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GAY & LESBIAN CITY LIVING

THIS MONTH’S

hot tickets & must-sees EXCORIATING EXHILARATING EXORCISING

ON

Daniel MacIvor’s new play

HIS

(Hint: It’s about an ex)

SEX & DEPRESSION

Spiral up, not down

TERMS

Friendships stronger than marriage

An insider’s take on the city with gossip king Shinan Govani

Lose 10 lbs in 10 minutes?

5

Rekindle the passion in your relationship

HOAX COUTURE IN AFRICA

BULLIES &

Controversy at Toronto District School Board

TIPS

Fashion that makes you feel good on the inside

ISSUE NO.


INTRODUCING THE WINE FOR FASHIONISTAS

Exclusively at Wine Rack

STRUTWINES.COM please strut responsibly.


intorontomag.com PUBLISHER Patricia Salib EDITOR Gordon Bowness CREATIVE MARKETING DIRECTOR

Nelson Tomé

DESIGN DIRECTOR

(print and online) Andrew Birgiolas

ASSOCIATE DESIGNERS

Chris Reygel PRODUCTION COORDINATORS

Jara Solis, Mike Do

OUR MISSI ON Inspire gay men and lesbians to live life to the fullest. Expand the gay and lesbian community by valuing diversity and individual choice. Celebrate Toronto. Provide readers with compelling news, information and entertainment. ALL INQUIRIES (416) 551-0444 ADVERTISING info@intorontomag.com EDITORIAL editorial@intorontomag.com PRODUCTION ads@intorontomag.com

In Toronto is published by The Mint Media Group all rights reserved. Ontario, M5V 2A2

THE MINT MEDIA GROUP PRESIDENT

Patricia Salib

DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS

Reggie Lanuza

DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING & MARKETING

Nelson Tomé PROJECT CORDINATOR

Jara Solis

THIS ISSU E CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

Paul Gallant, Krishna Rau

CONTRIBUTORS David Bateman, Nicola Betts, Anna von Frances, David Hawe, Keith Loukes, Josh Levy, Erin McMichael, Ivan Otis,

LaRiviere, Jim Searle, Adam Segal, Pam Shime, Richard Silver, Michael Thorner, Chris Tyrell, Margaret Webb, Lulu Wei

ON THE COVER PHOTOGRAPH: Ivan Otis. ART DIRECTION & HAIR: Brian Phillips

(World Salon, Artist Group Limited). MAKEUP: Sian Melton (Artist Group

Limited). STYLING: Claudia Da Ponte (Artist Group Limited). MODEL: Gwen (Elite Model Management). DRESS: Jezira (Avenue Couture). CLOUD NINE CAPE: Hoax Couture


CONTENTS George Pimentel/WireImage

On the Town with SHINAN GOVANI by Si Si Penaloza

Singing of Hope

HOAX COUTURE IN AFRICA by Chris Tyrell

George Pimentel

Lulu Wei

Open House

QUIXOTIC IN PARKDALE by Erin McMichael

MY KIND OF TOWN by Gordon Bowness ................................................................................................................. PLANTING A MESSAGE by Margaret Webb............................................................................................................ HOW TWEET IT IS by Michael Thorner....................................................................................................................... THERE’S MORE THAN ONE GENDER GAP by Krishna Rau...................................................................... MAY CALENDAR, LISTINGS & IN SPOTS ...................................................................................................... RELATIONSHIP ADVICE with Adam Segal ......................................................................................................... KEEP WORKOUTS FUN by Josh Levy .................................................................................................................. by Gordon Bowness ....................................................

STYLIN’ fashion snaps by Chris Tyrell .......................................................................................................................... DANIEL MACIVOR AT CANSTAGE review by David Bateman ................................................................ DISPLAY CASE hockey design in Canada............................................................................................................... RYAN TRECARTIN AT THE POWER PLANT ...................................................................................................... review by Sholem Krishtalka.................................................................................................................................................

SEX & HEALTH with Dr Keith Loukes ........................................................................................................................


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TORONTO

TalkExchange

TOO DIMENSIONAL Michael Cho’s gorgeous rendition of College St is at Cartoon City, a group show of graphic novelists depicting their local neighbourhoods (with Marc Bell,

Sun, Jun 13 • (416) 973-5379 • harbourfrontcentre.com

My Kind of Town GORDON BOWNESS

M

ayoral candidate George Smitherman was on a roll, one sardonic zinger after another. You could tell he was doing well because his interviewer, veteran comic and event host Maggie Cassella, kept stepping on his punch lines. Marvelling at the candour of a politician as powerful as Smitherman, Cassella quipped, “And this guy inhaled” (referring to Smitherman’s 2006 admission to a party drug habit, stimulants, when he was younger, prior to his entering politics). “Oh,” Smitherman exclaimed, rolling his eyes, “I never exhaled.”

opened the Rainbow Health Ontario Conference in March, one of the largest-ever gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans health conferences in Canada and the first in HIV-prevention workers, trans activists, researchers and policy makers were descending upon the Marriott Downtown, just a block away from Smitherman’s potential new digs, Toronto City Hall. As Ontario’s health minister, Smitherman helped establish Rainbow Health Ontario (RHO) in 2008 with $600,000 annually for three years from the Ministry of Health and Longwomen, aging hippies and wide-eyed twentysomethings 6

may 2010

were in the hotel’s scrappy Characters Lounge basically because of Smitherman. Smitherman, in turn, shared the love, pointing to Nick Mulé in the audience, crediting the York professor for RHO’s existence. Mulé cowrote the successful funding proposal, basing it on a 1997 report on health issues from his time at the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario. For his combination of patience and tenacity, Smitherman called Mulé the “velvet hammer.” All candidates tailor their speeches to different audiences, but in this 24-hour media environment, it’s still bracing to see a politician so comfortable in his skin. “Who was your first same-sex crush?” asked Cassella. “Scott Baio,” Smitherman answered. “Name a celebrity crush.” “I’d have to say Ian Scott, former attorney general of Ontario, though I was never attracted to older men.” “Are you a gold star? In other words, have you ever kissed a girl?” “Oh, we more than kissed, much more…. And I have to say that it was pleasurable… but not natural.” and how much work is still left to do. RHO is a provincewide network designed to improve access to services and promote the health of Ontario’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans communities. Even with public healthcare there are vast inequalities of service — trans folk having to drive hundreds of miles to obtain a prescription

for hormones, for example, or family doctors who are uncomfortable or uninformed about the needs of their problems with compassion and verve. Travers, director of RHO, says the work will continue even though there’s been no official announcement yet. “I have every expectation that we will be funded for positive feedback, even from the ministry people…. Despite Ontario’s leadership in this area, Quebec may soon surpass it with the government’s recently announced antihomophobia policy promoting equality in all public services. LGBT Health Alliance in Australia, meanwhile, sets the gold standard for such networks at the national level. But RHO’s night had a festive air, a deserved one. “Your nickname, Furious George, is getting old,” Cassella noted. “What would you like to be called now?” “Given the changes in my life recently, I think I’d like to return to a name I used to go by in my younger days: Big Daddy.” Peals of laughter. Smitherman and his husband Christopher Peloso recently adopted a son through the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto, an organization proud of its work with sameNear the end of the interview, Cassella asked who the


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inaugural babysitter was going to be; the new dads’ first evening away was coming up later that week. Smitherman said crowd melted. of this spanking new magazine, I find myself blessed with the exciting prospect of exploring and sharing the lives of wonderfully diverse and fascinating people who make up my community and my city. At some point that evening with RHO I realized how much that means humour that I find nowhere else. Only in Toronto. ■ FOR MORE ON RHO

go to rainbowhealthontario.ca FOR MORE MAGGIE CASSELLA,

see page 20

Planting a Message MARGARET WEBB

My partner and I created a purple front garden that has become something of a landmark in Cabbagetown, which is a hoot, given that the heritage enclave takes the landscaping of its pocket-watch-sized front yards so seriously it bestows an annual award for best garden. A panel of judges inspects nominated plots no less than three times throughout the growing season, then an artist is called in to render a painting of the winning parterre. It is presented to the owners or, as I call them, the lucky bastards.

Our garden will never win because I am its principal caretaker and I am a brown thumb, such a menace to vegetation that my partner, Nancy, will not even let me water our houseplants. Not that I would remember. Still, when we moved to Cabbagetown, I embraced the challenge of giving our wee white worker’s cottage a shout-out amidst the grand Victorians lining our street. We ripped up the neglected lawn. I enrolled in a garden design course. Yet the more I learned, the more overwhelmed I became by the myriad of choices — bloom times, colours, textures, shapes, sizes, sun seekers, shade lovers and on and on. of writer Vita Sackville-West’s white Woolf was inspired to create the blanc slate, she said, because she yearned to see a white owl from a nearby forest swoop through the white blossoms — during a full moon no less. I realized then how to solve the problem of choice, namely, by eliminating it. I do wonder if neighbours think we stuffed our yard full of phlox and lilacs because we are lesbians, and lesbians have a thing for the colour purple. Our garden may be purple, but for an entirely different reason. We simply matched plant colour to our Cadbury-purple front door, as one would coordinate throw pillows with furniture. Seven years on, our garden is often infested with weeds and leaf-eating bugs,

yet the mauve magic enchants dog walkers, weekend gawkers and even toddlers. Yes, shamelessly, we built the picket fence at chest level for pint-sized onlookers — not for them to impale their little bodies on the pickets but to allow our garden to be appreciated by all demographic groups. Appreciate it they do (if not the garden judges who pay entirely too much attention to powdery mildew). In spring, strangers snap pictures of the 100 or so purple tulips exploding into bloom. On hot summer days, tykes on trikes love to stick their fingers into the mauve maws of snapdragons. And fall even attracts a celebrity fan, novelist and neighbour Barbara Gowdy, who admires our sevenfoot Russian sage waving languorous limbs over a lavender haze. But this spring, we decided our garden must make a political statement, after I wrote a book of my own, called Apples to Oysters: A Food Lover’s Tour of Canadian Farms. I think of it as a sexy romp through Canada’s nascent locavore food movement, but with a wake-up scream: We are losing control over our food system, folks. Consider this: While

How Tweet It Is Twitter is a democratic, information network free-for-all. So if your news feed only updates what your ex had for breakfast or your girlfriend’s tennis match, you’re not accessing its potential. It’s all in who you follow. Try these for starters. SOCIAL MEDIA: @jaimewoo A relentless

SUSTAINABILITY: @inhabitat A Twitter page

(and website) proposing that good design will save the world. FASHION: @JakandJilBlog Much like New

York’s @Sartorialist, Torontonian Tommy Ton developed a very respectable international following because of his discerning eye and great photographs of urban fashion.

community food centre located inside the Artscape Green Barn on Christie St. seed savers of heirloom varieties, and the farmers quickly showed me that I didn’t have to sacrifice aesthetics for taste or politics. As I planted the seedlings, dreaming of purple orbs hanging like Christmas bulbs amidst the phlox and the sage, a strange tingly feeling overcame me. Our garden is growing a message, and I certainly heard her: I have 300 square feet of this earth in my care. ■

Celebrate life POLITICS: @UnionSt A passionate civil rights advocate, local communications guy Justin Stayshyn has no qualms asking those in power positions important questions. There’s no hiding on Twitter. ALT ART: @brucelabruce Smart-ass, bad boy, provocateur — all compliments. Toronto

LaBruce is an astute, cool, culture eyeballer. forgotten movies on YouTube, and quotes Jonathan Harris’s Dr Smith freely. Oh the pain, the pain. ELIZABETH TAYLOR: @dameelizabeth. She’s a screen legend, she’s 78, and she tweets, for crying out loud. Who cares if she goes on and

On Twitter! Ask her about Monty. But don’t call her Liz. She hates that.

