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#532 JAN 16–29, 2014
VANCOUVER’S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS
PROUD LIFE: CARY GRANT E8
PUMPJACK EXPANDING E9 DX TRAVEL: LAS VEGAS E22
SACKED Former punter Chris Kluwe says homophobia cut short his NFL career E10
2 JAN 16–29, 2014 XTRA!
VANCOUVER’S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS
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#532 JAN 16–29, 2014
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Whistler funding falls through But WinterPride organizer promises successful gay ski week E7 Editorial Chris Kluwe, role model By Robin Perelle E4 Feedback E4 Xcetera E5
Upfront Former Dufferin manager dies Cary Grant remembered as a generous, kind man E8 PumpJack expanding City endorses Davie Street pub’s plan to double its space E9 Cover Story Out of bounds? Former NFL punter Chris Kluwe says his coaches ﬁred him for his support of gay rights E10 My tale of two dads We need to encourage more intergenerational communication among gay people E12 Still QQ Questioning the use of ‘queer’ By Kevin Dale McKeown E13 COVER PHOTO: THE CANADIAN PRESS/ GENEVIEVE ROSS
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Out in the City The pixel is political A growing number of developers are pushing for diversity in video games E15 Blitz & Shitz Battle of the bad singles By Raziel Reid E18 Real Estate E19
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Daily Xtra Travel Boys’ weekend in Vegas Party like a rock star in the city of sin E22 The Brotherhood By Tyler Dorchester E25
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#531 JAN 2–15, 2014
VANCOUVER’S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS
Sexphobic Trinity Western
pokes & tokes
QMUNITY GETS $7M7 E
SEX WORK DECISION9 E
UGANDA’S ANTI-GAY LAW10 E
Trinity Western would be homophobic if they only banned same-sex intimacy [“Fighting Trinity Western,” Xtra #531, Jan 2]. They actually ban opposite-sex intimacy outside of marriage (ie, premarital sex and adultery) as well, so they are more sexphobic than homophobic. Different cultures tend to be different ways. Gay cultures tend to be fairly Asian-phobic in spite of being hyper-sexual. Go on any popular gay site or space, and the way gay Asian and Indian men are treated is appalling and could be classiﬁed as fairly discriminatory. However, the average gay person just sees it as a part of gay culture and its complex codes of desire. If gay people don’t want their culture to change, why do they expect Christians to change their culture? Live and let live.
Eight years of
Whether or not we can ever deﬁnitively prove that homophobia caused Chris Kluwe’s termination, the now-former punter could teach his coaches a thing or two about being a team player. Kluwe is the former Minnesota Vikings punter who shook the sports world in early January with his allegations that he was cut not for poor performance, but for his vocal support of same-sex marriage in the run-up to Minnesota’s 2012 referendum. He says he doesn’t regret speaking out, even though it likely cost him his job. “It’s the basis of a sound society,” he tells me. “People have to be free to live their own lives.” He says he’d want others to speak out for him if his rights were in jeopardy — even if it cost them their jobs too. The consequences reinforce the need to speak out, he says. If we live in a world where people can be penalized for expressing their views, shouldn’t we “commit to making it better”? “What kind of world do we want to live in?” he asks. “Is it one where we are free to speak out on important
EDITORIAL ROBIN PERELLE
social issues? Or is it one where everyone is tip-toeing around things and worried about saying anything at all because they’re worried about losing their job?” Kluwe blames the National Football League’s older coaches and administrators for the less-than-warm welcome gay athletes and their more outspoken allies may receive. Though he doesn’t think homophobia is pervasive in the league among players — whom he generally describes as young and supportive, cycling up from college with new attitudes — he says some coaches may be less open-minded. “I think problems would come from coaches and administrators because they tend to be older individuals [with] a certain mindset,” he says. Kluwe suggests the key to changing these coaches’ attitudes lies in showing them the player potential they’re failing to capitalize on. If coaches need players to play at their full potential to win as many games as possible, then maybe they’ll be more receptive to the argument that players play best when they’re free to express themselves fully. “I’ve talked with former players who came out after they ﬁnished playing,” Kluwe says, “and their message
was that ‘I didn’t feel like I could be myself. I felt like it affected my playing because I was always worried that someone’s going to ﬁnd out who I am. Is today the day that someone discovers my secret?’ “You can’t play to your full potential that way,” he says, pointing out the obvious. Nor can you play to your full potential when your coaches label you a “distraction” and turf you for having the courage to stand up for others. The Vikings deny that Kluwe was released for his activism. They maintain that the decision was “strictly based on his football performance.” I’m skeptical. Given Kluwe’s consistent performance throughout his career and the record-high net average yards he punted in what turned out to be his last season with the team, I think his vocal advocacy for gay rights tipped a previously dormant scale out of his favour. Asked if he would encourage others to speak out, despite the consequences he faced, Kluwe doesn’t hesitate. “Yeah, there might be consequences for speaking out. Yeah, there is a possibility that you could lose your job. But at the end of the day, if you feel strongly about the issues — you feel that people should be treated with respect and you’re willing to ﬁght for that — accept the consequences,” he says. “If you’re not willing to risk what you have, then your heart’s probably not in it.” I know it’s only January, but I’ve already found my straight ally of the year.
