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INSIGHT international backlash on gay rights

Gay & Lesbian Cit y Living



january 2012







e c i d u j e r p e r e h W t e s o l c e h t n i s y sta


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- Armando Mendonça GLBT Travel Expert, VoX International Inc.

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DESIGNER Nicolás Tallarico 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

LET’S TALK MAN-TO-MAN If you’re a man who’s had sex with a man we want to hear what’s on your mind. Be part of our confidential survey and help us build a healthier community. Call us toll-free.

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CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Paul Gallant, Krishna Rau CONTRIBUTORS Nicola Betts, Denis Calnan, Dino Dilio, Derek Dotto, Jeremy Foreshew, Peter Knegt, Alice Lawlor, Sonia Norris, Michael Pihach, Adam Segal, Michael Thorner ON the cover Photography by Glenn Mackay


issue 20

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





Rick Mugford An architect’s telling details by Paul Gallant


IDS12 & TO DO Highlights from this month’s big design events by Derek Dotto


Loving the Stranger Play’s truth is stranger than fiction by Sonia Norris


Filling in the blanks Alan Hollinghurst’s witty, wonderful novel by Alice Lawlor


DEE REES director of Pariah


ANTI-BULLYING three parties sound off



How Tweet It Is with Michael Thorner







Robert Van Rhijn


Bringing you the best in lofts, condos & urban homes. 647.637.6396 ■

19 WHEN HE’S HIV-POSITIVE by Adam Segal 20

LIP SERVICE by Dino Dilio


TRAIN FOR THE SUN by Jeremy Foreshew


GLOBAL ACTIVISM by Denis Calnan & Gordon Bowness


OUTHOUSE CAFÉ by Michael Pihach


RETRO GOLD by Derek Dotto


CRONENBERG on the COUCH by Peter Knegt


CAUGHT IN THE act by Michael Pihach

Top 1% of realtors for Toronto condos & lofts sold since 2010* over $8 million sold in 2011

Remax Condos Plus 679 King St West

*as per the Toronto Real Estate Board

toronto talk exchange VIEW FINDER → A DIFFERENT TRUMP DEBATE This month’s big design fair IDS12 and its alternative TO DO (see pages 9 to 16 and 28) gets some tall competition with the 57-storey Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto scheduled to open on Tue, Jan 31 ( Located at the corner of Bay and Adelaide, Donald Trump and family’s first property in Canada is designed by Zeidler Roberts Partnership, with interiors by II by IV. “Expect the unexpected,” says Dan Menchions, who founded II by IV in 1990 with Keith Rushbrook. But Menchions cautions not to equate the hotel and tower’s look with the flamboyant developer and erstwhile US politician known as The Donald. “It has heritage, that feeling of being here for a while,” says Menchions. “The look, the finishes are all luxurious.” The wall mosaic at the car entrance, for example, consists of 500,000 handmade tiles which took a crew of 20 three months to make. It’s designed by local artist Stephen Andrews. With Toronto projects ranging from the grandly art-deco-esque South Beach condos to the hipster cool of Minto King West, it’s impossible to generalize about II by IV’s aesthetic, except for maybe a keen eye for dramatic possibilities. “We do lighting incredibly well,” says Menchions, “and that’s where a sense of drama, of theatre, comes into play.” One of the most dramatic spaces is sure to be Trump’s Stock restaurant (pictured; on the 31st floor run by executive chef Todd Clarmo, formerly of that other towering restaurant, Canoe.

In their own words Dee Rees

→ “I want parents and people who may not be open to better understand that they should allow their children to be who they are. Just think about how important relationships are; once they’re fractured or damaged, it’s hard to get them back.”

The passionate coming-of-age drama Pariah opens in Toronto this month. Written and directed by Dee Rees, it’s the story of Alike, an African-American teenager living with her family in Brooklyn as she comes to terms with being a lesbian. There’s a short version of the film which won audience prizes at festivals around the world back in 2007; both versions star the amazing Adepero Oduye. Bradford Young won a cinematography award after the feature’s premiere at Sundance last year and hot music augments the film’s cool look. From soul and hip hop to punk, indie artists Sparlha Swa, Tamar-kali, Honeychild Coleman and MBK Entertainment spice up the soundtrack. “The music plays an important role in the film as it heightens the voice of each character,” says Rees. “In the end, Alike’s voice becomes a singular and rich melding of all those different styles.” Pariah opens Fri, Jan 13.


January 2012

toronto talk exchange Sound off Ontario’s anti-bullying legislation

Divine mr m Toronto filmmaker Malcolm Ingram has thrown down the terry towel gauntlet to Bette Midler. The director of the 2007 documentary Small Town Gay Bar is working on a film about the Continental Baths, the legendary NYC bathhouse of the early 1970s. It was there that Midler gained a cult following that helped launch her

Shutterstock/ Soul Free Productions

career. Ingram has issued a public challenge to the singer: He will donate $5,000 to the New York Restoration Project, a charity Midler founded, if she agrees to be interviewed. “It’s essential to include her,” says Ingram. “I want this to be the


definitive documentary.” Ingram already has the makings of a great film after track-

→ Ontario’s Liberal minority government has unrolled legislation designed to give students the right to form anti-bullying groups like gay-straight alliances at school. But it is not clear if the bill would force Catholic schools to allow clubs with the word gay in their title, something currently banned in the publicly-funded Catholic system. Ontario’s three main parties weigh in.

ing down original owner Steve Ostrow in Australia. “What a raconteur he is,” says Ingram. Ostrow’s wife worked at the Continental, alongside many of his boyfriends. “This was post-Stonewall

Laurel Broten, Minister of Education, Liberal MPP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore; despite repeated requests, Broten would not confirm specifically whether the bill gives Catholic students the right to use the term gaystraight alliance

“Once again this issue has become a political football in Ontario. I am surprised the government left a lack of clarity as to the naming of support groups. This legislation provides an opportunity for schools to disallow certain names if they wish. How wrong is that? If young people want to name their group gaystraight alliance they should have the opportunity to do that. Period. By not allowing students to use the word gay, you’re telling them that they’re wrong. It’s almost like you’re forcing kids back in the closet by saying they can’t use the word gay. It’s wrong this continues to be an issue.”

Andrea Horwath, NDP party leader, MPP for Hamilton Centre

“Our leader Tim Hudak has made the point that all publicly funded schools should have groups. It matters not about who you are but that every person feels safe. [In terms of clarifying the usage of “gay-straight alliance” in Catholic schools,] the government could have addressed it at any time, but they chose to do it this way. If this issue needed to be addressed, they could have sent out a memorandum and declared that this should happen. When the government speaks, that’s what happens in our schools.”

Elizabeth Witmer, Progressive Conservative MPP for Kitchener/ Waterloo; Witmer has put forward her own anti-bullying legislation which makes no reference to gay-straight alliances

and pre-AIDS,” says Ingram. “Gay was leading the zeitgeist. You can draw a line from Andy Warhol’s Factory, through the Continental Baths to Studio 54. David Bowie, Mick Jagger… they all went to the Continental.” Ingram has a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo (

“There are a variety of names chosen by students who are coming forward to put a group together. It cannot be a generic group that tackles bullying in a generic way. We have been crystal clear that groups that speak to a specific issue must be supported. You cannot simply say [students] can have a group but can’t talk about sexual orientation. We feel confident that Catholic education will cooperate with this act. We have set our expectations.”

tal) and hopes to finish the film by the summer. gordon bowness

→ The ansonia Continental Baths were in the basement.


toronto talk exchange How Tweet It Is by Michael Thorner

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In January, the winter wind whistles through the leafless, trembling trees. The holiday season is behind us. Pine tree needles 3. lights have been vacuumed away, returned to that upper shelf in the hall closet. Are you like me? The time is ripe to check out my online wish lists, scanning to see which products Santa missed. I’ve built and maintained online wish lists for years, on Amazon, Future Shop, Best Buy, iTunes Bruno Vono 416-779-4851 Store and eBay to name a few. Lists of all the books, gadgets, appliances, MP3s, apps, DVDs, CDs and whatever other content I could ever want to own. (I threw in those last two formats for the over-40 demographic who have yet to figure out how to download their digital entertainment.) For some strange reason visiting those wish lists feels good, doesn’t it? I sometimes visit mine, just to see what is still there, reading the customer reviews, knowing that there are other people just like me, curating a desirous list of content. Wish lists are a virtual representation of your personal consumption dreams. It’s like heaven for recovering hoarders like me. I like to think of these online environments as “other rooms” to my collection. They are mine; I just haven’t gone through that silly little payment transaction step yet. Hitesh (Jags) Jagatia 416-779-4851 Bruno Vono 416-779-4851 ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS

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Adding items that I covet to my online wish lists allows me the opportunity to not be so compulsive in my purchases; to allow my at times frenzied consumer tendencies to breathe and ponder the necessity of having a book of, say, photos of architects’ home libraries of books. Of course I don’t

Online wish lists are like heaven for recovering hoarders like me. need such a book, but I added it to one of my online wish lists anyway. After careful consideration, I deemed the book to be inspirational to myself and to obsessive book-loving hoarders everywhere. This extra online step I take before actually buying something allows me some distance from my once quite compulsive purchasing habits. My purchases now feel more measured and special to me. And I can always visit the stuff in my “other rooms” online. I think content collectors everywhere should take on this tactic. Hoarders unite... online!

Michael Thorner Tweets at michaelthorner.



Space for poetics →

Artist and designer Jade Rude’s monochromatic apartment on Queen Street West is a bio-friendly showcase Story Michael Pihach | Photography Nicola Betts



Describe the kind of designs you create? I’m involved in the conceptual visual art community and I’m interested in playing with the idea of perception and reality. For example, the structure in my living room is a roller coaster I created. It plays with a sense of dimension and incorporates ideas around design, architecture and philosophy.

works in design. Do you share the same aesthetic tastes? Her favourite colour is white-onwhite-on-white, whereas I prefer dove grey, or shades of grey. It’s more pure because you get to add things and things show off better. We have a similar sensibility, design-wise. I like lines and form. Things that are sharp, but when there’s something curious about it.

Where do you draw inspiration? I often turn to philosopher Gaston Bachelard, who wrote Poetics of Space, which is one of my favourite books. He deals with architecture of space and the philosophy of it. Ludwig Wittgenstein is another. He dealt with the way we see things, the perception of it.

