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MEET THE MUFF SCOUTS Glitzy gals live out daring dreams ›13

GAY BLOOD BAN Students want to end campus blood drives ›14


LEGALLY BLONDE: THE MUSICAL Like film, with doggy swap › 23 #714 MARCH 8, 2012




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Muff Scouts Jane Farrow (left) and Kirsti Wynne after a target practice event.


Skydiving in stilettos Xtra chats with activist Lia Grimanis, founder of the Muff Scouts, a group of adventureseeking queer women who offer a space where members can conquer their fears and perhaps change their lives.




You Can Play

Pride bylaws

Move over, Ronald

Brian Burke, the GM and president of the Toronto Maple Leafs, has launched a daring anti-homophobia campaign targeting the macho world of sports. Xtra’s Andrea Houston chats with Burke. ›

Members of Pride Toronto are divided on bylaw changes that would create membership fees and change rules regarding age limits and volunteer hours. › 9

Queer History Month A group of activists wants to launch Canada’s first-ever Queer History Month later this year. Xtra chats with those involved and gets the inside scoop on the UK’s successful LGBT History Month. › 12

Morro and Jasp are not your typical clowns. The homegrown duo that trained under Montreal clowning expert Richard Pochinko take on puberty, environmental awareness and sex. One of them also recently came out of the clown closet. › 15


Gay sex in Mass Effect 3 Xtra blogger Jeremy Feist delves deep into the “uncanny valley” of gay sex in the video game Mass Effect 3. Check out a leaked cut-scene from the game in which protagonist Shepard seduces, and subsequently gets into bed with, another character named Cortez. ›

Gay blood ban An Xtra investigation looks at how the Canadian Blood Services’ ban on gay men donating blood has divided the student union at Hamilton’s McMaster University. On one side are those who want to join the Canadian Federation of Students’ End the Ban campaign; on the other are those who want to continue to hold blood drives. › 14

Bully rating controversy The controversy over the R rating given to Bully, a documentary about bullying in American schools, continues to grow. More than 182,000 people have now signed a petition started by Michigan teenager Katy Butler in protest against the classification. ›


Comment ›6 Xcetera ›7 Xposed ›21 Guidemag Travel ›24–27 Index ›28 Classifieds ›28 COLUMNS

Editorial ›6 Toronto at Night ›18 Porndoggy ›30 LISTINGS

Art & photography ›16 Health & issues ›16 Leisure & pleasure ›16, 19 Music ›19 Stage ›19 COVER PHOTO BY ALEX NIRTA

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Comment Bring back customer service Editorial Danny Glenwright


EIGHBOURHOODS LIKE the Church-Wellesley Village don’t change as much as people think they do, urban planning expert Jane Jacobs once wrote. Rather, people’s feelings about their neighbourhood change. There has been a lot written of late about so-called inevitable changes coming to Toronto’s gay village and its environs. Some say big bad Loblaws will crush smaller businesses with its lower prices and greater variety; others that the tired, complacent attitude of long-standing Church St businesses will eventually do them in. I lean toward the latter. When Xtra has reported on changes to the Village, numerous comments on our website and social media pages have noted that many downtown retailers and restaurateurs seem to have stopped caring. They provide poor service and expect clients to return simply because they have no other options. This bad attitude isn’t unique to the Village; it trickles down from elsewhere in the city. Take our mayor. Despite all his political flaws (and there are too many for this space), the quality that irks me most about Rob Ford is the one thing council can’t alter by outvoting him — he just does not seem like a nice man. I do not get the impression he likes his life or his job — or that he cares if we care. What about the much-maligned TTC? What an embarrassment; what a farce. The TTC has had numerous discussions about how to progress. Every time it comes up with the same priority: improve customer service. Yet the fact remains, coming upon a friendly TTC staffer is as rare as finding a story worth reading in a Sun Media newspaper. If you really want to feel depressed about the state of our city, visit a subway station. Finally, my oldest bugbear: phone companies. I have lived and worked in dozens of places and nowhere been provided with such shockingly poor customer service as I have received from Canadian phone companies. It’s no surprise that when confronted with ineptitude and poor service in these other aspects of our lives, it hurts that much more when we gay folks also receive it in our own neighbourhood. It’s also bad business. Thing is, as a customer, I don’t re-

quire the type of saccharine, phony customer service that has to be spread on with a serrated knife. I am quite happy to simply feel that business owners (not just frontline staff ) care about my needs, listen to my complaints (when I have them) and make me feel that I am important and my money is important. A recent experience with the management at the Dundas Square Extreme Fitness helps illustrate this point. While the gym at first seemed to offer plenty of space and services, I increasingly became frustrated with my workout experiences. I was usually there between 5 and 9pm, and it was always packed to the rafters with long lineups for equipment and weights. I sometimes waited 20 minutes just to find a free bench or machine. The gym was also regularly equator-hot and out of towels (and because a towel service is offered, I wouldn’t bring one from home). When I wrote a complaint email to the manager and head-office staff suggesting they turn down the heat and buy more equipment, I was ignored for almost a week. When they did write back, they responded with snark. “We hope you are aware that in [sic] retail environment there are peak and non-peak hours,” wrote the marketing department’s Mukesh Gupta. “May we suggest you adjust your schedule?” To me this is like a restaurant seating your table of five, taking your order and your money, and then not serving you food. The gym manager later wrote to say all my problems had been fixed. But when I visited the gym a week later, nothing had changed — the lineups were worse, no new equipment had been purchased, the gym was out of towels, and the staff ignored me, as usual. They were too busy trying to sell even more memberships. I spoke to friends about my experience and have found many feel the same way. Three of us will cancel our membership as soon as our contracts allow. There has to be a better way. What type of business model suggests it’s acceptable to treat customers with disdain? Do downtown businesses like Extreme Fitness truly believe Toronto has an endless supply of new customers who will accept poor service? Most surveys suggest the opposite: that service-driven companies grow faster, stay in business longer, and can charge more for services. Makes sense to me. Until downtown and Church St businesses realize this, the chatter about mass closures and devastating neighbourhood changes will not subside. Nor will people’s feelings about the neighbourhood trend back to the positive and proud.

“The outcome that we seek is this — gay and lesbian people daring together to set love free.” Xtra is published by Pink Triangle Press, at 2 Carlton St, Ste 1600, Toronto M5B 1J3.


INBOX Gay in the army YES, THE CHARTER OF Rights and Freedoms allows gays to participate in the military, but you can’t go running to the judge every time a slur or violation occurs as a result of being gay in the military. The military depends on bureaucratic indifference to bog down accusations of homophobic treatment and keep gays from seeking legal redress concerning employment grievances. The unions at DND are useless and human resources has thousands of potential soldiers in the inventory — so who needs you? As a civilian male employee at DND in Ottawa, I can assure you that gays are no more accepted today than they were in 1991. I always cringe when I see misguided soldiers (if that’s who they are) on the floats at Pride presenting the military as a viable career choice. I myself have witnessed both Canadian and American soldiers probe suspected gays to out them. The Canadian military still despises the three groups — gays, blacks and Asians — and none of these groups will have a happy long career with good memories. Also, potential gay candidates should be advised that posttraumatic stress disorder is rampant in the Forces and most soldiers cannot ever integrate back into civilian jobs afterward. Most will only be security guards chasing kids around the mall. Bryan Charlebois Toronto, ON WHEN MY PARTNER DEcided to join the Canadian Air Force I was scared. We both take a very clear stand on homophobia, and my fear was that he might pick up some homophobic habits due to the fact that he was surrounded by it and he wouldn’t want to rock the boat with his fellow members. It turns out I was wrong. The second week in basic and he was explaining to his platoon why it is ignorant to assume women who are in the military are lesbians. I realize that due to the nature of the Forces we will continuously be confronting people about homophobia, but my partner has renewed my strength and I am up for the challenge! Stand up for what’s right! Candace MacFarlane Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador

Jason Kenney I’VE WORKED FOR CITIZENship and Immigration [“Refugee Groups Respond to Jason Kenney’s Letter to Xtra,”, Feb 24] in the past, and while the people I worked with weren’t visa officers per se, they were immigration officers who did determine the fate of refugees who arrived at our borders undocumented. Not all of the immigration officers I worked with back then were anti-LGBT bigots, but there were certainly enough of them to make it so I did not want to work

Send your correspondence by mail to 2 Carlton St, Ste 1600, Toronto M5B 1J3, email, or log in to and comment directly. We may edit letters.

there long-term. Plus, Harper has appointed to the refugee board an anti-LGBT activist, not just a bigot but someone who actively worked to make our lives harder or worse. We have already heard of far too many cases where a gay refugee was denied status because the immigration officer didn’t consider them “gay enough” to be at risk in their home country, or claimed that they could be safe by remaining closeted. Even though they would never tell a refugee fleeing religious persecution that they’d be safe if only they pretended to be of the dominant religion, oth-

comment I don’t care if someone is gay or straight [“Gay in the Army,” Xtra #713, Feb 23]. If he/she is willing to pick up a gun and fight for my safety and freedom, then I am thankful to him or her. Unfortunately, homophobia is not just a problem in the military; it is a societal problem. It is getting better, but we are still not near where we should be. Why one soldier would care about another’s sexual orientation is beyond me. All they should care about is that that person has their back and will protect them and fight alongside them. —Karen Cunningham Burlington, ON To comment, go to

ers have been denied refugee status by the claim that they had a safe area in their home country they could’ve fled to — and then when sent back were found murdered a short time later in the alleged safe area. One of the biggest problems with our refugee system is bigoted, anti-LGBT CIC/IRB employees. Denying it’s a problem at all is totally disgraceful, especially when there is so much evidence of their bigotry out there for all to see. Rich R Toronto, ON

TTC trans harassment LIFE IS HARD. LIFE IN THE wrong body is obviously harder [“Trans Woman Says She Was Harassed by TTC Driver,” Xtra #713, Feb 23]. Trying to bring gender recognition in line with one’s gender identity must be a living hell. This TTC schmuck knew exactly what he was doing when he chose to

humiliate Bianca. It was an abuse of power (imagine a TTC driver powertripping!) and clearly intended to be hurtful to a customer of a public service. As a citizen of Toronto, I am outraged. Our mayor has repeatedly spoken out about his insistence on respect for the taxpayer and a high level of customer service. Where is his outrage? Must be at the cottage with all his other LGBT concerns. At any rate, if no one else will “man up,” so to speak, and offer this woman an apology, I will. Bianca — you have every right to expect better behaviour and absolutely positive attitudes from TTC employees. As a citizen of Toronto (with no influence at the TTC, unfortunately) I offer you my sincere apology for the attempt to single you out and degrade you in public. My Toronto is trans-positive. James Frost Toronto, ON

Goon poster IF I SAW THIS ON THE STREET, there’s no way I’d be calling people up to have it removed [“No Hometown Advantage for Goon Posters,”, Feb 27]. Honestly, I don’t even think it’s that provocative, even if I think it’s stupid. Aren’t there far more disgusting things in advertising to be offended about? Lindsay Stevenson London, ON

Oscar best & worst [SACHA BARON COHEN] IS A comedian and he was promoting his next movie [“Best and Worst of 2012 Oscars,”, Feb 26]. He did what most movie producers would kill for. He got half the world to see him pull a stunt and then talk about it afterwards. We are now doing exactly what he wanted and intended. Plus, his comedy always has an edge that makes the viewer squirm or cringe a little. Amidst all the “Are we not just so fabulous” red-carpet bullshit, he threw a dose of “Get the fuck over yourselves, you are just a bunch of overpaid entertainers.” I loved his stunt; it was one of the few interesting moments of the night. Michael Halwa Vancouver, BC

Xtra told to Repent SO SOME IN THE RELIGIOUS right want Xtra readers to repent [“Christian Fundamentalist Tells Xtra Readers to Repent,”, Feb 15]. I have a better idea. My idea is that those who use religion and misinterpret scripture out of context to justify their fearmongering, lying and hate should be the ones who repent. Being gay, lesbian, transgendered or bisexual is a gift, and as a Christian, I believe it is a gift from God. Wayne Madden Edmonton, AB

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Compiled by Jeremy Feist





Record views on queer suicide prevention website after Glee episode Following the airing of an episode of Glee where — SPOILER ALERT — the character of David Karofsky attempts suicide, The Trevor Project, which is dedicated to preventing queer suicide, received record page views and a 300-percent increase in traffic to its website. However, Quinn’s texting-and-driving accident prompted very little interest in preventing iPhone-related car crashes. For more information on The Trevor Project, visit Visit the Ontario Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youth Line at or call 1-800-268-9688.


Archie Comics defies hate group American hate group One Million Moms, best known for its homophobia and an inability to count (the group has just 44,000 Facebook followers), launched a campaign against Archie Comics to try to force the long-running comic to remove an issue in which gay character Kevin Keller gets married. Archie Comics stood its ground, saying Kevin would remain happily married and that homophobia had no place in Riverdale. However, there is still no word as to when Archie will nut-up and choose between Betty and Veronica. ARCHIECOMICS.COM



–George Clooney weighs in on gay rumours BOOZE NEWS

GRINDR WINE? OMG! Is Grindr venturing into oenology to seduce new customers with booze? Nope — turns out it’s just a new-style South African wine — coffee pinotage (red wine and coffee in the same glass? What’s not to love?) — that’s making its way to Ontario. Of course, if you’d like some Grinder while on Grindr, there’s nothing wrong with pulling out a bottle whilst you look up some hookups.


Grindr throws support behind equal rights Having reached the three-million member mark (side note to One Million Moms: ha!), smartphone hookup app Grindr launched a new outreach program called Grindr for Equality. It’s meant to raise awareness of equal rights causes and bring together its members into one cohesive community, which means you can now write off your drunken late-night flings as activism. Yay for the cocksuckers!


Dakota Cochrane, a contestant on the new season of The Ultimate Fighter, opened up about his past as a gay-for-pay pornstar for Sean Cody (he starred in more than 15 films), telling blogger Mauro Ranallo that he “definitely made a mistake and want to put it in the past. Just trying to move on to bigger and better things now.” Yes, now he’s getting pounded in the face instead of the ass. Kind of a lateral move, really.

I’m not going to let anyone make it seem like being gay is a bad thing . . . who does it hurt if someone thinks I’m gay? . . . I don’t give a shit.




