Living & Design
G a y & L e s b i a n C i t y L i v i n g | J U ly 2 0 1 4
Worldpride fathers & Sons
The ultimate Pride penthouse
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issue 50 JUly 2014
views | living & design | insight | events | Arts & entertaiNment
18 living & design
Arts & entertaiNment
08 | travel Columbus might just be the US’s most underrated gay city
32 | All in the family A son’s coming out can be tough on dad. But when they connect the bond can be beautiful
42 | art Clay is just so gay
15 | entertaining Hosting a memorable outdoor soiree is easier than you think 18 | fashion Sexy is the new black 26 | open house Scott Mullin’s primo patio relationships Our advice guru Adam Segal returns next issue
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38 | LEst we forget What better time than WorldPride to be reminded of our hard-fought triumphs.
44 | film Bent Lens retrospective spotlights Derek Jarman and Bruce LaBruce 46 | Stage The kids are alright at the Fringe
out on the town
40 | get out Places to go, people to see
50 | caught in the act Party pics
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Living & Design
t r av e l
Three cheers for Columbus → You’ll have a blast and wonder why you haven’t been here before Story Michael Pihach
t’s Friday night at Axis nightclub and I’m watching Wilma Flintstone twerk against a beefy muscle dude dressed as a pterodactyl. The sexy stone-ager generates heaves of laughter from an amped-up audience of locals who’ve come to support Nina West, one of Columbus, Ohio’s leading drag queens at her latest revue, Nina’s Excellent Adventure. The
time travelling-inspired show, which included multiple dedications to James Franco and a posse of talented backup dancers, highlights dozens of West’s wild impersonations, from Marie Antoinette and Pocahontas to glittery Indiana Jones and tasteful but slutty Monica Lewinsky. There’s even a downloadable phone app that lets the audience vote which move
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â†’ mural madness In the Short North Arts District itâ€™s not uncommon to come across precision repros of famous works like the Mona Lisa painted on the buildings along High Street.
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→ bridging the gap Columbus’ LGBT community is really integrated; you don’t
see the same kind of separation of gays and lesbians as in most big cities.
West will make next on stage in between acts. “She’s sooo gonna make it to [RuPaul’s] Drag Race,” a screwdriver-sipping twink yelps behind me over a pumping hiptop track as men and women,
young and old, go nuts as West continues with her hilariously eff’d up drag interpretation of the flame-haired Flintstone matriarch. The tips are pouring in from the crowd, so much so that
someone standing on a balcony stage right has removed their leather belt, attached some crinkly American bills to it and has begun to feed it over the rail, fishing it down towards West like worms on a hook. The community’s pride in this queen is fiercely overwhelming. “She’s an ambassador that bridges the gay and straight
community; a city institution,” a jolly man named Denver shouts in a thick Midwestern accent, slicing through the thumpathumpa beats. Axis (axisonhigh.com) is Columbus’ longstanding gay dance club, but the crowd that night is both gay and straight, and everyone is there to support their local queen. There’s a
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sense of pride in the club that’s consistent with Columbus’ gay and lesbian community, a scene you don’t fully grasp until you’re there having a blast and wondering why you haven’t been here before. “You don’t usually think of there being any gay-friendly cities in the Midwest,” says Brady Konya, who re-located
to Columbus seven years ago from Seattle with his partner, Kyle, after the tech company he worked for was sold to Microsoft. “We were really surprised.” Konya saw the capital city of Ohio as an opportunity to switch gears and in 2008 he co-founded Middle West Spirits (middlewestspirits. com), a high-end vodka and
whisky distillery (which is worth touring). His partner, who worked for Abercrombie & Fitch in Seattle, re-located to A&F’s main Columbus headquarters. (Columbus is home to a slew of other major fashion brands like Victoria’s Secret, La Senza and Hollister, an industry that relocates many to the city.) Today Konya can’t think of living anywhere else. “Columbus’ LGBT community is really integrated,” he says. “You don’t see the kind of separation like you do in other cities where lesbians go here and gays go there. Columbus is not what you’d expect.” There’s many scenes in Columbus (or “Cbus,” as some locals call it) to explore in the pockets of neighborhoods that are the result of years of gaytrification. One must is German Village, an eclectic neighbourhood of restored cottages and homes just south of downtown that was settled by German immigrants in the early-to-mid 19th century. Its revitalization is owed to a wellknown gay couple, the late Fred Holdridge and Howard Burns, who bought properties in the 1960s and ’70s, helped turned the area around and in the process won the community’s hearts. Lots of gay locals live in German Village today and it boasts gay-owned restaurants, such as martini lounge Club Diversity (clubdiversity.biz), Barcelona (barcelonacolumbus. com; the sangria will make you sing) and The Kitchen (thekitchencolumbus.com), a lesbian-owned participatory kitchen where guests don aprons and prepare their own meal (a good date spot, if you’re looking). It’s here, at The Kitchen’s chic grand dining table, where I ate tasty fingerling potatoes while chatting with 24-year-old Kara Mitchell, who currently reigns as Miss Northwestern Ohio, the first open lesbian to do so. It’s Mitchell’s goal to bring LGBT issues to the forefront of the Miss America Pageant, tackle issues like same-sex marriage (it’s still not legal in Ohio) and offer “inspiration to the countless
LGBT teens that need a positive role model,” she says. I was floored; I didn’t expect to be dining with someone who could potentially alter the pageant system as we know it. So you got me there, Columbus. You’re not what I expected. Another thing I didn’t expect was how gay Columbus really is. LGBT travel outlets have pointed this out already. Gay Travel named Columbus its “Most Underrated Gay City” and Gay Cities named Columbus its most “Up and Coming Gay City of 2011.” Columbus is the 15th largest city in the US with a population of more than 822,553; in 2006 some 34,942 residents identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual, as documented in a study conducted by The Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at the UCLA School of Law. God only knows how many LGBT residents live there today, but a walk through this very walkable town will make your gaydar go berserk. Every restaurant, museum or shop seemingly has a gay or lesbian person working there. “You must have planned this,” I quip to my guide Roger, a 29-yearold tourism pro who works at Experience Columbus, as we pass yet another gay couple holding hands on an off-the-beatenpath street after being served by yet another gay waiter (like that’s really any surprise). “No! I Swear!” he tells me, throwing his hands up. The overabundance of gay people we see becomes a running joke all weekend. The city’s substantial gay population could be due to the fact that Columbus is home to Ohio State University, one of the largest universities in the US. “This area is in constant flux,” says Sam Schisler, chief marketing and promotions officer for Axis, as well as Union Café (columbusnightlife.com), a busy dining and cocktail bar that could easily be The Abbey of the Midwest. The constant flow of students around town keeps the scene fresh and vibrant, says Schisler. inmagazine.ca
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WHERE TO GO FOR BRUNCH Katalina’s Café Corner (katalinascolumbus.com). A groovy gem in Columbus’ historic Harrison West neighbourhood. Go for the Mexican French toast and spicy bacon, but don’t ignore the true talk of the town: pancake balls filled with your choice of Nutella, strawberry or dulce de leche sauce. FOR LUNCH The North Market (northmarket. com). Buy local and explore dozens of delis, bakeries, fish, ethnic and pastry vendors at this popular indoor supermarket that attracts up to a million shoppers annually. Hot tip: go to Pistacia Vera pasty shop for the best macarons you’ll ever taste. FOR A FANCY SHMANCY DINNER
Most Columbus nightlife can be found in the Short North Arts District, an area along the High Street main drag that’s full of trendy bars, shops and art galleries. Here, you’ll find stunning murals of famous paintings on the side of buildings, from the Mona Lisa to American Gothic, and docking stations for the city’s convenient CoGo Bike Share program. Interestingly, the strip is framed by 17 wide arches, a nod to the arches that once covered Columbus in the late 1880s that lent it the nickname Arch City. Today, the arches are wired with programmable LED lights that turn into a million → The Most Underrated Gay City (Clockwise from top left) The Short North Arts District by night; Darienne Lake, of RuPaul’s Drag Race, at Axis; Experience Columbus
Nina West, one of Columbus, Ohio’s leading drag stars; German Village, an area with many gay-owned and operated businesses; American Gothic mural in front of a CoGo Bike Share location.
colours, including a rainbow. It makes for one mile-long light show at night. The Short North is where you’ll find Axis, Union Café and the chic gay dining club Level (levelcolumbus.com). It even hosts a monthly Gallery Hop, where buskers and thousands of locals descend on the strip on the first Saturday night of each month starting at 4pm to explore the ’hoods’ many art galleries, which stay open late. And, oh, if you enjoy RuPaul’s Drag Race, the Short North is the place to come across past contestants. A different queen seems to roll through like a glitter river every weekend. For me, this meant a brief encounter one Saturday night at Axis with Darienne Lake, a top-four contender on this past sixth season of Drag Race. Lake, a sassy, larger-than-life queen from Rochester, NY tells me she fell in love with Columbus two years ago when she came to town
to perform with a friend. What sold her? “Jeni’s Ice Cream,” she screams. “I could poke a hole in it and make love to it!” Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (jenis.com), its official name, is the Marsha, Marsha, Marsha of Columbus. Everyone raves about it, pointing to its humble beginnings as a tiny market shop that went on to become a household name in Columbus and beyond. And that’s what Columbus is all about. Be a local drag legend, an entrepreneur, a Miss America contestant or ice cream scooper, someone somewhere is cheering you on. It’s the people who’ll surprise you most. Columbus city councillor Eileen Paley, who addressed my tour group one evening at dinner, said it best: “We don’t have mountains, we don’t have a lot of water, but we have us.”