It’s also not often you hear people cite grey as their favourite colour. I like grey — and shades of grey — because you can use colour or design to add highlights to a room. There’s room to move, I guess. It creates more curiosity. I like a solid base to work from and make it more interesting, rather than being too splashy to begin with. Otherwise it just looks like throw-up to me.

One of Wittgenstein’s works actually hangs on your living room wall. Yes, if you look at it vertically, it’s the same as it is horizontally. It’s the same structure. You also have a large framed note signed by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. My girlfriend got it while working in Paris for Yves Saint Laurent in haute couture. At the end of a project, Yves posts a written note, which he signs, in the workroom that thanks everyone for their hard work. Your home is also your studio space. I also have a messy studio a few blocks away where I use spray paint, make a stink and make noise. Some of your work will be in this month’s Do West design exhibits along Dundas Street West. One of my pieces is a gold-mirror cutout that reads “You Look Great.” I’m doing a five-feet-by-five-feet version that will be will mounted onto a structure with crisscross scaffolding and placed into the window of a hair salon. Another piece is a series of silhouettes of trophies with lyrics from “Do What You Want” by Bad Religion. You live with your girlfriend, who 10

January 2012

Where does your fascination with line and space come from? Math came easily as a child. I learn by numbers and structure. If I were to read something, I would read it in numbers, rather than the fluidity of language. It’s the structure. It’s just how I view things. Have you always pursued art and design? I won my first drawing contest in Grade 3. We had to create an image based on our reaction to an image in a newspaper. Most people re-drew and copied the image they saw in the paper. At the time I was attracted to a new building being built and I decided to disassemble an image of the building → ARTSCAPES Jade Rude (opposite page; lower left) has used non-toxic paint and stain throughout her apartment. The living room (this page; middle) features a Potato Chip Chair by Eames, an AIDS logo by General Idea and Rude’s “An Intervention in Painting.” The bedroom (this page; bottom) features a Louise Bourgeois pillow, Tom Dixon lamps and gold pom-poms entitled “Hip Hip Hooray” by Rude. The designer says she’s currently “going through a gold phase,” as exemplified by her roller coaster structure (opposite page; bottom right) and the study for her “You Look Great” piece (opposite page; middle) for Do West. The print in the dining room (page 9) is by photographer John Massey.

listings & events

and re-arranged it into lines and

paints, a European term. The floors

forms. Bizarre, for a little one, but I

are painted with a natural plant-

won out of the entire public school

based stain that looks like milk. You


can actually eat the floor paint. The range hood above the stove is also






made from recycled materials.

architect? Because I wanted bo become an

Have you always been this green?

artist. I did study architecture for

No. I became more aware of it when

a brief period, but it was too struc-

people around me and in my fam-

tured for me. I prefer creating my

ily started to become ill with can-



cer. Our environment is where

them to my own psychology and



we’re most vulnerable. I just feel

curiosity. I would also probably for-

better when I am in a bio-friendly

get to add that extra 1/16th of an


inch on some drawing and kill millions. So for the safety of everyone’s

Surely you have some bad habits.

lives, I didn’t go into architecture.

By no means am I a hippie. I have

It’s better for humanity.

bad habits in the studio. Right now I’m working a new jewellery line

Your entire home is what you call

and I’m dipping it in latex. I have a

“bio-friendly.” Explain.

mask and everything, and I’m prob-

Everything is non-toxic. The paint

ably killing myself a little while

we used for the walls is called bio-

doing it. But whatever. You gotta live a little. What’s your guilty pleasure? Great scotch. Anything else? I have a slight addiction to Perrier water. The big bubbles tickle. It’s like having a big sweater over your tongue.

DO WEST Thu, Jan 26-29. JADE RUDE




January 2012


A rc h i t e c t u re

When surfaces evoke depth → With

his unorthodox fashion-inspired path to architecture, designer and Fashion Cares co-founder Rick Mugford is an architect with an eye for unusual, telling detail Story Paul Gallant | Photography Glenn Mackay


ick Mugford finds a rhine-

With his floppy silver hair and

about what I think of the over-

he became a buyer, working for


plastic-rimmed glasses, Mugford

all design, the colour combina-

Yorkville’s Over the Rainbow when

office floor that he’s going

is hardly flamboyant. At 50, he’s

tions, the aesthetic. I’m not the guy

the store defined Toronto youth-

to wear until someone claims

definitely more Stephen Fry than

they’re coming to to ask how the

oriented fashion, and for Wow on

it. The look is a little flashy for

Nathan Lane. But his unorth-

rain screen will go on the building,”

Queen West, when Queen West

the Wellington Street offices of


says Mugford, laughing.

was in full parachute-pants-wear-

Quadrangle Architects, where rows

the Quadrangle offices — where

For Mugford, who didn’t go to

upon rows of designers and tech-

he’s worked since 2005, except

architecture school until he was

By the mid-1980s, when HIV/

nical people sit quietly enraptured

for a two-year stint at Zeidler

38, life experience is key. His time

AIDS was still considered “the gay

in front of their computer screens,

Partnership Architects — has given

working in fashion and interior

cancer,” Mugford and his Wow

but today Mugford has paired

him a much different way of look-

design — perhaps even his time in

boss, fashion maven Syd Beder,

his argyle sweater with salmon-

ing at the built environment than

the world of literature, taking pho-

decided they had to do something.

coloured pants, so why not?

his peers. His work with Caroline

tos for the International Festival of

They contacted the London team

Robbie on the interior of Diamond

Authors — has shaped his idea of

who had come up with the Fashion

tecture and the thinking that’s



what makes a great building. As co-

Cares fundraising concept and got

involved... I definitely belong here,”

looking Corus building on Queens

founder of Fashion Cares, he’s also

permission to use the name for

says Mugford. “The sociological

Quay has turned heads for its

seen the way unlikely alliances can

their own event.

aspect of it… maybe not. Coming

extraordinary flexibility and its

form to solve a problem, and how a

“HIV/AIDS was very prominent

from my background, I’m a little

balance between playfulness and

solution can look good even when

in the news. I had a lot of friends

unusual. This kind of turtleneck-

sophistication. The part of a down-

the problem is a terrible one.

I thought might be affected,” says

wearing, tweed-wearing thought-

town Markham mega-project he

ful person who lives on a house-

was involved with sold out in four

boat... that’s not me.”

hours. (Construction on several













ing myth-making mode.

Beder, who now owns Lileo in the

odern Toronto style was

Distillery District. “Rick was my

born in the early 1980s,

opposite and my entrée into the

Of all the fields of design, archi-

buildings he worked on for Zeidler,

when the walls between fash-

gay community. The two of us

tecture is probably the most sol-

including the sleek Al-Rajhi resi-

ion, music and art were perme-

could bring together our resources

emn. The huge costs of construc-

dential tower in Jeddah, remain to

able, especially for the city’s newly

from both communities.”

tion are real whimsy-killers for

be built.) As perverse as it sounds

energized gay community. As a

Early hysteria about the disease



in such a visual profession, it’s

boy, Mugford drew house plans

made it hard to attract funding or

tects. And while a fashionista may

Mugford’s attention to the look of

for fun, but he ended up studying

interest. After they confirmed the

not mind if a show-stopping dress

things that’s made him in demand.

fashion at George Brown. He soon

venue, the old Diamond Club (now

crumbles after a season or two, the

He and Robbie will strut their stuff

launched a women’s clothing line


not-falling-apart of buildings is

at this year’s IDS as one of six

with a friend; their first collection

Mugford says they were told they

taken rather more seriously. Bean

teams in How Do You Live?, a two-

sold to Lipton’s, a national chain

couldn’t use the word AIDS on

counters and engineers overrule

storey demonstration condo onsite

at the time. When his business

any of the publicity materials. As

visionaries, which anyone taking a

at the big design fair.

partner moved to Milan (“She was

Fashion Cares got bigger over the

more interested in a jet-setty life”)

Continued on page 14



close look at this town can tell you.

“I’m constantly being consulted






Continued from page 13

didn’t like and I’d quickly find out

school was “murder” and “lots of

next couple of years, Mugford lost

they were paying attention.”


In a relationship for 25 years (his

designs won him good grades

partner works at the International

frank, I was frustrated with the

and awards, if not the admira-

Festival of Authors, accounting

lack of charity in people’s hearts.

“To see something solid made out of the lines I’ve drawn, it sends me over the moon.”

tion of his younger flashier peers.

for Mugford’s role as festival pho-

He chose Quadrangle because the

tographer for more than 17 years),

work was solid and the work/life

he’s less open about his private

balance seemed more reasonable

life than his opinions about archi-

than at hotshot “puppy mill” firms.

tecture. He does talk about their

Early on, he and Quadrangle senior


designer Caroline Robbie went on

Quadrangle, and how it has too

a business trip to Atlanta together.

much stuff in it. Among his prized

that point had taught him to be cre-

same career track as retail in the

They found an ally in each other.

art possessions is a Jeff Koons bal-

ative and personable, he was now

US and Mugford, as he got older,

expected to be precise. He was.

People were asking for receipts for their time — I’m just glad we were able to raise money for the AIDS Committee of Toronto.” Mugford then became visual presentation manager at Bloor Street’s Emporio Armani. If his career to

But retail in Canada is not the

loon dog sculpture hidden away in a drawer so it doesn’t get bro-

Sale signs were verboten. Nobody

“that guy working in a store, even if

eye for detail, but also, and I hesi-

ken. In the fall, he took it out for

except Mugford was allowed to

it was a nice store.” His last foray in

tate to say this because of how the

a Chatelaine magazine photo shoot

touch so much as a mannequin. “I

retail, at Budd Sugarman’s famed

word is used, common sense. He

and then put it away again, only to

got to the point where I thought my

Hazelton House on Davenport, was

gets to the point very quickly.”

be told that Chatelaine was coming

bosses weren’t paying attention

pivotal, applying the minimalist

and then I’d do something they

aesthetic he had been refining at



“The cleaning lady must have

Armani to interior design.

for Jewish Studies, as well as re-

been wondering what I was up to,”

interior of



project,” says Robbie. “He has an




didn’t want to be what he calls,

January 2012




→ PLAYFUL SOPHISTICATION Rick Mugford enjoys the sunny lobby he designed for Corus on Toronto’s lakeshore (page 12); also part of Corus are a three-storey slide (this page; upper middle) and two meeting rooms (lower left and middle). Still to come are condos at 36 Hazelton (upper left) and the Al-Rajhi tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (right).


over the moon.”


his patience for it. “To be perfectly


spaces Toronto’s



back for another round.