XTRA! MARCH 8, 2012

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Pride Toronto proposes rule changes Board considers possible membership fee and age restriction Andrea Houston PRIDE TORONTO (PT) MEMBERS TOLD THE BOARD TO put the brakes on controversial by-law changes that would institute a fee for membership, add an age restriction of 16 years or older, and prevent time spent at PT meetings from being considered as volunteer hours. The changes would alienate youth and members older than 40, long-time PT member Lisa Duke told the board at the March 1 meeting at the Central Toronto YMCA. “This is entirely disrespectful to older members. If meetings are no longer considered volunteer hours, where does that leave people like me?” she asked. “This would make people go through the membership process every year. Pride should honour its history. Elders like me represent the history of the organization.” Furthermore, paying a membership fee could be financially difficult for some people, Ross Chapman noted. Outreach committee member Giovanni Temansja agreed, noting that charging a fee could even put some youth in a dangerous position. “It’s concerning because it could ac— long-time Pride Toronto tually out youth to member Lisa Duke their families. Youth would have to ask their parents for money,” he said. “We want to make it easy and safe for youth to get involved in Pride.” No dollar amount has been suggested for the fee, but the general consensus is that it should be less than $20. Member John Bell said it’s normal for large community organizations like Pride to charge modest fees for membership. “Perhaps a sliding scale? Or pay what you can?” he proposed. Because the changes were rejected, the old by-laws remain in effect. These state that membership requires a contribution of eight volunteer hours, attendance at three meetings — general meetings or AGMs — and a nomination by the board, or members can be employees of PT. Three less-contentious by-law changes were approved. One change takes power out of the hands of the chair. It states, “Each member, or proxy holder for a member, is entitled to one vote. In the event of a tie vote, the motion shall be deemed to have lost.” Previously, the chair had the power of casting the deciding vote. Prior to the meeting, PT decided to delay electing three new board members in the hope that more women would decide to run. There is only one woman on the board. Two woman were elected at the last AGM, but Paola Solorzano resigned in December for “personal reasons,” said co-chair Luka Amona. The vacant board seats will remain empty until the next AGM, in October. Members also cast their votes to decide on a theme for the 2012 festival. The winner is “Celebrate and Demonstrate,” submitted by Proud FM’s Acey Rowe.


Grant Gordon wants to start a buylocal campaign in Toronto’s Danforth neighbourhood. ROB SALERNO

Grant Gordon hopes to take Toronto-Danforth ‘Playful’ campaign speaks to candidate’s personality Rob Salerno IT’S A RARE CANDIDATE WHO MAKES national headlines for launching a nomination campaign to be a third-party candidate in a federal by-election, but Grant Gordon accomplished just that when he launched his “Get Me on the Ballot” campaign for the Liberal nomination in Jack Layton’s former riding, Toronto-Danforth. The web-based campaign raised eyebrows for its tongue-in-cheek bid for supporters of other parties to join the Liberals to get Gordon on the ballot, if only to raise the quality of debate in a riding the New Democrats are widely expected to win. Gordon’s no stranger to bold campaigns. As the owner of an ad agency that specializes in “branding the good guys” — environmental organizations and sustainable companies — Gordon created the “Flick Off” campaign and other successful ads. But his frank assessment of his party’s odds in the by-election caught many by surprise. “I just wanted to create a piece that reflected me,” he says of the ballot campaign. “I just wanted to put that out there in an

ironic voice and sort of say, ‘Since it’s over, why not get me in there because I’ll be fun.’ I just wanted to be playful because that’s the way I am. That’s the way I talk.” His approach indicates the party has become less centralized, he says. “The party really got walloped in the last election. It was disassembled and it’s getting put back together. They’re rebuilding

THIS IS ME RUNNING WITH THE FULL SUPPORT OF THE PARTY, AND THEY’RE NOT PUTTING WORDS IN MY MOUTH. from the ground up,” he says. “I am writing all my own campaign material. This is me running with the full support of the party, and they’re not putting words in my mouth.” Gordon says the riding has been neglected and needs a community-minded MP who’ll advocate for small business.

“The small businesses are really struggling. When you start going into store after store and you ask, ‘How’s business?’ a lot of stores are saying it’s very difficult,” he says. “I know what that’s like. I run a business, and sometimes at the end of the year I have to write a cheque to my own company,” he says. “I think an MP can be an advocate for them. There’s no buy-local campaign, and I think people who live in this riding should feel a compulsion to shop here and dine here as much as possible.” Asked what he’d do for the queer community, Gordon says he’d like to address the problem trans Canadians face with identifying their sex on passports. He thinks the Australian model that allows a neutral option is best. Gordon says the riding’s diversity, including its growing gay and lesbian community, is its key strength. “I have an uncle who never came out, and he got HIV and he had a terrible death,” he says. “He was much older, from another generation, where it wasn’t okay to be gay, and it had a profound effect on me. I just feel such regret that he wasn’t in a community that made him feel safe.” “I want my kids to grow up in a community that’s not just culturally diverse, but socially and economically diverse as well,” he says. The Toronto-Danforth by-election takes place Mon, March 19.


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No hometown advantage for Goon posters Movie ads taken down after complaints Johnnie Walker THE PICTURE IS A CLOSE-UP OF A manâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s face sneering at the camera as he shoves his tongue between two of his own outstretched ďŹ ngers. It comes across as provocative, sexually suggestive, perhaps aggressive and deďŹ nitely silly. The kind of thing you might see on the cover of Xtra, actually. But it happens to be one of the posters for the new Canadian hockey comedy movie Goon, and where you wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be seeing it is on any of Astral Mediaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bus shelters. The posters for the ďŹ lm, which opened on Feb 24, were removed by Astral by order of the City of Toronto on Feb 22 â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a mere two days before the ďŹ lmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s premiere â&#x20AC;&#x201D; after a single complaint was ďŹ led against them. The offending tongue and ďŹ ngers belong to none other than Jay Baruchel, a Canadian actor best known for his roles in the American comedies Knocked Up and Undeclared. When quizzed about the removal of 38 posters featuring his likeness, Baruchel (who also co-wrote the filmâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s script) called the incident â&#x20AC;&#x153;another classic example of the cultural divide between Quebec and Ontario.â&#x20AC;? But it appears that he spoke too soon: on Feb 24, 70 posters were removed from metro stations across Montreal after the SociĂŠtĂŠ de Transport de Mon-

trĂŠal declared them offensive. Whether you consider the removal of the posters censorship or an appropriate response to an offensive image, most would agree that losing a large chunk of advertising two days before a ďŹ lm opens is hardly ideal from a marketing perspective. But could it actually be an unexpected boon for Goon? â&#x20AC;&#x153;People have said itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the worst possible time for the posters to be taken down,â&#x20AC;? says Charlie Keil, director of the Cinema Studies Institute at the University of Toronto. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I would argue that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the opposite. Because if the posters had been taken down right after they were put up, everyone would have forgotten by now. This is exactly what you want: to be in the news cycle just as your ďŹ lm is opening . . . Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s extending the degree of controversy about the ďŹ lm, beyond the obvious hook of hockey violence.â&#x20AC;? Even before the poster scandal broke, Goon, which tells the story of an aggressive, simple-minded man, played by Seann William Scott, who becomes a highly sought after minor-league enforcer, was making the news because of its depiction of ďŹ ghting in the rink. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve read enough about the movie to know that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s extremely violent,â&#x20AC;? Keil says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s clearly aimed at a more adult audience, and so the question that arises then is, Is it okay for advertising

for something thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s only directed to a speciďŹ c portion of the population to be available to everyone? Because, the argument would be, the movie isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t available to everyone. So, should advertising that is done in the spirit of the movie be available to everyone?â&#x20AC;? Then thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the gesture itself. Just how offensive is Baruchelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s two-ďŹ nger salute? Does it rank up there with ďŹ&#x201A;ipping the bird? Keil doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think so: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not as universal as that recent MIA incident where she gave the middle ďŹ nger during the Super Bowl. There, you have an understanding that is widely acknowledged â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and it means only one thing â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and many feel that gesture cannot be shown. But I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know if this quite ďŹ ts into that category as easily.â&#x20AC;? The prudes who might be put off by Baruchelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gesture also might not, you know, get it. And even if they do, is a code for oral sex absolutely taboo on a movie poster? Would the reaction be the same, say, for a poster of Megan Fox suggestively holding a Popsicle while winking at the camera? â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think that if you had a woman doing it,â&#x20AC;? Keil says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;it would probably be construed as much more sexual than a man doing it.â&#x20AC;? And not just sexual, but sexy. Because while Baruchelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gesture is certainly the former, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s arguably not the latter. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t sexy,â&#x20AC;? Keil says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;And

Canadian actor Jay Baruchel in the offending poster.

no offence to him, but I would say that heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not, either. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not the same as having Brad Pitt do it on a poster.â&#x20AC;? Ironically, the posters that two major Canadian cities have deemed too risquĂŠ for public consumption appear to have been designed specifically for a Canadian audience. US and UK advertisements for Goon focus



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on its American stars Seann William Scott and Liev Schreiber, while the Canadian campaign included images of Baruchel and Marc-AndrĂŠ Grondin (best known for his performance in the critically acclaimed gay coming-of-age ďŹ lm CRAZY), presumably because they are both from Canada. So much for the hometown advantage.

THE CREW BEHIND THE MEN-FORmen site is introducing a revamped mobile site, called Squirt Mobile, the ďŹ rst version of which was launched in 2009. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Apps like Grindr and Scruff have changed the market and the way people want to access these sites,â&#x20AC;? says Jeffrey Freeman, Squirtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s web marketing manager. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s clear people are adopting a new methodology to cruising.â&#x20AC;? Squirt is operated by Pink Triangle Press, which also publishes fab and Xtra. Attila Szatmari, Squirtâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s digital business director, says a team of about a dozen developers has been mapping out â&#x20AC;&#x153;the logic of cruisingâ&#x20AC;? since last summer. They have based the new format on where and when to ďŹ nd men who are looking to hook up for sex. This began with adopting the GPS location tech used so successfully by mobile apps like Grindr and Scruff. One of the unique things about Squirt Mobile is that member photos feature full-frontal nudity. That nudity is something Apple, for example, forbids mobile applications available on the iTunes Store. Squirt Mobile can be accessed via virtually any mobile web browser, making it accessible with almost any mobile device. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You can use the same full range of images youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d use on a regular desktop site â&#x20AC;&#x201D; more images than mobile apps: your face, your penis, your ass,â&#x20AC;? says a proud Szatmari. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Whatever you think is your best feature, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re able to show.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Scott Dagostino

David LeBlanc, Bruce Ferreira-Wells, Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants RCIC â&#x20AC;&#x201C; ICCRC

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Parents object to language in new equity pamphlet

Elton John to headline Fashion Cares

â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t expect the Catholic Church to change overnight, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wrong to teach that to childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Andrea Houston A GAY CATHOLIC MOM IN BOWMANville says she doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want her children to be taught that she is â&#x20AC;&#x153;disorderedâ&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201D; a word used to describe gay people in a new Catholic school board equity pamphlet. Ann Michelle Tesluk wants her local Catholic board to remove this controversial passage from the pamphlet, which will soon be distributed to students. Teslukâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s two children attend St Joseph Catholic Elementary School, part of the Peterborough Victoria Northumberland Clarington Catholic District School Board (PVNCCDSB). The 28-page â&#x20AC;&#x153;Colour of Equityâ&#x20AC;? pamphlet, which was recently presented to the schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s parent council, is a colourful and visual explanation of the boardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s equity and inclusive education policy, which Tesluk says is by and large a positive step in the right direction. But Tesluk, who is in a same-sex relationship, says she is very uncomfortable with the language used to discuss sexual orientation.

The pamphlet quotes the Catholic catechism, something Tesluk says is problematic, especially a passage that says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.â&#x20AC;? Tesluk says calling gay people disordered â&#x20AC;&#x153;is not in line with modern thinking.â&#x20AC;? She says that for young children and teenagers at risk of bullying, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a dangerous message that puts queer students at greater risk. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It tells them that being gay is the same as being emotionally and mentally disturbed. It says to students they should be ashamed of who they are,â&#x20AC;? she says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I pointed out that the wording is not only insulting, but also incorrect. I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think the pamphlet is appropriate the way it is now. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t expect the Catholic Church to change overnight, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wrong to teach that to children. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not factual.

Ann Michelle Tesluk and her partner pose with their two children at home in Bowmanville.

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not based in any kind of scientiďŹ c research, and it does a lot of harm,â&#x20AC;? she says. PVNCCDSB education director Greg Reeves says the passage is fundamentally important to the Catholic religion. â&#x20AC;&#x153;From the Catholic perspective, a relationship that isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t procreative, or does not produce the conception of children, is disordered,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t matter what the relationship is, homosexual or heterosexual; if it is not procreative, the relationship is disordered in the eyes of the Catholic Church.â&#x20AC;? Reeves says Catholic schools promote chastity for all students, gay or straight. Despite its problems, Tesluk says that overall the pamphlet is a positive step forward. She wants the board to be brave and progressive by removing the quote. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is a lot of good stuff in this document, but that part is not good. There is no reason to have that in there.â&#x20AC;? Other parts of the document, which discuss First Nations people, white privilege, gender identity, economic status and ageism, are more progressive. The â&#x20AC;&#x153;White Privilegeâ&#x20AC;? section states that â&#x20AC;&#x153;23 percent of those living in Canada incorrectly believe that some races are genetically smarter than others. In Canada, members of racialized groups earn 28 percent less than whites.â&#x20AC;?

