens Quay W. 416-973-4000. readings.org.

Community Freddie For a Day This fundraiser for the AIDS Committee of Toronto honours the late great Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury, who died of AIDS-related causes in 1991. Guest performers include Andrew

Cash, Sandro Liberato, Sandro Miranda, Taylor Abrahamse and dancer Marco Placencio. Don a moustache or come dressed as your favourite Freddie and compete for Best Freddie Costume and Best Moustache. $15 ($20 at the door). 8pm. Thu, Sep 5. The Gladstone Hotel. 1214 Queen St W. 416-531-4635. For more info, freddieforadaytoronto.com. THE INSPIRATION GALA This year the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) will be a beneficiary of this AMFAR event in recognition of its 30 years of dedicated service to the Toronto community. Since its inception in 2010, the Inspiration series has grown to include galas in six cities around the world: New York, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Toronto and Miami. Performers include The Gossip with a fashion presentation by Marc Jocobs. $1,000-$10,000 (table). 6:30pm cocktails; 8pm dinner. Sun, Sep 8. The Carlu. 444 Yonge St. amfar.org/toronto-2013.

21/08/2013 2:08:08 PM


listings & events

our guide to your month

n

Der Untermensch At TIFF

Film Toronto International Film Festival Films this year include Der Untermensch, Montreal-based Kays Mejr’s highly cinematic dance film that through contemporary movement depicts the treatment of homosexuals in concentration camps during the Second World War; The Dog, directed by Allison Berg and Frank Keraudren, a documentary portrait of the late John Wojtowicz, whose attempted robbery of a Brooklyn bank to finance his male lover’s sex-reassignment surgery was the real-life inspiration for the classic Al Pacino film Dog Day Afternoon; Out, about a young man who confronts his parents with a startling admission in Jeremy Lalonde’s hilarious, vampiric twist on the traditional coming-out tale; from provocative Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan, Tom at the Farm, which follows a grief-stricken man who visits his dead lover’s parents—only to discover that they were unaware of their son’s sexual orientation; and in Gerontophilia, director Bruce LaBruce queers the May-December courtship of Harold and Maude, a subversively tender tale of the intimate bond between a teenage nursing home attendant and a octogenarian resident. $14.50-$45 (packages from $187). Various times. Various venues. Thu, Sep 5-15. 416-599-TIFF. tiff.net. (For more on TIFF go to page 28.) CARIBBEAN TALES FILM FEST The 8th annual showcase of films from the Caribbean diaspora features a Queer Caribbean programme that includes the Dominican Republic feature-length film Elliot Loves, about a boy who transitions from island life with his mother to finding romance in the Big Apple. $20. 6:30pm. Sat,

20 21.calendar .indd 21

Sep 14. Sep 4-14. Studio Theatre. York Quay Centre. 235 Queen’s Quay W. harbourfrontcentre.com.

Leisure 29TH ANNUAL VEGETARIAN FOOD FESTIVAL Regarded as the largest event of its kind in North America, the annual event gives you an opportunity to enjoy a diverse cross-section of vegetarian cuisine. Free. 4pm-9pm. Fri, Sep 6. 12pm-9pm. Sat. 12pm-7pm. Sun. To Sep 8. Harbourfront Centre. 235 Queens Quay W. harbourfrontcentre.com YOGAPALOOZA Harbourfront Centre’s first outdoor yoga festival, Yogapalooza is a celebration of music, movement and meditation. This two-day event includes belly dance, bollywood grooves, martial arts mash-up and some hard core yogis. BYOM (mats). Free. Sat, Sep 21-22. Harbourfront Centre. 235 Queens Quay W. harbourfrontcentre.com

Music FLUME The 21-year-old Australian comes to Toronto to promote his self-titled debut album, a mix of chopped vocals, saw synths and intricate percussion. $20 ($25 at the door). 8pm. Thu, Sep 5. Opera House. 735 Queens St E. 415-466-0313. theoperahousetoronto.com. ROYAL CONSERVATORY SEASON OPENER The fifth anniversary season of Koerner Hall begins with five-time Tony winner, two-time Grammy winner Audra McDonald, the host of Live from Lincoln Center. This special gala performance will include the soprano’s trademark mix of show tunes, classic movie songs and pieces written for her by leading contemporary composers. $50-$85. 7pm.

Sat, Sep 28. Koerner Hall. 273 Bloor St W. rcmusic.ca.

Stage LES MISÉRABLES Cameron Mackintosh presents the Canadian premiere of the 25th anniversary production of Boublil and Schönberg’s musical Les Miserables with reimagined scenery. Based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel, Les Miz is an epic and uplifting story about the survival of the human spirit. (Not be confused with the abominably bad film version.) $45-$130. 7:30pm. Tue-Sat. 1:30pm. Wed, Sat & Sun. Fri, Sep 27-Oct 20. Princess of Wales Theatre. 300 King St W. 416-872-1212. mirvish.com BONE CAGE The Toronto premiere of Catherine Banks’ tragi-comedy explores the desolation and desperate struggle of a group of young adults striving to rise above the pillaged landscape of rural Nova Scotia, a world where all people are trapped in cages of their own construction. $10-$28. 8pm. Fri, Sep 20-21. 8pm. Wed-Sat. Sep 25-Oct 5. 2pm. Oct 5. 416-978-8849. uofttix.ca. OTHELLO Award-winning theatre and film director Chris Abraham returns to Stratford with the classic tragedy about an interracial marriage fatally undermined by the deadly insinuations of a master manipulator. To Sat, Oct 19. Avon Theatre. 99 Downie St. Stratford, ON. 1-800-567-1600. stratfordfestival.ca. THE THRILL Dean Gabourie returns for his 10th Stratford season with the world premiere of Judith Thompson’s spirited new play that confronts the weighty issues surrounding the right to die. To Sun, Sep 22. Studio Theatre. 34 George St E. Stratford, Ont. 1-800-567-1600. stratfordfestival.com.