Although Mugford had always

imagining the schoolhouse at 36

he laughs, the rhinestone brace-

been fascinated by architecture,

Hazelton into high-end condos are

let still jangling. “But I really didn’t

he had also been intimidated.

what’s on Mugford’s mind right

know what to do with it.”

His growing work and social cir-

now. He gets as excited about a

cles slowly changed his perspec-

residential gate as he gets about a

tive. “I met a lot of architects and

tower — if it’s the right gate. “To



see something solid made out of

than me.” Although architecture

the lines I’ve drawn, it sends me



IDS 12 Thu, Jan 26-29. Metro Convention Centre. 255 Front St W. See Page 28.


D esign

The function of form → Designers

parade their passions at this month’s IDS12, the big contemporary design fair, and TO DO, the sprawling, alternative off-site festival Story Derek Dotto

Parimal Gosai As a child, Parimal Gosai would rush home from school to help his father with renovations. “We would constantly work on our house,” he says. “One time, we hung this hideous wallpaper through the entire house. I remember thinking, ‘Our house looks beautiful!’” It seems natural that, years later, Gosai would find himself in Ryerson University’s interior design program. But while in school, his father was diagnosed as bipolar and lost his business, forcing Gosai to question his approach to design. “I didn’t want to practice design in this consumptive way,” he says. “That really got me thinking about all the garbage in the world and wanting to experiment with it.” Fast forward another decade, and the 30-year-old is now the design director at Public Displays of Affection (PDA), a sustainability-focused

tive, subtly romantic and subtly political things that we ever did because we knew that this building was going to be torn down to make condos,” says Gosai. “When I design an object I want people to feel something.”

design firm with goals of community improvement. One of PDA’s early

PDA’s latest project at 40 Oak Street community centre is part of TO

projects was a mural made with mistinted paint on the side of an old

DO; Gosai contributed a hanging installation made entirely of reclaimed

thread dying factory on Queen Street West. “It was one of the most effec-


Alexx Boisjoli Alexx Boisjoli is putting art back into function one ceramic dish at a time. “A lot of people take for granted what they use everyday. They just use plastic crap all the time and throw it out,” says the 26-year-old OCAD graduate. “I think you can have something that’s handmade that’s equally as functional as it is beautiful.” Boisjoli creates bowls, bottles and other forms that would please both the aesthete and functionalist. “Trades and manufacturing can be a voice for people,” he says. “I don’t want to just make things that are sellable. I want to make them because I love making them and people want to buy something that was made by someone they

insects. “It’s about the contrast between surface and form and how you


can play with that in the same vessel,” he says. “Individually they’re still

Inspired by kitsch ceramics, big in the 1960s and ’70s, Boisjoli’s pieces

really beautiful. But together, you’re overtaken by the fact there’s so many

are often adorned with found images or commissions from other artists.

of them.” As part of TO DO, Swarm is displayed at Caffe Brasiliano (849

He explores the relationship between decoration and design in his new

Dundas St W).

work titled Swarm, a collection of 85 small bottles covered by decals of Continued on page 16


LIVING & DESIGN Continued from page 15

Katherine Morley “Everything I do, whether it’s music, art, illustra-

lar DJ at lesbian bar Slacks). “The more I learned,

tion or design, it all comes from the same place,”

the more I figured out that design could be used as

says Katherine Morley. “It originates with a story or

a tool to make an impact in the world.”

a message or something I have to say. I never know exactly which way it’s going to come out.”

Morley explores yet another medium with her first professional lighting project in the form of an

It was only after a decade pursuing a career in

eggshell chandelier. “I’ve been wondering what

music, during a gig as a nanny, that Morley’s early

can I do with these millions of eggs that I throw

love of art resurfaced. “The kids and I would be

away every year?” she says. “I don’t know what it is

doing all these fun drawing and illustration proj-

about eggshells but they’re so beautiful and they’re

ects and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I forgot how much

so strong.” The chandelier will make its debut at

I enjoy art,’” she says.

Capacity (1066 Dundas St W), an all-women show

After enrolling in classes at OCAD, Morley pushed

which Morley co-curates.

her talent for illustration to other media and now counts ceramics, graphics and textiles among her design arsenal (she’s also known as DJ Katey, a regu-

Zac Ridgely To say Zac Ridgely makes lamps is not only an

Ridgely’s handmade work is modern yet earthy,

understatement, it’s downright inaccurate. The

combining materials like stainless steel, marble

trained sculptor approaches his work with the

and river rocks. “It’s about finding material that

attention of an artist. “We’re designing fixtures

you’re drawn to and incorporating it,” he says. One

that are beautiful and sculptural and provide light,”

of his most sought-after series uses recycled, tem-

he says. “The light is always incorporated from the

pered glass to contort and soften light.

start but we’re not designing a lamp that is meant to illuminate papers while you’re working on them.”

Ridgely’s latest work makes use of another innovation: LED light. “These are fixtures that literally

Majoring in sculpting and painting at Emily Carr

could not have been built five years ago because

taught Ridgely to appreciate form, while his indus-

of the size of the bulbs and the heat given off,” he

trial design minor schooled him on the beauty of

says. Ridgely’s new LED installations will join his

function. “If a lit element is incorporated, it adds

classic recycled material pieces on display at IDS.

another layer to that sculptural piece. It becomes

not only a beautiful object, but it also provides ambient light and mood.”

Thien Ta Trung Montreal native Thien Ta Trung always found

the style but couldn’t afford it,” Trung says. “So we

himself attracted to beautiful things. “When you’re

did a bridge line that’s more affordable that still has

young, you don’t say, ‘I want to design a chair.’ You

all our strengths, the same aesthetics and design

just like the idea of creation,” he says. “I think you


develop that as you grow. It’s instinctive.”

Trung recently brought the pair’s work to Toronto

That instinct guides his decade-long collabora-

permanently, opening a Domison shop near St

tion with younger sister, and industrial designer,

Lawrence Market last spring. Their latest collection

My. “I have more of the creative ideas, the vision for

will be showcased at IDS.

style and she has all the technical abilities to bring them to life,” he says. “It just happens to be a perfect complement. It wasn’t planned.” The siblings’ latest venture is called Domison, started in 2008 as an extension of their original effort, Periphere, a design laboratory filled with abstract pieces and higher price points. “People liked 16

January 2012

IDS12 Thu, Jan 26-29. Metro Toronto Convention Centre. 255 Front St W. TO DO Most shows run Thu, Jan 26-29. Various locations. See page 28 for more info.

Hong Kong Tourism Board


t r avel

Proud of Hong Kong → Travellers

to this beautiful, bustling metropolis will discover a nascent LGBT movement finding its legs Story Michael Pihach


t’s 3pm and an LGBT Pride parade is forming in Hong Kong’s bustling Causeway Bay, a highly developed shopping district dense with futuristic skyscrapers with one mega mall stacked on top of another. It’s loud. “We love gays!” shouts a crowd of youthful, rainbow flagwaving Chinese girls, a fraction of the some 2,000 LGBT activists and allies, mostly young, who’ve packed themselves tightly into this city square off the main drag of East Point Road.

Causeway Bay is one of Hong Kong’s most crowded areas, a clustered chunk of the city’s some seven million people. It’s a high-priced sardine box of a marketplace. But today, on a Saturday afternoon in November, activists calling for LGBT equality outnumber the consumers shopping for Gucci watches. Standing tall is a young, topless Pride organizer, hoisted seven feet above the ground on a scaffold covered by a giant rainbow flag. Microphone in hand, he gets the crowd going by singing the song “My

Pride” by Hong Kong-based singer Joey Yung. The day’s official theme is “For queer, for love, for equality.” The dress code is supposed to be “sexy and act out,” but most people are wearing plain shorts and T-shirts. The exceptions are a few drag queens peppered throughout the crowd, a small contingent of leathermen and one young man who’s propped a giant plush rainbow-coloured penis onto his shoulders. Can you call it a parade? Not really. Unlike the carnivalesque

Pride parades in major Western cities, there are no floats. This is a march. Armed with rainbow balloons and excited shouts, the jovial assembly pushes their way onto East Point Road. Police keep demonstrators to one side by a long strip of neon green tape. Marchers wave at people curiously watching from the sidelines. A middle-aged Chinese woman in a business suit flashes a thumbs up. Continued on page 18



Continued from page 17

It’s a scene reflective of Hong

December — that serve as gateways

like a gay Pride parade take place in

from Causeway. “It’s where most

into LGBT life.

the rest of China,” says McFadden.

parades start,” says McFadden. But

Kong’s changing attitudes towards

“This parade is important to the

While visitors have little to fear,

the city gave the park to a major

LGBT people. A former British col-

entire region,” says participant Bob

LGBT residents still have a ways to

bank’s event instead. “This happens

ony that operates under a political

McFadden, an airline consultant

go since Hong King has yet to out-

all the time,” says McFadden. It’s a

system somewhat independent of

who moved to the city 21 years ago.

law discrimination on grounds of

type of discrimination that is “not

mainland China, Hong Kong plays

McFadden attended Hong Kong’s

sexual orientation. “There’s a lot of

overt, but subtle,” he says.

an important role in giving sexual

first Pride parade three years ago,

fear about coming out to your boss

Without solid government sup-

minorities in China the space and

and immediately noticed the impact

because there’s no protection,” says

port, Pride events are always scram-

freedom to celebrate diversity. For

it had on neighbouring Chinese

teacher Michael Wiggs, a California

bling for money. Last year’s parade

the first time Hong Kong’s tourism

communities which, under commu-

native who moved to Hong Kong

didn’t happen, which led to the

board worked with local organizers

nist rule, cannot celebrate Pride as

four years ago. “If someone is anti-

creation of the Pink Season (pink-

this year to promote the event with

freely. “It attracted 10 gay commu-

gay, they can pretty much fire you if, now considered Asia’s

an eye to a bigger promotional cam-

nity groups who flew in everywhere

they want to.”

largest LGBT festival. It runs over

paign next year. Unlike mainland

from Beijing to Shanghai,” he says.






a two and half month period from


late September to early December.