Basi Italia (basi-italia.com). Italian and Mediterranean inspired entrees prepared by the type of chef that comes out from the kitchen just to pat you on the shoulder while sipping a bourbon-based watermelon cocktail and to ask, “How you doin’?” FOR ART
Pizzuti Collection (pizzuticollection.com). A fascinating contemporary art gallery that showcases the collection of local philanthropists Ron and Ann Pizzuti. FOR SLEEPING Crowne Plaza ColumbusDowntown (ihg.com). Trendy, good service, walking distance to the Short North district. ‘Nough said. FOR ANIMALS
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium (colszoo.org). You can’t skip Jack Hanna’s famous animal emporium that USA Travel Guide calls the number one zoo in the US. Home to 9,000 animals, from elephants to kangaroos to manatees. There’s even a rhino named Rosie who’ll let you take a selfie.
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When my father decided to sell his home this year, we were referred to Zorica by a mutual acquaintance, a financial advisor who had the utmost confidence in her ability to give the best service and get the best price for my dad. In our experience, this confidence was very well-placed. From our first meeting until the closing date, Zorica was friendly, courteous, and professional (not at all pushy or ‘full of herself’ as some realtors tend to be). She took time to get to know my father, and they both enjoyed their business meetings on the front porch swing. She knows and read the housing market well, and works hard for her clients. Zorica was very detailed in her market analysis and thorough in researching comparable properties. The house was listed during the summer months, when house sales tend to be slow. It took a bit longer to sell than anticipated, but, where other agents might have lowered the price in order to entice potential buyers, Zorica believed that the house was fairly priced and stayed the course. In the end, we got approximately 98% of the list price. We couldn’t be happier with the results Zorica earned, and highly recommend her to anyone looking to buy or sell a home. She is a pleasure to deal with. ~Mary Beth toMans
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Living & Design
Prepare to party → Our insider tells us that making a memorable outdoor affair is easier than you think Story Mary Anne Terry
lan now, so you can party later,” advises entertaining guru and hospitality expert Mark Budden, associate director of Oliver & Bonacini events. And now that hot summer celebrations are boiling over, it might be handy to know how to create an elevated event experience with ease in your own backyard. PLAN AHEAD “Planning ahead helps you achieve two party priorities. You’ll one, be able to better accommodate your guests and two, be a guest at your own event,” says Budden. The creative
dynamo attributes the success of any event to organization— specifically his “barbecue building blocks.” As a foundation, it’s important to first determine your event date and guest list. Next, start thinking about themes, but be subtle. Budden warns that a theme should simply be a delicate thread that ties event elements together. Take a Mexican motif, for example: try jalapenos, cilantro and avocados; margaritas and Latin tunes. But by all means save the sombreros and piñatas. The next thing to consider is how to serve the eats and drinks? Budden suggests rentals:
“They can unify your design, get delivered to your own backyard and, best of all, don’t require cleaning.” And rental companies offer a wide range of products, so this option is more accessible than ever before. Also important is to explore entertainment. For most intimate garden gatherings, music from portable speakers is ideal. And there are plenty of phone apps with playlists to go with any theme or ambience you wish to create. Now for your layout. If you decide early where you’d like people to reside and how you’d like your event to flow, you can
gently guide your guests using a variety of quiet cues. Use patio carpets, furniture and planters to create “rooms” and suggest paths in your outdoor space. To avoid bottlenecking, place the food and the bar at opposite ends. “For both organization and décor, don’t be afraid to bring the inside outside,” says Budden. “You can even bring your whole dining room table out, if possible.” Finally, mentally and physically walk through every step of the event. “This is something we at O&B do for every event we host,” says Budden. “From small corporate lunches to grand wedding receptions, that inmagazine.ca
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is the best way to troubleshoot.” By anticipating how guests will interact with every element, you’ll be able to identify and rectify potential issues in advance. “On one of my first walk-throughs at home, I realized there was no good place for guests to leave their drinks when heading to the restroom. Since then, I always place a small table by the entrance to the house. DE-THIRST AND SATISFY “The key to simple yet impressive food and drink service is to include self-serve stations,” reveals Budden. When it comes to food, make-your-own bars, like tortilla spreads, add a fun, interactive aspect to dining. Plus they limit your serving responsibilities and ensure diverse dietary preferences are accommodated. 577 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario M4Y 1Z2 T 416-966-6969 | firstname.lastname@example.org shop online
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“Making all guests feel welcomed is the heart of hospitality.” —Mark Budden As a general rule, offer two to three main protein options and three to five sides. Ideally, select some dishes that can be prepared in advance. Says Budden about preparation: “I make and freeze tamales a week out, then make a big batch of braised pork shoulder, as well as salads and dessert, the day before the event. It prevents both your kitchen and you from being hot messes when your guests arrive.” Similarly, instead of baking, create assembled desserts, such as tiramisu, trifle or fruit salads to finish with. Served in individual bowls on a platter with a cup of spoons, these simple sweets are sure to wow. In both food and drink, selfserve set-ups are most successful when laid out logically. “Quiet cues come into play again here,” says Budden. “For clarity at the
Top Three Intoxicating Trends 1. Sparkling wines, the festive mood-setters 2. Mojitos, still one of summer’s top refreshers 3. Tequilas, the kind worthy of sipping
bar, drinks should be grouped with their appropriate glasses and garnishes.” At an organized bar, guests will feel empowered to become their own mixologists while freeing up the host to partake in more of the party. And for a festive feel, welcome guests with a specialty cocktail that reflects the event’s theme. Next to the pre-mixed pitcher, place ice and some pre-garnished glasses to illustrate how it is intended to be enjoyed. If serving mojitos, for example, have mint and sliced limes available nearby. In terms of glassware, stemless wine glasses are a great choice as they perform double duty. “They’re suitable for both wine and cocktails,”says Budden. “And they feel less stuffy and are more difficult to break than those with stems.” Like a festive cocktail, sparkling wines also create a celebratory climate. “I use galvanized steel bowls to keep my bubbly and beer cool,” says Budden, “but you can get creative with your containers. Antiques add a touch of sophistication.” Budden also recommends the outdoor storage of ice and cold drinks. Next to the bins of bubbly, provide flutes and a selection of freshly squeezed juices—peach is a common favourite. The juices not only dilute the acidity of the sparkling that some dislike, but they also serve as delicious and discreet non-alcoholic options.
Mark Budden is the associate director of Oliver & Bonacini events.
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O pe n H o u s e
Proud visionary → For more than a decade TD’s Scott Mullin has been a champion in our community. We thank him for that Story Michael Pihach | Photography Riley Stewart
ince its humble beginnings as a picnic on the Toronto Islands, Toronto Pride has grown to become one of the largest LGBT festivals in North America, attracting a millionplus tourists while putting LGBT rights at the forefront of people’s boozy minds and dancing hearts. One secret to Toronto Pride’s success has been its ability to mobilize the dozens of organizations that help fund what’s become a 10-day festival with a multi-million dollar price tag. Major corporate sponsorship at Pride has grown to have an important place at Pride, and some may say Scott Mullin, VicePresident of Community Relations at TD Bank Group, is the
person to thank. More than a decade ago, Mullin’s vision made TD the first major bank to sponsor the Toronto Pride festival, a bold move that not only encouraged other major corporations to jump on board, but also turned the tide for LGBT employees who felt they couldn’t come out at work. As Toronto braces itself for the celebrations at WorldPride, we caught up with Mullin at his Wellington Street home to chat about TD Bank’s 10th anniversary backing Pride, his chic penthouse pad and his own journey from closeted Bay Street roller to out-and-proud Pride commander.
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Living & Design This is TD Bank’s 10th year sponsoring Toronto Pride. How does it feel looking back on it all? It was amazing to be at the WorldPride launch [in May] and think about how we’ve been doing this for 10 years. It’s something we started; we were the first major corporate sponsor—other than the beer and wine companies—to jump on board and sponsor Pride. Some of the Pride initiatives TD started back then still exist today (running pro-gay ads, hosting a Pride reception for employees, hiring those buff TD boys and girls). What originally motivated TD to sponsor Toronto Pride? Our initial motivation was to send a message internally [to employees]. TD kicked-off its diversity agenda 11 years ago when Bay Street and banks were not as gay-friendly and people were not comfortable coming out at work. We needed to send the message that we were in fact comfortable with embracing the → priceless panorama The 800-sq-ft terrace is not only great for hosting large parties, it also has an amazing view of the ever-changing cityscape.
