EXCLUSIVE: DRAKE JENSEN ON COMING OUT COUNTRY ARE YOU TOO THIN FOR YOUR OWN GOOD?
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PUBLISHER PATRICIA SALIB EDITOR IN CHIEF JIM BROSSEAU CREATIVE MARKETING DIRECTOR NELSON TOMÉ TRAVEL EDITOR RANDALL SHIRLEY FASHION DIRECTOR ADAM WEBSTER DESIGNER NICOLÁS TALLARICO EDITOR AT LARGE BRETT TAYLOR ADVERTISING & OTHER INQUIRIES (416) 792–2400 EDITORIAL INQUIRIES EDITOR@OUTLOOKS.CA OUTLOOKS IS PUBLISHED 10 TIMES PER YEAR BY THE MINT MEDIA GROUP ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. 542 PARLIAMENT ST. TORONTO, ON, M4X 1P6 THE MINT MEDIA GROUP PRESIDENT PATRICIA SALIB DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS REGGIE LANUZA DIRECTOR OF ADVERTISING & MARKETING NELSON TOMÉ
CONTRIBUTORS JODY BOYNTON, DEREK DOTTO, PHILIP FRANCHINI, DR. MALCOLM HEDGCOCK, TRACY HOWARD, BRAD MCPHEE, SONIA NORRIS, RICHARD READ, JENNY WATSON ON THE COVER SINGER STEVEN TAETZ, PHOTOGRAPHED BY PETER TAMLIN
OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN OUTLOOKS MAGAZINE ARE THOSE OF INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTORS AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE MAGAZINE. ALL CONTENTS ARE COPYRIGHT AND MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED IN PART OR IN WHOLE WITHOUT WRITTEN CONSENT. THE APPEARANCE OF AN AD IN OUTLOOKS MAGAZINE DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE MAGAZINE ENDORSES THE ADVERTISER. THE APPEARANCE OF A MODEL OR OTHER PHOTOGRAPHIC SUBJECTS DOES NOT NECESSARILY INDICATE THEIR SEXUALITY. BEFORE YOU MAKE TRAVEL PLANS, DOUBLE-CHECK DATES, TIMES, AND PRICES. THINGS DO CHANGE. WHILE EVERY EFFORT IS MADE TO ENSURE ACCURACY, OUTLOOKS AND ITS CONTRIBUTORS ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE OR LIABLE FOR ERRORS IN CONTENT.
4 OUTLOOKS JUNE 2012
06 | TRUE GRIT
24 | AWASH IN WASHINGTON Fun and diversity reign in America’s capital city
30 | DOING SUMMER GENTLY Prince Edward Island, as you like it
07 | FOOD & DRINK Something sweet in Ottawa 09 | I SPY Steven Taetz steps into the spotlight
44 | FRAMED: JOEL A. PREVOST Beauty set in stone 46 | FLASHBACK Saying no to Anita Bryant
10 | WELLNESS Tattoo dos and absolute don’ts 12 | MONEY$TYLE Helping your portfolio go the distance 14 | THE DOCTOR IS IN Eating disorders, not for women only 15 | WHEELS Taking a spin in the Chevy Volt
ART & CULTURE
16 | THE OUTLOOKS INTERVIEW Drake Jensen, a new kind of country-music star 21 |RENAISSANCE MAN OH MAN The idiosyncratic, semi-wild entertainer Kelly Clipperton
36 | UNDERCOVER Short takes on briefs
FOOD P. 7
SWEET IN OTTAWA
24 AWASH IN WASHINGTON OUTLOOKS
TRUE GRIT A COUNTRY SINGER MAKES HIS OWN KIND OF MUSIC
their sexuality became public knowledge. By then, the careers of John and Martin had been firmly established, and the likelihood of losing fans and bookings was fairly remote. Second, and perhaps most important, fans of John and Martin kind of thought they were gay long before either of them publicly acknowledged it. Their “news” was a bit of a snore. Enter Drake Jensen—out, proud and country. He’s already experienced a level of nastiness other celebrities have probably been spared in the age of TV’s Modern Family. While on a radio show in America’s South, Jensen was subjected to the judgments of several callers. Yet the singer showed the magnanimous stuff he’s made of in responding to the hostility. “I realized that if I am preaching tolerance,” he tells Outlooks, “I have to have tolerance toward those with different opinions.” Jensen is a bigger man than I, figuratively and literally. I don’t have a lot of tolerance for small-mindedness. But we can all learn a thing or two from Jensen, who’s trying to make something positive of the pain he endured growing up. As an overweight kid struggling with sexual identity in rural Nova Scotia, it’s not surprising that he was the victim
rake Jensen is my new hero. And I’m not necessarily a fan of country—or what we disparagingly called “hillbilly music” in my household when I was growing up. For a public figure, coming out can be harrowing enough. Coming out country? Well, maybe there ought to be specially made medals for that sort of bravery. The musical genre’s very identity is wrapped up in tradition. Unlike pop or rock or even jazz, it’s not the sort of music one associates with anything that veers too far from conventional lifestyles. When its stars talk or sing about their “husbands,” the performers have always been women. Until now. In Jensen’s compelling interview with Outlooks contributor Jody Boynton (page 16), the singer is not only open on the subject of sexuality but also about his marriage to Sean Morin, his manager. Says Jensen in his straight-on manner, “I’m an anomaly in country music.” And how. Jensen’s candour strikes me as remarkable for a couple of important reasons. First of all, while he has a solid following, his is not the household name that Elton John’s or Ricky Martin’s were when
of repeated bullying. Today, he’s working with the organization Bullying.org in its efforts to make life easier for children who simply want to be themselves. Being himself is what led Jensen to step out of the closet, to very publicly, paraphrasing one of country music’s greatest hits, stand by his man. As Jensen himself affirms, the decision to come out is highly personal (“It’s my journey,” as he puts it). But every public figure who does inevitably helps someone, somewhere—maybe an overweight gay teen in rural Nova Scotia—feel just a bit less isolated. When you’re a male country singer coming out, it takes something more than everyday courage. Whatever that something more is, Drake Jensen has it to spare. And, if I had one, my 10-gallon hat would be off to him.
Jim Brosseau Editor In Chief
We’d be delighted to hear from you. Share your thoughts on the magazine and stories you’d like to see covered in its pages. Email us at editor@ outlooks.ca. Many thanks.
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THE CAT’S MEOW OTTAWA’S BLACK CAT BISTRO NEVER WANTS PATRONS TO LEAVE HUNGRY, AND WITH ITS HOMEY, HEARTY FARE—INCLUDING MOUTHWATERING DESSERTS—THAT PROSPECT IS PRETTY UNLIKELY. CHEF PATRICIA LARKIN SEES THAT THE KITCHEN TURNS OUT WELL-CRAFTED DELIGHTS FOR THE SWEET TOOTH, USING FRESH INGREDIENTS AND GENEROUS PORTIONS OF LOVING CARE. (BLACK CAT BISTRO, 428 PRESTON ST., OTTAWA, 613-569-9998; WWW.BLACKCATBISTRO.CA) •
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup sugar 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature 1 large egg In a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt and sugar. Beat in the butter and the egg. Continue mixing until dough comes together in a mass. Bake for 9 minutes at 375 F. Set on a rack to cool. Crumble. Mix with roughly chopped roasted almonds. PART 4: MARSHMALLOW FLUFF 3 egg whites 2 cups light corn syrup 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 cups icing sugar 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, combine egg whites, corn syrup and salt; beat with mixer on high speed for 10 minutes or until thick. Add in icing sugar; beat on low speed until blended. Beat in vanilla until blended. Put into piping bag and chill. Pipe onto plates and toast with blowtorch.