THE BEST BROTHERS Written by Daniel MacIvor, The Best brothers’ mother dies in a freak accident at Toronto’s Gay Pride Parade, crushed by a drunk drag queen. As they look to celebrate their mother, they wrestle with the most fundamental questions of love and family. This bittersweet comedy, directed by Dean Gabourie, sees Daniel MacIvor back on stage alongside John Beale. $25-$48. 8pm. Tues-Sat. 2:30pm. Sat-Sun. Sep 17-Oct 27. Tarragon Theatre. 30 Bridgman Ave. tarragontheatre.com VENUS IN FUR Based on the classic erotic novel Venus in Fur, a young actress is determined to land the lead in a new play. Called 90 minutes of good kinky fun by The New York Times, it was nominated for a Best Play Tony Award. $24-$69. 8pm. 2pm. Sat-Sun. Sun, Sep 29-Oct 27. St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts. 27 Front St E. PIG Directed by Brendan Healy and starring Bruce Dow, Paul Dunn and Blair Williams, this explicitly honest account of contemporary sexuality by Tim Luscombe follows three gay couples as they stretch the boundaries of their relationships in the quest for deeper levels of intimacy. After the matinee performance on Sun, Sep 22, Buddies partners with the AIDS Committee of Toronto to present a free panel discussion on pig sex and other themes explored in the play. $20-$37. 8pm. Tue-Sat. 2:30pm. Sun. Fri, Sep 14-Oct 6. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. 12 Alexander St. 416-975-8555. buddiesinbadtimes.com. GAY PLAY DAY The second annual theatre festival is an opportunity for LGBTQ writers, directors and performers to tell their stories in a supportive, inclusive environment. Playwrights include Charles Hayter (The Rice Queen of Cabbagetown), Tina McCulloch (Let’s Spend Our Lives Together, Maybe), Niall O’Reilly (Men in Kilts), Lorenzo Pagnotta (Hossam and Joel), Marcy Rogers (Fairy Tale Confidential) and Darren Stewart-Jones (Sherlock & Watson: Behind Closed Doors). $10. 3pm, 8pm. Fri, Sep 27-28. Alumnae Theatre. 70 Berkeley St. gayplayday.blogspot.ca THE MERCHANT OF VENICE Issues of intolerance and the vengeance it provokes lie at the heart of this Shakespeare classic. Says director Antoni Cimolino, “My own parents were children in Italy when the National Fascist Party introduced its anti-Semitic race laws in 1938. The rise of Fascism and Nazism in that relatively recent era was fuelled by the very same thinking that Shakespeare probes in The Merchant of Venice: attitudes toward ‘otherness’ that range from genteel disdain to racist loathing. And those same attitudes underlie so many of the terrible conflicts that bedevil our world today. This play challenges us to search our own consciences and ask ourselves how far we have really progressed in the centuries since it was written.” $44-$109. To Fri, Oct 18. Festival Theatre. 55 Queen St. Stratford, Ont. 1-800-567-1600. stratfordfestival.ca.

21/08/2013 2:08:24 PM


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

S eas o n pre v iew

dark and alluring → The

fall arts calendar is rife with evil forces and glittering talents Story Gordon Bowness

Break out the Zoloft… and your credit card for one exciting fall arts season. Of course, the biggest event is the Toronto International Film Festival, but navigating TIFF is its own breed of beast. (See page 28 for our interview with Xavier Dolan and other festival highlights). Here, instead, are the (nonfilm) essential tickets and cultural events of the season.

DANCE

us world premieres that, taken together, should

Runs Wed, Sep 11 to Dec 1 at AGYU. yorku.ca/

New work from Christopher House

make for an extraordinary evening of new and

agyu.

Choreographer

cutting-edge dance.” Runs Fri, Nov 22 to 28 at

Christopher

the Four Seasons Centre. national.ballet.ca.

House an

marks

astonishing

20 years at the

Ghost Dance at Ryerson Image Centre

Galleries David Bowie at the AGO for

some-

helm of Toronto

Now

Dance

Theatre

thing brightly life-

with a new full-

affirming, the crit-

length

ically

work

acclaimed

for 10 dancers

attendance-bust-

set to Music for

ing

David

Bowie

Is exhibition from

Reich. Expect something special. “I first heard

the

and

Mohawk-Jewish curator Steve Loft has pulled

Music for 18 Musicians in 1979,” says House,

Albert

Museum,

together a ground-breaking international sur-

“and it is fair to say that its buoyant harmo-

coming to the AGO

vey of indigenous art characterized by what

nies and rhythms made me want be a chore-

this

he

ographer. One of my earliest works for TDT,

on the tour’s first

Jackson

created in 1980, used a short section of this

stop

following

Michelson, Vernon Ah Kee, Sonny Assu, Scott

Victoria

September

London.

calls

“articulate 2bears,

resistance.”

