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PUBLISHER Patricia Salib EDITOR Gordon Bowness CREATIVE MARKETING DIRECTOR Nelson Tomé DESIGNER Nicolás Tallarico

The Mint Media Group, publisher of In Toronto and Outlooks magazines, is looking for a full-time Account Manager. You have a proven track record of securing advertising revenue with agencies, media buyers and retailers. You can engage clients over the phone, by email and in face-to-face presentations to secure new businesses. You are efficient in executing the sales process from start to finish, providing exemplary customer service throughout. You enjoy working in a diverse environment and are passionate about the LGBT community. RESPONSIBILITIES Actively seek and secure new business Build relationships to provide repeat business Exceed assigned sales goals and targets Maintain complete and accurate records QUALIFICATIONS At least two years experience in media sales Exceptional communication skills, both written and oral Proven track record in exceeding sales targets Highly motivated, driven and committed Basic PC skills including the ability to use Word and Outlook Qualified applicants, please forward your resumé to To learn more about our publications, please visit and

PRODUCTION COORDINATOR Jara Solis OUR MISSION Inspire gay men and lesbians to live life to the fullest. Expand the gay and lesbian community by valuing diversity and individual choice. Celebrate Toronto. Provide readers with compelling news, information and entertainment. ADVERTISING & OTHER INQUIRIES (416) 551-0444 EDITORIAL INQUIRIES (416) 551-0449 PRODUCTION In Toronto is published by The Mint Media Group all rights reserved. 542 Parliament St, Toronto, ON, M4X 1P6 THE MINT MEDIA GROUP PRESIDENT Patricia Salib DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS Reggie Lanuza DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING & MARKETING Nelson Tomé PROJECT COORDINATOR Jara Solis THIS ISSUE CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Paul Gallant, Krishna Rau CONTRIBUTORS Nicola Betts, Dino Dilio, Derek Dotto, Jeremy Foreshew, Anna von Frances, Serafin LaRiviere, Byron Laviolette, Glenn Mackay, Ian Phillips, Michael Pihach, Adam Segal, Michael Thorner, Doug Wallace, Andrea Zanin ON THE COVER Photography by Glenn Mackay





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LESLIEVILLE LOVE AFFAIR A couple travels the world, then home again by Michael Pihach


FATHERHOOD Chris Veldhoven helps foster the next generation by Paul Gallant


CORKER OF A CASE Free speech versus protection of minorities at the Supreme Court by Krishna Rau


EMBODYING FREEDOM Photos capture the infectious spirit of Toronto’s ball scene by Gordon Bowness





DAVID TESTO MANS UP by Gordon Bowness


ISANYONEUP.COM by Michael Thorner




BEND AND STRETCH by Jeremy Foreshew





BARQUE ON RONCY by Anna von Frances








STI DISCLOSURE with Andrea Zanin


CAUGHT IN THE ACT by Richard Rhyme, Derek Dotto,

Michael Maranda

*as per the Toronto Real Estate Board

TORONTO TALK EXCHANGE VIEW FINDER → DARK GLADES “It’s a monster of a show,” says Shary Boyle, the Toronto-based visual and performance artist. “We’ve never done anything like it — it’s scripted, it’s real musical theatre that follows a narrative arc from beginning to end.” Boyle and Winnipeg-based singer/songwriter Christine Fellows have gained a cult following for their unique brand of visual and musical storytelling, with Boyle manipulating live projections of her inventive imagery, accompanied by Fellows and her band playing and singing an original score. Their new commissioned work, Everything Under the Moon, kicks off Harbourfront’s World Stage festival this month. It’s an all-ages spectacle about loss, environmental threat and the restorative powers of community. “It’s an adventure tale of two common creatures, a honey bee and a little brown bat,” says Boyle. “They are small, fragile creatures with a bad rap. They are freaks of the world, without families, outcasts who have suffered a huge amount of loss at the beginning of the story. There are these ecological issues, unknown diseases that have wiped out species,” says Boyle. “The two little misfits find each other and learn how to survive. It’s about resilience, adaptation and creating family.” Boyle is excited by the challenge of writing an all-ages piece. “To work for kids, it can’t be ironic. The pathos, the tenderness, the absurdity has to be sincere.” Everything Under the Moon opens Sat, Feb 18 at the Enwave Theatre (see page 26).

Andrew Cooper/Dreamworks



February 2012

→ “What does a gay horse eat? Haaaay.”

“Steven Spielberg’s War Horse… was exactly what I expected: beautifully shot, horribly written, unabashedly sentimental and artistically old-school in a lazy kind of way,” writes Peter Knegt, editor at film industry magazine Indiewire, in a cheeky blog posting. “But there was one thing I was definitely not expecting, for War Horse to be so downright campy and, on multiple occasions, most definitely warranting a gay reading.” Knegt, who regularly contributes to In Toronto, attended a screening of the film for the theatrical cast of the Toronto production which opens Tue, Feb 28 (see page 27), a screening that he says was peppered with “theatre humour and catty anecdotes.” To read the entire article, go to thelostboy.


MVP Pro soccer player David Testo has


lent his name and support to Male Call Canada (, a study on the attitudes of men who have

On Jan 12, news media report that the Canadian Department of Justice has weighed in on a divorce case between two women, from Florida and England, who got married in Canada and are now seeking a divorce. The DOJ is arguing the women cannot get a divorce because their marriage was never valid, based on the fact that their places of residence do not recognize same-sex marriage.

sex with men. Led by the University of Toronto, it’s the largest study of its kind in Canadian history. “The more light shined on the subject the better,” says Testo, who has played for four and half years with Montreal Impact, now part of Major League Soccer (MLS). “I grew Opposition politicians and gay rights activists throw a fit, arguing that Stephen Harper has found a backdoor method of annulling gay marriage in Canada. It’s a media storm. Harper says he is unaware of the details of the case, but has no intention of reopening the issue of gay marriage. “I will be looking at options to clarify the law so that marriages performed in Canada can be undone in Canada,” says Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, without actually saying that the government recognizes the validity of all same-sex marriages performed in Canada.

up in the south, where being gay is not accepted,” says the 30-year-old North Carolina native. “I was surrounded by a lot of dark energy, where I was unable to express love in the same way as heterosexuals. “This study is a call to action. By understanding where, how and why men have sex with men, we better our society and save lives.” While his family and many of his teammates knew he was gay, Testo decided to come out to the media last fall following the suicide of bullied Ottawa teen Jamie Hubley. “I had so

Eau Claire Photographics

US columnist Dan Savage, who got married in Canada, tells the Globe and Mail, “When I got out of bed, I was a married man and as soon as I got on my Twitter feed I realized I had been divorced overnight.”

By Jan 13, Nicholson says the government will change the law to ensure that Canada recognizes all same-sex marriages performed in the country as valid. He says the government will change the residency requirement, allowing all such marriages to be dissolved. Everyone breathes a sigh of relief, knowing that same-sex marriages will be dissolved as easily as opposite-sex unions.

Lawyers tell everybody to take a breath, saying nothing has actually changed, that getting married in Canada has never meant automatic recognition in your place of residence, and that the law has always said that getting a divorce from a Canadian marriage requires living in Canada for a year.

much support from my family, from my organization. It just felt right. “Would it have made a difference to me when I was 15 or 16 if an athlete had come out? Absolutely.” Testo isn’t sure about returning to Impact. “Soccer is a macho, testosterone-driven boys’ club and being in that world is energy draining. Now I’m less concerned with winning or losing on the sports field. There are other challenges out there.”



TORONTO TALK EXCHANGE HOW TWEET IT IS BY MICHAEL THORNER is a website with a capitalistically shrewd and deviously ruthless business model. The site hosts amateur nude digital photos of people from all over North America, cleverly filtered by city, uploaded by recipients of “sexted” photos: spurned lovers, ex-partners and mean-spirited hook-ups. These people have chosen for various reasons to share with the world sexy little snapshots of their former flames. The only rule in the rather coarsely written submission terms is that photos must be of those 18 years old or older and not be professionally copyrighted material. Photos are approved and sitebranded by Hunter Moore, the 3. much-hated yet visibly ubiquitous owner. Casually dismissing a subject’s right to privacy or anonymity, the site provides cross-referenced screen captures of their Facebook profile pages, with their names included. One’s personal privacy is erased in an instant, on a global scale, as millions of users view, copy and share these images. Comment tools are provided to discuss the various assets on view. As you can imagine, some fare better than others in public opinion. The site doesn’t care about orientation or gender. Anyone is game for exploitation. The demo skews to the young adult for now, but that could change as the site grows. The site is littered with advertising, presumably generating sizable revenue for Moore. Word of mouth, not to mention a wave of national publicity, is creating a lot of heat and attention. It was only a matter of time before a website like this existed. It holds up a mirror to the darker side of humanity, one that craves revenge, demands retribution and suckles the teat of instant gratification. In his book Empire of Illusion, Chris Hedges writes

416-637-8000 416-637-8000



Bruno Vono



about the moral and ethical erosion occurring in the US due to the sexual extremism going on in the porn industry. Moore’s site is just an extension of the ethical erosion Hedges describes. Technology is the enabler. Demand is inevitably supplied in this consumer society. Will create instant celebrity for subjects who never wished to be famous in the

ISANYONEUP.COM… HOLDS UP A MIRROR TO THE DARKER SIDE OF HUMANITY, ONE THAT CRAVES REVENGE, DEMANDS RETRIBUTION AND SUCKLES THE TEAT OF INSTANT GRATIFICATION. first place? Breach of confidence, malicious intent and invasion of privacy are legal issues between the subject of the photos and the recipient who leaks them, not the website. The era of nude photos ruining someone’s life or reputation died with the birth of the internet. (It didn’t ruin Marilyn Monroe’s career either.) In a world where celebrity careers are enhanced by “leaked nudity,” it was only a matter of time before social media would pull out a trashy, everyman equivalent. Is apathy towards amateur nudity a representation of society’s current moral zeitgeist? Will discourage future drunken sailors from sexting pics of their John Thomases to a prospective lay? I doubt it. One thing is clear: We now live in the world Larry Clark prophesied in his films.