Chris Kluwe, role model
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Henkl and The Brotherhood celebrate 200 episodes of Tyler Dorchester’s homegrown comic strip E14
I’d like to say, as a queer person, that this makes me want to fight even harder and become a lawyer despite this [“Trinity Western Law School Approval Humiliating, Clayton Ruby Says,” dailyxtra.com, Dec 16]. Truthfully, I’m questioning whether I should submit my law school application at all. Is what’s happening at TWU indicative of a trend of discrimination within the legal profession? FREYBUG (DAILYXTRA.COM)
Farewell, Cary Grant
Isn’t Clayton Ruby taking this on personally? Is he asking for funding? Mr Ruby has taken this on and it seems to me any requests should come from him. Disbursements and ﬁling fees are chicken feed at his level of practice.
As the manager at the Dufferin that passed the torch to Cary [“Former Dufferin Manager Dies,” dailyxtra. com, Jan 9] and also managed for a stint between his times there, Cary always helped a lot of people. He taught me a lot about life. He is one of the people I need to thank for helping me to be where I am today. As Emperor 25 of Vancouver, Cary supported Wanda Fuca and myself immensely. He along with Terry Wallace will always be in my heart. RIP, Cary, and my condolences, Jerry.
BARRY DENNISON (DAILYXTRA.COM)
You might have a point if they allowed “same-sex intimacy” within a same-sex marriage, but they don’t, so you don’t. 1DIZZY1 (DAILYXTRA.COM)
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‘ICH BIN SCHWUL’
I was never ashamed of being who I am, but it was not always easy to sit at a table with 20 young men and listen to jokes about gays. You let them get on with it as long as the jokes are a bit funny and not too insulting.
– Retired German soccer player Thomas Hitzlsperger in an interview with Die Zeit newspaper. The ex–English Premier League star says there’s more locker-room acceptance in Germany and England than in the US.
OPERATIC BROKEBACK Annie Proulx’s short story that inspired the 2005 ﬁlm Brokeback Mountain is undergoing an operatic adaptation set to open in Madrid’s Teatro Real Jan 28. Playing Heath Ledger’s Ennis Del Mar is Canadian bassbaritone Daniel Okulitch, while American tenor Thomas Randle will take on the role of Jake Gyllenhaal’s Jack Twist. Yeehaw! as Jack would say . . . or, in this case, Bravo! MORE AT DAILYXTRA.COM
A not-so-Orthodox calendar Like Madonna’s “Like a Prayer,” the 2014 Orthodox Calendar’s pin-up “priests” will “take you there.” Calendar name: Bigger, Harder, Better Primary goal: “Demonstrate that Orthodox believers do not all ﬁt the backward, hidebound stereotype portrayed in the press but rather are regular people with passions, preferences, interests and desires.” Dedication: Tribute to LGBT Russians.
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He really left his stamp on the bar. You could feel his spirit throughout it.
Paige Turner E8
Whistler funding falls through But WinterPride organizer promises successful gay ski week FESTIVAL NIKO BELL
Whistler’s WinterPride has lost $37,000 in municipal funding over a deadline dispute. City council had agreed to pitch in the money this season to fund a headlining entertainment act for the annual gay ski week; in previous years, it has vocally supported the festival but never opened its chequebook. That changed, says WinterPride’s head organizer Dean Nelson, when an economic impact study commissioned by the city showed that the festival generated $9 million in economic activity for the province and $300,000 in tax revenue for the city of Whistler. According to Nelson, however, the city missed WinterPride’s proposed deadline of Nov 15, leaving him not enough time to book a high-proﬁle entertainer. Whistler city hall says, in a statement to Xtra, that it met WinterPride’s deadlines and is “disappointed” that the funding went unused. The city says WinterPride will have to reapply for funding if it wants to try again next year. Nelson says he tried to ﬁnd a headliner at the last minute but struck out: Joan Rivers could not escape her TV schedule, Kathy Griffin hates cold weather, and Lily Tomlin said yes and then backed out at the last minute. Nelson hopes the city will hold the money in trust so that the festival can afford a big name next year. “In my opinion it’s a bad investment for the municipality to rush it that quick. We wanted to do it, but we didn’t want to sacriﬁce anything either,” Nelson says. “So when we saw it just wasn’t going to work, we decided we had to pull the plug now.” Despite this hiccup, Nelson promises this year’s WinterPride will be bigger and better than ever. He has grown the festival every year since he quit his job and mortgaged his house to save Whistler’s gay ski week in 2006. MORE AT DAILYXTRA.COM
Ski guide Michael Muller is a 21-year veteran of Whistler’s gay ski week. When Xtra met him on the slopes last year, he said he keeps returning for that feeling of family — “that cohesion, that brotherhood.” NIKO BELL
This year, Nelson brought on Vancouver entertainment company Big Roger Events, and with them DJs Ivan Gomez from Barcelona and Phil B from San Francisco. In addition to parties with big-name DJs, Nelson promises more of what the festival has always been known for: days on the mountain with experienced ski and snowboarding guides and casual après-ski socials. But Nelson hopes to build WinterPride into more than just a party. He sees signiﬁcance in the festival’s near coincidence with the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and wants to shape the festival into a cultural symbol of gay people in sport — an echo of the ﬁrst Olympic Pride House at the Vancouver Games in 2010. Nelson helped found Pride House and sees it as a moment of gay history worth remembering.
