Gay & Lesbian City Living
Rufus Wainwright Luminato nabs the North American premiere of his opera & tour
plus Hot festival picks Are you a
W ill Munro Remembering a great Torontonian
Weighing the risks
The GTA lights into the
Party Politics Pride Toronto’s growing pains & this month’s Pride events
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CONTRIBUTORS David Bateman, Nicola Betts, Chris Jai Centeno, Scott Dagostino, Dean Di Giulio, Edward Kowal, Sholem Krishtalka, Lisa Lambert, Serafin LaRiviere, Keith Loukes, Michael Pihach, Adam Segal, Pam Shime, Richard Silver, Michael Thorner, Chris Tyrell, John Webster, Paula Wilson
reat first issue. Regarding your story “Gender Gaps,” however, this is a conversation that needs more press time, more thinking time. Krishna Rau’s piece starts that pathway but missed some key participants — teachers for one. I’m a teacher who worked in an all-boys independent school (fabulous) for seven years and in a number of public schools, including a downtown Toronto District School Board school as I write. I’m also a parent who watched my son and daughter struggle to understand the world. They were lucky in the range of experience they encountered — living in a mixed orientation community, attending a TDSB school that specifically addressed issues of bullying and equity of all kinds, and with family and friends who opened up the landscape of possibilities. We considered a same-sex school for our son because it was and is a great school. Wayne Martino, quoted by Rau, seems to criticize the TDSB boys-only school initiative because of simplistic ideological essentialism. I would turn that on its head to say a school is too easily judged by any number of discrete criteria: gender, test scores, demographics of all types and many more. Research and academic judgment provides a jumping-off point; then you actually have to look and feel your way around an actual school. Schools, like children, are individual. Whether a school works or not, promotes equity, stretches knowledge and expands the creative forces in society has a lot to do with how focused that school is. A boys-only school helps focus the mission, a gifted principal can dramatically alter the school for good, but the teachers on the ground every day, every minute are what makes that school tick. The TDSB specifically addresses homophobia and equity in all our classrooms and at the staff level, but the most effective educational moment in my career thus far was not directed by me or another adult, it was a Grade 3 boy in my all-boys class who turned to a classmate and said, “Don’t say gay, that hurts me and my family because my uncle is gay.”
On the cover Photograph: Kevin Westenberg
Peter Freeman MART/HSP/Resource King Edward Public School Toronto
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The Dark Prince
Rufus Wainwright by Gordon Bowness 12
Our new society page
June in the city 18
Calendar & Listings
Caught in the act 32
Where’s Fashion Cares? by Krishna Rau...............................................................................................................................7 Remembering Will Munro by Sholem Krishtalka.......................................................................................................... 9 Pride Toronto’s midlife crisis by Paul Gallant...................................................................................................10 Open House: Vintage meets modern by Gordon Bowness.......................................................................14 Home Sweet Home: A Toronto love story by Serafin LaRiviere ������������������������������������������������ 17 in spots GotStyle & Kultura.........................................................................................................................................................................20 Stylin’ fashion snaps by Chris Tyrell....................................................................................................................................................... 24 Tablets: Apple versus Google by Dean Di Giulio............................................................................................. 25 Relationship Advice with Adam Segal.................................................................................................................................. 26 drama at the Ago by Sholem Krishtalka...................................................................................................................................27 Display Case we’ve got beavers...........................................................................................................................................................28 Luminato Festival picks................................................................................................................................................................28 Stratford preview by David Bateman................................................................................................................................ 29 Sex & health with Dr Keith Loukes................................................................................................................................................... 30
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Dark Prince Rufus Wainwright met the impending death of his mother with an explosion of creativity by Gordon Bowness
ufus Wainwright discusses his mother, Kate McGarrigle, in the most passionate of terms: confidante, protector, mentor, muse… he’s even joked they were like a married couple. McGarrigle was diagnosed with a rare cancer in 2006. Wainwright met her impending death with an incredible burst of creative energy. In addition to premiering his first opera, Prima Donna, in July of last year in Manchester, Wainwright collaborated with director Robert Wilson, writing music for a theatrical presentation of Shakespeare’s sonnets, Sonette, that premiered the month before in Berlin, and he recorded his sixth studio album, All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu. He launched into a European and North American tour just as his mother died in January of this year. Wainwright says McGarrigle is a constant presence on the tour. “I sing one of her songs at the end of each night, ‘The Walking Song,’” he says. “It’s a very brilliant and beautiful vignette about the brief moment of happiness my parents enjoyed in the mid ’70s.” (His parents divorced when Rufus was three.) “More often than not I’ll end up in tears. It’s not something I enjoy necessarily. But I’m so fortunate to be able to ponder her through her music, and really get through this wild and wicked emotional baggage that I just have to unpack.” The sprawling Luminato festival brings the North American premiere of Wainwright’s tour and opera to Toronto this month.