MICHAEL THORNER Tweets at michaelthorner.




Travel expert Loren Christie and telecommunications project manager Peter Remus bought their dream home in Leslieville from friends who lived just down the street Story Michael Pihach | Photography Nicola Betts



You guys have been together for 14 years and this is the second home you’ve owned in Leslieville. LC: We used to live in a two-storey semi-detached in the same neighbourhood. We bought it for nothing because, at the time, the area was still developing. My mother-in-law cried when she first saw it because it was such a dump. She thought our real-estate agent had taken us advantage of us. What do you mean your first house was a dump? LC: It was disgusting. Mice, dirt. Holes in the walls and ceiling. PR: It was infested with cockroaches. LC: Three families had been living there and made the house into apartments. Nothing had ever been fixed or tended to. We spent years fixing it up until we were modestly happy with it. How did you find your current house? LC: One night we were out having drinks with friends who had recently told us that they were moving to Halifax. A couple of bottles of wine later, and they said we should buy their house, which was not too far from ours. We were constantly renovating our place, but because it was our friends’ house, and we loved what they had done with the place, we knew nothing had to be done to it. The interior is modern, but the structure looks old. PR: Our house is 100 years old. It was built in 1912. LC: Same year as the sinking of the Titanic. What do you like about living in Leslieville? PR: It’s a neighborhood in transition. Every time a rundown storefront closes, a funky boutique or hair salon opens in its place. LC: The restaurants and bars are great. Rasputin Vodka Bar and Wayla Bar are just down the road. We can be at work in 10 minutes, or run to the beach boardwalk. 10

February 2012

You can get on the DVP in two seconds. PR: Also, our best gay friends live across the street from us. You have a big family with two dogs. LC: Farley is a Jack Russell we got from a farm up where Peter’s sister lives. Sadie we got with the help of CP24’s Ann Rohmer. I used to work in PR and I was talking to Ann, who’s a big Humane Society supporter, about how we might get a dog. She said, “You’re looking at a dog? You have to get that dog.” She called the Humane Society and got us through the interview process and even paid for the dog, not that it was exorbitant, but it was still a nice gesture. Loren, you still have ties to television with your current gig as a travel expert on Canada AM. How often do you two travel? LC: Travel is our thing, and we’ve done a lot: Cambodia, Vietnam, Peru, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Holland — because I’m half Dutch — London, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Easter Island, Mexico…. PR: We try to get one trip in every year. The objective is to try to have one country for every year of our life. What’s your most memorable trip together? LC: The time we were invited to the christening of a new cruise ship in Amsterdam, where dignitaries show up for the traditional smashing of the champagne bottle, and [Canadian soprano] Measha Brueggergosman was the godmother of the ship.

→ ART WORLD Loren Christie and Peter Remus stock their cheerful home with art and photography from their world travels. One painting that stands out is the 1960s portrait of Remus’s grandmother (this page, bottom left), a councilwoman in Thunder Bay.


Did you ever visit a place where

LC: She was a councilwoman in

you didn’t feel safe?

Thunder Bay in the early ’60s,

LC: We didn’t love Lima. That’s the

which basically means she was

only place we’ve been where we

a rock star. She’s dressed like the

didn’t feel safe.

queen of Northern Ontario. It’s so







warning us about being out after dark.

And you have a book club?

LC: There were policemen telling

LC: We did for years, but then it

us not to go down some streets.

died, but now it’s back on track. It’s consists of about eight of our

The décor in your house is full of

closest friends.

paintings and sculptures you’ve collected from your trips around

What book is the club currently

the world. One piece of art that


stands out is the portrait of

LC: We’re thinking of Unbroken by

Peter’s grandmother hanging in

Laura Hillenbrand. It’s supposed to

the living room.

be good. PR: The last one we read was Room

→ CREATUURE COMFORTS Christie and Remus share their home with Farley, the Jack Russell (this page, bottom) and Sadie, “the big mutt” (opposite page, bottom right).

by Emma Donoghue. LC: It was weird. •


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Jean-François Bergeron / Enviro Photo




well-appointed winter wonderland of Quebec City Story Doug Wallace


often tease my partner about what I call his fantasy world, a place where there’s always chocolate for breakfast, an empty banquette waiting in the corner of the restaurant and 500-threadcount linens on the bed. Magically, Quebec City seems to offer his fantasy come true. Everyone has that stone-fireplace, wool-sweater picture of Quebec in their mind at this time of the year — and that’s pretty much the reality. Winter is


February 2012

extremely well organized, with a list of things to do the length of your arm. Throw in Le Carnaval (Jan 27 to Feb 12 this year;, and you’ve got a fabulous weekend. One of North America’s only fortified cities is also one of its oldest, founded by Champlain in 1608 (Canadian history books out, please; turn to page one). A UNESCO-designated World Heritage site, the upper and lower parts of town are beyond charm-

ing, full of excellent restaurants and shops, art galleries and museums, visited by approximately four million tourists every year. EMBRACE THE THREAD COUNT The award-winning gem in the Relais et Châteaux association of hotels and restaurants is Auberge Saint-Antoine (8 rue Saint-Antoine;; from $170). It’s warm, comfortable, beautiful, storied. Partially built over the old rampart, the auberge

has worked archaeological treasures discovered on the site into its décor. Unearthed crockery, glass, hardware and household items, some dating back to the 1600s, punctuate cozy nooks, room entrances and lobby walls. Down the road in what is one of the city’s first skyscrapers, Hôtel Le Germain-Dominion (126 rue SaintPierre;; from $200) sports the fluffiest down bedding in dark, elegant rooms that manage to seem both old and new.


A clean moody design features

elegant, homespun French dishes

black ceilings and cabinetry, steam

delight at every turn. Very attentive

rads and black wooden blinds. And

service gets you even deeper into the

serious bathrooms: There’s just

food experience. “I will be right back

something extra decadent about a

to talk about the dessert wine you’ve

Frette bath mat.

chosen. It comes from my home town,” said our waiter.

sic, 60-room Hôtel 71 (71 rue Saint-

Across the street, all the cool kids

Pierre;; from $200) was

are having steaks at Le Cercle (228

originally the National Bank’s first

Saint-Joseph E, This is a


big place, with three gallery spaces,

You’ll find the glasses, haircuts

part of an even larger art and music

and bowties crowd at Hôtel Pur (395

scene. Video projections dance on

rue de la Couronne;;

the wall, lighting up the sea of nice-

from $130), which maintains an

looking young people having a good

extremely cool vibe, very minimal-


ist. This is right next to rue Saint





Joseph Est, with its busy shops and

Auberge Saint-Antoine (8 rue Saint-

great eateries. Philippe Dubuc (537

Antoine; is a

Saint-Joseph Est;

bit of old-world charm, boasting

is just down the street, with black

the winner of 2011’s culinary TV

shirts for days, sharp suits and a

competition Les Chefs!, sous-chef

great fit.




And in the shadow of Champlain’s

wherever he goes, St-Pierre visits all

statue, we have the Fairmont Le

the tables every shift — and has to


wear a ball cap and sunglasses to the






grocery store.

from $250) boasting 610 rooms.

Quebec’s fantasy world contin-

Definitely stop into the bar for a mar-

ued around the corner at the Relais

tini even if you’re not staying there.

et Châteaux-associated Restaurant

A stone’s throw from the Frontenac

Initiale (54 rue Saint-Pierre; restau-

sits the modern, mid-price Hôtel where God is in the

Sainte-Anne (32 rue Sainte-Anne;

details — and plenty of them. Chef; from $100). With

Yvan Lebrun offers fine dining at

red-brick walls and charming old

its best, with little surprises thrown

windows that open onto the busker-

in (a refreshing mid-meal sorbet, a

busy, restaurant-lined street below,

post-dessert sweet) to keep you on

this spot is excellent value. You can’t

your toes.

beat the location. Those in the know

“Traditional cooking on a sil-

flock to Le Pain Béni, almost next

ver platter” is one of the mottos of

door (, to

Laurie Raphael (117 due Dalhousie;

soak up the sexy red leather interior

— and the duck fat.

with a touch of crazy. This spot also


Auberge Saint-Antoine

Also in Old Town, the neo-clas-


gives cooking classes, sommeliPACK THE STRETCHY PANTS The number of restaurants per capita is high in Quebec City. Enjoy a string of small plates at Toast (17 rue

er’s dinners, even a dining etiquette class. Continued on page 14

com) tucked inside Le Priori Hôtel. If you’re here in the summer, the terrace is one of the best-kept secrets in the city. At Le Clocher Penché Bistrot (203 rue Saint-Joseph Est;, formerly an old bank,

→ WHERE EVERYTHING OLD IS NEW A panorama of Old Quebec (opposite page), Rue du Petit-Champlain (this page, top right), Auberge Saint-Antoine (upper right), Avenue Saint-Denis (lower right) and Parc de la Chute-Montmorency (bottom right).

Yves Tessier / Tessima

Sault au Matelot; restauranttoast.-



Continued from page 13

down the road, there’s a micro


brasserie, Pub Le Mitan (3887

Despite its plentiful allurements,




you might want to venture outside If you’re visit-

of Quebec. Forty minutes on the

ing during nice weather, rent some

road and you’re skiing at Mount


Saint-Anne’s ( And if touring around is more your speed, rent a car and





drive the 20 minutes to the his-

Lounge (441 rue de L’Eglise), we

toric Montmorency Falls Park. In

watched a little UFC at the long

the winter, the ice spray freezes

bar, waiting for the action to rev

into a huge cone, perfect for tobog-

up for the night. This sexy, retro

ganing and climbing. Even in the

lounge with low amber lights

1700s, this was a place for people

and black leather banquettes has

to hang out and enjoy themselves.

lots of space for the good-looking

Ride the cable car to the top and

crowd that frequents it.

walk across the bridge to get the

The city’s gay scene (too small

full effect, shoot a few snaps and

to call it that, really) exists along

take in the view of Île d’Orléans,

portions of rue Saint-Jean, a strip

the island in the middle of the St

full of bars, cafés and boutiques

Lawrence River — and your next

just outside the walls of the old


city. The most fun is just off Saint-

With only one traffic light, Île

Jean at Le Drague (815 rue Saint-

d’Orléans is actually bigger than

Augustin at Saint-Joachim), a big

Manhattan, home to six parishes

cabaret and dance club. What at

and about 300 founding fami-

first glance looks like an enormous

lies. Similar to Ontario’s Prince

lineup is actually just everyone

Edward County, this region has

smoking. This is where hipsters

some of the best fruit and ber-

of most ages find a song they can

ries in the world. Cassis Monna et

dance to or a wall to prop up.

