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views | living & design | insight | events | Arts & entertaiNment
16 12 living & design
08 | open house Going with glitz and glam in Parkdale
24 | The Politics of Hate Is Rob Ford’s mayoral campaign creating a new wave of homophobia?
12 | Travel Naughty London getaways
15 | relationships Have you come to believe that your attractiveness hinges on you being the “daddy?” 16 | fashion Fall is the new black
26 | get out Places to go, people to see
Arts & entertaiNment
30 | music Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace talks candidly about gender dysphoria 32| books Vivek Shraya’s spirited debut novel She of the Mountains
out on the town 34 | caught in the act Party pics
28 | film Toronto International Film Festival preview
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O pe n H o u s e
face time → Makeup artist Stephen Lynch may work on the hit sci-fi TV series Orphan Black, but his home is old Hollywood glamour Story Michael Pihach | Photography Riley Stewart
tephen Lynch remembers Yonge Street in the late ’70s when the new wave and punk scene sizzled. “I worked at a rock bar called Fiesta across from the Toronto Reference Library. It was the hottest place on Yonge Street… if you could ever imagine a place on Yonge Street being hot ever,” recalls Lynch, who, back then, was a youngster from the suburbs with a degree in English literature. But in those days a typical shift for Lynch consisted of slinging drinks for glitterati like William S. Burroughs, Dusty Springfield, Carole Pope and Gary Glitter. “We were always covered in Andy Warhol’s magazine,” he notes. For Lynch, a cool job in nightlife seemed obvious, until one day one of Lynch’s friends, who did professional makeup, walked into his bar with a female model. “I said to my friend, ‘Oh my god. Did you do her face?’” Acting on a stroke of inspiration, Lynch began taking makeup classes and eventually scored his first big gig—painting faces for actress Sheila McCarthy for the cult Canadian film I’ve Heard The Mermaids Singing. A slew of TV and movie gigs followed, and Lynch’s resume ballooned with credits, including the job of key makeup artist for Queer as Folk, and now, makeup designer for the acclaimed sci-fi series Orphan Black, starring Canadian actress Tatiana Maslany as multiple clones. We caught up with the makeup mastermind in his chic Parkdale home to talk about Old Hollywood design, human cloning and his most unforgettable memory from working on Queer as Folk.
You bought your home 20 years ago. How did you wind up in Parkdale? I originally bought it with a friend. At the time the house was locked up and owned by the bank because the previous owner had snorted his fortune up his nose. So my friend and I had to jump over a fence to look inside. It was rough. There were stains all over the floor. Maybe from a dead body? But we saw potential. We bought the place on Halloween. There wasn’t much going on in Parkdale back then. It must have been a steal. We bought it for really cheap. I bought my friend out in 2000 and it was still cheap. The price doubled in 2004 and it’s almost doubled again since then. When I bought it I always got into my car and went downtown to escape. Now some of Toronto’s top-rated restaurants are a block away: Electric Mud, Grand Electric, Porzia and Chantecler. Your house shimmers like old Hollywood. Did you hire a designer? It’s all my own design. I wanted that sheen and shimmer from the movies. I grew up adoring Hollywood films. Irene Dunne, Carole Lombard… I’m very gay that way. I wanted a sense of that era, so I went with metallics and used colours from the woodburning fireplace [which still works]. It looks like it’s finished with crushed granite or mica, but it’s actually wallpaper. There’s coppery gold, silver and pewter… I used it to create a sealskin velvet finish. You’ve spent decades doing makeup for movies and TV
shows—your latest, the sci-fi hit Orphan Black. What do you love about working on that show? Everything. I get to create characters rather than just do pretty makeup. Pretty makeup is lovely, but I can get tired of it. What I love is working with actors and actresses, helping them create. Tatiana Maslany [the show’s lead] is the most extraordinary actress. The first week we had to create four different people for her to play. When you have an actress in tears by the time you’re done… that’s my biggest reward. Maslany portrays multiple clones. How many characters have you had to create for her? The fans would know better than I; She’s up to eight, but there’s actually 12 she’s portrayed. Some we’ve only seen in one or two scenes. Some are just photos she finds. It’s a tour de force for this Canadian girl. So how long does Maslany spend in your makeup chair? Not enough. She works ridiculous hours and she’s in almost every scene. For her it’s like playing eight leads. I get 45 minutes max. I don’t know if Bryan Cranston gets that much time. It’s always the same in television. Orphan Black has been praised for its strong, complex gay characters. Why do you think it resonates with LGBT viewers? The show is about identity, stripped down to its barest bones. It’s also about women—one of whom is transitioning to male. It’s about exploring sexuality, gender, nature/nurture. It’s what
we search for everyday (and are still searching for in many cases). Some fans on Twitter have even adopted the hashtag #Clonesbians… (a nod to the character Cosima, a scientist clone played by Maslany, who develops a crush on a female colleague, Delphine, played by actress Evelyne Brochu). You know, we’re so busy working on things we don’t realize how far the show is reaching. We’re in a bubble in that studio. You don’t know how people are reacting. It’s amazing. You helped create the character Tony, a transitioning female-to-male clone also played by Maslany. What went into shaping that character? I said if we’re gonna do this I don’t want it to be a short wig and that’s it. They do that on afterschool specials. I wanted Tony to be unique but not necessarily likable. He has long hair with a wispy chinstrap [beard]—someone who’s trying to do a chinstrap. We did tons of research; talked to transgender guys. There’s so many new dynamics around selfimage compared to 20 years ago. Do you think humans should be cloned? Only if they could clone Tatiana Maslany. That sounds like the biggest kiss-ass answer in the world, but I’m just happy to be in her orbit at all. We’ve gone through so much together. With so much makeup experience your friends must ask you to make them over all the time. Oh yeah. I’m actually thinking of turning one room in my house into a studio. inmagazine.ca
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Living & Design → glitz and glamour Lynch wanted his Parkdale home to have the sheen and shimmer from old Hollywood movies. And he did it all with shiny surfaces and lots of metallics.