“McGuinty backtracks on controversial sex-ed plan. Lil’ Timmy will have to keep Googling ‘gay’ a little longer.” Toronto journalist Sarah Barmak @sarahbarmak

“Christopher was the epitome of style. His jewels and fashions, including fabulous furs, were a mainstay of the social scene. He entered a room like some bygone pasha or prince and lit it up with his wit and sense of occasion. He lived passionately and to the fullest every day. He, with his partner John Bailey, would hold the best parties for all kinds of causes. An artist with a bold style

and generous heart, he brought joy and pride to all whom he met. He was a great inspiration to me in so many ways.”

Salah Bachir Paula Wilson

tweeter, Gamercamp.ca co-creator Jaime Woo is opinionated, gets the power of social media, and shares his stories and adventures in a really interactive way.

Mother Nature should belong to us all, by some estimates, Mother Monsanto now controls 90 percent of the world’s seed genetics, the very basis of our food. Anyone care for a future of genetically modified, corporate-controlled gruel? Sorry, Vita, but renegade farmers and seed-savers became our new soil models, and we determined to plant gloriously tasty, defiantly independent, organic fare. Sure, we dreaded giving up our garden’s plummy fun, but I pinned on my nonGMO button and trooped off to a vege-

CHRISTOPHER ESTRIDGE

died Feb 22; he was born in 1951. A celebration of his life was held on Apr 25

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There’s More than One

Gender Gap Critics fear a proposed all-boys public school may encourage homophobic violence by Krishna Rau

Boys posing outside girls' entrance to school, girls at window, between 1898 to 1920 (Archives of Ontario, C130-1-0-9-14)

BACK TO THE FUTURE Will an all-boys school within the Toronto District School

Board turn back the clock on feminism and modern understandings of gender?

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proposal by the Toronto District School Board to establish an allboys school in 2011 is being criticized as a backlash against feminism that could encourage homophobia among students. But board officials, including TDSB’s new director of education Christopher Spence, defend the proposal as a desperate attempt to help boys struggling academically and socially.

specialty schools: one all-boys, which would run from junior kindergarten to Grade 3 initially, then grow by one grade each year; one all-girls, which would run from Grade 4 to Grade 8; and a coed choir school and a coed sports school, both of which would run from Grade 4 to Grade 8. Parents would be responsi8

may 2010

ble for deciding whether to enroll their children. While the proposals for the girls’, choir and sports schools have attracted little controversy, the all-boys school has led to heated criticism. “We have to move away from these silver-bullet, quick-fix solutions,” says Wayne Martino, a professor in equity and social justice at the University of Western Ontario’s faculty of education, who has written extensively about gender and education. “To frame that boys and men are the new disadvantaged is very problematic.” says boys are more likely than girls to have lower scores in language tests, to be labelled learning-disabled, to be in discipline trouble or to be suspended or drop

out. Jim Spyropoulos, a superintendent of education at the TDSB, says an all-boys school is a last-ditch measure. tent achievement gap. Each one of those young men has a name. All you have to do is walk into a courtroom or jail.”

ing concerted efforts to customize assignments more towards male interests. “In almost all of the schools, some component of daily physical education was be said for active arts education in drama sistent with the literature that concludes that boys thrive in settings which are physically active.” But critics say the proposed school is based on biological beliefs rather than social realities. “I don’t think there’s something innate in boys that leads them to behave the way they do,” says Martino. “A lot of these arguments are grounded in essentialism, that boys are different from girls. plistic, it’s easy, it confirms certain stereotypes. It’s about a sort of ideological framing of the problem.” Spyropoulos admits that there’s little to point to in the way of precedent for the all-boys school. research that points to single-gender schools leading to greater achievement. It’s fair to say we’re going where others haven’t gone before. We’re keen to add that research component to our work. I would call it an innovative way to address a persistent gap.” Blye Frank, the head of the division of medical education and the department of bio-ethics in the faculty of medicine at Dalhousie University and the author of a number of works on gender and education, sees the proposal as a part of sexual politics.

that those schools found success in using mostly teaching methods and materials tailored to boys. “Resource selection seemed directly targeted to boys, especially with respect to

issue,” he says. “It’s part of a backlash to feminism and the work that’s been done with girls. What’s going on is the moral panic about the poor boys, whether there are too many girls in university programs like law or medicine. Who knows what level of fear that triggers? “Girls have in fact been disadvantaged in our society. Historically, it’s not been a level playing field.” Frank and Martino both say all-boys schools also are dangerous when it comes to teaching ideas of masculinity.

especially true in library selections where teacher librarians consistently noted that their collections were ‘geared towards boys.’ Teachers also seemed to be mak-

and homophobia to flourish in single-sex schools,” says Frank. “It treats that there’s only one way to be a boy. What does a boy-friendly curriculum mean? Does it

schools in Toronto and private and public all-boys schools in the US, including


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have boys that want to be nurses, boys that are ballet dancers, boys that grow orchids?” Martino says boys who don’t fit the norm could be victimized. “It’s this heteronormative framing of boys which I find deeply disturbing. Boys have often talked about how they’re more concerned with what boys think than girls. It depends on what sort of boy you are, what sort of masculine capital you have. In terms of gender non-conformity and expression, certain students aren’t going to be served by this. “What we’ve found is certain stereoa certain sort of homophobia. Some studies show that in single-sex settings, homophobia can be even more intensified. In the research, we’ve found that boys talk about more homophobia in allTDSB] needs to be aware of the link between masculinity and violence and masculinity and homophobia.” Spyropoulos says he’s convinced an allboys school will help to lessen homophobia. “If we don’t work toward breaking down traditional gender stereotypes that burden some of these boys when they way so many boys reinforce their masculinity is by marginalizing women and they don’t have to be in role in front of young women will help create young men who are more comfortable with their sexuality.” But Frank says that in his opinion, curriculum in any single-sex school is far less important than social issues in terms of academic performance. “It’s not that boys need a more boysuccess is social class. Upper- and middleclass boys are probably not doing as badly on literacy and numeracy. If they’re talking about boys lagging behind, my question is which boys?” Martino agrees that focussing on gender is leaving out significant issues. do better if they’re separated. We have to look at other factors, we have to look at race, class. Middle-class boys are doing better than working-class girls.” Spyropoulos agrees not all boys will benefit from a boy-centred curriculum,

but says he hopes that with the proper promotion, parents will choose to enroll academically-challenged boys in the school. He says that making the school accessible to all and informing varied communities will be crucial. “Location is going to be critical. Access is determined by class, by the capital of the parents to be able to decide. We have to get out there to the communities and we promote it through relentless communication. You get out on the street and communicate.” Some trustees supporting the proposal have pointed out that the TDSB is losing an estimated 4,000 students a year, mainly to falling birth rates and emigration to the 905 area, but also to private schools. Frank worries enrollment concerns are driving the proposal, rather than educaMost public school boards in Canada are experiencing serious declines in enrollschools.” Martino agrees economics should not be driving educational policy. “It’s being framed as a way of attracting students maybe privatization of education is a factor.” Spyropoulos admits that private schools may play a role in the proposal. "School systems have a lot to learn from each other." ■

The Bully Pit schools will have on homophobia should be taken into account, based on studies of bullying in Canadian schools. According to a national survey by gay lobby group Egale Canada, 75 percent trans students feel unsafe at school. More than half have been verbally harassed, 25 percent have been physically harassed and 41 percent sexually harassed. A study by the London, Ontario branch of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health found that one-third of male students and 22 percent of female students in Grade 9 reported being the target of homophobic comments. And in 2007, Shaquille Wisdom, a gay 13-year-old at an Ajax high school, killed himself after homophobic bullying.

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Talk it up

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may 2010

hardcore gossiptimist — there’s no other who works as hard or knows as well the unspeakable veracity of his tribe and the solace in their hearts. Now it’s our turn to snoop…. To the uninitiated, how do you describe what it is you do? I’m in the eating-off-cocktail-napkins business. Part Capote-esque social chronicler, part party prowler, court jester, and boldface-generator. I’ve covered everything from swishy art types at the Venice Biennale to the undergarment brigade at the Victoria’s Secret show, the couture crowd at a Chanel show in Paris and all the high-low action in our backyard here in Toronto. It’s been said I’d go to the opening of a Beck taxi. Share an anecdote from your adolescent days that would surprise your friends. I was much taller then, believe it or not. It wasn’t until an evil gay sorcerer put a curse on me, and I shrank. Also — dead serious now — when I was little I had a speech impediment that disallowed me from pronouncing the “sh” sound. I couldn’t say my own name until a therapist got busy with me. I think that explains everything about me in some vaguely Jungian manner. I couldn’t say my own name! Now I make a living off other people’s names. Define how your strategy has evolved over the years when it comes to TIFF. This coming September will be another year where my station as a journo merges with my man-about-town-ness as I’m co-chairing the big Cinema Against AIDS Gala. It’s the first time I’m helming a gala in town, as opposed to merely meandering at one. Last year was a weird year at TIFF in that not only was I going to 40 parties in a week, and writing everyday and sounding off on TV and radio, as I do a lot, but I launched my first novel, Boldface Names, right in the smack of it. So I was being covered as well as covering. Holt Renfrew threw me a big party, and it was one of my more out-of-body experiences, seeing that I was the kid who’d come here as a refugee

Photo by Iva

A

h, to the snoop go the spoils. Anyone who’s ever picked up the National Post knows that Shinan nist is one of the most-invited and sought-after guests in the nation. From the Time Top 100 Gala in Lincoln Center to Clive Davis’s pre-Grammy night party. His circulation gives him the clout to attend every cocktail party, hotel opening and dinner with Bill Clinton and Oprah that can fit into his supersonic schedule. A notorious and viable cultural export, his true occupation is living large on his quick wit, steely nerve and celeb access granted by his myriad network of PR fluffers. With Govani validating the scene, Toronto emerges as an unlikely, fledgling pleasure capital with a ripe pantheon of homegrown A-listers. Govani is a distinct product of metro Toronto — there’s no other multiculti ecosystem that could have incubated such a brainy and boundless man sporting such a fearless agenda. Govani’s repertoire gives us a supine twist on the acerbic drollery of Oscar Wilde, the iconoclasm of Martin Amis, the feel-good repartee of David Sedaris. For most “civilians” who grew up alongside Toronto’s resident snoop, Govani’s glitter-filled grown-up world may as well be, well, Narnia. Over the years his readers have learned all about his quirks. How he loves putting on a tux and strutting into the Gillers. How Siren Communications president Ann Layton is his primary “lifestyle enabler” when it comes to gluttony, binge drinking and fully subsidized five-star hotel stays. Whether tackling pop-culture trends or society prenups, his lusty columns read a lot like Deuteronomy for the upwardly mobile. They demand he walk the line — be impenetrable, obliging, ostensibly sincere, always pretending to know less than he does. We love him for refraining from the more predatory techniques of his trade — skewering the usual suspects, attacking novices or the emotionally exposed. He’s the

n Otis

Inside the charmed life of Shinan Govani by Si Si Penaloza


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Govani’s greatest hits of Toronto