The recent works radiate what Wainwright calls a female force field, an emotionality that acknowledges his mother’s influence, but also that of his sister (singer Martha, who gave birth to her first child in November) and other female archetypes (like Shakespeare’s Dark Lady or Sunset Boulevard’s Norma Desmond). With Wainwright accompanying himself on the piano only, All Days Are Nights is sombre and subdued. The 11 songs, including three Shakespeare sonnets and an aria from Prima Donna, are spare and deceptively simple, like a needle to the heart. One of the most poignant tracks, named for his sister, reads like a phone message detailing Wainwright’s hopes for family reconciliation as his mother’s death approaches. Tender and raw, it ends with Wainwright singing in a delicate, childlike voice, “Please… call me… back.” Devastating. While the album mostly shies away from the big bombastic singing that punctuates other albums, there are still some incredibly difficult notes to hit and the piano accompaniment can be fantastically complex. “I just like to challenge myself. I enjoy the thrill of the hunt, and you can’t hunt for something that’s easy to get,” Wainwright says, laughing over the phone from Barcelona. The tour features video by Turner Prize-winning artist Douglas Gordon (a 30-foot projection of Wainwright’s eye) and costumes by Zaldy Goco (a black, crow-
Luminato presents the North American premiere of Prima Donna, Rufus Wainwright’s controversial new opera, starring Janis Kelly (left). Wainwright’s new album and tour, All Days Are Nights, offers a devastating rumination on love and loss.
IF LOVE WERE ALL
feather gown with a 17-foot train). During the first half of each concert Wainwright sings the new album straight through. Like a classical recital, he asks that audiences refrain from applauding between songs. It’s more of an upbeat hit parade in the second half. For those who worry that grief may overwhelm Wainwright, that the dark forces of his crystal meth years might be on the ascendant, rest assured. The album displays a maturity and wisdom as strong as its pain and sadness. The Lulu of the album’s title refers to Louise Brooks’ character in the silent movie classic Pandora’s Box, a beautiful, lustful, self-destructive showgirl with a wicked bobbed haircut. To Wainwright, 36, she’s a Siren signalling danger ahead. “I’ve always been drawn to this femme fatale, the wasted beauty, the pointless fire,” says Wainwright. “Louise Brooks is my medium. Whenever she appears I know danger is around. I love that feeling and I seek it out, naturally. And I’m not opposed to it existing at all. But I just need to identify it. When I start seeing that haircut I know it’s time to man the ship.”
efore going on stage some actors say, “Break a leg.” Dancers say, “Merde.” Opera singers say, “In bocca al lupo (Into the wolf’s mouth).” Wainwright got savaged by wolves during his first foray into opera, receiving vicious reviews from a few British critics after Prima Donna’s premiere. From all reports, audiences loved the debut, as did many critics. But it’s clear many opera aficionados don’t like pop stars on their turf. “I heard that opera reflects at all angles when you work in that medium, the drama kind of goes everywhere,” Wainwright says. “I was not disappointed. It was pretty shocking how wide the battlefield is. In retrospect I wouldn’t expect anything less.” Wainwright never stopped to lick his wounds. His ego or creative centre or whatever you want to call it is large enough and secure enough to take on all comers. “Opera is such a gargantuan animal,” he says, “and everybody’s got teeth. I in turn have developed mine.” First he stared down Peter Gelb, general man-
ager of the Metropolitan Opera in NYC. Gelb had originally commissioned the opera but didn’t want Wainwright to write it in French. Wainwright walked. Then he feuded with Daniel Kramer who directed the Manchester debut. By the time Prima Donna played London, Kramer was gone and a new director, Tim Albery, had totally revamped the approach. (Albery is again at the helm for the Toronto production.) “What’s fantastic about Prima Donna is that it’s developed quite the little reputation,” says Wainwright, “in terms of bypassing the Met and dealing with some of the most insane critics of England, and still surviving, and having singers launch new careers from it. It’s a real spitfire of an opera. Of course the audiences adore it.” Prima Donna is the story of Régine Saint Laurent, a famous opera diva who mysteriously stopped singing years ago. Set in Paris in 1970, it’s a day in her life as she contemplates a comeback. At Luminato soprano Janis Kelly reprises her role as Régine. The opera turns its back on 20th-century innovations, referencing and sampling the lush melodies and effects of late-19th- and early 20th-century music instead. “With this character, the prima donna character, I was able on one hand to inject a lot of my own experiences into her life,” says Wainwright, “whether with the press, her voice or with music, one’s love of music. It also borrow some very iconic images and situations from the history of opera — whether Maria Callas, Diva [the film] from the ’80s or Norma Desmond — this idea of the prima donna. As well, I was also able to musically explore my favourite repertoire, which is the Romantic repertoire for opera, presumably because this is music that is running around in her head.” “Prima Donna is great for anyone who is not that familiar with opera, very tuneful and accessible,” says Chris Lorway, artistic director of Luminato. “And it’s great for opera fans, too, constantly referencing things you’ve heard before. It’s a celebration of opera. “I’ve been involved with the production for two years and one of my favourite stories is from the first time it was played through with an orchestra in Leeds.