ROCKY ROAD DESSERT PART 1: DARK CHOCOLATE CREMEUX 1/2 cup cream 1 cup milk 3 egg yolks 90 grams caster sugar 180 grams dark chocolate (64% cocoa) 2 sheets gelatin Put chocolate in a bowlâ€”set aside. Put the bloomed gelatin sheets in a small bowl â€”set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and half the sugar until smooth. Combine the cream, milk and other half of the sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the gelatin and stir until dissolved. Pour a little of the boiling milk into the egg-yolk mixture and whisk quickly. Then pour the egg mixture into the heated milk. Return to a low heat and stir constantly until it reaches 183 F (81 C). Immediately remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Pour into a 8 OUTLOOKS JUNE 2012
piping bag and chill overnight. PART 2: SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE 1 cup sugar 1/4 cup water 2 tablespoons light corn syrup 3/4 cup heavy cream 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 1/2 teaspoons grey sea salt, crushed In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water and corn syrup and bring to a boil. Using a wet pastry brush, wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil over high heat until a deep amber caramel forms, about 6 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and carefully whisk in the cream, butter and salt. Let the caramel cool to room temperature. PART 3: OREO COOKIE SOIL (Makes about 40 cookies) 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
PART 5: BANANA ALMOND ICE CREAM 3 cups heavy cream 3 cups almond milk (soak 1 cup almonds in 3 cups milk overnight. Blend, strain.) 1 1/2 cups sugar 3/4 teaspoon salt 3 teaspoons vanilla extract 12 large egg yolks 1 ripe banana (blend into the almond milk so the ice cream has just a touch of banana flavour) To prepare the almond-milk ice cream, pour the heavy cream in a medium bowl and place it in the fridge until needed. Combine almond milk, sugar, salt and vanilla extract in a small pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. In the meantime, in a bowl, whisk together egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm-milk mixture into the yolks while whisking constantly. Place back into pot and over medium heat, stir until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon. Pour the custard through a strainer into the chilled heavy cream and stir to combine. Chill the mixture overnight, then freeze it in the icecream machine. (Cocoa nibs to garnish.)
Steven Taetz ELECTRONIC DREAMS As clichéd as it may sound, Steven Taetz first realized he wanted to be a singer when, at age 7, he heard is mother belting out show tunes. “I was watching her sing Show Boat and all these fun things and said ‘I want a piece of that action.’” Twenty-five years later, the classically trained musician is making his mark on the electronic scene, one track at a time. Taetz moved from his home in Alberta to climb the music-industry ladder in Toronto, making connections wherever he could. “I’ve had to go through the past five years of slogging it out,” he says, “contacting everyone I wanted to work with and often never hearing back or getting those rejection emails.” But Taetz is quickly gaining notoriety in a genre which, thanks to artists like Tiesto, David Guetta and Canada’s own Deadmau5, has enjoyed a much brighter spotlight in recent years. His first track, “Leading Me On”, was produced by Juno-award winner Gavin Bradley, who’s worked with the likes of Nelly Furtado and Joss Stone. Since then, Taetz’s crystal-clear vocals and driving melodies, which he writes himself, have led to collaborations with some of the finest in the music business, including Kenneth Thomas, Simone Denny of Love Inc. fame, Manufactured Superstars and David Morales. Taetz’s next project is a solo track, with a title befitting what could be on the horizon: “Calm Before The Storm”. Or, as he modestly puts it, “at least a little downpour.”
Peter Tamlin Nick Pearce
— DEREK DOTTO
THINKING OF INKING? DO NOT GO GENTLY INTO THAT TATTOO PARLOUR BY JODY BOYNTON
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pen to all that ink in 10 or 20 years. One of my clients, for example, is a business professional and has a body suite, which is a tattoo that covers him from cuff to collar, nape to ankle. He absolutely loves it, but in his office attire, there’s no inkling of ink at all. It took years to complete and a considerable investment of time and money. With my client in mind, and to gain
attoos are everywhere these days. Once a sign of the rocker and the rebel, they have gone mainstream. Not just on sports figures and hardcharging musicians, but on bankers, office workers and maybe even a clergyman or two. As “tats” take up more and more epidermal real estate, they are staking an ever-deeper claim as body art, powerful statements of style and fashion. Deciding to decorate the skin is a decision as many as 1 in 4 people, ages 30 to 50, have made. Tattoos are not exactly new. They’ve been around for millennia and have even been found on mummies and frozen cavemen. The word “tattoo” is believed to have originated from the Samoan word Tatau—a culture perhaps best known for using the tattooing process for more than 2,000 years. Throughout history, it has represented many different things across the cultures of the world. In ancient times, tattoos were used to mark achievements and/or status. Others had more religious connotations or commemorated a rite of passage. Some had medicinal uses linked to acupuncture points or were possibly used as treatments for such ailments as arthritis. When explorers reached the far corners of the earth, they brought back these markings and the techniques for making them. If they became de rigueur for sailors, their popularity spread to Europe’s upper classes by the 19th century, even being embraced by royalty. Tattoos are almost as popular a form of self-expression as one’s hairstyle. I see enough ink at the gym these days to print an entire year’s run of this magazine. And the designs aren’t just little charms taking up small parcels: full-on arms, shoulders, legs, you name it. I can’t help but wonder how or if we’ll ever tire of this body art, and what will hap-
more insight on the pop-ularity of tattoos, I contacted his tattoo artist, Eric Newstead (ericnewstead.com), from the Okey-Doke Tattoo Shop in Toronto. Newstead agrees that media attention is fuelling the popularity of tattoos. Another important contributor may be that we’re all so visible through social media that one wonders if people are just trying to stand out as individuals. Time was that the popularity of tattoos ran in roughly 10-year cycles, but Newstead has been in business and has been going strong since 1995. “Even 15 years ago, people
treated you differently” [if you had a tattoo], Newstead contends. “When I travelled, I had to make sure everything was covered because if [airport] security saw you had arms full of ink, you were invariably pulled to the side for a closer look. And I’m pretty sure I didn’t get a table at a restaurant because of them. Nowadays, nobody even bats an eye.” Indeed. Newstead’s first customers “would come in and get a little tattoo to see if they liked it. Today, people are coming in and getting a full arm for their first tattoo.” So much for fear of commitment. A man with plenty of ink himself, Newstead doesn’t have any regrets. He does, however, have a few tats he wouldn’t choose to get were he deciding today. “They meant something to me then,” he says, “but they are a part of my past and my journey.” Not everyone is as accepting of tattoo misfires. There’s even an entire website dedicated to bad tattoos. Still, studies show that a relatively small 16 percent of people regret their tattoo choices. Data suggest age as a factor in deciding to have body ornamentation removed. For some, it may just be a sign of growing up. To dissuade his two eldest children from getting tats, actor Mark Wahlberg took them along for his “painful” removal session. Even Cher reportedly opted to have the famous gluteus butterfly flower garden removed. Laser removal is a popular and fairly effective means of eliminating body art. When clients come in for a cover-up job, Newstead usually suggests they get at least a couple of laser treatments beforehand, so that the area becomes lighter and easier for him to work on it. By all accounts, skin texture and hue are pretty much back to normal, depending upon how the ink was laid down and the colours used. Black is the easiest for laser to remove, he says; oranges and reds the most difficult. He has known people
who’ve had a full arm sleeve removed and put back on because they wanted a change. “It looks fantastic now,” says Newstead, “but it took two years to remove and thousands of dollars—and more money again to replace it.” Perhaps surprisingly, the regrets Newstead observes most have to do with size. “People often get a small one and put it in the middle of prime real estate,” he says. “If you like it and want more or something bigger, you have already used that canvas, and I will have to cover it over or have it removed before we can proceed.” The second most common regret the artist has observed has to do with names. He used to lecture clients about their mates’ name on their body, but once people make up their mind, such warnings fall on deaf ears. Newstead always cautions against putting ink on hands or face: It can have a huge impact on future employment. But, again, if one already has a lot of ink on his body, dissuading him might be a lost cause. Overall, Newstead says, people are pretty smart about their body-art choices. Nonetheless, he recommends taking the time
necessary to think through any decisions related to tattoos. Do some research first, and don’t just show up to flip through a book and choose the Lil’ Devil just because you happen to be there. He refers to those people as “stamp collectors” —no rhyme or reason, just jumbled “stamps” scattered around their body. “Don’t show up with a crappy picture of a tattoo of something,” advises Newstead. “Do a search without the word ‘tattoo’ and you are far more likely to find something that I can work with.” While you’re googling, research your artist. Price isn’t always an indication of quality, but the cheapest is probably not the best way to go. Do some investigation of the establishment you’re choosing. Check out its work; see its portfolio and style before getting in the chair. There is no certification required to be a tattoo artist, and all artists are not created equal. (It’s art!) There are periodic health-department inspections to ensure that proper sterile protocols are followed and enforced, so you may want to look into how recently a parlour has been visited by inspectors before you proceed. (Hint: You might want to avoid a body souvenir of your