Y

ers. Who have you taken where in hopes

from Africa 30-odd years ago, and here I was on Toronto’s Mink Mile being fêted in the middle of one of the world’s biggest film fests amidst many of the who’s-who I write about. As many people mentioned later, that party was like being in a Shinan Govani column. Why do you think Toronto (Vancouver and Montreal, for that matter) has played such a big role in the meltdowns, infidelities and hapless episodes for many Hollywood types? Partly, I would imagine, it’s because celebs feel a psychological fence around them being in these hinterlands; partly, honestly, it’s just fluke-ism. In the world of Twitter and camera phones, can any celeb really “hide” in the old sense? What’s interesting to me about these tales of indiscretion is the very human capacity that celebs have for self-delusion. Empires have come and gone because of that never-learnt narrative. What has social media and Twitter done for you and your audience? Twitter, in particular, has made my job more challenging — and also easier. I say this in that there is now an army of citizen journalists out there, tweeting their

own celeb sightings. I can cull from that, get “feeds” that were otherwise unavailable to me just a few short years ago, but also, having said that, it has caused me to up my game in that I have to work that much harder on being first, getting the best details, making sure my column “voice” is that much sharper, more singular. You’re dead if you don’t tweet in this biz. I hear you’ve made people cry at parties. How do you manage all the charlatans, dilettantes and hangers-on that you have to deal with on a daily basis? Delicately, judiciously, but with no mercy. I walk this social trampoline in that I have to rely on people to invite me into their events and so they must trust me, but yet, at times, they must have a free-associative fear that compels them enough to tell me things about other people so they buy certain “insurance,” so to speak, from me. Honey, not vinegar, is the requisite credo, though. Trait you find most satisfying in a woman. Carpe diem-ness. Trait you find most satisfying in a man. Banter. What is your endgame? Sloth. ■

Depending on who it was, I would take them to the urbane Origin on King East, the slouchy Union on Ossington, the everybody-goes-there Cinq 01 on College, the Gekko-esque bar at Bymark (because architect Mies van der Rohe is still the man) or, of course, the playful new rooftop bar/pool at the new Thompson Hotel. Who are the city’s most impressive hosts and what have been their most memorable coups? Suzanne Rogers is the summit-climbing socialite of le seconde. She achieved her greatest coup when she got Oscar de la Renta to come to town recently

gives good intellectual salon — the guy who regularly gets the commentariat and the high net-worths to come out in Toronto for the likes of Christopher Buckley and Martin Amis. Ashleigh Dempster and Amanda Blakely, aka the ladies behind “The Society” — well, they have put skeptics in their place, and are the go-tos for a certain post-Sex and the City crowd in the city.

A night at Sweaty Betty’s with Drew Barrymore comes to mind. It’s where she headed, and even got

Robin Williams at Dora Keogh on — gasp! — the Danforth. Where do you go to disappear? Is there a resto Mata Hari on Baldwin is where I go for my steady bit of nostalgia and Malaysian. The tapas-friendly Torito in Kensington Market is one of my faves too. L’Unita on Avenue can sometimes be “work” — everyone from Daniel Craig to Megan Fox has showed up there — but it’s also one of those tasty trattorias

What’s the one civic change that would make Toronto sexy, or more truly glamorous? A million more people, presto. Toronto is plenty engaging and glam — what we’re still lacking is scale.

In conversation with his friend Si Si Penaloza, gossip columnist Shinan Govani dishes on the currency of his trade, a childhood secret and his favourite local haunts.

“HONEY, NOT VINEGAR, IS THE REQUISITE CREDO.”

the people who are the social engines, who are the Richard Florida-ish “creative class”. So, yes, we could use at least another million people to up our own

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L I V I N G & H E A LT H

OpenHouse Textile artist Grant Heaps, assistant wardrobe coordinator at the National Ballet of Canada, lives in a small, turn-of the-century row house in Parkdale that expresses his quixotic style... and is stuffed with odd collections by Erin McMichael • Photography by Lulu Wei

What drew you to this house? I love Parkdale. It just felt so good when I walked in and the layout was nothing like my previous place. How many collections do you have? Many: thousands of other people’s snapshots, other people’s 8mm-, Super 8- and 16mm-home movies, toy clothing irons, Country Club by Yona cocktail ware, ’70s neon piggy banks, naïve paintings, souvenir sailor dolls, yearbooks, American Sweetheart carnival glassware, Converse, bowties, taxidermy, how-to craft books, Tiger Beat magazines, and I have an immense amount of fabric and textiles. What drew you to amassing such specific collections? I think nostalgia, craving being somewhere else other than I was, wanting to be somewhere else. Where were you when you started? At home in Scarborough in the ’70s. 12

may 2010

You and your ex, illustrator and designer Ian Phillips, amassed several collections together. How did you split your collections when you two split? We did split them up but some of the collections we still think of as ours. I just have more space so some of the collections we still share, like the home movies. And of course we still share our half-Boston terrier/half-English bulldog, Fancy. Are there some collections that Ian took? Yes. He has all the vintage Chia Pet heads except for one, all the nurse-themed romance novels and our collection of other people’s Niagara Falls snapshots. Do you stand out in Parkdale? I guess. But I never feel like I do. I know that people recognize me because I always wear a bowtie and bold patterns and quite a lot of pink. You bought in 2007. How long did it take you to decorate once you moved in? It feels like it’s an ongoing process because I want everything to have its place. It’s always kind of changing

and shifting and moving. I don’t like painting very much so I hired someone to do that, but I also constantly sew drapes and other textile-based things for home. So you could say that I’m continually in the process of nesting. Do you ever worry about running out of space? I worry about not having places for everything so, ya, in a sense. But as I keep shifting everything finds a place. I’m thinking of renting a separate studio to store my fabric. What are your nostalgic influences? When I was a kid I spent my summers at a cottage on a small lake called Kahshe Lake. I spent my summers there in a small, very cottagey cottage with whole feel of Muskoka, of watching forest rangers, cabin and the woods and things that have used up their usefulness in your city-life that got shifted to cottage life. I love those things. I would swim and


L I V I N G & H E A LT H

1/2 VERTICAL W BLEED 4.4066W 11H

project describing a theatrical production through the eyes of somebody who keeps seeing themselves in the performance. What fabrics do you use? I use anything in my quilts. I hardly ever purchase new fabric; I have to be pretty desperate to do that. So I literally use garbage. and wash. I have an acquaintance who works as a shirt manufacturer and I get the ends of the really high quality shirting scraps. I get scraps from the ballet. People give me old clothes — I love using those particularly if they’re things I have some sort of connection with. I love seeing a certain square and knowing that was from a certain ballet, or an old shirt that I loved. I still have a lot of choppedup shirts from when I was a wacky teen. Favourite abandoned snapshots? “Modernist, Minimalist Christmas” is my favourite, it’s amazing. It’s a woman in a mid-century chair with a toddler and an incredibly simple silver Christmas tree. And the composition of the photo itself ski and wander in the woods and make crafts, do puzzles, play board games. Why textiles? I studied fashion at the Ellen Peterson Fashion Institute at Yonge and Steeles. Ellen was an elderly Estonian woman who had a couture business, and we learned this very old-school method of pattern drafting. It was very strange, and it was located in an almost-strip mall. Talk about your textile art. I make what I call quilts but that word is very loosely used, from the traditional sense. What I do varies quite a bit. Some are actual quilts that are three layers of fabric, but others are just squares strung together forming a net.

bulbs on the tree and she’s wearing one of those crocheted vests. Also “Office Party Christmas.” Probably 1967. Just a group of women with one man dressed up with corsages and paper hats and puffy hair, bad streamers. You can see the neon

At VIA Rail, we give our customers a unique travel experience. People choose the train because no other mode of transportation provides a more comfortable, secure and relaxing way to travel. We are committed to improving our services, and we believe each passenger should be treated to memorable moments on board our trains. VIA is the only carrier to offer the space that makes the trip as enjoyable as the destination. That’s why we call it “A more human way to travel.”

an unfortunate soul in the foreground with a very toothy grin and a bouffant with very stringy bangs and no paper hat. Too bad no one was wearing gloves. ■

Marc Laliberté President and CEO

remains in the café at the Gladstone Hotel (1214 Queen St

GRANT HEAPS’ STAG QUILT

installation, Daydreamin’ by Lupe Fiasco featuring Jill Scott (Grant Heaps remix), comprised of 50- to 60,000 stitched squares, is at Made (867 Dundas St W) till Sat, June 12

TM

Trademark owned by VIA Rail Canada Inc.

on Heaps is currently in post-production

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13


L I V I N G & H E A LT H

WeAsked three hairstylists What is the hot cut/trend for spring? Long-tressed locks for both men and women. “Hippie”

Girls: mashed-up roller sets on shoulder-length layered hair. Bridgitte Bardot

All-over bleaching (whether it goes mainstream or not). Highlights are out.

with a View, grown out a month and hacked into. Mad Men meets Nirvana.

Is the recession over? Too soon to tell... I’m no economist but signs are looking bright. But, really, were we ever that affected?

tains of industry to preschoolers, and the consensus is: It ain’t

LUIS PACHECO, Clairol consulting colourist and coowner of Hair on the Avenue in Yorkville (hairontheavenue.ca)

BRIAN PHILLIPS

trillions of dollars of bad debt tending that just went away.

of World Salon and World Products in the St Lawrence Market neighbourhood (world.ca)

No. As far as our industry goes the average person isn’t visiting the salon as regularly as pre-recession.

NICOLE BRAITHWAITE,

owner of Salon Escape in Yorkville (salonescape.ca)


L I V I N G & H E A LT H

    

A

midst the labyrinthine artwork scrolling across the various limbs and bodily contours of Alyssa Derrick and Robin Locksley are two simple straight-edged lightning bolts: one

commemorate their happy reunion after the only rift in a six-year friendship that mates when the “explosion” happened and, yes, it was a guy that Alyssa was dat-

Friendships stronger than marriage

six months of not talking — Robin and Alyssa, not Alyssa and the guy. “I caved,” confesses Alyssa. “And that’s a huge thing because it’s usually me who caves,” Robin chimes in. “My boyfriends have to put up with the fact that pretty much all my

by Paul Gallant

Nicola Betts

time Will took a drunk Habeyah home to a condo that wasn’t hers, then to another condo that wasn’t hers before finally getting her safely

to deal with coming in second,” says Alyssa, laughing. “I’m the only person who can tell her how it is, straight up,” says Robin. Although they’re only 23, hipsters who travel in clubland circles in which sexual orientation is mostly irrelevant, Alyssa and Robin exhibit many of the symptoms of classic gay guy/gal pal couples, although it would never occur to them to use antiquated language like “my gay” ing positivity when they’re with each work problems and relationship problems, ergo, they’re very good — nay, extraordinary — at keeping each other’s secrets. (“We can’t tell any stories that don’t involve us getting arrested,” says Alyssa.) Robin complains, half seriously, that Alyssa won’t let him dress her up. You sense there’d be some sexual chemistry if the orientations matched up. In short, they put the B in Dance Cave on Bloor, after Alyssa had cut her finger and nobody would give her a tissue; Robin offered her a used one. “We have friends and family who still think we’re a couple,” says Robin, recalling the time he took Alyssa to a family wedding reception where Alyssa’s tattoos and skin colour attracted judgemental glances. His South Asian relatives weren’t sure whether to be relieved that he seemed to be straight or disappointed with the “white

ated an instant connection; their (sometimes skewed) interest in style — she had Betty Page hair; he had a perm — sealed the deal. “I was trying to sing Britney Spears and I remember Will helping me pronounce the words properly.” A makeup artist by trade, Habeyah knows her way around gay men; Will is not a token or a pet. In him she found a booster, a girlfriend and someone who sometimes needs her as much as she needs him. Needless to say, a bad boyfriend played a major role in their shared history. “She was dating a guy and there was a lot of drama. I was there for her when things were not so great.” Dealing with each other’s romantic relationships is, it seems, the only heavy element of a couplehood

gum on the spoon in the Chinese cert. “Every time I see him, I like to bring him a treat because he appreciates it so much,” says Habeyah. You wonder why people don’t behave like that in their conjugal

Romantic dramas aside, Habeyah Yusuf and Will Wong know how to get the best out of their unique couplehood.