Cheryl

Featuring

l’Hirondelle,

Alan

“David

Benesiinaabandan, Dana Claxton, Theo Sims

in its entirety so many years later, I am com-

Bowie is a profoundly visual performer,”

and Skawennati. “Ghost Dance examines the

ing home after a long journey of growth and dis-

states Art Gallery of Ontario director Matthew

role of the artist as activist, as chronicler and

covery, bringing new tools and new sensibilities

Teitelbaum, “and the identities he has created

as provocateur,” states Loft, “in the ongoing

to this fresh and exhilarating encounter.” Runs

for himself over the last five decades have had

struggle for indigenous rights and self-empow-

Wed, Nov 6 to 9 at Fleck Dance Theatre. tdt.org.

an enormous impact on contemporary art and

erment.” Runs Wed, Sep 18 to Dec 15 at the

culture…. Bowie has consistently collaborated

Ryerson Image Centre. ryerson.ca/ric.

music… in returning to Music for 18 Musicians

Innovation at the National Ballet

with the most significant personalities in fash-

The National Ballet of Canada continues its

ion, design, theatre and art. His willingness to

Micah lexier at the power plant

amazing run of mixed short programs with

defy genres has made his career a barometer

A survey of significant work by Toronto-based

world premieres by three choreographers: the

for cutting-edge performance art.” Runs Wed,

artist Micah Lexier, featuring four solo pieces,

unrivalled Canadian master James Kudelka,

Sep 25 to Nov 27 at the AGO. ago.net.

three collaborations, and one new, ambitious

up-and-coming Torontonian Robert Binet and

22

Skawennati, Time Traveller production still

18 Musicians by influential US composer Steve

curatorial project. This is Lexier at all levels of

emerging powerhouse José Navas, Venezuelan-

Wael Shawky at AGYU

his practice. (For more on One, Two, and More

born founder of Montreal’s Compagnie Flak.

Philip Monk curates the first full-scale exhibi-

Than Two, see page 30.)

“Our second Innovation series brings together

tion in Canada of Egyptian artist Wael Shawky.

three really brilliant and very different Canadian

The Cabaret Crusades features two films that

LITERATURE

choreographers,” says artistic director Karen

tell the story of the Crusades from the Arab

Anthony De Sa’s Kicking the Sky

Kain. “James Kudelka is familiar to our audi-

perspective—lush, gorgeous films featuring

Anthony De Sa was short-listed for a Giller in

ences, but the other two, Robert Binet and José

highly expressive marionettes—based in part

2008 for the story collection Barnacle Love. This

Navas, are less well known. All three though,

on the work of Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf.

September, Random House publishes De Sa’s

judging by their work to date, promise to give

Simultaneously

daring debut novel, Kicking the Sky, a provoc-

seductive

and

subversive.

september 2013

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

ative exploration of a tragic event from Toronto

Rodriguez and Stephen Lewis (whose words

THEATRE

history, the 1977 rape and murder of Emanuel

and work inspire the title track). The funky

Needles and Opium at CanStage

Jaques, the 12-year-old “shoeshine boy.” The

“All Went Wrong (At the Right Time)” finds

Theatrical

arrest of four men spawned mass protests

Segato—and that sexy, oaken voice of hers—

genius Robert

fuelled in large part by homophobia; Portuguese

hitting an infectious groove. Out this fall from

Lepage

gangs roamed downtown bashing gays. De

Get Off My Dress Productions.

ates a new

cre-

production of

Sa uses these awful events to tell the story of three boys coming of age in Little Portugal. The

Rufus Wainwright with the TSO

Needles and

novel is a gothic depiction of the sinister forces

You know we’re in a moody jag when Rufus

Opium,

at work in the boys’ insular, impoverished com-

Wainwright is one of the lighter highlights of

acclaimed

munity. Secrecy, violence and fear, argues De

the season. But this mix of classical and pop—

one-man-

Sa, were never the exclusive domain of the gays.

including excerpts from Wainwright’s lovely

s

Treacherous material deftly handled. Releases

opera Prima Donna sung by soprano Melody

from

Tue, Sep 10 from Random House. randomhouse.

Moore, orchestral settings of his Shakespeare

Creativity

ca.

Sonnets and Wainwright singing everything

Greg Kearney’s The Desperates

h

and

his

o

w

1991. addic-

from Arlen to Berlioz backed by the TSO—is

tion are refracted through the lives and works of

sure to be a rich and fascinating evening of

jazz great Miles Davis and French writer and film-

No one does

music. Fri, Oct 11 at Roy Thomson Hall with

maker Jean Cocteau. Whether it’s with Cirque du

black

Jayce Ogren conducting. tso.ca

Soleil, the Met Opera or his actors’ own bodies,

com-

edy as black

no one can bend theatre craft like Lepage. Using

and as off-

OPERA

kilter as Greg

Ben Heppner as Peter Grimes

new technology, this production should take audiences on a wild, surreal trip. Opens Fri, Nov 22 at

Kearney, the

Expectations are

Bluma Appel Theatre, starring longtime Lepage

2012

ReLit-

through the roof

interpreter Marc Labrèche. canstage.com.

for

when superstar

story

winner

Canadian tenor

Pig at Buddies in Bad Times

collection

Ben

Heppner

From Jane Austen to bug chasers? UK writer/

Pretty.