“I tell you,” he says, “if it went from Salt Lake and Howe Sound who will spend a day at WhisCity to Sochi, this whole gay sport issue wouldn’t tler’s inner-tube park, meet the contestants for be on anyone’s radar. But in 2010, we made it on Mr Gay Canada and discuss how young people people’s radar. We got people talking about it.” can get more involved. Just as summer Pride parades echo the Stone“The young people were lamenting how you wall riots, he says, WinterPride can’t do anything unless you’re should echo the 2010 Olympics. 19,” says Squamish gay-straight alWINTERPRIDE 2014 Despite Nelson’s efforts, Winterliance organizer Margo Dent. She Sun, Jan 26–Sun, Feb 2 Pride has remained a less inclusive brought the idea to Nelson, and they gaywhistler.com event than summer Pride festivals. planned a day on the mountain that The vast majority of attendees are did not involve alcohol or leather. male, and many of the women’s events from 2013 Dent wants to create more events at Winterhave fallen through this year. The entertainment, Pride that will be both safe for kids and interesting from Mr Gay World to the mostly male DJs, re- enough to get them involved. ﬂects the clientele. “I think when we’re dealing with our youth But Nelson hopes to broaden his base in other we need to meet them where they’re at,” she ways. This year WinterPride will welcome its ﬁrst says. “How do we create a party that’s youthyouth group, a handful of students from Squamish appropriate but still fun and exciting?” XTRA! JAN 16–29, 2014 7
Former Dufferin manager dies Cary Grant remembered as a generous, kind man
If the patrons drank too much, he would ask for their car keys and give them a room upstairs in the hotel. He wanted to make sure everyone was safe.
PROUD LIFE SHAUNA LEWIS
PAIGE TURNER Cary Grant, former manager of the Dufferin pub and a supportive father ﬁgure to many, died after a lengthy illness Dec 20. He was 74 years old. Born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, on March 7, 1939, Grant was the only child of Edward and Hazel Grant. Predeceased by both parents, he is survived by his partner of 32 years, Jerry Hatchard. Hatchard could not be reached for comment, but longtime friends are remembering Grant as a selﬂess, kind, down-to-earth and generous man. “When he was managing the bar he was one of the gang, and we had a lot of fun with him,” says Earnie Doyle, a regular former patron of the Dufferin. Grant managed the popular gay bar, which sat at the corner of Seymour and Smithe streets, on and off for at least a decade. The Dufferin became an important place for Grant and a host of hustlers, go-go dancers, drag queens and patrons who regularly congregated over cheap pints, raunchy jokes, campy entertainment and infectious laughter. Grant made the edgy, gritty, dimly lit tavern a welcoming space for all genders, sexual orientations and classes. It was a place where patrons celebrated, mourned, hooked up, broke up and built lasting friendships. “You really got a full cross-section of everybody in there,” says former Dufferin entertainer Paige Turner. “I spent so much time there that it felt like home. It was my living room.” “It’s got a lot of charm,” Grant told Xtra in 2004. “That’s probably the last [gay bar] of its kind in North America. It’s a community centre. It’s a street bar. It caters to everybody, from the very rich to the very poor.” “He was like a father,” Turner says. “If you had a problem you could go to him and he would stop and listen.” “If the patrons drank too much, he would ask for their car keys and give them a room upstairs in the hotel. He wanted to make sure everyone was safe,” she adds. Grant’s generosity was particularly appreciated during the holidays, when he would host an annual Christmas dinner for patrons, an act of kindness inspired by his own struggles with loneliness as a teen growing up in Toronto, Turner says. “Christmas was the time [Grant] found the loneliest, and he always wanted people to feel love and have a safe place to go.” “I can paint a picture of this lonely gay kid in Toronto,” Grant told Xtra in 2004. “When Christmas Day came around, and, being a bit of a 8 JAN 16–29, 2014 XTRA!