Shows with queer characters have been consistent throughout your career. You were a key makeup artist for Queer as Folk. What’s your most unforgettable moment? I will always remember that scene where Brian [Gale Harold] sees Justin [Randy Harrison] admitted to the hospital [after Justin was bashed]. I once read a quote from a director that said to always keep the camera rolling for 30 seconds after you call cut. That’s what they did. There’s a close-up of Gale and he was so in his own sorrow that his nose and eyes began to pour. I don’t think he was even aware they called cut. It was a powerful memory. Are you in touch with the Queer as Folk cast? I do. Sharon Gless [who played Debbie] comes to
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Toronto almost every year and spends Pride with her Queer as Folk hair and makeup team. I saw Peter Paige [who played Emmett] in LA at the GLAAD Awards this year. Orphan Black was nominated, but lost to The Fosters, which is about a multiracial lesbian family. (Peter is executive producer of that show, so I thought: Fair enough.) I hosted a brunch while I was there and invited both my Orphan Black and Queer as Folk families. Peter was there, so was Scott Lowell [Ted], Bobby Gant [Ben] and Michelle Clunie [Melanie]. Everybody got to meet. What are your thoughts on a Queer as Folk reunion? I’d be on board in a New York minute. The show is having a huge rebirth. I have young students from all over the world at Complections College of Makeup Art and Design, where I teach, and the one show they know from my resume is Queer as Folk.
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t r av e l
Mr & Mr Smith → ‘Dirty’ weekends in London—in the best possible taste, of course Story Doug Wallace
rust the British to have a nickname for a naughty hotel stay. The “Mr & Mrs Smith” weekend is a pseudonym for a romantic escape for two. It’s also the name of an online boutique hotel finder that my partner and I turned to recently to unearth off-the-beaten-path places to lay our heads during an extra-long weekend in London. Co-founders James and Tamara Lohan have been helping people find the perfect hotel for more than a decade, well-known for “dirty weekends in the best possible taste,” says James. “We’re marketing small, independent, unique hotels that have quirks. We act as matchmaker between the customer and the hotels.” Now operating in Canada with smithhotels.com, the Lohans know what you should be looking for in a boutique hotel room. “Size will determine the kind of experience you’re going to have,” says James. (I stifle a giggle.) “Sometimes you want a buzzy atmosphere and sometimes you want something intimate. From the size, you can work out what kind of experience the hotel is going to deliver.” Food is probably the next most important thing to consider. “Try to find out about the chef; have they won any awards? Is it formal or casual? We also look
for spas—this is an indulgent weekend away, after all.” The site also lists the top places to eat, drink and be merry in the vicinity of each hotel that gets their stamp of approval. Our getaway started in the impossibly cool Hackney neighbourhood in northeast London. Deeply, hopelessly cool. The kind of cool you need to run out and buy new clothes for. At Town Hall Hotel & Apartments (townhallhotel.com), which used to be—guess what?—a town hall, we luxuriated in unconventional grandeur, swimming in the ornate pool in the basement and drinking locally-made vodka in the cocktail bar streetside, which incidentally had its own still spinning away on a countertop in the front. It took us about two seconds to Google that. The Town Hall also has goldfish you can rent for £10 if you’re travelling by yourself and need a little company. English eccentricity is alive and well. Hackney continues to transform the east end, with trendsetters existing alongside the working class, throwntogether watering holes popping up beside hardware stores. The 125-year-old Broadway Market (broadwaymarket. co.uk) supplies the locals with fish, meat, produce and bakery items, plus great take-away and the odd confection, with
dozens more stalls set up on Saturdays. This is where a butcher shop moonlights as a private-event restaurant by night and a circa-1900 mash and eel shop hosts sophisticated gin tastings, sawdust-strewn floor notwithstanding. The innovation that drives London neighbourhoods to constantly reinvent themselves is front and centre here. We balanced out our hit of the hip with total immersion in luxury across town, beginning at the elegant Kensington Hotel (doylecollection.com/hotels/thekensington-hotel), where you’re just a short stroll from quite a few cultural landmarks, including the very grand Natural History Museum (nhm.ac.uk) and the always-free Victoria & Albert Museum (vam.ac.uk). Happily, we found ourselves equidistant from both Kensington High Street and Knightsbridge (Hello, Harrods! Nice to see you again, Harvey Nicols!), as well as within arm’s reach of the shops of both Fulham Road and the King’s Road, where Sloane Square anchors what can easily be a full-day shopping spree. Take note: Quiet neighbourhood pubs that look deserted in the mid-afternoon will be heaving by end-of-day with people spilling out onto the sidewalk. The bars in Chelsea are pretty much the same as everywhere
else in town, only the clientele is wearing way nicer sweaters. (Sorry, I mean jumpers.) Moving ever more posh, we checked into London’s oldest hotel (1837)—Brown’s in Mayfair (roccofortehotels.com/hotelsand-resorts/browns-hotel), an area of town that does a great job of making you forget that the real, grittier world actually exists. Such is the fantasyland of Albemarle, Bond, Regent Streets and Berkeley Square. Savile Row is two minutes away as is the Royal Academy of Arts. Brown’s delivers not only good old-fashioned Victorian refinement with a modern twist and a mean high tea, but some great stories as well: This was where Alexander Graham Bell made the first telephone call in the U.K.; where Rudyard Kipling finished writing The Jungle Book and where Napoleon III, the last French monarch, stopped by on the way to his exile. We immediately had shoes sent for a good polishing (they came back wrapped in a nice parcel, with tape and everything; it’s that kind of place). Then we headed to the Donovan Bar, named after ‘60s fashion and celebrity photographer Terence Donovan whose work covers all the walls. At Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill (bentleys.org) around the corner on Swallow Street, a 50-year-old London landmark inmagazine.ca
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where they shuck more than 1,000 oysters a day, we were practically adopted by the bartender, who loaded us up with oysters and the most insane fish and chips, piling on the freebies to a point where we felt guilty. Entertainment was provided by the Texan couple whose accents both perplexed and delighted one and all the more they drank. A stumble down menswearstore-lined Jermyn Street the next day confirmed the fact that we arenâ€™t paying nearly enough money for our shirts at home. Most of these shops hold royal warrants, meaning they cater to the royal household, so even five minutes of shopping in this neighbourhood can cause a major cash-ectomy. Thankfully, the more reasonably priced Carnaby Street is within walking distance to help take some of the â†’ IN WITH the OLD, IN WIth THE NEW (Top) For a city on the cutting edge, Regent Street looks like nothing has happened for hundreds of years; (left) 30 St Mary Axe, better known as The Gherkin, stands guard over the financial district in central London.