LGBT community. That’s what motivated us to sponsor Pride. The broader impact positioned us as a leader of banks in the LGBT community. TD has invested lots of time and money into promoting diversity. What work is left to be done? We’ve made real progress on a lot of diversity files but there’s still more work to do. Sponsoring Pride 10 years ago had a dramatic impact. It changed the conversation. Other groups in our diversity portfolio would look at Pride and wish they had something similar. We’d have conversations with the aboriginal community, for example, and it’d be like, “What’s the ‘Pride’ we can do?” We haven’t found it yet. Did TD receive any major antigay backlash in the beginning? There were a few Baptist churches north of the city that weren’t happy but nothing on a scale that was going to affect our approach. I talked about this with Ed Clark, CEO of TD, and he said, “If we get complaints about us sponsoring Pride, tell them there are four other big banks they can do their business with.”
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You spoke at the WorldPride media launch last month and got choked up. What is your personal connection to Pride? When I started at TD Bank 12 years ago, I was one of those classic in-the-closet Bay Street guys. To see how far TD and the community has come, I’m struck by my personal journey, but also the organization I work for’s, and the city’s over the past 10 years. Corporate sponsorship divides some people. Some LGBT communities think corporate logos have no place at Pride. What’s your take on that? I think we’ve been very sensitive to the fact that Pride is a festival to celebrate but it’s also the result of a protest movement. There are still lots of issues (which is why we’re also sponsoring the WorldPride human rights conference). I think those who are critical of corporate sponsorship have a right to insist that corporations aren’t just there to chase the pink dollar over Pride weekend. We have
→ condo and/or art gallery Mullin wanted a place that had plenty of space to house his art collected from all over the world, including Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
a demonstrated track record of our policies. Corporations need to pass the test and I certainly think we pass the test. If the community is really going to become accepted it needs to be part of the Bay Street mentality just as much as the Church Street mentality. You used to live near Church Street. Now you live here in a sprawling penthouse pad on Wellington Street. How did you wind up here? I used to live near The Village on Earl Street and I was either going to renovate or move with the intention of never moving again. I’ve lived here for two years now and I bought it off plan. I wanted outdoor space [the terrace is 800 square feet], which is hard to find. I didn’t want all glass walls because I collect art and I wanted a place to hang things. I also wanted to be within walking distance of work. Toronto traffic has reached a point where I feel like I’m living in Bangkok. Your space has everything from tribal sculptures to modern art. How would you describe your aesthetic? It’s eclectic. I lived in Asia for eight years. I’ve also lived in Africa and the Middle East. I used to be in foreign affairs before joining the banking world. The temple on my terrace is from Ubud, Bali. People think it’s really exotic, but it’s basically your Canadian Tire temple because every house in Bali has one. I got the Ming cabinets in Hong Kong and I think they fit comfortably with the modern furniture. I’m pretty simple. I’m not a Victorian. What is your message, on behalf of TD Bank, to everyone attending WorldPride? Let’s celebrate what we’ve accomplished in Toronto. Let’s also remember there’s still lots of places with lots of issues, whether we’re talking about Russia, Uganda or the Caribbean. We take a lot for granted and we have work to do across our own country too. But let’s also have a big party.
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Like father, like son → Dads can be a tougher sell than moms when their sons come out. But when they connect, it’s a special bond Story Paul Gallant
he bond between mother and gay son—often intimate, sometimes overwrought—gets all the publicity. In fact, they used to blame homosexuality on overprotective mothers. Dads, on the other hand, can fail to connect with male offspring who don’t feel exactly like a chip off the old block. Amidst the coming-out drama, dads may be the last people let in on the secret. But gay men and their dads can develop special relationships. Ironically, the connection can improve after the coming out; the revelation means that a son’s long-time preference for theatre over, say, playing hockey wasn’t a rejection of dad and what he had to offer—it was just an orientation that wasn’t anybody’s fault. Though some dads may be squeamish about the details of gay sex, they can be more easygoing than moms about dating and relationships, more broadly speaking. In these spotlights on five father-son bonds, we can also see that it also takes a special son to drag his father to a gay club, let his father see him strip or ask his father plan his traditional Hindu wedding.
Mike and Mike Chalut THE UPBRINGING “When I came home from school and Mikey would be playing down the street, he’d sprint down the street and jump into my arms,” says Mike the elder, now 64 (pictured left with son Mike). A perfect Catholic family of four (Mike Junior has one younger sister) living in Windsor, the father-son closeness continued when Mike Junior started high school. “We were as thick as thieves,” says Mike Junior, now 36. “My dad taught and was head of the guidance department. I was student council president and on the spirit team and so for five years, my dad and I basically ran the high school.” SUSPICIONS AND TENSIONS “In high school, I never thought of being gay. I dated all the pretty girls, I was Mike Chalut’s son!” says Mike Junior. “Deep down, I think I knew, but I always buried it. I thought, ‘I’ve got this guy who loves me so much, everything’s going our way and there was this one thing that wasn’t right.’” Says Mike Senior: “What Mikey never realized, and it’s
sad for me to even say this, I kinda thought
move on.’” Mikey’s mother, who went deeper
he was gay when he was in grade nine, just
into her Catholic faith after the divorce, didn’t
because of his mannerisms and being into
take the news so well.
acting. He had a lot of girlfriends. Just a lot of little things, like the way he carried his books.” When Mike Junior was in his early 20s, he
ADULT FRIENDSHIP Father and son talk every day and Mike
moved to Toronto with his girlfriend to pursue
an acting career at a time when his parents’
afternoon show on Proud FM, which he will
marriage was coming apart. (Mike Senior
be leaving. “They say you should never be
eventually remarried and has two sons, which
your kids’ friend, be a parent. I do have that
Mike Junior considers brothers.) “I pulled
boundary and I sometimes have to remind
away from my dad for a good six months,
Mikey about that. We talk—some people
but he never gave up on me, he’d call, leave
would say we talk too much. But how do you
messages,” says Mike Junior.
love someone too much?” says Mike Senior.
Awkward moments do happen around sex COMING OUT
and relationships. “I don’t want to put my
At 21, Mike Junior became the first manager
head in the sand. I don’t understand it or
at fly nightclub and invited his dad and his
pretend to understand it. I think sexuality is
wife to visit him there, absurdly refusing to
private As a Catholic, I think gay people still
tell them he was gay or even that it was a gay
have to have morals,” says Mike Senior.
club. “I was like, ‘This is not a normal place
“Totally, totally,” interjects Mike Junior.
where I’ve been to before. What the hell is he
“For me to mess around with a bunch of
working here for?’” says Mike Senior. Finally,
women, that’s wrong,” says Mike Senior. “For
dad decided to press the issue. Says Mike
a gay person to go mess around with a bunch
Junior, tearing up: “He said, ‘Tell me so I can
of guys, that’s wrong, too.”
tell you I love yah.’ I said, ‘I’m sorry, dad.’ He
“Dad, you’re so good, you’re so right!” says
said, ‘There’s nothing to be sorry about. I don’t
Mike Junior. “These are the calls I get every
have a gay son, I have a son that I love, so let’s
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Jeremy and Gerry Dias THE UPBRINGING Jeremy and his younger brother were born in Edmonton before their parents separated in 1998, when Jeremy was 10 years old. By the time Jeremy was 14, the brothers were living with their mother in Sault Ste. Marie, regularly visiting their dad in Edmonton. “The divorce was an unfortunate situation but we were always excited to spend time with dad,” says Jeremy, now 30. Originally from the Indian state of Goa, the family was involved in various community organizations and Roman Catholic charity work; it wasn’t uncommon to spend weekends bringing food to someone who had experienced a loss, welcome new Canadians to the neighbourhood or volunteer at a fundraiser. SUSPICIONS AND TENSIONS Jeremy suspected he was gay in grade school, “but I passed it off as being more spiritual. We were involved in the Goan association and we used to do a lot of dance
Jeremy and Gerry Dias and theatre, which is interesting because I’d argue that Goan culture is very feminine and gay.” Getting involved in theatre in Sault Ste. Marie, he developed his first crush on a guy. Gerry says he didn’t have a clue until he started hearing about Jeremy’s problems in school, being bullied and beaten. “He was put into sports like ball hockey, soccer and fencing and there wasn’t indication he was gay,” says Gerry, now 60. COMING OUT Jeremy came out in a telephone call when he was in grade 10, as he was grappling with being picked on in school. Says Gerry: “I remember that telephone call very vividly.