China, Hong Kong does not require

While homosexuality is not ille-

visitors to obtain a visa, making it

gal in mainland China, discrimina-

church, Blessed Minority Christian

Highlights include the Hong Kong

an accessible destination for tour-

tion still exists under the country’s

Fellowship, a nondenominational

Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, the

ists. For gay and lesbian visitors,

authoritarian government which

church for LGBT people. When

popular boat party Floatilla, the Mr

there are an abundance of parties

condemns independent activity or

asked about his thoughts on Hong

Gay Hong Kong pageant, Gay Day

and festivals — notably between

organizations such as Pride. “We’re

Kong’s treatment of LGBT people,

at Disney, plus an ongoing series of

the months of September and

a long way from having an event

his response is ambivalent. “There’s

queer stage plays, drag contests and

not much anti-gay, but there’s not

dance parties.





much strong support either,” he says.

Michael Pihach



Case in point: Last June, local

35-year-old IT specialist and festival organizer. He’s been trying to con-

that Hong Kong’s Social Welfare

vince Hong Kong’s tourism board to



promote the Pink Season; he sees a

trist who claimed he could “cure”

major market in mainland China.


“In China, you can’t have indepen-



“Hong Kong has a very conser-

dent film festivals, or any Pride in-

vative view on homosexuality and

your-face party because the police

at times our community suffers

can raid it at any time,” says Das.

from poor self esteem,” says Betty

“Compared to China, Hong Kong

Grisoni, who co-runs Les Peches, a

police are not as controlling.

her partner Abby Lee.

“There’s a huge market in China we can attract.”

Grisoni and Lee have been able to

This year the tourism board posted

live and work as lesbians “without

some of the Pink Festival’s events

thinking of any major danger,” says

on its website, but not all. “They

Grisoni. But the couple criticizes

avoided posting Mr Gay Hong Kong,”

the Hong Kong government for fail-

says Das. Still, it’s a major step for

ing to legalize same-sex marriage,

an LGBT organization operating

teach sexual diversity in schools or

within the constraints of shoestring

grant equal partner rights at work.


“I couldn’t ask my company for a

Pride organizations (Pink Season

spouse visa when I moved here,”

and Hong Kong’s Pride parade are

says Grisoni.

run by two different organizations

This year’s Pride march was supposed to start in Victoria Park, a public grassy area a few blocks away → Figh t ing for space Pride took over the Causeway Bay shopping area in November (above). Most LGBT bars are in the Central District (left). January 2012


activists were outraged to learn

queer women’s party series, with

Hong Kong Tourism Board



ing events,” says Anshuman Das, a

while competing with

which, to date, haven’t been able to connect, says Das). “People are travelling here,” says Das. “All the Hong Kong government needs to do is see the potential.”


48 Dynamic hours Hong Kong is a gateway to Asia.

iPhones, fortune tellers…. Rows

Many international travellers trans-

of illuminated vendors pack this

fer flights here, often staying an

funky shopping hub in Kowloon,

extra night or two to get in some

the mainland district of Hong Kong.

high-adrenalin shopping, sight-see-

Don’t be afraid to bargain with ven-

ing and partying. Here are some

dors. Open from 4pm to midnight

quick fixes for your next trip.

(go after sunset for full effect).




STAR FERRY Regular service

route from Hong Kong’s Central

between Hong Kong and Kowloon.

District to the top of Victoria Peak,

Cheap, convenient and spectacular

the mountain on the western half

views. Tsim Sha Tsui pier, Kowloon;

of the city. Takes you to restau-

Wan Chai and Central piers on

rants and nature walks with jaw-

Hong Kong side.

dropping views of the city’s harbour and sprawling skyscrapers. Departs


from Garden Road Peak Tram Lower

PROPAGANDA Part dance floor,

Terminus, Central District.

part lounge, mostly gay party


— with Adam Segal → I’m 36 and dating a new man; it’s going very well. Last week we had our “Is this getting serious?” chat and he shared with me that he’s been HIV-positive for a few years. I think at first I was putting on a really good poker face because I’m quite crushed out and didn’t want anything to slow down the train. But upon further reflection, I’m feeling rather anxious. As someone who is negative but sexually active, I’ve probably happily slept with positive guys and not known it (while taking all the precautions) but since my boyfriend let me know his status I’ve been fixating on it and way more fearful than I was with those other guys. I don’t want to mess this up or hurt him with my fears. How should I proceed? Tom

crowd. Busy on weekends and

It’s amazing how powerful our

intercourse (quite possible) or blow


nightly after 1am. Gets packed

minds can be: Since learning about

him without a condom (possible


when the other gay bars close.

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but unlikely). Seeking out the latest

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ing gums or mouth sores). Any risks

more about mixed-status relation-



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ships so that you can approach this

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the Ngong Ping Plateau. A 30-min-

PSYCHIC JACK Cozy lounge atmo-

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help the two of you make decisions


Wyndham St, Central.

manageable virus in our neck of

about your sex practices.

the world (especially for those with

You’ll have to do some serious



health insurance or cash), it’s still no

self-reflection before committing to


LES PECHES Monthly women’s

cakewalk, so your fear is a healthy

this relationship to ensure that you

Cheap Prada sunglasses, watches,

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would never blame your man should

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LaKage Club, Cosmos Building (third

Despite the risks, many people

you, one day, become HIV-positive.

floor), 8-11 Lan Kwai Fong, Central. •

find happiness and sexual fulfill-

This guy has really shown some

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integrity and taken a risk by being

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upfront about his being poz. You’re

dom that HIV is not a death sentence

going to have to match that integ-

when you grew up in a time when

rity and fess up about your anxiety

being HIV-positive was a much scar-

so that he too has all the informa-

ier fate (partly because of ineffec-

tion he needs as your relationship

tive/destructive meds and partly

deepens. Trying to mask your fears

because of rampant homophobia).

for his benefit is really treating him

The unfortunate truth is that there

like a child and likely to offend him

is a chance of you becoming posi-

way more than your fears would.

tive if the two of you shack up and develop a more filled-out sexual repertoire. HIV transmission could happen if you engage in unprotected

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



the grooming game

— with Dino Dilio Chapped lips are certainly the sign that winter is here. The bitter cold and wind outside and the dry heating inside play havoc on your skin, especially the lips. The cracking, flaking, burning and chapping are uncomfortable, unpretty and unwelcome. →

Preventing and treating chapped

• Chapstick with SPF15

lips requires faithful dedication.

• MAC Lip Conditioner

Skip a day and you're right back

• Body Shop Cocoa Butter Lip Care

where you started from. Lips dry

• Banana Boat Sport Performance

out because they don’t have oil

• Vaseline

glands. Keeping them moist, soft

• Clinique All about Lips

and protected against winter is essential.

Potato chip lips are the result of severe cracking, flaking and in

I’ve always advocated using a lip

some cases sores, which are usu-

balm daily. For women it paves the

ally caused from picking. Here’s

way for lipstick. For men it paves

where a lip exfoliating procedure

the way for kisses. Right after

comes into play:

brushing your teeth, use a warm,

• Apply a warm wet terry face

damp terry face cloth to slough off

cloth as a compress to lips. Let it

visible flaking skin. Lightly pat dry

sit until it cools down. Gently use

and immediately apply lip balm.

the cloth to rub off the now moist-

This ritual keeps your lips smooth,

ened flakes. Resist using your fin-

soft and protected for the day. It

gers as this may cause bleeding.

only makes sense to carry and re-

Repeat until all’s clear; or, apply a

apply after meals and smooching.

lip exfoliant scrub after the com-

I have one stashed into every coat

press. Buff gently to loosen and lift

pocket and bag.

away flakes. Make your own scrub

Choosing lip care products is challenging as the market is flooded

by mixing baking soda, salt or sugar into a paste with warm water.

with tubes and pots of balms,

• Rinse thoroughly, pat dry and

salves and ointments. Most are

slather a thick coating of an emol-

merely waxes in fancy packaging

lient lip balm or Vaseline to mois-

that don’t work. Avoid medicated

turize and seal.

balms which contain camphor,

Note: Don’t leave the house with a

menthol, peppermint oil or euca-

kisser full of Vaseline unless that’s

lyptus. As pleasant as these ingre-

how you really want to appear to

dients smell they are actually skin

the world. I am not a fan of shiny

irritants that burn and hurt — not

lips on men unless they’re in a

heal and help — chapped lips. Look

dress. Blot off excess shine with a

for one that is super emollient with

tissue to avoid confusion. Also buy

agents like cocoa butter, lanolin or

roll-up tubes of balms, not pots; it’s

shea butter. Avobenzone, titanium

more hygienic. Never share your

dioxide or zinc oxides are also ben-

balm unless it’s with the one you

eficial for sun protection with SPF


15 or higher for skiers. Fuelling rumors of my lip balm addiction, I offer up the following vices:

Dino Dilio The freelance makeup artist and writer is resident beauty expert on CityLine.

LIVING & DESIGN F i t ness

Primed for sunshine → Have

a travel workout plan so your body doesn’t head the same way as your vacation: south Story Jeremy Foreshew

Explosive Push-ups Assume a standard push-up position on the floor. Lower your body to the ground, then push your body with enough force that your hands leave the ground. Drop immediately into the next push-up.

Shutterstock/ Yuri Arcurs

Tricep Dips Place your hands on the edge of a chair or bench, slightly behind your body, with your feet (toes up) in front of you on the floor. Bending at the elbows, let your seat come down to the floor, then extend the arms until they are straight.


he holidays are behind us and the cold weather has officially settled in for the long haul. We all know what that means: winter vacation. No matter how much you love the ice and snow, Canadians simply can’t pass up a blissful week pool- or beachside, where the sun shines as freely as the drinks get poured. And, even with the very best of intentions, it’s nearly impossible to stick to your fitness and eating plan when you go away for a week of excess and indulgence. This year, come home feeling slim, trim and without an ounce of regret with this ultimate list of travel tips for the fitness aficionado.

VACATION FITNESS DOS Do drink lots of water: Not enough can leave you dehydrated, contributing to illness and injury. Add an extra bottle to the standard three litres for men (or two litres for women) to combat the effects of drastically increased temperatures (and marginally increased alcohol

consumption). Do eat a large breakfast: Studies have shown that eating a full, wellbalanced meal first thing in the morning not only gives more energy for your vacation adventures, but will also help prevent excessive snacking and over-eating later in the day. Do enjoy the view (and save money too): One of the best and cheapest ways to see a foreign locale is to explore on foot or bicycle. Before you travel, check online for walking tours or buy a map, rent a bike and get adventurous. Bike tip: Be sure you have a basket on the front for all your souvenirs.