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pressure off your wallet. We finished out our time in Londontown with a spin through Dover Street Market (london. doverstreetmarket.com), then a quick picnic in Green Park before heading to Heathrow. What a stroke of luck that you can buy those tiny bottles of champagne
at the better sandwich shops (God bless you, England.) We toasted to our rejuvenated spirits and wondered if it was worth it to fly to London just for a long weekend. As it turns out, yup.
LONDON FOR LOVERS Check out these sassy spots for your romantic weekend getaway.
Zetter Townhouse, Clerkenwell: 13-room Georgian townhouse with a quirky cocktail bar replete with stuffed animals that pays homage to the region’s distilling heritage.
The Kensington Hotel
The Kensington Hotel, South Kensington: Sumptuous, elegant and roomy, with extremely comfortable main-floor sitting rooms that pull out all the stops for high tea. Dean Street Townhouse, Soho: Owned by the Soho House, so expect the creative class in droves, plus covetable Cowshed spa amenities. Metropolitan by Como London, Hyde Park Corner: Scandinavian design sensibilities and incredible views of the park and a perfect, perfect bar that’s no longer members only. Town Hall Hotel, Bethnal Green: Edwardian elegance, oak panelling, huge ceilings, intriguing furnishings, stately but cool manner. The newly opened Typing Room restaurant used to be the actual typing room. Brown’s Hotel, Mayfair: Steeped in history, rich with style. The service is beyond accommodating. Mark Hix’s restaurant adds panache. Visit smithhotels.com for all the juicy details.
Arms (thejoinershoreditch.com) for an eclectic music mix. Check what’s happening first online. Do we really have to tell you about Horse Meat Disco at the Eagle (eaglelondon.com) in Vauxhall on Sunday nights? Still playing the extended 12-inches and still amazing. Hit the Vauxhall Tavern on the corner first. Visit iTunes to download the new Horsemeat Disco 4. Village Drinks still pulls in hundreds from the gay business crowd with their bimonthly six o’clocktail booze fests in a variety of venues (where you can count the beards on one hand). Sign up to the newsletter at villagedrinks.co.uk to get on the guest list.
HIP HOTSPOTS OUTSIDE OF ENGLAND At the Mr & Mrs Smith nerve centre, the Lohans told us what’s trending in their travel world. We hung on every word. “Puglia, Italy, is quite hot right now,” James says. “We have Palazzo Margherita (coppolaresorts.com/ palazzomargherita) there [near the 15th-century town of Bernalda, the ancestral home of Francis Ford Coppola]. We can’t get enough hotels in Sri Lanka to keep up with the demand. The Croatian coast is starting to happen.” “The craze for the U.K. right now is the Scandinavian countries,” Tamara says. “One of our new favourite hotels is Ett Hem (etthem. se), which translates to ‘at home’—a 12-bedroom hotel in Stockholm. The wholesomeness of Scandinavia is right for the moment.” The Lohans recently took their family to stay at the Tree Hotel (treehotel.se) near GAYS NIGHT OUT Harads in northern Sweden, where all the rooms are built in the trees by well-known Swedish architects and designers. “Who doesn’t want to sleep in a treehouse?” James says. Coolest parents ever. A back-to-nature theme seems to be percolating. “You get to the Vigilius Mountain Resort (vigilius.it) in the south Tyrol by cable car,” James says. While Old Compton Street and all “Cozy, minimal, open fires, pine wood, the bars in and around Soho deliver incredible spa—and you’re on top of London’s prime gay experience, a mountain.” Luxury doesn’t have to including the newly re-opened Shadow be all brass taps and silver platters. Lounge (theshadowlounge.co.uk) on “Everyone’s idea of luxury is different Brewer, do you really have to go to depending on what mood you’re in,” G-A-Y more than once in your entire Tamara adds. With more than 500 life? Nope, we thought not. Head to hotels approaching them every month Shoreditch where The George and clamouring to be part of this in-crowd, Dragon (georgedragon.com) pub the cherry picking that follows only does its best to amuse, followed by makes their collection of hotels that a walk down the road to The Joiners much cooler.
relationship advice — with Adam Segal → My current relationship is on its last legs and I feel like I’m in a rut. Most of my relationships with these guys have lasted, at most, six months. The trouble is that I am 45 and only really attracted to guys in their early twenties—it’s the porn I watch, the guys I cruise, who I fantasize and imagine myself with. I love how fresh everything feels with these men and that they often look to me for advice about their troubles. My current bf has struggled with the drug and prostitution worlds. I had so much hope that I could show him a healthier path only to have his drug addiction ruin our relationship time and time again. Friends have encouraged me to widen my horizons and date closer to my age, but it would just feel unnatural and fake. Where do I go from here? Alex You make a strong case that really young guys are the sole object of your romantic and sexual affection. A quick look at hookup profiles will highlight how fixed our desires can become over time (for example: “only into guys aged 20-22 with beard, visible abs and uncut 12 inches”). While there’s a possibility that your intense focus on young and troubled men is a hard-wired orientation, I think it’s worth exploring any wiggle room in your romantic repertoire as it’s just so limiting. With just a little reflection and curiosity, it’s possible that you could escape the tiny romantic box you’ve come to occupy. Your role as caregiver/saviour seems to be a big theme in your relationship history. The obvious danger of assuming this familiar position is that it leaves you deprived of a reciprocal relationship where you also get to receive support. What’s more important is recognizing how this role gets your rocks off. Does it offer you a sense of control? Have you come to believe that your attractiveness hinges on you being the “daddy?” Does it feel too vulnerable to be the one who has needs? Does being with someone so much younger help
you feel like you are stalling your own aging process? There are youthful men out there who don’t need you to rescue them and are fully capable of offering an equal and balanced partnership. The guys you’ve dated have brought a lot of chaos into your world. Your orientation, thus far, might be less toward young men and more toward a certain brand of intensity or drama. Be careful not to confuse drama with true intimacy as they can mimic one another. But even if you could find a well-adjusted young man to share your life and bed with, there will be no way to bottle his youth so that it lasts forever—nor will his youth stop your own existential clock from ticking away. Also, as you cultivate a stable longer-term relationship with someone, you will see that it’s impossible to constantly maintain the initial excitement— that new car smell wears off. It will be up to you to find a way to get close to someone without all the hijinx to distract you from what could be a very real and equally fulfilling connection.
