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20 17


CAMPFIRES A more cultured city: Christina Zeidler lights the way by Derek Dotto


DID WE MENTION THE ELVES? Plan a fantastical trip to Iceland by Peter Knegt


DANGEROUS REFUGEE GAMES Do Canadian officials know what’s going on in Mexico — or even care? by Paul Gallant


HOPE & BEAUTY Highlights from the 2013 art calendar by Pamela Meredith


LIZA WITH A Z Jennifer Walls weighs in










J CREW INVADES TORONTO by Paul Aguirre- Livingston








CAUGHT IN THE ACT scene photography


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VIEW FINDER → TAKE YOUR SEAT AT DESIGN January is design month in Toronto with both the Interior Design Show (IDS) and Toronto Offsite Design Festival (TO DO). The IDS opening night party on Thu, Jan 24 at the Metro Convention Centre features an auction of 20 Blu Dot Real Good Chairs, each featuring a unique design by the likes of Burton Kramer, Charles Pachter and moimoi design. Pictured are the designs by Luke Ramsey, Marian Bantjes and Sonny Assu. The auction will raise money for ONEXONE (, a charitable organization trying to improve the lives of children in Canada, the USA and around the world. For more info, see page 24 or go to

Jacklyn Atlas



January 2013

→ “Liza Minnelli endures as a gay icon because of her

resilience, her fighting spirit and her unapologetic belief in who she is and what she does.” “Gay men just get Liza, and she gets them — the music, the emotions, the desire to be who you are no questions asked,” says impersonator and singer Jennifer Walls, whose one-woman show Liza Live! opens at the Bathurst Street Theatre as part of the Next Stage Festival on Wed, Jan 2. “It’s a perfect fit. “Plus she’s also no stranger to it: Her father, Vincent Minnelli, was gay himself, as was her first husband, Peter Allen.” Walls says her fascination with Liza goes back to working on the talent show How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria with Andrew Lloyd Webber. “I had the chance to perform at the Palladium Theatre in London, a venue Liza once graced the stage of with her mother Judy Garland.” Walls developed the show while co-hosting an open mic night at Church Street bar Statler’s. “Statler’s is an amazing place in terms of the diversity

of the gay crowd that comes there, “says Walls, “the old guard who still come there to drink, and younger guys just coming out of the closet or just moving into the city. I’ve worked really hard, along with my bandmates Donavon LeNabat and Jamie Bird to make our Monday nights a space free of judgment but full of fun and song. And that’s what Liza’s really about — good times and great singing.” As for her homage to Liza, Walls says she “wants to share with everyone the real truths behind the ecstasy and agony of Liza Minnelli. Whether her story’s been meaningful to you for a few days or for many years, we all can learn something about how to be yourself… and look damn good doing it!” For show times and other Next Stage Festival offerings go to page 26 or


PREMIER PREMIERE As the race for the leadership


of the Ontario Liberal Party — and to be the next premier of Ontario — enters the homestretch, the possibility of history is in the air. Two of the seven candidates — Kathleen Wynne and Glen Murray, both ministers in the cabinet of Dalton McGunity — are openly gay. Should one of them emerge as the winner in the Sat, Jan 26 vote, it would mark the first time an openly ricura 2804

LGBT politician became a premier in Canada. For Kristyn Wong-Tam, who represents Ward 27 — which includes the LGBT village — on Toronto city council, it’s an important occasion.

→ While World Pride is not scheduled to hit Toronto until 2014, Kevin Beaulieu,

executive director of Pride Toronto — which is organizing World Pride — says preparations are well underway. But there’s a lot of work still to be done, especially since organizers still have to put on Toronto’s Pride this summer

“Those of us who belong to the extended LGBTQ family have taken note,” she says. “It clearly demonstrates that gay and lesbian politicians are electable, and there’s the opportunity for us to take leader-

THE COUNTDOWN “Things are moving ahead quite well. But we’ve already had people working on this for more than a year, especially in terms of promotion. We were in London for last year’s World Pride letting people know that this is happening. In the next six months, we’re going to start making some announcements. We’ll be sending out invitations across the world. “There’s still a lot of fundraising to be done. The additional scope comes with extra costs. And we’ll need to be a little ahead of the curve when it comes to programming.”

WHAT’S DIFFERENT? “We’ll have more partners from the cultural sector than at a Toronto Pride. We want people to be here from all over the world. We’ll be holding a human rights conference in conjunction with the University of Toronto. There’ll be activists who are engaged in the LGBT community world-wide, there’ll be politicians, there’ll be academics. In 2014, there needs to be a dialogue internationally. “There’s going to be another level of things going on. We have very diverse communities here in Toronto and we want to showcase that. We may lengthen the route, there’ll be a lot more programming. It’s just going to be a large array of options. Some of it will seem very familiar, but there’ll be a lot more people from all around the world.”

WHAT IT MEANS TO TORONTO “It’s very exciting. We’ve been holding a contest on Facebook to select a theme for World Pride. Right now; ‘Rise Up’ is clearly in the lead. Of course, it’s the name of a song that has been a part of LGBT history in Toronto. And World Pride will be a chance for Toronto to reflect on its own story. “It’s the first time in North America. So Toronto is going to have an opportunity to define and pass forward what is still a relatively young event. We’ll have the chance to put a little bit of the stamp of our character on it and hand it on to Madrid 2017 as a more developed event.”

ship positions in the existing structure. This would be a time of history.” But Wong-Tam says that sexual orientation remains an issue for politicians. “Until we start to dominate the political process, we will still be identified as gay or lesbian. It is not the norm, it’s still very much the extraordinary example. We’re not in any way free from harassment or prejudice. Should they be elected as leader of their party, they automatically become premier and skip a step. During the general election, their sexuality could become an issue.” KRISHNA RAU




CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING → When brand and communications strategist and author Lee Jacobson moved into a newly built modernist midrise overlooking a scruffy park nearly 14 years ago, the surrounding Bathurst and King area was an urban wasteland. Now it’s one of the most sought-after — and contested — neighbourhoods in the city Story Gordon Bowness | Photography Nicola Betts


January 2013


What initially attracted you to this place? I bought it from plans. The building was being developed by Howard Cohen [of Cohen and Alter, now Context Developments]. There was nothing here back then. But you could tell a building set in a park was going to be amazing and unique. I love my view of the park and the skyline. It’s like sitting in front of a stage. In the summer I’m in a tree house. In the winter, I have a better view of the city and all the buildings going up. Luckily, I’m one of the few people I know who likes the CN Tower. You used to write a National Post column called “Design Classics.” Name some of the classics in your home. The Eero Saarinen Womb Chair — great for reading in. The Hans Wegner dinner table and chairs bought at an antique mall going out of business in Port Hope, the Eileen Gray side table, the Marcel Breuer Wassily Chair and the Noguchi lamps. You’ve got a serious design background — masters degree in architecture and urban planning from MIT, founding board member of the Design Exchange, general manager of Bruce Mau Design — and a highpowered consulting firm, and yet you have a weakness for…? Souvenir buildings. I have draw-

ers and drawers of them, touristy souvenirs, salt and pepper shakers… everything from the Leaning Tower to the Toronto City Hall. Though let’s just say I have enough Eiffel Towers. It started when I had a summer job at MOMA in New York and developed an interest in preColombian ceramics that depicted buildings. Do you have an overall design aesthetic? I like to mix up styles; it’s not all mid-century modern. I spent a lot of time finding the different old barstools, for example. I like the idea of the patina of history, of building up layers. It’s about context. A home for me is like a diary, everything is chosen by me, everything has a story behind it that has something to do with my life. Like that book over there, A History of the World in 100 Objects; so I guess my home is like The History of Lee in 10,000 Objects. Continued on page 10

→ LAYERS OF HISTORY Ever-changing views of downtown augment the design classics in Lee Jacobson’s home, such as the Eero Saarinen Womb Chair (opposite page, at right), the Hans Wegner dinner table and chairs (this page, top left) and the George Nakashima chairs (top right). The Wedgwood teacup pendant lights in the kitchen (next page) are designed by Andrew Jones.



you did. His place had this amaz-

We are not against develop-

ing Japanese feel to it. I was just

ment. We love that so many peo-

in heaven. He used to give me off-

ple and businesses have moved

cuts of wood to play with as build-

into the neighbourhood. But we

ing blocks. I was so into that stuff.

must ensure that further develop-

Could you imagine if I had held on

ment respects the unique qualities

to those blocks?

of what is here, and that you have sufficient infrastructure to support

And the green ceramics?

the population. These are estab-

Green is my favourite colour. I fell

lished neighbourhoods, now. You

in love with the first piece when I

can’t just dump giant towers into

saw it in a shop in Amsterdam. It’s

them. Developers should realize

by a gay ceramic artist called Piet

that from a marketing perspective

Groeneveldt. The rest followed and

they shouldn’t kill what’s so won-

were collected all over the place.

derful about Wellington Place.