Filles (721 chemin Royal, Sainte-

Quebec’s fantasy world failed my

Pierre) is your first pit stop for the

partner only once, when signs of

finest cassis outside of France.

gay life dwindled on a Saturday

Bilodeau Cidrerie (2200 chemin

night well before 2am. But the next

Royal, St-Pierre; cidreriebilodeau.

day we were back to our chocolate is great for stocking up on

croissants and frites with mayon-

apple butter, hazelnut and apple

naise — reality in check. •

syrup mustard, apple jelly, apple cider, peppered raspberry cider jelly, ice cider jelly, sparkling ice cider, foie gras in apple sauce… the list goes on. And a little further

→ FROM T HE RAMPART S Porte Prescott gate and Château Frontenac.



February 2011



studies dispel common myths about flexibility training Story Jeremy Foreshew

and strength building. “If the time you spend stretching,” advises Thacker, “causes you to lose time from something else — more running, strength training, or stability exercises — then you might be better off spending the time on that something else.”


Fight the effects of a nine-to-five lifestyle. Try these four simple stretches the next time you’re in your living


lexibility training is a big part of fitness. From celebrity gurus to local personal trainers and online bloggers, everyone seems to be saying the same thing: Stretching is good for you. We’re told to stretch before we work out and then to stretch after. We’re told it will make us faster, stronger and full of energy (well-paired with the promised increase in flexibility). But is this the whole truth, or is it all too good to be true? With most people already struggling to find time to work out, is all this stretching really worth it? MYTH: STRETCHING WILL REDUCE CHANCES OF INJURY In 2004, the US-based Center for Disease Control released a report that compiled and analyzed the results of various studies to see if they could find any patterns in the benefits of stretching. What they found was something entirely different. “We could not find a benefit,” states Stephen B Thacker, a director at the CDC. A 2006 report released in the American College of Sports Medicine Journal (ACSMJ) concludes that there is simply not enough evidence to endorse 16

February 2012

stretching as a way to prevent injuries among competitive or even recreational athletes. MYTH: STRETCHING AFTER A WORKOUT WILL RELIEVE NEXTDAY SORENESS Everyone knows that a good postworkout stretch will keep you from feeling the pain after you hit the grind, right? Wrong. According to the Cochrane Review, an independent and internationally recognized leader in healthcare research, there is no evidence to support the claim that stretching after exercise prevents delayed onset muscle soreness. The 2006 ACSMJ report, however, did find that stretching does help with acute muscle soreness (pain you feel during or right after your workout). MYTH: STRETCHING WILL INCREASE ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE Not according to Dr Ian Shrier of SMBD-Jewish General Hospital in Montreal. His analysis, published in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine in 2004 found that acute stretching (stretching right before exercise) actually reduced an athlete’s performance in areas includ-

ing muscle force, speed and torque. While he did find that stretching could help with running efficiency, this was limited to very short distances. SO, IS THERE ANY POINT TO STRETCHING? Of course there is, because let’s face it, it feels good. It helps combat stiff muscles which become constricted from sitting at a desk, driving a car for long periods and hovering over a smart phone all day. By stretching, we restore the body’s natural range of motion, compensating for the shortening of the muscles which can cause postural issues and physical tension. Additionally, stretching has been proven to increase the circulation of blood which helps promote healthy organ function (think brain, heart, liver and so on) by increasing the flow of oxygen. The best time to stretch is during periods of rest, like when you’re at home watching television rather than when you’re at the gym or on the field. For those who want to prevent injury and increase athletic performance, the best way is by consistent training

room and start to feel open and relaxed rather than hunched over and exhausted. Perform each stretch once or twice for 30 seconds while breathing deeply and calmly. Butterfly stretch: Sit with a tall, strong back. Bend your knees, bringing them wide, with the soles of your feet pressed together. Gently press your knees toward to the floor. Open-arms stretch: Open your arms wide, as if to hug someone while rotating your wrists externally (thumbs going up and back) and pull your shoulders back to stretch the chest. Shoulder shrug: Breathe out as you slowly bring the shoulders up toward the ears. Rotate the shoulders back and down as you release the air, returning to your starting, neutral position. Forearm stretch: Extend your arm in front of you, with your palm away from you and your fingers pointed to the ceiling. Using your other hand, gently pull the hand toward you. •




— with Dino Dilio

— with Adam Segal

It’s high time I investigated the controversial subject of Botox and fillers and I knew exactly where to go: DLK on Avenue Road in Yorkville.



The trip to DLK was nostalgic

allow the distributors or doctors to

because its location was formerly

say what these substances do on-

the Mira Linder Spa in the City

line. This is a disservice to patients

where I worked back in the ’80s. It

who are trying to get qualified valid

seemed fitting that Canada’s origi-

information that examines the

nal day spa was reincarnated into a

benefits and risks. Yet there are no

well-respected dermatologist office

regulations for on-line bloggers or

and swanky skin care centre. DLK

patients who aren’t qualified. Their

offers state-of-the art, non-surgical

information isn’t enough and is

skin therapies with Botox, fillers

often exaggerated and biased.

and laser light skin treatments that

“My partner recently woke me up to something that has probably always been there. He expressed concern about how much I criticize myself (my looks, career and so on). I’m so accustomed to having this little gremlin in my head that is constantly judging me that I don’t really notice it or how awful it’s making me feel. I’m unable to walk by a mirror without tearing myself apart even though, on another level, I know I look just fine. While I know this endless judgment isn’t helpful, I can’t seem to shake it. Can you please let me know how to shut this critter up so I can live my life with some inner peace and self-confidence?” Paul

Here’s what I learned:

refresh complexions and address

• Botox is a pediatric drug. It’s

Imagine this: A real live person

a sort of preemptive strike (“If

dark under-eye circles, hollowing,

used for lazy eye and cerebral

is following you around all day

I tell myself I’m an idiot, then it

sags and bags, brown spots, wrin-

palsy. It’s not an adult drug. This

and night, judging every aspect

won’t hurt so bad if that date

kles and acne.

isn’t well known.

of you. They probably wouldn’t

doesn’t call me back”).

I felt very comfortable walking

• Early testing of volume building

last that long before you cut

It’s helpful to think of your inner

through a door that buzzed me in

filler was on men with HIV to fill

them loose and told them where

critic as a separate entity from

and filling out papers as important

out facial hollowing and deep folds.

they could shove it. It’s amazing

your true self. Your inner critic

as those at a hospital. This is seri-

• Any injectable therapy should

what we’re willing to put up with

tends to speak to “you” while

ous skin care business built by a

only be performed in a professional

when the criticism is coming from

your more grounded self tends

respected, innovative, intelligent

medical clinic by a physician or

inside. We trust and give author-

to speak to “I.” For example: “You

and insightful woman named Dr

supervised registered nurse. Non-

ity to our own hateful thoughts in

are disgusting and need to lose

Lisa Kellet.

medical persons should not be

a way that we would never permit

your flub!” versus “I could bene-

When I met Kellet years ago I

administering injectables. “There

a stranger and it leaves us feeling

fit from more physical exercise.”

immediately liked her matter-of-

are colleges for nurses and physi-

awful and small.

The more aware of your inner

fact skin care approach, psychol-

cians that can regulate this,” says

First off, know that you are cer-

critic you are the better able you’ll

ogy and sophisticated concoctions

Kellet. “But there’s no one to regu-

tainly not alone. To some extent

be to witness it in action from a

she’d whip up to treat this or that.

late non-medical people and that is

we all have that little critter in

distance rather than blindly being

She is a trusted source and I knew

wrong. Health Canada should be on

our heads but for some, like your-

under its spell. In a way, it can

she would have the answers to

that and they’re not.”

self, the critic’s voice can often

feel quite vulnerable to begin fac-

• The popular “Botox party” is

eclipse and drown out your more

ing the world without our critic.

“Men want to look fresh and less

frowned upon by dermatologists.

authentic and wise self. Our inner

You’ll need to trust that you can

tired,” says Kellet. “They don’t

The alcohol at these parties com-

judge can be understood as the

feel good about yourself and sur-

want to look like they did anything,

promises the mind. People should

cumulative sludge that builds up

vive any real-life judgment that

just a fresher version of them-

not be signing consent forms when

as a result of societal and fam-

comes your way... whether you’re

selves. As men get older, they don’t

under the influence.

ily judgment. This critter inter-

constantly bracing for it or not.

pass on to you.

like being told that they look tired

• When done well these treat-

nalized and now replicates these

when going into a meeting and

ments can look very natural and

extreme standards endlessly in

they’re not tired.

enhancing. Go too far and you

your mind. This critic has likely

run the risk of looking like Jocelyn

been a long-standing part of your

Weinstein or Kenny Rogers.

life — a little buddy that has been

“Competing against the young and eager can also put the pressure on to look better.” Finding real information about Botox and fillers isn’t easy or accurate because Health Canada won’t

accompanying you and trying to DINO DILIO The freelance makeup artist and writer is resident beauty expert on CityLine.

protect you, ironically, from others’ judgments. Self-criticism can offer an illusion of preparedness...