I did feel a little in the dark. I didn’t have many conversations with his mother, so I only knew bits and pieces. It was so out of the blue, it didn’t strike me that he was gay.” “I remember him being quiet,” says Jeremy. “I’m the first and only person in the Goan community in Edmonton to come out. It was sort of, now what? There really wasn’t much to talk about.” That summer in Edmonton, Jeremy saw his stay with his father as an escape from his high school hell. He went into party mode and met his first boyfriend, who was eight years older than Jeremy. “I was very protective of him,” says Gerry, who insisted that the boyfriend pick Jeremy up at home. At first, the coming out brought them closer together, but Gerry’s then-girlfriend (now wife) didn’t like Jeremy staying out late. “I was a teenager who was feeling choked so I left the house and spent the last two weeks with my boyfriend.” Father and son didn’t talk for years. ADULT FRIENDSHIP At age 17, Jeremy launched a human rights complaint against the Algoma District School Board because he was not allowed to start a gay social club. He eventually won Canada’s second-largest human rights settlement and in 2005, founded Jer’s Vision (Jersvision. org), which works to eliminate bullying, homophobia, transphobia and other forms of discrimination among young people. That year, Jeremy’s birthday fell on the same day as a Pride event tied to the organization’s launch. “Dad called just as [former Liberal MP] Sheila Copps and [late senator and broadcaster] Laurier LaPierre were dragging me off into a room celebrating my gayness. I was so glad dad had reached out. It was huge. We talked and talked and talked a few more times,” but not much about “the gay thing.” When Gerry had a serious stroke, Jeremy, who now lives in Ottawa, and his brother went to his side and stayed at the hospital for two solid weeks. After recovering, Gerry attended the next Edmonton Pride where Jeremy was nominated for an award. “I’m very proud of him, not just because he’s gay, but because he’s accomplished quite a lot,” says Gerry. “I’m still a staunch Catholic, but because of the way the gay community has progressed and become part of everyday life, it’s not something to raise eyebrows about. It doesn’t matter what orientation you are, as long as you’re a person of integrity and respect, that’s what important to me.” When Jeremy ended a relationship a few months ago, his father provided him consolation. “You don’t want to live a life with unease in your relationship, you need
to find someone compatible.” Says Jeremy: “Given where we’ve come from, I would never have anticipated dad being okay with me being gay.”
James and John Fowler THE UPBRINGING Toronto artist James Fowler (jamesfowlerart.com) was born in Lahr, Germany, but grew up with a younger sister in northern Ontario. His father was an electronics technician in the Canadian Air Force so the family moved around (John used to work on the CF 100 now on display in a park in North Bay). “I remember both my parents being very involved. We did a lot of camping,” says Fowler, now 43. “They were very supportive of my creative side. My dad had a workshop I was allowed to go and play in.” “I didn’t know anything about art and he was doing stuff that was so strange. I thought, ‘Jeez, my son’s from space or something.’ I didn’t understand it at all,” says John, now 69 and retired. SUSPICIONS AND TENSIONS Around puberty, James started thinking, “Hm, there’s something different. But we lived in a small community and I wasn’t exposed to gay culture. I remember in grade school, in sex ed, learning about AIDS and how gay people might get AIDS and I thought I was doomed to that.” John didn’t suspect. “It never occurred to me. [Gayness] wasn’t a big thing to me. I spent 13 years in the air force. That kind of stuff—there’s not a lot but it’s certainly there. I worked with these people and they were as normal as anything else.” COMING OUT “It was wonderful when it happened and
James and John Fowler
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I mean that sincerely,” says John. James was 19, living in Toronto and home for Christmas during his first year of university. “We were shooting the shit and out of nowhere he said, ‘Dad, I’m gay.’ And I was like, ‘So?’” James’ sister and mother already knew, but his sister had encouraged him to tell his father, a pretty butch guy. “I remember being so worked up about it. I was crying,” says James. “He said, ‘I’m a little bit ashamed of myself. I feel like I’ve done something that you couldn’t tell me sooner.’” Although James was more nervous about telling his father, his mother was more awkward in the beginning. “My father was, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, what are we having for dinner?’” ADULT FRIENDSHIP For a long time, James was upset because John didn’t want him to bring a boyfriend home, suspecting his father was embarrassed or uncomfortable. “It wasn’t until years later that we had this great conversation where he told me he wasn’t embarrassed, he just didn’t like the guy.” James and his current partner, Rick, helped move John and his wife from Ontario to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, a couple of years ago, an adventure for all four of them. “I like to be able to say that my son is gay,” says John. “It’s not about shocking people. It’s more like, ‘Wake up, this is a new world.’ If I said that to somebody and they made a remark, they wouldn’t be my friend anymore.” James remembers taking his father to Wilde Oscar’s (now O’Grady’s) for a meal on Church Street years ago. “Somebody asked me afterwards, ‘Who’s that older guy you were with? He’s really handsome. Are you seeing that guy?’ I was like, ‘That was my dad!’” Recently there’s been some lighthearted family pressure for James and Rick to get married. “If I don’t get to be the best man, I won’t go,” laughs John.
Rishi and Vijay Agarwal THE UPBRINGING Rishi grew up in Mississauga with one older brother. His father, a professional engineer, moved to Canada from India in 1970 and married here in 1975. “Rishi was an ideal boy,” says Vijay, now 67 and retired. “When I asked him to do work around the house, he was always helpful and bubbly.” The boys attended both Baptist and public schools. Rishi didn’t play many sports, but his brother didn’t play many sports either.
SUSPICIONS AND TENSIONS Rishi, now 33 and a senior accounting manager, suspected he was gay in elementary school. “I knew I was different, that I had certain feelings that I shouldn’t be telling anybody about,” he says. Although Rishi was somewhat effeminate when he was growing up, his parents never suspected. “I remember
Rishi and Vijay Agarwal Rishi and my wife talking about another guy, whether he was gay, and my wife told him, ‘You don’t know anything, that guy’s not gay,’” says Vijay. When Rishi was in grade nine, one of the South Asian classmates of his brother, who was in grade 11, came out, then killed himself, which pushed Rishi deeper into the closet. COMING OUT Vijay has the date seared in his mind: July 1, 2004. A guy that Rishi had secretly dated during a trip to Vancouver gave him a heartfelt card that Rishi felt he couldn’t display anywhere, so he threw it away. “On the plane, I bawled for five hours. In that moment, I decided that was enough.” As soon as possible, he dropped his “bombshell” on his parents. “He made us sit down,” says Vijay. “He said, ‘Mom and dad, I have some information to give you and an announcement to make.’ There was pin-drop silence for 40 seconds. In our household, I’m not known to be a quiet person…. I said, ‘The reason I’m quiet is that I don’t have the knowledge to say anything.’” Vijay and his wife spent the next 72 hours without any sleep, borrowing books and documentaries to give themselves a crash course on gay issues. “During that time we were feeling so bad that our son was going through the issue and we were not there to help him.” Rishi begged that his parents not make him live a life that wasn’t his own. “I said, ‘There’s not going to be anything like
this, you’ve suffered enough,’” says Vijay. ADULT FRIENDSHIP When Rishi started dating, his parents sometimes looked at the online profiles he was perusing. His mother suggested he take a chance and date Dan and, after three years together, the two got engaged. Vijay promised they’d have a traditional Hindu wedding just as impressive as Rishi’s older brother’s wedding. “The way it was done, there was no discrimination whatsoever,” says Vijay, who helped find gay-friendly wedding suppliers including, most onerously, a Hindu priest who would perform a same-sex wedding. They got no traction from about 10 priests before finding a willing officiant, who, ironically, had just moved to Canada from India. The attention of guests can wander during long Hindu wedding ceremonies, but the 200 guests were rapt throughout. “People came to me after the wedding to tell me there wasn’t a single dry eye in the audience,” says Vijay. “People were so emotionally moved by the ceremony.”
Christopher and Dave Hayden THE UPBRINGING After his parents divorced when he was six, Christopher felt like he and his sister spent most of their childhood on the QEW, being shuttled back and forth between their mother’s place in High Park and their father’s in Mississauga. Christopher was in Air Cadets, but otherwise was more of an artsy kid. “I was a singer, a dancer. I played trumpet and piano. I was the only person to strike out playing T-ball,” says Christopher, now 30.
Dave Hayden with son Christopher (far right) and his partner inmagazine.ca
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SUSPICIONS AND TENSIONS
always say, do not come out in an argument,
kind of funny that my dad’s a teacher,” says
“I subconsciously knew I was different
but that’s exactly what I did. I remember there
Christopher. “I don’t really think of myself as
but I didn’t have the words for it,” says
was a lot of yelling and not understanding one
super erotic or sexual when I do it. For me,
Christopher, who recently became a social
another.” The day after, Dave picked up an
it’s more political, because I’m a bigger guy
worker after years of supporting himself
obviously upset Christopher at school. Dave
without a six-pack on stage. It just wasn’t a
as a performer and waiter. Dave, now 59
followed him to his room where Christopher
worry, though I did simulate sex on stage.
and a retired teacher, started to wonder
told him he was gay.