How did the Wellington Place

architect father of Eero, comes to

Neighbourhood Association come

mind. “Always design a thing by


considering it in its next larger con-

A comment from Eliel Saarinen,

When I first moved in, my neigh-

text — a chair in a room, a room in

bours included urban planner Ken

a house, a house in an environment,

Greenberg and Scott James, former

an environment in a city plan.”

head of the Toronto Historical Board. We immediately saw the potential

You’ve developed brand strategies

of Victoria Memorial Square which

for numerous private and public-

was right outside our door. The park

sector clients, from Sun Life and

was in bad shape — just dirt trails

BC Gas to York Transit and the

and picnic tables. That was as far as

University Health Network. Why

the city thought about park design

does a hospital need a brand?

back then. But the park was the site

It’s not about advertising to get

of the first European cemetery in

more patients; a hospital rarely

Toronto dating from 1793, it was the

needs more patients. But a hospi-

burying ground for Fort York.

tal does need donors, government





funding, staff recruitment, allies

ers were badly deteriorated. So

(or what’s called “friend-raising”). A

my neighbours and I got together,

brand establishes profile and com-

commissioned studies, lobbied the

municates what’s special about any

city and raised money to develop

organization, what it promises. And

designs for the park. Now the

what it must deliver.

remaining grave markers have been Continued from page 9

and the War of 1812 monument has

You’re writing a book. It’s about the dynamics of the

Tell me a story about one of your

been properly lit. There are paved

relationship between clients and

classic pieces.

pathways and benches. It’s amazing

consultants in design, marketing

I think two of my favourite

how popular the park is now. At the

and innovation. Successful out-

pieces are the signed 1953 George

same time the neighbourhood was

comes are the result of great clients

Nakashima chairs. You can tell

discovered by developers, so our

working with good consultants, not

these were made by hand because

focus began to include not only pub-

the other way around. Great clients

the spindles are carved not turned.

lic space but also working to ensure

have openness and respect, a will-

I grew up in Philadelphia and my

that development contributes to the

ingness to learn and to question

family would drive to his studio in

neighbourhood. We became the ad

assumptions, to recognize that they

New Hope. It was just something

hoc voices of the community work-

may not be asking the right ques-

ing with businesses and other resi-

tions of the consultant. Many clients

dents as they moved in.

don’t see that nor understand their

restored and displayed properly

→ GOOD NEIGHBOURS Lee Jacobson cofounded a neighbourhood association to upgrade Victoria Memorial Square (top), the park in which his home is situated. 10

January 2013

role. If the project fails, they blame And now the neighbourhood asso-

the consultant. Great clients know

ciation has bigger battles.

who is ultimately responsible. •

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Up To My Room is the Gladstone Hotel’s groundbreaking art and design show. With the 10th edition in her sights, Christina Zeidler reflects on a multifaceted career built on collaboration Story Derek Dotto | Photography Glenn Mackay





seen how the city is literally burst-

mentor them, keep the shape of the

munity and solidify Zeidler’s place

Christina Zeidler began the




ing with talent but there often isn’t

show,” sayz Zeidler, “but they were

in a family dynasty that knows a

mammoth task of revitaliz-

a place to have it realized,” Zeidler

able to grow the show.” Zeidler and

thing or two about breathing life

ing the landmark Gladstone Hotel.

says. “It was an amazing opportu-

Matharu return to curate the anni-

into bricks and mortar. Her father,

Built in 1889, it was once a hub for

nity to say I’ve got these 37 rooms

versary show with Noa Bronstein

after all, is Eberhard Zeidler, whose

rail travellers, artists and vaude-

and we can have 37 different artists

and David Dick-Agnew.

architecture firm is behind such

ville performers. But the hotel fell

and ideas in here.”

Among the 40 artists showcased

iconic Toronto destinations as the

on hard times in the latter part of

Even before the renovations were

this year are Quadrangle Architects,

Eaton Centre and Ontario Place. Not

the 20th century, becoming a dilap-

complete, Zeidler saw how the

Rachael Speirs, Amy Markanda,

to mention her mother, an art con-

idated shell occupied by week-to-

hotel afforded a unique opportunity

Zanette Singh, Bruno Billio, Rob

sultant, and three older siblings: a

week renters.

to nurture creativity with an alter-

Southcott, Tong (Raine) Shen and

successful architect and developer,

“It was a very sad place when I

native design event called Come

Orest Tataryn

an interior designer, and a property

started. I literally cried on my first

Up To My Room. The first event in

“A lot of artists’ little shows don’t

day,” says Zeidler, president and

2004 brought together artists and

survive and it’s one of the advan-

Once the Gladstone revitaliza-

developer of the hotel. “It was like

designers from various disciplines

tages of having the Gladstone,”

tion was completed in 2005 and the

everyone had been forgotten; the

to showcase their work in the

says Zeidler. The extra exposure

arts community blossomed around

staff, the people who lived there.

hotel’s rooms and public spaces.

and support has helped launch a

it, the threat was no longer decay

Part of my whole thing was mak-

The event, now celebrating its 10th

number of success stories, includ-

but development. As large firms

ing it lively, bringing people into the

year, has grown to become one of

ing Brothers Dressler, who are also

began to size up the area for large-

space, making it a community and

the hottest spots on Toronto’s art

celebrating the 10th anniversary of

scale condo construction, Zeidler

not just the land that time forgot.”

and design calendar.

their design studio this month (see

joined forces with her neighbours to

page 25). An archive of past shows

ensure they had a voice in the con-

exists at

versation on gentrification. Despite


Zeidler’s background as an art-

For the first five years, Zeidler

ist inspired her to invite other local

curated Come Up To My Room with

creative types to design individ-

Pamila Matharu before turning it

The hotel’s reinvention would

successes, such as securing afford-

ual rooms within the hotel. “I’ve

over to others. “We were able to

rally the West Queen West com-

Continued on page 14

January 2013





Continued from page 12

at the Banff Centre, a renowned

able live-work space for artists

arts and cultural institution in the

in certain developments, Zeidler

Alberta Rockies. “We played music,

admits there’s only so much one

literally, 24/7 and collaborated with

can do. “Unfortunately, in our cur-

anyone who came in.”

rent system, no matter what you do

Stepping away from the day-to-

politically and what you do in terms

day operations of the hotel has also

of the rules of the city, you are fight-

allowed Zeidler to revisit her first

ing a losing battle against money.

love, film, producing her first full-

That’s tough because you keep los-

length called Portrait of a Serial

ing the character of the city.”

Monogamist, a lesbian rom-com

Neighbourhood activism and run-

written and directed by Zeidler and

ning a thriving business do take a

John Mitchell. They’ve already shot

toll. “It was stressful to take some-

a trailer as part of their success-

thing from nothing and get peo-

ful fundraising campaign and plan

ple to believe in an idea and build

on starting principal shooting this

a community. It’s not just a bar, it’s


not just a restaurant, it’s not just


tre. It’s everything going in six mil-

store Made and Toronto Design

lion directions,” says Zeidler. Her

Offsite Festival (TO DO) commis-

release? Music. “That pulled me

sioned her to work with Hewlett

through. Having something really

Packard Canada for an exhibit last

over-the-top, fun and performative

September called Special Delivery

was a relief.”

at the design and architecture expo




Zeidler is part of two high-con-

IIDEX NeoCon. Her Simulacra proj-

cept bands. The first is an elec-

ect saw Zeidler transform the inside

tro-pop collaboration with Celina

of a 18-wheeler transport trailer into

Carrol named Ina Unt Ina. “They’re

a photographic forest and camp site

very grand. They want champagne

— and camp in all senses of the

wherever they go,” Zeidler says.


“When Lady Gaga first came out, I

“I’m very attracted to that idea

was like, ‘Bitch.’ She kept stealing

of fake-real, like wood panelling

our ideas. The egg thing, we have

that’s really a photo of wood panel-

a whole thing about how we were

ling. I also like the idea of what we’ll

born out of an egg.”

Sorrell Scrutton


Zeidler is also exploring more

a hotel, it’s not just an arts cen-

accept as real,” she says. “It felt like

an art culture.” Made has put the

And then there’s MINTZ, which

a magical woods environment. It

chairs into production and will sell

sees Carolyn Taylor and Sarena

was interesting how people entered

them during TO DO this month and

it and got nostalgic about camping.



Meanwhile, you’re in the back of an

And if all that isn’t enough, Zeidler

18-wheeler that couldn’t be any-

will play homecoming queen this

thing more anti-environmental.”

month for Come Up To My Room.

Among the digital and painted

“We’re going to have a reunion

backdrops of urban wildlife and

party,” she says, only hinting at



what the milestone will entail.

the standout pieces had to be the

“We’re doing stuff on the side of the



hotel and on the street. It’s a lot of

rated on with her partner Deanne

negotiating with the railway, with

Lehtinen. “They’re called Look-I-

Metrolinx to use the Dufferin Street

Sarian join the duo. “Our first jam

Like, which is actually our code for

session got so elaborate that we

lesbian twinning. These chairs are

bridge. We thought it would be cool to spill out of the building.” A fit-

had 20 albums and they had a real

definitely deep-woods lez chairs,”

ting metaphor for an event, cultural

chronology and a whole discogra-

Zeidler jokes. “Lately, I’ve been

hub and person, for that matter, that

phy. It had a rise and a downfall

thinking about that a lot, about

have had such a wonderful impact

and a comeback.” In 2011, the group

lesbian aesthetics and glamouriz-

on the city.

recorded music for all 20 albums

ing them or bringing them into

January 2013




→ ON THE TOWN Christina Zeidler’s Simulcra installation last September in the back of an 18-wheeler (top) spawned a manufacturing deal for her Look-I-Like chairs. Among her many pursuits, Zeidler is also co-writing and co-directing with John Mitchell (above) a new feature film called Portrait of a Serial Monogamist.