ADAM SEGAL The writer and therapist works in private practice in downtown Toronto. Ask him your relationship or mental health question at




ALL IN THE FAMILY → Third-generation

LGBT Chris Veldhoven is uniquely suited to challenge and support the diverse dads and dadsto-be taking The 519’s queer parenting programs Story Paul Gallant | Photography Glenn Mackay


he high-pitched activities

like quality. The kind of gay man

and trans men curious about par-

misogynistic beliefs.” For example,

going on in the rainbow-fes-

who might accidentally show up

enting, he’s tried to make partici-

bad habits, like calling people “the

tooned Family Resources

to a meeting with glitter on his

pants comfortable with the aspects

B-word,” can crop up among gay

Centre of the 519 Church Street

face, Veldhoven’s exuberance does

of parenting that seem most novel

men who don’t have many women

Community Centre include toy-car

indeed make him all sparkly. But

and anxiety-making: How to decide

in their lives. “It’s about not passing

driving, jumping around, colouring,

Sparkle Chris also has a slightly

on co-parenting or adoption or sur-

on the many forms of shame to our

jumping around, filling up on apple

deeper and more subversive mean-

rogacy; how to pursue each of these


slices and cheese cubes, jump-

ing. Used by the two-year-old’s

options; how to sort out the social

Listening to all this thoughtful-

ing around, being dangled by one’s

family to replace words like aunt

and legal implications of each

ness on what it is to be a good par-

ankles and more jumping around.

and uncle — words that draw strict

approach; how to navigate external

ent, it’s hard to overlook the fact

Sometimes a musical cue is like a

gender lines — sparkle is meant to


that Veldhoven himself is child-

parachute ripcord.

separate kinship from the burden

On the other hand, in the 18

less. And single, for that matter.

“How do we feel about a music cir-

of consanguinity. Uncle privileges

cycles of the course he’s taught so

If you want to understand how he

cle? How are parents feeling?” calls

blood ties; sparkle emphasizes a

far, Veldhoven tries equally hard to

has become a queer parenting guru,

out Chris Veldhoven, program coor-

closeness fueled by affection.

make participants a little uncom-

you’re going to have to go all the

dinator of Queer Parenting Programs

As social and legal changes have

fortable about the things they think

way back to his upbringing in rural

at The 519. “There’s been a request

made it easier for gay men to

they already know. Can men be as

Nova Scotia. That’s where he dis-

for ‘Sleeping Bunnies!’” The adults

become fathers, you can argue that

nurturing as women? Are gay men

covered the importance of turn-

in the room, about a dozen of them,

it’s also made it easier for them to

too sexually driven to raise kids?

ing the things that many fami-

knowingly plop mats on the floor.

lead more conventional lives. The

The lights are dimmed. The lyrics

period of partying and self-discov-

“Let’s sit down, let’s sit down” gives

ery that often follows coming out

you a clue what “Sleeping Bunnies”

can pull gay men in a different

is all about. As much as the kids are

direction from their relatives and

enjoying their Saturday afternoon

straight friends. Neither side of the

romp, the monthly Queer Family

equation quite understands how

Mixer is also about parents, who

the other spends its time. Introduce

Are certain family roles feminine

parents and three brothers. They

need a moment or two to catch up

a baby to the gay picture, however,

and, if so, are they equal to mas-

established themselves in Halifax.

and catch their breath.

and suddenly the relatives and

culine roles? Can sissies be good

In 1961, Gerard came down with

straight friends have a point of ref-

daddies? Can men who were born

pneumonia and met a nurse he felt


erence — and someone over which

with a uterus rather than a penis

he could love. They married and in

it’s perfect kid logic. Although

to ooh and aah. Social develop-

be fathers? By the time gay men

1966 had a son, Chris, followed by

Veldhoven’s grey hair, goatee and

ments that seem radical — “You did



another son four years later. When

conservative fashion choices give

what with the sperm?” “She doesn’t

grown sensitive to how society can

Chris was seven, his father came

him the look of a lawyer or real

know her mommy?” “He has how

thwart them, even as they overlook

out as a gay man to his mother.

estate agent, youngsters are more

many daddies?” — can emerge from

how they might sabotage their own

They were separated and divorced

likely to notice his giggly child-

our most old-fashioned impulses.

desires to make a family.

within a year, with Chris and his

When a two-year-old refers to Veldhoven



→ “SPARKLE CHRIS” Chris Veldhoven, program coordinator of Queer Parenting Programs at The 519, upends our notions of what a family should be.

lies would see as worth hiding into


things worth celebrating.

SON & GRANDSON OF LGBT Veldhoven’s father, Gerard, grew up in the Netherlands and came to Canada in the 1950s with his



Since he took his first contract

“We need to really look at the way

at The 519 in 2003, Veldhoven

life as gay men has limited us,” says

brother in their mother’s custody. “I didn’t know why dad was mov-

has tried to upend all of this. On

Veldhoven, 45. “Some gay men don’t

ing out at first, but within two years,

one hand, with his Daddies and

understand how we’ve learned to

he told me, one night when he was

Papas 2B course for gay, bisexual

internalize some really sexist and

Continued on page 20



Continued from page 19

Amherst and in 2004 getting mar-

father’s rich relationship, his own

Veldhoven and his father have

driving me home from Cub Scouts,”

ried in Nova Scotia’s first public

closeness to his mother, his own

decided the ring now represents

says Veldhoven. “He said he was

same-sex wedding. Carter died in

delighted emerging awareness as a

community-mindedness and cross-

homosexual. I had some idea about

2010. He too had attempted to end-

gay man — are foregrounded. The

dressing, and will someday go to a

what that was from the playground.

run his homosexuality in a straight

difficult elements are not ignored,

person in the next generation who

I remembered that it had some-

marriage and, after his own divorce,

but framed as lessons, things to be

exhibits those traits. Veldhoven

thing to do with anal sex and my

had custody of two daughters.

worked through with a smile, and

has, quite remarkably, found a way


to turn what are usually tense, con-

father said, ‘Not necessarily.’”



Veldhoven had already devel-

ing time with his father and Carter

oped romantic crushes on male

and their array of colourful friends


TV characters like Hawaii Five-O’s

who Veldhoven, in retrospect, can

away, his grandfather, who had

Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord) and the



lived through the Nazi occupa-

Partridge Family’s David Cassidy.

absorbed them all with wonder. All

tion of the Netherlands, came out

Somewhat effeminate, he found

the while, his mother was dealing

as trans, telling Gerard that he

Few people born before, say,

the playground to be “a difficult

with her hurt feelings over the mar-

always felt more at home in wom-

the 1980s would have listed a job

place.” After the divorce, fearing

riage, even as she encouraged her

en’s clothing. He had always kept a

in the LGBT not-for-profit sector

Veldhoven was “at risk,” his mother

two boys to accept their father for

suitcase full of them tucked away

among their youthful career aspi-

sent him to a counsellor who sug-

who he was.

somewhere. There is no discomfort,

rations, especially since the sec-



In the 1990s, after Veldhoven’s grandmother


tested life moments into something warm and playful.


gested putting him in a hockey

“The lesson I learned was the

hesitation or shame in Veldhoven’s

tor has only really existed for a

league. “At least I learned how to

damage that can be done by cul-

recollection of the story, which

couple of decades. But consider-


tural homophobia. I saw the dam-

ends with a lighthearted joke about

ing Veldhoven’s upbringing and


age that it did to my mother,” says

he and his father wondering if the


a partner in Norman Carter. The

Veldhoven. Telling this chapter of

trans patriarch should be buried in

University, where he got a degree

two men met while Gerard was a

his life reveals Veldhoven’s knack

men’s clothes or women’s (he was

in psychology, it was no fluke he

teacher at the Amherst School for

for storytelling. There are no vil-

buried in his legionnaire’s uniform

ended up on Church Street. Having

the Deaf and would stay together

lains other than the system. The

— yet another kind of drag). His

also studied theatre (“I didn’t have

for 35 years, for a time running an

positive elements — his father’s

wedding ring was passed down to

the temperament to sell myself”)

upholstery and drapery business in

finding himself as a gay man, his

Veldhoven. Rather than marriage,

he started in the Buddies in Bad





February 2012







two, was in his care.

are made in one stage can turn

Logistically, it was a smooth ride. “I was surprised how few roadblocks






there were,” says Wilson, now 52.

“This isn’t a one-person show,

The social navigation, though, was

it’s about me being a catalyst,” says

more of a challenge, which is what

Veldhoven. “It’s about people learn-

drew him to The 519’s program-

ing what’s right for them. Some

ming. Being gay, it turned out, was

people leave the course, saying, ‘I

much less an issue than being sin-

think a dog is what I can handle.’”

gle and being male.

Although Veldhoven would never

“The world is mom-centric,” he

put it in such vulgar terms, a lot

says. “After dealing with schools

of what he does involves looking

and doctors and everything, it

past the BS and seeing what’s at

is a place to vent to people who

the core of family — love and car-


ing — rather than warped stereo-





types. That means helping people

Daddies and Papas 2B last year. “I

lots of theory, but also with some


uncertainty about his own skills

find their own stories.

started paying attention to people who knew me well and who thought I’d make a good parent…. I’m a fabulous gay uncle.” A US import studying his master’s in education, he came equipped with

and journey forward.

Times Theatre box office. Through his many activist and social contacts, social-development-y contracts started to come his way. He

→ A NEW CHAPTER IN STORY TIME Tim Wilson and Alex, j wallace and Stanley, and John Hart and Anthony — just a sample of diverse families who are rewriting history.

worked at the Lesbian Gay Bi Youth Line, taught LGBT sensitivity at cop

in the room, so people could recog-

school and joined more commit-

nize themselves in the story as it

tees than you could name. When

was being told,” says Bergman.

Stories are the heart of every-

“When I showed up for class, I was

thing,” says Veldhoven. “A lot of

so nervous about having to give an

my work is helping people recog-

account of why I was there,” says

nize the gaps in the story and help-

Reusch, 34. But the non-judgmental

ing them rewrite their own story so

approach soon put an end to that.

that it celebrates them.”