Adam Segal The writer and therapist works in private practice in downtown Toronto. Ask him your relationship or mental health question at email@example.com. inmagazine.ca
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hot for the harvest Photography: Adam Webster Styled by: Accute Styling inc. Jalao Bradfield & Tye Gnass (sutherland models) Makeup and grooming: meghan victoria & Jem Lopez
wrapped and ready
scarf: rag & bone cardigan: theory shirt: naked & Famous (All available at holt renfrew) jeans, cap: zara
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jacket: H&M shirt: frank & Oak jeans: guess
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jacket, shirt: paul smith (both at Holt Renfrew) jeans, belt: joe fresh
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jeans, belt: gap
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(Left) cardigan: zadig & Voltaire (Holt Renfrew) shirt: french connection jeans, belt: gap (right) Sweater: hugo boss (holt renfrew) jeans: Joe fresh belt: H&M
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po l i t i c s
Platform of hate → Is the anti-gay rhetoric of Rob Ford’s campaign strategy legitimizing homophobia? Story Krishna Rau
Olivia Chow all-inclusive campaign
une’s Ontario election, which saw openly lesbian Kathleen Wynne easily elected premier, may have convinced many that the province no longer sees sexual orientation as an issue. But Toronto’s interminable mayoral campaign—which culminates on October 27—may very well shatter that carefully tended assumption. Homophobia has played a major role in the campaign so far— far more so than in 2010, which featured attacks on openly-gay candidate George Smitherman. The most high-profile incidents took place at Ford Fest on July 25, where LGBT protesters were physically assaulted and faced a barrage of homophobic epithets from Ford supporters. But there’s been a steady stream of anti-gay remarks and actions emanating from the Ford campaign, both before and after his stint in rehab. And those actions have raised the question not only of whether homophobia will affect election results, but of whether the mayor’s attitudes are validating
rob ford homophobic campaign
anti-gay sentiment in the general population. “Rob Ford is close-minded, Rob Ford is a bigot, Rob Ford is homophobic,” says Kristyn Wong-Tam, Toronto’s only openly gay city councillor, who represents the ward which includes the gay village. “I think what he’s done is quite damaging. He’s created a space where it’s okay to let hate rise to the top through his promotion of tribalism. It’s us versus them, the stigmatization of what is thought of as the other.” And Meyer Siemiatycki, a professor of politics at Ryerson University says the mayoral campaign should serve as a wake-up call to a province and a gay community that may have grown complacent. “I think this campaign is a reminder that there remains deeply held and homophobic views,” says Siemiatycki. “We’ve slid into the comfortable assumption that Ontario elected Kathleen Wynne. This is a reminder that that wishful
john tory not-available-for-comment campaign
and rosy outlook is not in fact the case. There’s a segment of Toronto society that remains deeply hostile.” The Ford campaign—which did not respond to a request for an interview—has denied that the mayor is homophobic, with Rob, and campaign manager and brother Doug, saying that the campaign has gay volunteers and that the mayor is “spendaphobic, not homophobic.” But many of the mayor’s critics say otherwise, with some asserting that homophobia is not only an expression of Rob Ford’s personal beliefs, but a deliberate campaign strategy to target socially conservative voters, especially in Toronto’s black and South Asian communities. “Rob Ford is only interested in harnessing political power,” says Wong-Tam. “He may have done it deliberately as a means of political gain. For him, I believe it’s a wedge issue. This is how it works for Ford nationalists and those who belong to that tribe. “I recognize that there is
exploitation of homophobia among racialized communities. They’ve been able to racialize homophobia. They’re exploiting an underlying prejudice. Ford believes these communities are more socially conservative. He’s saying, ‘I don’t like gay people. I won’t attend their parades. I’m an ordinary hard-working man like you. I’m not them.’” Ford’s refusal to attend Pride parades is well-known, as are his past votes against funding gay or AIDS-related projects. In February of this year, he unsuccessfully demanded that the Pride flag, which had been raised to support LGBT rights during the Russian Olympics, be removed. At the same time, he reiterated his refusal to attend Pride, which his brother repeatedly criticized for being full of “buck-naked men,” while accusing the gay community of being bullies. Since his return from rehab, Rob Ford has voted against a proposal to study how to help homeless gay youth and refused to stand to applaud WorldPride’s
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success. “Well, what the principle is, Rob Ford has decided not to go to the gay pride parade. And all of a sudden, he’s going to get up and he’s going to be applauding the gay pride parade?” Doug Ford told media. But the tension came to a head at Ford Fest, the mayor’s annual picnic at the end of July. At the event in Scarborough, gay and lesbian protesters were surrounded by Ford supporters. Ford Nation members were captured on film tearing up protest signs, shoving protesters and yelling homophobic slurs. Iola Fortino, an activist campaigning against gay-straight alliances in Catholic schools, told journalists at Ford Fest why she supports the mayor. “When Ford does not attend WorldPride, which is equivalent to Sodom and Gomorrah, he’s speaking for the silent majority. He’s not for the homos, he’s for families.... We’re sick of this oppression, it’s hitting our youth. They want us to accept it, embrace it. We’re not gonna embrace the shit. We’re not gonna embrace this immorality. We’re gonna stand up against it, whatever it takes. We’re gonna support Ford for standing up against it, the only politician doing that. He’s not only good with our money, he’s got morals. That’s the biggest thing.” But one of the more interesting attendees at Ford Fest is Ron Banerjee, the self-appointed head of Canadian Hindu Advocacy, an anti-Islamic group. Banerjee was filmed telling Ford Fest protesters to “Suck a dick, faggots” and putting his hands around the throat of one protester. He did not respond to an interview request. After Ford Fest this year, Doug Ford told the Toronto Star about one of the protesters, “I apologize to him for what happened but you can’t go into any event, a sporting event even, taunting people. I don’t agree with (what happened) but something’s going to happen. Numerous people said he was looking for trouble.” Banerjee’s attendance is a reminder of the anti-gay campaign