LOOK-I-LIKE Thu, Jan 17-Mar 9.Opening. 3pm6pm. Sat, Jan 26. Made. 867 Dundas St W. (416) 607-6384. TORONTO DESIGN OFFSITE FESTIVAL Opening party. 8pm-midnight. Wed, Jan 23. See page 24 for more. COME UP TO MY ROOM 6pm-8pm. Thu, Jan 24. 11am-8pm. Jan 25. 11am-1pm. Jan 26. 11am-5pm. Jan 27. Both events: Gladstone Hotel. 1214 Queen St W.

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the time to plan for an unforgettable trip to the fantastical destination of Iceland Story Peter Knegt | Photography Ragnar Th Sigurdsson



s winter rears its chilly

is in Toronto during January and

rows the opportunities to see what

no matter how much you think

head, it’s doubtful that

February), a winter escape is not

is truly one of the most stunningly

you might know about the country,

the first travel destina-

the best idea when it comes to the

beautiful countries in the world.

seeing is truly believing.

tion that comes to mind is Iceland.

land of Björk and friends. After

Besides a trip to Iceland definitely

With a population of just more

And even though the literal mean-

all, there are only a couple hours

requires some advance planning,

than 320,000, Iceland has less peo-

ing of its name isn’t quite fair (it’s

of sunlight at winter’s peak (com-

so now is just as good a time as

ple living there than Etobicoke —

actually on average a few degrees

pared to summer, when the sun

any to start figuring out how to

if only Etobicoke could offer stun-

warmer in most of Iceland than it

basically doesn’t set), which nar-

find your way there soon. Because

ning, otherworldly landscapes that

January 2013


include immense waterfalls, gla-

Lagoon is a massive geothermal

ciers, volcanoes, geysers and geo-

spa with steamy waters that are

thermal spas; or an urban set-

part of a lava formation. Its main

ting (yes, there is such a thing in

attraction is a huge outdoor pool

Iceland, thanks to its capital city

with hot, mineral-rich water said

Reykjavik, where two-thirds of the

to cure a wide variety of skin ail-

country’s population resides) with

ments (psoriasis included). The

a progressive culture and nightlife

odd, mountainous landscapes sur-

comparable to a city 10 times the

rounding it make you feel you’re

size. You could easily fill a month


in Iceland without getting bored,

there’s even poolside bars with

though that’s likely not possible

both fresh juice smoothies and var-

for most folks. So that’s why it’s

ious boozy drinks. The general rec-

important to have to have a good

ommendation among Icelanders

plan so you can make the most of

— and it’s a fair one — is to save

whatever time you have there.

the best for last. Its proximity to





Reykjavik is clearly the best home

the airport makes The Blue Lagoon

base. It has a slew of hotels that

a perfect final destination, send-

range from the super affordable

ing you home with a considerable

(KEX is perhaps the most distinct,





In the meantime, there’s a bunch

you’ll ever stay at; to

of smaller geothermal options in

the super chic (the Hilton Nordica,

Reykjavik proper to rev you up for, or the his-

The Blue Lagoon. Pool complexes

toric Hotel Borg,,

are a huge part of Icelandic culture,

to name a few), and there’s tour

and an excellent opportunity to

bus companies that run an endless

witness Icelanders’ everyday lives

array of trips to every attraction in


the country from the city centre

Lagoon contains a peculiar mish-

(with free, reliable wifi on all buses

mash of dozens of different nation-

to boot).

alities, few of them Icelandic). A




Icelandair offers direct flights

good dozen geothermal pools —

to the city’s airport (located in

most of them outdoor — are spread

Keflavík, about 40 minutes from

throughout Reykjavik alone, each

the city centre) from Toronto for

quite affordable and most offer-

fairly reasonable roundtrip rates

ing large pools for swimming laps,

of roughly $800 to $850, taxes and

steam baths, hot pots and even

fees included. That’s compara-

water slides. Laugardalslaug is

ble to a flight to Vancouver these

the city’s largest and most impres-

days. And once you’re there, the

sive, while Vesturbæjarlaug is the

unfortunate economic crisis the

alleged “gay pool” even though

country recently faced has made

firsthand attempts at confirming

barinn) or Dillon (

in the world (they have an openly

it a relatively cheap destination, at

this proved unsuccessful. Rumour

pages/Dillon) most with pints of

lesbian prime minister, after all)

least compared to what it was like

has it you can spot Björk swim-

beer in hand — a national obses-

which has helped Reykjavik’s gay

a half-decade ago or to its Nordic

ming laps at a few of the pools on

sion influenced by the fact that

scene integrate itself into bars of all

neighbours like Denmark, Sweden

any given day, though that too has

and Norway.

been unconfirmed thus far.

gay bars, Gay 46 (

the city’s size. On Fridays and


Saturdays, the city centre is packed with folks partying into wee hours

beer was banned in Iceland until

sex club), while the latter is a more

of the morning at popular bars like

1989. Iceland is very evidently one

traditional gay disco. Be warned,


of the least homophobic countries

Continued on page 19

Arguably the country’s most pop-

An hour or two at the pool can help

ular tourist attraction is just down

rejuvenate yourself after spending

the road from the airport. The Blue

time taking in Reykjavik’s nightlife, which is pretty substantial given

→ SURPRISINGLY URBAN Architecture in Reykjavik ranges from the historic Hotel Borg (top right) to the gorgeous new Harpa concert hall (middle right). The city’s skyline is dominated by the Hallgrímskirkja spire (opposite page) built between 1945 and 1986.

kinds. But there are two explicitly





pages/Kjallarinn). The former has a younger, mixed crowd (though it also offers a connected men’s only bar through a back door that’s the closest thing the country has to a



Continued from page 17

Instagram photos will be the envy

though, the city has a long-stand-

of each and every one of your

ing tradition of seeing gay bars


come and go very quickly (in the

There’s also the more adven-

two years between trips this writer

turous option of renting a car

took, all the gay bars changed), so

and touring around Iceland your-

check Iceland’s official gay tour-

self (if you’re simply staying in

ist website ( Sure things

Reykjavik, the city is very walk-



able and a car is not necessary). An

(, which happens the

extensive road system, known as

second week of August, and a

The Ring Road, circles the entire

bear-specific festival called, yes,

country, offering views of a con-

Bears on Ice (, the

stantly changing landscape that

second weekend of September.

could often double for something



While its spas and nightlife are



out of The Lord of the Rings. Car


touring offers the opportunity

unique, neither compare to a trip

to check out Iceland’s second

to the country’s interior or along

city Akureyri which, though far

the coasts. Aforementioned bus

from a Montreal or a Melbourne

Try and make friends with a local

tours from Reykjavik are a great

with its population of 18,000 peo-

if you really want to experience

way to check out the astonishing

ple, has a few shockingly world-

what the country has to offer. Get

geography. Reykjavik Excursions

class options in terms of restau-

them to introduce you to local



rants and hotels. And if you do

delicacies like harðfiskur, dried

example; its most popular offer-

decide to brave Iceland in the win-

fish pieces eaten as a snack with

ing being The Golden Circle tour.

ter months, it’s also a great place

butter, or svið, a singed sheep’s

cent said it was “possible” (on the

Covering about 300 kilometres, the

to see the Northern Lights.

head; both of which taste way bet-

flipside, the country has one of




→ OTHERWORDLY Stunning landscapes abound in Iceland. Perhaps the most relaxing way to enjoy it is from The Blue Lagoon geothermal spa (top left).

bus brings you to central Iceland

Perhaps the most important part

ter than they sound. Or ask them

the highest rates of irreligion in

and back, with primary stops

of a trip to Iceland is just taking in

(without judgment, it’s a surpris-

the world, with roughly 60 percent

being the gorgeous national park

the culture of the country’s people

ingly sensitive subject) about the

saying religion is unimportant to

Þingvellir, the waterfall Gullfoss

(who, by the way, pretty much all

country’s relationship to elves. A

their daily lives).



speak perfect English). Beyond the

recent survey by the University

Rest assured no matter how

the geothermally active valley of

pools and the beer, Icelanders are

of Iceland found that 17 percent

you end up experiencing Iceland,

Haukadalur which contains the

a pretty magical (and let’s be hon-

of Icelanders were certain that

you’ll want to come back again

geysers Geysir and Strokkur. Your

est, physically stunning) bunch.

elves exist, while another 37 per-

and again. •




Out Adventures


January 2013




and fewer LGBT refugees from Mexico are being accepted in Canada — but that doesn’t mean that violence and persecution are decreasing south of the border Story Paul Gallant


aximilian wasn’t espe-

at all, no.’ I couldn’t believe they

acceptance rate for Mexican claim-


cially hopeful when he

sent me to jail. I couldn’t believe

ants was 17 percent in 2011, down

these countries will be processed




went to the final appeal

something like that would happen

from a high of 28 percent in 2006.

faster than others and will have no

hearing on his refugee claim. He

in Canada.” Maximilian speaks to

(Chinese refugee claimants had an

access to appeal. Although Mexico

had arrived in Canada three years

me via Skype from Finland. He’s

acceptance rate of about 53 per-

was not on the list of safe coun-

and eight months earlier, seeking



cent in 2011, Nigerians 63 percent.)