They knew what they were getting into. I
if Christopher was gay when he was in
“I don’t remember that,” says Christopher
elementary school. “I had a sense Chris was
now, “but I don’t doubt it happened.” Dave
“He had talked about what it was and I had
gay but I didn’t have a whole lot to base it
says he had been waiting for it: “It was one
seen YouTube clips,” says Dave. “No, I’m not
on. When I was in high school I had a friend
of those crystalline images. I remember you
easily shocked. We’ve been to so many of his
who was gay who used to be picked on a
lying on the bed. I could see the clock. It was
high school shows so it was like going to a
bit. I knew Chris didn’t like sports. As it got
6:03. It was Thursday night. You said you
high school show except with less clothes.”
more into high school, I figured Chris was
were gay. There was a bit of a silence. I said
When Christopher started dating his
gay and I also figured he’d eventually let
something to the effect that I loved you and
current boyfriend five years ago, the couple
me know.” Attending the Etobicoke School
that it was unconditional. Once it was out
spent what was supposed to be a discreet
of the Arts, Christopher’s first mentor was
in the open between us, it made everything
weekend at the family cottage, but they had
gay. “I remember idolizing him and wanting
to stop at a family function on the way back
to know all about him and wondering why
think they had fun.”
to the city. “He met everybody all at once.
I was so invested in that relationship,” says
That provoked some anxieties in him, for
As a member of Boylesque (Boylesqueto.
com/shows/), an artsy all-male burlesque COMING OUT
troupe, Christopher invited his family to
As a teenager, Christopher snuck out of
a Pride performance last year. He says he
a ballet class early one night to attend an
wasn’t self-conscious about bumping and
LGBT youth group meeting. He got home to
grinding in his skivvies in front of his father.
his mother’s late, breaking his curfew. “They
“The show had a high-school theme, so it’s
“Oh, he fit right in,” laughs Dave.
RYERSON IMAGE CENTRE
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE SEEN Photography and Queer Visibility june 18 – august 24, 2014 Photographer unknown, c. 1960 (detail). From Casa Susanna edited by Michael Hurst and Robert Swope, published by powerHouse Books (2005)
FREE ADMISSION FREE EXHIBITION TOURS DAILY AT 2:30PM www.ryerson.ca/ric
Presented by TD Bank Group
Organized by the Ryerson Image Centre in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Ontario
33 GOULD STREET, TORONTO, CANADA 416-979-5164
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INVASIVE MENINGOCOCCAL DISEASE (IMD) OUTBREAKS IN MEN WHO HAVE SEX WITH MEN
NEW YORK CITY (August 2010 - May 2013):
LOS ANGELES (December 2012 June 2013):
Outbreaks in TORONTO (2001) and CHICAGO (2003):
12 cases Deaths: 5
PROTECT YOURSELF. Meningococcal bacteria is responsible for causing IMD and can be found in the nose and throat of about 10% of healthy adults in North America and Western Europe. IMD is devastating and approximately 10% of people who contract the disease will die. TRANSMISSION RISK FACTORS CROWDED CONDITIONS: • Bars • Nightclubs • Bathhouses • Mass gatherings (e.g., Pride events)
INTIMATE CONTACT: • Wet kissing • Sex
SHARING: • Drinks • Food utensils • Toothbrushes
ASK YOUR DOCTOR FOR THE MENACTRA® VACCINE. MENACTRA® is a vaccine to prevent meningococcal meningitis and other meningococcal disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis (strains A, C, Y and W-135) in persons 9 months through 55 years of age. MENACTRA® does not protect against disease caused by strain B, and is not a treatment for meningococcal infections or their complications. The length of protection is currently not known. As with any vaccine, MENACTRA® may not protect 100% of vaccinated individuals. The amount of time it takes for your body to develop enough antibodies to protect you from meningococcal diseases can vary. It can take several days to a few weeks after your vaccination. MENACTRA® should not be used in persons with known severe allergy to any of its components or its container. A recent large study found no evidence of increased Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) risk associated with the use of MENACTRA®. Persons with a previous history of Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) may be at increased risk of GBS following receipt of MENACTRA®. Some people who receive MENACTRA® may have mild side effects such as redness or pain at the site of injection, headache or fever. Common side effects in infants include fever, increased crying, fussiness, vomiting, drowsiness and loss of appetite. These side effects usually go away within a few days. Allergic reactions may occur. Talk to your doctor to see if MENACTRA® is right for you. For complete product information, visit www.sanofipasteur.ca. MENACTRA® is a registered trademark of Sanofi Pasteur. Copyright © 2014 Sanofi Pasteur Limited. All rights reserved.
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over the rainbow → What better time than WorldPride to be reminded of our hard-fought victories Story Krishna Rau
Then-Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau introduces Bill C-150, a bill overhauling the criminal code. The bill decriminalized homosexuality, leading to Trudeau’s famous assertion, “There is no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.”
The largest Pride festival in Canadian history is expected to attract more than two million people to Toronto to celebrate the fight for LGBT rights in Canada and around the world. With a week of the festival focussing on areas of the world where gays and lesbians are still fighting for basic human rights, it’s time to reflect on the rights that LGBT communities in Canada have achieved in the last few decades. From the decriminalization of homosexuality in 1969 to the nation-wide legalization of same-sex marriage 36 years later, gays and lesbians have seen the march to equality advance steadily. There are still many fights to be won, such as equal protection for trans people, but this year’s historic Pride is a time to celebrate the achievement of equality and full rights in most areas in Canada, and to continue the fight in those many parts of the world where being gay can still mean a prison or death sentence.
Lesbian and Gay Pride Day Toronto is legally incorporated. 1,500 people celebrate Pride Day in Toronto on June 28, as well as the country’s first actual Pride Parade in the city. Since then, Pride has been held annually in Toronto and in cities across the country. However, the city of Toronto refuses to officially proclaim Pride until 1991.
The bill died when Trudeau, who had subsequently become Prime Minister, called an election. After winning a majority government in 1968, the bill was re-introduced, although Trudeau made it clear the bill did not endorse homosexuality. The bill passed in May, 1969, and was enacted into law in August.
On February 5, Toronto police arrest almost 300 men in raids on four bathhouses. A crowd of 3,000 marches on 52 Division and Queen’s Park. The men are charged with being “found-ins” in a bawdy-house, which police define as being any location where “indecent acts” take place. The vast majority of the charges are thrown out. Police raids on bathhouses continue for the next two decades, culminating in a 2000 police sweep of the Pussy Palace, a women-only event. Charges are dismissed and the resulting lawsuit leads to the development of training programs for Toronto police on interacting with the LGBT community.
The decade saw Canada’s first openly gay member of parliament, as British Columbia MP Svend Robinson (pictured left) came out in 1988.
Gays in Health Care, the Hassle Free Clinic and The Body Politic unite to form the Toronto AIDS Committee, soon renamed the AIDS Committee of Toronto.
AIDS Action Now forms in Toronto to perform direct actions as a means of convincing governments to take steps in the health crisis. The first AAN action is a protest against a Toronto drug trial for pentamidine, a drug already approved for American AIDS patients. AAN brings coffins to the hospital where the trial is taking place, demanding that the drug be made immediately available. Their protests are successful and the drug is made public. And after a federal election in which AIDS becomes a major issue, the government of Brian Mulroney announces access to experimental drugs and the launch of the first national AIDS strategy.
Ontario becomes the first province to allow same-sex couples to adopt, when a court rules that a prohibition on same-sex adoption contravenes the Charter of Rights.
Ontario adds sexual orientation to its Human Rights Code
1994 Supreme Court rules that gays and lesbians can apply for refugee status in Canada based on the probability of facing persecution in their homeland. The Ontario NDP government introduced legislation to provide same-sex partnership benefits in the province. The bill is defeated when 12 NDP members vote against it.
The Fruit Loops perform at Pride
1977 Quebec becomes the first jurisdiction in Canada to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation by amending its Charter of Human Rights. Also, the Canadian Immigration Act is amended, lifting a ban prohibiting gay men from immigrating to Canada
Canada repatriates its Constitution, and adopts the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It’s not until 1995, however, that the Supreme Court rules that Section 15 of the Charter—which guarantees the “right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination”—should be considered to include sexual orientation, even though it is not specifically named in the section.
Glen Murray becomes the first openly gay mayor of a major city in North America when he is elected mayor of Winnipeg. On June 12, 2014, Murray won re-election as the Liberal MPP of the Toronto Centre Rosedale riding, which includes the city’s gay village.
A federal court lifts a ban on homosexuals in the military.
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In June, Toronto becomes the fourth city to host WorldPride, following events in Rome, Jerusalem and London. The event, which features a prominent focus on human rights worldwide, expects to draw more than two million people to the city.