that dogged Smitherman in the city’s South Asian community in 2010 when he found himself the target of homophobic signs and ads. Signs were put along the Danforth near Victoria Park, saying Muslims should not vote for Smitherman. “Should Muslim [sic] vote for him who married a man?” asked the signs, which included a photo of Smitherman and his husband and a copy of an article about their adoption of a child. And ads also popped up online and on the Canadian Tamil Broadcasting Corporation radio station featuring two people talking about the mayoral race. “What kind of question is this?” says one person. “I am Tamil. We
that otherwise would not be expressed.” Siemiatycki, however, does not share Wong-Tam’s view that Ford’s homophobia is also being used as a deliberate electoral strategy. “I think it’s pretty clear from Rob Ford’s entire career that his attitude, outlook and approach to the gay community is inhospitable, perhaps verging on hostile. But it’s not a strategy, it’s who he is. These are views and beliefs he strongly holds and harbours.” Olivia Chow, one of the frontrunners in the race for mayor, says Ford’s offensive comments point to the need for a new mayor. The campaign of John Tory, the other front-runner, did not return phone
homophobia is not only an expression of Rob Ford’s personal beliefs, but a deliberate campaign strategy to target socially conservative voters, especially in Toronto’s black and South Asian communities have a religion and culture. Take Rob Ford: His wife is a woman.” In 2010, the Ford campaign stated on Twitter that “I do not condone the recent Tamil Radio ad. I support diversity & have no issue with others’ lifestyle choices.” His communications manager compared the attacks to comments on Ford’s weight. No evidence was ever produced linking the slurs against Smitherman to the Ford campaign. But Siemiatycki says he believes Ford’s view of the LGBT community is trickling down to the general populace. “His attitude gives cover and legitimacy to broader views of homophobia. It creates political space for sections of the public to express homophobic views
calls. Chow, while largely avoiding comment on Ford’s homophobia, says her campaign is based on appealing to everybody’s need for basic services, which she says trumps their fear of gays and lesbians. “I don’t know why he says what he says, other than to say that many of his comments are offensive to a great many people,” she says. “That’s why we need a change. But I always want people to vote in hope rather than fear, including the young people who have been bullied or homeless for being gay. It’s important to vote out of a hope that life can be better. I think all people want to know how voting for mayor will improve their lives. I choose to connect with these voters on the basis that I can do more for your
kids, I can build more affordable housing and get them across town faster.” Wong-Tam shares Chow’s view that most voters, homophobic or not, can be appealed to on the basis of self-interest. “Ford has a very simple message, but it’s a mile wide and an inch deep,” says WongTam. “If you go deeper, they’ll tell you what matters to them is opportunities for success.” But Wong-Tam worries that Ford’s homophobia will serve to build barriers between disaffected voters within the city—including both those who support Ford and LGBT voters—who should be working together for common goals. “The politics of Ford Nation has not brought us more prosperity. It has divided us when we most need to be working together. We saw what it did to Smitherman. We have to reach out to everybody who feels disconnected from the city. That conversation has to be had at the local level.” Siemiatycki feels that Ford’s homophobic views do appeal strongly to some of his supporters, but he cautions against assuming that prejudice is the only reason for their support. But while he doesn’t necessarily believe that homophobia will decide the mayoral race, he does have words of caution if Rob Ford is still a front-runner come election day. “My own sense is that people who hold these homophobic views are supporting Ford for other reasons, as well. But it does serve to intensify their commitment and support for the mayor.” If the race comes down to which candidate is most successful at getting their supporters out to vote, that might be enough to re-elect a mayor who once told city council—in words echoed by his supporters on July 25—that “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” And if Ford Fest is an indication of how a city’s leader can influence its citizens, then it could be a rough four years for Toronto’s LGBT community. inmagazine.ca
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Get out September Events 9
CABARET › QUEERCAB
MUSIC › SINGING OUT
Singing OUT, Toronto’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer community chorus, is looking for new members. The mixed voice ensemble covers everything from the sacred to the silly, in many different styles (pop, show tunes, classical, folk, jazz) and languages. No audition or experience is necessary to join. 662 Pape Ave. singingout.com.
Led by community leader and performer Chy Ryan Spain, QueerCab provides a safe and inclusive space for LGBTQ youth to explore their artistic potential. Expect everything from music, spoken word, monologues, dance, drag and stand-up to burlesque, videos, magic and rants. September’s guest host is Ill Nana (pictured). Buddies in Bad Times. 12 Alexander St. buddiesinbadtimes. com
STAGE › MERCURY FUR
Lola is a woman living in a man’s body without access to hormones or surgeries. But, none of that stops her from living as a woman, even having a romantic relationship with a male character who doesn’t consider himself gay. It’s a refreshing portrayal of a transgender character. Lola is played by Eric Rich whose recent foray into the world of drag has created opportunities such as A Chorus Queen (the official drag musical of WorldPride 2014), Portia in 64 Ways to Die: A Shakespearian Death Cabaret, and Regan in Monster Mash. To Sep 6. 102-376 Dufferin St. sevensiblingstheatre.ca.
festival › NEW GROUNDSWELL
More than 50 women will take part in Nightwood Theatre’s New Groundswell Festival. The program includes a workshop of Obeah Opera by Nicole Brooks (pictured left), directed by Weyni Mengesha; an a capella piece in which an all-female cast animates the story of the Salem Witch Trials from the perspective of enslaved African women; and With Individual Desire (pictured right), a theatrical imagining of the relationship between famed bad-girl American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay and her mother. To Sep 14. Dancemakers and Nightwood Studios. 9 Trinity St. (Distillery District). nightwoodtheatre.net.