“The class helped me feel less iso-

Veldhoven is open to children in

lated, so I don’t feel like such an odd

the context of a relationship, but


it’s not a priority. He’s an enthu-

John Paul Ricco, an associate pro-

siastic uncle to his two nieces and

fessor at University of Toronto’s

is currently in the process of help-

The 519 and the LGBTQ Parenting

Mixer regular Tim Wilson was

Department of Visual Studies, went

ing a friend have a child. “I’ll be a

Network (now administered by the

already in the process of adopt-

into the course with more con-

‘spunkle,’ a sperm uncle.”

Sherbourne Health Centre) were

ing when Veldhoven was launch-

fidence. Though he’s single and

While that may be a bigger com-

looking for someone to design and

ing Daddies and Papas 2B. When

doesn’t want to parent without a

mitment than being a sparkle,

teach a program for lesbian, bi and

Wilson came out in his 20s, one of

partner, the process helped him

Veldhoven is loath to rank roles.

trans men curious about parent-

the things he felt bad about was

see the bigger picture. The discus-

“A lot of my nurturing energy has

ing, his résumé made him the ideal

the “fact” that he’d never have kids.

sion around surrogacy and its costs

gone into building community,”


To a certain extent, he had bought

made him rethink that option. “It

he says. He was born at the right

But there was something about

into the idea that gay men and

starts to feel like you’re buying a

time to do so. Veldhoven’s own

his personality and his power to

children don’t mix. But as Wilson


story connects three generations

adapt that also made it work. Bear

grew older and enjoyed his broth-

Anecdotally, about 30 percent of

(that we know of) of familial queer-

Bergman (a friend, papa to the two-

er’s and sister’s kids, he realized he

past 2B participants now have kids.

ness to a much larger family tree

year-old at the beginning of this

still wanted his own and wondered

With 18 courses and about 18 par-

defined by love, understanding and

story and partner to trans activist

what it would take to make it hap-

ticipants per group, that’s about

support. He might not be related

and educator j wallace) recounts

pen. He went through the process

97 new queer families. Veldhoven

by blood with the two generations

one story time when the book

mostly on his own. From his first

has seen men start in the 2B pro-

he’s helping to produce so far, but

Veldhoven was reading from was

call to the Children’s Aid Society to

gram, then show up a few months

that doesn’t make the work any less

describing hetero-normative fami-

the time he got “the call,” it was 14

or a few years later at mixers and

rewarding. It doesn’t make him any

lies. “On the fly, Chris changed them

months. It was another 14 months

other programming for queer fam-

less a patriarch — or matriarch, for

all around to reflect all the families

before his son Alex, now in grade

ilies. Individual friendships that

that matter — in his own right. •





gay men and lesbians defend a person’s right to spew venom at them? A crucial Supreme Court case pits free speech against protections for minorities Story Krishna Rau | Illustration Ian Phillips


case currently before the Supreme Court of Canada will decide the future of human rights commissions (HRCs) in the country. It could be the most significant ruling on hate speech in more than 20 years. The case will not affect the definitions of hate speech in the Canadian Criminal Code — which trumps any human rights code, 22

February 2012

but has a much higher burden of proof — which will continue to criminalize speech that incites genocide or leads to violence against an identifiable group. But if the court decides to remove hate speech from the purview of HRCs — which it could potentially do — it could make it a lot easier for bigots to spew venom at gay men and lesbians.

The Supreme Court is deliberating in the case of Bill Whatcott, a fundamentalist Christian who was originally convicted by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission in 2002 of violating hate speech provisions of the province’s human rights code. Whatcott had been distributing homophobic literature that claimed the existence of a homo-

sexual conspiracy to corrupt young people in Saskatchewan schools. “Our children will pay the price in disease, death, abuse and ultimately eternal judgment if we do not say no to the sodomite desire to socialize your children into accepting something that is clearly wrong,” stated one flyer. Whatcott appealed the com-


mission ruling to Saskatchewan

Fellowship of Canada, says that

courts, arguing, in part, that he

the ability to separate criticism of

“We stand with the LGBT com-

was attacking homosexual behav-

conduct and behaviour from iden-

munity on this,” says Gurmukh. “A

iour and not homosexuals them-

tity is crucial to Canada’s multi-

hierarchy of prohibited grounds is

selves. He lost his initial appeal,

cultural society.

constitutionally prohibited.”

but the Saskatchewan Court of

it comes to protection.

tion laws. And the Saskatchewan legislature can probably go back to the drawing board.” The




Association, which is also sup-

“This is not a personal attack on

Gurmukh also says that a rul-


the personhood of gay and les-

ing that strikes down the ability


tion last year, leading the HRC to

bian individuals. There’s a clear

of HRCs to regulate speech would


appeal to the Supreme Court.


have an impact far beyond the gay

trous for free speech in Canada.









porting Whatcott’s position, says the

The Whatcott case has attracted

hood and their behaviour. That’s

a record 21 intervenors, with

found in the scriptures. My iden-

“Look at the signal that would

anti-gay religious groups like the

tity as an evangelical Christian

be sent. The speech of hate-mon-


Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

compels my behaviour in a num-

gers would be given prominence.







Gurmukh Zwibel,



would the













ber of ways, such as sharing my

What’s missing from the debate

may be deplorable, his defence

League and free speech advocates

faith with others. Some people are

is the chilling effect that would

shouldn’t be dismissed.

like the Canadian Civil Liberties

critical of that behaviour. I have

have on the members of vul-

“His fliers mention curricula that



to both accept and recognize that

nerable communities. There are

might be brought into schools. And

Journalists for Free Expression

criticism, not see it as a personal

other associated harms to indi-

the fliers reproduced a page from a

supporting Whatcott and groups


viduals who are part of vulnera-

gay magazine with ads from men





Egale also took issue with the

nities like gay and lesbian lobby

Saskatchewan Court of Appeal’s

group Egale Canada, the African


Canadian Legal Clinic and the

might be less deserving of protec-

Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs

tion than religious or racial minor-

(formerly the Canadian Jewish

ities citing the Supreme Court’s

Congress) supporting the HRC.

ruling in the Taylor case 21 years

In its presentation to the court, Egale





ago. That case — concerning a

seeking boys. Should this type of


personal advertising be allowed and what sort of discussion should we have in our schools? I wouldn’t call this straightforward. “Whatcott also makes an argument





grounded in his religious beliefs,


telephone hotline message that

the appeals court’s acceptance

conveyed an anti-Semitic message

of Whatcott’s defence of lov-

— decided that human rights laws

ing the sinner and hating the sin

on hate speech were a reasonable

would lead to gay men and lesbi-

limit on Charter rights protecting

ble communities. It’s been linked

ing debate we need. Do we want to

ans being unfairly singled out for

free speech.

to depression and even suicide.

give the government the free pen

“The only way to distinguish

Consider the plight of the African-

to decide?”

“It validates a restrictive inter-

Taylor at this step of the anal-

Canadian community. It’s three

Hutchinson says his preferred

pretation of the phrase ‘sexual ori-

ysis is for this Court to declare

percent of the Canadian popula-

result would be that the Supreme

entation,’ based on a fallacious

that promoting a tolerant society

tion, but it was the target of almost

Court remove questions of free

distinction between orientation

which respects the equality and

40 percent of hate crimes.”


and conduct,” stated Egale in its

dignity of [gay men and lesbians]

Gurmukh also claims that per-

factum to the Supreme Court.

is not as pressing and substan-

mitting hate speech under human

“The Court of Appeal’s reasoning

tial a legislative concern as pro-

rights codes could potentially lead

“The more hoped-for decision is

establishes a dangerous precedent

moting racial and religious equal-

to much greater violence. “Most

that human rights commissions

that would limit the scope of pro-

ity and harmony,” states the Egale

troubling is the potential for geno-

are actually intended to deal with

tection afforded to [gay men and


cide. The genocide in Rwanda has

discrimination and accommoda-

been linked to hate speech.”

tion in services and housing.”



Sunil Gurmukh, the lawyer rep-

Egale argues that if individu-



allows for the sort of free-wheel-






jurisdiction commissions








resenting Canadian Journalists for

expected to release a ruling until

to attack gay men and lesbians

agrees with Egale that making

Free Expression, says he doubts


on the basis of their behaviour,

a distinction between conduct

the result of removing hate speech


the protection afforded to sexual

and identity means homosexual-

from human rights codes would be

ing the status quo or requiring

minorities would be virtually non-

ity could be singled out as a legit-

anywhere near as dire.

the Saskatchewan government to

existent, especially when com-

imate ground for attacks in ways

“I don’t think it’ll open the flood-

rewrite its human rights legisla-

pared to the protection afforded to

that racial or religious groups

gates and that we’ll see a lot of

tion, to removing free speech from

racial or religious minorities.

could not be. He says such a ruling

troubling speech. There’s still the

the jurisdiction of human rights

would rank gay men and lesbians

Criminal Code and that’s not an

commissions. •

below other minority groups when

issue at all. There’ll still be defama-





out the speech you don’t like, but




But Paul Saguil, the lawyer rep-

ficult to draft a law that keeps

als or organizations are allowed

But Don Hutchinson, the vice-



which are protected. It’s very dif-




ruling from





FEBRUARY Lundstrom/Brian Summers



JOAN CRAWFORD Johnny Guitar screens at TIFF



ANDREW MCPHAIL Veiled closes at the Textile Museum

I AM Sonali Gulati’s doc screens


DARE TO WEAR LOVE Launches at Textile Museum

Dusdin Condren

Andrew Eccles

CINENOVA Feminist film showcase opens at The Department


SHARRON VAN ETTEN Plays Lee’s Palace


HIGH LIFE Black comedy opens at Soulpepper

Art & Photography VEILED Public, private, protection, intimacy… three contemporary artists explore the veil: Andrew McPhail, Grace Ndiritu and Tazeen Qayyum. 11am-5pm (until 8pm Wed). Closes Sun, Feb 12. Textile Museum. 55 Centre Ave. (416) 599-5321. ANGELL GALLERY Hopelessly Itinerant, acrylic landscape paintings by John Kennedy, and Pixel Pusher, works by David Clarkson, Michael Antokowiak, Jillian Kay Ross and Craig Skinner, paintings that connect to digital processes, curated by Luke Painter. Noon-5pm. Wed-Sat. Until Sat, Feb 18. 12 Ossington Ave. (416) 530-0444. ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO A number of contemporary art shows just opened. And Europe Will Be Stunned by Artes Mundi-winner Yael Bartana is a film

OBEAH OPERA Opens starring Saidah Baba Talibah

trilogy drawing on propaganda films of the 1930s and ’40s to tell the story of the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland. Iain Baxter&, a retrospective of the Canadian conceptual artist. Axis Mundi by Toronto collective Team Macho (Nicholas Aoki, Stephen Appleby-Barr, Christopher Buchan and Lauchie Reid) transforms the Learning Centre Community Gallery into an art studio with interactive sculptures inspired by Northrop Frye. $20. Until Apr 1. 317 Dundas St W. (416) 979-6648.