VACATION FITNESS DON’TS Don’t forget your running shoes: While we all romanticize the idea of running barefoot along the beach, the fact is, without prior experience you can easily hurt yourself. Be sure to protect the soles of your feet and try to stick to an even terrain if you head for a walk, run or jog. Don’t over-do it: This is a tough

one, especially if you’re staying at an all-inclusive resort. But there are a few tricks to keep in mind to keep your beach body rockin’. Where possible, choose an à la carte restaurant (buffets do not promote portion control) and lay off the slushie drinks which are full of sugar and calories. Don’t expect an adequate hotel gym: Most hotel fitness facilities leave much to be desired. While this isn’t true of all destinations, your best bet is to have a plan (see below) in case of an unsafe, unclean or poorly equipped resort gym, or no gym at all.

25-MINUTE FAT-BLASTER Be prepared with this body-blasting 25-minute workout you can do in your hotel room, with just your bodyweight and a chair. Do this circuit three times, completing each of these exercises in 60-second intervals (each side where necessary) with a two-minute rest between each set. In just 25 minutes, you’ll be toned, full of energy and ready for the beach.

Split Squat Stand about three to four feet in front of your chair and place the top of one foot on it behind you. Bend your knees until you create two 90 degree angles. Be sure that you’re keeping your upper body upright (not bending forward at the waist or hip). Extend the leg to return to starting position. Finish set and switch legs. Side Plank Lay on your side with your shoulders, hips and feet stacked on top of one another. Push your body up so that your elbow is bent at 90 degrees and only your left foot, hand and forearm are in contact with the floor. Hold, then repeat for the other side. Mountain Climbers Place both hands on your chair, slightly wider than your shoulders. On your toes, position one leg forward bent under body and extend other leg back. Alternate leg positions by pushing hips up while extending forward leg back and pulling rear leg forward under body, working the legs quickly and simultaneously.



Global activism

Cruel to be kind → More than a year after international pressure helped win a reprieve for a Malawian couple sentenced to 14 years hard labour, we examine the pros and cons of trying to help our LGBT brethren around the world Story & photography Denis Calnan


here are you from?” asks the security guard at a downtown Blantyre hotel while I wait for a taxi. “Canada,” I say. “Canada,” he repeats. “I hear in your country men can marry men.” “Yes, that’s true,” I say, anticipating a tense conversation. “That is not Malawian culture,” he says. “You people come here and try to impose your culture on us.” Malawi is a conservative country in southern Africa where locals like


January 2012

to describe themselves as “Godfearing” and where human rights groups struggle to defend LGBT people. Malawi made international headlines in 2010 when a queer couple was sentenced to 14 years hard labour after holding a wedding party. Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza were convicted under anti-gay statutes, though Chimbalanga identifies as a trans woman. Human rights groups, including the local Centre

for the Development of People, got involved, attracting international attention. The president gave the couple a pardon in order to forestall the threat by certain countries to withhold international aid. This past year, governments in the UK, Canada and, most recently, the US, have stepped up their calls for countries like Malawi who receive international aid to do more to protect their LGBT citizens. The result in Malawi has been a palpable tension on the streets of

Blantyre, Malawi’s financial centre and second-largest city. “The situation is a bit… tough. It’s very tough,” says Thandekn, a 23-year-old gay man. He and two other gay men, Amanda and Barbara, are sitting in the offices of the Centre for the Development of People in Blantyre, one of the few places they feel safe in this country. All three are using pseudonyms (the latter two choose to use female names). “We are living in a country as if it


is not our country,” says Amanda,

have either withdrawn aid or

28. “Here we are family, that is why

warned the government to improve

“The international media actu-

we are able to talk with you, but we

its human rights record or risk the

ally helped a lot in this case,” says

can’t do it if we go out there.”

suspension of aid. Malawi’s gov-

Kamba. “It is not that international

ernment heavily relies on aid. This

people blow it out of proportion,”

is hitting them where it hurts.

says Trapence, “but it is because it

Human rights for LGBT peo-

was an issue that hinges on human

ple around the world have moved


to the forefront of many govern-

The three men agree that tensions have risen since the Chimbalanga/ Monjeza




tional event.

How can we best Effect change internationally?


“I think [Western countries] have

[before],” says Thandekn. “Things

got a point,” said Williams, “but I

are tough right now.”

think they shouldn’t belabour it. It

“The case opened up a forum,”

has been counterproductive, in my

says Kamba. “Now people started

the Commonwealth conference


debating and talking about the

in October 2011, British Prime

Malawian activist Dunker Kamba

issues.” Adds Amanda, “It has

Minister David Cameron prom-

disagrees. “Human rights have

helped for people to know we exist

ised to slash aid to any coun-

no borders,” says Kamba. He and

in this country.”

try with anti-gay records. Canada

“Some time back, you could

“It has helped for people to know we exist in this country.”

ment and activist agendas. At

Gift Trapence are the men behind

joined the UK in a failed effort

the Centre for the Development

to persuade member states —

of Humans; they are on the front-

which include some of the worst

dance, you could maybe kiss,” but

lines of the struggle, defending

offenders — to rescind anti-gay

not now, says Amanda. The men

Chimbalanga and Monjeza and

laws. In December, President

all have girlfriends or wives to

alerting the international commu-

Barack Obama issued a mem-

cover the fact that they are gay.

nity to their case. Kamba was in

orandum instructing US agen-

Harold Williams was a human

the courtroom many days, as well

cies to “promote and protect the

rights activist with the Association

as the prison, making sure the cou-

human rights of LGBT persons”

for Secular Humanism. Originally

ple had enough food and clothing.

around the world, followed by a

from England, he lived in Malawi

In the wake of threats, Trapence

landmark speech by Secretary of

for decades and is associated with

and Kamba were forced to leave

State Hillary Clinton to the UN in

Malawi’s fight for democracy. I

their home cities (Lilongwe and

Switzerland. How all this pres-

spoke with him before he passed

Blantyre, respectively); they have

sure affects LGBT folk suffering

away this past summer. He said

both since moved back. They say

under anti-gay regimes around

that things would be easier for

things have gotten worse for gay

the world remains unclear.

gay people right now if the inter-

people in the short term but don’t

Kim Vance, co-director of ARC

national community didn’t get

regret making the case an interna-

International, a Canadian-based

involved. “The coming in of outside people actually has made the case more difficult because now it is a question of sovereignty,” said Williams. The UK has suspended aid to Malawi and the US and Norway

→ FROM THE FRONT LINES Even in the face of a backlash, Malawian activists Gift Trapence and Dunker Kamba (opposite page) feel that international pressure works. LGBT locals like Amanda and Barbara (right), who need to remain anonymous, also weigh in.

international rights organization, stresses that local voices need to be heard in any anti-homophobia campaign. Too often, she says, “Western voices drown out local voices.” Continued on page 24



Continued from page 23

cians are exploiting homophobia. Ghanaian

which support homophobia should be targeted

homosexuals are being beaten up in the streets

for specific action,” writes Tomlinson. “For

yer Maurice Tomlinson, human rights activist

as government authorities openly say they

example, in April 2011 Coca-Cola sponsored a

and legal advisor to AIDS-Free World. Jamaica

want to “get rid of these people.” In Uganda,

concert in Montego Bay which featured noto-

was a flashpoint in international LGBT rights

a prominent gay rights activist was beaten to

riously homophobic Jamaican dancehall art-

two years ago after the Canadian lobby group

death after a tabloid published his photo with

ist Sizzla. This concert was taped and is now

Egale and other Western rights organizations

the text, “Hang them.”

freely available on YouTube. Predictably, Sizzla

It’s a sentiment echoed by Jamaican law-

called for a boycott of Jamaica to pressure the

Harold Williams, the Malawian-based

used the global platform provided by Coca-

government there to do more to protect its

human rights activist who died last year, felt

Cola to call for the execution of gays. Despite

LGBT citizens. Tomlinson feels broad finan-

the Malawian president is now using gay rights

repeated requests for Coca-Cola to publicly

cial penalties backfire, especially in poor coun-

as a wedge issue, diverting attention from the

repudiate the Sizzla performance, the com-

government’s many controversial and unpop-

pany only published one letter to the editor in

ular policies such as reforms to the justice

a local daily.”

department and challenging freedom of the

Vance and Tomlinson stress the impor-

press. In addition the country is continually

tance of working for change in concert with

facing a shortage of fuel. The gay controversy,

local organizations and people. For Canadians

said Williams, “has now given the government

who want to help, Vance suggests giving sup-

tries like Jamaica. “There was one incident

a stick to beat these people with. They are able

port to organizations that keep accurate data

that was reported to [Jamaican LGBT advo-

to dodge other issues by bringing this emotive

and have proven track records and credi-

cacy group] J-FLAG of actual violence linked

issue in.”

bility, groups such as Human Rights Watch

“Western voices drown out local voices.”

to the Egale [boycott] call,” writes Tomlinson in an email. “The perpetrators said that, ‘It’s you the Canadians fighting for,’ and proceeded

So what are we in the West to do? We want to help but can cause harm so easily. Moral suasion is the first step. “International

and Amnesty International. Where possible, seek out local activists. J-FLAG, for example, has chapters in Kingston and Montego Bay.

to attack the person with a knife.” Tomlinson

pressure to support advocacy on the ground

“Volunteers are always happy to meet with

feels there were likely other incidents but

should firstly come from supra-national

visitors,” writes Tomlinson. “They appreci-

notes that underreporting attacks is common

groups like the UN,” states Tomlinson. Jamaica

ate the moral support.” And money and sup-

in Jamaica.

for example has signed various rights conven-

plies are always welcome. Both J-FLAG and

tions and should be held accountable.

the Malawi-based Centre for the Development

It’s the same in Malawi. Vance says that it “actually got harsher” for LGBT people and

Financial penalties do work, he adds, if

of Humans can be reached through their

that the outcome of the Chimbalanga/Monjeza

applied with greater care. Make homophobic

case was far from ideal. A presidential pardon

perpetrators pay; don’t alienate the general

As for Western governments’ newfound

does not set a precedent; it is merely a band-

population. Cultivating local allies is critical.

tough talk linking aid to human rights, again,

aid solution. Local activists and rights groups are already

“Financial pressure can be applied to specific


Tomlinson cautions against overly simplis-

public figures — politicians, performers and

tic approaches. “Redirecting budgetary support

under huge strains and are ill equipped to cope

others — without alienating our allies. This

from homophobic governments to local agen-

with any backlash. Where are the Western

can be done through revoking visas or refus-

cies working to document, educate about and

groups, asks Tomlinson, “to meet the needs of

ing entry and freezing assets held in the host

respond to human rights abuses against LGBT

persons who would have suffered as a result of

country by individuals who spout homopho-

people,” he states, “is far superior to overbroad

a violent backlash?” He’s talking practical and

bia,” states Tomlinson.