FASHION CARES IS BACK, AND THIS year Sir Elton John will be the headliner, the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) announced Feb 28. The Sept 9 fashion and fundraising event, chaired by Michael King and David Furnish, will feature a gala party, an intimate dinner and a live show, with performances by John and other notable international musicians to be announced later this spring. Tickets go on sale in March. â&#x20AC;&#x153;2012 is going to be a very special year for Fashion Cares as we partner with the Elton John AIDS Foundation to transform Fashion Cares from a Torontobased initiative into one that reaches and helps Canadians nationwide,â&#x20AC;? King states in an ACT news release. The event will be held at Torontoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, with creative direction by Fashion Cares pioneer Phillip Ing. Fashion Cares debuted in 1987; its mix of style, music, philanthropy and activism eventually made it one of Torontoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top events, until a 2007 attempt to reinvent the fundraiser at the Distillery District proved disastrous. Up to that point, Fashion Cares had contributed nearly $12 million to HIV/ AIDS programs. Then, in 2009, organizers announced that they planned to take some time off. Money raised through Fashion Cares 2012 will beneďŹ t both ACT and Johnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s AIDS foundation. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Andrea Houston For more on this story, visit












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Torontoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gay & lesbian news

XTRA! MARCH 8, 2012


Building Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Queer History Month A look at what activists here might learn from successful UK celebration Nick Aveling MAX DINELEY GRIPS THE MICROphone with a trembling hand and begins to rap. The 13-year-old is barely audible over the band behind him, but the crowd of some 350 students and parents at Stoke Newington School in London, England, starts to clap along anyway. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s when Max finds his voice. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Who cares if boys are more than just friends, so let this world make amends . . . this is all about love, try to send yourself above!â&#x20AC;? The roof, to borrow a phrase, is on ďŹ re. Next up: a group of mousy tweens who shuffle onstage to present the story of Alan Turing, the computing legend and war hero who was chemically castrated by the British government after being prosecuted for homosexuality. This is what the UKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s LGBT History Month looks like. This, and a whole lot more. Only eight years after its launch, the initiative numbers more than 1,000 events annually â&#x20AC;&#x201D; so many that organizers have given up keeping track. It was celebrated

at 10 Downing St under former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. And itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a mainstay on school curricula across Britain. â&#x20AC;&#x153;My fantasy was that if I could create the space and give the month some status and legitimacy, then people would do events,â&#x20AC;? says LGBT History Month cofounder Sue Sanders. The plan worked. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a different story across the pond, where Canadian Queer History Month â&#x20AC;&#x201D; thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a working title â&#x20AC;&#x201D; looks like a group of 20-odd activists, academics and community members meeting every few weeks at a community centre in Torontoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gay village to plan a website and settle on a name. They met for the ďŹ rst time in January to continue a conversation theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d been having on Twitter about how to make life better for queer youth. â&#x20AC;&#x153;A little learning is never a bad thing,â&#x20AC;? says Casey Oraa, the groupâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s coordinator and the vice-chair of Queer Ontario. Eventually, the group would like to see a curriculum that doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t relegate conversations about sexuality to the blushing context of sex ed. At that point, maybe projects like Canadian Queer History Month wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be necessary, says

Oraa. But ďŹ rst there are more urgent matters to discuss. The first Canadian Queer History Month is scheduled for May, a month chosen to avoid trespassing on preexisting initiatives and because â&#x20AC;&#x153;itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be a nice way to ease into Pride,â&#x20AC;? Oraa says. The plan this year is to produce an interactive online calendar, also downloadable, that highlights Canadian queer and trans issues and historic ďŹ gures and events. Choosing those issues,

A LITTLE LEARNING IS NEVER A BAD THING. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Casey Oraa, Canadian Queer History Month coordinator Elly Barnes and her students perform at a UK LGBT History Month event.GARY MANHINE

ďŹ gures and events is the next step. To that end, the group hosted its ďŹ rst town hall at Torontoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 519 Church St Community Centre on March 4. There are no plans to formalize Queer History Month by partnering with school boards or ministries of education â&#x20AC;&#x201D; not yet, anyway â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but Oraa isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t ruling it out. In the meantime, he says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;we will be strongly encouraging our communities to do their own events and panels during the month and make the most of the month. We arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t pioneering this to take ownership of history or communities and say, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Do it our way.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a stance Sanders understands well. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The whole point [of LGBT History Month in the UK] is to cede control of the month to anyone who might be inclined to use it,â&#x20AC;? she says. The result this year is a lecture on queer theory in Birmingham; a lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans cinema night in Belfast; and an exhibition about homosexuality in Celtic mythology in Cardiff. But the focal point of the month will always be schools. Elly Barnes is Maxâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s music teacher, the woman who made it cool for 13-year-olds to rap about queer rights. For this distinction and others, Barnes was awarded the top spot on The Independent newspaperâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s well-publicized Pink List, an annual ranking of â&#x20AC;&#x153;heroes and heroines who make life as a lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender person better.â&#x20AC;? Sheâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also been name-dropped by Sir Elton John on national TV. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It helped me set a new culture,â&#x20AC;? says Barnes, who helped deďŹ ne LGBT History Monthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s potential. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve pretty much eradicated homophobia and homophobic language in the school. In my own year group I had eight students that came out as LGB.â&#x20AC;? Next stop, with Maxâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s help: rap music.


Refugee groups respond to Jason Kenneyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s letter to Xtra

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REFUGEE GROUPS HAVE TAKEN issue with assertions made by Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in an open letter to Xtra about a story on proposed government changes to refugee regulations. In his letter of Feb 4 Kenney states that the system has been open to abuse and that sponsorships made by groups of ďŹ ve people (the G5 category) are used to sponsor relatives who arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t in need of refugee protections. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our response has always been that just because you have a family member in Canada doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mean that youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not a refugee,â&#x20AC;? says Janet Dench, of the Canadian Council of Refugees. Chris Morrissey, of the Rainbow Refugee Committee, says she is astounded that abuse is cited for changing the G5 process.â&#x20AC;&#x153;Ultimately, every application for sponsorship must be approved by a visa office at a Canadian embassy or consulate,â&#x20AC;? she says. Dench is also concerned about the overall message Kenney sends in his response. â&#x20AC;&#x153;His department has just published a notice for a proposed change in which they invite comments,â&#x20AC;? Dench says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Surely you invite comments because you want to know what the impacts will be. Why are you asking for peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s opinion if you know what the answer is?â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Dale Smith For more on this story, visit

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CENSORSHIP Toronto activist and philanthropist Lia Grimanis started the Muff Scouts adventure group one year ago.

Gay film soundtrack moved to adult section eBay says no to red undies Ian Paul Johnston

Muff Scouts conquer fears with style ‘Jump out of a plane or throw an axe wearing heels’ Andrea Houston MEET THE MUFF SCOUTS, A GROUP of badass adventure-seeking queer women who can regularly be found shooting guns, driving tanks and jumping out of planes, always looking fabulous with their stiletto heels and perfect manicures. This month the group celebrates its first birthday. Someone pop the pink champagne, darlings. The Muff Scouts is the brainchild of Lia Grimanis, also known as “Mamma Muff,” a Toronto philanthropist, daredevil fun-seeker and fierce queer activist recently named one of Chatelaine’s Women of the Year. Grimanis beams when she talks about her Scouts, and her enthusiasm is infectious. She loves to tell uplifting stories about members who have conquered phobias, overcome fears and fulfilled lifelong dreams. Most of all, she says, the Muffs feel empowered. “I started this group because I wanted playmates. It was purely selfish,” she confesses. “I thought I’d make a handful of new friends and we’d go have fun together. All of a sudden something happened that I didn’t expect. People’s lives began to change.” Mamma Muff knows everyone’s story by heart. “One woman survived a home invasion and confronted her fear of guns. The Girls and Guns event was very important to her because she felt quite vulnerable and wanted to protect herself.” Minna Mettinen Kekalainen, who has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, says being a Muff Scout has given her life new meaning. She spoke to Xtra via email because she cannot use her voice. This week Mettinen Kekalainen is in Whistler for a paralympic event, courtesy of the Muff Scouts, who entered her in a contest for the all-expenses-paid trip. The agenda includes wheelchair bungee jumping, skiing and snowmobiling. “She became paraplegic 30 years ago, so this will be the first time she’s skied in 30 years,” Grimanis says. When Mettinen Kekalainen first found the Muff Scouts she was reaching out for help, Grimanis says. “She

asked me, ‘Can crippled girls fly helicopters?’” Turns out they can. “It was a truly incredible experience to realize that I was able to take control for a considerable amount of the flight,” Mettinen Kekalainen says. “I can say with certainty that knowing the Muff Scouts and Lia has helped me to save my life.” She also became the first Canadian female paraplegic solo freefall skydiver. “She refused to let her body stop her from living her dreams,” Grimanis says. But when they first met, Mettinen Kekalainen was living in poverty and isolation. “I reached out to Lia and told her what has been going on in my life.” Grimanis leapt into action, contacting another Muff Scout who works in a Toronto healthcare facility, where they have now found a home for Mettinen Kekalainen. “Joining the Muff Scouts has not only brought fun adventures and new friendships to my life,” Mettinen Kekalainen says, “but it has been instrumental in saving my life from the horrible conditions I was stuck in.” Grimanis, who was once homeless after fleeing an abusive home at a young age, now runs Up with Women, a non-profit organization she started to help homeless women and children rebuild their lives. “I had done all these adventures, like drive a tank, swim with sharks and jump out of a plane,” she says. “I started planning pink-champagne and dirt-biking parties.” One adventure led to another. And another. And another. “Who wouldn’t want to go shoot guns in high heels?” Grimanis asks. Most people assume Grimanis chose the name Muff Scouts because it’s an obvious nod to female anatomy. “Not true,” she says. “In the early 19th century, ‘muff ’ became slang for screwing up in sports, specifically, a suggestion that the failed boxer was wearing muffs, not boxing gloves.” “While one definition of the term obviously refers to the body part, my real purpose was to take new ownership of the sexist sports insult and say, ‘That’s right; this is how a girl drives!’”

THE SOUNDTRACK FOR A GAY FILM has been yanked from online auctioneering company eBay’s mainstream sales section. “It’s just crazy,” says Tim Sullivan, director of I Was a Teenage Werebear, a short, gay-themed musical spoof contained in the B-movie anthology feature Chillerama. “We sell it in Walmart, Target, Best Buy, but not eBay. It’s just pop songs like you hear in Hairspray or Rocky Horror.” The film tells the tale of closeted high school kid Ricky (Sean Paul Lockhart, aka gay pornstar Brent Corrigan), who, when aroused, turns into a werebear. According to Sullivan — whose past work includes 2001 Maniacs and Detroit Rock City — Werebear is “pure mainstream entertainment” but has at its heart an anti-hate, anti-bigotry message. “And here I find myself in a fight with eBay over those same issues.” The soundtrack, which was released on Valentine’s Day, features original songs (co-written by Sullivan) of an innocent, albeit cheeky, High School Musical ilk. Even Bobby Vinton’s “Where Were You All My Life?” is included.

Director Tim Sullivan says a picture of Brent Corrigan in red briefs led to an eBay classification of “adult” for the Werebear soundtrack.

But when Sullivan listed the soundtrack on eBay, the ad was yanked a day later and all sales were cancelled. When he called eBay to find out why, Sullivan says that he was told the listing was “miscategorized.” The person he spoke to suggested he list the soundtrack in eBay’s “Adults Only” section, with the pornography. According to eBay’s listing policy, all material that is deemed sexually oriented or that contains “nudity or adult material” will be banned or relegated to

the adults-only section. “It’s not pornography,” says Sullivan. “It’s got music with gay themes. So then is Glee not allowed on eBay now?” Calls to eBay for comment were not returned by press time. According to Sullivan, the problem seems to stem not from the soundtrack itself, but from a promotional photo that accompanied the CD ad. It features a scene from the movie in which Werebear sports only red briefs. Sullivan says that, following a failed appeal, he received a note from someone in eBay’s safety and trust department. The writer, who identified himself only as Steven, explained that the Lockhart photo featured “engorged male genitalia” and thus violated eBay’s listing policy. “It’s not engorged,” Sullivan laughs. “And what you see is no different than what Burt Ward wore in Batman or [swimmer] Michael Phelps in a Speedo.” Sullivan believes strongly that the removal is related to the gay content of the production, which was emphasized in his listing. He says the same photo had already appeared on the cover of a magazine sold on eBay without incident. As well, there have been no issues with Werebear when it’s listed under the Chillerama film name. The same offending photo appears in an eBay listing for the Chillerama DVD, albeit with the crotch area cropped and under the notation “gay-interest.”

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CFS chairperson Sandy Hudson (centre) says the CBS ban is discriminatory. MONIRUL PATHAN

Gay blood ban divides McMaster campus Mother of Gay or Straight Son(s)? $50 for 1/2 hour You are invited to participate in a study on the possible biological basis of sexual orientation. Mothers will fill out a short questionnaire and give a small blood sample. Please contact Dr. Anthony Bogaert (Brock University, St. Catharines, ON) at or 905-688-5550 ext 4230 for more information. If you decide to participate, our researchers will come to your home or place of mutual convenience. This research has been approved by the Brock University Research Ethics Board (10-282; or 905 688-5550 ext. 3035) Wondering what other readers think? Go to and check out the reader comments on the bottom of every news story.