tries announced in December —

protection from criminal gangs

after spending one fearful month

The IRB doesn’t release statistics

neither was Australia — the gov-

and homophobia in his home state

in Mexico where he says criminals

based on the type of claim, so it’s

ernment is expected to add more

of San Luis Potosí in Mexico. As he

were threatening him for money

difficult to determine how many of

countries to the list in the com-

navigated through a series of hear-

because he’s gay.

those accepted are LGBT.

ing months. Critics suggest the




ings and appeals leading up to this

Canada isn’t what it used to be

Sep 15 decision, only one ruling

for Mexican people claiming ref-



eventually add Mexico because it

had gone in his favour.

ugee status based on persecution

They’re unfairly low,” says immi-

doesn’t want to alienate its NAFTA

What Maximilian (not his real

because of their sexual orientation

gration lawyer Robert Blanshay.

partner. It’s also possible that once

name) didn’t suspect was that he

and gender identity. For one thing,

“I think the government made a

the DCO policy comes into effect,

would be escorted directly from

new visa requirements for Mexican

decision. It took a stance on claim-

the government might lift the visa

the hearing room to jail — not a

citizens have made it more dif-

ants from certain countries.”

requirement, which has been a

detention centre, but a real jail



That stance, Blanshay feels, is

with real criminals — where he

to come to Canada at all: There

taking an increasingly explicit,

stayed for 15 days before he was

were 1,043 refugee claimants from


flown back to the country from

Mexico in 2011, down from 9,296



list, Immigration Minister Jason

which he had fled.



“Overall from Mexico, the acceprates







Stephen Harper government will

source of irritation between the two countries. Announcing



in 2009, the year the visa rule was

it harder to claim refugee sta-

Kenney said he’d like to do a

“They treated me like a criminal,

implemented. On top of that, the

tus here, the Protecting Canada’s

review of the broader social con-

even though I have no criminal

Immigration and Refugee Board

Immigration System Act, passed

ditions in Mexico, but suggested it

record,” says Maximilian, 28. “In

of Canada (IRB) seems much less

by Parliament last June, includes

would likely qualify as a safe coun-

jail I had to hide my sexual orien-

likely to accept that Mexicans,

a new Designated Countries of

try: “I would just say stay tuned.”

tation. Some people asked me, ‘Are

including LGBT Mexicans, are in

Origin (DCO) policy — essentially

Lawyers and other refugee advo-

you gay?’ I was, ‘No, no, no, no, not

danger in their own country. The

a list of countries “generally con-

Continued on page 22



Continued from page 21

who you talk to, 60,000 or perhaps

will suffer for the sake of efficiency

120,000 people have been killed


cates worry that genuine refugees and bilateral flattery. This raises the question of how dangerous Mexico actually is for LGBT people. Is it as good as Europe, as bad as Nigeria? What is Maximilian so scared of?

HOW BAD IS MEXICO? The sandy beaches of Puerto

“When you report a crime of discrimination, it’s going to get lost,” says David García Ponce, the president of the Toronto Latino group Hola, who immigrated to Canada from Mexico in 2000. “The violence is making things stranger. We will

the 1980s. When I press Reyes on

ant could relocate to a safe place

never know who gets caught in the



within the country. The “safe relo-

crossfire. We’ll never know who

LGBT visitors from all over North

heard from others, his boosterism

cation” criterion sounds straight-

raped a gay guy or who hit a les-

America. Gay partiers from Texas,

fades a bit. He admits that people

forward, unless you’re poor. A gay

bian. Things aren’t reported.” Still,

Vancouver or Monterrey camp it up

of different socio-economic back-

man who is persecuted in his vil-

a 2010 National Human Rights

by the Blue Chairs hotel and make

grounds or people who are more

lage could move to Puerto Vallarta,


out on Playa Delfines. But you don’t



but only if he has the money to live

that human rights violations and

have to go to these foreigner-filled

dered people, are at greater risk.

in the more modern, more tolerant

crimes based on sexual orienta-

resort cities to find flamboyant gay-

Then Mexico’s macho side comes

areas; otherwise, the neighbour-

tion or gender identity “are not iso-

ness south of the border. Mexico

out. Living in our relatively egali-

hood he can afford could be just as

lated” events as there is a “serious

City’s Zona Rosa neighbourhood

tarian society, Canadians can find

unsafe as his village.

structural problem of intolerance”

overflows with gay clubs. In the

it hard to understand a country

The “adequate protection” crite-

Zona Rosa streets, you might see

where the rich can live in bubbles

rion is also messier than it appears.

gay men holding hands and kiss-

of modernity and tolerance, while

ing while perusing the pirated

the poor can live in what feels

Almodóvar DVDs offered by street

like an oppressive hyper-Roman

vendors. Mexico City, a District-

Catholic past.









of-Columbia-like capital jurisdic-

“You live in different worlds in

tion, legalized same-sex marriage

Mexico,” says Eugenia Cappellaro,

in 2009; the country’s 31 states

an El Salvadoran-born immigration

are required to recognize these

lawyer in Toronto who has spent


time in Mexico. “It’s difficult to rec-

“I can tell you, in my case, and in my friends’ case, we travel all


since the drug war started in 2006.

oncile all these different worlds.”



within Mexican society. “Just because it’s a democracy doesn’t mean they guarantee the


rights of the LGBT community,” says Olimpia Boido, coordinator of the Newcomer Youth Program at the Sherbourne Health Centre. Like Ponce, her group has seen a decline in Mexican participants since the new visa requirements. Delia (not her real name) came to Canada in 2009 from Ciudad Juárez,


Mexico does have laws protecting

a drug-war-torn city just on the

around the country, with boy-

accept a refugee claim, IRB mem-

LGBT people, but the people who

other side of the US border, after

friends, with girlfriends, and we’ve

bers determine the credibility of

enforce them, the police, are often

her ex-husband found out she was

never had any trouble with the

claimants (are they making it up or

considered corrupt and untrust-

in a relationship with a woman.

police or people in the streets or

exaggerating?), whether the claim-

worthy. A vulnerable person would

“He put a gun to my head and told

anything,” says Alex Reyes, edito-

ant had the opportunity to make a

usually avoid the police, rather

me if he found me with some-

rial director of Mexico’s exuberant

claim in another country (then they

than seek them out. Even presum-

body else, he was going to kill me,”

LGBT magazine Ohm.

should have made the claim there),

ing good intentions, the police are

says Delia, 28. Now living in down-

It’s true, social attitudes are rap-

whether the government of their

now more concerned with the ram-

town Toronto with her partner,

idly changing; some corners of

home country provides adequate

pant drug violence than with fight-

who is a US citizen, and two chil-

Mexico feel like San Francisco in

protection and whether the claim-

ing homophobia. Depending on

dren, aged eight and nine, Delia fre-

January 2013





quently works two jobs while wait-

and they have been attacked,” he

ing to hear about the appeal of her

says. Certainly Maximilian’s fear-

unsuccessful refugee hearing. If

ful about his sexual orientation.

she is forced to return to Mexico,

His home state of San Luis Potosí

she worries that her ex-husband,

is conservative (gay venues are

who is part of a criminal gang, will

few and far between) and infil-

track her down. “If I go back, my life

trated by drug gangs, contributing

is going to be a mess because I have

to a feeling of lawlessness (many

to hide. I can’t be stable with my

people in the neighbouring state of

kids and my partner because we’re

Queretaro avoid going there now).

going to be moving from place to

crimination for being LGBT isn’t



Though he was middle class and


enough anymore.

Mexican government is able to

ran his own computer business,

deliver what it promises: “The

he wasn’t out in San Luis Potosí.




Delia says her background was

Reading case summaries can

middle class. She studied at uni-

be disheartening. One unsuccess-



He never had a boyfriend during

versity for a while; her last job in

ful claimant said he “was threat-

lished that Mexico is making seri-

his time in Canada. In Toronto,

Mexico was operating a machine in

ened and assaulted by an ex-

ous efforts to address police and

he volunteered for a number of

a factory. But, like many LGBT peo-

lover, a senior police officer, who

public corruption, and that there

organizations and was involved

ple in Mexico, she only came out to

believed that the claimant had

is no lack of police protection for

in the Sherbourne Health Centre’s

a small circle of trusted friends.

broken up the ex-lover’s mar-

victims of crime. Discrimination

Supporting Our Youth program.