— but much simpler to administer — slashing

immediate assistance, like money for individ-

He asks that Westerners look closer to

uals forced from their homes and help for any-

home, at businesses, charities and church

one seeking asylum.

groups that promote homophobia overseas.

Across the African continent, many politi-

of aid.”

Gordon Bowness & Denis Calnan

“Businesses, both multinational and national,






January 2012

Email or call 416-506-1400 x.238 for more information.


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january Leon Aureus



David Ellingsen Photo exhibit opens at Akasha


The Penelopiad Opens at Buddies starring Megan Follows


Kim’s Convenience Written by and starring Ins Choi opens at Soulpepper


Peggy Baker Three works open at Betty Oliphant

Andrew Eccles

Living with Henry Opens at Next Stage fest



Tosca Opens starring Adrianne Pieczonka


Stephen Burks Design Exchange showcase opens

Art & Photography DAVID ELLINGSEN Hibernus is the west coast artist’s exhibit of botanical subjects shot on now-discontinued Polaroid film. 11am-6pm. Tue-Fri. 11am-5pm. Sat. Thu, Jan 5-Feb 4. Reception. 5pm-8pm. Jan 7. Akasha Art Projects. 511 Church St, #200. (647) 348-0104. WILL MUNRO: HISTORY, GLAMOUR, MAGIC

The AGYU presents a retrospective of the multimedia work of Will Munro, the young artist, activist and scene-maker who died in May 2010. Ranging from his first exhibit after graduating from OCAD and his underwear art to the silk-screened posters that promoted his parties, his collaborations with fashion designer Jeremy Laing and never-before-seen ephemera. The Lezbro Room continues his legacy by showcasing contributions from lesbians in Munro’s life: Lex Vaughan, Cecilia Berkovic and Allyson Mitchell. In AGYU’s Vitrines are


Karim Rashid Speaks at IDS12 (& DJs the opening party)

works by Emma Hedditch (with a little inspiration from I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing). The Performance Bus, that transports people out to York University, gets added sparkle from artist and DJ Syrus Marcus Ware with a special party edition that heads up for the opening (departing from OCAD, 100McCaul St, at 6pm). Opening. 6pm-9pm. Wed, Jan 11. Free. 10am4pm. Mon-Fri (until 8pm Wed). Noon-5pm. Sun. Until Mar 11. AGYU. Accolade East Building, York University. 4700 Keele St. (416) 736-5169.

Film & Video SHORT FILMS BY JACK CHAMBERS As part of the huge Chambers painting retrospective the AGO screens this collection of experimental films from the 1960s, Mosaic, Hybrid, R34 and Circle, introduced by writer and filmmaker Bruce Elder. $22.50. 8:30pm. Wed, Jan 18. Jackman Hall.


Alvin Ailey Dance Company Performs at the IABD Festival

317 Dundas St W. (416) 979-6648. A DANGEROUS METHOD Opens Fri, Jan 13. See page 30. PARIAH Opens Fri, Jan 13. See page 6.

Dance TWO BY FOUR Dancemakers presents a festival of duets. Montreal’s George Stamos with Dany Desjardins. Tue, Jan 17-19. James Gnam and Farley Johansson in a piece by Vancouver’s Peter Bingham. With Toronto’s Amanda Acorn and Andrea Spaziani in a piece by Spaziani. Jan 21-23. $18$25. 8pm. Dancemakers Centre for Creation. 55 Mills St, bldg 58, #313. (416) 367-1800. MY HEART IS A SPOON Maxine Heppner with Across Oceans presents the world premiere of the emotionally intense multimedia dance work inspired by Japanese manga, performed by Takako Segawa and Gerry Trentham. Photography by Droo


Evan Bare designs Last day for Radiant Dark

and music composed by Sarah Shugarman. $25. 7:30pm. Thu-Sat. $20. 2pm. Sun. Thu, Jan 19-22. Theatre Centre. 1087 Queen St W. (416) 538-0988. PEGGY BAKER DANCE PROJECTS The Sound and Feel of It, three pieces created by Peggy Baker: In the Fire of Conflict performed by Benjamin Kamino; Portal, a solo by Baker; and Piano/Quartet, a new work to mark the centenary of John Cage’s birth featuring Ric Brown, Sean Ling, Sahara Morimoto and Andrea Nann dancing to Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes performed live by Andrew Burashko on a prepared piano. $28. 8:30pm. Wed-Sat. 4pm. Sun. Fri, Jan 20-22, 25-29. Betty Oliphant Theatre. 404 Jarvis St. 1 (888) 222-6608. INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACKS IN DANCE A conference and festival high-

lighting dance companies from around the world. Emerging Artists Showcase


Courtesy of Paul Petro Contemporary

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HISTORY, GLAMOUR, MAGIC Will Munro art retrospective at AGYU runs Wed, Jan 11 to Mar 11.

includes US troupes Baltimore Dane Tech, Cleveland School of Performing Arts and Dallas Black Dance Theatre III joining local artists Saidah Baba Talibah and the Caribbean Children’s Dance Theatre. 6pm. Thu, Jan 26. Canadian Showcase features Ballet Creole, Ghislaine Doté from Montreal, Nafro Dance Productions from Winnipeg, Michele Moss from Calgary and more. 9pm. Jan 26. Members Showcase features Ohio’s Zelma Badu Azaguno, Germaul Barnes from New York, UNLV from Las Vegas and more. 9pm. Jan 27. The International Showcase features Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Cuba’s Danza Corpus, the UK’s Desert Crossing, Australia’s Bernadette Walong, Chicago’s Munto Dance Theatre and more. 8pm. Jan 28. $50 each. Queen Elizabeth Theatre. 190 Princes’ Blvd. (4166) 504-7529.

Stage NEXT STAGE THEATRE FESTIVAL Running Wed, Jan 4 to 15, this showcase of great Fringe productions is now in its fifth year. Among the eight productions on tap is Loving the Stranger. See page 31. Living with Henry is Christopher Wilson’s critically acclaimed musical drama on living with AIDS. Starring Ryan Kelly, David Silvestri, Lizzie Kurtz, John Edwards, Mary Kelly and Kraig Waye and directed by Donna Marie Baratta. Factory Theatre Mainspace. The Washing Machine by Radha S Menon is the story of an AngloIndian widow with a secret returning to India with big plans only to clash with a colourful cast of locals. Starring Aparajit Bhattacharjee, Steve Cumyn, Mina James, Jivesh Parasram, Dipal Patel, Cydney Penner, Ronica Sajnani and Asha Vijayasigham; Sasha Kovacs directs. $10-$15. Continued on page 28

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1 866-467-5252

listings & events

Continued from page 27

in spot Outhouse Review Michael Pihach

“Fashion is boring,” says William Ashman, “in comparison to food.” It’s one reason why the self-proclaimed foodie closed Haus, the fashion boutique he co-owned at Bloor and Lansdowne, two years ago to open Outhouse, an espresso/panini bar in Baby Point, the neighbourhood just west of The Junction. “Outhouse sounds like a toilet,” admits Ashman, but the name is a nod to the pantries families used to build outside of their homes. The shop is also inspired by New York City’s West Village, where Ashman had a eureka moment one day while watching New Yorkers enjoy their java. Facing bright, traffic-heavy Jane Street, Outhouse is a brew of urban/suburban bliss. It’s where High Park mothers go to chill or gab with thirty-something Ashman while listening to the Smashing Pumpkins over sweet Rufino bean bevies with names like “The Lawsuit,” a lip-smacking vanilla and caramel concoction, or “Hansel’s Revenge,” a milky latte that tastes like gingerbread. The food, which consists of handmade panini, wraps and flaky pastries, is always fresh. (Sandwiches with side salad run $8.50 to $10.50; for you carb-fearing folks, there’s an all-salad version of each sandwich, too.) The eatery is small and pretty basic but the vibe is convivial. “I want to get people back into being 28

January 2012

→ BABY POIN T Yes, it’s stroller central near this stretch of Jane, but William Ashman’s café is home base to a diverse, friendly community.

social,” says Ashman, who avoided installing wi-fi in his café so people would talk instead of Facebooking. Chatting with Ashman, who’s typically stationed behind a sandwich press or a plate of glossy butter tarts, is as enjoyable as the café’s best-selling grilled chicken “Chelsea” panini. He knows most of his patrons by order and by name and kills everyone with kindness. “Leave a 20 on the table and we’ll call it even!” he hollers at one cash-strapped patron. Granted, the ’hood is stroller central (Ashman keeps a basket of toys and colouring books for the wee ones often prowling the café), but as indicated by the rainbow sticker on Outhouse’s window, given to Ashman by a local trans teen, the café is home base to a diverse community. Fostering a sense of belonging, says Ashman, “is worth more to me than any sale.”

OUTHOUSE PANINI & ESPRESSO BAR 8am-6pm. Mon-Fri. 10am-4pm. Sat & Sun. 393 Jane St.