trip to a country free of Canada’s health codes.) There is one important thing that parlour patrons sometimes forget to discuss with tattoo artists: Potential clients should think about their current or future spiritual commitments. Various religious dictates can call for a ban on any sort of body markings. While I personally do not have any ink (perhaps it’s a fear of commitment), I appreciate it on others. It is, after all, wearable art. Trends may change, but if you decide ink is for you and make smart choices before starting the process, you are less likely to regret it later. As for Newstead, he contends that there is far less regret than people might imagine: “For the most part, after you get a tattoo you kind of forget it is there.” Jody Boynton is a NSCA certified personaltraining instructor, weight-loss coach and nutritional practitioner based in Toronto. His advice is not necessarily intended for all readers, whose individual strength and overall health should be considered before undertaking any fitness or related programs. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OUTLIVING YOUR WEALTH YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU, BUT YOU CAN TAKE IT SERIOUSLY BY BRAD MCPHEE
he number-one problem we have in the information age is too much information. The next problem is we cannot fully understand the context of the information presented to us. Too much information out of context is not helpful. I am studying many aspects of our financial lives each day. When significant events occur, I like to offset the media frenzy with a more credible summary of the information from all the regulated sources I follow. I then try to make it concise but also comprehensive and relevant for my clients. The more the frenzy, the more I must study, analyze, synthesize and summarize. I organize information into two categories: my thoughts and the facts. The first fact I want to reveal is that watching the market fluctuations is not your primary problem—not even close. If information overload is everyone’s problem, the biggest problem for investors is outliving our money. Our number-two problem is managing risk. That makes our number-three problem our return. It’s very interesting to me, because when I ask most investors what they believe is their number-one problem, they’re often under the impression that it’s insufficient returns—hence, the reason they watch the markets daily. I find it fascinating that we can continually set our expectations on something clearly outside our control. How do you know if you’ll outlive your money? You could guess, of course. But a better approach might be to try a simple investment-analysis stool I use when meeting potential clients for the first time. In order not to fall off our three-legged stool, each leg must be in balance with the other two. The three legs are time, treasure and take (withdrawals): How much time do you need for the money to last; how much treasure did you save; how much will you take each year. This gives us three real variables. If I retire at 60 and live to 80, then I require 20 years’ time. So if I take $50,000 per year for
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20 years, that is $1 million of required “treasure.” Time (20 years), take ($50,000 annually) from treasure ($1 million) equals zero. In this case, zero or higher is the number required for me to have sufficient money to the end of my life. This is before we factor in compounding interest and inflation, but we can get ballpark numbers for the purpose of discussion. The actual and more complex calculations are accomplished using software and prediction models—that’s the reason many turn to a financial planner in the first place. Why is risk the number-two and returns the number-three problem? Let me illustrate it with the example of two players and two participants. Our participants, two friends, won $200,000 playing the lottery. One, let’s call him Rick, decided to invest $100,000 with Broker Bob, while Rick’s friend, let’s call her Ellen, decided to invest $100,000 with Planner Penelope. Broker Bob is always talking about returns, and Rick likes to think of returns. It was fun to win the lottery, and for years Rick had enjoyed the thrill of thinking about those winnings. He wants to be wealthy and wondered how he would live with his newfound wealth. Rick questions Planner Penelope is always talking about risk. Ellen has always appreciated risk. She has saved for her vacations, not spent and then paid them off later. She worries she might lose her job and finds it foolish to pay interest. Ellen uses her RRSP contribution room every year. From this saving she creates her vacation money in the form of a tax refund. Ellen wants to be wealthy. Ellen affirms. This is the simple math of the situation. Get out your calculator if you don’t believe my numbers. Less risk with less return still equals more money. If you concentrate on returns (or the person who advises you does) then you’re relying on something over which
you have no control. One day I overheard two people talking about their investments. The first guy, sounding very knowledgeable, said to his friend, “It is reasonable to get 10-percent return. That’s what my financial guy says.” Then he adds, almost as an afterthought: “But he doesn’t really seem to deliver it. The projections always look good, but the reality always looks different.” And my heart skipped a beat. I thought, This is my worst nightmare if that’s what I deliver to my clients. I was new to the business but not to the process of financial planning. It was my hope to deeply understand what value I could bring to my clients. In what I call one of my BGOs (bright glimpses of the obvious), I realized the simple truth: Financial planning is about managing risks. I can exercise control over my clients’ risks. It’s the markets that have control over returns. So I set out to build the financial-planning practice I enjoy today and humbly suggest we all benefit from an advisor who concentrates on less risk and reasonable returns. Brad McPhee is a Vancouver-based consultant with Investors Group and past chair of the Gay and Lesbian Association of BC. Views expressed in Money$tyle are solely McPhee’s. Outlooks, as well as Investors Group and its affiliates are not responsible and cannot accept any liability. The column is intended as a source of information and not a solicitation to buy or sell investments, nor to provide investment, financial, legal, accounting, tax or other professional advice. If you have a personalfinance question, email it to email@example.com.
THE DOCTOR IS IN
A HUNGER GAME WITH NO WINNERS BY DR. MALCOLM HEDGCOCK
e all have elements of our physical appearance that we don’t like. Whether our perceptions are based on reality or not, most of these imperfections can’t be changed, and so we try to live with them. Alas, we live in a culture obsessed with physical perfection. Six-pack abs and massive biceps are worshipped, and men who have them seem to get all the attention. It’s no wonder, then, that men—and, in my professional opinion, gay men in particular— are at risk of developing body-image issues. Sometimes this results in positive changes, such as eating better or increasing physical activity. Too often, though, concerns about body image result in negative behaviours: ultra-restrictive diets, excessive exercise and the use of steroids. These can all be potentially harmful. Weight is one imperfection we sometimes feel we can control, and achieving a certain physique can become an obsession. Eating disorders likely stem from low self-esteem. Many gay men have suffered rejection and disapproval by friends, family or society in general for their sexual orientation. This can lead to feelings of self-loathing and worthlessness that manifest themselves in many destructive ways. Some turn to drugs and alcohol, others to promiscuity, but many gay men combat their demons by striving for perfection in every aspect of their lives. When the drive is for physical perfection, reaching one weight target often isn’t good enough. Additionally, the suffering associated with achieving this goal provides its own reward, perpetuating destructive eating or exercise habits. Frequently, I notice that my patients have a distorted view of their own physique, a phenomenon called “body dysmorphia.” Eating disorders in gay men don’t typically begin with eating at all, according to psychiatrist Dr. Miles Cohen. Routinely they start with excessive exercise in order to look toned
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and muscular. The resulting praise when the initial results of exercise are noticed only encourages such behaviour. When the desired ideal isn’t achieved, diet restriction begins. This can start with decreased intake of calories but can progress to vomiting after meals or binge eating. When food intake becomes overly restricted, there are many medical complications that can follow. Heart function can deteriorate, leading to low blood pressure and loss of heart muscle. Bones can become brittle and thin. Even the kidneys can fail, leading to dysregulation of important salts in the blood. Essentially, all of our important body processes can eventually shut down without adequate nutrition. Making a diagnosis of an eating disorder in men can be tricky. Most men think of eating disorders as women’s diseases, and literature on the subject as it pertains to men is scarce. Also, the formal definition of anorexia is biased toward a female population. It’s not surprising that a lot of gay men delay seeing a doctor about their symptoms. This can be due to embarrassment or simply the fact that the line between disciplined diet and exercise and disordered behaviour is blurry. Thankfully, there are some tools available that can help us make this distinction. The most useful one I have found is called the
“Eating Attitudes Test” or EAT-26. This questionnaire is available online (http://eat-26. com/Form/index.php) and has an impressive accuracy rate of about 90 percent for identifying worrisome thoughts and actions. If society at large has idealized certain physical attributes, it’s safe to say the gay community is doing its share to uphold these often unrealistic standards. Recognizing that this is a systemic issue that’s not likely to change, it’s best to focus on the individual in attacking the issue. One way to start is for us to begin feeling comfortable discussing our eating and exercise habits—and the motivations behind them—in order to address problems before they escalate. Malcolm Hedgcock is a family doctor in Toronto with a special interest in conditions that are common in the LGBT community. The information contained in this column is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease and in no way should substitute for consultation with one’s own healthcare professional. Send questions or comments about your health concerns to The Doctor Is In at firstname.lastname@example.org.
