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
21/08/2013 1:43:54 PM
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LIVING & DESIGN
SAVOUR THE CITY — with Marty Galin
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21/08/2013 4:18:19 PM
views | living & design | insight | listings | Arts & entertaiNment | sex
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In the lair of the bear Catering to the hairy and hip is all the rage
Fall arts primer Plenty of colourful stuff to do when the leaves start to turn
amber dawn Memoir of a hustler
Xavier DOlan Bad boy Canadian filmmaker speaks candidly about his young but prolific career—and making dreams come true
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07 Re-routing the AIDS Walk 08
eat and drink your way around Scotland
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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04 05.INTO.MastContents.indd 5
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21/08/2013 2:21:46 PM
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
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
“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
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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
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
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
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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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21/08/2013 1:50:45 PM
LIVING & DESIGN
So Effin’ Bonnie!
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 â†’ 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 wasnâ€™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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LIVING & DESIGN
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
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.
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?
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
Facebook note to friends and fam-
ily saying we had a son coming in a
Michael, when Doug popped the
week, asking what they could pro-
vide us. We got inundated with
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
stopped walking one day. We
different interviews. Police check,
Did you have a choice in terms
treatment. How did you feel when you got
OR, JUST WALK 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
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
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
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.
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
21/08/2013 1:55:15 PM
LIVING & DESIGN
A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE WITHIN REACH.
— 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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IN TORONTO SEPTEMBER V3.pdf
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
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hip and hairy â†’ The mainstream gay aesthetic has made a sharp left into the lair of the bear Story Paul Gallant | Photography inkedkenny.com
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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.
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
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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.
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.
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LISTINGS & EVENTS
september Micha el Coo per
IN THE CITY
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
Pig Opens at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre
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.
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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.
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listings & events
our guide to your month
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,
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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.
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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.
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
cutting-edge dance.” Runs Fri, Nov 22 to 28 at
the Four Seasons Centre. national.ballet.ca.
20 years at the
Ghost Dance at Ryerson Image Centre
Galleries David Bowie at the AGO for
helm of Toronto
thing brightly life-
with a new full-
affirming, the crit-
for 10 dancers
set to Music for
Is exhibition from
Reich. Expect something special. “I first heard
Mohawk-Jewish curator Steve Loft has pulled
Music for 18 Musicians in 1979,” says House,
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-
ographer. One of my earliest works for TDT,
on the tour’s first
created in 1980, used a short section of this
Michelson, Vernon Ah Kee, Sonny Assu, Scott
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
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
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
daring debut novel, Kicking the Sky, a provoc-
22 23 ArtPreview.indd 22
21/08/2013 4:22:14 PM
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
ative exploration of a tragic event from Toronto
Rodriguez and Stephen Lewis (whose words
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
arrest of four men spawned mass protests
Segato—and that sexy, oaken voice of hers—
fuelled in large part by homophobia; Portuguese
hitting an infectious groove. Out this fall from
gangs roamed downtown bashing gays. De
Get Off My Dress Productions.
ates a new
Sa uses these awful events to tell the story of three boys coming of age in Little Portugal. The
Rufus Wainwright with the TSO
novel is a gothic depiction of the sinister forces
You know we’re in a moody jag when Rufus
at work in the boys’ insular, impoverished com-
Wainwright is one of the lighter highlights of
munity. Secrecy, violence and fear, argues De
the season. But this mix of classical and pop—
Sa, were never the exclusive domain of the gays.
including excerpts from Wainwright’s lovely
Treacherous material deftly handled. Releases
opera Prima Donna sung by soprano Melody
Tue, Sep 10 from Random House. randomhouse.
Moore, orchestral settings of his Shakespeare
Sonnets and Wainwright singing everything
Greg Kearney’s The Desperates
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
Jayce Ogren conducting. tso.ca
Soleil, the Met Opera or his actors’ own bodies,
edy as black
no one can bend theatre craft like Lepage. Using
and as off-
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
Bluma Appel Theatre, starring longtime Lepage
through the roof
interpreter Marc Labrèche. canstage.com.