Factory Studio Theatre. 125 Bathurst St. (416) 966-1063. THE PENELOPIAD Nightwood Theatre presents Margaret Atwood’s retelling of The Odyssey. Penelope (Megan Follows), wife of Odysseus who’s off fighting the Trojan War, raises her unruly son while rumours swirl of her infidelity. Her plan to protect herself comes to pieces when Odysseus returns and slays her maids. An intoxicating mix of tragedy, melodrama and burlesque with a super-powered cast: Maev Beaty, Christine Brubaker, Sarah Dodd, Monica Dottor, Raven Dauda, Kelli Fox, Cara Gee, Patricia Hamilton, Tara Ros-ling, Pamela Sinha, Sophia Walker and Bahia Watson; Kelly Thornton directs. $40-$46. 8pm. Wed-Sat. Price TBA. 1:30pm. Wed. PWYC. 2pm. Sun. Thu, Jan 12-29. Buddies in Bad TimesTheatre. 12 Alexander St. (416) 975-8555. KIM’S CONVENIENCE Soulpepper presents Ins Choi’s touching comedy about a Korean-owned convenience store in Regent Park featuring Choi, Esther Jun, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Jean Yoon; Weyni Mengesha directs. $51-$65 ($22 rush/youth). 8pm (with various 2pm matinees). Opens Thu, Jan 19. Young Centre. 55 Mill St, bldg 49. (416) 866-8666. TOSCA The Canadian Opera Company presents Puccini’s devastating tragedy starring a devastating Canadian soprano, Adrianne Pieczonka (her last COC appearance as Ariadne was divine), alternating with Julie Makerov (no mean shakes herself; Makerov won a 2010 Dora for her Senta). Mario is sung by Carlo Ventre and Thiago Arancam and Scarpia is Mark Delavan. The gay director and design team of Paul Curran and Kevin Knight created this gorgeous production for the COC brimming with telling detail back in 2008. Paolo Carignani conducts. $45-$318. Sat, Jan 21-Feb 25. Four Seasons Centre. 145 Queen St W. (416) 363-8231. CRUEL & TENDER Oscar-nominated director Atom Egoyan directs his wife Arsinee Khanjian for the first time onstage in this searing drama about the personal impulses for war from the UK’s Martin Crimp. Starring Daniel Kash, Nigel Shawn, Jeff Lillico and Thomas Hauff in a Canadian Stage production. $24-$99 (PWYC Mon). 8pm. Mon-Sat. 1:30pm. Wed. 2pm. Sat. Thu, Jan 26-Feb 18. Bluma Appel Theatre. 27 Front St E. (416) 368-3110.

Classical & Jazz MUSICIANS IN ORDINARY Soprano Hallie Fishel, lutenist John Edwards, violinists Edwin Huizinga and Christopher Verrette and harpsichordist Lysiane Boulva, in her MIO debut, perform a baroque program of Vivaldi, Scarlatti, Corelli and Zamboni. $25. 2pm. Sun, Jan 1. 8pm. Jan 2. Heliconian Hall. 35 Hazelton Ave. (416) 535-9956. TORONTO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA It’s almost all Mozart this month with The Jupiter Symphony (Wed, Jan 11 & 12) and the Requiem (Jan 18 &19, 21 & 22). Then James Gaffigan conducts Bartók’s The Miraculous Mandarin with Brahms’ Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn and

Haydn’s Trumpet Concerto. $35-$145. 8pm. Wed, Jan 25 & 28. Roy Thomson Hall. 60 Simcoe St. (416) 5930-4828. MOOREDALE CONCERTS Russian-American violinist Dmitri Berlinsky and his International Chamber Soloists present a program of Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn and Piazzolla. $30. 3:15pm. Sun, Jan 15. Walter Hall. 80 Queen’s Park Cresc. (416) 922-3714, ext 103.

Design Stephen burks Man Made Toronto, a showcase of the industrial designer’s exploration of the global economy and artisanal craft. PWYC. 10am-5pm. MonFri. Noon-5pm. Sat & Sun. Mon, Jan 23Apr 1. Design Exchange. 234 Bay St. (416) 363-6121. IDS12 The Interior Design Show is Canada’s largest contemporary design fair. This year’s international guest of honour is Italian architect and designer Piero Lissoni. He’ll give the keynote address in the Conversations in Design symposium as well as create a 1,200square-foot experience of his work. Other speakers include Karim Rashid, Clauss Sendlinger, Amy Lau and Michael Bruno. The How Do You Live? exhibit is a cutaway of a two-storey building highlighting condo design featuring Rick Mugford and Caroline Robbie of Quadrangle (see page 12), Mazyar Mortazavi of TAS, Stanley Sun and Ashley Rumsey of Mason and more. Twenty designers reimagine the Julian cat chair by Magis. The results, unveiled at the opening

Kai Wa Yapp

listings & events

→ WES T ERN EXPOSURE Lighting designs by Seoul-based Hyungshin Hwang, one of a score of designers showcased at Come Up To My Room, part of the TO DO festival running Thu, Jan 26 to 29.

party, are auctioned off over the weekend to raise money for the international children’s charity OneXOne. The opening party features Rashid on the turntable and remarks by Lissoni. $55. 7pm-11pm. Thu, Jan 26. Friday is the trade day. General admission. $19. 10am-7pm. Jan 28. 10am6pm. Jan 29. Thursday’s Conversations in Design is a separate ticketed event: $195 full day; $125 half day. Metro Toronto Convention Centre, North Building. 255 Front St W. TO DO The Toronto Design Offsite festival is an association of several exhibitions and events during Toronto design week, alternatives to the big IDS show, most running Thu, Jan 26 to 29 (unless otherwise noted) with most opening receptions on the Saturday afternoon. Do Design highlights, the design stores, studios, bars and cafés of the emerging design neighbourhood along Dundas St W. In Come Up to My Room designers and artists take over rooms and public spaces in the Gladstone Hotel. Participants include Gareth Bate, DarkLab, Wendy W Fok, Fugitive Glue, Sam Mogelonsky and Bruno Billio, Katrine Barnstaple, Hyung-shin Hwang, Interstice Studio and Sonia Tyagi. Gladstone Hotel. 1214 Queen St W. $10. Opening reception: 7pm, followed by the free Love Design Party,

10pm. Sat, Jan 28. comeuptomyroom. com. Radiant Dark is the Canadian design showcase curated by the owners of Made, Julie Nicholson and Shaun Moore. This year’s event, subtitled The Devil Is in the Details, features designs by Evan Bare, Matthew Agostinis, Orest Tataryn, Anneke van Bommel, Wheeler Studio, Brothers Dressler, Yvone Ip and many more. Located in a garage just south of Dundas St W, near the corner of St Mathias Place. Capacity features new work by female designers: Angeline Tetrault, Arounna Khounnoraj, Ayla Newhouse, Erin McCutcheon, Joy Charbonneau, Katherine Morley (see page 16), Maiwenn Castellan, Michelle Ivankovic and Nathalie Nahas. Bev Hisey Studio. 1066 Dundas St W. Public Displays of Affection hooks up low income housing developments with designers in collaborative projects that this year helps supply the 40 Oaks residence with sustainable furniture. Participating designers include Parimal Gosai (see page 15), Brothers Dressler, Rob Southcott and Kathryn Walter. 40 Oak Community Centre. 40 Oak St. TO DO Pecha Kucha, a rapid-fire free-form design discussion. $5. 7:30pm doors; 8:20pm presentation. Tue, Jan 17. The Garrison. 1197 Dundas St W. Not Forkschops is a showcase of multivalent designs for objects in the home. Featuring Anneke van Bommel, Claire Madill, Dawn Petticrew, Maiwenn Castellan, Michelle Ivankovic and Rob Southcott. Wed, Jan 25-Jan 29. Reception. 4pm-8pm. Jan 28. The Department. 1389 Dundas St W.

Leisure & Sports DJ SKATE NIGHT Skate outside at

Harbourfront to cool beats by hot DJs every Saturday night. On Jan 28 it’s Cherry Bomb DJs Denise Benson and Cozmic Cat. 8pm-11pm. 235 Queens Quay W. (416) 973-4000.


and Broadway, hits from popular Broadway fare under the direction of new musical co-directors Brenda Schneider Martin and Heather Morris. $15 adv; $20 door. 8pm. Sat, Jan 28. Harcourt United Church. 87 Dean Ave. Guelph. (519) 829-2225.

Television Bomb girls A new six-part drama series

on Canadian women working in a munitions factory during World War II. Starring Meg Tilly; written and directed by Michael Maclennan. 8pm. Wednesdays. Beginning Jan 4. Global TV. •

in spot Eclectisaurus Story Derek Dotto

More sophisticated than the hipster-infested Kensington than

vintage Market,


shops less




→ S T UFFED GORGEOUS Eclectisaurus offers the perfect mix of art and eccentricity.


1920s found only feet away from

Eclectisaurus boasts a small but

1950s industrial porcelain glove



forms that double as art work.

art and objets with just the right

There is even an original Exercycle.



amount of eccentricity. Nestled

“The benefit of this is question-

away in Cabbagetown, the shop

able because you plug it in and it

offers items from bygone eras

pedals for you and the handle bars

including turn-of-the-century tele-

go back and forth,” says Zysman. But

graph keys and retro lamps (most

hey, at least it still works, like

perusable online).

many appliances in the store. “I’ve

Store owner Leslie Zysman gets

had 90-year-old coffee makers that

most of the pieces from auctions

I can plug in and they still work,”

or private individuals but she has

says Zysman. “There’s a certain

been known to pilfer soon-to-be-

level of quality that seems to have

demolished houses. “There I was

disappeared. You can tell the dif-

with my miner’s light on my head,”

ference between a new and an old

she reminisces of one home in

item, a lot of the time, by weight.”

Cobourg. “Crews were ripping out





the piping. And I’m rummaging

impressive knowledge of yester-

around in this absolutely terrifying

year’s designs, she doesn’t claim

house. But there was some terrific

to know everything. It’s discovery

stuff in it.”

that keeps her going. “Anything

One of the store’s biggest draws

that I’ve learned about art, design

is its old typewriter collection.

and antiques is self-taught,” she

“When I started, I was selling type-

says. “If I were selling jeans or

writers and ‘real’ antique deal-

T-shirts, I wouldn’t be in retail. I

ers thought I was bananas,” says

couldn’t take it. But there’s a lot to

Zysman. “And now there’s a resur-

keep one interested in this busi-

gence of interest. There’s a sort of

ness.” A good sign the Eclectisaurus

romanticism, I guess, and they’re

will never go extinct.

very well built.” Eclectisaurus’s assortment ranges from





Chinese jade brooches from the

ECLECTISAURUS 249 Gerrard St E. (416) 934-9009.


A RT & e nt e rta i n m e n t FILM

Beneath thin ice → Plumbing

the subconscious depths with director David Cronenberg Interview Peter Knegt


egendary Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg returns this winter with his 19th feature film, A Dangerous Method. An adaptation of Christopher Hampton’s stage play, the film looks at the relationship between psychiatrist Carl Jung (played by Michael Fassbender), his mentor Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen) and the troubled woman who came between them, Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley). The film has gained considerable traction since it started screening at festivals earlier this year, recently making TIFF’s annual 10 best Canadian films of the year. A Dangerous Method makes its way into theatres across Canada this month. What initially drew you to this project? I had heard that Ralph Fiennes, who I worked with in Spider, was in a play playing Carl Jung. Then I realized it was Christopher Hampton’s play. I’d known of Hampton’s work ever since he was this 22-year-old wun-


January 2012

derkind and made Total Eclipse. The combination was pretty interesting. Did you see the actual play? No, I bought the play and read it. I’d never seen it performed. And I got very excited about it. Here was this great, what I like to call intellectual ménage à trois. I’d never heard of Sabina until I’d read Christopher’s play. And that was really it. I’ve only begun to realize now when people ask, that the first movie I ever made was called Transfer and it was about a psychiatrist and a patient. It was this seven-minute little film I made in undergrad. So it sort of came full circle, in a way — back to that subject and that era. It was quite a critical era in the history of European civilization, basically because it was just before World War I — of course, they didn’t know that was coming — but a really fascinating, culturally intense period. And to have the challenge of recreating that, to resurrect that and resurrect these people and bring them back to life, was something that excited me.