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BUSINESS › OUT ON BAY
This annual conference is for LGBTQA students pursuing a career in business, law, technology and other related fields. Since 2007, the event has brought together some of the most successful LGBTQA leaders, students and professionals from organizations across Canada. Network with peers and representatives from more than 40 corporate sponsors at workshops, panels and interactive seminars. To Sep 13. Marriott Hotel. 525 Bay St. outonbay.org.
stage › FREDA & JEM’S BEST OF THE WEEK
Starring Diane Flacks, Kathryn Haggis, Sadie Epstein-Fine and Stephen Joffe, Freda and Jem is about two women who fell in love, had kids and built a family together. When they decide to split up, their family discovers that their love for each other doesn’t have to end at divorce—but it will have to change. A heartwarming story about family making and family breaking. To Oct 5. Buddies in Bad Times. 12 Alexander St. buddiesinbadtimes.com.
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FUNDRAISER › AIDS WALK FOR LIFE
Since 1989, the AIDS Walk (pictured from last year) in support of the AIDS Committee of Toronto has been raising funds and awareness for people living with, at risk for and affected by HIV/AIDS. This year’s event includes a beer garden, BBQ and after-party at Yonge-Dundas Sq. act.org.
577 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario M4Y 1Z2 T 416-966-6969 | firstname.lastname@example.org shop online
STAGE › THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EaRNEST
Oscar Wilde’s classic farce about two Victorian aristocrats trying to escape their social burdens is rife with the playwright’s characteristic wit, Victorian charm and biting social commentary. To Oct 4. Hart House Theatre. 7 Hart House Circle. harthouse.ca
A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE WITHIN REACH. Mint Media is Canada’s premier LGBT magazine publisher and integrated marketing agency.
Festival › GAY PLAY DAY
Now in its third year, this annual theatre festival is a platform for LGBTQ playwrights to have their works produced and seen by local audiences. This year’s program includes What Ida Said by David Bateman and Philip Cairns, Euchred by Megan Hutton, Pee & Qs by Joshua Downing, I’m With AIDS by Warren Wagner and Word Play by Nick May (pictured) and Jess Bryson. To Sep 27. Alumnae Theatre. 70 Berkeley St. alumnaetheatre. com.
Working across multiple platforms including print, online, digital and video, we publish gay media that transcends the stereotypes typically associated with the LGBT community. We combine the strength of our brands, passion of our peers and breadth of experience to produce compelling content and to help support meaningful change in the community. We are true to you.
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Arts & Entertainment
T o ro n t o I n t e rn ati o n a l F i l m F e s ti va l
Mirror mirror → In Guidance, filmmaker Pat Mills puts his life of insecurity on the big screen for everyone to see Review Peter Knegt
actually don’t know if I ever write or create anything that doesn’t have some sort of queer element to it,” says Pat Mills. “It’s just so embedded in my identity. So even if it’s not literal, I think it will always be in my work. I mean, if I did try to avoid it, I would probably create something unwatchable and boring.” That’s certainly not the case with Guidance, Mills’ first feature film and a world premiere at this month’s Toronto International Film Festival. The dark comedy tells the story of David Gold
(played by Mills himself), a closeted former child actor who, now in his mid-30s, is struggling to get work and has just been diagnosed with skin cancer. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so David forges his resume and gets a job as a high school guidance counsellor. Except it turns out he’s not such a good fit for the job, handing out bad advice and alcohol to teenagers as he continues his own private downward spiral. “I’ve always felt like the most fucked-up people have always helped me the most, so I thought
I’d explore that in a film,” says Mills. “I wanted to create a character full of surprises. I wanted to play with the irony of someone employed by the selfhelp industry who’s about as psychologically damaged as it gets.” Mills wanted to do so within a context that what he calls a sort of “alternate autobiography” of his own past. “I’ll admit that I am ‘stuck’ in the past,” he says. “David Gold is a clown character that I created out of my own fears and insecurities. David I have much in common—we are both
→ IN YOUR DREAMs Writer and director Pat Mills stars in his own comedy about a boozing, drug-addled former child star-cum-guidance counsellor who becomes an improbable hit with his students.
former child actors, we’re both immature, we get along well with teenagers, and we’re both lushes. I created this character out of what could have happened to me. What if my life had gone a different way?” That includes Mills’ own sexuality. He said that David Gold was also born out of his own insecurities as a gay man.
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“If only I had an immature, sexually repressed alcoholic for a guidance counsellor”—Pat Mills “I’ve never been particularly good at being gay,” says Mills. “I’ve also never been particularly confident [about it]. When we see characters who are sexually repressed in film, they usually combat it in the end. The typical ‘coming out’ film is a bit boring (they fall in love)—I wanted to tell a coming out story that wasn’t in such a straight line.” Instead, Mills wanted to ask: “How do fucked-up people who never change deal with their repression?” This is not to say that David Gold doesn’t have redeemable qualities. Mills says he actually wouldn’t have minded having an influence like him during high school. “I never felt like I could talk to the guidance counsellors because they were well-adjusted. I always wished they were a bit more like me—insecure, messed up and unsure about the future. Had they been more like me, I may have trusted them enough to open up to them. If only I had an immature, sexually repressed alcoholic for a guidance counsellor. If David Gold were my guidance counsellor, maybe I would have turned out differently?” But Mills should clearly be quite happy with how he turned out without a David Gold-like influence in his youth. His career as a child actor—perhaps most notably on the show You Can’t Do That On Television in the 1980s—evolved not into forging his way into becoming a guidance counsellor, but into a filmmaking career that is surely just getting started. But Mills knows not everyone is so lucky. “I was writing the script around
the time Amanda Bynes had her breakdown,” says Mills. “And I just thought, what happens when child stars can’t transition? What does that do to them psychologically? I mean, for every Jodie Foster there’s a Dana Plato…” Though Mills has not quite obtained a career on the level of Jodie Foster (yet), Guidance is the culmination of an already fantastic career of short filmmaking. After graduating from Ryerson University’s film program (where he was the recipient of both the Norman Jewison Filmmaker Award and the City TV Best Film Award), Mills made a series of celebrated shorts, including Pat’s First Kiss and 5 Dysfunctional People in a Car, which also brought Mills to TIFF. But making the move from those films to his feature debut in Guidance wasn’t always so easy. “You have to be super patient even though you are getting rejections like every single day,” he says. “You just have to never give up. I know that’s such a cliché. But things don’t happen when you think they’re going to happen. Early success in the film industry—especially in Canada— is very, very rare.” So what’s his advice to young filmmakers who’d love to follow in his footsteps? “Write a lot, and get as good as you possibly can as a storyteller because it doesn’t cost you any money to do that.” And go see Guidance, too, September 5 at TIFF.