Cary Grant poses in front of the old Dufferin pub and hotel in 2005. “He was a very honest, loving, trustworthy man,” says Byron Longclaws. JACQUES GAUDET
loner, I didn’t have places to go. At the Dufferin we just put the food out. We don’t announce it. We don’t advertise it. Just anyone that comes in has something to eat. I’ve always felt that people have to maintain their dignity and their pride. “The Dufferin puts in some money; I put in some money,” he said. “We do it for the street people. There’s a lot of people in less fortunate circumstances, and rather than identify them, we just do it [the Christmas dinner] for everybody. They have to maintain their dignity.” “He was a very honest, loving, trustworthy man and a true brother to me,” Byron Longclaws says. Longclaws, former chief of the Greater Vancouver Native Cultural Society, chose Grant as his honorary chief in 1996. “I chose him because he was manager of the Dufferin and he helped promote and do shows for fundraising,” Longclaws says. Grant hosted fundraising events weekly at the Dufferin and gave countless donations to community charities through the work of groups such as the Dogwood Monarchist Society, the House of Just Cuz and the Knights of Malta. “[Grant] was very openhearted to a lot of people in the community, not just the Native Society, but to all societies,” Longclaws says. When the Dufferin changed ownership and eventually closed its doors in 2007, Grant was still on the frontlines, lobbying for the iconic gay pub. “He tried to hold on to [the Dufferin] as much as he could,” Turner says. “It was a huge battle for him. He really left his stamp on the bar. You could feel his spirit throughout it.” “Once the Dufferin went, the whole feeling of community went,” Turner says quietly. “After the Dufferin had closed, we had to realize that there wouldn’t be another place like it — and there will never be another man like Cary for the community,” Longclaws says. “He was the Dufferin,” says Al Houston, who worked as a doorman at the bar. “He saw that I was struggling with personal issues and he offered me a job, and we became friends.” “If he could help, he was there to help,” Houston says. “Cary was respected by many.” When pressed to deﬁne Grant’s character in a few words, Turner falls silent. “It’s really hard to put who Cary was into words,” she says softly. “He really believed in bringing the community together... He was an amazing person with a heart of gold.” VANCOUVER’S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS
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Sunday s JAN 19 s 10am-3pm Croatian Cultural Centre 3250 Commercial Drive at 16th Avenue Vancouver s Near Broadway Skytrain PumpJack Pub co-owner Vince Marino says “everything is lining up” for the popular pub to expand into the former bakery next door. JAMES LOEWEN
PumpJack expanding City endorses Davie Street pub’s plan to double its space GAY SPACE SHAUNA LEWIS
The PumpJack Pub will expand its space and programming in time for 2014 Pride events, co-owner Vince Marino says. “Our space will double,” he tells Xtra. The popular pub, located at 1167 Davie St, will grow into the neighbouring venue, formerly the Cho Pain bakery. PumpJack took over the bakery’s lease on Aug 1. “We’ve been looking at that space for a while,” Marino says. “The community has said they’d like a bigger pub.” Before the expansion could proceed, the pub had to apply for a permit and produce architectural design plans. “There are steps to complete,” he explains. City council supported the pub’s application to increase its capacity on Dec 18 and endorsed its request for a new licence. “Council approved the staff recommendation to endorse the application for an increase in the number of liquor seats from 107 to 244,” city spokesperson Maureen Gulyas conﬁrms. “Council direction is not an approval but an endorsement that is forwarded to MORE AT DAILYXTRA.COM
the provincial liquor licensing, which will issue the ﬁnal licence before the establishment can expand.” Marino can’t say when the renovations will be complete but hopes the larger space will be open to the public by spring. “We want it complete as soon as possible because we are paying rent on the space and it’s not generating any revenue right now,” he notes. Once the province issues the licence, the pub owners will have to apply for a development permit, which would consider factors such as parking and a building permit for the structural modiﬁcations. The city will then have to issue a new business licence to reﬂect the changes, Gulyas says, adding that the pub’s hours will remain unchanged. The process is “simply a part of licensing and expansion,” Marino says. But “everything is lining up,” he says. “It has been a positive process with the city.” “The community has been supportive of us [as well],” he adds. Pub patrons can expect some exciting new changes following the expansion, Marino promises. “We will be able to expand our programming, have a larger danceﬂoor and be able to host more community events.”
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XTRA! JAN 16–29, 2014 9
OUT OF BOUNDS? Former NFL punter Chris Kluwe says his coaches fired him for his support of gay rights ROBIN PERELLE
hen Chris Kluwe agreed to speak out for gay rights in 2012, he never expected that it would cost him his milliondollar career on the ﬁeld. Kluwe was a punter for the Minnesota Vikings in the National Football League, arguably the best punter the Vikings had ever had. His last year on the ﬁeld, he averaged 39.7 net yards per punt, the highest of his consistently solid career. It wasn’t enough to keep his job. In a Deadspin article that reverberated through the sports world in early January, Kluwe alleges that he was ﬁred by “two cowards and a bigot” — the cowards being Vikings general manager Rick Spielman and now-ﬁred head coach Leslie Frazier (who was axed himself Dec 30 after a disappointing season). Kluwe reserves the bigot status for special-teams coordinator Mike Priefer. Though he can’t say for sure, Kluwe says he’s “pretty conﬁdent” that his gayrights activism got him ﬁred. “My [punting] numbers were still exactly the same, and I’d been doing everything that the coaches wanted me to do and no one had ever expressed dissatisfaction with how I was performing, so I look at everything and I — the thing that changed is I started speaking up,” Kluwe tells Xtra by phone Jan 9. Kluwe began speaking up during the summer of 2012, when he was ap10 JAN 16–29, 2014 XTRA!