Canadian Federation of Students rep says 87 institutions have joined End the Ban campaign Janice Thiessen THE CANADIAN BLOOD SERVICE’S contentious gay blood ban has tugged on the heartstrings of students at Hamilton’s McMaster University who are now trying to rally campus support to join a national protest campaign. During a routine CBS blood drive on campus last fall, several gay male students went public after they were not allowed to donate blood. The ensuing controversy has divided the university’s student union. On one side are those who want to join the Canadian Federation of Students’ (CFS) End the Ban campaign; on the other are those who want to maintain a close relationship with CBS and continue to hold blood drives. Riaz Sayani-Mulji, acting operations commissioner for the McMaster Students Union’s (MSU) Student Representative Assembly, first submitted a motion last year to endorse and participate in the CFS campaign. He says the MSU board delayed the motion because its members thought the campaign could violate the university’s partnership agreement with CBS. Eighty-seven post-secondary institutions across Canada, representing more than 600,000 students, have endorsed the campaign, which has teamed with the Canadian AIDS Society and EGALE, says Sandy Hudson, Ontario CFS chairperson. Hudson notes that most institutions have maintained relationships with CBS after joining. The campaign’s mission statement calls on the Ministry of Health, CBS and Héma-Québec to “end the lifetime ban on blood from men who have had sex with other men and base any deferral periods on behaviours, not demographics.” Hudson says she hopes the MSU will decide to stop discrimination against students on campus. “Canadian students don’t feel safe donating blood on campus,” she says. “It can be alienating and outing for some people. This is not an isolated event. It’s up to the representatives to do something about it.” Despite the recent lifting of a ban on

men who have sex with men (MSM) donating blood in Britain, CBS has committed only to a review of the current ban in Canada. On Feb 29 the CBS took to social media, asking followers to fill in a 17-question survey about the ban. Hudson says she thinks the survey is merely a public-relations exercise. Most such bans were put in place in the early 1980s in response to the spread of HIV/AIDS. However, while Canadian statistics show that men who sleep with men still run the highest risk of contracting HIV, the technology used to screen and test blood is far more advanced today than it was when the original policy was adopted. Public Health Agency of Canada research has found that HIV infection rates are on the rise in other groups, including aboriginals and immigrant groups from Africa and the Caribbean. CBS public relations coordinator Marc Plante says CBS is considering the option of a deferral policy of five to 10 years. This is one question CBS raised in its online survey. Critics have said a five or 10-year deferral period is not realistic. Meanwhile, Hudson says many student unions have chosen to stop organizing blood drives on campus. Sayani-Mulji is disappointed because the MSU once again voted against endorsing the CFS campaign at its Feb 5 meeting. “By having a partnership with CBS, we are indirectly condoning their practices and are complicit in their discrimination against MSM,” he says. “Part of the debate was that board members were not convinced that the MSM ban is discriminatory. The students there are frustrated.” He says students are circulating a petition calling on the board to look into joining the CFS campaign. “It’s about partisan politics,” says Simon Granat, another SRA member who supports the CFS campaign. “I’ve received 1,000 signatures in support.” Granat wants the MSU to take a stand on social issues that are important to students. Several members of MSU’s board of directors recently approached the

Canadian AIDS Society (CAS) in order to create an MSU-specific campaign and circumvent joining CFS. CAS spokespeople denied the request, noting they wanted to be consistent in their message. “We welcome you to get involved with the End the Ban campaign so that our voices, united, send a strong message that this homophobic policy must be stopped,” wrote Monique DoolittleRomas, CAS’s executive director, in a letter to the SRA. Sayani-Mulji says he distributed copies of the letter to further support the cause. “The board of directors made it clear


that they do not support the campaign because of the CFS connection,” he says. “MSU president-elect Siobhan Stewart said that the End the Ban campaign doesn’t present both sides of the story and we should provide students with the pros and cons — when prompted on what she meant by pros and cons for lifting the ban she had no response.” Board members, including Stewart, did not respond to Xtra’s requests for comment. Sayani-Mulji is frustrated by the rejection of the most recent motion, noting it had the support of local NDP MP Chris Charlton. “My colleagues and I walked out to protest what we saw was an unfair, biased and shameful decision,” he says, noting that MSU president and CEO Matthew Dillon-Leitch said he wanted to start a campaign unique to McMaster University. Considering MSU’s history with the issue, Sayani-Mulji is not hopeful about this alternative. “It will probably be a watered-down version of the campaign that does not take a stance against the discriminatory ban,” he says.

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arts › entertainment › leisure

Out City IN THE



Send in the

Local twosome inspired by Montreal clowning great

CL WNS Serafin LaRiviere

HINK OF CLOWNS. If your mind just leapt to images of sad-faced hobos jammed into small cars or largefooted redheads shilling greasy burgers, then you have much in common with the rest of North America. After all, most of the clowns we see ’round these parts have to do with either marketing bad food to kids or creating future nightmares for unfortunate children’s party attendees. But anyone who’s seen the playful antics of Morro and Jasp knows that clowns can be fully realized characters, and miles away from the nearest McDonald’s. Morro and Jasp are the creations of Toronto performance artists Amy Lee and Heather Annis, clown artists who defy the aforementioned stereotypes with gleefully irreverent comedy that’s so sweetly refreshing you forget it’s intended for grownups. After all, not many mommies or daddies (or in-betweenies) are going to take their kids to a show about two clowns getting their first periods, as happened in a previous show entitled Morro and Jasp Do Puberty. But this type of comedy really is a great blend of childish wonder in adult situations. Morro and Jasp are typical sisters, adoring one moment and fighting the next — archetypal in a way, but also ripe with personality and individual quirks. Jasp (played by Lee) is the older of the two, flamboyantly emotional and hopelessly romantic. She’s generally the more adventurous sister, leading the duo into all sorts of shenanigans that have been hilariously chronicled in other shows such as Morro and Jasp Gone Wild and Morro and Jasp Go Green. The latest installment of their series is called Morro and Jasp: Go Bake Yourself. It follows the girls’ antics as they try to fulfill Jasp’s dream of having her own cooking show. Of course, the results may not be anything like what Nigella Lawson dreams up — particularly since each clown sister has a diametrically opposed vision of television greatness. “Well, Jasp wants the show to be more like a Martha Stewart/how to look good in the kitchen sort of thing,” says Annis, who created and plays the character of Morro. “But Morro wants a full-on Hell’s Kitchen.” As the younger sibling, Morro is definitely the more mischievous girl. A tomboy by nature, she tends to follow her older sister’s lead in most things — even if it does involve a certain amount of griping under her breath or throwing the

occasional wrench into the works. “They really are devoted to each other but just very, very different,” Annis says. “Jasp is more concerned with being feminine and finding romance, but Morro doesn’t want anything to do with all that. It’s all part of growing up, and Morro just wants to stay young and have fun.” Despite this desire to remain a child, Morro has recently begun to express romantic feelings toward her friend Sasha — a lesbianic development that surprised both creators when it arose in their Gone Wild show. “A lot of what we discover about our clowns is done through improv and exploration,” Annis explains. “It was one of the things that did surprise us, but it made total sense because it was something we were wondering about Morro. Jasp is always talking about boys, and Morro has just never been interested. “Our aim is to listen to our impulses and let them take us wherever they want to. So when we landed on this, it just felt right for Morro.” Despite neither of them indulging in the love that dares not munch a carpet, Annis and Lee are excited about the possibilities that this Sapphic development opens up for their characters. “Morro’s always been very private about these things,” says Lee. “She hasn’t actually told Jasp yet, but Jasp does suspect that something’s up there. I think she’ll be very excited at the prospect, and proud of her sister.” The two based their characters partly on a school of clowning created by Montreal clown-master Richard Pochinko. The Pochinko Method emphasizes the gradual development of clown characters, encouraging students to discover facets of their creations through things like improvisational and mask performance.


Pochinko was born in 1946; his fascination with clowns led him across Europe to study with some of the art form’s finest masters. It was after a short stint at Paris’s renowned clowning school L’École Jacques Lecoq that Pochinko decided to return home to Montreal, where he opened his own acting studio. Pochinko’s classes incorporated what he’d learned from the European masters, along with impressions gleaned from Native American clowning techniques and traditions. Using masks, movement and personal introspection, Pochinko developed a course plan that emphasized an individualistic approach to creating characters.

“He would bring artists closer to themselves,” says Peter Jarvis, a former student of the Pochinko Method and mentor to Annis and Lee. “He helped them open those doors that people are sometimes frightened to explore. He was like a midwife to your own inner mythology.” Jarvis studied with Pochinko for three years, using some of what he learned to create the iconic Toronto street performance character Silver Elvis. Looking like a chrome statue come to life, Jarvis’s Elvis has entertained thousands of Torontonians and tourists alike with a performance style that is part mime, part clown and completely unforgettable. “Before I met Richard I had all the technique in the world but not the access to it,” Jarvis says. “He helped me discover the confidence to find my own individual characters from within. All the insecurities started to fall away, and I was able to walk into any space and feel comfortable . . . like going out on the street and performing in front of the Eaton Centre. That’s what I hope to do in my own mentoring.” Along with his performances of Silver Elvis and several other original characters, Jarvis teaches the art of clowning in both private and classroom settings. Like Pochinko (now deceased) before him, Jarvis incorporates a number of styles and methods in helping students to craft their own creations. Annis and Lee proved apt pupils. “What I liked about their work is that they were brave and bold,” Jarvis says. “And that is one of the contingents of doing this work. You have to be brave, because you’re facing yourself completely. “A lot of people fear that when they look within they’re going to see really awful things, but Richard Pochinko told us to embrace and celebrate these things when we see them.”

the deets MORRO AND JASP: GO BAKE YOURSELF Wed, March 21–Sat, March 31, 8:30pm Cahoots Theatre Company 388 Queen St E


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Ian Harvie tells twisted stories on Fri, March 9.

ART & PHOTOGRAPHY GraďŹ&#x192;ti Show on Art Censorship Local graďŹ&#x192;ti artist Spud takes on Rob Ford and blurs the line between vandalism and street art. Opening reception Thurs, March 8, 7:30pm. Runs till Sat, March 31. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t Tell Mama Gallery, 108 Ossington Ave. Free.

History, Glamour, Magic: Honouring the Heart of Will Munro


A collection of work from the visionary artist and party promoter who transformed the city and left us far too soon. Art Gallery of York University, Accolade East Building, 4700 Keele St. Runs till Sun, March 11. Free.



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Artists Russell Brohier, Sean Galbraith, Steve Jacobs and Mathew Merrett pay homage to the steel industry in this group photo exhibition. Opening reception Fri, March 9, 7pm. Runs till Thurs, March 29. Twist Gallery, 1100 Queen St W. Free.

HEALTH & ISSUES Celebrate International Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day Community organizer Farrah Khan gives a talk about providing support to women who have experienced violence and trauma. Thurs, March 8, noonâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;1pm. Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s College Hospital, 76 Grenville St. Free.

Legit Toronto Accessible legal counsel for samesex partners immigrating to Canada. Learn about the options and connect with others. Thurs, March 8, 7â&#x20AC;&#x201C;10pm. 519 Church St Community Centre, 519 Church St. Free, donations accepted. 416-392-6874.

Positive Routes to Recovery A peer-facilitated support group for gay and gay HIV-positive men taking a harm-reduction approach to substance use. This safe and non-judgmental environment focuses on individual goal-setting. Tues, March 20, 6â&#x20AC;&#x201C;8pm. The 519 Church St Community Centre, 519 Church St. Free.

Hyperactive Dreamers â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Creative or ADHD? Teach the teacher. Educator Marko Ferek shares his experience with ADHD and his subsequent journey of self-realization. Wed, March 21, 7â&#x20AC;&#x201C;8:30pm. Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto, 115 Simpson Ave. Free.

LEISURE & PLEASURE Older LGBT Social Meet new friends and celebrate St Patrickâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day with light refreshments, coďŹ&#x20AC;ee, tea and conversation. Transportation available. Thurs, March 8, 2â&#x20AC;&#x201C;4pm. SPRINT, 140 Merton St. Free.

Frugal Feasts Host Lesley Stoyan of Daily Apple forks out her $25 per week Fresh Living Plan. Learn to eat well on a budget. Thurs, March 8, 6â&#x20AC;&#x201C;8pm. Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle, University of Toronto. $32, $8 students. frugalfeasts

Kitchen Sisters Acclaimed chefs Anne Yarymowich, Donna Dooher, Colen Quinn and others join culinary forces to raise much-needed funds for Sistering and to salute International Womenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day. Thurs, March 8, 6pm. Mildredâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Temple Kitchen, 85 Hanna Ave. $500, $1,000 VIP chefâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s table.

50 Years of Choice Planned Parenthood of Toronto celebrates a half-century of prochoice practices and activism with a fundraising extravaganza. Featuring a silent auction and appearances by Adam Vaughan, Sasha Van Bon Bon, El-Farouk Khaki and more. Thurs, March 8, 7â&#x20AC;&#x201C;9:30pm. Ramada Plaza Toronto, 300 Jarvis St. $25.

Ian Harvie The FTM comedian and BFF of Margaret Cho courts the crowd with an evening of twisted storytelling. Fri, March 9, 7pm. The Flying Beaver Pubaret, 488 Parliament St. $20 advance, $25 door.

Gay Professionals Social Mixer Suit up for an elegant evening of cocktailing, schmoozing and cruising in a well-appointed atmosphere. Online registration required. Sun, March 11, 7:30pm. Stock Bar, Trump Hotel Toronto, 325 Bay St. $10. â&#x20AC;ş continued on page 19

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Bent bookish bandits Eminent Outlaws is a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;large scale cultural narrativeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; that traces the history of gay American literature Alistair Newton â&#x20AC;&#x153;THE GAY REVOLUTION BEGAN AS a literary revolution.â&#x20AC;? The phrase serves as both opening line and thesis statement in New York author Christopher Bramâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s new history Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America. Bram begins with a small collection of gay male writers in the post-war period, then charts, with ĂŠlan and insight, the emergence of gay literature in America, which reached a kind of apotheosis in the 1990s. He frames this historical survey as a theatrical narrative, its fascinating dramatis personae making entrances and exits throughout. The very fact that a book like Bramâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s exists at all is a testament to the pioneering spirit of the movementâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s early figureheads â&#x20AC;&#x201D; luminaries like Gore Vidal, Truman Capote, Christopher Isherwood, Allen Ginsberg and James Baldwin. It is fascinating to reexamine the struggles of men who have attained mythic status within the cultural landscape of contemporary America. Although in his introduction Bram expressly denies attempting to canonize any of his â&#x20AC;&#x153;outlaws,â&#x20AC;? his book is also proof-positive of the existence of a viable queer literary canon. In that same introduction, Bram asserts, â&#x20AC;&#x153;I deliberately left myself out of

this story. It would be impossible to talk about my own work without sounding self-serving.â&#x20AC;? There is an obvious trap door in Bramâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s apparent modesty. Any history of gay literature in the second half of the 20th century must surely include Christopher Bram â&#x20AC;&#x201D; author of nine novels, Guggenheim Fellow and Bill Whitehead Lifetime Achievement award-winner. Luckily for his readers, Bram quickly (and repeatedly) inserts himself and his work into the narrative. Though never offering a detailed account of his own literary impact, Bram does fulďŹ ll another of his introductionâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s assertions not to â&#x20AC;&#x153;pretend to be objective.â&#x20AC;? He acts as an informed insider, a highly opinionated and occasionally (and delightfully) bitchy guide through six decades of queer cultural history. Bramâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;large scale cultural narrativeâ&#x20AC;? begins in 1948 with the publication, in the same month, of Gore Vidalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s The City and the Pillar and Other Voices, Other Rooms by Vidalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nemesis Truman Capote. Vidal acts as a touchstone throughout the â&#x20AC;&#x2122;50s and â&#x20AC;&#x2122;60s, through his friendship with Tennessee Williams, his ongoing feud with Capote, and his legendary propensity for managing to always be a witness to seismic political events. Bram strikes a welcome balance be-

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tween reportage â&#x20AC;&#x201D; citing sales ďŹ gures for gay novels and critical response as a barometer for the acceptance of gay-lit â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and personal opinion. He never misses an opportunity to advocate for an overlooked work or artist, or to deďŹ&#x201A;ate what he views as an unwarranted reputation. In the workâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s second half, Edmund White picks up the baton from Vidal and carries it to the end of Bramâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s his-

the deets EMINENT OUTLAWS: THE GAY WRITERS WHO CHANGED AMERICA Christopher Bram Twelve Books $29.99

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Christopher Bramâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s detailed history of American gay writing includes tidbits about his own work.

torical relay. White is an appropriate choice, not only because his novel A Boyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Own Story heralded a new phase in mainstream American success for gay authors, but also because of his HIV-positive status. AIDS subsumes the narrative when Outlaws moves into the â&#x20AC;&#x2122;80s, as well it must. The story of the early days of the AIDS crisis still has the ability to shatter, regardless of how many times one has heard it told, and here it is told movingly. In a moment of sublimity, Bram reframes Wilfred Owenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s imperishable First World War poem â&#x20AC;&#x153;Dulce et Decorum Estâ&#x20AC;? to comment on the horrors of AIDS: â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you could hear, at every

jolt, the blood / Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs, / Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud / Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues.â&#x20AC;? Bramâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s narrative of gay literary history includes discussions of such seminal works as Isherwoodâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s A Single Man, Tony Kushnerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Angels in America and Larry Kramerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s The Normal Heart, as well as Ginsbergâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Howl and the poetry of Thom Gunn and Melvin Dixon. Bram also provides a roll call of artists who achieved early success and were snuffed out by AIDS, representing a loss to gay American letters of unknown dimension. Eminent Outlaws will likely be criticized by some for its reliance on famous quotes and well-known anecdotes. This is a misreading and a reduction. Much like Michael Bronskiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s A Queer History of the United States, Bramâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s work is a survey, which will no doubt serve as a gateway to further reading. Also â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and it deďŹ es the journalistâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s imperative that states that one must always be on guard against such things â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the fact that gay literature has advanced to a place where it is possible to have our own clichĂŠs is, in itself, a strange kind of victory. As for the future of gay-lit, Bram is ambivalent. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are going through a transitional period,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know yet what the next phase will be.â&#x20AC;? One hopes Christopher Bram will be there as a guide, wherever that next phase should lead.