“Maybe if you hide with your

riage by revealing to his wife that

based on sexual orientation is pro-

In the end, his smooth integra-

friends, it’s okay. But in the streets,

he was bisexual.” Although the

hibited under federal legislation.

tion into Toronto life seemed to

you’re always going to hear insults,”

IRB acknowledged the possibility

State protection was available to

have worked against him. His

she says. Could the police help?

of homophobia and corruption in

the claimant.” By the same logic,

15-day stint in jail was, he says,

“My ex has friends in the police so

the police system, it stated “there

there are no victims of Mexican

because he was a flight risk, easily

I don’t think they’re going to pro-

are avenues of redress for victims

tect me. On the other side, I don’t

of police misconduct or corruption

think they will protect me because

in Mexico, such as the Secretariat

I’m gay. They will call [hate crimes]

of the Public Administration, the

passion crimes [a fight between lov-

Program against Impunity, and

ers]. They don’t take it seriously.”

national or state human rights








under threat had the time, the courage and the smarts to go over


able to disappear from the sight of


authorities. Although he’s thankful to Canada for taking him in, he’s not sure what to make of his experience now. And he’s not sure what to think about Mexico possibly being added to the list of safe countries. “The Canadian people them-

Blanshay suggests that, along

the heads of the police. Another

with recent policy changes, IRB

gay man given the option of resign-



ing with severance pay or being

become jaded listening to so many

fired without any benefits when

drug violence, either, as the gov-

“But it’s politics. I know a lot about

sad stories. He says the Mexican

his boss discovered he was HIV-

ernment claims it’s making seri-


refugee cases most likely to suc-

positive “could have approached

ous efforts on that front, too.

ceed nowadays are those from

the State Commission for Human

HIV-positive gay men, who face

Rights or the National Human



Rights Commission.”





selves, not the government, understand the situation and they’re really supportive,” says Maximilian.

When he talks about his future,


Maximilian sounds sheepish. He


just doesn’t know. “I’m scared but

out that same-sex marriage was

I’m trying to be optimistic,” he


Maximilian’s IRB


healthcare in Mexico. It’s almost

The summary of yet another

legal in Mexico City. “I have les-

says. “I’d come back to Canada if

as if proven oppression and dis-

rejection demonstrates the IRB’s

bian friends living in Mexico City

I could, for sure.” •






MARK CRAWFORD Memorial opens at Next Stage fest

PORTRAIT OF WALLY First of two nights at Bloor Hot Docs


HEDWIG & THE ANGRY INCH Opens starring Seth Drabinsky

Robert Popkin

ANTHONY RAPP Without You closes at the Panasonic




THE PENELOPIAD Opens starring Megan Follows

13 PEYSON ROCK Awake closes at Next Stage fest

Art & Photography


JUMELAGE/TWINNING Six artists from Toronto’s Open Studio were twinned with six artists from Quebec City’s Engramme over an intensive double residency. Including Doug Guildford, Sally Ayre, Pamela Dodds, Liz Menard, Liz Parkinson, Penelope Stewart, Madeleine Samson, Diane Fournier, Lisette Thibeault, Jessie Melissa Bosse, Denise Blackburn and Lise Vezina. The collaborative results on display until Fri, Jan 4. 10am-6pm. Mon-Fri. John B Aird Gallery. 900 Bay St. Macdonald Block. (416) 928-6772. JENNIFER ROSE SCIARRINO X, Y, Z is an exhibition of 3D sculptures exploring how light defines mass. 11am-6pm. Tue-Fri. 1am-6pm. Sat. Until Sat, Jan 12. Daniel Faria Gallery. 188 St Helens Ave. (416) 538-1880.

TOWARD LIGHT Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers present a tribute to celebrated choreographer Rachel Browne, WCD’s founder who died last year. Highlights include a short excerpt from Odetta’s Songs and Dances from 1964 and Browne’s most recent work, from 2012, Momentum. $25. 8pm. Sat, Jan 12. Fleck Dance Theatre. 235 Queens Quay W. (416) 973-4000. . NOCHE FLAMENCA Under the direction of Martín Santangelo and lead dancer Soledad Barrio the award-winning Noche Flamenca has become Spain’s most successful artistic touring company. Experience the heart and soul of flamenco. $45-$90. 8pm. Fri, Jan 18 & 19. Koerner Hall. 273 Bloor St W. (416) 408-0208. THE BODY IN QUESTION Toronto Dance



SOLEDAD BARRIO Noche Flamenca, first of two nights

BROTHERS DRESSLER Design studio anniversary opens

Theatre artistic director Christopher House marks his 34th year performing with new adaptations of two Deborah Hay choreographies, News and At Once. In collaboration with lighting designer Simon Rossiter. $26. 8pm. Fri, Jan 18 & 19. 2pm. Jan 20. Winchester Street Theatre. 80 Winchester St. (416) 9671365.

Design THE HAPPY SHOW Internationally renowned graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister’s 10-year exploration of happiness. $15. 10am-5pm. Mon & Wed-Fri. 10am-8pm. Wed-Fri. Noon5pm. Sat & Sun. Tue, Jan 8-Mar 3. Design Exchange. 234 Bay St. (416) 363-6121. TORONTO DESIGN OFFSITE FESTIVAL

TO DO unites dozens of events as a cool, less commercial, all-Canadian

alternative to IDS. Some of the bigger, more intriguing shows include: Come Up to My Room at the Gladstone Hotel (see page 12), the drop-in-clinic-styled Design Walk-In Pop Up (Mon, Jan 2127; location TBA) and Do West’s myriad of window and store-based exhibits along Dundas Street West this month ( Opening. 8pm-midnight. Wed, Jan 23. Gladstone Hotel. 1214 Queen St W. See Design listings for more. INTERIOR DESIGN SHOW This year’s IDS features speakers John Gidding, Douglas Coupland, Christiane Lemieux and Tommy Smythe, among others. Exhibitors run the gamut from westcoast sustainable furniture designers SwitzerCult Creative to Scavolini, Italy’s top home and kitchen design firm. New this year is the independently curated Designboom Mart; smaller, priced-to-move objects and accessories from cool, up-

RL-11-000-1d June Ad IT_4.1563 W x 5.1563 11-05-18 10:22 AM Page 1


Cool Moves


Choose from a wide selection of beautiful Casablanca ceiling fans on sale now at ROYAL LIGHTING

ROYAL LIGHTING 1549 Avenue Rd. (N. of Lawrence) 416•782•1129


Tristan und Isolde directed by Peter Sellars opens at the COC on Tue, Jan 29.

Hassle Free Moving - Climate Controlled Storage Homes - Condos - Offices - Fully equipped trucks Packing Supplies - Low Rates & Specialss and-coming designers. The opening night party is always a glam affair with heavy hitters from the design community in attendance. Also features the fundraising auction 25 Blu Dot Real Good Chairs (see page 6). Opening party. $55adv; $60 door. 7pm-11pm. Thu, Jan 24. General admin. $19 adv; $22 door.10am7pm. Jan 26. 10am-6pm. Jan 27. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, north bldg. 255 Front St W. CAPACITY Each participant chose a woman designer as a source of inspiration. Featuring Connie Chisholm, Heidi Earnshaw, Simon Ferkul, Laura Langford, Janet Macpherson, Erin McCutcheon, Laura McKibbon, Margaret Pryde, Christina Pupo, Talia Silva, Krystal Speck, Avril Loreti and Anneke van Bommel. Wed, Jan 23-27. Gladstone Hotel Art Bar. 1214 Queen St W. LEU WEBB PROJECTS Do spaces shape ideas? Workplace Affairs explores the

relationship of space to the creative process. Featuring the work and workplaces of Melissa Fisher, Patrick Svilans, Joy Charbonneau, Lizz Aston, Patrick Yeung, Clayton McMaster and Jyhling Lee. Wed, Jan 23-27. Hours TBA. 2830 Dundas St W. BROTHERS DRESSLER The talented — and handsome — fraternal design team celebrates 10 years together creating responsibly produced furniture, lighting, objects and environments with a studio open house. Noon-8pm. Fri, Jan 25. 11am-5pm. Jan 26. Noon-5pm. Jan 27. 225 Sterling Rd, #6. (416) 910-5892. SHINY PRETTY THINGS Featuring new works by Alison Milne, Alissa Coe, Angelika Seeschaaf, The Practice of Everyday Design, Bahar Ghaemi, Bettie Cott, Crawford Noble, Derek McLeod, Dieter Janssen, Dylan McKinnon, Jeremy Hatch, Joy Charbonneau, Continued on page 26


Inner city ad.indd 1

4/24/2012 11:11:36 AM

$598,000 * Steps to Subway * Bloor Mt Pleasant * 3 Bedroom Overlooking Ravine * Large Balcony * Hardwood Floors * Open Concept Kitchen * Arthur Parks & Meghan Parks, Broker & Sales Representative Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited, Brokerage 416-925-9191

LISTINGS & EVENTS Continued from page 25


Jessica Nakanishi, Jordan Murphy, Kirsten White, Rob Southcott, Tomas Rojcik and Zoë Mowat. 1pm-7pm. Thu, Jan 24 & 25. 11am-7pm. Jan 26 & 27. Opening. 6pm-10pm. Jan 25. Cooper Cole. 1161 Dundas St W. (647) 347-3316.

Review Gordon Bowness

Video & Film

Kyla Zanardi

PORTRAIT OF WALLY Doc Soup screens Andrew Shea’s feature documentary on Egon Schiele’s masterful painting seized by the Nazis, only to turn up 60 years later at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, sparking a giant legal battle. With Shea in attendance. $15. 6:30pm & 9:15pm. Wed, Jan 9. 6:45pm. Jan 10. Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. 506 Bloor St W. (416) 637-5150. THE TEMPEST The Met Opera’s live HD broadcasts continue with a repeat of UK composer Thomas Ades’s fantastic new opera based on Shakespeare’s everfascinating tale of a bewitched island. Directed by Robert Lepage with frenetic, expressive Cirque du Soleil touches. $26. Noon. Sat, Jan 12. Cineplex theatres.