The Supreme Court rules in favour of Vancouver’s Little Sister’s bookstore that gay publications, even sexually explicit ones, are protected under freedom of speech provisions in the Charter. The store had filed suit against Canada Customs for repeated seizures of LGBT material. The problem persists, however, with gay bookstores alleging that Customs guards are disproportionately using the Supreme Court’s 1992 Butler decision—which ruled that material which contained scenes of sex mixed with violence and cruelty could be seized—against gay and lesbian publications.
On July 20, Bill C-38 becomes federal law, making Canada the fourth country in the world to allow same-sex marriage.
2005 The Ontario Superior Court rules that prohibiting same-sex marriage is a violation of Charter rights. The ruling is followed in 2003 by a similar BC ruling. In 2003, the Ontario Court of Appeal upholds the ruling, legalizing marriage in Ontario, and Michael Leshner and Michael Stark become the first same-sex couple to marry in Canada. A BC appeal court follows suit a month later.
Ontario’s Human Rights Tribunal strikes down the provision that in order to change one’s gender on official documents, one must have actually undergone gender reassignment surgery. The BC legislature and an Alberta court followed suit in 2014 , and the Manitoba government has expressed a similar intention. The Ontario legislature passes the Accepting Schools Act, anti-bullying legislation that compels schools, including publiclyfunded Catholic schools in the province, to accept gaystraight alliances in their schools
Bill C-279, which would amend the Canadian Human Rights Act to include gender expression or identity, is currently undergoing second reading in the Senate. Federally, gender identity is not specifically mentioned in legislation, although court rulings have affirmed that trans people are protected under sex discrimination laws. The only provinces that currently explicitly include gender identity under their human rights codes are Ontario, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and the Northwest Territories, although other provinces have ruled that it is a protected ground under existing legislation. Trinity Western University, a private Christian institution in British Columbia, wants to open a law school beginning in 2016. The application is approved by both the BC government and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. However, law societies in Ontario and Nova Scotia say they will not recognize graduates because of the school’s community covenant, which mandates that students abstain from “sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.”
2014 2001 1999 The Supreme Court rules in a case known as M v. H that same-sex couples must be afforded the same rights as opposite-sex couples in a common-law relationship. In 2000, the federal government passes Bill C-23, which brings federal statutes into line with the ruling. Under the bill, samesex survivors are only entitled to benefits under the Canada Pension Plan if their partner had passed away after December 31, 1997. That cut-off is successfully challenged in 2003.
Federal NDP MP Libby Davies becomes the country’s first openly lesbian member of parliament. She continues to represent her riding.
Thanks to the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives for use of their photographs, their expertise and for their cooperation.
Federal Liberal MP Scott Brison becomes the country’s first openly gay cabinet minister. He continues to represent his riding.
Canada increases the age of sexual consent from 14 to 16. The age of consent for anal sex, however, remains at 18, leading to charges of discrimination against gay youth.
Kathleen Wynne becomes the first openly gay or lesbian premier when she is selected as the new leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. On June 12, 2014, Wynne’s Liberals are re-elected as the majority government of Ontario inmagazine.ca
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Get out july Events 4
film › GERONTOPHILIA
In the new film from Bruce LaBruce, 18-year-old Lake has a sweet activist girlfriend, but one day discovers he has an unusual attraction for the elderly. Fate conspires to land him a summer job at a nursing home where he develops a tender relationship with Mr. Peabody. Discovering that the patients are being over-medicated to make them easier to manage, Lake decides to wean him off his medication and help him escape, resulting in a humorous and heartfelt road trip that strengthens their bond. Check local listings for movie showtimes.
FILM › BENT LENS: PRIDE ON SCREEN
The Toronto International Film Festival and Inside Out partner for one of the largest queer summer film programs in Toronto. It includes Queer Pagan Punk: The Films of Derek Jarman (To July 5), the most complete retrospective of Jarman’s work ever mounted in Canada, and Skin Flicks: The Films of Bruce LaBruce (To July 3), including Hustler White, Super 8 and No Skin Off My Ass. In conjunction with the Derek Jarman retrospective is Queer Outlaw Cinema, a free exhibition (to August 17). Co-curated by Noah Cowan, exec director of the San Francisco Film Society, and Kathleen Pirrie Adams, assistant professor at Ryerson University, Queer Outlaw Cinema is comprised of media artworks that celebrate the possibilities and origins of contemporary queer identity, and features a work of Derek Jarman’s as well as Bruce LaBruce, plus other works by Isaac Julien, Ulrike Ottinger and Scott Treleaven. TIFF Bell Lightbox. 350 King St W. tiff.net. (See preview on page 44)
stage › ANGELS IN AMERICA
The award-winning 2013 cast, directed by Albert Schultz, returns for a remount of Tony Kushner’s two-part drama Angels in America (Part I: Millennium Approaches and Part II: Perestroika) about individuals negotiating New York City during the AIDS crisis. To July 12. Soulpepper Theatre. Young Centre for the Performing Arts. 50 Tank House Lane (Distillery District). soulpepper.ca.
FESTIVAL › THE FRINGE
Now celebrating its 26th year, the Toronto Fringe fest offers more than 150 shows in more than 30 venues, featuring more than 1,000 artists in every imaginable genre with site-specific performances in bars, cafes and even a synagogue. Shows include Komunka (pictured) about gays and homophobes in Moscow, working-class macho guys and intellectuals, who fight, drink and talk about the Sochi Olympics, Putin, the Ukraine and gays; The Common Ground, a funny, musical dissertation about teens with gay parents; Concrete Kid, a lesbian comingof age tale set against the vibrant backdrop of Toronto nightlife; Salvador, a mash of verbatim theatre, storytelling and drag performance that follows a young man to El Salvador who’s there to investigate gay rights violations and ends up discovering more about himself than he bargained for; and Pardon Me Cow, about growing up on a farm, which is never easy especially when you’re gay. To July 13. Various venues in the Annex and downtown core. fringetoronto.com. (See preview on page 46)
art › HIT PARADE
This exhibition of queer visual art, curated by Kelly McCray, Steph Rogerson and Keith Cole of The Transmission Commission Collective, addresses the surge in legal, psychological and physical violence directed at queer populations around the world. While we celebrate queer lives, creativity, culture, ideas and knowledge during WorldPride 2014, Hit Parade responds to global LGBTT2QIA violence. Artists include Logan MacDonald (work pictured left), Beau Gomez (diptych pictured right) and Ruth Spitzer. A percentage of all artworks sold will be donated to The Will Munro Memorial Fund for Queers Living with Cancer. To July 6. p|m Gallery, 1518 Dundas St W. pmgallery.ca.
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ART › FAN THE FLAMES: QUEER POSITIONS IN PHOTOGRAPHY
This exhibition examines the expression of gender in photography and video (pictured above). This is also your last chance to catch Francis Bacon & Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty (To July 20), the first Canadian exhibition of Francis Bacon, an iconic gay British artist, and Henry Moore. Both exhibits offer insights into how gender and sexual identity are represented in artwork and how gay artists incorporated their sexuality into their work. To Aug 24. AGO 317 Dundas St W. ago.net. (See summer art preview on page 42.)
TV › NETFLIX PRIDE PROGRAMMING
Just in time for Pride season, a hunky selection of queer titles will stream on Netflix in July. Films include Beyond the Walls (pictured left), about two guys’ passionate relationship that devolves into a tempestuous ride of crime, addiction and betrayal; Blue Is the Warmest Colour, about a girl exploring her desire for girls as she negotiates her way to becoming a woman; Pit Stop, a lyrical drama that explores the sometimes isolated lives of gay men in small towns; Interior. Leather Bar (pictured right), a reimagining of the 40 minutes of explicit gay S&M footage rumoured to have been cut from the 1980 film Cruising, and a film that explores the normalization of gay culture and the boundaries of sexual and creative freedom; plus classics like Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain, where two sheepherders who begin an a passionate affair have an agonizing time trying to hide their relationship from their wives; and, based on a true story, Boys Don’t Cry, about a transgender person searching for love and acceptance in a small Midwestern town. Check your local TV listings. netflix.com.
URBAN CULTURE › MODERN MAN
A curated assortment of brands to complement the lifestyles of today’s gentrified brood. From new products never before seen to trendsetters laying the foundations for the style of the future, Modern Man is a giant party that incorporates everything from sports and cigars to craft beer, mixologist-driven cocktails and fine food. Roy Thomson Hall. 60 Simcoe St. roythomson.com.
STAGE › A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
In his attempt to think about the struggle for equal rights for same-sex couples, director Chris Abrahams adds a same-sex wedding and cross-dressing to the classic Shakespearean play, making it a contemporary statement about forbidden love and society’s transformation, at least in some places, to one that embraces freedom of choice in love. To October 11. Festival Theatre. 55 Queen St. stratfordfestival.ca.