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New roosterat the Henhouse Toronto at Night Ryan G Hinds


ANS OF HEARTBREAKING hottie Bobby Valen may have noticed they (Valen prefers to be referred to as “they” rather than “he” or “she”) haven’t been seen around the Gladstone lately. After five years as one of that bar’s most popular server/bartenders, Valen surprised many with the announcement that they were the new owner of the Henhouse, a small but reliably fun bar space that’s been holding it down in the west end for three years. “It’s hard to leave any place you’ve worked at for five years,” Valen says. “Everyone there is like family to me. I had the opportunity to bartend and to be a part of so many important and integral events that changed Toronto for the better. It was one helluva chapter in my life, but you get to a point where you need to grow and start something new and move on.” Valen’s purchase of the Henhouse is fodder for west-end gossips, but we can expect a “don’t fix what ain’t broke” approach. “I’m going to make some minor improvements from the back end that most people won’t even notice. This bar looks and feels like something I would have put together myself. Our intention is to keep it feeling warm, friendly and just the way it’s already


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felt for years; the jukebox stays, along with the mis-matched furniture. As an owner there’s a hell of a lot more paperwork, but other than that I’m finding the transition between bartending and owning fairly smooth. The reality is I’m still a bartender 40-plus hours a week.” If you haven’t been to the Henhouse, it’s your loss. Parkdale is more than just Queen St W, and Valen is determined to pick up the slack on Dundas from the recently closed Naco. “I came for the cheap rent and I stayed for the community,” they say. I agree. The Village seems small sometimes, a few blocks of one street with some huge landmarks. Going back and forth between Queen and Dundas is prime queer hunting ground, and the Henhouse has a loyal clientele of art fags who outgrew that term in 2010 and queers who just want to dance. Valen promises to keep them happy. So what can we expect in terms of events and lineup?

I CAME FOR THE CHEAP RENT AND I STAYED FOR THE COMMUNITY. —Bobby Valen, new owner of the Henhouse “Tuesdays and Thursdays will remain low-key jukebox nights, so people can come by and hang out,” Valen says. “Wednesday, Friday and Saturday are our dance-driven DJ nights. Tapette (faggy French pop) and Gayfinity (hard-hitting beats) are two new parties, but we intend on keeping almost all of the monthly parties the Henhouse has had over the last few years, including nights like Snakepit (queer mid-week dance party), That Time of the Month (all-lady R/B, soul, hip hop) and Chicken Party, just to name a few.

“We’re adding new nights, like the Gangbangaz night and CriscoTheque (greasy, gay, guilty dancefloor jams), as well as some surprises yet to come.” Impressive. As their biggest fan, I’m biased when it comes to Bobby, but it’s clear the Henhouse is in good hands. More than just a tried-and-true partier, Bobby’s dusty old business degree, a long history of activism, community organizing, and tending bars everywhere from back-alley boozecans to some of Toronto’s finer establishments combine to make them pretty much the ideal person to take over this space. I think queer nightlife in the city is going to benefit from having Bobby at the helm of a space; it feels right to me. It’s also great to see someone standing up for something they love. How many of the rest of us can legitimately say we’d buy a business we liked if we saw it was for sale? Aretha and Annie have that song about “doin’ it for themselves,” and it’s the first thing I thought of when I heard Bobby was the new owner. “I like the venue. It’s a great bar. I’ve partied here a lot in the past and consider it one of my locals. It was never my intention to start a bar; this was an opportunity to save a piece of queer Toronto, so I took it. Starting from scratch would mean missing out on that opportunity,” Valen says. It’s enough to warm my jaded scenester-y heart. Toronto at Night appears in every second issue of Xtra.


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The ideal candidates would also have the following knowledge, skills and experience: t Understanding of board governance practices t Experience on corporate or non-profit boards t Interest in fundraising t Commitment to the Casey House mission and strategic directions t Experience researching, planning or delivering programs for persons living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) is also an asset.

Loreta Zubas Voula Michaelidis Lambert Boenders t Workplace Matters t Human Rights Issues t Discrimination and Harassment t Human Resource Strategies

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Marking 24 years of service to the community, Casey House is a specialty hospital with community programming that provides exemplary treatment, support and palliative care for people living with HIV/ AIDS. This dynamic healthcare organization is developing a new standard of care for clients in collaboration with dedicated staff, volunteers and the broader community for whom compassion is a calling. The Board of Directors is reaching out to potential volunteers to invite applicants to fill a limited number of Board of Directors and Board committee (i.e. Quality, Finance, Redevelopment and Foundation) positions. This year, we seek board members with expertise or experience with fundraising, in particular capital campaigns, project experience with Infrastructure Ontario, as well as experience with healthcare policy and management or the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Casey House welcomes applicants from all communities and particularly encourages people living with HIV/AIDS to apply. Interested candidates are invited, but not required, to attend an Open House at Casey House on Monday, April 2nd from 5:30 - 7:30pm. Applications will be accepted until Thursday, April 12th and should be submitted to:

Employment Law Firm in Downtown Toronto Tel: -416-593-5844 Toll Free: 1-866-920-5844

Diane Pinchak Casey House 9 Huntley Street Toronto, ON M4Y 2K8 416 962-4040 x237 For more information about governance requirements for hospital directors, visit To obtain further information about Casey House, and to obtain an application form, please visit our website at

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XTRA! MARCH 8, 2012


IN PRINT For more listings, go to

Ask Emily how to fix (or find) lesbian love Columnist offers up page after page of glossy advice in new book Shannon Webb-Campbell

Gavin Crawford performs at Awkward on March 15. › continued from page 16

LEISURE & PLEASURE TNT!Men Swim Join the furry men in a wet and sticky dip in the outdoor pool. Who could ask for anything more? Tues, March 13, 8:15pm. Harrison Pool, 15 Stephanie St. $8, $5 members, $4 students.

Singing for Love The queer Asian choir meets and welcomes new members. Cruise, croon and connect. No experience or auditions necessary. Wed, March 14, 5:30–7:30pm. The 519 Church St Community Centre, 519 Church St. Free. 416-427-4561. ariescheung. com/singingforlove

craft and take it to the next level. Audition to be part of a new and exciting collaborative. Register to audition online by Fri, March 31.

STAGE Grindr: The Musical Farm boy cum it boy Trevor Boris unveils his non-musical, inspired by the mobile cruising app. Thank heavens for GPS. Thurs, March 8, 7pm. The Flying Beaver Pubaret, 488 Parliament St. $15 advance, $20 door.

Bigger, Better and Multiples: Orgasms for Women A practical and informative workshop on multiple, extended and full-body orgasms. Gather tips on fortifying pleasure, locating the G-spot and more. Hosted by Carlyle Jansen. Wed, March 14, 7–10pm. Good For Her, 175 Harbord St. $33.

Inside Out presents The Wise Kids The coming-of-age drama of three kids dealing with doubt, beliefs and homosexuality set in and around a Baptist church. Thurs, March 15, 7pm. TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St W. $10, $8 members.

Where Did It Go? Carlyle Jansen provides sound strategies for women dealing with low libido and offers creative solutions for managing relationship expectations. Women only. Wed, March 21, 7–10pm. Good For Her, 175 Harbord St. $33.

MUSIC Wednesdays Go Pop Live performances by the handsome and talented Jean-Paul De Roover and featuring Craig Stickland, The Franklin Electric and Marlboro. Wed, March 14, 8:30pm. Supermarket, 268 Augusta Ave. PWYC.

Spectra Auditions Queer Idol rebrands itself as a not-for-profit organization that welcomes performers of all varieties. Knock opportunity on its ass and take advantage of this new platform to hone your

Grindr: The Musical is on March 8.

Legally Blonde: The Musical Don’t stomp your little last-season Prada shoes at me, honey. The story of sorority queen Elle Woods’ unexpected ascent to the gates of law school gets the musical treatment. Directed by Tricia Lackey, musical direction by Robert Wilkinson. Runs Fri, March 9 to Sat, March 31. Various showtimes. Lower Ossington Theatre, 100A Ossington Ave. $45–60.

Awkward: A Night of Queer Comedic Storytelling Eight funny and gifted fruits dish on their personal stories of shame and embarrassment. Featuring Gavin Crawford, Paul Bellini, Shawn Hitchins, Maggie Cassella, Andrew Johnston and Dawn Whitwell. Thurs, March 15, 8pm. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander St. $10.

Shrek: The Musical Dancap Productions presents a musical treatment of the adorable monster’s quest to reclaim the deed to his land. Tues, March 20–Sun, April 1, various showtimes. Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge St. $34–135. Group rates available.

SO WHAT HAPPENS WHEN 100 LESbians walk into a bar? Ask Emily Wilcox. The relationship expert and advice columnist attempts to offer insight into lesbian relationships in her new self-published book. “My advice column, Ask Emily, inspired the idea,” Wilcox says. “I had so many questions that I decided to put them into a book that would hopefully help lesbian women out there who are stuck in a bad relationship, trying to fix a mediocre one or find lasting love. “The old adage of supply and demand, I suppose. No topic is off limits, and I just answered what came into my email. I had very dedicated readers and had a lot of questions to choose from for the book. Women come to me because they have problems, not because their love lives are going great, so it’s a free-for-all and a cacophony of reallife issues, from sex to depression to soulmates.” Wilcox, who identifies as bisexual, is based in Los Angeles, where she says she finds herself intrigued and fascinated by lesbian relationships and the dynamics between women.

The question-andanswer-style book is a quick read, and it’s both hilarious and sarcastic. At moments trite, 100 Lesbians Walk into a Bar is perfect for those who love to read advice columns in glossy magazines. Stories from Wilcox’s six years as a certified life coach and advice columnist span sexuality, co-dependency, commitment-phobia, communication, self-esteem, trauma, abandonment, rape, loss and grief. Readers can find her Ask Emily column published in Curve, FHM and Diva and on the She Wired website. “Sexuality is our basic nature. It’s an intrinsic part of who we are, and it’s something we cannot change, whether gay, bisexual, transgender or straight,” she says. “Within a lesbian relationship, one of the only differences is that the estrogen levels can be higher and emotions can easily run deeper. But that being said, our sexual identities do not actually play a huge role in how we behave and relate within our relationships.” Wilcox plans to donate a percentage of the proceeds from 100 Lesbians

Emily Wilcox’s advice column appears in Diva, Curve and FHM.

to the Human Rights Campaign, an American gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans civil rights lobby group. Throughout her book, Wilcox’s message is clear: you can’t love anyone until you love yourself. “Self-love can be attained in a few ways,” she says. “One is that we must forgive our pasts. We have to question every single negative thought and put it in its appropriate resting place.”

the deets 100 LESBIANS WALK INTO A BAR Emily Wilcox CreateSpace $10.95


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Not your typical Boy Scout Daryl Vocat’s One Continuous Mistake Chris Dupuis TITLING AN ART EXHIBITION ONE Continuous Mistake is a potentially hazardous choice, if only because it gives venomous critics a too-easy lead for a scathing review. But when Toronto artist Daryl Vocat selected this phrase as the moniker for his exhibition at KWT Contemporary (Kristyn Wong-Tam’s west-end gallery), the possibility of negative press hadn’t crossed his mind. “I feel pretty good about how this show has come together, and that’s not always the case,” says the Regina native in his typically modest manner. “Maybe it’s shortsighted of me not to think of possible repercussions in the media. But honestly, I don’t get very much press, so that’s probably why it hadn’t crossed my mind.” The choice of title had less to do with the collection of brightly coloured

the deets DARYL VOCAT One Continuous Mistake Runs until Sat, March 31 KWT Contemporary 624 Richmond St W Wednesday to Saturday, noon–6pm or by appointment

water-jet-cut metal prints Vocat is presenting than his overarching experience of being an artist. Originally a reference to the process of lifelong learning through trial and error in Zen Buddhist practice, he found it an appropriate metaphor for his life’s work. “As an artist, you just keep putting stuff out there, trying to make sense of it and hoping it will resonate with other people,” the York University graduate says. “I think if I keep making mistakes and keep carrying on it’s a good thing. I don’t want to pretend I have all the answers about my work. There’s a vulnerability I like in the idea.” While Vocat has no qualms about appearing vulnerable in his images, poking at his naked belly while clothed in pink American Apparel briefs, there’s little that feels accidental here. Coloured hankies denoting various sexual proclivities, Ouija boards for conjuring gay spirits of the past, and implements of queer shamanism and magical practices all spin together in a kaleidoscope of rainbow colours, stamped emphatically with his signature self-effacing humour. “In most cases my self-portraits aren’t biographical but are more about a type of performance or theatre,” he says. “They’re meant to be read as fairly obviously staged. I work a lot with collage as a form, and so I’m interested in bringing different kinds of images

together and manipulating them to create new relationships and understandings. I often borrow clichés, images and ideas from pop culture, trying them on to look for versions of truth within stereotypes.” As with past works, Vocat also makes liberal use of Boy Scout iconography. Often taken directly from the organization’s handbooks, his iconically scarf-necked, patch-sleeved boys cavort as they challenge behavioural norms, sexuality and constructs of masculinity. A 12-year Scout veteran himself (that’s Beavers to Ventures, for those in the know), much of Vocat’s time growing up was spent within the organization’s fold. “Once I was away from Scouting for a while I started to rethink what was taught,” he says. “I wanted to be critical of the more militaristic aspects of Scouting, but I am also appreciative of the better parts, like striving to be a good person, being generous and helping other people out. “Growing up is a pretty loaded and turbulent time, so it only makes sense it’s pretty rich with possibility for art,” he adds. “I remember looking at those Scout handbooks and how pure everyone was. That seemed miles away from my experiences of nearly lighting our leader’s tent on fire and running around in the woods all night in our underwear.”