Leisure & Sports If you can’t wait for, or afford, a Mediterranean getaway, you have a sun-kissed option within reach: the wonderful Spanish and Mediterranean deli Pimentón on Mt Pleasant south of Eglinton. Though there’s a narrow counter to eat at, this place is really about shopping and take-away: delectable tapas and lunches at the ready, essential ingredients for any Spanish kitchen and Pimentón’s claim to fame, all types of paella cooked perfectly on demand (call ahead). “I love paella because it’s filled with flavours, layers and layers of flavour,” says chef and owner José Arato. “It’s a complex taste but not complex to make.” Made with Bomba rice — the key — homemade stock (chicken or fish, with a veggie option) and fresh seafood, Arato’s paella makes the most of superior ingredients. Lola Csullog opened Pimentón four years ago but Arato, a close friend, took over when she became ill; Csullog died a year ago of cancer. “I also love paella because of the person who taught me to make it,” says Arato. “I think of Lola all the time when making it.” The ever-ebullient Arato is a charming presence behind the food counter. The Italian Venezuelan has built upon his friend’s traditional approach to Spanish cuisine.


January 2013

→ TAS T E T HE SUN Pimentón’s paella is cooked to perfection.

Everything is top notch. Turkey kofta, chicken tajine, poached salmon, butter beans baked in tomato, beet salad with rosemary or sherry vinegar, orzo pasta salad with feta and dill… all very simple but exquisite. (Simplicity also means many dishes are vegan — though Arato stresses that’s not the point, as evidenced by the giant Serrano hams in the window.) Then there are the cakes! The standout is the Santiago cake, made only with almond, egg and sugar; not too sweet with a divine texture. Arato hosts numerous cooking classes including paella, olive oil tasting and wine pairing. He’s cooking up a Spanish food festival for February and a food tour of Barcelona for March. He’s also at the Brick Works market every other Sunday, plus Saturdays in winter for skating. Yes, you have to have the paella, but try the “chorizo in blanket,” locally sourced smoked sausage, not too salty or greasy, in puff pastry. Hot sausage on ice — now there’s a Toronto tradition to get behind. PIMENTÓN 681 Mt Pleasant Rd. (647) 343-4870.

DJ SKATE NIGHTS Boogie on ice with January’s DJs M-Rock, Manifest, Medicineman, Melboogie and JJ Rock. Free. 8pm-11pm. Saturdays. Harbourfront’s Natrel Rink. 235 Queens Quay W. (416) 973-4866.

Print & Readings HISTORY BOYS Journey through queer history with Fab columnists Jeremy Willard and Michael Lyons with an evening of readings and Q&A. $5. 8pm. Wed, Jan 16. Videofag. 187 Augusta Ave. (647) 238-3047.

Jazz, World, Cabaret DIZZY GILLESPIE TRIBUTE Trumpeters Jens Lindemann and Doc Severinsen are joined by trombonist Wycliffe Gordon to celebrate Dizzy Gillespie’s legacy. $45$85. 8pm. Sat, Jan 12. Koerner Hall. 273 Bloor St W. (416) 408-0208. MAD DOGS & ENGLISHMEN Young vocalists Melanie Conly and Bud Roach join instrumentalists from the Talisker Players to survey the wit and song stylings of the inestimable Noel Coward. $35. 3pm. Sun, Jan 13. Innis Town Hall. 2 Sussex Ave. (416) 978-8849. BUIKA The bisexual Spanish songstress brings her steamy mix of traditional coplas (female-centric Spanish torch songs), flamenco, rumba and Afro-Cuban rhythms. $35-$75. 8pm. Fri, Jan 25. Koerner Hall. 273 Bloor St W. (416) 408-0208.

Classical Music ESPIRIT ORCHESTRA Toronto’s innovative classical ensemble celebrates its 30th anniversary by marking the 30th anniversary of the death of one of Canada’s most celebrated and revolutionary com-

posers, Claude Vivier, who tragically was murdered in Paris by a male trick. He was 34. Viver’s music is nuts. His 1979 piece Orion is described as “a cosmic soundscape of luminous twinkling and all-encompassing clouds of sound.” With the premiere of a commissioned piece by Paul Frehner, Phantom Suns, and Igor Stravinsky’s era-shattering The Rite of Spring. Alex Pauk conducts. $25-$55. 8pm. Thu, Jan 31. Koerner Hall. 273 Bloor St W. (416) 408-0208. TORONTO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Robert Spano conducts Tchaikovsky’s dramatic Symphony No 4 plus two songs from Peter Lieberson’s Neruda cycle. With mezzo Kelly O’Connor. $29-$145. 8pm. Thu, Jan 31. 7:30pm. Feb 1 & 2. Roy Thomson Hall. 60 Simcoe St. (416) 593-4828.

Stage WITHOUT YOU Anthony Rapp was working at Starbucks when he won a starring role in the then new musical Rent which, of course, went on to become an international smash hit. But it premiered offBroadway the day after the writer Jonathan Larson died. Rapp’s one-man show explores the background of Rent and Rapp’s relationship with his mother during that turbulent time. Based on a bestselling memoir. $45-$69. 8pm. Tue-Sat. 2pm. Wed, Thu, Sat & Sun. Until Sun, Jan 6. Panasonic Theatre. 651 Yonge St. (416) 872-1212. NEXT STAGE THEATRE FESTIVAL A return engagement for many of the most popular and interesting Fringe productions, running Wed, Jan 2 to 13 at the Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst St). Liza Live! is Jennifer Walls’ 30-minute homage to Liza

LISTINGS & EVENTS Forces in the volatile Panjwaii region of Afghanistan in 2008. Starring Lisa Berry, Ari Cohen, Sergio Di Zio and Ian Lake; directed by Richard Rose. $27-$53. 8pm. Tue-Sat. 2:30pm. Sat & Sun. Thu, Jan 3-Feb 3. Tarragon Extraspace. 30 Bridgman Ave. (416) 531-1827. THE PENELOPIAD What happens when the men return from their “epic” quests? Nightwood Theatre remounts its heralded response by Margaret Atwood to Homer’s Odyssey. Megan Follows leads an all-star cast: Maev Beaty, Neema Bickersteth, Fiona Byrne, Sarah Dodd, Monica Dottor, Audrey Dwyer, Nicole Joy-Fraser, Kelli Fox, Cara Gee, Patricia Hamilton, Pamela Sinha and Sophia Walker. Kelly Thornton directs. $45-$49. 8pm. Tue-Sat. 2pm. Sat & Sun. Thu, Jan 10-Feb 10. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. 12 Alexander St. (416) 975-8555. HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH Local company Breathe.Feel.Love remounts its 2009 production of John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask’s inspiring rock musical of trans love and power. It’s a scrappy bar-sized production animated by arena-sized belter Seth Drabinsky as Hedwig and a live band. $25-$35. 7:30pm. Wed-Fri. 3pm. Sat. Wed, Jan 9-26. Drake Underground. 1150 Queen St W. → T HE HAPPY SHOW Stefan

Sagmeister exhibition at the Design Exchange from Tue, Jan 8 to Mar 3.

Minnelli (see page 6). $10. 8:30pm. Jan 2. 9pm. Jan 5. 4:15pm & 6:15pm. Jan 6. 8:45pm. Jan 9. 3:45pm & 6:15pm. Jan 12. 8:30pm. Jan 13. In the antechamber. Steven Gallagher’s Memorial follows a dying man on his wedding day as he prepares for and plans his upcoming funeral. His fading memory and diminishing physical abilities means he has to relinquish control to his boyfriend and his sister, which he does not do easily. Starring Mark Crawford, Mary Francis Moore and Pierre Simpson; Jeremy Smith directs. $12-$15. 9pm. Jan 2. 7:15pm. Jan 3. 5:15pm. Jan 4. 7pm. Jan 5. 9:30pm. Jan 6. 7:15pm. Jan 10. 5pm. Jan 11. 3pm. Jan 12. 5pm. Jan 12. 5pm. Jan 13. Studio Theatre. Awake explores the ripple effect of gangs within a community, inspired by the infamous 2005 shooting of Amon Beckles during a funeral in a Jamestown church in Toronto. Writer/directors Laura Mullin and Chris Tolley based their script on verbatim interviews with community members. Starring Beryl Bain, Lauren Brotman, Quancetia Hamilton, Muoi Nene, Peyson Rock, David Shelley and Richard Stewart. $12-$15. 5pm. Jan 3. 7:15pm. Jan 5. 9:15pm. Jan 6. 8:45pm. Jan 7. 6:45pm. Jan 8. 7pm. Jan 10. 7:30pm. Jan 11. 9:15pm. Jan 12. 4:45pm. Jan 13. Mainspace. THIS IS WAR Tarragon Theatre presents the world premiere of Hannah Moscovitch’s play set among the Canadian