VIVA LA VOLT TAKE A SPIN, TURN A HEAD BY RICHARD READ
2012 CHEVROLET VOLT Pricing: from $41,545 + $1,450 destination fee As-tested price: $49,160 Incentives: $5,000 - $8,500; varies by province Range: 40 - 80 km (battery only); up to 500 additional km on gasoline Powertrain: 16-kWh lithium-ion battery pack + 1.4 litre gas engine Gasoline: Premium only Passenger capacity: four Charge time: 10-12 hours at 120V; 4 hours at 240V Comparable cars: None, though the Toyota Prius, Nissan Leaf, and Lexus CT 200h are often mentioned
et’s get this out of the way up front: The 2012 Chevrolet Volt is an amazing ride. Some may gripe about the price. But there’s no denying that, in many ways, the Volt is flat-out brilliant. At first glance, it appears to be a straightforward compact sedan. Yes, the wraparound taillights and the blackouts along the base of the side windows give it a distinctive look. But if you squint and check out the Volt’s silhouette, its profile isn’t too different from the competition. Yet the Volt made more heads turn than almost any other car I’ve driven. In parking lots, people approached me and asked, “Does that run on batteries?” Here’s the dialogue I had with my dad: Me: So, technically it’s an electric car. Dad: But you put gas in it, too? Me: Yes, sir. (Note: I still say “sir.” Southern U.S. upbringing, you know.) You can travel up to 80 kilometres just on electricity when the battery’s fully charged. When it runs out, the gas kicks in, and you can go another 500 kilometres. Dad: Do you have to pull over and re-start it? Me: No, sir, it happens while you’re driving. Unless you’re listening, you won’t even notice it. That’s because the gas doesn’t actually power the wheels; it powers a generator that juices up the battery. So you’re always
using the electric system, and electric motors are always moving the wheels. The only thing that changes is that sometimes those motors are powered by energy stored in the battery pack, and sometimes those motors are powered by energy sent to the battery pack from the gas generator. Dad: Oh.... That’s pretty cool. My dad was far less confused by the interior. The wraparound compartments for driver and passenger were tasteful and sleek. In place of a gauge cluster, the Volt had a display screen offering info about battery charge, gas levels and such. There was an eco-monitor, too, showing when I was driving “green” and when I wasn’t. My test model came with the Premium Trim Package, which was $1,695 very well spent. Boasting leather seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, it was sometimes hard to tell the difference between the Volt and a luxury ride. Not that the Volt is flawless. As much as I loved the swanky interior—including the rear bucket seats—the exterior design wasn’t perfect. It felt a bit chunky, a bit “American sedan,” but of course, that’s GM’s MO. And I wasn’t entirely sold on the infotainment system. In lieu of buttons for the radio, DVD player and such, it had a flat plastic panel that controlled a lot of stuff. So at first
glance, it was a bit overwhelming. (On the upside, the touchscreen was very responsive. And the 2012 Volt offers GM’s MyLink, which allows you to stream music from your smartphone via Bluetooth. Score.) Another ding: a fair amount of cabin noise while driving. It wasn’t from the engine, obviously, nor was it due to the wind whipping by, because on smooth pavement, the Volt was extremely quiet. But on rougher surfaces, I could hear a big difference. The suspension was great, but perhaps some acoustic dampening material would be in order. Then there’s the price. The Volt starts at $41,545, no small sum. Even with a tax credit of up to $8,500 from your provincial government, it’s pricey—far pricier than the gas-sipping Toyota Prius, to which it’s often compared. That’s not a totally fair comparison, because the Volt makes for a much more pleasant driving experience. But if you dollarcost-average your fuel economy, I suppose it’s valid. If you’re in the market for a near-luxury sedan and enjoy being fashion-forward, put the 2012 Chevy Volt on your short list. You’ll turn heads and save cash in the long run, too. Richard Read edits Gay Wheels (www.gaywheels.com). OUTLOOKS
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THE OUTLOOKS INTERVIEW
DRAKE JENSEN STEPS OUT TURNING A MUSICAL GENRE ON ITS EAR, THE COUNTRY SINGER FINDS HIS VOICE
BY JODY BOYNTON
rake Jensen is a Stetson-topped, scruffy-bearded, cowboy-boot-wearing, six-foot-two bear of an unabashed man-loving country singer. He is one of North America’s first openly gay singers in that generally conservative musical genre. Growing up in the coal-mining town of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, he disarmingly jokes about being “a coal miner’s daughter.” One of his earliest musical memories is of belting out John Denver’s “Country Roads” at the age of 4. Growing up wasn’t all about music, and he endured several episodes of bullying. Jensen struggled with his sexual identity into manhood, hiding who he was. But his journey led to coming out earlier this year, instantly making him the gay face of country music. His album On My Way to Finding You mines territory familiar to anyone who’s searched for someone to make a difference for the better in his life. In Jensen’s case, it was the journey to find his gay fans. Jensen and Sean Morin, his husband of four years, run their own
Soaring Eagle Productions label. In January, they released On My Way to Finding You. But it was the video version that caused quite a stir: In it, Jensen and Morin shared a very warm embrace. Just two good old boys hugging in a rural setting, requisite porch and a dog, to boot. In an industry that’s been called “so straight it hurts,” there was a huge void for gay country-music fans. Not anymore. Jensen gladly accepts the mantle in the hopes that his voice and example will help teach people about acceptance and respect. Jensen wasn’t always so confident. The bullying he experienced as a chubby gay kid left him so scarred that he couldn’t complete high school (until later in life). In adulthood, he found himself ballooning at one point to 305 pounds. Some memories can last a lifetime. But there are ways to trade on them for something good. His On My Way video opens with a dedication to Jamie Hubley, the Ottawa teen who, feeling hopeless over bullying, took his own life. The story deeply touched Jensen, who’s grateful for surviving the taunts and other cruelty kids inflict upon other kids. It prompted him to team up with Bullying.org in its efforts to help young people in need. OUTLOOKS
In the toughest of times, Jensen could always turn to music. Early on, he sang both rock and country. He had some success in 2002 with a cover of Anne Murray’s “A Little Good News,” which was a hit on CBCs’ Radio One and throughout the Maritimes. But the love of his roots, his hometown of Cape Breton and vintage country style won out. Its plain-speaking refrains and his deep, rich voice were a solid match. Jensen, who now lives in Ottawa, knows that being country music’s gay poster child has its risks as well as rewards. For now, though, he seems too focused on the latter to dwell on the former. OUTLOOKS: After rebranding yourself as a country artist and producing music again, how did you decide to be “out” in a genre that is intensely hetero? DRAKE JENSEN: I feel that if you do something based on a nontruth, then it’s really not viable. For me to be able to sing, write and perform from my heart, I had no choice. I had detractors, both gay and straight, try to dissuade me, but I never really had the fear of not making it. It’s the journey I’m on, and wherever it takes me, it takes me. It’s not a destination to stop at. I have to be myself. OUTLOOKS: Do you hope others will follow your lead? DJ: It’s my journey. I’m not here to pressure others. There are a lot of gay country stars out there, a lot more than you know. But
“I’M NOT HERE TO PRESSURE OTHERS. THERE ARE A LOT OF GAY COUNTRY STARS OUT THERE, A LOT MORE THAN YOU KNOW. BUT THIS IS MY CHOICE TO BE ONE OF THE PIONEERS.” this is my choice to be one of the pioneers. I am proud to do it. Fifteen years ago this wouldn’t have even been possible. It’s the fans that keep me going. I get emails and tweets and messages from fans that say my music has made a difference in their lives. Many had stopped listening to country, because we didn’t have a voice. So we are so happy to be here! OUTLOOKS: Tell me about your involvement in Bullying.org. DJ. I lived with my grandparents in a coal-mining town in a coal-mining company house. I grew up very modestly. I was an overweight gay kid. My childhood was very rough. I spent a lot of years hiding who I was, and now I embrace it. I stand up for what I experienced. I own it. It hasn’t always been easy. I was in contact with Bill Belsey, founder of Bullying.org last year. He is an amazing man, a father and a teacher. What he has put together with 18 OUTLOOKS JUNE 2012