proached by a group called Minnesotans for Marriage Equality as a constitutional amendment to limit marriage to one man and one woman made its way toward the ballot box. (The amendment would be defeated, making Minnesota one of four states to support gay marriage in the November 2012 referenda, along with Maine, Maryland and Washington.) By November, tension had escalated not only on the election front, but behind the Vikings bench, Kluwe alleges. At the season’s outset, Kluwe says, he sought and obtained permission from the team’s legal department to publicly support gay marriage. A few weeks later, he published an open letter responding to Maryland delegate Emmett C Burns Jr, who had pressured the NFL’s other outspoken gay rights advocate, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, to stop speaking out. Burns’s letter, written on Maryland House of Delegates letterhead, leaned on Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti to “take the necessary action” to “inhibit such expressions from your employee.” Kluwe was shocked. “I ﬁnd it inconceivable that you are an elected official of Maryland’s state government,” he wrote to Burns in a letter that quickly went viral. “Your vitriolic hatred and bigotry make me ashamed and disgusted to think that you are in any way responsible for shaping policy at any level.” Suddenly thrust into a spotlight of gay-rights support, Kluwe’s coaches seemed less than comfortable. Kluwe says Frazier called him into
his office to ask him to tone it down. When he refused, Kluwe alleges, Priefer, the assistant coach in charge of special teams, including the punting crew, and Kluwe’s direct supervisor, grew increasingly hostile, asking him, among other things, if he’d written any more letters defending “the gays” and denouncing the idea of two men kissing. Kluwe claims Priefer’s antagonism culminated in a special-teams meeting in November 2012 where he declared, “We should round up all the gays, send them to an island, and then nuke it until it glows.” Priefer denies the allegations and, in a public statement, says he does not tolerate discrimination of any kind. “I personally have gay family members who I love and support just as I do any family member,” he adds. The Vikings also deny the allegations and, in their own public statement released Jan 2, promise to “thoroughly review this matter.” “As an organization, the Vikings consistently strive to create a supportive, respectful and accepting environment for all of our players, coaches and front office personnel. We do not tolerate discrimination at any level,” the statement says, adding that the team would not have impinged Kluwe’s free speech. “Any notion that Chris was released from our football team due to his stance on marriage equality is entirely inaccurate and inconsistent with team policy. Chris was released strictly based on his football performance,” the statement says.
Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe (pictured here in a 2011 game against the Carolina Panthers) says he wasn’t looking for a career change when he started advocating for same-sex marriage in 2012. “I was actually looking for a contract extension,” he says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ BOB LEVERONE
Vikings public relations staff refused to comment further and referred Xtra back to the statement. It’s hard to prove causality in cases of discrimination-based ﬁring, Kluwe tells Xtra. “I mean, it’s always going to be hard to prove because unless you can read someone’s mind, you can’t say with certainty what their intent was.” Asked what other factors could have contributed to his ﬁring, Kluwe openly examines the possibilities. There’s his age, he quickly points out. At 32, he’s not getting any younger, though he’s equally quick to point out that punters tend to have more longevity on the football ﬁeld, and he knows of VANCOUVER’S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS
ment on the Vikings roster kicked somewhat shorter than he did in net average yards this season. Kluwe also claims that Priefer repeatedly asked him to kick shorter punts to give his teammates a better chance of getting downﬁeld in time to prevent their opponents’ run-backs. Not an unreasonable request from a specialteams coach and one that Kluwe says he gladly took for the team. But it affected his numbers, he says. Then there’s the money question: Kluwe had one year left on his ﬁve-year, $8.3 million contract, making him one of the highest-paid punters in the league. But, he says, the Vikings never approached him with a request to decrease his salary. “They never talked to me about money being an issue at all. “And I was actually cheaper than other punters that came in at a similar time as I did and had similar numbers,” he adds. Asked if he was looking for a career change and wanted to go out with a bang, Kluwe laughs. “No, no. I was actually looking for a contract extension! I’d been talking to my agent about talking to the Vikings,” he says, adding that he had been hoping to play with the team for another four to ﬁve years. Everything seemed fine, he reiterates — until he started speaking out for gay rights. “My punting stats were very consistent year to year, and, like I said, no one had ever expressed dissatisfaction with the job that I was doing,” he says. “What’s the one thing that changed? I started speaking out on same-sex marriage rights.”
W several his age who recently signed contracts. His performance hasn’t deteriorated, he continues. If anything, he had his strongest statistics in 2012 (the year he was so outspoken). He continues to punt well — “45 yards outside the numbers with hang time, and in the NFL that’s supposed to keep your job as a punter at least until you’re 38 or 39,” he says. Admittedly, his consistently solid numbers were only “middle-of-thepack, sometimes a little lower” when ranked against all NFL punters. Though it’s also worth noting that the pack, in this case, consists of the best football players in the world, and his replaceMORE AT DAILYXTRA.COM
ade Davis doesn’t want to believe that homophobia cut short Kluwe’s career in the NFL. The retired NFL player, and new executive director of the You Can Play campaign to challenge homophobia in sports and make ﬁelds and rinks more welcoming to gay players, is struggling with this story. “This is the most complicated story that I’ve ever had to speak about,” he says candidly. “The hardest thing about this story is that either you’re going to bash the NFL or you’re going to bash Chris. For someone who is a gay man and an ex-NFL player, I’m like, ‘Oh my god, how do I speak about this and be respectful of two entities that I believe in?’” Davis didn’t come out until two years after he left the NFL, but he doesn’t blame the league. “I had so much selfhatred and internalized homophobia that I had to really work through,” he says. The NFL didn’t keep him in the closet, he says; he was already there. These days, his life is considerably different. He’s been out to family and friends for eight years and publicly out for two. He works with gay youth and
last year took the helm of the campaign launched by hockey’s Burke family and friends in 2012 to change the culture of sport. But he’s reluctant to conclude that the NFL as a whole is homophobic. “Let’s not single-story the NFL,” he says. “Let’s not tell an incomplete narrative.” Though he thinks there’s “still a lot of work to be done around homophobia in sports,” he also says football is like any other industry: there will be individuals who are homophobic, but that doesn’t deﬁne the league’s culture overall. “I’m not painting a picture of kumbaya and roses,” he says, “but I do believe that players are a lot more accepting than
“Chris wasn’t a top-10 punter,” he notes. “If Chris was a top-10 punter, I really doubt that we’d be having this conversation.” If the Vikings could ﬁnd a younger player to punt with the same success rate for less money, that would be a ﬁnancial decision, he says, and the NFL is a business. Plus, the NFL doesn’t like distraction, he continues. If coaches perceive a player to be a distraction, and his productivity doesn’t justify the distraction, then he’d be in danger of getting cut. The coaches might begin to ask themselves, “Can we ﬁnd someone cheaper to do this kind of work?”