takes

to

the

director Tim Luscombe has a string of hit

debut novel looks at three lost souls creating

Four

Seasons’

stage adaptations of Austen novels, including

havoc in Toronto: a dying mother, a coddled

stage

this

fall

Mansfield Park last year at Theatre Royal Bury

wannabe artist and an HIV-positive man with

in

Benjamin

St Edmunds. But Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

a new lease on life… and lust. “Greg Kearney’s

Britten’s

Peter

opens its season with something altogether dif-

short fiction has been vicious, tender, hilari-

Grimes, a brood-

ferent, the world premiere of Pig, Luscombe’s

ous and wise,” says Glad Day Bookshop gen-

ing,

monu-

searing look at romantic love, addiction and

eral manager Scott Dagostino. “The Desperates

mental

mas-

obsession. Expect a work as sophisticated as

is one of the titles we’re most excited about.”

terpiece

about

it is upsetting. “It’s one of the most visceral

Set to release in October from Cormorant Books.

a

fisherman

and honest pieces about gay male sexuality

cormorantbooks.com.

accused of abus-

and identity that I’ve ever encountered,” artis-

ing and murdering his young male apprentices.

tic director Brendan Healy wrote recently on a

“Heppner is a powerful dramatic tenor who can

blog posting. The Buddies production will star

express great vulnerability,” says COC general

Bruce Dow, Paul Dunn and Blair Williams with

With her 1983

manager Alexander Neef. “He really digs into

Healy directing. Opens Thu, Sep 19. buddiesin-

hit

Up”

a role to give the music true meaning. I expect

badtimes.com.

set to be the

his Grimes will build on the multifaceted depic-

soundtrack

the

His

MUSIC Lorraine Segato returns “Rise

of

tions of the character he’s sung in the past. In

The Best Brothers at Tarragon

World Pride next

the aftermath of World War II, Britten [who was

A woman dies in a freak accident at Toronto’s

year,

Lorraine

gay] was fascinated by how society treats peo-

Pride Parade—she’s crushed by a drunk drag

Segato releases

ple who are different. The fact that the opera

queen—and her two sons are left to pick up the

Invincible

is open-ended, that it makes no judgment, is a

pieces. This two-hander from perennial favou-

Decency—her

stroke of genius. It’s up to you to make up your

rite Daniel MacIvor played to raves last year

first

since

own mind about Grimes. Is he a victim of society

at Stratford. One reviewer went so far as to

Backed

or is it the other way around?” The 2009 co-pro-

write that it is “perhaps his most heartwarm-

by a stellar band and produced by David Gray,

duction with Houston Grand Opera and Opera

ing and crowd-pleasing comedy to date.” Opens

Segato resurrects the Parachute Club’s world-

Australia, directed by Neil Armfield, opens Sat,

Tue, Sep 17 at Tarragon Theatre, again starring

beat-pop

Oct 5 at the Four Seasons Centre with Johannes

MacIvor and John Beale with Dean Gabourie

Debus conducting. coc.ca.

directing. tarragontheatre.com.

1998!

exuberance

and

CD

righteous

poli-

tics. Guest vocalists include d’bi.young, Liz

intorontomag.com

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

The ick factor → Stage: No stranger to playing psychos and paedophiles, Steve Ross adds a new dimension to the role of the creepy Uncle Ernie in Stratford’s production of Tommy Story Paul Gallant

W

hen Steve Ross takes his bow at the end of Tommy, the applause starts strong, then drops off before getting louder again. It’s as if the audience wants to celebrate Ross’s stellar performance as creepy Uncle Ernie while showing their disapproval of Uncle Ernie himself. The first in a series of people who abuse the titular hero (played in this summer’s strobelit Stratford revival by wide-eyed Robert Markus), a booze-fuelled Uncle Ernie sings, “Your mother look forward to at some point—The left me here to mind you/Now Chub Play.” I’m doing what I want to/Fiddling Told he couldn’t sing, Ross about,” as he throws himself on his played the trumpet in high school; deaf, dumb and blind nephew. Later, his interest in singing roles didn’t Uncle Ernie opens a holiday camp to ignite until theatre school and, like further exploit the now-famous pinmany Stratford regulars, his life has ball wizard. It’s all a little queasycome to revolve around the theatre making. But when Ross was offered season. His husband, Randy Read, the role, the 10-season Stratford vetis artistic director of New Stages eran decided he couldn’t play Uncle Theatre Company in Peterborough, Ernie as a villain. a three-hour drive away, so in the “Don’t get me wrong. Of course, summer the two see each only it’s tricky territory and nothing we once a week. Stratford keeps Ross condone. Des [McAnuff, Tommy’s busy enough. After working on a director] was extremely careful tribute concert early in the sumabout it and we were very careful mer, he did some workshops with with the kids [10-year-old Tommy is the Shakespeare School for young played by two boys]. But I couldn’t people. play him as a monster. I think he’s Uncle Ernie is Ross’s blurrilost. He’s lonely and troubled,” says est character to date—horrifically Ross, who also plays Lazar Wolf this pathetic, wrapped in a layer of dark year in Stratford’s Fiddler on the buffoonery. Despite the abuse he Roof. perpetrates, he continues to play a No stranger to the ick factor, Ross role in Tommy’s journey right to the has played fops, murderers, psyfinale. “People get angry with me at chos and paedophiles. When he the stage door: ‘You get forgiven in played a racist lawyer in 2007’s To the end.’ But I don’t think I get forKill a Mockingbird, people wouldn’t given. I think Tommy puts it all on speak to him at the stage door. But me. There’s an unspoken, ‘This is he’s only played two gay characyours now. You live with the knowlters in his lengthy career: a flaming edge that I know.’ Which I think is queen in The Cradle Will Rock and much worse.” a gay marriage counsellor in a play called Sylvia. “Partly it’s my build. Partly it’s because I don’t read traditionally gay. I haven’t seen the Tommy plays at Stratford’s Avon Theatre until definitive bear musical yet, which I Saturday, Oct 19. stratfordfestival.ca