money out of his own pocket is a great resource for people dealing with bullying. Bill has in-class courses on dealing with bullying, resources for teachers and parents and students, and a forum for people to voice thoughts through poetry and music. It’s an honour to be a part of it and to donate to and support this resource. A lot of teachers don’t know how to handle it; I know the teachers that dealt with me didn’t. This whole journey has helped me heal my own wounds, and I hope it will help others. OUTLOOKS: You recorded your latest album in Nashville. How were you treated by “the higher the hair, the closer to God” crowd? DJ: When the video aired, I was doing a radio call-in show. Some people called in to say it was great, and some called in to say it was disgusting. I realized that if am preaching tolerance, I have to have tolerance toward those with different opinions. I’m an anomaly in country music; I’m one of the first country singers to come out. OUTLOOKS: What about gay life in Nashville? DJ: We recently discovered the gay community in Nashville. There are nine gay bars, a strip called Church Street, which ends at Bay Street, and you can bar-hop door to door. In the middle of Nashville, in the midst of oppression and discrimination, the gay community is thriving! They have Pride events, a chamber of commerce, clubs, drag shows. I don’t want people to be misled about the South. There are gay communities. I’m just starting to experience it, and they are very much embracing me there. Make sure people know it’s not all the tar-and-feather wasteland they may think it is. OUTLOOKS: How did your weight loss factor into this rebirth you are experiencing now? DJ: I will never be a skinny, GQ guy. I’m six-foot-two, muscular and 210 pounds now. I was a big boy at one time, and up to 305 pounds. I’ve kept it off for five years. When I decided to regenerate the music career, I got really regimental about it. Before I came back, I knew this was something I had to do. I couldn’t have two strikes being 40 and overweight holding me back. Image is important if you’re a performer, and the music industry isn’t very forgiving if you’re a bigger person. Weight gain and weight loss have always been a part of my life, and I realized for a long time I ate my emotions. I think a lot of people can relate to that. I was a very emotional, bitter person for a long time. I finally got my emotions in check, and I can control my appetite and my eating. I found balance. I work out five days a week, and I stopped eating processed food. I think our society is drenched in processed foods. I loved fast food and junk food, but I really learned to eat cleaner, cooking at home and making better choices. Just more natural, less processed foods and more exercise. OUTLOOKS: We speak the same language! DJ: There is no magic pill. The diet industry is huge, but food delivered to your door never worked for me. I’m glad that I learned that at my age. When my dad was 40, he was 60 to 70 pounds overweight. He was a big, big man, and he looked 60. He just didn’t take care of himself! I am so much farther ahead of where he was when
he was at this age. When I travel, now and then I will treat myself. But I try to stay away from it [unhealthy food]. I mostly focus on higher protein and lower carbs for a couple weeks if I need to lose a few pounds for a photo shoot. It works very well for me. OUTLOOKS: Sean is your manager—what’s it like living and working together? DJ: We have been together for five years and married for four years, and Sean and I run Soaring Eagle Productions. He does all my personal management stuff. He books all my interviews and appointments and does my business deals. We built this business from nothing. When we really started working at this, I said we are going to have our moments, but what’s personal is personal, what’s business is business. OUTLOOKS: You are a totally independent business?
DJ: We are our own labels, we run our own company. In the end, I’m an artist, but I like to take charge and be sure I am in control of my career. I’m cutting my own path. At this point, I’m happy not to be connected to any major record label, because they would likely be telling me what to do and what not to do. With some of the things we have been working on, heavy hitters come back to us and are amazed we’ve done this all ourselves. I’m one of these people who does research before doing something, and when we do it, we do it right. OUTLOOKS: So what is ahead for Drake Jensen? What are you working on now? DJ: It’s going to be busy. We have a lot going on right now. We have a Christmas album to be released in October. We have an
Jensen, relaxing and in performance
hour-long documentary/live-performance video filmed. It’s kind of an up-close and personal look set for the end of the summer. There’s a new album we’ll work on in the fall for release in 2013, a couple of shows scattered throughout there, and we’re going to be working with a major U.S.-based media company to bring the Drake Jensen brand to the U.S. market. So it’s very busy and very exciting! OUTLOOKS: How does all this play with your fans? DJ: For the fans, I think they are going to be happy with what’s going to be happening. I cater to the gay market first, and if it spills over to mainstream, great! If it doesn’t, I’m happy to work for my gay audience! With some of this new stuff we’re really going to push it. I want to be the gay male Tanya Tucker of country. She was the rebel and did everything people didn’t want her to do. She was totally off the wall and the bad girl. I’m aspiring to be the bad boy. It doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks. I’m going to do it because I want to do it. The next video may be quite a shock for some. I don’t know how people are going to react if, say, they see something like me and Sean in a bed together in the next video. OUTLOOKS: You don’t worry about any sort of backlash? DJ: I’m not worried about backlash. [Being myself] will bring me the right audience when they see I’m stepping out of the mold. It’s an honour to have a gay audience, coming out and being honest. Showing people who I really am is the best thing I have done my entire life! OUTLOOKS
June 29th, 30th & July 1st Pride Parade on Sunday, July 1st at 2PM.
RENAISSANCE MAN OH MAN ARTIST KELLY CLIPPERTON DOES IT ALL HIS WAY
BY SONIA NORRIS
elly Clipperton is a photographer, songwriter, lead singer of the band Kelly and the Kellygirls, costume designer, video editor, playwright, graphic designer, producer, actor and a stylist. He is not just a Renaissance man, but a Renaissance showman—possibly a new breed of multifaceted artist created by our fast-paced, over-stimulated, constantly changing world. In the coming months alone, Clipperton will tour Canada with his band, costume-design for Theatre Rusticle, show his photography and continue his thriving business as an independent stylist. Clipperton is a chameleon, morphing himself, as well as the world around him, based on his inspirations and interests. “I have an overactive mind,” he says. “I need lots of different things to keep myself occupied within a day, and I like having my finger in many different pies. Maybe I’m just ADD, but I like change and multitasking. The arts are a great outlet for that kind of brain.” That kind of brain developed in Streetsville, outside of Toronto. R. Kelly Clipperton attended York University’s theatre program. After graduating in 1988, he pursued playwrighting and producing his work at a variety of Toronto theatres. The peripatetic artist also began apprenticing as a hairstylist and became involved in the city’s fashion industry. With money to pay his bills, he formed his first band, My Dear Heretic. His second, Merkury Burn, which lasted from 1999 to 2003, released three albums and toured Canada. Then came the mold-breaking Kellygirls, with its smooth instrumentals. While Clipperton’s musical career blossomed, he continued to pursue photography, eventually mounting his first exhibit, bearing the wink-wink title “Greatest Hits.” Whatever the medium, the name Kelly Clipperton is synon22 OUTLOOKS JUNE 2012
ymous with flamboyant theatrical spectacle and sexy, sizzling glamour—an enticing combination. “I imagine something, I don’t see it around me, so I create it,” he declares. “It might not be true to life, but it’s what I imagine is true, and it makes me feel good and makes others feel good. That’s what inspires me. I cre-
“I HAVE AN OVERACTIVE MIND. I NEED LOTS OF DIFFERENT THINGS TO KEEP MYSELF OCCUPIED WITHIN A DAY, AND I LIKE HAVING MY FINGER IN MANY DIFFERENT PIES. I LIKE CHANGE AND MULTITASKING. THE ARTS ARE A GREAT OUTLET FOR THAT KIND OF BRAIN.” ate images I want to see. Things that you wish were in the world and that you wish you could see when you wake up.” The result, influenced by the glamour of the 1930s and the revival of Big Band sounds, is worth waking up for. There is a sense of extravagant play, make-believe and transformation evi-
Photos, opening page and this page: Gavin Hope