IF WHAT CHRIS SAID IS TRUE, THEN I BELIEVE THAT THE VIKINGS ORGANIZATION AND THE NFL WILL COME DOWN HARD ON THE PEOPLE WHO WERE INVOLVED. WADE DAVIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF YOU CAN PLAY
no bites. He was brieﬂy signed to the Oakland Raiders, but the team cut him in favour of an up-and-coming star punter, he says. Davis says the Raiders’ willingness to sign Kluwe and give him a chance shows at least one NFL team wasn’t put off by his advocacy. It would be easy to conclude that the Vikings cut Kluwe for his advocacy, Davis says, but it may not be accurate. “I can’t be sure if that’s true or not. I would hope that it’s not true. “I want to believe that he wasn’t let go because of his LGBT activism.” Whether Kluwe’s allegations prove true or not, Davis says his courage to speak out should be honoured. “The work that Chris has done has been bold and courageous,” he says. “Any time someone tells their truth, it changes the world for better. “If what Chris said is true, then I believe that the Vikings organization and the NFL will come down hard on the people who were involved and make sure that it doesn’t happen again,” he adds.
D As a gay man, retired NFL player and now the executive director of the You Can Play campaign, Wade Davis doesn’t want to believe that Chris Kluwe was ﬁred for his gay-rights advocacy. COURTESY OF WADE DAVIS
we give them credit for.” Kluwe, too, says his teammates were generally supportive. Even the players who disagreed with him expressed their opinions respectfully, he says. It’s not a question of pervasive, institutionalized homophobia throughout the NFL, he agrees, adding that Vikings owner Zygi Wilf was also supportive and even shook his hand and encouraged him to keep speaking out. It’s his coaches’ bigotry and cowardice that got him ﬁred, Kluwe alleges. Davis has a hard time with that, too. “I do believe that what Chris said happened, happened,” he says, “but I can’t just point to that as the reason he was let go.” “The NFL is a what-have-you-donefor-me-lately league,” Davis says, asked to provide an alternate explanation for Kluwe’s termination. “If you aren’t at the top of your game 24/7, you could be cut.”
“I think distraction is a euphemism for non-corporate behaviour,” Kluwe contends. Front office and administrative types get concerned about players speaking out on contentious subjects because if fans object, it could cost the team proﬁts, he says. Kluwe wonders how big a distraction he could have been to his teammates since, after a disappointing season in 2011, they unexpectedly made the playoffs in 2012, the year he was so outspoken. Still, Kluwe concedes that “the distraction word” probably kept him from getting a spot on another roster after the Vikings released him. “I think other teams look at it and they’re like, ‘This is the guy who is willing to speak out on things, and if that’s the case, then we’re going to pick a different guy.’” Kluwe tried out last spring for Chicago, Buffalo and Cincinnati but got
espite the potential consequences, Kluwe says he doesn’t regret speaking out. “If the positions were reversed and I needed someone to speak out for me if I was in trouble, and they could potentially lose their jobs, then I’d want them to do so,” he says. “I mean, it’s just a game. I think basic human rights are probably a little more important than playing a children’s game, when all is said and done.” Asked if he’s concerned that other straight allies might be discouraged from speaking out now, given the way things ended for him with the Vikings, Kluwe says they should know that with activism comes potential consequences. “If you’re not willing to risk what you have, then your heart’s probably not in it,” he says. “What kind of world do we want to live in?” he asks. “Is it one where we are free to speak out on important social issues? Or is it one where everyone is tiptoeing around things and worried about saying anything at all because they’re worried about losing their job?” Davis says it’s essential that straight allies keep speaking out. “They create space for LGBT individuals to speak out for themselves,” he says. “I think that’s what someone like Chris is doing: he’s stepping up, he’s showing bold and courageous leadership. “His career is over. There’s very little chance that Chris will ever play again. But that speaks to what the movement needs — someone to be that bold and that courageous.” Stripped of his punting duties, Kluwe doesn’t know what he’ll do next. “I’ll probably keep writing,” he says. “I ﬁnd that I enjoyed it. Watch my kids grow up. And just see what life throws at me.” XTRA! JAN 16–29, 2014 11