“In most cases my self-portraits aren’t biographical but are more about a type of performance or theatre,” says Daryl Vocat.

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XTRA! MARCH 8, 2012


Anna Pournikova Can you believe this is Lauren Petigrew? Talk about a transformation for the ages. Holy smoking asshole, she nailed this one hard. Incidentally, it was Lauren’s birthday at the Vampire Love Ball 3, so it kinda was her night to shine, after all. And shine she did. Best outfit ever.

Nico Pecota is straight. Not that it matters, but I figure, since this fact was said to me twice, it bears repeating. I don’t think it was told to me as a judgment. It was more shock at how awesome he is . . . you know, for a breeder. He made a giant painting of vampire sperm for the event and it was a huge hit, and so was his outfit. Breeder or not, I say we keep him for a long, long time. The By the Pound art show is a brilliant idea. It’s a group show where all the art is sold by the pound, complete with butcher paper and scale. In this pic, a piece is wrapped up by sponsor and meat expert Peter Sanagan, of Sanagan’s Meat Locker. $125 a pound for any piece on the wall. Brilliant right?

Nikki Chin was crowned the new Queen of Sodom at the Vampire Love Ball 3 at Sodom’s popular monthly at Goodhandy’s. Seriously though, this event is a juggernaut like I haven’t seen since the ’90s, when clubs were good and people put in more than a first-year-university beer gut and a sluttyskirt-worth of effort. Fuck U Fridays is a monthly dance party at Buddies. I think this lovely picture of bartender Patricia, the “face” of Buddies, flipping the bird is the perfect summation of it. It’s like gay dance cave but without the tons of first-year students. A little goth, a little new wave, a little punk and a shit ton of fun.

It’s a ’mo mixer at Crawford, featuring the best of the ’80s, ’90s, disco and funk from DJs Shan Dub and Boots Boogie every Monday. I’m all over this MTV shirt Chris is wearing, too. It looks like vintage MTV in the print, but it’s gotta be new, judging by the great state it’s in. The more I look at it, the more I miss music television. This moment of nostalgia was brought to you by lack of sleep, a brutal hangover and a thousand Matinee Slim cigarettes.

Here’s a nice one of Tyler and Joshua, the two brains behind the By the Pound art show, Tyler being the gallery owner at Goodfellas, as well. They don’t happen as often as shows of this calibre should, but I have it on good authority that the next one will be in 2012, at least — December, but still this year.

Holy shit, how much do you wanna bang Lacey from Crawford? It doesn’t matter your stripe on this one — she’s a babe for all.

CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER “Mr. Penney made me feel at ease with his reassuring words and his professional attitude. He took the time to explain everything in words that I could understand which greatly reduced my anxiety. His friendly attitude gave me strength knowing that he was on my side. I’m sure that any other lawyer would not have been able to negotiate the same deal with the Crown Attorney as Craig was able to accomplish.” Emily, Markham (over-80 charge withdrawn)


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Trendy Junction Condo $309K for 2 bedroom with parking! Have you considered life in ‘The Junction’?


Nocturne, 550 Queen St W. $3 before 11pm, $5 after.

Full Service Listing and Buyer Representation.

The Beautiful & The Damned gets all variety show, with poetry, musical performers, burlesque and more. 7pm. Zelda’s, 692 Yonge St. No cover.

Popsicle licks the long and dripping, with DJ Geoff Kelleway spinning house vocals and a tribute to Whitney Houston. 10pm. Smith, 553 Church St. $5 before midnight, $10 after.

JOE SIPIONE Sales Representative Call me direct at 416-720-6611 or email for this or other Toronto Condos. Not intended to solicit persons under contract to another real estate brokerage.


Don’t Mess with the Boss, with Michelle Ross getting in your business, at 9pm; Farra N Hyte clocks on at 11pm. George’s Play, 504 Church St. No cover. Pup Night sits and begs host Argo for treats, with the Black Eagle Kennel Klub, in association with Northbound Leather. 10pm. Black Eagle, 457 Church St. No cover.

FRI, MARCH 9 Don’t Mess with the Boss, with Michelle Ross, intoxicates at 7pm; Sasha Montenegro is Muy Caliente at 11pm. George’s Play, 504 Church St. No cover. The Cheap Show pinches pennies, while Lena Over and Scarlet Bobo pinch the crowd’s cute butts. 9pm. Zelda’s, 692 Yonge St. Party Time has live entertainment on the main floor, while Rob and guests get naughty in The Loft. 9pm. Statlers, 487 Church St. No cover. Grapefruit spews the juicy and sweet, with DJs Shane Percy and Aural spinning healthy beats. 10pm. fly, 8 Gloucester St. $15 till 1am, $20 after. Fruitshake has DJs daVinci and Quinces blending up Asian pop, dub-step, house and electro. 10pm. The Barn, 418 Church St. $5. Cherry Bomb: Shell Toe brings out superstar DJs Cozmic Cat and Denise Benson, with performers MC Jazz, Lyracist, T-illa, Nilla, Man Chyna, Saye Sky busting the upstairs, and Yes Yes Y’all DJs throwing down in the Stone Lounge. 10pm–3am. Revival, 783 College St. $10 advance, $15 door. Rockstars steams up the windows, with DJ Geoff Kelleway spinning fiery house beats and hosts Karl and Rommel encouraging misbehaviour. 10pm. Byzantium, 499 Church St. No cover. B.East, with DJ Cory Activate spinning house and remixes on the east side. 10pm. WAYLA, 996 Queen St E. $5. facebook. com/beastatwayla Where’s the Love? has lots to go around at this annual ACT fundraiser, with Rick Mercer, Nikki Chin, Crackpuppy, Glamour Puss Burlesque and more leaving nothing and everything to the imagination. DJs Rolls Royce, Blackcat, Sumation and Todd Klinck spin love on the dancefloor. 10pm. Goodhandy’s, 120 Church St. $5–25. HERnia brings out everyone’s inner her, with DJs Kris Steeves, Kevin H and spinning dance beats. Hosted by Noélia. 10:30pm. La Perla, 783 Queen St W, upstairs. $5.

SAT, MARCH 10 Toronto Leather Pride holds its annual volunteer-appreciation party at 3:30pm; later, it’s Best Men’s Ass Contest, hosted by butt-clenching Sofonda, with DJ Chris Steinbach. Midnight. Woody’s, 465 Church St. No cover. Camp Sis Dance enjoys for a worthy cause at the International Women’s Day fundraiser for Camp Sis and Missing and Murdered Women. 7pm–2am. The 519 Church St Community Centre, 519 Church St. $20 advance at Toronto Women’s Bookstore or sliding scale at the door. Synthicide busts out with synth and electropop, with DJ Lazarus bringing it in Zone 1 and Saucy Miso and Hangedman in the EBM/Industrial room. 10pm–3am.

DJ Jeremy Khamkeo warms up the boys, then Parisian DJ LeoMeo hits the decks and makes T-shirts disappear. 10pm. fly, 8 Gloucester St. $10 before 11pm, $15 till 1am, $20 after. Leather lovers don the chaps and straps for mingling at Leather Night, hosted by Mr Black Eagle 2011, Connor, and Bootblack Jake. 10pm–1am. Black Eagle, 457 Church St. No cover.

SUN, MARCH 11 Rough House always has room for leather-inclined men doing the kink in a comfortable, spontaneous and frisky environment. 2–7pm. Steamworks, 540 Church St, second floor. Regular rates. Joe & Steve’s Funny Video Show. Laugh away with an oddball selection and full feature, 4–8pm; Tarna in Bootblack, 6–8pm. Black Eagle, 457 Church St. No cover. Gay Professionals Social Mixer brings out the Bay boys that make the biz world go ’round. RSVP and advance ticket purchase required. 7:30pm. Stock Restaurant and Bar, Trump Tower, 325 Bay St. $10.

MON, MARCH 12 Dirty Bingo: Gloria Hole’s Special Birthday Bonanza, with Lena Over, Roxy Rollover and the birthday brat wrestling for the cake. Reservation recommended. 8:30pm. Zelda’s, 692 Yonge St. No cover. Men of Steel has hard-as-steel nakedness on stage. 9pm. Remington’s, 379 Yonge St. $5.

TUES, MARCH 13 Debrief with Rick at 1pm; live entertainment at 9pm. Statlers, 487 Church St. No cover. TNT!Men gets all wet with a skinny dip in the pool. 8:15pm. Harrison Pool, 15 Stephanie St. $5 members, $8 nonmembers, $4 students with valid ID. Michelle Ross dresses up while dressing down the crowd at 9pm; Heaven Lee Hytes tries to act angelic for Devine Intervention at 11pm. George’s Play, 504 Church St. No cover.

WED, MARCH 14 Wednesdays Go Pop bursts at the seams with midweek fun, with DJs JeanPaul De Roover, Craig Stickland, The Franklin Electric and Marlboro. 8:30pm. Supermarket, 268 Augusta Ave. PWYC. Soul Sistas, with Jada Hudson and Nicolette Brown, drags the divas on stage at 9pm; Farra N Hyte takes Foreplay to a new level at 11pm. Crews & Tangos, 508 Church St. No cover. College Night is unstoppable, with DJ Sumation spinning dancefloor faves for a delicious boy-packed Wednesday. 10pm. The Barn, 418 Church St. No cover. Amplify Wednesdays supports local DJs, ’cause they’re sexier. 10pm. Goodhandy’s, 120 Church St. No cover before 11pm, $10 after.

THURS, MARCH 15 Ladyplus Parties, with DJ Todd Klinck spinning for the mesdames and

Shane Percy spins at Grapefruit @ fly on March 9. mesdemoiselles. 8pm–2pm. Goodhandy’s, 120 Church St. Ladies and members no cover; gents $5 before 11pm, $10 after. Naked Night blows off clothing at TNT!Men’s 15 years of bare-ass fun, hosted by Nathan and Mr TNTmen, Alex, plus raffle with prizes. 10pm. Black Eagle, 457 Church St. No cover.

FRI, MARCH 16 Don’t Mess with the Boss, with Michelle Ross, at 7pm; Muy Caliente, with Sasha Montenegro, at 11pm. George’s Play, 504 Church St. No cover. Yes, Yes Y’all: Third Anniversary jams huge, sweaty hip hop, R&B and dancehall, with DJ Emyn (Philly) and special guests on decks. 10pm–3am. The Annex WreckRoom, 794 Bathurst St. $10. Beautiful People Places & Things 2012 features DJ Money and Unruly Twin spinning for the open-minded-living principles: heart, soul and sound. Hosted by Polly. 10pm. The Courthouse, 57 Adelaide St E. $15 advance, $20 door. Madonnarama celebrates Madonna’s 12th studio album, MDNA, with DJ Ed Bailey, a performance by Donnarama, and a madfor-Madge crowd. 10pm. fly, 8 Gloucester St. $10 before midnight. DJ The Robotic Kid spins deep dance beats. 10pm. Black Eagle, 457 Church St. No cover.

SAT, MARCH 17 Triple Threat, with Devine Darlin, Lady G and Jada Hudson, does the ménageà-twat at 9pm; Robyn DeCradle strikes a pose with DJ Chris at 11:30pm; DJ Craig Dominic in The Zone and DJ Quinces in Tangos. Crews & Tangos,

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Legitimately vacuous

508 Church St. $3 before 11pm, $5 after.


The Drag Show, hosted by Heroine Marks and Daytona Bitch, is all about the glam and stuffing. 9pm. Zelda’s, 692 Yonge St. No cover.

Hollywoody Broadway Show, with Donnarama and Daytona Bitch spreading their Sunset Boulevards, at 6pm; Drag Legend Show features Michelle Ross and Georgie Girl at 9pm; Georgie Girl and Donnarama welcome Sofonda, Sylvia and Devine Darlin at 11pm. Woody’s, 465 Church St.

Sodom: The Green Party brings out the emeralds, while Devine Darlin rubs cute boys’ shillelaghs and Lauren nibbles on lucky charms for the megashow. Leprechaun-esque DJ Sumation spins pot-o’-gold beats. St Paddy or Elizabeth May apparel encouraged. 10pm. Goodhandy’s, 120 Church St. $7 till 11pm, $10 after, $5 for students. Mischief: St Patrick’s Day Hijinx makes out with the Irish at heart, with DJs Dekoze and Baby Joel flashing their blarney beats in the booth, while DJ Quim spins in the Lounge. 10pm–6am. fly, 8 Gloucester St. $10 before 11:30pm, $15 till 1am, $20 after. Green with Envy has Mr Leatherman Toronto 2012, Alex Canning, hosting Heart of the Flag Federation’s Toronto Leather Pride Bar Night on St Patrick’s Day. The night doubles as a sendoff party for Tarna, Bootblack Toronto 2012, who’s heading off to International Ms Bootblack in San Francisco. 10pm. Black Eagle, 457 Church St. Regular rates apply. Funx Saturday gets the gay boys funkified in the Vizion Lounge, with DJ B-Tech on decks. 10:30pm. Fuzion, 580 Church St. $5. Fit hugs the luscious body, with Nicky Click and her amazing breasts doing hot and heavy electro-dance for the sweaty boys. 10:30pm–2:30am. Beaver, 1192 Queen St. W. $5.


Lady G shakes it at 7pm; Devine Darlin shimmies at 9pm; Kera Keys and Farra N Hyte do the diva at 11pm. Crews & Tangos, 508 Church St. No cover.