I was sitting up in the balcony during a rehearsal with Rufus’s mother, Kate. At one point there was a flourish of strings and Kate leaned over and whispered, ‘That’s The Wizard of Oz part.’ So whether conscious or not there are all these allusions written in.” Lorway also approves of the new, pared-down directorial approach. “The story is campy in some ways,” says Lorway, “but by playing up the camp, [Kramer] detracted from it. Albery, by playing it straight, pulls out the real character of the play, like the darkness and drama of a Joan Crawford movie.” Camp, melodrama, are key to both Wainwright’s pop and classical music. Like the dark versus light and reality versus dream motifs on the new album, Wainwright consistently plays with opposites. His music displays both heart-wrenching romanticism and world-weary cynicism; there’s joy in singing about pain; and his ego is as famous as his generosity as a performer. Somehow his soaring vocals and his long melodies pierce through those opposing states, melding them together. It’s as if the real Rufus Wainwright only exists on stage or in song — like another one of his dark ladies, Judy Garland. Find his rendition of Judy’s “If Love Were All,” penned by Noel Coward. It’s all there: The shadowy ambivalence of the performer, a singer’s plea for love. For Wainwright — and this was true of his mother — the show’s the thing. Even with his supportive if tempestuous family and long-term boyfriend, perhaps it’s music itself that is Wainwright’s most passionate relationship. And it never fails him. “I have such a great love for music — I’m not saying nobody else does — but my idea of it is so mystical and powerful and malleable, you can do it whatever you want to it and it will always come to bear. I love the elasticity of music; it can put up with anything.” ■ runs Mon, Jun 14, 16, 18 & 19 at the Elgin. 189 Yonge St. $50-$200. All Days Are Nights tour plays Tue, Jun 15 and 17 also at the Elgin. $45-$65. (416) 872-1111. Luminato.com. For more hot Luminato picks see page 28.
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Stylinâ€™with Chris Tyrell
Summer is coming and fashion, thankfully, bec omes more colourful and joyous. Bring on the prints.
Miserable May weather was held at bay by your sunny dispositions
Michael Mountford has all the right preppie touches at Bay and King. Classic.
Look at Winnie Go. Can you say chic, modern and sexy in one outfit? Love the bold gold with the black accents. Styling.
follows my first rule of fashion: Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize, and then accessorize some more. He rocks.
in the Beach. So effortless, so fashionable. A lesson on how to wear stripes. The hat pulls it all together.
living & health
Take two tablets & call me in the morning Yes, you want an iPad… but should you wait for Google’s next move? by Dean Di Giulio
iPad credit: Courtesy of Apple
a free-market censor is deciding what kind of app you can and cannot have (in other words: no porn or anything that might hurt Apple’s own apps). Moreover, Steve Jobs, Apple CEO and geek chic number one, is warring with Adobe over their Flash plugin — basically if you’ve watched ’net video it’s probably in Flash. Claiming Flash is buggy and a security risk, Jobs only allows Apple-friendly video formats. It looks like the internet is heading this way but most sites aren’t there yet. Enter Google. They are poised to be an alternative to the ultra-trendy straight-laced Apple. Google’s Android touch screen operating system runs on numerous phones (HTC and Motorola) and has stealthily slipped past Apple as the number one in touch screen smart phones. The pieces seem to be in place for a Google tablet: Intel is creating the processors, the nerd blogs post
APPLE VERSUS GOOGLE . The iPad and the apps at iTunes can’t be beat but the blogosphere is heating up over the possibility of Google’s more freewheeling Android tablet.