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25 Tommy in Spot.indd 25

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

B o o ks

Poetic License →

Personal meets political in Amber Dawn’s memoir of a hustler Story Alice Lawlor

H

ow do you follow a debut

treasure and some that I feel sensa-

this relationship so darn

novel that was dubbed

tionalize sex work—and I knew that

much that “tough” and

a

the

I wasn’t capable of writing my story

“tender” have become

making? If you’re Amber Dawn,

with a traditional narrative struc-

synonymous for me.

acclaimed author of Sub Rosa, it’s

ture. I don’t think that most peo-

If I want to show my

with a brilliant warts-and-all mem-

ple’s lives are that tidy, and mine

reader

oir. How Poetry Saved My Life

certainly isn’t.

must show them true

cult

classic

in

(Arsenal Pulp Press) tells the story of

I started writing bits and pieces,

Dawn’s former life as a sex worker

mostly therapeutic literature at

in Vancouver using a magical mix

first. Then, I wrote pieces to submit

What was it like

of poetry, prose and polemic. She

to sex worker anthologies or other

being a lesbian in

spoke to IN Toronto about what

feminist publications. I would often

the world of sex

inspired the book, and the transfor-

write just to be included in any pub-

work?

mative power of writing it.

lication or festival with other sex

Being

a

queer

femme has meant

to be a part of a vital conversation

that I have the

that is all too often silenced or stig-

privilege of being

The book’s title, How Poetry Saved

matized. And eventually realized I

part of a com-

My Life, is by no means figurative.

had a book’s worth of writing. I’m

munity of social

It quite literally addresses the pri-

grateful that my memoir was writ-

justice-minded

mary impetus for writing this book.

ten over a longer period of time. It

folks.

Creative writing—especially poetry

gave me time to reflect upon and

been out about

and memoir—has been both my

reconcile with my experiences, and

being

lifeline and the thread that con-

to truly stand proud with my story.

worker

What moved you to write a more

nects me with a larger community

I

vulnerability.

workers’ voices. I was so desperate personal book after Sub Rosa?

a

I

very

a

have sex for long

of voices, in particular those of other

Female empowerment is a thread

women, survivors and queer folks.

that runs through the book. How

nature of my communities. I also

My own voice is that of a queer sex

did you maintain such a strong

love that my communities are keen

a risk and sticks their neck out to

worker—an

identity

sense of your own sexual identity?

on mentoring and information and

tell a story. So I wrote with those

that is often misunderstood. It is my

I credit other women authors

skill sharing. This queer cultural

brave voices in mind. Further to

goal to make issues of sex work and

for allowing me to draw inspira-

value of peer-to-peer support has

this, I consider the majority of us to

sexuality more tangible and human.

tion from them. Beth Goobie, Lynn

really helped me face some barriers,

be brave voices. The survivor in me

I’m pretty tired of seeing that the

Crosby, Larissa Lai, Nalo Hopkinson,

like doing my taxes or completing

sees the survivor in so many of us.

majority of writing about sex work-

Barbara

Goto,

my grad school application. There

And so, if an entire population, like

ers is academic or critical narratives,

Persimmon Blackbridge are some

are certainly anti-sex-work lesbians

sex workers, is made silent or stig-

rather than narratives of experi-

Canadian authors I adore. What do

in our communities, too, but I have

matized, then who else is also being

ence. I also want to demonstrate

all these authors have in common,

a highly developed knack for block-

made invisible? Many of us receive

that marginalized or queer stories

you may ask? They all unflinch-

ing out bullsh*t and focusing on lov-

societal messages that it’s not safe

are literary stories. I feel a sense of

ingly

ing ally-ship.

to present our whole selves. So

duty and a joy in speaking up.

identities and sexualities and lit-

experiential

Gowdy,

understand

Hiromi

that

complex

erature make wonderful compan-

26

strength,

time, largely due to the inclusive

what I hope readers will take from What do you hope people will

the book is less of an understand-

How did the book come together?

ions. I wanted to be balls-to-the-

Well, I certainly did not say to

wall sharp and strong like these

I wrote this book with sex work-

for them to hear the call to speak

myself, ‘I want to write a mixed

authors. As a writer (and a human)

ers and survivors in mind. I think a

up. I spoke up about sex work (and

genre prose and poetry book about

I am keenly interested in the rela-

sex worker is one of many examples

am all the better for it) and likewise

sex work.’ I have read a number of

tionship

empowerment

of a stigmatized identity where the

they may choose to speak up about

sex-work memoirs—some that I

and

I’ve

speaker—in this case, me—takes

themselves.

between

vulnerability.

explored

take away from the book?