→ FULL CIRCLE David Cronenberg’s latest film, like his first, explores the fecund relevance of psychoanalysis.

Did it feel daunting? Humanizing a society you’ve never existed in and actual people who you’ve never met? It’s a huge challenge. Just think of it for an actor. You need to dislocate yourself in time and space. Not only do you have to become another person, which is what actors do. But you have to become another person in another era where just the way people thought, the way people spoke, the way people stood was all quite different, just because it was over 100 years ago. It’s terrifying but exciting. And if you can pull it off, it’s terrific. While it’s 100 years ago, a lot of what’s going on in the film remains very relevant and controversial today. Absolutely. Freud was revolutionary. And a lot of what he said has become so much a part of the culture that it’s almost invisible. They think it’s

always been there, the understandings of ego and the unconscious and a Freudian slip and all that. None of it existed before Freud, obviously. So he was very revolutionary. And he was very disruptive and very threatening to the society that he emerged in because it was a very controlled, very repressed kind of Victorian society that worked very well. It functioned really beautifully. And they thought they were en route to a super civilization in Europe. I hadn’t been to Vienna before this movie, and it was surprising to me. It was obviously built by people who recognized it as the capital of an empire, an empire that existed for 700 years. And they really felt that they were kings of the world and that they had it all understood — rationality and order and reason and government. They had it all down. And here was Freud saying, “Well, that’s just a thin surface of ice over the turbulent waters. There’s stuff going on underneath that you are not controlling and if you do not acknowledge it, it could really destroy you in an instant.” Nobody wanted to hear that. It was threatening. And then of course World War I proved it was right. Suddenly this wonderful super civilization descended into tribal barbarism and incredible violence. So he was proved right quite quickly. People still aren’t quite listening, it seems. The problem is you can listen, but that’s not enough. It’s not enough to stop us from being what we are.


A RT & en t erta inmen t T h eatre

A stranger in his world → When

just being alive destabilized power and revealed hypocrisy Story Sonia Norris | Photography Matt Jackson


deas, satire, music and nudity can entertain audiences while provoking them to think — an essential duality for cabaret. Alistair Newton, artistic director of Ecce Homo Theatre, a Toronto company known for sexy and provocative works, has a passion for Brechtian theatre and Weimar cabaret. He calls them “transgressive and inherently queer” because they “balance political content with entertainment through a strange aesthetic created in response to a world on the brink of disaster.” Ecce Homo’s latest production, Loving the Stranger or How to Recognize an Invert, written and directed by Newton, is presented this month as part of the Fringe’s Next Stage Theatre Festival. It’s inspired by the true-life story of Peter Flinsch, arrested in 1942 for kissing a friend at a Luftwaffe Christmas party. Flinsch survived a Nazi military prison to become a successful opera and ballet designer in East Berlin. He eventually moved to Canada, first to Vancouver where he co-founded the Vancouver Ballet, and then to Montreal. Newton met Flinsch in 2010; it was the last interview he ever gave. Flinsch died on the very day the first version of Loving the Stranger premiered, less than a

“This show is about Peter [Flinsch]’s life and his thoughts and ideas.” month before his 90th birthday. “This show is about Peter’s life and his thoughts and ideas,” says Newton. “It is a repository for an important historical perspective because he survived the entire his-

tory of the gay rights movement and lived through the Holocaust. In 2011 the last known gay Holocaust survivor [sent to the camps because they were gay] died, so there is no one to speak of these things any more.” The title of the show comes from German sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld’s renowned survey of homosexuality; invert was the medical term used in the early 20th century to identify people with samesex desire. “The first gay magazine ever published was in Berlin and called Der Eigene, which translates as ‘the special one/the strange one,’” says Newton. “I liked the idea of using these words to describe the experience of living outside of society like Flinsch. He was a stranger in his world. “During our interview I asked Peter when he knew he was gay. He

→ SPIRITED CRITIQUE The cabaret Loving the Stranger, with Andrew Bathory and Matt Eger, is based on the life of Canadian Holocaust-survivor Peter Flinsch.

replied homosexuality hadn’t been invented yet,” says Newton. “Where did the gay identity come from? What does it mean to be strange in the 21st century? These are questions I address in the show.” The show features text culled from memoirs, 1920s cabaret music, dance, spoofs of anti-gay TV commercials and copious amounts of male nudity. Hume Baugh stars as Flinsch. Musical direction is by Dan Rutzen with accompanist Adam Weinmann. There are striking parallels between Weimar Germany before the war and contemporary North America and Europe: a sudden

resurgence of right-wing morality along with a re-evaluation of capitalism due to a huge economic crisis. What does a keen student of history like Newton think is the most pressing issue facing our current society? “Apathy,” he says. “Good people doing nothing, a weakness of ability to think dialectically and a lack of empathy. “I am determined to try to wake people up. I do my work to change people’s lives. I am offering my point of view and revealing what is going on subconsciously in our society, exposing the mechanism behind the machine. And if I can make people think and change their opinion while also entertaining them, then I am successful. I am presenting a proposition to the audience and I want to engage them in the argument — I give my answer in order to make the audience question it. My work is an interrogation and critique, which includes my own ideas — I am not immune to it.” That spirit of interrogation allows Newton to take an unexpected tack on a polarizing figure like Christie Blatchford, the National Post columnist whose latest outrage attacked Toronto “sissies,” males who hug and are in touch with their emotions. “Gay is entirely fine,” she wrote. “Fey is a pain in the arse.” “I’d like her to come to the show,” says Newton. “I am putting two tickets under her name for every performance of our run. I would love to do a debate with her. I’m interested in the dissenting, strident view as it helps to keep your defenses sharp against fatuousness.”

LOVING THE STRANGER $12-$15. Thu, Jan 5-15. Factory Theatre Mainspace 125 Bathurst St. (416) 966-1062. See page 27 for more on the Next Stage fest.




b o o ks

For the loves of history → Alan

Hollinghurst discusses his latest novel, The Stranger’s Child, an epic saga of 20th-century life Story Alice Lawlor | Photography Robert Taylor


ays have loved and lost since the beginning of time. But take a look at the history books and you’d think we were all but invisible before Stonewall. Award-winning British author Alan Hollinghurst is doing his bit to redress the balance. His new novel, The Stranger’s Child, spans almost the entire 20th century and features gay lives at every turn. “From adolescence, I was rather haunted by the fact that such stories didn’t exist,” Hollinghurst says. “I remember seeing some romantic film set in the 19th century on television and thinking, ‘Why couldn’t that woman and man running away together be a man and a man?’” The Stranger’s Child revolves around Cecil Valance, a sexually magnetic poet who visits the Sawles family just before going off to World War I. He solicits both male and female attention from the family, and changes the course of their lives forever. The rest of the book jumps through time, skipping births, deaths and marriages in favour of the gaps between big events. “I wanted to try and write something about the impact of war, not about war itself,” says Hollinghurst. “I like the idea of just having a gap there, as a way of dramatizing the shocks and surprises of time.” The character of Cecil is loosely based on famous British war poet Rupert Brooke. “He dies very young, of a mosquito bite,” says Hollinghurst, “and almost immediately Winston Churchill writes about him in The Times and he becomes this emblem of a genera-

tion of lost gilded youth.” It wasn’t until the 1990s that Brooke’s letters describing violent sexual encounters with men were published. Like Brooke, Cecil’s own indiscretions are concealed for decades after his death. In a time when homosexuality is illegal, the tell-all biography isn’t really an option. “I’m interested by how long it could

“There was a different kind of romance or excitement that existed in periods when it was difficult… to be gay.” take for the true, unvarnished (and much more interesting) story to emerge from behind the icon,”

→ Gilded youth The life of a sexually magnetic poet is refracted through time in Alan Hollinghurst’s new novel.

says Hollinghurst. “The gay story is completely hidden and unmentionable in the early part of the book, and at the end it’s perhaps exaggeratedly pushed into the open.” By the end of the novel, it’s 2008 and gay couples are out, proud and married. The contrast between modern times and the 1913 section is marked pointedly. But this is not a sermon on gay rights and Hollinghurst, whose last book, The Line of Beauty, was the first-ever gay novel to win the Booker Prize, skilfully avoids a moralizing tone. “Although I far prefer to live in the liberal present, there was a different kind of romance or excitement that existed in periods when it was difficult for social or legal reasons

to be gay,” he says. After homosexuality is decriminalized in Britain in 1967, the newfound freedom changes the way biographies are written — and not always in a good way. Towards the end of the novel, Cecil’s modernday biographer Paul gets so carried away by the licence to tell all that he stretches the truth. His search for licentious material knows no bounds: “Quite soon it was time for the customary, necessary, and often useful visit to the loo — a welcome escape into privacy, a gape in the mirror, and a chance to pry unobserved into the subject’s habits and attitude to hygiene and sense of humour.” It’s a wonderfully witty little scene — the book is full of them — that cleverly skewers the celebrity culture of today. It’s easy to imagine the contents of Justin Bieber’s bathroom cabinet making headlines on TMZ. “I’m disconcerted by the whole erosion of the idea of privacy,” says Hollinghurst, who has always been protective of his own private life. Is there anyone he’d trust to write his biography? “Oh, it would be the dullest book ever written,” he says, with a laugh. “I can’t imagine anyone being foolish enough to want to write it.”

THE STRANGER’S CHILD Alan Hollinghurst. Random House.



caught in the act by Michael Pihach





Gentlemen’s Christmas, The Carlu 1



Winter exhibitions opening, the power plant












→ 1. Adam Jardine, Adam Schwabe 2. Ian Mitchell, Allan Penning 3. Jamie Young, Glen Watson 4. Steven Bereznai, Kevin Sweet 5. Andre

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