s your Visa calling out for that next expression of individuality — which everyone else has just got to have — that tactile computing edutainment device known as a tablet computer? Apple’s tablet, the iPad, released in Canada on May 28, has a wifi version to connect to local networks (at the office or Starbucks) and a 3G version to connect over cell phone networks. This touch screen is either a giant iPhone (sans phone) or a living art project — experimenting with how our lives can be transformed by a device that reacts to natural human movement in an über-designed box. As a kick to previous eReader du jour, Amazon’s Kindle, Apple has added an online bookstore in iTunes where you can download your next favourite novel to the device. But as its marketing mantra states, “There’s an app for that.” Apps are where the device will shine. The iTunes
app store has made some thousandaires overnight — thousands of application developers have joined the proverbial gold rush in making apps. The most innovative computing minds are creating something for the platform. Adding to the more than 200,000 iPhone apps that can be rezed up to fill the iPad’s screen are new ones that offer near desktop power in word processors (Apple’s own MS Office compatible iWork), illustration (Adobe’s sketchbook program Ideas) and music (Korg’s iElectribe, a $400 dance music composer compressed into a $9.99 app). Clamping down on this cyber creativity is Apple’s attitude. The iTunes app store is more snobbish than a jury of 19th-century art critics. On one hand, this keeps viruses and malware out of people’s iThingy. On the other, only family-friendly makes the cut, meaning
daily possible prototypes from a slew of would-be Apple competitors, and rumours have Android’s next upgrade coming with eBooks and Flash. The Android Marketplace (Google’s iTunes) has a much more lenient application process which has also benefited from the app boom. Google also keeps many of the users’ data in the clouds (like all your email stored on Gmail’s cloud servers), making hardware requirements cheap. There’s no need to sync your device to a desktop. So the freedom-fighting futurist is definitely waiting for Google’s next move. Whatever flavour of tablet you prefer, the only sure loser is Microsoft — a cancelled tablet and too-late responses to the iPhone — while the cell companies are sure to win with a tablet added to the four other flavours of data they have been pumping into your devices. ■
l i v i n g & h e a lt h
Neighbourhood In Focus Leslieville by Richard Silver
ears ago I lived south of Queen St E. Nights were noisy with police and fire trucks responding to parties or family squabbles gone wrong... but we were braving new worlds. Then realtors began speaking of a hot new area they liked to call “Cabbagetown Two,” with Victorian homes in poor repair being gentrified. If you could not afford the real thing, then number two was not too bad. Leslieville's old factories and warehouses have now been reborn as lofts; there are new restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, infill housing and stylish renovations everywhere. It’s certainly popular with gay and lesbian homeowners. But what used to be a bargain is now slipping out of reach. The odd bargain (non-real estate) still exists among the antique shops, stores like Here and Now Clothing Co and Carbon Computing and cafés like Bonjour Brioche — my personal favourites. However, walk along Queen and it won’t take long to damage your credit card with some excellent retail therapy. Benefits: Close proximity to down-
RelationshipAdvice With Adam Segal
I’m reluctant to justify all of those ‘U-Haul on the first date’ clichés, but I’m thinking about moving in with my girlfriend after only six months together. I’d like to give myself credit for thinking this through, but after a few raised eyebrows from friends, I’m wondering if I’m not just taking a leap but jumping off the deep end. How do you know when you’re ready?” Sophie in Toronto
H town, great shopping and restaurants, 24-hour streetcars and easy access to the Beach. Disadvantages: Mixed housing, concerns over tainted soil because of the number of factories originally in the area, and termites (always a concern south of St Clair Ave). Leslieville has not taken second place for years. ■ Richard silver is a salesperson with Bosley Real Estate and blogs at torontoism.com
i Sophie. I want to congratulate you on pulling your U-Haul Subaru Forrester over to the curb for a breather. One happy couple I know moved in after only one month together with little in common beyond a shared worship of Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville album. I see this couple as a wonderful exception because shacking up is a big deal. Here are a couple of tips to keeping your merge-urge in check. Hopes & intentions Moving in together, while romantic and exciting, is also a complex emotional stew of hopes, baggage and practicalities. You and your girlfriend need to have lots of talks about your reasons for wanting to cohab. There are good reasons: Even when you turn to give her a kiss in the morning and she has baloney breath, you’ll be happy she’s keeping the sheets warm. And there are bad reasons: You just took a pay cut to start your own business and it would ease things to have someone to share the vet bills with. Sorry, but a reason like that will have you living with ugly regrets — the kind that keep you up at night, but don’t keep the sheets warm. 24/7 Have you spent loads of time at each others’ places? Although it’s guaranteed to piss your friends off, you guys need to cocoon. You need to know if she has 30 aquariums full of salt-water fish from around the world that need constant maintenance and odour management. Are you comfortable with her finding your encyclopedic vintage porn collection tucked away in the TV cabinet? Does your girlfriend perceive home to be a private sanctuary or a social hub for potlucks and