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I have two dads. It is not that I was raised by a gay couple. It’s because I met my gay dad, Bob, in my adult life. He taught one of my classes when I moved from Japan to study at the University of California at Berkeley. When I found out that he was also gay, I sought out help from him. I needed a gay mentor... badly. At that time, after years of emotional upheaval, I was ﬁnally able to accept my own sexuality and came out to my parents and close friends. My parents were devastated by their only son’s confession, and we couldn’t actually discuss anything with cool heads. A few of my friends were supportive yet, understandably, couldn’t grasp my deeply personal struggle. I had never met openly gay adults until I met Bob. In Japan I had wanted to, and I actually spoke with some older successful (closeted) gay people to obtain guidance — politicians, professors, actors and business executives. Their advice was basically, “Do not come out publicly if you want to succeed professionally.” It was not an option for me; I wanted to be honest to myself in all aspects of my life. Since then, Bob has generously given me mentorship at every crucial step of my gay and (non-gay) life. Coming to terms with telling my parents, coming out to my colleagues, applying
to graduate schools, immigrating to Canada, dealing with a long-distance relationship, breaking up with my boyfriend of seven years, and moving on to my next relationship. Bob is my parents’ age. He lived the history of gay movements in the US and the world. He told me about the unforgettable day of Harvey Milk’s assassination in 1978. He became the second openly gay tenured professor at Princeton in 1982. He has testiﬁed extensively in California about the economic impact of HIV-related legislative measures and unmarried couples. He lived through widespread homophobia in the 1970s, the HIV pandemic in the 1980s, Pride marches in the 1990s, and same-sex marriage in the 2000s. Don’t get me wrong. I love my parents. Fortunately for me, they have become extremely supportive about my sexuality. Moreover, they have been married for 40 years. They will always be great role models and have shown me, through words and conduct, what family, relationship, acceptance, love and affection means. Nevertheless, my straight parents were not necessarily best placed to teach their gay son about, for example, sexually transmitted diseases or homophobia in the workplace. As I go through my 20s, I feel (and many others agree) that young gays have a propensity to abhor old(er) gays no matter what. For instance, it is very common to see an upper age limit, or a ﬁltering out of guys who are older than
a certain age, on Grindr. Professors Christopher Hajek and Howard Giles have for many years written about intergenerational communication among gay men. They pointed out that younger gay men fear growing older in a gay culture that places an excessively high value on physical appearance. Many researchers also ﬁnd more discrimination against older people in gay culture than in straight culture. Whatever the reason, it is a great shame that there is little, if any, communication between younger and older gay people. In the straight world, most young people can seek advice from older generations through biological family or everyday communal ties — parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, grandparents, friendly neighbours and friends’ parents. They tell you how to cope with your ﬁrst love and how to respond to racial slurs at school. There is a tremendous amount of wisdom, experience and insight among older gays about gay-speciﬁc concerns. I believe that it is extremely important to recognize the existence of excessive age-based discrimination in our gay culture and to deliberately encourage intergenerational communication among gays. It requires efforts from both sides; the gay young need to be more proactive, while the older generation must approach the young as the children they never had but dreamed about. We should start talking. VANCOUVER’S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS
Questioning the use of ‘queer’ Three hours later, we agreed to keep talking STILL QQ KEVIN DALE MCKEOWN
It seemed such a simple idea. Assemble a few of the folks I consider friends and, over coffee, get them talking about the question of community and identity and the terms we use to identify ourselves. I envisioned about an hour of comparing experiences before perhaps reaching a consensus on whether we still constitute a distinct community and, if so, what we are comfortable calling it. The group I assembled included an aging gossip columnist (moi), an oldschool gay liberationist from the 1970s (Gordon Hardy), a senior drag queen (Reg Manning), a leatherdyke (Kona), and a trans former sex worker and performance poet (Antonette Rea) ranging in age from our early 40s to early 70s. How could we not agree? Three hours later, having exhausted ourselves and our welcome at the café, we agreed on one important thing: that we need to keep talking. We began by asking each other an identity question: “Are you queer?” There was certainly no consensus there. “Definitely not!” was Reg’s tablethumping response. “It’s a negative word, there’s no good way of using it, and I don’t accept it.”