KEEPING IT LIGHT

girl” he had chosen. “Not everybody understands the dynamic of how close we are.” In fact, like many gay guy/gal pal couples, the dynamic is something they struggle to define. But the relationship endures for more elusive reasons. Whereas singledom may have been a key factor, historically speaking — both parties struggling with the eternal truths that all men are jerks and society is harshly judgmental — desperation is rarely a prevailing factor anymore. Gay men are as doomed as anybody nowadays to a life of husband-hunting or husband-pleasing; their feisty lady friends have not necessarily abandoned the biological imperatives of

finding security in a baby-daddy. Rather, couples have discovered the advantages of having a best friend who has both the nerve to bitch with conviction and drunkenly jump fences, and the soft heart that needs occasional propping up. With the sexual tensions and rivalries of all other gay/straight/male/female combinations removed from the equation, a sort of rolling hierarchy prevails: You be strong today, I’ll be strong tomorrow.

H

abeyah Yusuf, 32, and Will Wong, 33, met back in the late 1990s, after seeing each other at singing -

romantic love comes with expectations that can swell into hard feelings and disappointment. Gay man/ female relationships have the amazing ability to tear up the scorecard. Kelly McCray and Steph Rogerson have had only one dust-up in their five-year friendship. On a party-and-art trip to Berlin together, they made the mistake of not only sharing a hotel room but sharing a bed. Sex was not the issue. “If Kelly was shtupping somebody in the bathroom, I wouldn’t have cared. I have earplugs,” says Steph. No, it was the fact that the room was cold. Kelly was in charge of the fire and Steph, one of those can-do lesbians, found it unbearable to watch him struggle to light it. “Everything reeked of soot,” says Kelly, 49. “And it was cold,” snaps Steph, 42. “We didn’t talk for a while. We discovered that privacy is essential.” Although the two had travelled in overlapping artsy circles, they became friends

intorontomag.com

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L I V I N G & H E A LT H

WeAsked three hairstylists

GIRL BOY

Fave hair celebrity? Bohemian Goddess”

ously underrated. But my all-time fave is Don King

Blake Lively

If one of the federal leaders walked into your salon, what would you say? Jack Layton: You are one sexy man!

A vote for Green means Tory

LUIS PACHECO, Clairol consulting colourist and coowner of Hair on the Avenue in Yorkville (hairontheavenue.ca)

BRIAN PHILLIPS

of World Salon and World Products in the St Lawrence Market neighbourhood (world.ca)

Michael Ignatieff: I loved you in Bulworth

NICOLE BRAITHWAITE,

owner of Salon Escape in Yorkville (salonescape.ca)

helpful in dealing with sword-falls,” says Kelly. “I have a lot of lesbian girl friends. I have a lot of girl friends, generally. But we have a synergy I don’t get anywhere else.” And when you’ve got that, the lunches, the parties and the shopping are mere bonuses. ■

Al D

only after Steph issued a mass email looking for people to collaborate on a project for Toronto’s 2006 AIDS conference. Kelly was one of the only people to reply and they soon found that they had the right combination of passion, flexibility and humour to be more than just collaborators. “It’s so easy to be there for each other,” says Steph. “We don’t have to negotiate it.” Kelly has helped coach Steph through some rocky relationships and her father’s death, which followed his own father’s death by just a few months. Steph has found herself Kelly’s date at dozens of gay male-dominated events. Like her straight female peers, she’s usually the one pulling her gay pal onto the dancefloor wherever they find themselves. “Neither of us are embarrassed by perversion, flamboyance or business suits,” she says.

AS YOU LIKE IT By WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE Directed byDES McANUFF With BEN CARLSON, BRENT CARVER, PAUL NOLAN, ANDREA RUNGE LUCY PEACOCK, CARA RICKETTS, TOM ROONEY, MIKE SHARA

HE’S GAY, SHE’S STRAIGHT, AND THEY’RE MARRIED… NO, WAIT

Photo of Andrea Runge by Brendan Meadows

Some friends and family still think Robin Locksley and Alyssa Derrick are a couple.

intorontomag.com

stratfordshakespearefestival.com 1.800.567.1600 ANTONI CIMOLINO 17

General Director

Follow us on

Production Sponsor

DES M NUFF Artistic Director


LISTINGS & EVENTS

May in

GISELLE

The Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre. Opening night (to May 8). Fleck Dance Theatre.

I HEART MY LGBTQ FAMILY

KINGS OF PASTRY

Greeting cards by Willow Dawson and others. Launch at the Gladstone Hotel.

Screening at Hot Docs. Bloor Cinema.

SHUDDER

Dance theatre from Susanna Hood. Last performance at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

WANGECHI MUTU

Last day at Art Gallery of Ontario.

Courtesy of the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. Promised gift of George Hartman and Arlene Goldman, Toronto. Photograph Bill Orcutt

LEA DELARIA

We’re Funny That Way opening gala. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

Galleries & Museums ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO This You Call Civilization?, fantastical collages by Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu. Till May 23. Sculpture as Time, new acquisitions by Joseph Beuys, Rebecca Horn, Jonathan Monk, Rachel Harrison and Micah Lexier.

palm trees by Anselm Kiefer. Till Aug 1. $18; free Wed evenings. 317 Dundas St W. (416) 979-6648. Ago.net. RYAN TRECARTIN Any Ever continues until Tue, May 24 at the Power Plant. See review page 31. CONTACT PHOTOGRAPHY FESTIVAL

Humongous. Here’s highlights (most shows continue till May 31). The Mechanical Bride is a doozey; turns advertising strategies on their heads. Featuring Dana Claxton, Kota Ezawa, David LaChapelle,

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Ryan McGinley, Josephine Meckseper, Britta Thie and others. Till Mon, June 6. Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art. 952 Queen St W. The Brothel without Walls is sort of an unreality TV program featuring Susan Anderson, Evan Baden, Douglas Coupland, Marina Gadonneix, Clunie Reid and more. University of Toronto Art Centre.15 King’s College Circle. Check out the new Angell Gallery showing Familia Lavanderia/ Family Laundry. US photographer Tim Roda creates surreal tableaux staged by family members. It’s impossible to connect the image depicted with the experience of making it. His young son especially seems dumbfounded by what he’s asked to portray. With Jakub Dolejš and Andrée Gagné. Till May 29. 12 Ossington Ave. Local artist Idios celebrates gender confusion in Bird’s Minute. Opening. 7pm-10pm. May 1. Come As You

Are. 701 Queen St W. contactphoto.com. DANIEL BARROW . Emotional Feelings. The Montreal-based artist takes his macabre hand-manipulated drawings and video animation into new territory with four projection installations. Till Mon, June 6. Art Gallery of York University. Accolade East Building. York University. 4700 Keele St. (416) 736-5169. yorku.ca/agyu. HO TAM Cartes de Visite, a photographic double take on tourism and travel. Showing with Sadko Hadzihasanovic and Suzy Lake. Opening. 7pm-10pm. Fri, May 7. Continuing until June 5. Paul Petro Contemporary Art. 980 Queen St W. (416) 979-3390. paulpetro.com. ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM Stitching Community: African Canadian Quilts from Southern Ontario. Quilts made from 1848 to 1976. Till Sep 6. House Calls with My Camera. Toronto physician Mark Nowac-


LISTINGS & EVENTS

the City HO TAM

Ongoing DOUGLAS COUPLAND

At U of T all month. Part of Contact photo fest.

TIM FISH

Cartes de Visite opens. Paul Petro Contemporary Art.

Toronto Comics Arts Festival. Toronto Reference Library.

Courtesy of the artist and Clark & Faria, Toronto

DISH

By Maya Gallus. Screening at Hot Docs.

THE JERSEY BOYS

Through June 30. Toronto Centre for the Arts.

Joan Marcus

MOLLY JOHNSON

Climax, the Toronto PWA gala. Royal Theatre.

DOORS OPEN TORONTO

Regis College. One of 150 building tours. ART OF THE BARREL

OCAD and Casey House fundraiser. Toronto Reference Library.

zyski’s photo portrait of four house-bound seniors. Tue, May 17-Oct 11. $22 general admission (half price Fri evening). 100 Queen’s Park. (416) 586-8000. rom.on.ca

Books & Readings TORONTO COMICS ARTS FESTIVAL

Daniel Clowes (he’ll present his latest May 7), Charles Vess, Chester Brown, Ho Che Anderson, Seth, J Torres, Michael Cho, Michael Comea, Jim Woodring, Dash Shaw, Joey Comeau, Willow Dawson, Erica Moen, Tim Fish, Steve MacIsaac, José Villarrubia, Maurice Vellekoop and countless more. Free. 9am-5pm. Sat, May 8. 11am-5pm. May 9. Toronto Reference Library. 789 Yonge St. (416) 533-9168. torontocomics.com/tcaf.

Design & Architecture ART OF THE BARREL Fourth-year Ontario College of Art and Design students compete to reinvent wine barrels into works of art, which are then auctioned

AIDS hospice and its emerging artists collection of Art With Heart. $75. 6pm cocktails; 7:30pm auction. Thu, May 27. Toronto Reference Library. 789Yonge St. Caseyhouse.com. DOORS OPEN TORONTO Tour up to 150 buildings for free. No tickets required (but beware lineups later in the day at certain sites). Guided walks, architect tours and other programs available. Sat, May 29 & 30. Toronto.ca/doorsopen.

MARIA STUARDA

Closes at the Canadian Opera Company (from May 1). Four Seasons Centre.

Film & Video HOT DOCS Continues until Sun, May 9.

Hungry for reality? In addition to two excellent food features, Cooking Up Dreams and Kings of Pastry, there’s local darling Maya Gallus’s Dish: Women, Waitressing and the Art of Service, about women who work in restaurants from Toronto to in a searing indictment of sexism (1:30pm, May 8, Royal, 608 College St; 6:30pm, May 9, Bloor Cinema, 506 Bloor St W). On the fest’s prosaic side, there’s Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (6:30pm, May 2, Bloor; 4pm, May 3, Isabel Bader, 93 Charles St W). On the profound side, there’s Mark, Mike Hoolboom’s homage to his punk, activist friend and trans-lover who killed

intorontomag.com

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May 20 to 30. See page 28.