community activist meet-ups? I recommend examining the similarities and differences between your levels of tolerance for messiness, your respective daily rhythms and how you each relate to your home environment. Money As Cyndi Lauper asserted with a snarl: “Money changes everything.” How true it is. Cohabitating necessitates some level of financial interdependence. Different couples have different ways of addressing this reality: joint everything, one account for groceries, rent/mortgage and utilities or keeping separate accounts but sharing expenses. Having a frank discussion about each others’ savings, debts and overall financial health will help you form a confident decision about this step in your relationship Fantasy & reality It’s shoved down our throats from childhood that moving in and living happily ever after with our beloved is the pinnacle of fulfillment — some of us even dangerously tie our worth and success to this relational accomplishment. Sharing a home base, while complicated, can truly be one of the most fulfilling aspects of a loving relationship. A final word of caution, however, as your relationship is relatively new: Take the time to reflect on whether you’re truly motivated by the idea of moving in together (what I’ll call the Cinderella Syndrome) versus a sincere desire to share yourself with your girlfriend ’round the clock, baloney breath and all. ■ works in private practice in downtown Toronto. Ask him your relationship or mental health question at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Writer and therapist Adam Segal
art & design
Lust, passion, murder The AGO wants viewers to have a total, immersive experience during its ambitious new show by Sholem Krishtalka
Ontario Museum garnered some fairly excited (and serious) reviews while managing to bring in the crowds. Drama and Desire: Artists and the Theatre, the AGO’s upcoming summer offering, comes to Toronto, the only North American stop, via France and Italy. It is impressive not only for the kind of work it offers, but for its mode of presentation: On paper, it’s a show of massive ambition that seeks to expand on what’s possible for an international blockbuster exhibition by making novel use of local talent. The show takes a tour of 18th- and 19th-century art via the theatre. It promises works by Eugène Delacroix, Edgar Degas, Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, Jacques-Louis David, William Blake, Aubrey Beardsley, Singer Sargent, Édouard Vuillard and others; artists who, at one point or another, were taken with the outsized mythos and enduring stories of the stage. There are some exciting gems — Sargent’s portrait of Ellen Terry as Lady MacBeth, David’s The Oath of the Horatii (an impressive score) and Beardsley’s illustrations for Oscar Wilde’s Salome — and, as it always goes
Jacques-Louis David, The Oath of the Horatii, 1786, Oil on canvas, Toledo Museum of Art
he heyday of the museum blockbuster show is over. Its last gasp was in the late ’80s and it sighed into the early ’90s. These kinds of shows are no longer what they once were — vast touring shows packed to the rafters with top-drawer pieces from the lions of the art canon are simply no longer a possibility. Recessions, changes to institutional tax laws, increasing (and now almost total) scarcity of Old Master paintings in the auction circuit, and ballooning shipping and insurance rates have effectively curtailed what can travel where. Blockbusters, diminished though they may be, are still the mainstay of a museum’s programming. Summer comes, tourists crisscross the globe, and museums do their best to have shows with recognizable names and mass appeal. The Art Gallery of Ontario has a good record of mounting and managing blockbuster shows: Their Turner/Whistler/Monet exhibit was nicely assembled and satisfying, especially considering that each artist’s signature works couldn’t leave their respective homes in the Tate Modern or the Musée d’Orsay; and the most recent King Tut co-presentation with the Royal
THEATRICALITY Painter and set designer Gerard Gauci is creating unique installations for impressive Old Masters like David’s The Oath of the Horatii (left).
with these shows, some less exciting work by equally famous names. The real twist lies in the decision to bring on artist Gerard Gauci, Opera Atelier’s resident set designer, to design the show. “The reason they brought me in is because they want a very theatrical installation for this show — it’s paintings related to the theatre. They want to bring the theatre into the show,” says Gauci, who is an accomplished painter as well. The painstakingly detailed works that line his studio walls owe a great deal to the stage in their frontal compositions and illusionistic spaces; Gauci has an intuitive sense of the relationship between theatre and painting. “This is an opportunity to highlight the theatricality of the work. By bringing a theatre designer in, we can create environments that speak very directly to what’s happening in the paintings, and can speak to what’s happening historically in the theatre at that time.” Listening to Gauci outline his plans and designs, it becomes immediately clear that he and the AGO staff are aiming for nothing less than a completely immersive gallery-going experience. “I want [viewers] to have a visceral sense of the theatre,” he says. “I also want for them to have a sense of what it’s like to be on stage.” From the moment they enter the show, audiences will be
plunged into the world of the theatre. “They will walk through theatre flats, as a performer would do. They’ll also see the back of the flats, bare wood frames with reproductions of period 18th-century light fixtures. They’ll have a sense of what a performer sees looking out to the audience.” Rooms will be decorated with period furniture; paintings will be accompanied by a variety of theatrical paraphernalia, from 18th-century sound-effect machines to props (a donkey’s head will accompany a painting inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and viewers will be in for a gory surprise in Beardsley’s Salome room). The viewing experience will be augmented by sound effects, lighting effects and roving performers. In a very real sense, Gauci and the AGO are trying to create a Gesamtkunstwerk, a Wagnerian coinage meaning “total art work,” art that stimulates every single one of the viewer’s senses to create an engrossing experience — a fittingly grand ambition to make good on the promise of what a blockbuster show should be. ■
runs Sat, June 19 to Sep 26, at the AGO. 317 Dundas St W. Admission is $18. (416) 979-6648. ago.net.