TIFF. Sep 4-14. Various Theatres. tiff. net/thefestival
And you won’t want to miss these The Imitation Game
In the tradition of the big gay biopic with obvious dreams of Oscar nominations, Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game tells the story of closeted mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing, who played a key role in cracking Nazi Germany’s Enigma code, which in turn helped the Allies win World War II. What did they do to thank him in return? Just a few years after the war ended, Turing was prosecuted for homosexuality and subjected to chemical castration. It wasn’t until last year that the Queen of England granted Turing a posthumous pardon. Hopefully The Imitation Game works as an appropriate tribute to Turing, though it certainly bodes well that the film’s cast includes Benedict Cumberbatch (as Turing), Keira Knightley and Matthew Goode.
Twenty-five-year-old Quebec filmmaking wunderkind Xavier Dolan returns to TIFF for the fifth time in six years with his latest film Mommy. Though it’s actually the first of openly queer Dolan’s films to not feature primary LGBT content (unless a soundtrack full of Celine Dion counts), it’s surely going to be high on anyone’s list of films to see at the festival. The film follows Diane “Die” Després (Anne Dorval), a feisty, widowed single mom trying to bring up her 15-year-old ADHD son (Antoine-Olivier Pilon) who is graced with the help of benevolent, virtually mute Kyla (Susanne Clément), a neighbour who tries to help them start fresh. It’s coming off an incredibly well-received premiere at Cannes earlier this year, where many were quick to call it Dolan’s best film.
Another alum of Cannes, Matthew Marchus’s Pride appears to be the gay answer to a long line of conventional but charming British dramas where folks find a way to come together to get ‘er done. The film—which won the Queer Palm for best LGBT film at Cannes—is set in the summer of 1984. Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers is on strike, leading a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists to raise money to support the strikers’ families. Initially rebuffed by the Union, the group identifies a tiny mining village in Wales and sets off to make their donation in person. As the strike drags on, the two groups, of course, discover that “standing together makes for the strongest union of all.” Get ready to have your heart warmed, whether you like it or not.
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Arts & Entertainment
Saving Grace → Against Me! punk rocker kicks down doors for those struggling with gender dysphoria Story Mary Dickie
hen Laura Jane Grace (pictured in front) started writing the songs for Against Me!’s sixth album, she had no idea it was going to represent a massive, public life change. In fact, at that point she wasn’t even called Laura Jane Grace; she was Tom Gabel, a male punk-rock singer with a wife and a child. But she had been suffering from gender dysphoria for years, and it seemed like this time, whether she liked it or not, her creative process was pushing her to reveal everything she’d been going through, and who she really was. “I was locked in depression and unsure of what to do,” she says. “And as I was writing, the songs kept being about gender dysphoria. I didn’t want to out myself, but it became apparent that that’s what I feel really strongly about, in my art and personally, and everything kind of came together. And then writing and playing the songs became a real outlet to deal with the stress and fear.” The result was Transgender Dysphoria Blues, an album that addresses the issues involved in being transgendered, hiding it, accepting it and going public with it, in songs like “Drinking with the Jocks” and the anthemic “True Trans Soul Rebel.” And if Grace was worried about how people would respond, it looks like she needn’t have. It’s the band’s highest-charting album to date. “It’s been a really positive response,” she says. “I can’t ask for anything more.” It probably doesn’t hurt that Grace is a punk singer and not, say, a country one. “Sure, but the punk scene is fragmented,” she says. “When I got into punk,
the bands I was into were singing about smashing gender roles, fighting capitalism and things like that. I was really into the activist side of punk. But there are other sides, and some aren’t that open and accepting. In general, though, rock is more progressive than country. It’s always had that blurring of gender roles—I mean, David Bowie is a perfect example. And that’s what appealed to me. I started out listening to ’80s hair bands—I remember seeing pictures of Poison and thinking, ‘I cannot tell if that is a boy or a girl.’ And something about that was very appealing.” Fortunately, Grace’s bandmates have been supportive. “It was surprisingly easy,” she says of breaking the news to them. “It was a surprise, but it probably gave them insight into the kind of person I was, or why I would react in certain ways in certain situa-
tions. Everyone was supportive. It was like, ‘OK, this is this and I’ll see you at practice.’” Grace’s voice has always been a distinctive part of Against Me!’s sound, and she has no plans to change it. “I feel totally comfortable with my voice,” she says. “I mean, it’s fucked up most of the time because I’m up there screaming for an hour and a half every night, but it kind of changes in ways all its own. If you listen to our first record, I sound nothing like the way I sound right now.” Against Me!’s lyrics are important—to the point where the words come before the music in the songwriting process. “My theory is that you’re really limited by the number of chords that exist,” Grace explains. “You reach this point playing guitar where you feel like you’re writing the same songs over and over because there are only so many chords.
There’s going to be repetition, that’s the way it’s always been for every band. But there are infinite combinations of consonants, vowels, cadences and sentence structures. If you’re trying to fit the words inside a chord structure, you’re limited to the confines of that structure, whereas if you try to fit the chords around the words, you’ll get different and better results. I’ve always been drawn to bands that are more about lyrics. It has to actually say something for me to feel engaged.” Now, Grace is using her high profile to open doors for others. She’s working on a book based on tour diaries she’s kept virtually since Against Me! formed in 1997, as well a documentary TV series for AOL Originals. “Some people have been pitching it as reality TV, which I feel is misleading,” she says. “It’s a chance to have conversations with people I’ve met at shows or through Twitter or whatever, or people I’ve admired from afar, about gender and their journey to becoming who they are. It’s cool in that it’s less focused on me answering questions and more on me asking other people questions for a change.” With Grace constantly talking about her personal life, does she worry that people might overlook the music? “Well, sure. But I know that if the songs aren’t good, people aren’t going to pay attention. When all is said and done, people aren’t going to remember the interviews, they’re going to remember the music. That’s going to be your real story.”
Against Me! Sept. 19. Sound Academy. 11 Polson St. sound-academy.com.