Film & Video ALL HANDS ON THE ARCHIVE Cinenova is

a London, UK-based non-profit that distributes films and videos made by women. The Art Gallery of York University, the Power Plant Gallery and the Feminist Art Gallery (FAG) coordinate a month-long interaction between Cine-



AMY NOSTBAKKEN The Big Smoke opens

nova and Toronto-based feminist and queer galleries and artists. First up is an evening of screenings curated by New York-based artist Emma Hedditch. Free. 7pm. Fri, Feb 3. The Department. 1389 Dundas St W. Then artists and activists like Michele Clarke, Hannah Jickling, Helen Reed, Chase Joynt, Natalie Kouri-Towe, Logan MacDonald, Hazel Meyer, Midi Onodera, Lisa Steele and Syrus Marcus Ware select works for screening and discussion. 1pm-5pm. Sat, Feb 4, 11, 18 & 25. FAG. 25 Seaforth Ave (side gate). Concludes with a party featuring a commissioned performance by Sharlene Bamboat. 8pm. Sun, Mar 4. Gladstone Hotel. 1214 Queen St W. I AM Virginia-based filmmaker Sonali Gulati’s documentary about journeying back to Delhi to open her family home and meeting up with parents of LGBT kids in India. Screening includes the

TOMMY SMYTHE Co-chairs Snowball gala

launch of the second edition of Vivek Shraya’s novel God Loves Hair. Free. 6:30pm. Mon, Feb 13. Ryerson’s Oakham House. 66 Gould St. See Facebook. SING-A-LONG-A GREASE Calling all beauty-school dropouts for an interactive screening of the 1972 musical starring Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta and Stockard Channing. $19. 7pm. Fri, Feb 24 -26. 1pm. Feb 25. TIFF Bell Lightbox. 350 King St W. (416) 599-TIFF.


Thu, Feb 2-4. See page 30. KICK START CanAsian Dance Festival presents short works from William Yong, Susan Lee, Hiroshi Miyamoto, Emily Cheung, Meena Murugesan and Tomomi Morimoto. $22. 8pm. Thu, Feb 9-11. Winchester Street Theatre.



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LOVE FROM AFAR Eye-popping opera opens at the COC on Thu, Feb 2.

80 Winchester St. (416)504-7529. AT THE WRECKING BALL V An evening of short works that incorporate other disciplines like film, projection and text. With choreographers Tina Fushell, Kate Franklin, Kate Holdern, Joshua Van Tassel, Jacob Niedzwiecki, Zazu Myers and more. $15. 8pm. Thu, Feb 9-11. 4pm. Feb 12. Lower Ossington Theatre. 100A Ossington Ave. (416) 709-5923. COLEMAN LEMIEUX ET COMPAGNIE Bill Coleman and Laurence Lemieux celebrate the opening of Citadel, the company’s new home in Regent Park, with the premiere of Les Cheminements de l’Influence, Lemieux’s solo work inspired by her father, a celebrated political scientist from Quebec. With original music by Gordon Monahan. $25. 8pm. Wed-Sat. Wed, Feb 15-25. 304 Parliament St. (416) 364-8011.

LES RYTHMES DE LA FORÊT COBA (Collective of Black Artists) presents a suite of dances from choreographers Charmaine Headley, BaKari E Lindsay, Linda Faye Johnson and Sister Robin Hibbert originating in the traditional dance forms of Guinea, Mali and Senegal. $22-$30. 8pm. Fri, Feb 3 & 4. 3pm. Feb 5. Fleck Dance Theatre. 207 Queens Quay W. (416) 973-4000. DARK MATTERS Unseen forces are at work on the mind and body in a Frankenstein-esque tale from choreographer Crystal Pite. The Kidd Pivot Frankfurt RM production features an original score from Owen Belton. $12.50-$79. 8pm. Mon-Sat. 1:30pm. Wed. 2pm. Sat. Tue, Feb 28-Mar 3. Bluma Appel Theatre. 27 Front St E. (416) 368-3110. LA FILLE MAL GARDÉE The National Ballet of Canada remounts Frederick Continued on page 26

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Continued from page 25


Ashton’s much-loved romantic comedy — tender, riotous and witty. Look for Matjash Mrozewski in the role of Widow Simone. With music by Ferdinand Hérold and designs by Osbert Lancaster. La Fille was brought to the National by former artistic director Alexander Grant, who originated many roles for Ashton when they were both at the Royal Ballet. These performances are dedicated to Grant, who died on Sep 30, 2011 at the age of 86. He is survived by his partner of 54 years, Jean-Pierre Gasquet. $25-$177. Wed, Feb 29-Mar 4. Four Seasons Centre. 145 Queen St W. (416) 345-9595.


Barque is the hottest spot on the Roncy strip right now. Good luck getting a table on any given night. Luckily, there’s a great bar scene, but if you’re one of these morethan-two-in-a-group types, then make a reservation in advance. In fact, even if you want to sit at the bar, it’s better to have a reservation. It’s a smokehouse, which means I hope you like meat with your meat. Better than St Louis in both atmosphere and menu but not as old-boys’ club nor as pricey as Morton’s. I really like the bar, welcoming and atmospheric enough to both drink and eat at. The servers are friendly and interesting and very knowledgeable about the menu and pairings, though they lean more towards beer than wine. If you’re a non-drinker, they have a lot of oldie sodas like cherry cola and ginger beer, all served with buckets of spicy popcorn brought to your table with menus. I usually just order from the appetizer menu because there’s enough variety there to create a meal, and the portions are really big all around: pulled pork nachos, smoked wings or duck tacos ($10 each). A pound of wings in spicy chipotle sauce and the winter beet salad ($10) with greens and goat cheese (maybe with shrimp, add $6) and I’m stuffed. If you really want to go to town, the sampler for two ($40) comes 26

February 2012

→ WELCOMING & AT MOSPHERIC Barque is for those who like meat with their meat.

with enough food for three, easy. Choose three proteins (brisket, baby back ribs, two beef ribs, or two competition chicken thighs) and three sides (Cuban corn, squash gnocchi, Barque caesar, pickled platter, fries, steamed veg-

BARQUE IS THE HOTTEST SPOT ON THE RONCY STRIP RIGHT NOW. gies, beet and brussels sprouts salad). I’d say the brisket and ribs work well with the delicious gnocchi, fries and the caesar (just for some greens). And two can easily share the sampler for one ($22). For those who don’t eat much meat, the cornmeal crusted halibut with sweet potato puree and smoked lemon vinaigrette ($24) is quite lovely. With its cozy and rustic industrial décor, the atmosphere is great, although they keep the lights a little bright for my taste. Can’t wait for the summer patio.

BARQUE 299 Roncesvalles Ave. (416) 5327700.

PENNY PLAIN Ronnie Burkett’s unsurpassed marionette magic brings the surreal story of the end of the world, as seen from an overstuffed chair, to life. $38-$55. 8pm. Tue-Thu. PWYC. 2pm. Sun. Until Sun, Feb 26. Factory Theatre. 125 Bathurst St. (416) 504-9971. LOVE FROM AFAR The Canadian Opera Company presents an all-Canadian cast in the 2000 opera from acclaimed Finnish-French composer Kaija Saariaho, based on a libretto by LebaneseFrench author Amin Maalouf. A worldweary troubadour in France obsesses over a countess in Italy. With baritone Russel Braun, soprano Erin Wall and mezzo Krisztina Szabó; directed and lit by Daniele Finzi Pasca. The director’s arresting visual style — Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo and the closing ceremonies of the Turin Winter Olympics — will resonate with the composer’s lush mix of traditional and modern forms and instruments. Johannes Debus conducts. $12-$318. Thu, Feb 2, 3, 8, 10, 12, 14, 18 & 22. Four Seasons Centre. 145 Queen St W. (416) 363-8231. IN THE HEIGHTS The North American tour of the exuberant 2008 Tony-winning best musical celebrates the family ties of the hip Latino neighbourhood of Washington Heights in NYC. $51-$165. 7:30pm. Tue-Sat. 2pm. Sat & Sun. Tue, Feb 7-19. Toronto Centre for the Arts. 5040 Yonge St. (416) 644-3665. DIVISADERO: A PERFORMANCE A family is changed forever by a single, violent event. Necessary Angel remounts this arresting version of Michael Ondaatje’s award-winning novel, adapted by the author. Starring Maggie Huculak, Liane Balaban, Tom McCamus, Amy Rutherford and Justin Rutledge (who created the original music); Daniel Brooks directs. $25-$35. 8pm-Tue-Sat. PWYC. 2pm. Sun. Thu, Feb 9-26. Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace. 16 Ryerson Ave. (416) 504-7529. BECKETT: FECK IT! Queen of Puddings presents shorter plays of Samuel Beckett with contemporary classical music from Irish composers inspired by Beckett’s appreciation for the absurd. Starring Laura Condlln, Michal Grzejszczak, Tom Rooney and Sofia Tomic, with soprano Shannon Mercer and trumpet player Michael Fedyshyn; Jennifer Tarver directs. $22-$49. 8pm. Mon-Sat.