Drama and Desire
art & design
Land of the silver birch, home of the beaver
Used as a symbol of this country since the 17th-century, the beaver has gnawed its way into our consciousness Castor Vase
The Castor Vase is by Samuel Cho, Nathan Tremblay and Ian Campana of the Calgary-based design firm Palette Industries (paletteindustries.com). The vase is available from thesouvenirhop.ca (which is currently down; so email email@example.com for price and availability). Castor Stool
Toronto-based jeweller Anneke van Bommel’s brushed nickel silver Beaver Love pin costs $180 and is available at Made.
This wine cellaret (circa 1880 to 1890), made of oak, mahogany, maple and lead, is possibly from the workshop of Louis Jobin, a prolific sculptor of commercial, naval and religious works in Quebec City. It’s housed at the delightful Sigmund Samuel Gallery of Canadiana at the Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queen’s Park; rom.on.ca).
The Beaver Jar is made by Claire Madill, a Vancouver-based ceramicist and jeweller; her label is called Heyday Design (heydaydesign.ca). The jars will be available at the gift shop in the Design Exchange (234 Bay St; dx.org) to coincide with a series of her cast porcelain jars in the upcoming exhibit Bent Out of Shape: Canadian Design, 1945-Present (running July 9 to Oct 10), as well as at Made (867 Dundas St W; madedesign.ca), Coriander Girl (1537 Queen St W; coriandergirl.com) and Pimlico Gallery (789 Dupont St; pimlicodesign.com); they retail for around $85.
Perfect for the patio, the Castor Stool from Toronto design firm Castor (castordesign.ca), aka Brian Richer and Kei Ng, is hand carved from a single piece of limestone. © Royal Ontario Museum, (2006). All rights reserved
c ult ure
t’s hard to wrap your mind around Toronto’s Luminato Festival. With scores of events over 10 days, from film, art and theatre to music, food and fashion, Luminato suffers from a glut of riches. But spend some time sorting through all that cultural loot and you’re bound to find something that sparkles in your eye. Here, artistic director Chris Lorway, associate producer (theatre, dance, film and music) Mitchell Marcus and associate producer (live events) Scott McVittie give their personal hot picks at Luminato. Opening Night A friendly face-off between three of Canada’s top divas: Jully Black, Sass Jordan and Melanie Fiona. (Free. 7pm-10pm. Fri, June 11. YongeDundas Square.) Friends With You Life, love and friendship inspire the creations of Miami-based Friends with You. Their Wish Come True Festival will transform Queen's Park into a surreal world of smoking totem poles and enormous bouncy castles. (Free. June 16-20.)
Hot picks at Luminato fest by Gordon Bowness
(see story page 12). Chris Lorway
has created a spectacular global collaboration. Each play is a fascinating, thoughtprovoking exploration of the relationship between Africa and the world; as a trilogy, it will be explosive. ($30-$50. 7pm. June 15-20. 1pm. June 19. Fleck Dance Theatre. 207 Queens Quay W.) Dark Star Requiem Andrew Staniland’s score and orchestration is stunning and I find Jill Battson’s poetry to be quite provocative. Adding four great singers, a world-renowned trio, and one of Canada’s most acclaimed ensembles to trace the history of AIDS should make for an unforgettable evening. ($30-$50. 8pm. Fri, June 11 & 12. Royal Conservatory. 275 Bloor St W.) The Africa Trilogy Volcano
The Luminato Reel What other program would feature both Leonard Bernstein and Pee Wee Herman in the same week? (Mediatheque. 150 John St.) Mitchell Marcus
Carole Pope, Lea DeLaria, Kelly and the Kelly Girls, Shawn Hitchens, Lance Horn, Christian Campbell, Justin Bond and more! This promises to be one of the most unique and entertaining programs ever presented at YongeDundas Square. (Free. 7pm-11pm. Sun, June 13.) 1,000 Tastes of Toronto Taste food from some of Toronto’s most respected chefs and exclusive restaurants: $5 gourmet food at Queen’s Park all weekend long. (June 19 & 20.) Queer Divas
MARK FAST Canadian fashion designer lights up Brookfield Place.
impact in the world of fashion. His strikingly delicate designs take more than a little boldness to wear. (Free. June11-20. Brookfield Place. 181 Bay St. ) Scott McVittie
The Ascension of Beauty: Mark
Though young, Canadian-born Mark Fast has already made a significant
runs Fri, June 11 to 20. (416) 872-1111. luminato.com.