dent in nearly everything he touches. His is an almost childlike belief in the ability to become whatever we can imagine, the better to pull us into fantastical worlds of possibility—all the while seducing us with his rich baritone voice, sexy visual images and costumes from another era. Clipperton is strongly influenced by cabaret, musical theatre and such singers as Annie Lennox and Madonna. “The Eurythmics album Savage got stamped right on top of me at the age of 17,” he recounts. “It was extremely influential. I loved Lennox’s use of costume, character and story to convey the ideas behind each song. Madonna always kept me on my toes, because she was constantly transforming herself. The theatricality and spectacle of both these women sparked me creatively and definitely inspired my own work.” It was his love for the big-band sound that prompted Clipperton to form Kelly and the Kellygirls, a five- to nine-piece band. In their eight-year run, they have become known for their highly danceable fusion of ska, swing, mariachi, reggae and flamenco, along with their spectacular stage performances. As anyone who’s been to a Clipperton show will tell you, it is a highenergy, joy-filled sensual experience that has crowds dancing, singing and—more often than not— lusting after the lead singer. Kelly and the Kellygirls have released four albums and performed in Canada, England, France and parts of the U.S. They’re now releasing Club des Femmes, their first recording of new material in three years. While maintaining their trademark big-band and Latin influences, the group will veer into new territory, with danceable ’60s acid jazz. “For this album, I threw my approach to songwriting out the window, because songs hadn’t been coming to me so easily, and I got worried,” he confesses. “Change was needed. So I wrote every week [last] summer with Yeshua Ragbir, my guitar player, who is classically trained. He provided rules and structure instead of waiting for inspiration. Together,
Clipperton in the swim (opposite page) and performing (above) with his band, the Kellygirls
we wrote 30 songs, from which I chose my five favourites for the album. It was an amazing new creative experience.” The band’s summer Canadian tour will take it to Regina Pride and Toronto’s NXNE festival, as well as Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Halifax, Montreal and Ottawa. (Somewhere in his schedule, he’ll continue working on his first book of photos, called Work, as well as his first stage play in a decade.) The entertainer’s eye for dramatic staging is evident in his photography. Clipperton’s large-scale works are printed on such materials as plexiglass, sheet metal and wood. They glow with saturated colour and emotion. Each photo is designed, costumed, styled and shot by Clipperton, providing an entire story edited into a single image. In the past five years, he has received global praise for his photographic originality, affirmation of the strength of his unique point of view in his imagery. This summer, he’s participating in Toronto’s 10x10 Festival as one of 10 photographers invited to shoot 10 personalities in the LGBT community who’ve had an impact artistically. For his contribution, Clipperton was to have staged “a big gay 1930s garden party” set to include Sky Gilbert, Kristyn Wong-Tam, Billy Merasty and Sasha Van Bon Bon. To what does Clipperton attribute his near-constant pursuit of new creative avenues? “I’m terribly scared of eventually waking up one day and being bored,” he says, “so I keep doing things to ensure I am not.” Powerful though it is, fear of boredom isn’t all that motivates the artist: “That fear as well as an unhealthily large ego are what keep me exploring.” To which his growing number of fans might respond, Stay scared. (For tour and exhibit information, visit www.kellyclipperton.com.) OUTLOOKS
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AWASH IN WASHINGTON WHY A LONG WEEKEND IN AMERICA’S CAPITAL CITY MIGHT NOT SEEM LONG ENOUGH
BY JIM BROSSEAU
hen Washington, DC, approved gay marriage in 2010, it was hardly surprising to anyone who knows the city’s long-established reputation for diversity. In recent years, the seat of American government may have become a locus of political rancour beneath the Capitol dome. But nearly everywhere else in this city—positively Parisian with its wide boulevards and low-rise, ornate buildings—an easygoing, live-and-let-live vibe prevails. So a long weekend in America’s Ottawa offers up a mix of pleasures to be enjoyed in a broadly LGBT-friendly metropolis (that said, the street wisdom one should employ in any big city shouldn’t be left back home). It helps that getting around is a snap. Taxis are plentiful and relatively inexpensive; the subway (locals simply call it the Metro) is clean, comfortable and accessible from both close-in Reagan National Airport and the majestic Union Station for train travellers.
After checking into your hotel (for recommendations, see “Destination DC”), get right into the flavour of the capital city’s lively ethnic and age mix with dinner at Rice. Located along a now-thriving 14th Street corridor—thanks largely to gay urban pioneers—the restaurant serves memorable Thai cuisine amid a fashionable assembly of locals and tuned-in visitors. Include the delectable tofu-and-mixed-veggies soup and stir-fried squid among Rice’s Thai delights. Try one of its chilled desserts, if you haven’t already OD’d on the eye candy at adjoining tables. Wander to Dupont Circle, the once-and-still epicentre of gay Washington. For a quiet nightcap, there’s Fireplace, as homey as its name suggests. If something livelier, and noisier, is your style, light out to Cobalt for a hard-charging night of dancing and people-watching on its disco level. A place that promises “DC’s sexiest bartenders,” it was mostly a guy crowd the night we dropped in, but women will feel welcome.
Make this your day to play tourist, since the city’s iconic attractions are likely to be slightly less frenzied than on Saturday. Start with a hearty breakfast at Trio, the last of that fading fixture known as the “gay restaurant.” If the neighbourhood’s more democratic makeup has subsumed some of its former identity, it hasn’t affected the menu. Order one of its famously filling breakfasts before taking on this great walker’s city. Make your way to the National Mall. Here, with the majestic Capitol and towering Washington Monument as sentries, this site of protest marches and holiday festivals feels like a whole country’s backyard. It is ringed by some of the most celebrated museums in the U.S., including the National Gallery of Art and the Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. The adjoining museums of the Smithsonian afford slices of history to suit every taste. Aviation fans, for example, will revel in the displays of the National Air & Space Museum, where the plane the Wright Brothers successfully flew in 1903 is on exhibit. The Smithsonian’s massive Museum of Natural History boasts thousands of naturalscience specimens and artifacts. Other museums nearby include the hauntingly meaningful one devoted to the Holocaust Memorial, the ever-changing wonders of
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the Portrait Gallery and, for media addicts, the Newseum, with its eye-popping displays of old-style and futuristic news-gathering.
Somewhere in this day of sensory overload, break for lunch at Oyelmel. It’s especially popular with local fans of authentic Mexican fare and serves among the best Margaritas north of Tijuana. If something more down-home (and less pricey) is your thing, try Hill Country, where the portions will more than carry you through until dinnertime. At either restaurant, you’ll be mere steps from a glimpse (or perhaps a tour) of the infamous Ford’s Theatre, the original slip of a building where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Stroll off lunch with a walk along the Mall to one of the area’s newest arrivals, the Martin Luther King Memorial. A dramatic sculpture of the civil-rights leader stands amid undulating stone walls bearing his most stirring passages. The international crowd taking it all in becomes an essential element of this instantly hallowed landscape. Before or after freshening up at your hotel, you might want to drop by another one. The Mayflower, like a more imposing version of the King Edward in Toronto, attracts a late-afternoon/early-evening cadre of music lovers to its handsome mezzanine lounge. There, Dan Ruskin brings back a more civilized era, playing songs by Gershwin, Porter and similarly loved composers at the grand piano in the corner.
Afterward, amble up Connecticut Avenue. For tasty pizza in a family setting, order up at Bertucci’s. Or proceed straight through the actual Dupont Circle to Sette Osteria. Select one of the filling pasta or seafood dishes that make regulars of first-time diners. Set this night aside to take in a play or concert at one of the city’s exciting entertainment complexes. A personal favourite is the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. There’s a heady feeling just walking into this monstrous collection of theaters, where one might see the National Symphony Orchestra or a Broadway-bound play. At intermission, take a break on its rambling deck overlooking the Potomac River. Other DC venues for theatrical productions include Arena Stage and—Shakespeare, anyone?—the Folger Theatre. Should jazz be your fancy, there’s the ever-reliable nightclub Blues Alley in Georgetown. If you’re still up for a nightcap, head over to Number Nine, an easygoing lounge where you won’t feel out of place in your dressier duds.
Order room service or have your breakfast at the hotel restaurant. This is a day to trade the capital’s better-known attractions for some of its lesser-known treasures. There are myriad shops, many gay- owned and run, in that gentrifying 14th Street corridor, roughly between P and U streets. Reminiscent
The elegant interior (opening pages) of Washington’s iconic Capitol dome; exterior Capitol view (opposite, top row); taking in the world-class art of The Phillips Collection (opposite, middle row, left); revellers at the popular Cobalt (opposite, middle row, right); the recently opened Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial (opposite, lower right); ambling through Georgetown (opposite, lower left).