Theatre & Dance A JEW GROWS IN BROOKLYN

Jake Ehrenreich’s musical memoir about being the son of Holocaust survivors was a smash hit on Broadway. Mirvish presents Ehrenreich in the production’s Canadian debut. $25-$60. 2pm.Wed, Sat & Sun. 7:30pm. Wed & Thu. 8pm. Fri & Sat. Till Mon, May 16.Panasonic Theatre. 651 Yonge St. (416) 872-1212. mirvish.com. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS NEXT

Daniel MacIvor at Canstage. See review page 30. WINGÉD David Tomlinson’s three one-man plays about winged males, exploring father/son relationships and how they impact on a son’s romantic entanglements. Sunstroke: Icarus Speaks, Red Eye Open: The Lucifer Illuminations and Rise: The Song of the Phoenix. Directed by Diana Kolpak. $18-$20. 8pm. Thu-Sat. PWYC. Sun, May 2. Till Sat, May 8. DeLeon White Gallery. 1139 College St. (416) 669-9285. whetstoneproductions.com. SHUDDER The artist and his muse; a family in decay. An unsettling, impressionistic evocation of paintings by gay British artist Francis Bacon, conceived, choreographed and performed by the amazing Susanna Hood, with Alanna Kraaijeveld and Dan Wild. Music by Nilan Perera. The Hum and Théâtre la Chappelle coproduction is directed by Ruth Madoc-Jones. $20-$29. 8pm. TueSat. PWYC. 2:30pm. Sun. Till Sun, May 9. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. 12 Alexander St. 975-8555. Artsexy.ca. FRAGMENTS DE MENSONGES INUTILES Théâtre Français de Toronto presents the local premiere of the latest work (Fragments of Unnecessary Lies) by Canadian theatre legend Michel Tremblay. Parallel worlds collide when two 15-year-old boys, one living in 1957, the other in 2007, fall in love with each other. Starring Marie Hélène Fontaine, Christian Laurin, Olivier L’écuyer, Gisèle Rousseau, Michel Séguin and Jean Simon Traversy. Diana Leblanc directs. $32-$56; PWYC Wed. 8pm. Wed-Sat. 2:30pm Sat & Sun. Till Sat, May 15. Performances with English surtitles: May 8, 12 and 14 at 8pm;

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SP in

himself (9:45pm, May 1, Bloor Cinema; 9:30pm, May 9. Isabel Bader). Wrap it all up with the divine music and curmudgeonly attitude of gay singer/songwriter Stephen Merritt (The Magnetic Fields) in Kerthy Fix and Gail O’Hara’s feature doc Strange Powers (6:30pm, May 6; midnight, May 7, Bloor). Most screenings $12; free daytime screenings for senior and students; $98 festival pass. (416) 637-5150. hotdocs.ca. INSIDE OUT The gay and lesbian

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LISTINGS & EVENTS

Hardware Interiors

by Serafin LaRiviere

I

f you locked Mies van der Rohe in an antique shop for a month, Hardware Interiors, the eclectic home décor store near Queen and Broadview, is probably what you’d end up with. Ancient baking stands morph into sleek armoires, file cabinets become dressers, and rusted steel twists into fantastical tables and light fixtures — a beautiful blend that conveys the heft and familiarity of antiques with a clean modernity that feels timeless yet cutting-edge. Everything at Hardware comes from the minds and hands of Murray Duncan and Jordan Tabachnik, creating a space that feels far together, and began experimenting with a home accessories line that for inspiration and materials, salvaging vintage pieces for their growing line of re-purposed furniture, lighting and art. “We always ask ourselves if it’s something we’d bring home into our own home,” says Tabachnik. “We don’t stick to trends and only have Many of the pieces that look decades-old are actually made from new materials treated and weathered by Tabachnik and Duncan, creating replicable lines that fit right in with their custom creations. It’s an approach that keeps the guys from the boredom that led both to abandon their previous careers: Tabachnik’s in graphic design and Duncan’s in jewellery design.

took both by surprise, as did the leap to retail in 2001. “We had no plan at all,” laughs Tabachnik. “With wholesale you make samples, go to shows, sell the idea and then make them over and over again. What appealed to us about the store was being able to do really spectacular one-of-a-kind pieces and be creative again.” ers began to covet the store’s distinctive aesthetic. “It all just kind of snowballed.” says Duncan. “I think that Jordan and I have our own vision, and we’re really lucky to have tapped into something that people responded to.”

moonlighting as a props builder for an interior designer and asked

May 15 at 3:30pm. Berkeley Street Theatre Upstairs. 26 Berkeley St. (416) 534-6604. theatrefrancais.com. MAMMA MIA! It’s frightening how infectious Abba’s music is when married to a story, no matter how implausible. $26-$120. Continuing until June 6. Princess of Wales Theatre. 300 King St W. (416) 872-1212. mirvish.com. JERSEY BOYS Directed by Des man and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio, lyrics by Bob Crewe and choreography by Sergio Trujillo. StarDaniel Robert Sullivan and Quinn VanAntwerp. $25-$110. 8pm. TueSat. 2pm. Sat & Sun. Performances through June 30. Toronto Centre for the Arts. 5040 Yonge St. (416) 6443665. jerseyboystoronto.com. CANADIAN OPERA COMPANY A love triangle with a tragic queen. Donizetti’s sumptuous Maria Stuarda in a production new to the COC. With Serena Farnocchia as Maria, Alexandrina Pendatchanska as Elisabetta and Eric Cutler as Roberto. Antony Walker conducts; Stephen Lawless directs. Sat, May 1-30. Mozart’s Idomeneo with Paul Groves in the title role. Harryk Bicket conducts; François de Carpentries directs. May 9-29. Also, an eye-popping Flying Dutchman by Wagner with Evgeny Nikitin and Julie Makerov continues till May 20. Four Seasons Centre. 145 Queen St W. (416) 363-8231. coc.ca GISELLE Ireland’s Fabulous Beast

Dance Theatre presents a disturbing re-imagining of the classic ballet. Avant-garde theatre with line dancing? Plus a bisexual lothario. Written and choreographed by Michael Keegan-Dolan. Part of World Stage. $40. 8pm. Tue, May 4-8. Fleck Dance Theatre. 207 Queens Quay W, third centre.com/worldstage. The Potluck Festival and Asian-Canadian Theatre Conference. Mon, May 3-9. Evening performances include RH Thomson’s How To Become Chinese by David Yee (May 4) and Prison Dancer by Romeo Candido, where a transvestite inmate brings dance to his prison (May 7). $40 pass. Factory Studio Theatre. 125 Bathurst St. (416) 504-9971. fu-gen.org. FRANKENSTEIN Canstage presents the phantasmagorical musical hit from Edmonton’s Catalyst Theatre. Written, composed and directed by Jonathan Christenson and starring the original cast: Nick Green, Andrew Kushnir, Tim Machin, Sarah Machin Gale, Nancy McAlear; Dov Mickelson, Tracy Penner and George Szilagyi. $20-$92. PWYC Mon. 8pm MonSat. 1:30pm Wed. 2pm Sat. Thu, May 6-29. Bluma Appell Theatre. 27 Front St E.. (416) 368-3110. FEATURING LORETTA By George Walker. Poor Loretta. Her husband was eaten by a bear and now everyone wants a piece of her. “It’s a fastpaced 75-minute comedy about des-

perate people attaching themselves to the more attractive,” says director Ken Gass. Starring Monica Dottor, Kevin Hanchard, Brandon McGibbon and Lesley Faulkner as Loretta. Sets by Marian Wihak, costumes by David Boechler and video/sound by Jeremy Mimnagh. $15-$35. 8pm. Tue-Sat. 2pm. Sun. Thu, May 6-June 27. 7pm & 9:30pm. Sat, beginning May 29. Factory Theatre Mainspace. The Factory’s 40th anniversary gala fundraiser is May 10. $125 VIP champagne reception starts at 6:30pm; $75 party only at 9pm. 125 Bathurst St. (416) 504-9971. factorytheatre.ca. DEATH & THE MAIDEN Osculum Productions presents Ariel Dorfman’s 1991 examination of violence and authoritarianism. Starring Yanet Candelario in her Canadian theatrical debut, Trevor Duplessis and Juan Carlos Velis. Directed by Kurt Spenrath. $40-$50. 8pm. Fri, May 7, 10-15, 17-22. 2pm. May 9 & 15. PWYC. 8pm. May 10 &17. Jane Mallett Theatre. 27 Front St W. (416) 366-7723. stlc.com. WE’RE FUNNY THAT WAY COMEDY FESTIVAL Maggie Cassella’s comedy

fest opens with its gala show, Match Game, featuring pop-up performances by all festival comics — Lea DeLaria, Ian Harvie, Jackie Monahan and Kristen Becker, Jessica Kirson, Kendall Bears, Shelly Mars, Scott Thompson and Cassella, of course — plus a raucous version of the TV game show with special guest celebs. A fundraiser for the national We’re

Funny That Way Foundation. This year’s recipient will be LGBT Fraser Valley Youth Society (fraseryouth. com) in Abbottsford, BC. $250. 6:30pm doors; 7pm show. Wed, May 12. The rest of the fest runs till May 15. PWYC. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. 12 Alexander St. (416) 9758885. Go to werefunnythatway.com for full schedule. DANCEMAKERS Sneak preview of a new work by artistic director Michael Trent and KG Guttman. Afterparty features sale of a limited edition print by Micah Lexier. $100. 8pm. Wed, May 19. Enwave Theatre. 207 Queens Quay W. (416) 367-1800. dancemakers.org. NEST REDUX Toronto Dance Theatre artistic director Christopher House re2000 piece Nest. Performed by Alana Elmer, Syreeta Hector, David Houle, Yuichiro Inoue, Pulga Muchochoma, Kaitlin Standeven, Brodie Stevenson, Naishi Wang, Sarah Wasik and Linnea Wong, with House reprising his original role. Music by Phil Strong, original sets by James Robertson. $26. 8pm. Fri, May 21-22 & 26-29. PWYC. 2pm. May 23. Winchester Street Theatre. 80 Winchester St. (416) 967-1365. Tdt.org.

Classical & Jazz ITZHAK PERLMAN A program

of Mendelssohn. Peter Oundjian conducts the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. $49-$190. 8pm. Sat, May 22. Roy Thomson Hall. 60 Simcoe St. (416) 593-4828. tso.ca.


Jo Dickins

Customers order cafeteria-style from a seasonally rotating menu of food made on the premises, like the renowned local organic fries with cider mayonnaise ($6) or the steel-cut oat porridge with raisins tle through the line while perusing the foodie fantasy of a vitrine stocked with an inviting selection of Canadian cheeses, patés (apricot and almond terrine) and prepared meals like potato and cheese gratin ($6).

MOLLY JOHNSON AND TRACEY GALLANT Climax,

jazz concert and afterparty to raise money for Toronto People with AIDS. VIP cocktail reception with silent auction. $50; $100 VIP. 6pm reception; 7pm start. Thu, May 27. Royal Theatre. 608 College St. (41) 506-1400 ext 239. pwatoronto.org.