1:30pm. Wed. 2pm. Sat. Fri, Feb 17-25. Berkeley Street Theatre Downstairs. 26 Berkeley St. (416) 368-3110. EVERYTHING UNDER THE MOON A musical spectacle from Shary Boyle and Christine Fellows. $15. 7pm. Sat, Feb 18, 22 & 23. 2pm. Feb 19 & 20. 10am. Feb 22. Enwave Theatre. 231 Queens Quay W. (416) 973-4000. See page 6. SOULPEPPER In rep this month: High Life the celebrated black comedy by gay playwright Lee MacDougall. Four drug-addled thieves devise a heist that goes bizarrely wrong. The Dora-winning play was turned into a feature by director Gary Yates in 2009. The Soulpepper production stars Michael Hanrahan, Oliver Dennis, Diego Matamoros and Mike Ross; Stuart Hughes directs. Opening Tue, Feb 21. Long Day’s Journey into Night, Eugene O’Neill’s tortured family drama starring Evan Buliung, Nancy Palk, Krystin Pellerin, Gregory Prest and Joseph Ziegler; Diana Leblanc directs. Opening Feb 23. $51-$68. 7:30pm; 1:30pm matinees. Young Centre. 55 Mill St, bldg 49. (416) 866-8666. THE BIG SMOKE Theatre Ad Infinitum Canada launches with the Canadian premiere of Amy Nostbakken’s acclaimed one-woman show, co-written with director Nir Paldi. A poetic waltz with death inspired by the lives of Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. An a cappella cri de coeur that’s been heralded as a mini-opera. $25. 8pm. Tue-Sat. PWYC. 2pm. Sun. Wed, Feb 22-Mar 4. Factory Studio Theatre. 125 Bathurst St. (416) 504-9971. OBEAH OPERA B Current and Theatre Archipelago present Nicole Brooks’ musical about five women accused of witchcraft in 17th-century Salem and the Caribbean roots of the women’s spirituality. The music ranges from



Kai Wa Yapp

Story Derek Dotto

“The whole world needs more blues and jazz to gospel and traditional. Starring Saidah Baba Talibah; ahdri zhina mandiela directs. $25. 8pm. WedSat. 2pm. Sun. Wed, Feb 22-Mar 4. 918 Bathurst Centre. 918 Bathurst St. (416) 533-1500. WAR HORSE A unique theatrical event. First produced at the National Theatre in London, and based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, adapted by Nick Stafford with songs by Toby Sedgwick, the play has won two Olivier awards and six Tony Awards including best play. (Steven Spielberg also directed a film adaptation; see page 6.) A colt is sent to the front in World War I. His owner, Albert, is too young to enlist but sets off to save his horse. The horses are actual characters brought to life by fantastic life-size puppets. Bring the Kleenex. The Canadian production stars Alex Furber as Albert; Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris direct. $35-$130. 7:30pm. Tue-Sat. 1:30pm. Sat & Sun. Tue, Feb 28-June 30. Princess of Wales Theatre. 300 King St W. (416) 872-1212. RHUBARB Buddies in Bad Times presents the 33rd edition of this free-wheeling performance and theatre festival featuring more than 100 artists over two weeks. With Justin Vivian Bond (of Kiki and Herb fame), Adam Lazarus, Michael Rubenfeld, Sarah Stanley, Erica Nicols, Dana Michel, Yamankata, Sian Robinson Davies, Mikiki, Keith Hennessy, Roy Mitchell, The Gay Heritage Project and The Independent Aunties. $20 per evening. Wed-Sun. PWYC. Sun afternoons. Wed, Feb 8-19. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. 12 Alexander St. (416) 975-8555. See page 31.

Classical Music ESPIRIT ORCHESTRA Gripped by

Passion, a night of drama featuring the

→ AND EUROPE WILL BE S T UNNED Film installation by Yael Bartana at the Art Gallery of Ontario until April.

Toronto premiere of Wo bist du Licht! (Light Where Are You?) by gay Montreal composer Claude Vivier (who was murdered by a lover in Paris in 1983). With mezzo Krisztina Szabó. Plus Giacinto Scelsi’s Ohoi, John Rea’s Zefiro torna and Alfred Schnittke’s Concerto for Viola and Orchestra with solo violist Teng Li. $56-$67. 8pm concert (7:15pm talk). Sun, Feb 26. Koerner Hall. 273 Bloor St W. (416) 408-0208.

Italy,” says Santo DeRose, co-

→ EUROPEAN FL ARE Via Cavour offers colour, cut and manly luxury.

owner of Via Cavour in Yorkville. He and business partner Fabio

says DeRose. “The beauty is that

Fata opened their menswear bou-

you can choose your styling. You

tique in 2003. It’s named after

can choose your fabrics, your but-

Camillo Benso di Cavour, who

tons, your lining. It’s personalized

helped unify Italy in the 19th cen-

for you.”

tury. “Over a good bottle of wine,

Via Cavour has already started

we decided Toronto was in need

to shelve its spring collection,

of a great store,” says DeRose. “We

including suits with more stream-

were both in the clothing busi-

lined silhouettes. “The bottoms

ness and we decided that we’d be

of trousers are getting trimmer,”

Pop & Rock

a good match.”

says DeRose. “Jackets, shoulders,

SHARON VAN ETTEN Folky pop with

crowd, Via Cavour carries some of

penetrating poetry. The Brooklynbased singer releases her new album Tramp on Feb 7. She comes to town with Texas indie rockers Shearwater supporting. $15.50. Tue, Feb 21. Lee’s Palace. 529 Bloor St W.

Issues & Events SNOWBALL The 2012 edition of this big

fundraiser for Casey House AIDS hospice and its outreach programs is called Elemental. With co-chairs Tommy Smythe, Suzanne Dimma and Mark Challen. Featuring the Casey Awards. The dinner is sold out. The party: $150. 9:30pm-1am. Sat, Feb 25. Avenue Road. 415 Eastern Ave. QUEERING BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Reception and photography exhibition on Toronto’s ball/vogue scene (5:30pm). Followed by a panel discussion on queer black history with Kim Crosby, David Lewis-Peart and others (6:30pm). Concludes with a performance by House of Monroe (8pm). Free. Wed, Feb 29. Ryerson Students Centre. 55 Gould St. Check Facebook; see page 28. •

Catering to a business-savvy

the whole silhouette is much trimmer.”

Italy’s finest luxury lines includ-

The palette is muted for the

ing Brunello Cucinelli, Loro Piana

warmer months. “There’s colour

and Di Bianco Footwear. Styles

but it’s soft,” he says. “It’s not as

range from business formal to

bright and vibrant like three or

weekend wear. “Not everybody

four years ago when orange was

should dress the same,” says Fata.

really orange and red was bright

“A lawyer has to dress different


than an architect or a designer.

Colour and cut aside, the two

We’ll show them something with


a little bit of edge to it, rather than

behind Via Cavour say real style

being boring all the time.”

comes with the stride of the man

Aside casual

from wear

its and

off-the-rack suiting,



inside the suit.


“If you have the attitude,” says

Cavour offers made-to-measure

DeRose, “you can carry off almost

pieces for men who want their


clothing to fit just so. The staff will




and send them off to top fashion house Pal Zileri, where everything is hand-made in Italy. “Their garments are fabulous,”

VIA CAVOUR 87 Avenue Rd. (416) 925-1866.




exploding ballroom scene, headed by House of Monroe, brings young people together in a joyful celebration of endless possibilities Story Gordon Bowness | Photography Christopher Cushman


→ WALK THE WALK Christopher Cushman’s photos capture the energy and drama of dancers like Miyoko 007 (007 is a term for free agents, folks who don’t belong to a house) and Dynasty Ninja (opposite page), Snoopy Monroe (this page, far left), Sevyn Prodigy (left) and Sunny Monroe (right).


or the past five years the

same groups: the smart ones, the

homophobia, transphobia, racism

House of Monroe has led

nerds, the mean ones… and you

and gender policing.

Cushman used to belong to a house in Detroit where he grew up.

an outburst of ball culture

have to prove that you are better

“The House of Monroe and other

“The scene here is different from

in the city, where queer youth

than the rest on the runway. If that

houses are really surrogate fami-

the ball scene in the US, it reflects

and their friends dance at wildly

sounds both a good thing and a

lies that queer and trans-identified

the multiculturalism of Toronto.

exuberant events, competing in

bad thing, I mean it that way. You

youths, some as young as 15 or 16,

Voguing is meant to be a street

categories like vogue, face, real-

have to rise above all the shit or it

have made for themselves. These

fight without ever touching. People

ness, runway and best-dressed.

will eat you alive.”

youth have created places of sup-

face off in ‘battles.’ What I find

port and love and wisdom. That’s

most amazing is that after each

really powerful stuff.”

battle, the first thing the loser does

Behind all the infectious fun is

Travoy, now 25, is eager for

a complex support network that

newer houses to start up and

young people of colour have cre-

for more people to get involved

ated for themselves. Organized

in the balls. “It’s a competition.



him a hug, with a big smile on his

into houses, these groups are fam-

Most Torontonians see it only as

Cushman. “This is history in the

face. I mostly see the world as kind

ilies, sometimes more nurturing

a show. You don’t have to belong

making. Though there’s a long

of a dark place these days, but not

than the members’ own biological

to a house to compete. If you can

history of balls in the US, this is

in the balls. They give me hope.”


walk you should walk.”

new to Canada. It’s something

“I go to as many balls as I can,” photographer

An exhibition of ball photog-

“It’s incredibly inspiring to see

really different, fresh and full of

raphy by Christopher Cushman

young black men so free”, says

energy. There’s a spirit, a camara-



Queering Black History Month’s

derie that goes much deeper than

Black History Month. We talked

Lali Mohamed. “The space-mak-

any other gay event.” Cushman

to Cushman, event organizer Lali



is culling thousands of shots he’s








building and gender-bending that

taken in the hopes of turning them

Travoy Monroe about what they

the House of Monroe participates

into a book. A familiar face on the

see in these images.

in every day is deeply political. The

scene, he’s been given the nick-

“They say that life is a runway,”

ballroom scene imagines a world

name of Snaps Monroe. “It’s hon-

says Travoy Monroe, aka Tyra or

where queer and trans black youth

orary. Usually you have to walk

TKO Monroe. “Well balls are high

can be the fiercest and healthi-

first before getting a name. Luckily

school with runway. You have the

est versions of themselves, free of

they haven’t made me walk.”