MON, MARCH 19 CumUnion Party is all nasty fun. 7pm– midnight. Steamworks, 540 Church St. Regular rates apply. Glitz and Glam, hosted by Carlotta Carlisle, sparkles, 9–11pm; Candice Star Search, with the illustrious Candice Kelly outing the talent, at 11:30pm. Crews & Tangos, 508 Church St. All-Star Karaoke, with Danny Reddey and his 30,000 songs. 10pm. George’s Play, 504 Church St. No cover.

TUES, MARCH 20 Varsity Tuesdays: So You Think You Can Strip? 9pm. Remington’s, 379 Yonge St. $5, no cover with student ID. TICOT Toonie Tuesday, with Candice Kelly and Nikki Chin, at 9pm; Bittersweet, with Olyvia Chin and Honey Brown, at 11:30pm; Vocal Rehab, with DJ Elyse, in the Zone and All Request, with DJ Quinces, in Tangos, both at 10pm. Crews & Tangos, 508 Church St. No cover.

Legally Blonde: The Musical hits west-end theatre Nick Aveling


MIGOD, YOU GUYS. The first local production of Legally Blonde: The Musical is coming to the Lower Ossington Theatre almost two years after the touring version sashayed through Toronto. Prepare to bend and snap like it’s 2001. The musical, based on the movie of the same name, is simple enough: boy dumps girl because she’s not “serious”; girl enrolls in Harvard Law School to win boy back; girl becomes valedictorian and falls in love with way superior boy in the process. But there’s one idiosyncrasy (purists might even call it a minor sacrilege) to the LOT production that bears mentioning: Elle Wood’s Chihuahua, Bruiser, is played by an Italian greyhound. “We started our search for a Chihuahua but fell in love with Buckminster [the Italian greyhound] when we met him,” says Michael Galloro, the show’s production manager, technical director and set designer. “He’s great on stage. Hopefully he doesn’t get stage fright on opening night!” No pressure, Buckminster, but you’ve got a lot to live up to. The New York production of Legally Blonde received seven Tony nominations in 2006/2007, and the London production won three

Laurence Olivier Awards just last year. “That [success] is one more reason I wanted to do the show,” says Jeff Hookings, who plays Warner, the aforementioned douchebag boyfriend. Awards notwithstanding, Legally Blonde is perhaps most notable for uniting fans and critics around identical if opposing opinions: the musical is either panned as vacuous fun or lauded as, well, vacuous fun. The LOT production is likely to garner the same uneasy consensus. “Loud, catchy music, big smiles, flashy costumes and sets . . . What’s not to like?” asks Galloro. Both men praise the show’s lead, Anna Hursham, who “plays Elle with a perfect mix of Laura Bell Bundy [from the original Broadway show] and Reese Witherspoon,” even while making the character her own, Galloro says. Says Hookings, “Anna is amazing! I fell in love with her on day one, which is hard, because I have to not be in love with her for the show . . . The first time I heard her sing the title song I cried.”  Galloro expects the show to resonate with gay audiences in particular. “At its roots, Legally Blonde is about Elle’s personal journey of self-discovery. This in itself is a huge aspect I think will resonate with the LGBT community.

Anna Hursham, who plays Elle, trades a Chihuahua for a greyhound in the LOT production.

When Elle goes to Harvard she’s told she doesn’t belong there. She’s bullied and laughed at. Her self-acceptance and self-trust is the reason she succeeds,” says Galloro, himself gay. Of course, he added, the “fierce dancing and great music” don’t hurt either.

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A World of Gay Adventure


The jewel of India Ken Hickling

D top: The Jama Masjid, in Old Delhi, is India’s largest mosque and was commissioned by Shah Jahan, builder of the Taj Mahal. above: No Delhi street scene is complete without a sacred cow or bull. ISTOCKPHOTO/THINKSTOCK

ELHI IS ONE OF THE LARGEST and fastest-growing cities in the world. Bursting at the seams, it teems with sights, sounds and smells; its vibrancy and cultural diversity radiate from every street scene. There are architectural marvels, colourful shops, delicious food, wonderful people and the ever-present throng intermingled with sacred cows and stray dogs. It is a place rich in history and steeped in contrasts: old and new, aromatic and smelly, pristine and grimy. New Delhi, India’s capital, lies at

the centre of the metropolis of Delhi. The best way to get around New Delhi is by rickshaw or tuk-tuk (motorized rickshaw). The passenger experience can be a little hair-raising initially, but it’s richer than being sealed up in a car. Even if you’re not an architecture or history nut, a tour of the city’s buildings is a must. The Lotus Temple, Humayun’s Tomb, the temples of Akshardham and Laxminarayan, and the India Gate are not to be missed, but Delhi’s architectural jewel is the Rashtrapati Bhavan (Sanskrit for Presidential House), the largest chief-of-state residence in the world. Flanked by Parliament House and the Secretariat, the complex is

enormous. Just up the street is the Bungalow Zone: street after street of British Raj–era mini palaces with magnificent gardens. For high-end shopping and dining, visit Connaught Place, where aficionados of art and history will find several world-class museums and galleries. Just north of New Delhi is the walled city of Old Delhi. Although much of the wall has been lost, the magnificent entry gates still stand. At the centre of Old Delhi is the Red Fort, a 17th-century palace fortress. Don’t miss the nearby Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque. Wander the street bazaars of Old Delhi on foot for a rich shopping experience.

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The gay scene You wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t ďŹ nd a gay district or village in Delhi, but there are regular gay nights at various locations across the city. Listings for gay spaces and events can be found online, but one of the best ways to be in the know is to ask the locals. Tuesday nights at Pepper in South Delhiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Chanakyapuri neighbourhood is a good place to start. Guys can also ďŹ nd cruising and meeting-place listings, and connect with gay Delhiwallas, at

Travel tips The warm sunny days, cool nights and foggy mornings between November and April represent the best weather window for your visit. May and June are hot and sticky, with the monsoon season beginning to recede in early October. Foreign nationals entering India need travel visas. Getting them can take a while, so plan ahead. Check with your Indian consulate for forms and procedures. See your doctor at least a month before you go to ensure your vaccinations are up to date. Shorts and T-shirts are not culturally appropriate in India. Walking around in public in a tank top is like walking around in your underpants. You wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get tick-

eted, but you may be turned away from some attractions and businesses, and you will get strange looks. Wear long pants and light shirts. And take a light jacket for the cool mornings and evenings if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re travelling in winter. A 10 percent gratuity is customary for waiters, guides and service providers. Fifty rupees is standard for bellboys, luggage handlers and general service staff. Avoiding Delhi Belly is not difficult if you avoid ice cubes and use bottled water for drinking and tooth brushing. Stay away from milk and uncooked dairy products, and choose raw fruits and vegetables you peel yourself. Consider forgoing meat; vegetarian dishes are common and very tasty.

Getting there Virtually every major air carrier offers regular service to Delhi, but the trip is a long haul from Canada, so choose your airline carefully. Indira Gandhi International Airport is modern and reasonably easy to navigate. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 20 kilometres from the city centre, but ground travel can be very slow because of traffic, so plan accordingly. Delhiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s efficient transit system includes both rail and bus service to the city centre. Taxi and car rental information is on the airportâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s website. For rail information, go to the Delhi Metro website (delhimetrorail.


com). For bus schedules and information, search online for the Delhi Transport Corporation ( DOIT_DTC/dtc/home).

Getting around Public transit by rail and bus systems in Delhi is efficient and inexpensive and will likely get you where you need to go. Taxi fares are paid in advance and depend on how much baggage you have and how far youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best to avoid unlicensed taxis, but state-regulated booths are easy to ďŹ nd. The Delhi Traffic Police website has speciďŹ c information and booth locations. Hiring a car for the day is a comfortable, hassle-free way to get around, and drivers can be great sources of information. Ask the concierge at your hotel for arrangements, and plan to spend $40 to $50 for the day. Tuk-tuks and rickshaws are available on most every street corner and at most monuments and public spaces. Just be sure to set a price before you get in. Short tuk-tuk trips will cost around 20 rupees; 100 rupees should get you across the city. Rickshaws are more plentiful in Old Delhi; expect to pay 20 rupees for an average ride or 100 rupees for a nice tour of Old Delhi.

clockwise from top left:

A rickshaw ride is the best way to experience Delhiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s splendour. Ganesha, Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most widely worshipped deity, is revered as the â&#x20AC;&#x153;remover of obstacles.â&#x20AC;? Shrines and effigies are found on virtually every block and above every doorway. An intricately carved wall mural in the Mogul style. THOMAS ROTH

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XTRA! MARCH 8, 2012

The second in a three-part series

Montreal A dash of gay and hip enhances Mile End’s flavour Le Pick Up



2 Club Social

7 8

N 10 Royal Phoenix

Café Olimpico

Fairmount Bagel 3



Wilensky’s Light Lunch BLVD SAINT JOSEPH

Buvette 9 La Chez Simone

du Parc) and think about staying for dinner. The wine bar stocks an impressive list of private imports and offers a light menu of tapas, charcuterie and cheese. The bar is unpretentious and laid-back, buzzing with the relaxed energy of its arty crowd. After dinner, head to the Royal Phoenix 10 (5788 Blvd St-Laurent), the anchor of the neighbourhood’s queer scene. The bar and restaurant has a different theme each night, so










Parc du Mont-Royal



11 St-Viateur Bagels







Local 23





Area of detail





Drawn and Le Nouveau Quarterly Palais 4

clockwise from top left: It’s always a good morning at Le Pick Up; Fresh bagels right from the oven at St-Viateur; a perfect latte at Club Social; late-night smiles at Le Nouveau Palais; dine outside at La Buvette Chez Simone.










HE MILE END IS MONTREAL’S hot neighbourhood. Heavily associated with its artists, particularly the band Arcade Fire, this section of Plateau Mont-Royal — adjacent what is colloquially known as the Plateau — has been touted worldwide as a hotbed of creativity. Despite all the attention, the neighbourhood still feels refreshingly off the beaten track. The area charms with its lowdensity, low-rise buildings, many featuring Montreal’s signature wrought-iron spiral staircases. Streets are tree lined and peaceful. Along the main drags, traditional Greek, Jewish and Italian merchants mingle with freshly opened shops, restaurants and bars patronized by newcomers. Swing a cat and you’ll smack any number of artists and homosexuals. Some people bemoan the gentrification of yet another Montreal neighbourhood, but at this stage of the game, the mix works. Old and new, anglo and franco, traditional and trendy — the current mix of inhabitants seem to have really hit it off, creating in Mile End a lovely and unique ambiance. The incoming denizens have an undeniable hipster aesthetic, but don’t let that put you off. Montreal’s hipsters utterly lack the snobbery and aloofness that pretty much defines hipsterism in North America’s bigger cities. Beneath the skinny jeans and behind the pornstaches, you’ll find a crowd that’s welcoming, charming and playful. If Williamsburg and Queen West are laughing at you, Mile End is laughing with you. So join in and have fun! Start your day at Le Pick Up 1 (7032 Rue Waverly). The traditional dépanneur, as the Québécois call their convenience stores, has been transformed into a quirky restaurant. The modest two-storey corner brick building has a picnic table out front and a patio out back. Inside, you’ll




Photography by Carrie MacPherson

still find milk and toilet paper for sale, but you really need to pull up a stool at the original lunch counter. Enjoy a hearty breakfast from the griddle and excellent coffee prepared by the cute staff. The menu is sophisticated without being expensive, and you can stock up on gum, snacks and beer before you leave. If you prefer to breakfast chez vous, pop into one of Montreal’s famous bagelries. St-Viateur 2 (263 Rue StViateur Ouest) and Fairmount Bagel 3 (74 Ave Fairmount Ouest) are both in the neighbourhood, baking the distinctive Montreal-style sweet and chewy breads. A walk around the neighbourhood takes you to Drawn and Quarterly 4 (211 Rue Bernard Ouest), the famous arts and literary comics publisher. Bucking a trend, the publishing house has recently opened a bricks-andmortar shop in Mile End. Drawn and Quarterly publishes comic books, sketchbooks and graphic novels, most notably by the likes of Julie Doucet, Seth, Chester Brown and Joe Matt. You’ll also find works by gay and lesbian favourites such as Maurice Vellekoop and Debbie Drechsler. If you’re a CanLit fan, you might want to stroll by Wilensky’s Light Lunch 5 (34 Ave Fairmount Ouest), famously featured in Mordecai Richler’s The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. You may recognize the diner if you saw the film adaptation of the novel, starring Richard Dreyfuss. If you’re in the market for some new duds, Local 23 6 (23 Rue Bernard Ouest) is a vintage store with well-chosen clothing and trinkets. When it’s time for your afternoon coffee break, head to one of the Italian cafés, Club Social 7 (180 Rue StViateur Ouest) or Café Olimpico 8 (124  Rue St-Viateur Ouest). Some hardcore locals simply move back and forth from one to the other. These are no-nonsense, old-school espresso bars with large, languid patios that offer you licence to linger — the perfect place to rest your pegs under a shady tree. By cocktail time, make your way to La Buvette Chez Simone 9 (4869 Ave


David Walberg

it’s an ever-changing experience with a diverse crowd. There are often four or five DJs working simultaneously to keep the energy up somewhere near the ceiling. Flirty bartenders exude warmth and smoulder with sensuality. Prepare to drink and dance till the wee hours. Le Nouveau Palais 11 (281 Rue Bernard Ouest) is an ideal spot to wind down the night. It’s an old-school diner with fun, affordable and well-executed food. A full dinner menu is served until midnight, and until 3am a perfect postdrinking menu features perogies, poutine and burgers, all for less than $5. By now, it’s late and time for bed. This is Montreal, so chances are you’re stumbling home with a new chum. This is the second in a three-part series on Montreal. Last month, we looked at the city’s new nightlife scene; read it online at Next month, we’ll explore Montreal restaurants.