Tarragon Theatre presents the Toronto premiere of the contemporary revisioning of Austrian playwright/novelist Arthur Schnitzler’s Anatol (1893), adapted and directed by Morris Panych, starring Mike Shara as the philanderer Anatol. $27-$53. 8pm. Tue-Sat. 2:30pm. Sat & Sun. Wed, Jan 9-Feb 10. Tarragon Theatre Mainspace. (416) 531-1827. TRISTAN UND ISOLDE The Canadian Opera Company presents Wagner’s epic masterpiece of illicit love, based on the surreal Opera National de Paris production from 2005, directed by the legendary Peter Sellars in his COC debut, with video by Bill Viola. Superstar Canadian tenor Ben Heppner stars as the doomed romantic knight, with German tenor Michael Baba singing two performances. Melanie Diener and Margaret Jane Wray sing Isolde. Daveda Karanas is Brangäne and Alan Held is Kurwenal. Johannes Debus conducts his first-ever Tristan. $45-$390. 6:30pm. Tue, Jan 29, Feb 8, 14, 20 & 23. 2pm. Feb 2 & 17. Four Seasons Centre. 145 Queen St W. (416) 363-8231. EVERY LETTER COUNTS Looking back at the legacy of her uncle, Filipino opposition leader Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, who was assassinated in 1983, a young woman finds the power to shape her own destiny. Written by Nina Lee Aquino, who stars alongside Jon de Leon, Anthony Malarky and Earl Pastko; directed by Nigel Shawn Williams. Factory Theatre presents the world premiere. $32-$42. 8pm. Tue-Sat. 2pm. Sun. Thu, Jan 31-Feb 24. Factory Theatre. 125 Bathurst St. (416) 504-9971. •

IN SPOT J CREW Story Paul Aguirre-Livingston

The international style cult known as J Crew continues its Canadian invasion with two new shops in Toronto, at the Eaton Centre and Fairview Mall, joining the Yorkdale’s women’s-wearonly outlet. Here you can find Italian cashmere sweaters in colours from purple to turquoise ($280), friendship bracelets ($6), wax cotton jackets ($862) and crisp white dress shirts ($158). “It’s an American style, but it’s also an international style,” says Frank Muytjens, J Crew’s head of menswear design. “We combine the garments in a different way, which makes the brand stand out a little more. We take classic elements from menswear and update it by fit and colour — a little bit more modern, but not trendy. If [a customer] buys something, he wants it for the long haul.” J Crew’s crown jewel is the cyberworshiped best-selling Ludlow suit. With a slim, tailored cut, it has all the accoutrements of a really expensive bespoke suit: a soft shoulder, four-season wool from a family-owned mill in Italy, breathable and durable Bemberg lining, hand-stitched collars, and a curtain waistband for a clean drape. Starting at $600, it’s been worn all over the world from bank-

→ IN T ERNAT IONAL S T YLE J Crew men’s shops finally open in Toronto.

ers to bartenders. “I haven’t seen a guy who doesn’t look good in a Ludlow suit,” says Muytjens. The Eaton Centre location is also among the first to introduce the “Very Personal Stylist” concept. Online or over the phone, staff will make recommendations or search inventories. There’s suit fittings and monogramming. It’s about creating an experience that mimics High Street boutiques but without pretension or exclusiveness. The service is free to anyone and everybody. “It’s a different tool to show guys how to style modern menswear, working with items already in their closet.” As for winter shopping lists, Muytjens suggests adding the Harris tweed Ludlow sport coat that “doubles as a piece of outerwear, when paired with a scarf.” Bubble jackets, too, “especially for you Canadian guys.” As for year-round classics: “Chinos with a pop of colour.” His favourite? “Marigold,” he says without hesitation.

J CREW MEN’S SHOPS Eaton Centre (416) 977-0941. Fairview Mall. (416) 491-0151.





six highlights of the 2013 art calendar Story Pamela Meredith


he power of art can be transformational and restorative. Here are some recommendations for the forthcoming year of solo and group exhibitions at private and public galleries by Canadian and international artists. It’s a varied field to help you find work that brings beauty and hope to your New Year.


January 2013

SIMPLE PRESENT, FUTURE ANTERIOR: 20TH ANNIVERSARY Thu, Feb 7-Mar 16. Susan Hobbs Gallery. 137 Tecumseth St. Susan Hobbs Gallery turns 20 with works by its 15 gallery artists, all dealing with time, memory and the role of the souvenir. The incredible Arnaud Maggs (who sadly we lost in 2012) is represented by Scrapbook, a glimpse into his own personal scrapbooks filled with inspiring items collected early in his career.

MELANIE ROCAN Fri, Mar 29-Apr 27. Paul Petro Contemporary. 980 Queen St W. Melanie Rocan captures “distressed beauty” in her dreamy paintings. Flowers and forests cover and hide bodies, faces and architecture, creating what the artist calls a balance between tension and security.




Sat, Jan 26-Mar 3. Birch Libralato. 129 Tecum-

Until Sun, Feb 17. Oakville Galleries. 1306

seth St.

Lakeshore Rd E. Oakville.

Mitch Robertson makes conceptual artwork

It is always worth the drive to Oakville for

that is gorgeous to look at. This project includes

their amazing program of exhibitions. This

10 versions of the same photograph of The Most

group exhibition around interiority and pri-

Photographed Barn in America, each colourized

vacy (and its opposite), domestic spaces and

according to the fashionable colours of a given

private emotions includes Moyra Davey, Micah

decade. Above is the 1950s version.

Lexier, Attila Richard Lukacs, Ken Lum and

→ HOPE & BEAUTY Art offerings this year include Melanie Rocan’s Burial from 2012 (opposite page), Laura Letinsky’s still life from 2008 (top middle), Mitch Robertson’s The Most Photographed Barn in America, 1950s (lower middle), Robert’s Slippers from 2002 by Patti Smith (top, second from the right), Jonathan Baldock’s Pierrot from 2011 (top right) and Araud Magg’s Scrapbook (detail) from 2009 (lower right).

Gwen MacGregor, among others, as well as the PATTI SMITH: CAMERA SOLO

haunting still lifes of Laura Letinsky.

Sat, Feb 9-May 19. Art Gallery of Ontario. 317 Dundas St W. This is the first presentation of legendary musician, author and artist Patti Smith’s

ARE YOU ALRIGHT? NEW ART FROM BRITAIN Fri, Feb 1-Mar 31. Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art. 952 Queen St W.

work in Canada. The exhibition of photo-

An exhibition exploring beauty, the gro-

graphs, objects and film links photography

tesque and kitsch, this exhibition introduces

with her lifelong interest in poetry and liter-

us to some of the freshest names in British art,

ature. This exhibition will be a must-see for

including Jonathan Baldock, whose Pierrot cre-

fans of her music, her incredible memoir Just

ates a theatrical cast of characters in a variety

Kids and her long-standing art practice which

of unusual materials.

includes drawings and installation alongside photography.

PAMELA MEREDITH Is TD Bank Group’s senior curator.





cast members discuss The Wizard of Oz’s never-ending appeal Story Serafin LaRiviere | Photography Keith Pattison




washed away like so much green

the story are so enduring, nearly

Harold Arlen and EY Harburg pro-

isn’t any trouble… do you


dust. Oh, to live in the Land of Oz,

three-quarters of a century after the

pelled Baum’s story into enduring

suppose there is such a

as imagined by beloved children’s

movie’s 1939 premiere. Garland’s

public consciousness.

author L Frank Baum.

incandescent performance as a

“Of course, we all know the songs,

place? There must be. It’s not a place you can get to by a boat or a train.

Of course, we let go of such fanta-

frightened but hopeful child, mir-

we all grew up with the film,” says

It’s far, far away, behind the moon,

sies as we grow up. The adult world

rored in her own bittersweet life,

Jamie McKnight of The Canadian

beyond the rain.”

has little time for merry songs and



Tenors fame. “But as you’re singing

How many of us have dreamed of

happy endings. But many of us,

ter an oomph that still resonates

the words, and telling the story, all

such a place? Where little people

young and aged, vividly remem-

today. Of course, the book on which


spread happiness and joy, and trou-

ber the first time we heard Judy

the film is based was already a hit

bles are faced with the help of faith-

Garland open that glorious throat

back when Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

ful friends, strong and brave and

and wish herself “Somewhere Over


true. Where good witches are kind

the Rainbow.”

tion, but it’s hard to deny that the

and beautiful, and bad witches get 30


January 2013

Perhaps that’s why the song and




movie’s timeless songs, written by

→ EMERALD CITIES Seen here is the 2011 London Palladium Production of The Wizard of Oz; in Toronto, the cast includes Jamie McKnight as the Scarecrow and Lee MacDougall as the Cowardly Lion.


of a sudden it has this new mean-

one.’ And she’s just wonderful. She

for the show to succeed. The five

fan, the process is as exciting as

ing. It’s so moving.”

can sing and act, and she’s so pleas-

new songs written by Andrew Lloyd

it is arduous. Plenty of stretching

ant to work with.”

Webber and Tim Rice for the pro-

and workouts mean he’s in tip-top

McKnight is one of the stars in the Mirvish production of The Wizard

McKnight agrees, marvelling at

duction were well received for the

shape for the highly physical role,

of Oz; as the Scarecrow, he can’t

Wade’s grace under the huge pres-

show’s British run, but it must be

but there’s still plenty of time to

wait to slip into the wise one’s

sure of taking on such an iconic role

a little daunting to take on such

savour the moment.

floppy shoes. The boyish singer is

for the country’s biggest theatrical

mythic roles that are so familiar to

also relieved with the comfort level


the general public.

of what he’s wearing onstage —

“I don’t know how she does it,”

particularly in comparison to his

McKnight says. “She’s there for


comrades in arms.

every rehearsal, with the dog,


onstage all the time. She’s so young,

allowed to reinvent them some-

but she’s so cool about it.”

what, and bring our own qualities

“It really is wonderful,” McKnight says. “I can easily move around in my costume, whereas Lee is a hot

Despite the bankability of all

water bottle, he’s so padded every-

things Oz, there’s still a substantial

where, and Mike can barely sit

amount of pressure on all involved



characters “But

“My favourite thing is to watch everyone else,” he says. “I love


watching actors in their process,



being in the audience and seeing,



wow, witches are flying! I love being

to the part. Because I can’t just do Bert Lahr.” For McKnight, lifelong showbiz

part of that.”