Nightlife IN TORONTO MAGAZINE LAUNCH A fundraiser for Dare

to Wear Love, Hoax Couture's foundation tackling AIDS in Africa. $10 donation. 10pm Thu, May 13. Cheval. 606 King St W. intorontomag.com

Community JANE’S WALK The celebra-

tion of writer Jane Jacobs’s

$9), the potato leek soup ($6) and the down-home JK cheese burger with dill pickle ($10) wow with a still working out the kinks in the new grilled cheese with reduced tomato sandwich.) ent impossible choices. My advice: Pass on the walnut brownie for the smores bar with its scrumptious pastry chef sports a shock of pink hair and promises me she’s trying to find a way to make vanilla cupcakes that stay moist. Don’t leave without ordering the divine preserves tart ($4.50). At the filled-to-overflowing evening bistro, Kennedy seems to be coming back strong from middling reviews at the late February opening. Leave room for the warm chocolate cake, which delivers melting, gooey deliciousness inside perfectly-baked chocolate cake with a light cinnamon custard sauce and sinfully rumsoaked cherries ($9). It’s the balm.

Shop our beautiful showroom now to find the perfect light for any room in your house, condo or cottage.

(North of Lawrence) 1549 Avenue Rd. 416. 78 2.1 129 | www.royallighting.com T

food make the café feel homey, perhaps the first JK restaurant to boast an ambience that matches his locavore philosophy.

Most of the dishes hit home runs.

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elebrated chef and sustainable food advocate Jamie Kennedy can be found bussing tables on busy weekends at his Gilead Café and Bistro, a hidden gem located off King St E where Gilead Place and Corktown Lane meet. Light pours through a bank of windows as diners check out the farmer’s rainbow of preserves lining the walls.

by Pam Shime

SP

Gilead Café & Bistro

ou will run out of places Ybefore we run out of SELECTION

Saturday, 8am to 5:30pm. À la carte lunch is from 11am to 2:30pm. Saturday evenings; there’s an à la carte brunch on Sunday.

ideas and activism has spread to 60 cities worldwide. In Toronto there’s now 100-plus walking tours. Yonge Street is Flaming, bar culture meets gay and lesbian politics, led by Jane’s Walk director Jane Farrow, with Pat Durish and Alan Miller (9:30am, May 1). The Queer Newcomer tour (3pm, May 2). Toronto Centre Rosedale municipal candidate Kristyn Wong-Tam’s walk through the Church Wellesley Village (1pm, May 2). Ontario transport minister Kathleen Wynne tours her Flemingdon riding with Mohamed Dhanani and Ali Baig (9am, May 1). Free. Sat, May 1 & 2. Janeswalk.net. I HEART MY LGBTQ FAMILY

The LGBTQ Parenting Network launches a series of free greeting cards celebrating

families of all persuasions, created by local illustrators Aries Cheung, Willow Dawson, Suzy Malik, Vajdon Sohali and Maurice Vellekoop. Available from Sat, May 1 to Jul 4. Launch, with music, readings and crafts: 2pm-4pm. May 1. Gladstone Hotel. 1214 Queen St W. To view or order cards: lgbtqparentingconnection.ca.

Sports CANADIAN GAY Open Tennis

tourney. Sat, May 1-3. Ontario Racquet Club. 884 Southdown Rd. Mississauga. 1 (905) 822-5240. Cgopen.ca.

GET IN ON IT Get your event listed in our calendar. Submit info to editorial@ intorontomag.com

in

in

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LISTINGS & EVENTS

BarChef

by Anna Von Frances

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link, and you might miss it. Just past Niagara on the north side of Queen St W lies BarChef, its stainless-steel doors and simple one-word sign easily missed among the brightly coloured shops and restaurants along the strip. Inside, you can’t miss the bar; it’s the focus.

(but there is also table seating along the opposing wall). Owner Frankie Solarik can be found behind the bar most nights. many competitions and is a pioneer of the molecular mixology movement that has caught on at high-end foodie havens in the US and Europe. All the bartenders are extremely knowledgeable about the cocktail menu and ingredients. And they are happy to mix up something special off-menu based on your tastes.

ends, they get more of an upbeat vibe with DJs and a full house. Beware: With cocktails running from $10 to $20 each, it can get pricey fast. drinks like vodka sodas, it’s worth the wait for one of their fancier cockcoconut milk, lime and muddled mint is so delicious, you may never be able to stomach it anywhere else again.

date for a fancy drink. It’s low key, intimate and impressive. On week-

intorontomag.com

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Singing of Hope first step to help — Hoax Couture’s African odyssey by Chris Tyrell

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ow was it that my partner of 25 years, Jim Searle, the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s director of programs Aissatou Diajhate and I find ourselves being chauffeured through downtown Lusaka in the teeming Zambian rain this past February? It was simply a case of, “Be careful what you wish for.” Life had reached a point where I looked up one day and sighed to myself, “Another gorgeous frock finished. But what does it all mean?” Or in the words of Karl Lagerfeld, “Life is not a beauty contest.” And so, at a gala event later that day, I casually mentioned to the woman seated next to me that, in order to bring more meaningfulness to our lives, Jim and I were considering hopping on a plane to Africa somewhere to help build

with a raised eyebrow (I didn’t know eyebrows could raise quite that far). “I am not sure that that would be the best way to go about things,” the woman said. She said that she ran a small foundation that helped people in Africa and that Africans wouldn’t know what to do with someone who just arrived on their doorstep. Another dream shattered. “Maybe you’d like to come in and see what we do.” It was only when we arrived at the Stephen Lewis Foundation office that it dawned on me that the woman, Ilana Landsberg-Lewis, was the daughter of the man himself: Stephen Lewis, former United Nations special envoy on HIV/AIDS in Africa, former Canadian ambassador to the United Nations, deputy director of UNICEF and holder of more than 30 honorary degrees. Wearing her trademark look of grassroots vixen (think dation was founded to get funds directly into the hands of grassroots community-based projects working to turn over 300 projects in 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, in many of the countries hardest hit by the AIDS pandemic.” We’re talking about millions of people: children orphaned by AIDS and forced to live on their own (in what’s blandly called “child-headed households”), women infected by their husbands and then tossed from their house for being “unfaithful,” and the grandmothers who bury their adult children and then step in to raise the multiple orphaned grandchildren left in their care. Currently 22 million are living with HIV in sub-Saharan

Africa, down from 28 million a couple of years ago... and not because anyone got better. grandmothers struck a poignant note with me, as I was orphaned at 10 years old and raised by my awesome grandmother. Jim and I decide to do something. Phone calls to some two dozen fashion designers, a meeting with LG Fashion Week, some feverish calling in of favours, and we created an event where 25 fashion designers were given six yards of African cloth and told to create something fabulous. On Oct 23 last year, the closing night of LG Fashion Week, the Dare to Wear Love event was born, raising $40,000; we’ve got bigger plans this year. Afterward, we decided that we really should go to Africa to see first hand what the foundation does. Armed with our Aeroplan miles and accompanied by Aissatou, we decided to visit about 10 projects in three countries, to get a broad understanding of the nature of what we were supporting, and to bring back fabric for the next Dare to Wear Love.

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Back to Zambia

umping up the red earth road through lush green countryside, the executive director of Kara Counselling and Training Trust in Zambia, Judith Kumwenda (in her best suit-and-scarf combo — she was meeting fashion designers after all) fills us in. One of many programs run by Kara, Umoyo is located on the western outskirts of the capital, Lusaka. Umoyo is a year-long residential school for orphaned and vulnerable girls 14- to 18-years-old. Most are orphaned because of AIDS, many are HIV positive. “Training for income generation, literacy and numeracy is provided,” says Judith, “along with HIV/AIDS awareness and psycho-social training that is critical in assisting the girls to cope with their often difficult circumstances. All the girls are actively involved in the dayto-day operation of the centre.” We arrive at Umoyo and because it’s raining the staff has thoughtfully secured us gumboots. We are given a tour of the impressive facilities, the classrooms, kitchens, sewing and knitting classes (!), vegetable gardens, and the dormitories where the girls live. We are totally blown over when the carpentry teacher proudly tells us that all the furniture in the dorms was made by students, even the dormitories themselves. Finally we meet this year’s girls as they break for lunch.

The girls of Umoyo, a residential training facility outside Lusaka, Zambia. Many spoke on camera about their terrifying lives: hunger, illness, death of one or both parents and rape. At Umoyo, which is supported by the Stephen Lewis Foundation, the girls learn practical skills, like knitting. But the camaraderie is palpable; these are just girls, after all, wanting to sing and dance.

CARE & LOVE


L I V I N G & H E A LT H

very excited that we’ve come all the way from Canada just to see them. Jim breaks the ice by showing where Canada is located on the inflatable globe he had the foresight to bring, as well as a Canadian souvenir picture Mounties, grizzly bears and ballerinas. Within minutes, it is a regular party with the girls singing songs (in every country we visited, singing is a huge part of people’s lives), showing us traditional as well as popular dance moves, and teaching us various words in word for booty has us laughing and soon we are all in on a to embarass our nation, making the girls howl with laughter. With her ebony skin, 1,000-watt smile, crazy hair and twinkling eyes, Aissatou saves the day; she is a grand master. Taking on the best of the girls, she wiggles her “mataku” (new Zambian word!) all the way to the floor, back up and

to their studies. Picture taking, hugging, laughter and of

enthusiastically agree. We soon regret our decision as it is a litany of numbing horror: hunger, illness, death, loss of one or both parents or entire families. Many are victims of rape. Young girls are hugely at risk for sexual assault — often seen as “safe” in that they are less likely to be HIV positive. It’s hard to believe that some months ago these girls

coming to visit. One girl speaks for everyone when she says, “It really makes us think that people care and love us even if we are living with HIV/AIDS quite far away.” As the car lopes back down the road, I look back and the can Jim and I despair? We must hope, too.

now show a great deal of camaraderie; it’s obvious that they draw strength and comfort from their shared experience. As Stephen Lewis tells us later, “It’s a testament to the tremendous work done by the staff that the girls seem trusting, confident and outgoing.” A year at the school gives the girls skills they can turn into paying jobs, and also teaches skills like budgeting, nutrition (important in a country where as many as one in seven adults may be HIV positive), farming and entrepreneurship, so that they have a fighting chance in the world. After graduation the centre also helps girls secure further training and employment in their choentrenched in Zambian law, but often traditional practices are insanely misogynistic. For example, women and children are routinely kicked out of their family house and stripped of all belongings when a husband dies.

southern Africa and visiting many more inspirational projects, the strength of the human spirit and the strength of community in dealing with these huge challenges is what impresses us most. And that we should sing more in our lives. unbelievable challenges but its impact on people’s lives is enormous. Now, for us, the real work begins. ■ CHRIS TYRELL AND JIM SEARLE have designed under the label Hoax Couture for the past 25 years • For more info, diary entries and video from their experience in Africa go to daretowearlove.com. That’s Traci Melchor (right) at last year’s event in Hoax

magazine’s Thu, May 13 launch at Cheval (606 King St W) is a fundraiser for Dare to Wear Love

IN TORONTO

George Pimentel

Jim and I vow we’re going back to the hotel tonight to practice our booty shake. And learn a song. ing off their sewing projects. Lunch is mealie meal (think polenta) but they are making it for 53, in one pot. Some of the girls beckon us over to stir. It is impossible unless

More laughter.


L I V I N G & H E A LT H

Neighbourhood In Focus Liberty Village by Richard Silver

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ne of the coolest areas for urban exploration these days is Liberty Village (southeast of King and Dufferin). Its host of Victorian factories used to turn out everything from toys and billiard tables to bowling but steady development is getting ready to burst at the seams with new residential projects, restaurants and shops.