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Arts & Entertainment
B o o ks
‘Dancing, prancing boy’ → Vivek Shraya comes of age on the banks of the North Saskatchewan Review Gordon Bowness
e was an effeminate brown-skinned youth growing up on the Canadian prairies, clueless as to how others perceived him. At school he was called gay or faggot every day. At first he was bursting with music, eager to belt out a pop song by some reigning diva. Later he withdrew, a stranger to the world and to his own body. This description applies both to multidisciplinary artist Vivek Shraya as a teenager and to an unnamed protagonist in
Shraya’s spirited debut novel She of the Mountains. The book presents a fictionalized account of Shraya’s journey towards love and self-acceptance; the overall trajectory is the same, only certain details have changed. For example, Shraya didn’t sing Vanessa Williams’ “Save the Best for Last” at an awkward school assembly like his protagonist did; Shraya sang “A Whole New World” by Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle. It comes as a shock that Shraya, now 33, was so hectored
as a teenager that he considered suicide. The handsome author, musician and filmmaker is as prodigious in personality as he is in talent. Recent projects include Breathe Again, a CD of Babyface covers, the short film Holy Mother My Mother, and What I Love about Being Queer, a film that morphed into a book and ongoing web project. In 2010 Shraya self-published a wonderful story collection God Loves Hair, a Lambda Literary Award finalist (and picked up this year by Arsenal Pulp
Press, publisher of She of the Mountains). He’s been artist in residence at Camp Fyrefly, an LGBT youth retreat in Edmonton, facilitated Toronto’s queer youth writing group Pink Ink, and is currently coordinator of George Brown’s Positive Space program. “As an adult I’ve tried to do all the things that could have made a difference to myself growing up,” says Shraya. “I’m always thinking about little Vivek and what he could have used or needed in some way.” She of the Mountains is
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Arts & Entertainment
comprised of parallel love stories: One begins in 1990s Edmonton, where Shraya grew up; the other details the epic love between Hindu gods Shiva and Parvati. How audacious: Letting loose the Indian pantheon along the North Saskatchewan River. “I felt I couldn’t write a love story without talking about hate, the experience of hate I’ve had,” says Shraya. “I also felt I couldn’t write a love story without talking about my relationship to my body. And that’s where the Hindu mythology came in because I grew up with all these fantastical gods. I mean there’s a god born out of someone’s nose; there’s a god who comes out of somebody’s belly button; Ganesha gets his head chopped off. There are these epic stories of how gods relate to their own bodies or how their bodies are created. And so it became an interesting counterpoint to exploring my own relationship to my body.”
The contemporary story follows a young man, who identifies as gay, as he falls in love with a woman. The couple’s passionate, tumultuous relationship begins before the man has had sex with another man and continues well after he starts. “That too is autobiographical,” says Shraya, who now identifies as queer. “I needed to address my experience with bi-phobia, coming from both the straight and gay community.” Together, he and she, the unnamed lovers in She of the Mountains, are humble in the face of their undeniable attraction. Their love is bigger than any label and stronger than people’s hostility and confusion. Their emotional wisdom is inspiring. Theirs too is an epic love, and Shraya’s lyrical, quixotic writing makes palpable the profound physical and spiritual connection. Epic is a good word, here, for the book reads like two long prose poems intertwined, two epics fashioned into a double helix. No wonder DNA is the book’s opening motif (and one of the book’s many evocative illustrations by Raymond Biesinger). “In the beginning there is no he. There is no she,” it begins. “Two cells make up one cell. This is the mathematics behind creation. One plus one makes one.” Finding unity in life’s basic binary is a uniquely queer project that continues to motivate the peripatetic Shraya. It’s also at the heart of Hindu teachings. “I grew up in a nondenominational organization that was primarily Hindubased. Though we celebrated Christmas, we celebrated Buddha’s birthday, the primary practices were very Hindu,” says Shraya. “That space was the only protected space I had growing up because in a Hindu context being a dancing, prancing boy wasn’t a negative. People thought I was God’s child, that I was like Krishna. I definitely had a huge connection to Hinduism growing up and a huge connection to the
“I felt I couldn’t write a love story without talking about the experience of hate I’ve had... without talking about my relationship to my body.” religious spark growing up. So it’s something that plays out in my work in different ways.” That religious connection allowed Shraya to follow his first love, music. “I always sang at the religious organization. I think I did a talk one day and I included snippets of pop songs, like REM and TLC and all these people. Somebody came up to me afterward and I asked if I had wrote those songs. And it never occurred to me that I could. After that I decided to try and do this thing, write my own songs. From 13 onwards I started writing my own stuff. “That’s why I moved to Toronto, to pursue a musical career. That was back in 2003, pre-MySpace, pre-MP3. If you wanted to have a career in music you had to live in Toronto, that’s what everyone around me said.” Though he studied English literature at university, Shraya’s burgeoning literary career happened by accident. “I took one creative writing class for credit in university and my teacher lectured me for an hour about how I was a terrible writer and if anyone needed his class it was me. I really hated his class so I stopped going. “I didn’t really come back to writing outside of music until six years ago, mostly because I was on a label overseas for a while and they kept shelving my [music] projects…. I got really frustrated so I started writing these journal entries that eventually grew into God Loves Hair. It was just
this innocent little side project, but the response was, ‘Wow.’ I thought maybe there are more stories I want to talk about, more stories I want to share.” And where does the epic quality of the writing come from? Shraya writes lyrics, but does he write poetry? “No, I don’t write poetry,” he says. “But when I started God Loves Hair, a friend read an early draft and said, ‘Where’s the music?’ I think that was an important moment for me. ‘Oh, right. Of course, there should be musicality to it.’” There’s plenty of music, beautiful and heartbreaking, in She of the Mountains, Shraya’s irresistible invitation to join the cosmic dance.
SHE OF THE MOUNTAINS By Vivek Shraya. Arsenal Pulp Press. Toronto launch. 7pm. Wed, Sep 17. Gladstone Hotel. 1214 Queen St W. arsenalpulp.com. inmagazine.ca
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IN Magazine: September 2014 Issue: 52 IN Magazine's September 2014 issue, featuring stories on gay and lesbian living.