Pig at Buddies in Bad Times
From Jane Austen to bug chasers? UK writer/
director Tim Luscombe has a string of hit
debut novel looks at three lost souls creating
stage adaptations of Austen novels, including
havoc in Toronto: a dying mother, a coddled
Mansfield Park last year at Theatre Royal Bury
wannabe artist and an HIV-positive man with
St Edmunds. But Buddies in Bad Times Theatre
a new lease on life… and lust. “Greg Kearney’s
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-
searing look at romantic love, addiction and
eral manager Scott Dagostino. “The Desperates
obsession. Expect a work as sophisticated as
is one of the titles we’re most excited about.”
it is upsetting. “It’s one of the most visceral
Set to release in October from Cormorant Books.
and honest pieces about gay male sexuality
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-
a role to give the music true meaning. I expect
set to be the
his Grimes will build on the multifaceted depic-
MUSIC Lorraine Segato returns “Rise
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
gay] was fascinated by how society treats peo-
Pride Parade—she’s crushed by a drunk drag
ple who are different. The fact that the opera
queen—and her two sons are left to pick up the
is open-ended, that it makes no judgment, is a
pieces. This two-hander from perennial favou-
stroke of genius. It’s up to you to make up your
rite Daniel MacIvor played to raves last year
own mind about Grimes. Is he a victim of society
at Stratford. One reviewer went so far as to
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
Oct 5 at the Four Seasons Centre with Johannes
MacIvor and John Beale with Dean Gabourie
Debus conducting. coc.ca.
tics. Guest vocalists include d’bi.young, Liz
22 23 ArtPreview.indd 23
21/08/2013 4:22:43 PM
21/08/2013 2:09:43 PM
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
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
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
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
oir. How Poetry Saved My Life
must show them true
(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-
mative power of writing it.
lication or festival with other sex
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-
mary impetus for writing this book.
ten over a longer period of time. It
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
lifeline and the thread that con-
to truly stand proud with my story.
What moved you to write a more
nects me with a larger community
workers’ voices. I was so desperate personal book after Sub Rosa?
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
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-
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
to present our whole selves. So
duty and a joy in speaking up.
identities and sexualities and lit-
erature make wonderful compan-
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
of a stigmatized identity where the
they may choose to speak up about
sex-work memoirs—some that I
speaker—in this case, me—takes
take away from the book?
ing of the politics of sex work, but
21/08/2013 2:10:39 PM
21/08/2013 2:10:55 PM
A RT S & E N T E RTA I N M E N T
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
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-
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
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.
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21/08/2013 2:12:02 PM
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
his fall, art lovers will be
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
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.
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-
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-
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
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,
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.
30 31 ArtCol.indd 30
21/08/2013 2:12:32 PM
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
â†’ 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.
30 31 ArtCol.indd 31
21/08/2013 2:13:12 PM
21/08/2013 2:13:44 PM
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 → My girlfriend and I have been together for a few months, and the sex is intensely wonderful. She is a fantastic lover, and I am a very lucky woman. We have been apart a lot lately, and the pent-up energy and sexual tension make our time together really intense. Last week, in the middle of sex, she grabbed my throat in a moment of passion. The slight lack of air and crushing pressure made me come instantly. We were both surprised at how natural this felt, and how incredibly hot the whole thing went. But I sense she is scared to go there again. How can I reassure her how much I want this without freaking her out? She’s a good partner, and I want to keep her around, so any advice about how to put her at ease would be greatly appreciated. Dani
For lots of people, a hand on the
itself, once you’ve got your sys-
throat can be a powerful turn-on,
tem in place, simply tell her that it
and a little air deprivation often
really turns you on and you’d love
heightens the intensity of orgasm.
to do it again. Desire is sexy.
You’re not alone!
Next up? Safety. Choking is a
But let’s start with the question of
pretty common turn-on but it can
consent. It sounds like you didn’t
be genuinely dangerous. BDSMers
talk beforehand about whether
regularly descend into flame-wars
choking was okay, so your girl-
about this topic online. Some argue
friend might be harbouring feel-
that there’s no guaranteed risk-free
ings of guilt or discomfort, even if
way to choke a partner, while oth-
the experience took you to a happy
ers point out that choke-holds are a
place. There’s nothing wrong with
standard part of countless martial
being all badass in bed, but it can
arts and deaths from it are practi-
be a scary role if you’re worried
cally unheard of. Realistically, dur-
it means you’re a budding serial
ing sex, your partner could squeeze
killer. It’s worth having a conversa-
too hard or too long and not notice
tion with her not about the act of
she’s truly harming you. So think
choking you per se, but about how
carefully about the risks and how
the two of you go about adding
to minimize them. Don’t discount
new things to your sexual reper-
the value of the psychological—
toire. Maybe you like her springing
a hand on your throat may do the
things on you. Maybe you need a
trick without any actual air block-
little discussion first, or a safeword
age, for instance. Or you could hold
in case things go awry. Remember
your breath on your girlfriend’s
that both tops and bottoms get
to have limits. Ask her what she needs and tell her you won’t pres-
Call Today 416-792-5711
some more. Good luck!
sure her if she’s not comfortable with something. What matters is that you set up a system that works for you both. As for the choking
ANDREA ZANIN The Sex Geek blogs at sexgeek.wordpress.com. Email her at email@example.com
21/08/2013 2:14:38 PM
O N T H E T OWN
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