Townhouses, lofts and apartments abound, but the community would not make it without the great watering holes

Liberty Village Market (65 Jefferson Ave) to name but two. Check out the Liberty Village BIA site at lvbia.com. Not only a great place to live but should be a great investment. POINTS TO CONSIDER tude here. You might feel pressured to be “cool.” And the neighbourhood is very, very urban; not that many parks and areas to just chill. RIGHT FIT Young techno-savvy arts types who want to live close to where they work and play. ■ is a salesperson with Bosley Real Estate and blogs at torontoism.com

RICHARD SILVER

Build Your Dream Home Today elegance

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Tel. 416.258.6642

RelationshipAdvice

WITH ADAM SEGAL

My partner and I have been in a monogamous long-term relationship to wane both in frequency and passion. We’re still hot for each other but our lives have become much busier. A friend recommended that we schedule sex into our week, but I’m concerned this will just make things forced… and worse. What should we do?” Eric BA

W

hile lots of long-term couples claim they still do it like they do on the Discovery Channel, most of us can only dream of ity of a new relationship is nearly impossible to sustain once years have passed and habits set in. Here are five steps to try and revive your sex life and perhaps even benefit from all those years together.

can really seem like a cliché but I believe that couples mostly struggle when feelings and thoughts aren’t being shared freely. Do you keep it to yourself that you hate it when your guy twists your nipples? Do you cover your tummy with a sheet when he goes down on you because you’re embarrassed about the hibernation pounds you packed on over the winter? Often verbalizing these huge elephants in the room does wonders to calm fears and get us out of our heads and back in our bodies. Sometimes when sex has become an “issue” for a couple, even thinking about sex can become stressful and laden with heavy feelings (like anger, resentment, fear, self-consciousness). Remember when things felt so hot a sense of playfulness that often accompanies a new relationship. See if you can experiment with simply being more physically affectionate and playful with each other on a regular basis, making the transition to actual sex less drastic. Tell him you want to cuddle with some soft Barry White, or ask him for a massage. Or get out for a run together. Adrenaline gets people hornier than any drug. In eastern philosophy there is a concept called “Beginner’s Mind” which emphasizes the benefit of maintaining curiosity in all aspects of our life — shedding preconceptions and staying

can really help us in our sexual life with our partners. Assuming that the sex will be boring “like the last time” will likely set you up to sustain a pattern rather than create new possibilities. Approach your partner with a sense of curiosity not about a blindfold (for the 1,000th time), don’t say no. See if you can navigate this scenario as though you’ve never tried it before — it might actually feel like it. may seem silly after being together for so long but getting to know your partner is an ongoing process, not a time-limited event. Working to keep your romantic life alive through dates and getaways together allows you to connect with those aspects of one another that you were initially so drawn to. Enhancing connection in any way really works well for strongly connecting in the bedroom. Send your lover boy a text message that you want him to clean out the tub so you can take a bath together after work. Or make a reservation at a hotel for a night on the weekend so you can focus on each other instead of laundry and dust bunnies. For one night you’ll live like royalty without blowing the bank. Lastly, I will echo your friend’s suggestion because I’ve seen it work. Sometimes we can relax simply in knowing that time has been set aside for sex – taking off any pressure to initiate sex at a time when we or our partner may be said for respecting your relationship’s sexual health enough to plan for it — you’ll both feel good about setting the intention. ■ PSYCHOTHERAPIST ADAM SEGAL

works

Ask him your relationship or mental health question at relationship@intorontomag.com

intorontomag.com

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L I V I N G & H E A LT H

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t’s all too easy to lose your workout momentum following that first burst of spring training. How do you keep it going into the summer? When it comes to the gym, the most important thing is to keep going. On days when I don’t feel like working out I still make myself go, knowing that I can always just swim or talk to boys or sit in the steam room. More often than not, once I’m there I simply do a full workout routine out of habit. Getting your ass there is half the battle.

forward to it instead of as a chore you enjoy time spent on yourself. Don’t rush to get through your routine. Take your time. Your body is a vessel through which you experience the world. It’s worth investing in it every single day. energy you put into the gym is to hire a good trainer to develop your workout. Many trainers are happy to work with small groups too, which is a great way to save money and make it fun.

Leslie Whitlock

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Fun workouts Not everything good for you has to be a pain by Josh Levy

“Make it social,” recommends fitcompetitive.” Take classes that will pull you out of your comfort zone. Experiment with something different and aggressive like spin, mixed martial arts or kettlebell. I always perform one brand-new exercise every time I visit the gym. Eye candy can be very motivating. Develop a gym-crush on that cute girl or guy in the purple shorts. Hoping you bump into them will give you another reason to head to the gym. But don’t spend all your time indoors. Alternate gym days with “outdoor adventure” days. Walk everywhere you are able: You will burn a million calories without even trying, and you will have a richer city experience. Get a bunch of fun people

together and go for a daylong hike. Go to Kensington Market and buy exotic (and healthy) fruits, vegetables, meats and fish to grill. Create incentives. Celebrity trainer Derek Noble says he encourages some of his clients to hire a professional photographer and schedule a date to take some sexy photos. Most gay guys have lousy amateur pics of themselves posted on various hookup websites. Why not get some photos done professionally that make you look your best at your best? Handsome Toronto actor Ian Batt has a great way to maintain his fitness regime. “I always have an ‘event’ within four to six weeks where I know I’ll have to look good shirtless. For example a big party, a beach holiday, my birthday or an ex’s wedding! Never be event-less.”

Trainer Derek Noble suggests booking a photographer.

CREATE INCENTIVES.

Of course, the biggest event of all is right around the corner: Pride. Perhaps the best way to stay enthusiastic about fitness is to join a comsports organizations in Toronto, from the Cabbagetown Softball League to the Muddy York Rugby Club, and they are always eager for new recruits. You don’t need skills, just lots of enthusiasm. ■

 

Lose 10 lbs in 10 minutes?

Buying the right shirt can make you look thinner Photos by David Hawe

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“As with any piece of clothing, fit is the number one factor in making a man look great,” says Shannon Stewart, merchandise manager (sportswear) at Harry Rosen on Bloor St. “A well-proportioned shirt will have the correct length to tuck enough into a trouser without it ‘ballooning’ out, a collar that sits well at the neckline and flatters a man’s face, and a width in the body that traces the man’s torso, but still has enough room to provide comfort and allow for movement.” ■ Ermenegildo Zegna shirt from Harry Rosen

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ART & DESIGN

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Festive screenings Inside Out, at 20, faces new challenges by Gordon Bowness

TRANSCENDING NICHE.

closing gala on Sun, May 30. Distributors increasingly see that match-up as an important step for mainstream success.

I

nside Out, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, is an amazing success story. It’s Toronto’s biggest gay and lesbian cultural event outside of Pride. Ticket sales have increased every year since its inception in March 1991 at the But can the festival survive? “Representations of gays and lesbians in the popular media have for many years been infrequent and marginalized,” stated the Inside Out Collective in the 1991 program torically inadequate distribution and exhibition opportunities for these works which best reflect our communities.” Toronto is a film festival town and every festival worth its salt, from Images and Hot Docs to Alucine and ImagineNative, has excellent gay and lesbian programming. Same for the granddaddy Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which is littered with gay and lesbian programmers and staffers, many of whom are alumni from Inside Out. If it’s a good gay and lesbian film, especially a feature, TIFF has probably grabbed it. And that’s just festivals. Reality TV, DVDs, digital video and the internet are radically reshaping the production and distribution of gay and lesbian “representations.” Inside Out can no longer claim the mantle of being the only place to see works by and about gay men, lesbians and trans folk. Scott Ferguson, the festival’s executive director for the past 10 years and Jason St-Laurent, director of programming for four years, know all too well the pressures facing Inside Out, whether it’s increased competition for films from other festivals or the shifting demands of disdent in their abilities to meet those pressures.

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may 2010

can,” says Ferguson, “that is create a community for our enables us to fill a house even if Hot Docs, the Jewish Film Fest or Images has screened it earlier in the spring.” “TIFF is competition for us,” says St-Laurent. “But it’s an opportunity, too,” Ferguson interjects. buzz in other festivals,” says St-Laurent. “Navigating TIFF is difficult; you have to really know what you are doing. We offer another opportunity to see those films.” Often Inside Out has struggled to find strong, mainrassments like TV’s Dante’s Cove and the dreadful US

genre flick Eating Out 2 in 2007. “I call them bubble films, where everybody is gay and lives in a queer world that exists on its own,” says St-Laurent, adding, perhaps a bit too tactfully, “I find those films less interesting. “Still, it’s important to find those gateway films that draw new audiences in.” For all the failings of US genre films, St-Laurent notes that, “When they nail it, it’s very exhilarating.” Where Inside Out consistently shines is as a showcase for great local shorts (the Hogtown Homos program is always sold-out; 7:15pm, May 26, Isabel Bader), and giving strong international works much needed exposure. “We came back from Berlin with 10 to 15 North American premieres,” says St-Laurent. Changes in the industry are forcing distributors to look again at smaller, niche festivals like Inside Out. “Over the last five years there’s been a pronounced erosion in box office for arthouse releases,” says Shane Smith, direcmillions of platforms out there. Festivals are more and more being seen as important tastemakers, able to steer the right people to the right film. “It’s not enough to say your film appeals to everyone. You have to hit your target audience first before a film can go big. “Speaking as someone who has run a couple of them, in order to secure good films, smaller festivals have to represent themselves in a way that’s beneficial to a film, they have to make the case to distributors. I know Inside Out does that,” says Smith who, in addition to being Inside Out’s program director in 1999 and 2000, also ran the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival and programmed shorts at Sundance for four years. “Inside Out has had a number of successes launching films in the last 10 years. Other festivals and filmmakers look to see what Inside Out is doing.” INSIDE OUT $12 to our benefit,” says St-Laurent. “Festivals have become an important part of the puzzle again.” ■

regular tix; $25 gala • Thu, May 20-30 • (416) 967-1528 • insideout.ca

Local to Global In marking Inside Out’s 20th anniversary, Scott Ferguson and Jason St-Laurent are initiating big changes designed to augment the festival’s community feel while increasing its international prestige. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre will become a new hub for a pay-whatyou-can retrospective series called Flashback that includes cabarets and “It’ll be more social, with food and drink, and a lot of interdisciplinary performance,” says Ferguson. “We hope to break down the barriers between the audience and the work with the roundtables and smaller audiences.” Documentarians Rob Epstein and

Howl, centred on the obscenity trial of Allen Ginsberg, played by James Franco (8pm, May 20, Isabel Bader Theatre); the retrospective series will feature their 1995 documentary The Celluloid Closet (3pm, May 22). Other Haynes (Poison), John Greyson (Lilies) and Cheryl Dunye (The Watermelon Woman). Ferguson and St-Laurent have revamped the festival’s awards system, jettisoning the old division between shorts and features and replacing them with a Canadian jury and an international jury that will judge both shorts and features. They’re also launching a new international prize,

the Bill Sherwood Award. Named after the US director who died of AIDS at the age of 38 after only directing one feature, the celebrated 1986 drama Parting Glances, the award will go to the director with best debut feature at Inside Out. (The fest screens a 25th anniversary at 2:30pm on May 30 at the Bloor.) “The changes will increase the stature of the fest’s top prize,” says St-Laurent. “It will also help rope into the festival more international programmers. With more international possibly programming them at their festivals, that makes Inside Out that much more attractive to distributors.”