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MUSIC › THE MODERN AGE
Toronto Summer Music features 20 mainstage concerts by renowned Canadian and international artists, including the Emerson String Quartet, Sondra Radvanovsky (pictured), Milos Karadaglic, and the Toronto Symphony, plus masterclasses, lectures, interviews, workshops and free outreach concerts. From the late romanticism of Strauss, Rachmaninoff and Vaughan Williams, to the iconoclasms of Prokofiev and Bartok, to the raucous modernism of Schoenberg, this year’s festival explores the multifaceted musical offerings of the Modern Age. To August 12. Venues: Koerner Hall. 273 Bloor St W; Walter Hall. 80 Queen’s Park. torontosummermusic.com
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Arts & Entertainment
Toronto is burning → Numerous exhibitions fan the flames of queer identity Story Pamela Meredith
here’s a rainbow spotlight hitting most of our art institutions this summer as galleries citywide honour and celebrate WorldPride. With exhibitions from Lebanese artist Akram Zaatari’s The End of Time, a deeply personal video and photo installation at The Power Plant, to What it Means to be Seen, an exhibition curated by Sophie Hackett of materials from the Black Star Collection and the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives at Ryerson Image Centre, there’s plenty of eye candy to catch this summer.
Hackett does it again at the AGO with Fan the Flames: Queer Positions in Photography while MOCCA features Stephen Andrews, General Idea, Andy Fabo, Public Studio and others in Over the Rainbow: Seduction and Identity From the Collection of Salah Bachir and Jacob Yerex. The Gardiner Museum leads the season with Camp Fires— the perfect title for an exhibition that foregrounds the exaggerated aestheticism of camp sensibility, combined with the fiery method of curing clay, alongside the notion of gathering around and
telling stories. Resoundingly, the three artists in Camp Fires have something important to say. Draw nearer…. Warm: There are deep connections, both artistic and personal between Leopold L. Foulem, Paul Mathieu and Richard Milette. For starters, they’ve all dedicated their artistic practices to working with ceramics, a medium that the contemporary art world is finally catching on to as a conceptual, political, authentic and cutting-edge possibility. (Ceramics are truly having their
moment with many clay-based works in the recent Whitney Biennial, Venice Biennale and contemporary galleries and art fairs everywhere.) Of course, this is something these three have known all along, though they have seemingly revelled in its “otherness.” What was once outside is being invited in. Warmer: Foulem, Mathieu and Milette romp fluently through ceramics history (classical, Baroque, modern, kitsch) and their attendant references, many contained within a single piece. Each circumvents the
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→ From the archival to the outrageous (Clockwise from opposite page) Ceramic display by Richard Milette at Camp Fires; 1971 archival photo from What It Means To Be Queer: Photography and Queer Visibility; image from Fan The Flames: Queer Positions in Photography; part of Akram Zaatari’s narrative video and photo installations from The End of Time.
functionality of ceramics (vases with no voids, lids that don’t lift) whilst taking the form of domestic objects, but instead as Paul Mathieu notes, each “investigates the surface as pictorial space” and loads it with meaning and intent. Warmest: Gay male identity and experience is a strong tie that binds the work together but “camp” as a concept, sensibility, political position, strategy and aesthetic phenomenon provides the lens for thinking in both a broad and nuanced way about the myriad queer themes embodied in these ceramics. Susan Sontag’s essay “Notes on ‘Camp’” is a
touchstone in both the exhibition and the catalogue essay, for how she gets it right in certain aspects of style but moreover how her ambivalence to camp as a subversive, political position taken on by artists like Foulem, Mathieu and Milette disregards style as content, and as Bruce LaBruce asserts, “an enormously serious and profound frivolity.” Foulem, an Acadian now living in Montreal, was the teacher and mentor to Mathieu and Milette, and his work stands out as the most frisky and iconoclastic of the trio. He cruises easily between references both high and low with humour and skill— his series of Bicycle Seats are a naughty surprise that ought not to be spoiled. Returning From Brokeback Mountain (2006-07), an urn brimming with cultural quotations from Meissen porcelain, Blue Willow pottery, contemporary film and Canadian lore, alludes to multiple
motifs from multiple times and places. In his wall-mounted Cute Boys vessels (2005) he presents portraits of heroes from Arthur Rimbaud to Michael Morris as Miss General Idea, as well as cheekily including himself. Artworks on pedestals in shades of pink radiate outwards from the central three-sided “campfire,” complete with sculptural logs for sitting. While two sides of the installation depict a glowing hearth, the third side contains video conversation with the artists. Curator Robin Metcalfe and exhibition designer Barr Gilmore deserve special praise for a bold, extraordinary installation analogous to the “profound frivolity” on view. narratives of star-crossed lovers and exemplifies Foulem’s engagement with hierarchies of taste, media and value. Richard Milette’s ceramics often take the form of classical Greek vases complete with depictions of modern goddesses such as Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe, but his earlier series of black and silver teapots and cups stand out as exceptionally complex mixtures of religious ritual and hardcore S/M gear. Of Ioudas (1986), a cup adorned with metal studs on the lip and handles, Milette speaks of “the need to suffer;” the pleasure and the pain are visceral here. Paul Mathieu, who now lives and works in Vancouver, covers every square inch of his ceramics’ surfaces in intricate, mingled
Over the Rainbow: Seduction and identity. From the Collection of Salah Bachir and Jacob Yerex. To August 17. Mocca. 952 Queen St W. mocca.ca. What it Means to be Seen: Photography and Queer Visibility. To Aug 24. Ryerson Image Centre. 33 Gould St. ryerson.ca. Camp Fires. To Sep 1. Gardiner Museum. 111 Queen’s Park. gardinermuseum.com Akram Zaatari: The End of Time. To Sep 1. The Power Plant. 231 Queen’s Quay W. thepowerplant.org. Fan the Flames: Queer Positions in Photography. To Sep 7. AGO. 317 Dundas St. W. ago.net. PAMELA meredith is TD Bank Group’s senior curator. inmagazine.ca
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Arts & Entertainment
Cinematic pride → TIFF and Inside Out join forces to create an impressive retrospective of queer films Story Peter Knegt
hile WorldPride is certainly about the party, there’s a whole lot else being organized across the city to coincide with it, not least among them what could very well be the most impressive LGBT film series Toronto has ever seen. Bent Lens: Pride on Screen is a partner event with WorldPride that brings a sizeable percentage of the best LGBT cinema ever made to the city. It marks a unique collaboration between two of Toronto’s major film organizations: TIFF and Inside Out. Piers Handling, Director and CEO of TIFF, said that the organization couldn’t be more
thrilled to be participating. “As an organization with a long history of championing queer filmmakers, we are proud to take part in this international celebration of both the local and global LGBTQ communities, and the Inside Out LGBT Film Festival is the perfect partner with which to do so,” he says. Inside Out executive director Scott Ferguson added that he was proud to be working with “the preeminent cultural leader in the exhibition of film” to present what he called a diverse, informative and entertaining program of events. It’s hard to disagree with them. Running through to August 17, the programme is an incredibly
epic array of retrospectives, series and special guests—not to mention the gallery exhibition Queer Outlaw Cinema at TIFF Bell Lightbox. And the highlights are: Queer Pagan Punk: The Films of Derek Jarman If you’re unfamiliar with Derek Jarman’s work, do yourself a major favour and catch as much as you can from this retrospective that chronicles the work of the legendary New Queer Cinema director who passed away in 1994. “In the twenty years since Derek Jarman’s death, his films have lost none of their
relevance and remain massively influential, with public interest increasing substantially in recent years,” says Noah Cowan, who left TIFF earlier this year for the San Francisco Film Society, but came back to program Jarman’s retrospective. “His is a visionary cinema: cinema designed both to reflect the world in a new light and to change it.” Jarman is probably best known generally for launching the career of Tilda Swinton, and the collection includes eight of their collaborations, from 1986’s Caravaggio (Swinton’s big screen debut) to the stunningly moving 1993 film Blue, Jarman’s final film that he completed as he was dying of AIDS. It portrays his
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Arts & Entertainment
life via voice and music over a 79-minute shot of an unchanging blue screen, with Swinton as one of its narrators. The must-see is one from his pre-Swinton career, though. His first feature, 1976’s Sebastiane, features an all-male, all-nude cast speaking in Latin in fourth century AD and you can’t help but wonder how this film possibly reached theatres back then (or even now, for that matter). Skin Flicks: The Films of Bruce LaBruce The other retrospective of the program brings some local energy with “Canada’s queercore treasure” and self-proclaimed “reluctant pornographer” Bruce LaBruce. Raised in rural Canada, LaBruce came to Toronto to go to York University. Though soon after he realized academics was not for him, starting the queer punk zine J.D.s that would gain him public attention and lead to the blend of pornography and narrative film that he began in the late 1980s. Seven of LaBruce’s features—
and a collection of his shorts— will screen, with LaBruce on hand to introduce many of them. They’ll take you back to the likes of his 1996 film Hustler White, a satire on hustlers in Los Angeles that was loosely inspired by Sunset Boulevard. Or from 2004, The Raspberry Reich, another satire—this time of farleft terrorist chic as he depicts a terrorist cell where straight men are forced to have sex with each other to “break the shackles of heterosexual monogamy.” Or more recently, 2008’s “Otto; or, Up With Dead People,” which takes on the zombie genre by adding in a little gay sex. “LaBruce has never been more relevant or necessary,” says the retrospective’s programmer Andrew Murphy (of Inside Out). “While LaBruce has always used gay porn as a political weapon, pushing homosexuality and queerty into the faces of both the intolerant and the stodgily status quo, his transgressiveness has always been accompanied by a compassionate, even romantic spirit.”