art & design
t he at re
Do you believe in fairies? Fun, adventure & divas take wing this season at Stratford by David Bateman
hat is Peter Pan, a106-yearold children’s play about lost boys and that quintessential fairy Tinkerbell, doing at Stratford, a festival committed to producing the works of William Shakespeare? Well, there are plenty of wayward adolescents roaming the pages of Shakespeare’s fey folios, and in the hands of a superb cast, JM Barrie’s 1904 script moves in and out of classical forms of acting, from melodrama to full frontal flying, landing delicately in the midst of gorgeous passages of enchanting prose such as, “To die will be an awfully big adventure,” and “Clap your hands if you believe in fairies.” Looking for help navigating a Stratford getaway? Here’s a quick pixiedusted flyby. In Barrie’s decidedly gay play about love, loss and never wanting to grow up, Tom McCamus will bring depth and vigour to the devilish role of Captain Hook, while the boyish and devoutly agile Michael Theriault as Peter reveals a bewitching exuberance and vitality in early previews of the show — and he looks a bit like Mary Martin who originated the television role in 1957. Artistic director Des McAnuff calls Peter Pan, “One of the greatest stories of the past century.” Tim Carroll, one of the principal directors at London’s Globe Theatre, directs the Stratford production opening Sat, June 12. Just a hop, skip and a prance from the boards of the lovely little
Avon Theatre, you’ll find yourselves at the historic tent-like Festival Theatre, designed in 1957 by Robert Fairfield. Currently in preview on the Festival’s classic thrust stage is Cole Porter’s irresistible Kiss Me, Kate, based on Shakespeare’s comedy The Taming of the Shrew. The musical flirts with the ribald and always comes up singing with hilarious ditties such as “Tom Dick or Harry” and “Brush Up on Your Shakespeare.” Actors surprise unsuspecting front-row listeners by singing specific lines to them, especially delightful during the memorable number “I Hate Men,” and raucously funny during the Harry Dick sequence that has a vivacious Chilina Kennedy as Lois Lane/Bianca blurting out, “I just said Dick 10 times!” Written in 1938 by husband and wife team Sam and Bella Spewack, in collaboration with iconic gay composer/lyricist Cole Porter, Kiss Me, Kate is considered among the best examples of musical theDevilish.
Chilina Kennedy in the ribald and irresistible musical Kiss Me, Kate.
Tom McCamus as Captain Hook.
atre from the past century. “We have a soft spot in our hearts for musicals that relate directly to Shakespeare,” McAnuff says. Vaudeville mingles with memorable love songs and jazzy melodies ranging from “Too Darn Hot” to “Always True to You in My Fashion.” Director John Doyle has directed plenty of Shakespeare, and with the aid of choreographer Tracey Flye, he brings daring and vibrant life to the show as costume racks, desks, gangsters and flamboyantly dressed thespians fly menacingly across the stage. Led by the magnificent voice of Juan Chioran as Fred Graham/ Petruchio, this play within a play within a musical, opening June 11, is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. If you Google to see if Jacques Brel was gay you’ll find one delightful response that exclaims, “No, he was Belgian, being of Flemish descent.” Married, separated, with three daughters he never saw again after the separation and a successful singer/songwriter — well, that sounds pretty gay to me. Starring Canadian musical the-
atre legend and Tony Award-winner Brent Carver, Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris showcases the talents of a man considered to be Europe’s answer to Bob Dylan. This ever-popular Broadway revue will grace the Tom Patterson Theatre opening June 11. Carver also takes on the pivotal “all the world’s a stage” role of Jacques in As You Like It, a musical comedy of sorts. This classic Shakespearean pastoral romp has 12 songs, all arranged especially for Stratford by Justin Ellington, cousin of the legendary Duke Ellington (who wrote music for Stratford’s Timon of Athens in 1963, as well as a jazz suite for the festival in 1957). McAnuff calls Shakespeare “a great eclecticist, and not interested in obediently following a strict form. There was some PT Barnum in him.” As You Like It was first created, rumour has it, to compete with a local production of Robin Hood, thus Shakespeare’s leap into the fanciful forest of Arden with the rich, the poor, and the infamous mingling and gender-bending all over the place. Kenendy’s star turn in Kiss Me, Kate will be followed by a performance of huge diva-esque proportions as she takes on the title role in Evita, the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice bio-musical that takes dictatorship and exploitation and sets it all to music. Antoni Cimilino, general director of the festival, considers this to be Webber’s greatest score, and defies audience members to leave the theatre without humming the tunes. I’ve been humming Eva Péron’s megalomaniacal laments sever since the late 1970s when I first saw Elaine Paige in the starring role. Wherever there’s a balcony you’ll find me dressed to the nines but at sixes and sevens with God only knows who. If Chioran’s grand hunky performance Continued on page 30
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Brent Carver stars in Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. LEGENDS.
in Kiss Me, Kate is any indication, then his melodic take on Juan Péron promises to be a fine study in warbling machismo. Evita opens June 10. Stuffed full of musical delights and much, much more, the Stratford 2010 season is a theatre playground for children of all ages. And if you have a fear of flying, take heart, the season schedule also includes plenty of classic earthbound tales such as The Tempest, starring Christopher Plummer, All’s Well That Ends Well, and famed French Canadian Michel Tremblay’s semi-autobiographical memory play about his mother, For the Pleasure of Seeing Her Again. Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Winter’s Tale round out the Shakespearean offerings, while Dangerous Liaisons provides a sexy take on a classic French tale. Geraint Wyn Davies’ one-man turn in Do Not Go Gentle promises a poetically boozy treatment of the life of Dylan Thomas, while Canadian
Postcards from Torontonians away
Stratford tix run $50 to $120. 1 (800) 567-1600. stratfordfestival.ca.