Courtesy of The Phillips Collection, Max Hirshfeld
Washington Blade photo by Pete Exis, published with permission
of Toronto’s earthy and chic King Street West, this stretch of 14th is filling with shops, galleries and restaurants whose doors open almost overnight. Highlights include Pulp, known for its irresistibly campy gifts and cards; Universal Gear, where chic casual menswear comes with a touch of attitude (but there’s none from its able staff); Gallery Plan B, where artwork can be edgy as 14th Street itself; and Redeem, where the clothing labels for men and women blend vintage with hip. Besides Rice, the growing number of dining options along 14th include the Spanish cuisine of Estadio and the pub-like ambience of Café Saint-Ex. On the museum scene, one of the city’s sometimes forgotten gems is The Phillips Collection, located along a quiet residential street on the fringe of the city’s Georgetown section. This pocket-square of a museum contains hundreds of works by such legends as van Gogh, Matisse and Picasso. It’s the sort of unassuming space in which you reclaim your breath after rounding a wall only to come face to face with the revellers of Renoir’s Luncheon of the Boating Party. You’ll be far from alone if you reach your next stops on foot. The District of Columbia (thus the “DC”) can be a walker’s paradise. You might head to Georgetown’s main thoroughfare, Wisconsin Avenue, by way of the neighbourhood’s quaint residential blocks. Prominent politicians, newspaper barons, artists and others live in these beautifully preserved townhouses.
Lunch at Bistro Francais, where a lively international crowd feasts on
Dine in or out at Posto, back on gay-popular 14th Street. The pizzas and focaccia from its wood-burning oven are but part of the warmth of this cosmopolitan canteen. Another hot spot for dining with the smart set is nearby Agora, where the “Mediterranean Fusion” menu offers such Middle Eastern delights as kibbeh and the caringly fried baby eggplant of its karni yarik. After dinner, to dance off dessert—and simply go a little wild your last night in town—lose yourself to (and in) the crowd over at Town Danceboutique.
When you’ve finished sleeping in, give yourself a festive send-off at the Beacon Hotel’s “Sunday Champagne Brunch.” The extensive menu ranges from light salads to such heavy fare as biscuits and gravy, all accompanied by free-flowing Champagne, mimosas or bloody marys. Located almost midway between Dupont and equally gay-centric Logan Circle, it’s a safe bet you’ll spy a few sweet things long before the dessert cart arrives.
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Courtesy of The Phillips Collection, Robert Lautman
Along the Potomac River (below, top), the Jefferson Memorial, far right, and Washington Monument, far left; the residential buildings housing the impressive Phillips Collection (below, right); relaxing in the gay-favourite neighborhood of Dupont Circle (below, left).
its omelettes and onion soup, or choose from one of the many eateries along M Street or tucked between Wisconsin’s quaint shops. Cap your Georgetown outing with a lazy hour in Dumbarton Oaks, meticulously planned gardens set on Georgetown’s highest point. If you prefer an afternoon built around the 163-acre National Zoo, follow your Phillips foray with a stroll up Connecticut Avenue (or take the Metro). Lunch at one of the string of cafés lining the avenue in the block just north of Calvert Street. On the way to view the zoo’s animal life, which includes its beloved pandas, check out the avenue’s noble apartment buildings, some dating to the 1920s and ’30s.
DESTINATION DC WHERE TO STAY There are a number of lodging options, including residential-style inns and B&Bs. For suggestions, visit www.washingtondc. gaycities.com/hotels. We prefer the full-service convenience of the following two properties. Old-style luxury is the watchword at The Madison (www. madisonhoteldc.com). From the granite and marble of the bathrooms to the Keurig coffeemakers, this well-located classic is all about attention to detail. The immaculate guestrooms and suites, though traditional in their furnishings, are nonetheless equipped with complimentary Wi-Fi and I-Home iPod docking stations. And the fitness centre is outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment. The handsome elegance of its lobby, bar and two restaurants may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but no one could resist the staff’s unfailing hospitality. Friendliness is also the rule at the St. Gregory Hotel (www. stgregoryhotelwdc.com), where a rainbow flag in the window and statue of Marilyn Monroe in the lobby all but shout “Welcome” to LGBT lodgers. Just a 10-minute walk from the bars, restaurants and shops of Dupont Circle, the St. Gregory features homey rooms and suites (the latter, with their kitchens and living—dining areas well-suited to long-term stays). People-watch from its sunny lobby-level restaurant, and enjoy wallet-friendly drinks during the lounge’s gay-popular happy hour. ATTRACTIONS AND SHOPPING National Mall, www.nationalmall.org Capitol Building, www.visitthecapitol.gov Washington Monument, www.nps.gov/wamo (Note: tours may still be suspended due to damage from last year’s earthquake.) National Gallery of Art, www.nga.gov Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, hirshhorn.si.edu Smithsonian, www.si.edu
National Air & Space Museum, www.nasm.si.edu Museum of Natural History, www.mnh.si.edu Portrait Gallery, www.npg.si.edu Newseum, www.newseum.org Ford’s Theatre, www.fordstheatre.org Martin Luther King Memorial, www.mlkmemorial.org Mayflower, www.marriott.com/WashingtonDC Dan Ruskin, www.youtube.com/watch?v=qm2AMkb3WnI Pulp, www.pulpdc.com Redeem, www.redeemus.com Universal Gear, www.universalgear.com Gallery Plan B, www.galleryplanb.com Dumbarton Oaks, www.doaks.org National Zoo, www.nationalzoo.si.edu The Phillips Collection, www.phillipscollection.org Georgetown, www.georgetowndc.com Reagan National Airport, www.metwashairports.com/reagan Union Station, www.unionstationdc.com John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, http://kennedycenter.org National Symphony Orchestra, www.kennedy-center.org/nso Arena Stage, www.arenastage.org Folger Theatre, www.folger.edu/theatre DINING, Posto, www.postodc.com Sette, www.setteosteria.com Agora, www.agoradc.net Hill Country, www.hillcountryny.com/locations.dc Estadio, http://estadio-dc.com Café Saint-Ex, www.saint-ex.com Beacon, www.bbgwdc.com Oyamel, www.oyamel.com Rice, www.ricerestaurant.com Trio, www.triodc.com Bertucci’s, www.bertuccis.com Sette Osteria, www.setteosteria.com Bistro Francais, www.bistrofrancaisdc.com NIGHTLIFE Fireplace, www.fireplacedc.com Cobalt, www.cobaltdc.com Blues Alley, www.bluesalley.com Number Nine, www.numberninedc.com Town Danceboutique, www.towndc.com GENERAL INFORMATION www.washington.org
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DOING SUMMER GENTLY PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND’S MANY PLEASURES ON YOUR OWN TERMS
BY RANDALL SHIRLEY
anada’s self-proclaimed “gentle island” is a wonderful summertime getaway for many traveller types, offering ultra-rich culture, friendly locals, active adventures and insanely good food. I’ve enjoyed two trips there and both times found plenty for all of my “inner travellers.” Here are just four of them. Pick and choose, but go!
Stay: Guesthouse at Maplehill Farm. Partners Mike Murphy and Paul Smith know a thing or two about island hospitality—they are the former innkeepers of Charlottetown’s glorious Great George Inn (which is where I experienced the quality of their product). Today, they’re focusing on gay hospitality, welcoming guests to stay at the guesthouse on their working organic farm. www.maplehillpei.com/ guests.html
The lighthouse at Covehead (opposite page) as “gentle island” metaphor.