THE WIZARD OF OZ Opening Sun, Jan 13. Ed Mirvish Theatre. 244 Victoria St. (416) 872-1212.

down in rehearsal in the Tin Man outfit.” Actor and playwright Lee


MacDougall as the Cowardly Lion and Mike Jackson as the Tin Man join Danielle Wade, winner of the reality TV search for the perfect Dorothy Gale, in an all-Canadian cast.


Despite the obvious drawbacks to his Cowardly Lion costume, Lee MacDougall is nonetheless thrilled to be playing one of fiction’s most lovable and iconic cowards. “I

Frank Baum’s famous story has spawned a legion of Oz-related offerings. Here is some of our favourite Ozophilia.






MacDougall. “It seems like it’s been part of my whole life. It’s nearly impossible not to have it as part of your childhood.

The original classic from 1900 was followed by 13 books, all written by Baum over 20 years, furthering the adventures of Dorothy Gale and her friends as they join an ever-expanding cast of misfits that include a Patchwork Girl, a talking sawhorse, Jack Pumpkinhead and a transparent glass cat with pink jewelled brains. Quirky and fun, with all sorts of added Ozian lore.

“And the Lion is just so fun to explore. I love the freedom to react


to everything that happens in a big

Baum wrote and produced (and, according to some intertitles, directed) a series of silent films in 1914/15 based on his Oz stories brimming with vaudevillian clowning and outlandish costumes. Available on DVD collections and online. For extreme Ozophiles.

way. It fits in with the show as well. It’s all big… big emotions, big fun, big sets. It’s just a huge show.” A huge show indeed, with a huge pre-opening boost courtesy of the televised hunt for the actress who will be playing Dorothy. CBC’s Over the Rainbow was a ratings hit, with Canadian viewers electing Danielle


Wade to step into the Kansas waif’s

Motown and Universal’s 1970s foray into AfricanAmerican fairytale, featuring Diana Ross’s effervescent turn as Dorothy, a Harlem teacher magically transported to a very urban Oz to find adventures with Richard Pryor, Lena Horne and an impossibly young (and black!) Michael Jackson. Great music, fantastic dancing and Nipsey Russell. Classic.

plaits and ruby slippers. Her costars couldn’t be more thrilled with the country’s choice. “Personally,




favourite,” says MacDougall who, along with his other co-stars, made an appearance on the TV program mid-search. “I watched that first episode and thought, ‘She’s the


Geoff Ryman’s tour de force novel from 1992 imagines that Dorothy was a real girl whom Baum actually met when he was a teacher in the Midwest — and that she was abused by Uncle Henry. Intertwined with the stories of a Judy Garland-obsessed actor dying of AIDS, an aged Dorothy in a senior’s home and Garland on set during the making of the film. Everything comes together in Manhattan, Kansas and, yes, there’s a tornado. Dark and compelling. WICKED

A sympathetic tale from the Wicked Witch of the West’s point of view, courtesy of US author Gregory McGuire. Later turned into a hit musical by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman. Detailed, political and very adult. A must for the adult Ozophile. THE MERCHANDISE

From figurines and jewellery to toilet seat covers and collectable lawn furniture, virtually any collectable imaginable has been tied into the world of Oz. The 1970s Mego action figure line of dolls features likenesses to the actors that are staggering even when compared to present-day offerings. The toilet seat covers are just plain weird.



S EX s p onsored by spa excess




— with Andrea Zanin

— with Adam Segal “My girlfriend of six years and I have a pretty healthy relationship. About six months ago she started a new job and has become quite close with several of her new coworkers. There is one new friendship emerging that I’m especially concerned about, as my girlfriend seems to be spending more time with that friend than any other friend I’ve seen her with before. I don’t believe there is anything sexual going on between them, but I do wonder if they’re getting too close. I’ve noticed that my girlfriend avoids spending time with all three of us together, which makes me that much more ambivalent and suspicious. Is the idea of an emotional affair just psychobabble or is it a legitimate thing and if so how should I address this?” →

Emma You have reason to be cautious about the pop psychology world’s tendency to run wild with a new “issue.” (There’s a reason used book stores are brimming with dusty copies of Co-Dependent No More and the like). But while the concept of emotional affairs might seem a little far-fetched to some, I think they are very real and, in my experience, more detrimental than purely sexual affairs. First, the fact that she is keeping you out of the loop could be a red flag. Emotional affairs can be understood as relationships that go beyond a platonic connection, where there is a greater depth and investment with the added element of secrecy. Here’s where it’s complicated: The excitement of a budding new friendship can be somewhat thrilling in a way not unlike the love sickness that accompanies a new romance... the challenge for you and your partner will be to discern what all this giddiness is really about. You might try to invite a discussion with your gal where you share your concerns and ask her to reflect honestly on what she is feeling for this new workmate.

She may be hiding this friendship from you because it is, in fact, going too far, or she may be simply trying to prevent you from feeling jealous. If it turns out that the friendship has crossed a line, you have every right to your hurt feelings. But if your partnership is your priority, you’ll also have to commit to some difficult tête-à-têtes. Affairs of any kind are usually an expression of unmet needs (those needs may or may not have anything to do with you). At the risk of being the annoying silver lining guy, let me say that this could be an opportunity to improve the relationship or, at the very least, for your girlfriend to recognize what this transgression reveals about her emotional health and overall sense of satisfaction.

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

“I was making out with a cute guy at a party the other night. It didn’t go very far, but I gave him my number so we could hook up again sometime. But then some mutual friends told me he’s transgendered. I don’t get it. Why didn’t he tell me? What does it mean? What do I do next?” Jimmy →

There are a ton of reasons why someone might not tell you they’re

tus, for trans people who “pass,” can be similar.

trans when you’re making out at a

For trans people, there’s the

party. Think about it for a second.

added questions of stigma and

For a casual hookup, there’s a lot

safety to consider. Our society still

that both people don’t know about

has some really messed-up ideas

each other. It’s a mutual agree-

about how the genitals people were

ment to put pleasure first and long,

born with are the determining fac-

deep, revealing conversation later.

tor in who they are, and we live

The only things you really need

in a world where terribly vicious

to talk about when hooking up is

transphobia exists. Some people

anything that could directly affect

feel betrayed and may even get

your and the other person’s safety.

violent when they “discover” that

That means basic safer-sex-related

the object of their desire is trans

information, and even then, only

— as though everyone were enti-

insofar as it relates to the activ-

tled to assume everyone else is cis-

ities you’re doing. And possibly

gender (not trans) and wreak ven-

relationship information, such as,

geance when that’s not the case.

“My husband’s cool with me making out with other guys,” if applica-

It’s all a bit heavy for a hookup, no?

ble. (Ya, I’m aware that some peo-

With all these factors in mind,

ple skip these too, but I invite you

some trans people disclose that

to help me create a world where


everyone discloses this stuff as a

there’s no rule saying they should.

matter of course.)

And there are lots of reasons not





In a hookup, you might tell some-

to. It’s really up to them. I hope the

one not to touch you a certain

friends who told you about this guy

way, but you probably wouldn’t

were doing so because they knew

tell them the details of your abuse

he wouldn’t mind, rather than to

history. You might stop to take

shame or undermine him.

your medication, but you probably

What to do next? If you’re still

wouldn’t tell them about the prog-

interested, read Primed: The Back

ress of your heart condition. You

Pocket Guide to Transmen and

might pick up the tab at the bar,

the Men Who Dig Them (available

but you wouldn’t show them your

online at And tell

bank statement. Those are con-

your talkative friends you hope he

versations you have when you’re


looking to date or build a relationship, not when you’re fooling around for half an hour. Trans sta-

ANDREA ZANIN The Sex Geek blogs at



CAUGHT IN THE ACT by Aline Sandler & Michael Pihach







Tom Sandler Photography










→ 1. Alan Hanlon, Andy Body 2. Mario Manza, The B-Girlz 3. Edward Hanecak, Lydia Bojeckzo, Adam Secord 4. Alex Filiatrault, Justin Haley, Jeronimo DeNiguel 5. Sean Earnshaw, Curt Martin, Cory Vitiello 6. Miles Raine, Joe Brennan, Sean Jones, Michael Shand 7. Sharilyn Hale, Christopher Bunting, Linda MacKenzie 8. Chris Wood, Blake Caissie 9. Rupert Hon, Tom Tan, Geoffrey Metz 10. Stefan Weidauer, Alex Taylor 11. Shane Carslake, Anthony Campaniaris 12. Steven Bereznai, Shih-Ming Yao, Kevin Sweet 13. Matt Borrelli, Stephen Wong 14. Ryan Kenny, Sam Poisson.


January 2013