ing of the politics of sex work, but

September 2013

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

Film

overachieving wunderkind →

Provocative Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan gets back in front of the camera with Tom at the Farm—and even predicts his own untimely death Story Peter Knegt

I

t’s been four years since Xavier Dolan made his first appearance at the Toronto International Film Festival. At the time, there was a remarkable curiosity in the air of the festival about the Quebecois filmmaker. Just 19 years old, his first film, I Killed My Mother, was making its way back to Canada after premiering to rave reviews— and a couple of major awards at the Cannes Film Festival. Dolan had written, directed and starred in the film, which details an extraordinarily tumultuous relationship between a gay teenager (Dolan) and his mother (Anne Dorval). Who was this overachieving wunderkind, people wondered, and was he here to stay? This month, Dolan brings Tom at the Farm to TIFF, which should 28

pretty much confirm—if it wasn’t already the case with 2010’s Heartbeats or last year’s Laurence, Anyways (which won the Best Canadian Film Award at TIFF) that the now 24-year-old filmmaker is indeed a great Canadian keeper. It’s his fourth film in just five years to screen at the festival, and Dolan has no intentions of taking that ratio down; he’ll likely be done shooting his next film by year’s end. At this rate he could very well have had 10 films screen at TIFF by the time he turns 30, which surely will be some sort of record. Until then, though, there’s Tom at the Farm, which will be high on the to-see lists of many a festivalgoer. Adapted from award-winning Quebecois writer Michel Marc Bouchard’s play of the same name,

Tom at the Farm follows the titular young man (played by Dolan himself) as he travels to the Quebec countryside to visit the family of his recently deceased lover. After realizing the family was unaware he existed—or even that their son was gay—Tom is sucked into a dark and twisted game that begins to unravel, care of his lover’s psychotic brother. Tom at the Farm is a departure from the unofficial trilogy of impossible love stories that precedes it, which the filmmaker was quick to point out when he sat down with IN Toronto. Discussing his new film and offering a hysterical, and hopefully not too prophetic, take on his own future, it made clear Dolan’s many talents also extend to answering interview questions.

Let’s talk about Tom at the Farm. What makes it stand out from your other films? Tom at the Farm is a psychological thriller. I think that pretty well sums up everything there is to say in terms of newness for me. My previous films all talked about love… impossible love. I mean, Tom is quite severe when it comes to the filmmaking. It’s adapted from a noexit play, and basically takes place in a kitchen, in a barn or in the corn fields. How did you approach this new territory? I remember watching a making-of [doc about] Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men. Lumet was talking about the restrictions of locations, time lapses, etc. His way of marking progression and building ten-

september 2013

28 29 Cover story.indd 28

21/08/2013 2:11:34 PM


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT sion was to get closer and closer with every scene. Wide shots would slowly become American shots, and then framed from the shoulders up, until you choke at the end in extreme close-ups. I thought: So this is the sort of approach I should be looking for in this movie. Nothing flamboyant, nothing “me,” nothing noticeable. What was cute was made banal, what was too Latin in terms of acting was calmed down, what was too hipsterish in the production design was burned… I don’t really know how that worked out for me. Time will tell. The film marks a return to you being in front of the camera after a break with Laurence Anyways. How did that feel? It felt good. I had withdrawn from that part of moviemaking since [Dolan’s 2010 film] Heartbeats. And Laurence Anyways was an amazing acting workshop for me. I got to stare at actors all day long, learning

In 10 years, I’ll be dead. I’ll have worked with the great actors of our time. I’ll have bought my mother a cottage somewhere and continued to invest all of my money in my films and be constantly broke, pretending I can afford an exuberant lifestyle. from their method, their strengths and weaknesses. Not that they had major weaknesses, but interesting tics and instincts I could try to tame and then use in a specific way once I’d noticed them. It was like a very unique lab for me. My name not being in the actual credits doesn’t mean I didn’t act in that movie too, though, trust me. I was talking to the actors constantly off camera, asking them to suddenly say an improvised line, or add something, touch their chin, look up, sing, etc. I admire actors; they are what make me want to be both a director and an actor. So going → In the driver’s seat Tom at the Farm is Xavier Dolan’s (pictured opposite page, left) fourth film in just five years; Xavier Dolan in Tom at the Farm.

back to acting on Tom was a sweet homeward-bound experience, but this time with the knowledge, the observations I made of the actor’s journey on Laurence Anyways. I felt like I could both think and feel more, that I was becoming more and more an honest actor. So you’re 24. You’ve made four feature films that have screened at the most prestigious film festivals in the world. Where do you go from here? Say, in 10 years… where do you see yourself? This is exactly what I’ve planned, and I wouldn’t want it to happen in any other way: In 10 years, I’ll be dead. I’ll have worked with the great actors of our time, the new ones, the older ones. I’ll have bought my mother a cottage somewhere and continued to invest all of my money in my films and be constantly broke, pretending I can afford an exuberant lifestyle. I’ll have been a regular on a teen show like the ones that used to run on The WB —esoteric, sexual ones. I’ll have been spokesperson for a fashion designer, preferably a Belgian one, and will have ended up being the face of Dries Van Noten for free—yes, I’m just like that. I’ll have asked Anne Dorval [who played Dolan’s mother in I Killed My Mother] to be the godmother of my child. I’ll have been in a stable, married relationship with Ben Whishaw and will have had a scandalous affair with straightturned-gay-for-two-minutes Logan Lerman. I’ll have proven, ideally, that I can act, and acted for directors that inspire me, and whom, hopefully, I’ll inspire. Then I’ll die from cancer like everybody who was brought up in the 1990s and if I’m lucky my face will be in the Academy Awards [in memoriam] montage. In the meantime I’ll keep aiming at dreams and things, and doing everything in my power to make them concrete and come to life. I know I’m the one who choses to be happy, or successful, somehow. So I won’t just seize the day, I’ll try to write it, and turn it into what I want it to be, and do it alongside the highest possible amount of extraordinary, intelligent, talented people. I’ll have all this giftwrapped and to go please.