→ pride on screen The retrospective of films at Bent Lens include (top row from far left) Bruce LaBruce’s Hustler White; Otto or Up with Dead People; The Raspberry Reich; and L.A. Zombie; (bottom row from far left) Derek Jarman’s The Tempest, Aria, Caravaggio and Wittgenstein.
Queer Outlaw Cinema Curated by Cowan and Kathleen Pirrie Adams, Queer Outlaw Cinema will run at the HSBC Gallery to August 17, offering a free exhibition that explores internationally renowned artists working at the intersection of film and the visual arts, and how they’ve opened up debates about alternative sexual, romantic and aesthetic practices. Among them? The aforementioned likes of Derek Jarman and Bruce LaBruce, as well as Isaac Julien, Ulrike Ottinger and Scott Treleaven. “The core values of inclusivity and community-building help build support for global LGBT civil rights, and so rightly form the inspirational centre of events like the current WorldPride celebrations in Toronto,” says Cowan. “But the emphasis on these values can sometimes mute more radical voices in the LGBT community, including
many artists working at the intersection of film and the visual arts.” Cowan explained that these artists have distinguished themselves “not only by asking provocative questions within the LGBT community itself, but by utilizing their work to open debates. “This oppositional tendency has acquired many names over the years, but ‘queer’ seems to have stuck as an umbrella term for those voices which do not fit comfortably within the LGBT identity constellation,” he adds. “Many of the pioneering figures who fall under the queer banner have also been dubbed ‘outlaws,’ often in the strictest sense, as their principles and practices placed them outside the protection of the law.”
bent lens. To August 17. TIFF Bell Lightbox. 350 King St W. tiff.net/bentlens inmagazine.ca
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It takes a village of small huts → Straight kids? A cow? The Fringe fest proves the LGBT community is more diverse than you could possibly imagine Story Gordon Bowness
iving in a fish bowl is nothing new to Sadie EpsteinFine. As part of the first wave of children raised by samesex couples, she is used to extra scrutiny and curiosity, especially given that her parents are LGBT Parenting Network coordinator
Rachel Epstein and writer Lois Fine, both longtime queer parenting activists. And EpsteinFine has taken a leadership role in that educational capacity, talking at schools and volunteering at Camp 10 Oaks, a retreat for queer families. But having her
life turned into a musical by an actor/singer/composer/pianist/ triathlete/PhD in psychology must give pause to even some-
one like Epstein-Fine. “No way,” says the 22-yearold choreographer and theatre continued on page 48
→ the kids are alright Playing four teenagers in The Common Ground are (from left) Tegan Macfarlane, Fiona Sauder, Ben Chiasson and Julia Gartha. In the background are Ken McNeilly and Suzanne McKenney.
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student. “It’s frickin’ cool. It’s our stories. We are really underrepresented out there. We need our stories told.” The Common Ground, a musical debuting at the Toronto Fringe on Wed, July 2, began life as a doctoral dissertation by Ken McNeilly while he was a psychology student at the University of Toronto. “I knew I wanted to have kids myself,” says McNeilly, “so the dissertation was brought on by a curiosity about what my kids would face.” McNeilly interviewed nine kids from across the province, including Epstein-Fine. He was most struck by how passionately the children identified with the LGBT community. “I was surprised at how strongly they expressed a connection. One kid even said, ‘I kind of feel a little bit gay myself.’” But most of the children are straight, so there’s no ready-made place for them. “They’re caught between two communities,” he says. “I interviewed this one kid who wanted to join a queer youth group but got pushback because she was straight. The other kids were like, ‘What are you doing here?’ That made me sit up and take notice. “The nomenclature is really complicated. As one of the kids said, ‘There’s no letter for us in LGBTQ.’” Some kids like the term “gaybies,” some like “youth with queer-identified parents,” while others, including Epstein-Fine, prefer “queer spawn.” “I’ve been interviewed so many times over the years,” says Epstein-Fine, “and nearly every media story is like, ‘Oh, wow, she turned out okay.’ Nearly every headline read something like, ‘Queer Spawn: The Kids are Alright.’ That’s what’s so cool about this. It’s a musical. It’s not trying to prove anything other than we have cool stories to tell.” When she heard about the musical adaptation, EpsteinFine jumped at the chance to participate. She’s now the
musical’s production manager, dramaturge, choreographer and assistant director. “She’s fully on board,” says McNeilly, “a huge part of the process.” “I organized a queer spawn panel for the cast with some younger kids,” says Epstein-Fine. “It was so sad. There were these two 14-year-olds who talked articulately about being bullied. And it struck all of us in the production that here are these two kids who, in less than 24 hours, would have to go back to that horrible situation. It made it real for us. “I had a privileged childhood,” she says. “I was never bullied. I never had an issue about telling people; I told everyone. But I did feel pressure to be perfect. I felt I had to repress my own imperfections.” So when she realized she was queer, herself, she was terrified that she had somehow let down the whole community, that she proved the myth that gay parents make children gay. “I know that’s silly now,” she says, “but it was an issue for me when I came out [at 16].” The idea to turn his doctoral research into a musical came to McNeilly after he graduated and joined the Research-Informed Theatre Exchange run by Tara Goldstein out of U of T. He’s been a teacher for 20 years and has written musicals before for school productions. “I had an inkling about the musical even before joining RITE,” he says. “The whole process of publishing academic work is very tedious and boring. And even if it’s in a respected journal, how many people are going to read it? I saw theatre as a better way of improving access. These stories are too good to waste.” And an idea it might have remained if McNeilly hadn’t submitted it to the Fringe lottery. The Common Ground ended up number one on the waiting list. McNeilly was soon on the hook for an actual production. That was December of last year. It’s been a marathon since then, writing, composing and
With friends like these… Growing up gay on a farm can be an udder disgrace. Especially when your best friend is a cow. D Taylor Scott mines his prototypical Canadian childhood and eccentric family in the one-man show, Pardon Me Cow, opening Wed, July 2 at the Fringe. Scott’s family took up residence on his grandfather’s farm north of Oshawa when Scott was eight. “I was a town kid getting used to country life and a working farm as I was coming to terms with being gay,” says Scott, now 37. “As a young gay boy, I was a bit of a day-dreamer. And my siblings were older, so I was on my own a lot. I was interested in the animals. And there was one cow that I could get close to right away. We had a rapport. She was my sounding block.” The writer/comedian stresses that Pardon Me Cow is not just about a cow. “I have crazy relatives. Whether it’s my personal life or the news, I reflect back and compare growing up then with the craziness of today. For example, I had a nutty uncle who ran for mayor with the slogan, ‘Vote for Stan. He’ll shovel the shit.” The comparison to Rob Ford is obvious.” Pardon Me Cow runs Wed, July 2 to 13 at the Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse (79A St George St).
Other queer Fringe offerings include Komunka (left), an exploration of life and rights in contemporary Moscow, a collective creation based on the idea of cast member Yury Ruzhyev and directed by theatre veteran Sky Gilbert. Opening Thu, July 3 at the Helen Gardiner Phelan. Concrete Kid is Ray Jarvis Ruby’s lesbian coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of Toronto’s nightlife. Opening Fri, July 4 at George Ignatieff Theatre (15 Devonshire Pl). And Salvador is Rafael Antonio Renderos’ investigation of gay rights violations in El Salvador. Opening July 3 at the Annex Theatre (736 Bathurst St).
producing—but the peripatetic McNeilly, 45, is a triathlete. “I feel really good about where we’re at,” he says. “I took every workshop the Fringe offered: fundraising, publicity, stage management. I just soaked it all up like a sponge. Because we did really well during phase one of fundraising, I could post a real audition notice. That helped me get a phenomenal cast. The Fringe has been doing this for a while, there’s a formula. Everything they suggest works.” Playing four teenagers are Ben Chiasson, Fiona Sauder, Tegan Macfarlane and Julia Gartha.
McNeilly will accompany on the piano, along with Suzanne McKenney on guitar; both also play a couple of characters. The Common Ground runs Wed, July 2 to July 13 at the Randolph Theatre (736 Bathurst St). But before that, McNeilly has one last hurdle to overcome: He’s presenting the musical at his school. “I think the kids are going to be excited to see me in a different role.”
The Toronto Fringe. Various venues. Wed, July 2-13. (416) 966-1062. fringetoronto.com.
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