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Composer and lyricist Lisa Lambert won a Tony for the Drowsy Chaparone in 2006, the year she moved to New York. “A year ago in my favourite eatery I was introduced to Geoffrey Rush,” she writes. “He had just heard the Drowsy CD and was dying to play Man in Chair. Within a week I was part of his Tony night entourage and the Drowsy-Melbourne plan was a go. I went to Oz — the production was awesome and I saw a wild koala. Now I’m back in my favourite eatery and hoping by Tony night I’ve booked my flight to Drowsy-Barcelona.”
Sex & Health With dr keith
comic playwright extraordinaire George F Walker’s King of Thieves, a version of the 18th-century script The Beggars Opera, gives audiences the opportunity to enjoy a gangster drama with musical interludes. Check out the Stratford season website for plenty of gorgeous costume photos and synopses. If you’ve got time on your hands between shows, run on over to Moda Formals dress shop at 53 Market Place, just down the street from the Avon Theatre. I tried on a gorgeous green chiffon number right after seeing Peter Pan and it fit perfectly. They have 14XL for us bulging middle-aged fairies who can’t resist a bargain frock. Then I flew straight to the next stage. ■
My lover has a really big penis. When I use poppers I find it easier to take him. People say poppers aren’t good for you, though. Are they?” oppers is a chemical called amyl nitrite. Industrial uses include air fresheners, cleaners and chemical reagents. It is a liquid that gives off vapours that can be inhaled which some people report causes increased sexual enjoyment and relaxation. Many people use it to relax the sphincter muscles in order to facilitate anoreceptive sex. In real-people talk: People sniff poppers to enjoy sex and to make it easier to bottom. It can be purchased almost anywhere. When mixed with Viagra or any of By sniffing the vapour it enters your blood stream quickly through the blood the other erectile dysfunction drugs, vessels in your nose. Its effects are very or some angina medications like nitrofast — within seconds. Facial flushing, glycerine, it can sometimes cause lifedizziness and euphoria (feeling happy) threatening drops in your blood presare most common. Poppers work by sure — they should never be mixed together. People with causing your blood vesglaucoma should also sels to dilate very quickly Many people use it to not use poppers because all over your body, leadrelax the sphincter it can exacerbate the ing to increased blood muscles in order to condition leading to eye flow to your brain and skin, which is what facilitate anoreceptive damage. Longer-term effects of causes these symptoms. sex. In real-people talk: People sniff poppers to popper use are unclear. It also causes smooth enjoy sex and to make it It is basically accepted muscle to quickly relax. easier to bottom. that frequent long-term Smooth muscle is found use may cause neuaround your blood vessels and around your digestive tract rologic and brain damage. There are (including your anus); these are mus- also concerns about its effect on your cles over which you have no voluntary immune system through chronic use. control. Your sphincter, smooth muscle But there is a lack of convincing eviaround your anus, is usually contracted dence on either side of the safe/unsafe to keep stool in — and your boyfriend debate. Bottom line (yep, I said it): Occasional, out. When amyl nitrate causes it to careful use of poppers by healthy perrelax, it’s easier to be bottomed. So that’s how it works. The main sons during sex is probably okay as long as you don’t drink it or use it while question here is how dangerous is it. In the short term using it can cause taking certain medications includrash, nausea, trouble breathing, head- ing Viagra. But if you have unpleasant ache, fainting, tachycardia (fast or serious side effects, or have serious heart rate) and low blood pressure. health problems, you should probably Interestingly enough, some guys will avoid using it. ■ report erectile dysfunction (impotence) and anorgasmia (unable to come) while Dr Keith Loukes works in emergency in a using the drug too. Toronto hospital. Send him your sexual health question at firstname.lastname@example.org. It should never be swallowed or applied to your skin which can cause an This column should not be viewed as medical overdose. advice; always consult your physician.
P r i s c i l l a Q u e e n of t h e D e s e r t : T h e M u s i c a l
Caught IN the act photos by Edward Kowal & Michael Pihach
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IN Toronto Magazine: June 2010 Issue: 02 IN Toronto Magazine's June 2010 issue, featuring stories on gay and lesbian living.