other hot tix at TIFF Tom at the Farm isn’t the only film of a certain persuasion heading to Toronto this September. From Harry Potter as Allen Ginsberg to Bruce LaBruce going all Harold and Maude, here’s four other must-sees:

Kill Your Darlings

Blue Is The Warmest Colour

Making its North American debut after winning over essentially everybody at Cannes this past Spring (and winning the festival’s prestigious top prize) is Abdellatif Kechiche’s epic lesbian love story Blue Is The Warmest Colour. The film follows Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos), a 15-year-old whose life is turned inside out when she falls for blue-haired Emma (Léa Seydoux). Featuring remarkable performances from its young actresses (not to mention graphic sex scenes that had all of Cannes talking), Blue will surely be one of the hottest tickets at TIFF.

Daniel Radcliffe continues to do his very best to make us forget all about Harry Potter with a bold turn as beat poet Allen Ginsberg in John Krokidas’s directorial debut Kill Your Darlings. The film—which also stars Ben Foster as William Burroughs and Dane DeHann as Lucien Carr—premiered at Sundance earlier this year, where it was made clear to audiences that the film didn’t hold back in regard to exploring the queer identities of many of its characters, particularly Radcliffe’s Ginsberg, who gets some serious man-onman action. Stranger By The Lake

Gerontophilia

Hometown bad boy Bruce LaBruce is back at TIFF with what is being described as a sort of gay Harold and Maude. Set in Montreal, the film details the sexual relationship between a teenaged boy (dreamy newcomer PierGabriel Lajoie) and an 82-year-old man (Walter Borden) that he meets while working at a nursing home. While the severely May-December romance at the film’s center certainly breaks taboos in itself, it doesn’t feature explicit sex—a first in LaBruce’s filmography.

Like its lesbian counterpart Blue is the Warmest Colour, Alain Guiraudie’s male-centric Stranger By The Lake premiered at Cannes, where it too won rave reviews and notoriety for its sexually explicit content (oddly a theme in most queer films at TIFF except Bruce LaBruce). Featuring a narrative very much like what its title suggests, the film is set at a cruising spot by a lake, where Franck (Pierre Deladonchamps) meets Michel (Christophe Paou). Despite being quite certain Michel is a murderer, Franck pursues their intense sexual relationship anyway, leading him into a complex and dangerously sexy narrative. For more info on TIFF visit tiff.net or turn to page 21.

intorontomag.com

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

a numbers game → Micah Lexier’s monumental installation at The Power Plant this fall includes a solo show and a curated ‘portrait’ of the Toronto artistic community with 221 objects made by 101 artists, duos and collectives

Story Pamela Meredith

T

his fall, art lovers will be

Two:

spent six months researching and

forms referencing electronics that

treated to a peek inside the

1334 Words for 1334 Students is a

conducting countless studio vis-

are now long outdated and obsolete.

brain (and heart) of one of

collaboration between Lexier, the

its—Lexier sheds light on how many

Carved in stone, the permanence of

the most interesting artists around

acclaimed Irish writer Colm Tóibín

amazing young artists are work-

the sculpture is at odds with the dis-

when The Power Plant turns itself

and every student at Cawthra Park

ing in Toronto at this moment—

posable nature of consumer goods,

over to three Micah Lexier proj-

Secondary School. In 2008, Lexier

more than half of the participants

though the forms are surprisingly

ects titled One, Two and More Than

commissioned Tóibín to write a

are younger than 40. But equally

modern and timeless.

Two: a solo exhibition featuring

story with precisely 1334 words, one

important was to place these art-

four of his seminal artworks; an

for each student in the school. The

ists on a continuum with many who

impeccably intricate graphite draw-

overview of some of his most com-

resulting book project consists of

have come before and continue to

ings of modern architecture, often

pelling collaborations with writ-

the story with each word hand-writ-

produce important work. With the

highlighting materials, surface, light

ers; and a curated “portrait” of the

ten by a different student. The story

youngest artist in the exhibition at

effects. The Shard refers to all of

Toronto artistic community con-

itself is a tender one, with a protag-

23 and the eldest at 84, let’s preview

these things in simplified, sculptural

sisting of 221 objects made by

onist of high school age, matching a

an artist in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s,

form. Rendered in matte grey mdf,

101 artists, duos and collectives.

conceptual framework that strikes

and 70s for an abbreviated overview.

the form references negative space,

Together, these projects will illumi-

me as particularly poignant and gen-

Jillian Kay Ross’ F864111H is a min-

nate Lexier’s rigorous methods and

erous. Sometimes constraints can

imalist painting in the tradition of Jo

Kai Chan’s Study #509 is rendered

human concerns, not to mention

be liberating, but everyone involved

Baer or Richard Tuttle, but her meth-

in silver but has the fragile appear-

his inclusive spirit.

approached this puzzle/project with

ods are anything but typical. She

ance of toothpicks (another mate-

intelligence and joy.

creates “paintings” in the computer

rial he sometimes uses). Chan ren-

There is much to say about Micah

Priest

is

known

for

shadow and the body.