Play: Be pretend farmers. After breakfast, wander the gardens, or take in some PEI sunshine on the clothing-optional deck. Or if you really want to farm, the hosts can surely find something for you to do. Play: Beach. Blooming Point is the island’s unofficial gay beach, and while nudity isn’t legal, it is reportedly common. Best to ask locally for directions; like many gay beaches, it’s off the beaten path. Explore: Romantic drive. Just get in the car and go. Meander down country lanes between fields of potatoes. Wander from one church-steepled village to another. Discover your own romantic seaside spot. Take a few “wrong” turns and find some back roads with sublime views—in PEI this is easy, very easy. Eat: Ship to Shore. Settle in on the screened patio for some insanely good seafood, some of it hauled out of the water just across the road. John Bils is a champion oyster shucker, but beyond delicious oysters is a menu-full of tempting stuff. And you really haven’t lived until you taste the buffalo mussels. www.shiptoshorelounge.com Eat: The Dunes. Arrive well ahead of your reservation to spend time strolling the sublime gardens and browsing the art/furniture/
gift shop before dining at this gay-owned nirvana. The Dunes excels at both service and quality, and the lobster pad Thai is crazy-good. www.dunesgallery.com Entertainment: Montgomery Theatre. In lovely North Rustico, this company puts on outstanding productions in its cosy theatre. Named for L.M. Montgomery, the theatre’s focus is on plays from the author’s “life and times.” This season, the company is mounting Wilder’s Our Town and more. www.themontgomerytheatre.com
Stay: Stanhope Beach Resort. This historic hotel is a great location for exploring the island’s northern beaches. Request a room in the main inn building. The lobby, filled with antique furniture, is a lovely place to have coffee or write in your diary. www.stanhopebeachresort.com Explore: Bike ride. The resort has bikes for rent. Take one out for a spin along Gulf Shore Parkway. Be sure to spot the sublime lighthouse at Covehead Harbour, and meander along the boardwalk and trails at Dalvay Pond (although you’ll need to walk your bike at times). Play: Golf. PEI has dozens of places to perfect your stroke. Swing over to the island’s most famous site, and golf next door at Green Gables Golf Club. www.greengablesgolf.ca Eat: Richard’s Eatery. Line up with locals at this seafood stand on Covehead Wharf. It’s perfect for lunch, and if you’ve never had a lobster roll, this is a good place to try one. www.richardsfreshseafood.com
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Stay: Shipwright Inn B&B. This gabled Victorian-era (circa 1865) house is filled with wonderful books and artifacts related to the sea. The gay-friendly hosts are as lovely as the home, and it is perfectly situated for exploring Charlottetown. The breakfast at Shipwright is very good, and if you’re close by in the afternoon you can go back for tea. www.shipwrightinn.com Explore: Charlottetown Farmer’s Market. Remember really fresh strawberries? Hit this market when they’re in season and your mouth will thank you. This is a great place for chatting up friendly locals and learning about the island’s potatoes and other homegrown foods. You could easily cobble together a picnic lunch from the many vendors. www.charlottetownfarmersmarket.weebly.com Explore: There’s a whole song about ice cream in Anne of Green Gables: The Musical™. PEI’s own Cow’s Ice Cream makes an exceptional product, and tours of their creamery are available. Be warned: One scoop will not be enough (cowscreamery.ca). There are a number of other culinary touring possibilities on the island, from spending time with farmers and fishermen to making chocolates. A whole site is dedicated to food experiences: www.peiflavours.ca.
Colourful lupins frame island scenery (above). Dinner is served at Ship to Shore (opposite page, clockwise from lower right); grazing cows are island residents; fresh local strawberries worth the trip; rows of PEI potatoes; the Green Gables house celebrates the spirit of Anne of Green Gables country.
Eat: Lot 30. Chef Gordon Bailey brings big-city sophistication to cozy Charlottetown; his culinary creations at this too-cool restaurant are up to the task, with a nicely balanced menu of produce, meats and seafood. www.lot30restaurant.ca Drink: Gahan House. Pop by for its excellent, locally made beer— as the menu says, “try a sample tray.” There’s nothing “gay” about the place, but I’ve found it friendly.
Stay: Dalvay by the Sea. Like staying in a life-sized doll’s house! Since the inner-child will love Anne of Green Gables (PEI’s most-famous citizen…who never actually lived), a stay at this Queen Anneera structure (circa 1895), seen in the TV series Road to Avonlea, seems the right thing to do. www.dalvaybythesea.com Play: Green Gables Heritage Place. This is it…the house that has created a million little girls’ dreams! Well, at least it’s the house that inspired L.M. Montgomery’s book title. The site is beautifully maintained, and some references from the books have been applied, like Lover’s Lane and the Haunted Wood. www.parkscanada. ca/greengables Play: Avonlea Village. Possibly more Anne than Green Gables itself. This themed village recreates fictional Avonlea, complete with costumed characters, shows and games. If your inner child has had enough fiction, your adult self will appreciate the historic restored buildings, all moved from various parts of the island. Be sure to sample some raspberry cordial. www.avonlea.ca Eat: Sims Corner Steakhouse & Oyster Bar. Anne, had she been real, might have visited the Red Pharmacy that once occupied this historic building. But, lucky you, you’ll feel the history while enjoying seriously good steaks and seafood. And order at least one lobster mac and cheese to share. www.simscorner.ca Entertainment: Anne of Green Gables—The Musical™. Yes, there’s actually a trademark on this evening’s show title…but never mind. The year 2012 marks the show’s 48th season in Charlottetown’s Confederation Centre. The show is an astonishingly perfect mix of small-town-meets-Broadway and attracts some of Canada’s finest performers to its cast. And it saves you reading the book! www.charlottetownfestival.com
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The Princetown United Church, circa 1870, in Malpeque (top); in costume as Diana and Anne at Green Gables (middle); the well-manicured grounds of Stanhope Beach Resort (bottom).
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36 OUTLOOKS APRIL 2012
undercover The Latest in What Lies Beneath PHOTOGRAPHY BY ADAM WEBSTER STYLING BY CARLTON ELLIS, GROOMING BY JADE TRUSCOTT MODELS: DAMIAN FOR PUSH, ALAN FOR VELOCCI
JACKET: ZARA UNDERWEAR: BIKKEMBERGS
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JOHN VARVATOS COAT – FIROZ TAILORED WAX SUIT – FIROZ VIVIENNE WEST WOOD DRESS SHIRT – FIROZ
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Framed: Joel A. Prevost MAKING A CASE FOR BEAUTY
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t was only natural that as a student of dance, Joel A. Prevost would bring an extra dimension to his sculptures of the human body. “Movement and the life energy behind that movement define my work,” says Prevost. “The vitality of dance was my prelude to fully understanding this concept.” After more than two decades of study and travel from his base in British Columbia, Prevost moved to Montreal. There, he and his partner, Rob Ross, opened the guesthouse LaLogia Art B&B. Besides a venue for showcasing his own work, LaLogia became a space for works
by other Canadian artists. Today, Prevost works from a studio just steps from the guesthouse. The pieces he creates have found their way not only into homes and businesses throughout Canada but into private and corporate collections as far away as China and New Zealand. His medium of choice is clay. “It is an organic medium, which breathes and has a presence in every aspect of our lives,” says the sculptor. “It is a material full of minerals. When we work with it, it is in a way nutritive to our body. It is the most ancient material that man has ever used.” Prevost’s medium may be ancient, but
his most recent undertaking is steeped in the present. In a series he’s titled Variations on the Same Theme, the artist is exploring contemporary urban design and what he contends can be its esthetic heavy-handedness. “This study is a response to a trend of modern art where the complexity of the message is more often than not daunting to the viewer,” says Prevost. In Variations, he’s endeavoured to examine “the linearity of the human body, while maximizing its clarity and readability for my audience.” The work incorporates the artist’s large and overarching themes by “representing male and female energy, movement and life.”
His own life has been a sort of creative tutorial. “I have learned to simplify the artistic message and portray the beauty of the human body for what it is,” says Prevost. “We have enough artists portraying the darkness in our society, and, as a sculptor, I choose to present the beauty.”
Prevost is represented by L’ atelier de sculpture du Village (1206 De Maisonneuve Est, Montreal); les Galeries d’art Beauchamp et Beauchamp (Québec, Toronto, Baie-Saint-Paul). www.joelaprevost.com
The artist: Joel A. Prevost
hirty-five years ago this month, Canada joined the fight to stop an American entertainer hell-bent on keeping gays from gaining equal rights. On June 25, 1977, Toronto activists formed the Coalition to Stop Anita Bryant, a singer with a couple of hit songs and a new organization of her own: Save Our Children. The big-haired Bryant created the group as part of her campaign to repeal a local Florida ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. Because Bryant was the pitch woman for Florida orange juice, gay bars throughout North America took screwdrivers off their menus, and gays took to the streets to combat her growing popularity. Time, of course, showed that Bryantâ€”whose career suffered as her activism escalatedâ€”was on the wrong side of history.
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