ART & DESIGN

Stylin’with Chris Tyrell Your crazy colourful fashions blossomed on city streets in April

BLACK SUN

Textile artist, party promoter and community booster extraordinaire Will Munro’s now-closed spring show at Paul Petro Contemporary Art (paulpetro.com) tied his obsession with ’70s gay leather and clone culture to his continuing struggle centerpiece, a four-poster sling adorned with hanging plants and crocheted blankets, was a bower in which to lay down your burdens. (Sholem Krishtalka) ■

THE LITTLE HITS OF GREEN take

BILLY NEWTON DAVIS working the

maharajah look by Ghetto Panda.

next level — It but it has incredible style.

RITA ZEKAS,

giving a fresh take on red white and blue.

TORONTO PHOTOGRAPHER ALINE SANDLER

on Bloor. Animé! Sequins! Together? Brilliant!

MATTHEW ON QUEEN ST W.

Can you tell he is a stylist? Matching spats and bowler hat plus a fox tail hanging his bag.

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ART & DESIGN

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D

aniel MacIvor’s latest monologue,

minimalist stagings showcase his writing and performing talents. Necessary Happens Next at Canstage is no exception as Richard Feren’s sound, Kimberley Purtell’s lighting and Daniel Brooks’ direction punctuate the stories with a barrage of sharp, subtle and frequently explosive effects that give MacIvor a remarkable, stark and infectious stage world. What sets this show apart from past work is MacIvor’s eagerness to further shatter the fourth wall and engage in a more obviously autobiographical form.

Why are happy endings so elusive? by David Bateman

Previous shows such as House, Monster, Here Lies Henry, and Cul de Sac, relied upon fictionalized personas channelled through MacIvor’s narrating body. Two years ago the artist made the decision to stop telling these stories onstage, to settle down and strive for the proverbial happy ending. tral theme in the current show. We are quickly taken through the very unhappy demise of the relationship between the artist and his now ex-husband, who has taken possession of their lovely home. Addiction manages to rear its heady head. engaging and poignant ploy at the beginning of the show, with MacIvor moving into the same strategies he has used so skillfully for the past two decades. Early into an 80-minute breakneck per-

formance he suggests that our bodies become our nightmare when they should Happens Next both liberates and terrifies us with its brutal honesty and relentless Guntar Kravis

classic MacIvor. He simultaneously captures and frees his audience through complex narratives that take us on a hilarious and harrowing journey through the lives of a series of connected characters, all brought together by the character of MacIvor himself. Over the past 20 years, MacIvor’s skillfully constructed scripts and dynamic production teams have brought audi-

Fairy-tale love

FRIGHTENINGLY HONEST AND COMICALLY

In his latest monologue, This Is What Happens Next, Daniel MacIvor eviscerates a relationship gone bad, gutting theatrical conventions in the process.

EXPLOSIVE

fabulous one-liners (one character takes a “flight on Percocet Airlines to Gin Lake”) displaying the kind of stand-up comic virtuosity that MacIvor has always excelled at. Contrastingly, his little boy character gives us the breadth and scope of storythe child’s “monster tale” brings sighs and applause from an enthralled audience. theatrical show marking the re-emergence of a much-loved and internationally acclaimed Canadian artist. In the context of a long career in the theatre MacIvor’s latest show may not be telling us anything new, but in a more immediate and selfreferential framework, this is a poignant, beautifully sentimental, frighteningly honest and comically explosive exploration of one man’s ongoing struggle to give THIS IS WHAT himself and his HAPPENS NEXT Continues till audience a very Sat, May 8 at the Berkeley Street happy ending. And if you don’t Theatre Downstairs like snow, you’ll canstage.com love this show. ■

DisplayCase

Two minutes for looking so good Hockey-inspired furniture and art, just in time for the playoffs

SHINNY LAMPS

Toronto designer Barr Gilmore’s Shinny lamps were made for the Canadian design showcase Radiant sions: Blue Line, with 10 handmade, solid ash hockey sticks, and Red Line, with an additional two goalie sticks. $2,800 and $3,000 at Made (867 Dundas St W); go to madedesign.ca.

SCHITCK

Stephen Lindsay recently moved his Urban Product design studio from Scotland to Toronto’s west end. His Schtick hangers, made to order with steel hardware that attaches to the ceiling, retail for $98. maple top, retails for $440. Soon available in stores across the city, for now go to urbanproduct.ca.

PUCK PAINTINGS

Media artist Liss Platt’s puck paintings are made by shooting colourful rubber pucks at a goal-size surface and are often incorporecently at Latcham Gallery in Stouffville and is now traveling to Brandon, Manitoba; go to humanities.mcmaster.ca/~plattl. Ranging from $1,200 to $3,200, Platt’s work is also available in Toronto at MKG127 Gallery (127 Ossington Ave); go to mkg127.com.

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ART & DESIGN

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Towering babel of marketing

A

Our adolescent-soaked media environment is ripe for the skewering by Sholem Krishtalka

merican artist Ryan Trecartin has gone from nowhere to epicentre almost instantaneously. After the art world’s discovery of his 2004 featurette, A Family Finds Entertainment (via social networking site Friendster, no less), his rise has been meteoric; and he’s not yet 30. His current show at the Power Plant, a sprawling seven-piece video epic called Any Ever, is his largest to date. It’s a high-water mark for the Power Plant; Trecartin is one of the youngest-ever artists to receive a solo show. Any Ever is tremendously difficult, with four hours of tightly structured, concep-

BLACK HOLE STAR MACHINE

Ryan

tually dense single-channel video; it’s also screeching, anarchic, explosive and dizzying. Characters circle around a constrained set of ideas, zipping in and out of identities and speaking a bizarre language that is a goulash of slang, song lyrics, valley girl-isms, and text-message speech, sped up or slowed down at will. Trecartin’s previous films have the vague semblance of linear structure. Any Ever, by contrast, is a constant assault from all angles; it’s like having simultaneous conversations with a mob of 11-yearolds high on Red Bull. from 10 minutes to an hour) Trecartin’s Babel-speak is refracted through marketing lingo, alternately barked or drawled

by a series of officious female authorities. Everything hovers around the same sets: a makeshift airplane, a pool, an office space. A new sense of displaced loneliness pervades. People are continually kissing or attempting to kiss while others look on, baffled. ture: the use of professional actors. Trecartin has always worked collaboratively with friends; here, he uses pre-teen girls, cast-offs from the Disney tween hysteria of his usually non-professional performers has always been winning because of its spontaneity and lack of and Lindsay Lohan look-alikes) perform Trecartin’s excesses like seasoned professionals; the vacuity is haunting. Ultimately, all of the nonsense-talk of marketing and products finds its locus in these girls; they are the products about which everyone inanely jabbers. Trecartin is in there, too, somewhere — the art world’s Lohan, the young ingénue, the video wild-child plucked from obscuuct, has already been considerable (and has been equal to it all; he has used video to speak to the construction of identity, desire and fantasy in a way that shocks and excites with its ambition, its delirious freshness. Previously, Trecartin has tackled these concerns on a private, interior level; what makes Any Ever so epic, and perhaps so terrifying, is the public exposure, where identity, desire and fantasy become products — and woe unto you if your product isn’t as fresh as once it was. ■ continues until Tue, May 24 at the Power Plant • 231 Queens Quay W • (416) 973-4949 • thepowerplant.org

ANY EVER

fest presents a pay-what-youcan screening of Trecartin’s earlier works on Sat, May 22 at 8pm at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre • 12 Alexander St • insideout.ca

INSIDE OUT

intorontomag.com

31


SEX

S P O N S O R E D B Y S PA E X C E S S

STEAM HEAT

Serbian-Canadian photog Drasko Bogdanovic, a classically trained musician and self-taught painter, presents his new collection of sexy male erotica, Persuasion of Men as part of the month-long Contact photo festival (contactphoto.com). The limitededition book with introduction by playwright Brad Fraser and online edition is launched Fri, May 10 from 7pm to 10pm at Grasp, the bar connected to St Marc Spa bathhouse (543 Yonge 927-0210. draskobogdanovic.ca.

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WITH DR KEITH

Help! I can’t have sex with my boyfriend because I’m depressed. And I will be even more depressed if he leaves me because I can’t. What do I do?”

epression and sex. Sex and depression. Gay men often see common medical problems through a sexual lens. Being gay means you’ve labelled yourself with a sexual identifier — you like to have sex with men, and you’re also a man. So your health, your gay health, means that you are looking at it from a sexual perspective. And why not? We are a community who places great importance in sex. So our health issues are going to feature sex highly. men at risk for depression — substance and alcohol use, family problems, social isolation, discrimination and body image problems, just to name a few. It’s probably one of the most vicious cycles that exist. Look at this poor guy as an example. Pretend he’s you. Part one: You feel depressed. For what-

32

may 2010

ever reason. Because you feel depressed, you can’t perform for your boyfriend — you can’t get it up. Depression can And now you can’t get it up and feel even worse. Cycle complete. And repeat, and repeat…. Loss of sexual appetite (low libido) or problems with your erection (erectile dysfunction) are classic components of depression — very common complaints with mood issues and disorders. If sex is important to you, not having it is sure to cause an acceleration of your overall stress level and psychological stability. Plus sex is often a fundamental part of a relationship, so if problems in the bedroom arise causing instability with partners, this further disturbs your wellbeing. Part two: You see your doctor and get antidepressants to hopefully make you happy, to help with your depression and — knock on wood (pun intended) —

info@intorontomag.com

get back into happy times with your boyfriend. Unfortunately those pills are also sabotaging your ability to get an erection. Sigh. Damned if you do seek treatment and damned if you don’t. So what do you do? It seems clear there is no answer for our guy. Doomed to selfdestruct. Not true. Seeking help is the only way to ensure you’re on the right ication. Counselling or therapy is essential, with or without a partner if appropriall people need antidepressants. And not all antidepressants cause sexual problems. removing what’s left of your libido and also making your penis limper than Kurt’s wrist from Glee. But there are others that generally do not hamper your ability to one right for you, restore your happy balance and not interfere with your boomboom-boom, is to try one, then another if necessary. And don’t forget about erectile dys-

risk with minimal (or no) side effects and -

ally not covered under any drug plans. So, guy, what do you do? First and foremost, communicate openly with your boyfriend so you both understand each other. Make him understand what you are feeling and what your problems are. Sign him on as an ally, not as part of the problem. Secondly, communicate openly with health providers. Find a doctor and counsellor you are comfortable with. Get a prescription for an erectile drug if you sant medication may help, or if psychotherapy alone will be enough. Often it is. If not, with your doctor, choose a depression medication to try. Switch down the road if it’s causing problems or not helping. And all the time talking, talking, talking to your boyfriend. Keep him in the loop, he should appreciate it. You’ll feel happier. With more confidence leading into the bedroom. Which will make you even happier. Vicious cycle becomes GOOD CYCLE. And repeat, and repeat…. ■ DR KEITH LOUKES works in emergency in a Toronto hospital • Send him your sexual health question at sexhealth@intorontomag.com

This column should not be viewed as medical advice; always consult your physician.


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May 2010- In Toronto Magazine  

gay city living

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