Lexier’s wide-ranging artistic and

Coins have figured multiple times

by manipulating found digital imag-

ders quiet moments, drawn from his

curatorial practice: logic, precision,

in Lexier’s projects as a measure, a

ery and then uses this creation like a

daily life, in ephemeral materials.

classification

measurement

counter, a symbol and collectible

sketch on which to base her subtle,

Minimalist in form, Chan’s work is a

define much of what he does, with

object, but perhaps never as dynam-

gestural paintings.

tenuous balance between the pres-

text and collaboration being key

ically as I am the Coin, an installa-

Jim Verberg’s Test #4 is part of his

ingredients in Lexier’s mix.

tion of 20,000 custom minted coins

ongoing Untitled (divided/defined)

Michael Snow’s One Foldage is a

which when installed in a wall-sized

series and consists of a photocopied

most modestly scaled object repre-

and

One:

ent and tradition.

grid, spell out a story written by

circle that has been folded and

senting a most eminent Toronto-

Self-Portrait as a Wall (1998/2013)

Toronto writer Derek McCormack.

refolded creating multiple lines that

based artist, but embodies all of his

was first conceived and produced

Written from the perspective of

bisect its black surface. It is geomet-

ideas and experiments with form

when Lexier was 37 years old. The

one of the installed coins, the story

ric, elegant and precise, but taken

and shape that he produced in the

device is spelled out in the text

reflexively reveals tidbits about the

in context with the artist’s predi-

bountiful early ’60s, including the

(black for life lived and white for life

installation, the process and the

lection for exploring the intricacies

Walking Woman silhouette which

to come) and is a seemingly simple

makers, all the while providing clues

of human relationships, it becomes

often became a “foldage.”

concept with a powerful, graphic

about which particular coin happens

a poetic mapping and measuring of

Perhaps you can detect a thread

visual. At The Power Plant, this

to be the narrator. My brain isn’t

the fragments that form personal,

that runs throughout these proj-

version will be paired (and com-

necessarily elastic or patient enough

emotional connections.

ects. Ephemeral, essential, elegant,

pared) with the updated work cre-

to engage in these gymnastics, but

Tania Kitchell’s This and That is an

economical. Emotional. Lexier char-

ated by the now 54-year-old. All of

the idea of a puzzle, a narrative and

aptly titled selection of machined

acterizes many of these works as

the motifs inherent in the earlier

a collaboration between two flexi-

ABS plastic forms, some clearly

“deceptively simple,” words that

version are heightened as the area

ble minds is enough to fill my mind

organic, others geometric. Together

might describe every element of

of black becomes decidedly bigger

with wonder and my eyes with an

they are a playful, primary-hued

One, and Two, and More Than Two.

while white ground shrinks. Much

enveloping, gorgeous installation.

exploration of the many typolo-

of Lexier’s work addresses lifespan,

30

Margaret

gies of sculptural form particularly

aging and mortality in this clear-

More than Two:

eyed fashion, though my eyes get

With 101 artists (and collectives) in

James Carl’s deck is part of his sem-

misty just thinking about it.

this curated project—for which he

inal series of simplified, essential

related to architecture and nature. PAMELA meredith Is TD Bank Group’s senior curator.

september 2013

30 31 ArtCol.indd 30

21/08/2013 2:12:32 PM


ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

1

4

7

8

2

3

5

6

9

→ power in numbers 1. Micah Lexier, Self-portrait as a Wall, 1998/2007, adhesive vinyl; 2. Kai Chan, Study #509, 1987, silver; 3. Jillian Kay Ross, F864111H, 2011, acrylic paint, canvas, artist-made wooden frame; 4. Margaret Priest, The Shard, 2011, coloured gesso, MDF; 5. Jim Verburg, Test #4 for the ongoing series Untitled (divided/defined), 2013, folded photocopy; 6. James Carl, deck, 1995, limestone; 7. Artist Micah Lexier; 8. Michael Snow, One Foldage, 1961, folded paper; 9. Tania Kitchell, This and That, 2013, various materials. Photos by Jeremy Jansen courtesy of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. Photo of Micah Lexier by Roger Smith.

intorontomag.com

30 31 ArtCol.indd 31

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O N T H E T OWN

caught in the act by Michael Pihach

2

College Night at Church on Church

1

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3

5

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Toronto Leather Pride Reception at ClGA

6

11

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14

Her at La Perla 12

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→ 1. Ryan Reeve, Joseph Patrick 2. Christian Cheong, Todd Turner, Werner Barriere 3. Richie Elismat, Dale Harrison. 4. Daniel Smilo, Dean Sela 5. Shane McMackin, Ryan Malloy 6. Youkali Youkali, Dwight Skeates 7. Jack Pearce, Victoria Windsor 8. Andy Coatham, Rick McCarty 9. Steve Martin, Peter Rex, Dennis Findlay 10. T’Hayla Ferguson, Jason Cole 11. Patty 12. Matthew Nye, Jeremy Laing 13. Frank Griggs 14. Nancy Bocock, Igby Lizzard 15. Paul Noble, Adam Snellings •

34

September 2013

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