is walk over to the winner to give

HOUSE OF MONROE There’s a mini-ball performance to conclude the Queering Black History Month panel and photo exhibit. Around 8pm on Wed, Feb 29 at Ryerson (see page 27). Look for a women’s ball in May and a big anniversary ball in September. TORONTO KIKI BALLROOM ALLIANCE Events at York University on Wed, Feb 1 and Fri, Mar 2. Look for both groups on Facebook and YouTube.




weight of history propels the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater toward a buoyant future Story Byron Laviolette | Photography Andrew Eccles


or Robert Battle, newly christened artistic director of the world-renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the past has an important role to play in the future. And both are coming to Toronto this month. Back in 1958, at the age of 27, Alvin Ailey founded the company that bears his name, beginning a choreographic revolution. His journey saw him studying with dance greats Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, Hanya Holm and Karel Shook, eventually carving his own place in such auspicious company. The company’s ever-eclectic style incorporated ballet, modern, jazz and hip hop, fostering a newfound confidence and presence of black artists in dance. Ailey died of AIDS in 1989; he was 58. At 38, Battle is only the third AD in the company’s history, replacing (and hand-picked by) Judith Jamison in 2011. With the company since 1999, Battle knows he’s following in mighty big footsteps. He’s undaunted. “It’s the right fit,” he says. Battle has been at the dance game nearly his whole life, and traces his love of movement and music back to his Liberty City roots in Miami. He remembers singing around the piano as a boy, raised by his great-uncle. “Music was a part of the fabric growing up,” says Battle. Surprisingly, Battle studied martial arts as a youth before training in dance at New World School of the Arts in Miami and at the Juilliard School in NYC. “I was always into the physicality of the martial arts,” he says, “but never the competition. It made me uncomfortable. I was afraid of it.” This mix of curiosity and cau-


February 2012

tion led him in 2001 to create The Hunt¸ a six-man piece set to a rhythmic, percussive score that reveals the predatory side of human nature and the primitive thrill of the hunt. “It’s about the ritual, the idea of exchange just before a hunt. It’s about competition but also comradeship.” That piece plus two others by Battle are programmed with works that span the choreographic history of the company, from Joyce Trisler and Paul Taylor to Rennie Harris. There are two different programs on offer during the tour; the company’s most famous work, Ailey’s Revelations from 1960, concludes both programs. It kind of has to. Exploring and espousing the worship and wonder of American gospel music, Battle calls Revelations “an anchor that

“SPECTATORS SHOULD PAINT ON THE DANCE WHAT THEY WANT.” keeps the company grounded.” But its weight is not without consequence. “If we leave it out, we feel it at the box office. People remember when and where they first saw it. It’s a masterpiece. A true masterpiece.” Battle sees Revelations as a good example of how meaning is made in dance. “Audiences should bring their own story to the work,” he says, “Spectators should paint on the dance what they want. Sometimes it’s okay just to experience it.” Referring to pieces of choreography as “movementbased poems,” Battle admits there are definitely two camps when it

comes to this way of thinking. “It’s like our [US] political system. They just don’t see eye to eye on it.” When asked what the future holds, Battle is reluctant to talk beyond the current tour. “What I will say is that it’s important to me to continue to shock and amaze the audience with new works… but also keep focus on the historical works, to keep their presence alive.” Or in the words of Ailey, himself, “I believe that the dance came

→ “RIGHT FIT” New artistic director Robert Battle is undaunted about the big footsteps he’s following.

from the people and that it should always be delivered back to the people.”

ALVIN AILEY AMERICAN DANCE THEATER $28-$88. 8pm. Thu, Feb 2-4. 2pm. Feb 4. Sony Centre. 1 Front St E. 1 (855) 872-SONY.



our indiscretions, omissions and failures Story Serafin LaRiviere


t’s a blazing flash of colour in a snowy landscape, the redheaded stepchild of respectable theatre festivals everywhere. For 32 years Rhubarb has been showcasing queer theatre’s nicest and naughtiest creators to audiences of every age, gender and orientation imaginable. Over the years artists like Daniel MacIvor, David Bateman, Sonja Mills and Diane Flacks have graced Rhubarb’s stages, presenting original works that pushed the boundaries of contemporary theatre with frank, sexy and funny abandon. Sarah Stanley was one such artist, performing challenging and accessible works that helped define Rhubarb’s eclectic personality. As Buddies’ artistic director (1997 to ’99) Stanley helped nurture new artists. She later departed to focus on her own work. She returns to the festival this year with The Failure Show or: A 13-Point Manifesto for the Consideration of Failure. “It’s a piece I’ve been ruminating on as I’ve been doing my masters in cultural studies,” says Stanley. “I wanted to look at this framework of failure, its contribution

and what it can tell me.” Like so much of Stanley’s work, the Manifesto is both challenging and revealing. With headings like “Failure is beautiful,” “Failure is contagious” and “Failure is both it and its opposite,” reading Stanley’s 13 points will ring true for many. “These are feelings we all have, and they impact so profoundly on people and the decisions they make,” says Stanley. “What I’m responding to is not only how I feel about my own failure, but the cracks in the pavement of the world I’m living in right now. There’s a sadness in that, and I’m deeply interested in what it teaches us.” As she explores these themes both personally and socially, Stanley confounds expectations. “Success always gets the party, but failure is the drive of universal change,” she says. “Can we celebrate it as much as we do success?”


ertainly our own community’s history is ripe with both failure and success. But when we think of LGBT history, there are often numerous gaps in between,

say, Stonewall in 1969 and the Toronto bathhouse raids and riots of 1981. Creators Paul Dunn, Andrew Kushnir and Damien Atkins elucidate our near and distant past with their latest Rhubarb offering, The Gay Heritage Project. Using a theatrical technique called “vocal masque,” the trio hopes to give voice to people, instances and ideas from our own rich and varied history. “These are scenes where we’re playing both people and animated objects,” says Dunn. “We’re still testing out the form and content as it develops. Vocal masque is like that, very much created in moments of improvisation.” They began by examining their own cultural backgrounds as they relate to gay sexuality. Dunn began investigating life as a gay man in Ireland and Scotland in the years prior to his family’s emigration to Canada, while Kushnir focused on the Ukraine and Atkins on Australia. With the help of historian Paul Halferty, they began to unravel gay history in a manner that was both revelatory and challenging. “I

→ THE PERSONAL IS HISTORICAL At Rhubarb The Gay Heritage Project features Andrew Kushnir, Paul Dunn and Damien Atkins. Sarah Stanley offers The Failure Show

think one of the things that we’re being very diligent about is maintaining a personal connection to what we’re engaging with,” says Kushnir. “We’re not creating some neat bundle of heritage moments. We’re treating it as more of a verb than a noun, and asking what is it to search for heritage. “What inspired me and Damien is that there was this sort of sense of not being alone. We’re overcoming the chasms that exist in our history, with one generation passing on ideas to another. But we’ve also connected with this feeling of being robbed in that we haven’t ever really had permission to pore over our history, in schools or even in our community now.”

RHUBARB $20 per evening; PWYC Sunday afternoons. Wed, Feb 8-19. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. 12 Alexander. The Failure Show premieres Feb 8 at 8:30pm in The Cabaret. The Gay Heritage Project premieres Feb 10 at 9:30pm in the North Chamber.



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

“How should I deal with telling folks about STIs I have had previously? I had something that has been treated and gone away. Should I still be telling new partners I had it? If so, how would you recommend doing that?” Robin →

The politics of STI (sexually transmitted


like forever? Gonorrhea, for exam-


ple, can be cured with antibiotics.

sure are complex, especially these

Herpes, on the other hand, can be

days with the increasing tendency

treated during an outbreak, and

toward the criminalization of HIV.

may become asymptomatic for

Let’s leave that thorny issue for

long periods of time, but it’s not

another day. For other STIs, I’ll

yet curable, and it’s contagious a

state my position up front.

small percentage of the time even

Any time you are about to do

if you’re not having an outbreak. If

something sexual with a new

your case is like gonorrhea, then I

partner, I feel it is your job to ask

see no reason to disclose — it’s no

whether the person has anything

longer there, so who cares? But if

they could transmit to you, and to




And any time you are about to do something that could put someone else at risk of contracting an STI, it is your job to tell them.


Of course things still go wrong:

your case is like herpes, then even

You might not know you have an

if it’s not currently active, it’s still

STI; you might not know about

present in your body and still pres-



ents a risk to your partners, how-

ods; you might not have access

ever minor. So before you choose

to those methods even if you do

to keep your past to yourself, make

know about them. (Ever try buy-

sure you know the present score.


ing a dental dam, for instance? Do

As for how to disclose: clearly,

you even know where to look? Or

honestly and without shame. STIs

know how to use one if you had

are a human reality, not a moral

one? Exactly.) Working back from

failing. Try “You’re super hot

my position, then, it’s also your job

and I really want to (insert activ-

to get tested regularly so you know

ity here) with you. I have her-

your STI status, and if you have an

pes, so if you want to get down

STI, to find out how to use protec-

with me, here’s how I usually

tion, when and how long it’s con-

handle safer sex. What do you

tagious for, and so forth.

think?” Communication, protec-

Yes, this actually does require

tion and a bit of creativity will go

some homework. Not everyone

a long way toward getting you laid

can or will do it, but I encourage


you to be a trendsetter. In your case, when you say your STI is “gone away,” are you talking about an STI that’s good and gone,

ANDREA ZANIN The Sex Geek blogs at


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Profile for IN Magazine

IN Toronto Magazine: February 2012  

IN Toronto Magazine: February 2012 Issue: 21 IN Toronto Magazine's February 2012 issue, featuring stories on gay and lesbian living.

IN Toronto Magazine: February 2012  

IN Toronto Magazine: February 2012 Issue: 21 IN Toronto Magazine's February 2012 issue, featuring stories on gay and lesbian living.