Trip advisor BARS & CLUBS Club Bolo Gotha

LODGINGS Absolument Montréal L’Escogriffe B & B

RESTAURANTS & CAFÉS Le Commensal Resto du Village

SAUNAS & SEX CLUBS Sauna 3481 Club Sauna

SHOPPING & SERVICES Fétiche Armada Wega Complex Find information on more than 200 places of interest in Montreal at

on the web Le Pick Up › Drawn and Quarterly › La Buvette Chez Simone › The Royal Phoenix › Le Nouveau Palais ›

A World of Gay Adventure

XTRA! MARCH 8, 2012


Culture sparkles in Montreal’s winter

Cruisin’ with Pride, Miami style

Hailed as one of the largest winter festivals in the world, Montréal en Lumière each February transforms the city into a dazzling showcase that celebrates Montreal’s renowned party spirit and flair for entertainment. The 11-day free outdoor festival delivers a diverse program of gastronomy, activities and performances by icons and emerging artists from home and abroad. It used to take place in Montreal’s Old Port, but in 2012, the event moved to the Quartier des Spectacles entertainment district and its Place des Festivals. Montréal en Lumière has become a must for foodies. Over the past 12 years, 400 chefs, wine producers and speakers from five continents have taken part in the event. An unforgettable experience is the Finest Tables program, in which visiting chefs create special menus in some of Montreal’s best restaurants. Montréal en Lumière closes each year with Nuit Blanche, the all-night arts celebration. More than 180 original installations are featured in various locales connected by free shuttles.

Miami Beach Gay Pride (MBGP) is preparing to set sail once again with the third annual Miami Beach Pride Cruise, a four-night, fiveday voyage aboard the luxurious Norwegian Sky. Ports of call include Grand Bahama Island, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, a private island owned by Norwegian Cruise Line. The cruise embarks after the wrap-up of the fourth annual MBGP parade and festival, which attracts 35,000 people, on Sunday, April 15. “Miami Beach Pride has grown into the largest, single-day event of the year in Miami Beach,” says Babak Movahedi, president of MBGP’s board of directors. “The Pride cruise represents an exciting continuation of the Pride festivities, extending the great feeling of Pride to a community at sea.” Norwegian Sky features a choice of five restaurants, eight bars and lounges, a fullservice Body Waves spa and fitness centre, two glimmering pools, five hot tubs, a basketball/ volleyball court, an internet café and a jogging/ walking track. Nightlife options include the Sky Club Casino, Stardust Theater, Dazzles Nightclub, a karaoke bar, and spaces for chilling out with old and new friends while admiring the view from the ship’s beautiful glass-domed atrium. Pride Cruise prices start at $329 per person, based on double occupancy, plus taxes and fees.

If you didn’t make it to this year’s event, plan to attend the 14th annual Montréal en Lumière in February 2013. Visit for more information.


WHITE IN 3D Billed as the largest gay dance-music festival in North America, White Party Palm Springs, set against sun-drenched mountain vistas and spectacular desert skies, will take place April 6 to 9 — and organizers are promising a 3D experience. “Bigger and bolder LED and visual displays and immense stage and platform structures designed to stretch the limits of your imagination — the only lenses needed are your shades,” says founder and producer Jeffrey Sanker. Sanker has built his reputation over the years by booking the best cutting-edge and breakthrough talent of the day; past performers include Lady Gaga, Robyn, Kesha and Jennifer Lopez. The White Party 2012 lineup features some of the most innovative figures in dance music, including Grammy nominees Dave Audé and Rosabel; DJ/producers Moto Blanco, Wayne G, Manny Lehman and Hector Fonseca; and red-hot rising DJs Grind, Pornstar and Chad Jack.

Glitz & glam at White Party 2011. FILM MAGIC

On the Saturday afternoon, the cruising app Grindr will celebrate its third anniversary and three-million members with the “largest pool party in the desert,” headlined by UK powerhouse DJ/producer Andy Almighty (Almighty/7th Heaven/Club Junkies), who is making his White Party debut. DJ sensation Nervo (outrageously beautiful and talented Aussie twins) will headline Saturday night’s White Party, their first appearance at a gay music festival. The Sunday Tea Dance DJ lineup comprises Audé, Lehman and Moto Blanco; the event wraps up with a choreographed fireworks finale featuring an exclusive soundtrack remixed by Audé just for the occasion. Advance tickets and passes are on sale now. The host hotel is the Marriot’s Renaissance Palm Springs, home of the pool parties and just steps away from all White Party main events. For more White Party information, reservations and tickets, visit

For reservations or more information, visit For details on MBGP 2012, visit

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Toronto’s online directory of gay-owned and gay-friendly businesses ACCOMMODATIONS - BRITISH COLUMBIA The Eagle’s Nest B&B




Take a Walk on the Wildside 416-921-6112/1-800-260-0102

Crewman & Co Pet Cuisine & Accessories



Bond Place Hotel 416-362-6061 Deer Park Lodge Lakefront Resort 519-482-9116 Holiday Inn 416-542-6008 Neill-Wycik Summer Hotel 416-977-2320 Trinity House Inn 1-800-265-4871

B O Y Electric



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ADULT Stag Shop


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AIDS/HIV RESOURCES Medical Compassion Clinic


APPLIANCES Coast Wholesale Applicances

FLOORING Craftwood Flooring

Akasha Art Projects


ART SUPPLIES Aboveground Art Supplies



The Village Pharmacy



Ragga Hair and Beauty Salon 416-368-8113




Front Door Organics 416-201-3000 Midtown Dental Centre 416-966-DENT(3368)

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John Montague Jude Johnston

Front Door Organics The Big Carrot

416-201-3000 416-466-2129


HOME IMPROVEMENT & REPAIRS Bryant Renovations 416-260-0818 G J MacRae Foundation Repair 905-824-2557



BMW Autohaus

Ferreira-Wells Immigration Services

BARS & CLUBS (TORONTO) fly Nightclub


BOOKKEEPING Account 4it Canada Inc







Kenton Waterman, Investors Group Financial Services 416-860-1668

INVESTMENT SERVICES Kenton Waterman, Investors Group Financial Services 416-860-1668

JUICE BARS 416-924-4671


CINEMAS Rainbow and Carlton Cinemas 416-494-9371



Doc’s Leathers & Motorcycle Gear


CARPENTERS The Cliffside Carpenter


CHEESE SHOPS Leslieville Cheese Market




CHURCHES Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto

AIDS Committee of Toronto Canadian Lesbian & Gay Archives (CLGA) Enterprise Toronto Rainbow Ballroom & Latin Dance Club of Toronto



Ferreira-Wells Immigration Services



COMPUTER SALES & SERVICE Contemporary Computers 1-877-724-9000

CONCRETE - CONTRACTORS G J MacRae Foundation Repair 905-824-2557


Living Lighting on King



416-913-5170 647-330-2539



Midtown Dental Centre 416-966-DENT(3368)

St Jamestown Delicatessan



AIDS Committee of Toronto 416-340-2437 Change4U2 416-827-7578 David W Routledge 416-944-1291 John Montague 416-523-6449 Phillip Coupal Counselling 416-557-7312

Avery Moving & Storage 416-239-9565 EL Cheapo Movers West 416-599-2728 East 416-463-5779 Manhattan Movers 416-259-2181 Word of Mouth Movers 647-827-2637



DATING SERVICES Midtown Dental Centre 416-966-DENT(3368)

DENTAL SERVICES Adelaide Dental 416-429-0150 Dr Kevin Russelo & Associates 416-966-0117 Galleria Dental 416-534-9991 Midtown Dental Centre 416-966-DENT(3368) Yonge & Bloor Dental 647-350-3501



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OPTOMETRISTS Dr Jason Hershorn


416-625-6665 416-925-6665 416-925-6665


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Christian Healing Service For HIV-positive people, their friends, family, and caregivers. Eucharistic liturgy including sacrament of anointing of the sick. Our Lady of Lourdes Church (Sherbourne north of Wellesley). Wheelchair accessible.

Saturday, March 17th, 2012 - 7:00pm All welcome to join with us, third Saturday of every month.

1-877-684-9200 416-200-0969


REAL ESTATE AGENTS 647-248-9223 416-801-9265


RESTAURANTS & CAFÉS C’est What? Brew/ Vin Pub Restaurant Cocina Lucero Grand Hive Mansion Restaurant and Bar Hair of the Dog The Blake House The Churchmouse & Firkin Zelda’s Restaurant & Bar


416-867-9499 416-923-4545 416-816-0624 416-964-2708 416-975-1867 416-927-1735 416-922-2526

SEX Priape


SEX SHOPS Priape Stag Shop

416-586-9914 416-323-0772

The 519 Church Street Community Centre Room 304

Our meetings are informal, confidential and very helpful. We’re here to support you on your journey. Please visit our website:


Gay Fathers meets at 8 PM the second and fourth Thursday of each month:


SHOPPING Front Door Organics


Glow Medi Spa 416-920-9998 LJ’s Laser Hair Lemoval Clinic 647-971-9855 Hamilton location 289-237-7089 M.E. MaleEsthetics 647-344-1825

TANNING SALONS 647-350-8456



TREE SERVICES Kelly’s Tree Care Ltd Sunset Beech Tree Care

416-462-0007 647-989-3509

T-SHIRTS Gemini Tees

UPHOLSTERY Re-Wrap Custom Upholstery 416-214-6400

VETERINARIANS Blue Cross Animal Hospital

CALLING ALL EARLY BIRDS! Book your ad in the spring edition of Index now and save. Call 416-925-6665 xt 214 or visit to book your ad.


VIDEO/DVD RENTALS 416-586-9914

WATERPROOFING G J MacRae Foundation Repair 905-824-2557 The Citywide Group, Inc 416-283-5500


PAINTING CM Painting & Decorating Leon’s Painting Newbright Painting Performance Painters

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WEBSITES 416-922-5511

ORGANIC FOOD Front Door Organics

Commemorate those who have recently passed away. This space is donated by Xtra. Call 416-644-5214 for more information. Please limit text to 50 words or less. Ideally, photos will be digital images at 2” x 3” with a resolution of 250dpi.

OUTNPOZ A social group for PHA’s. Our next brunch happens March 11th, 12 Noon - upstairs at Bumpkin’s, 21 Gloucester St. Come out and join us.

Spiritual services 416-523-6449 416-921-8629


Priape 416-465-4927




Afterglo Tan Bar 416-364-9099





416-777-2755 416-392-6646

Bryant Renovations

Abrams & Krochak 416-482-3387 x22 David M Cohn Harvey L Hamburg 416-968-9054 Ivan Steele Law Office 647-342-0568 Kirk J Cooper 416-923-4277 Law Office of El-Farouk Khaki 416-925-7227 Michael Battista 416-203-2899 Morzaria Law 647-259-1990 Paul T Willis 416-926-9806 Robert G. Coates 416-925-6490 Scarfe Wells Criminal Trial & Appeal Lawyers 416-410-4060 Zubas & Associates Employment Law 416-593-5844

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Juice Box

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LJ’s Laser Hair Lemoval Clinic 647-971-9855 Hamilton location 289-237-7089





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Pets At Peace Helmutt’s Pet Supply Pet Cuisine & Accessories


905-886-3380 x17309



Wise Daughters Craft Market 416-761-1555



G J MacRae Foundation Repair 905-824-2557

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To place an ad, call 416-925-6665 xt 0 or book your line classified at

647-588-1774 416-995-4016 416-985-8639 416-449-6204

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DAVID W. ROUTLEDGE MSW, RSW PSYCHOTHERAPIST ...helping you become the person you have always wanted to be droutledge@rogers.coms  


JOHN MONTAGUE MSW M.DIV. RSW Individual and couple counseling, some insurance plans apply, downtown location.


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Hair/skin & beauty WWW.GANYMEDE.CA Professional hair removal by certiďŹ ed specialist. Waxing, electrolysis and laser. Clean, private, downtown location. By appointment only. Call Darcy at 416-979-8801.

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Commercial/Residential, Interior/Exterior Painting l Design & colour consultation Light Renoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and Repairs l Window Cleaning l Better Business Bureau Celebrating 11 years in Xtra l References provided on request

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Torontoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gay & lesbian news

XTRA! MARCH 8, 2012

Life after gay porn AGING

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Porndoggy Jeremy Feist


OR EVERY SUNRISE, THERE is a sunset. For every beginning, there is an end. Everything is made inďŹ nitely more beautiful with the knowledge of its impermanence. Or, to put it in language thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s easier to understand, The Simpsons has been on for something like 23 seasons and everyone I talk to wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t shut up about how it stopped being funny after the eighth. Everyoneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a critic like that. My point being no one can stay in front of the camera forever. There comes a time in every pornstarâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s life when he must hang up his spunkcovered chaps and set off for new horizons. What exciting new jobs await retired pornstars? Here are the ďŹ ve most popular.



of Xtra readers plan to purchase a membership to a ďŹ tness centre or gym this year General My CannaMeds YOUR ONLINE COMPASSIONATE CLUB Organic medical marihuana shipped quickly, discreetly to your door. Several varieties to choose from.

I have no idea why, but thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something about spinning tracks for a crowd of drunken dancers that attracts the pornstars, and there have even been a few successful ones â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Tristan Jaxx, Pierre Fitch and Chi Chi LaRue. The beautiful thing about being a pornstar DJ is that you can actually do this job while still working in porn, which means you can build

up esteem before going into it full-time.

Musician Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve touched on this briefly in the past, but numerous pornstars have tried their hands at singing, the most famous being Colton Ford. Actually, if you happen to have an iTunes gift card burning a hole in your pocket, Ford has something like four full albums, as well as a handful of EPs, available.

Author The best authors write about what they know best, which is why, until Xtra starts a column about hard cheeses, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be writing about porn for a looooooooong time. And as sex is something of a common thread connecting humanity, books about porn and fucking tend to be big sellers. The most well-known example of a gay pornstar turning out novels would have to be Aiden Shaw.

Actor Not every gay pornstar is a bad actor. Admittedly, most of them are, but thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s neither here nor there. Many former gay pornographers have made the leap from the sleazy screen to the silver screen, albeit in bit parts and cameos. Hell, Brent Corrigan even managed to snag some

Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Pierre Fitch is both a DJ and a pornstar.

screen time in the Academy Awardâ&#x20AC;&#x201C; winning picture Milk. I mean, yes, it was only for about two seconds, but hey, the guyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gotta eat.

Porn To paraphrase that one Sara Bareilles song they played on Community â&#x20AC;&#x201D; the Jeff/Annie fans know which one Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m talking about â&#x20AC;&#x201D; something always brings men back to porn, and it never takes too long. Whether itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s for the money or the sense of familiarity, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s always nice to see a veteran make his return to where heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most beloved. But like the Avenue Q song says, everything in this world is only for now. So to the retired porn boys: may the wind be at your back and the cock be in your ass. Jeremy Feist is a Toronto pornstar. Porndoggy appears in every issue of Xtra.

Wondering what other readers think? Go to and check out the reader comments on the bottom of every news story.


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XTRA! MARCH 8, 2012


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