Gordon was also against the term “queer,” pointing out that it emerged from academic gender studies in the 1990s and is now used by a new generation of activists. “It’s not a term that’s been generally accepted in the community, no matter what queer activists might think.” “Except maybe younger people,” Reg noted. “It has an edgy feel to it, and the young like to be edgy. They don’t know the history of the word’s use.” “Queer was deﬁnitely seen as derogatory in the ’70s,” Gordon said, adding that, despite some reservations about imitating the American movement, Vancouver’s Gay Liberation Front preferred the word gay. Kona took the wider view that queer and gay could both be useful: both say, “I’m not heterosexual” without opening doors to a lot of explanation. “I’m not going to say I’m a leatherdyke in a casual conversation and then have to break that down for someone,” she said. “Queer is an entry point to establishing what I’m not.” “Sometimes it’s just the shortest and most diplomatic route, the easiest thing to say that gives someone just enough information,” Gordon agreed. Sometimes it’s more convenient to be “queer” or “gay” even if that doesn’t quite cover your own bases. “The gay community was the safest place for a
The members of the coffee klatch, from left to right: Antonette Rea, Kevin Dale McKeown, Reg Manning, Kona and Gordon Hardy. ASH MCGREGOR
trans person to be,” Antonette pointed out, “and being safe was more important than the names we were calling ourselves.” We also read a letter sent by an Xtra reader in response to my earlier column introducing this discussion. He’s asked to remain anonymous for now but is happy to have his thoughts shared: “I’m a bit younger than you and I have never liked the term queer. I think it may be empowering to use it amongst ourselves (maybe), but it is fundamentally a term of oppression. We need something aspirational and affirming for ourselves, but which also can be used with those outside our communities to build us up.” And so we moved from the momentarily irresolvable question of what we should call ourselves as a community to the question of whether we are in fact
a community — and, if so, whether we need to identify as a community and whether we need a physical place to call our community’s “centre.” We agreed that, mostly for reasons of safety, our community, whatever we call ourselves, needs a place of its own. And then, since we were hitting the three-hour mark and were all severely over-caffeinated, we agreed to table the discussion of what that should look like — and how it should be identiﬁed to create the biggest, safest comfort zone for the greatest number — until our next coffee date, which we heartily agreed to hold soon. If this sounds a bit disjointed and all over the boards, well then you have a good sense of our conversation. To me the most important thing is that a group of people who come from distinctly different “tribes” of the “rainbow nation”
are talking and listening. Essentially, we’re just a group of queer/gay/lesbian/trans folks who have decided not to wait for the appropriate government-struck committee or applicable board of directors (bless them all) to tell us what they’ve decided. As Kona identiﬁes herself, we could all be “community disorganizers” at large! Next meeting we’ll try to narrow our focus a bit and drill down to some core questions that we’d like to hear addressed by our wider circles of friends. Then we’ll be asking you to come to coffee with us and continue the conversation. Kevin Dale McKeown was Vancouver’s first out gay columnist, penning QQ Writes... Page 69 for the Georgia Straight through the early 1970s. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
#news #arts #travel #events Everything gay, every day. MORE AT DAILYXTRA.COM
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VANCOUVERâ€™S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS
After the show I’m giving free STD tests. In my mouth. RuPaul's Drag Race contestant Willam Belli E18
The pixel is political A growing number of developers are pushing for diversity in video games TECHNOLOGY DAVE YIN
Lim is a deceptively simple game. I was confused when I ﬁrst booted it up. Dull brownish squares make up the title in large capital letters — it all looked almost too minimalistic. I pride myself on the number of games I’ve played over the years, so I was a bit abashed that I couldn’t immediately clue in to what to do. There are no points. No timer. There is no heterosexual, dark-haired white male protagonist in his 30s. In Lim, I controlled one of the squares, and the vague goal seemed to be to navigate through the winding pathway in which I was trapped. But the task isn’t easy. Other coloured squares of either brown or blue would perceive me as the opposite colour — as the enemy — and before long they were attacking from all directions. The screen shook violently as each square slammed into me. I was weak and easily pushed around, unable to ﬁght back. I didn’t immediately see the option of pressing “Z to blend in” — perhaps I chose to ignore it. There is no timer, after all, and no “lives”; even if I was knocked around, my square was invincible. Except I wasn’t. It didn’t take long for the endless assaults to become grating. Not blending in became increasingly difficult until ﬁnally, progress became impossible. I betrayed my instincts and hit Z.
Q Few would guess just from playing Lim that key parts of the game draw on Merritt Kopas’s experiences of choosing a public bathroom early in her transition. Since she created the game in August last year, the Toronto native, currently based in Seattle, has come to be regarded as one of several key people pushing the boundaries of the types of experiences video games can deliver, and the types of voices they can represent. Among them, some of the most visible — and vocal — are queer women like Kopas. “I wanted to inspire that feeling of self-questioning and self-doubt in the player,” Kopas tells me over Skype, recalling her ﬁrst summer moving through the world as a trans woman. At the time, she was doing graduate studies in sociology at MORE AT DAILYXTRA.COM
the University of Washington. She tries to convey the splitsecond, random and often unconscious decisions she has to make to try to maximize her safety in any given situation. She equates playing Lim to “walking into a space and having no idea how people are going to treat you.” The same sense of dread returned when I played Mainichi, created by game critic and San Francisco State University student Mattie Brice. While Mainichi’s gameplay is different — it uses human sprites to simulate the everyday barrage of putdowns Brice faces as a trans woman of colour — it clearly explores similar themes. As with Lim, the message derived here was largely up to me. The only title in the same vein to offer its audience an explanation is perhaps also the most well-known among ﬂash-game enthusiasts and one of the genre’s earliest entries. Dys4ia, by American game designer and author Anna Anthropy, ﬁrst appeared last year on Newgrounds, the do-it-yourself game community website. Shortly after, it was featured on the front page, and today the game has garnered nearly 450,000 views and 800 player reviews. Anthropy’s disclaimer reads, “This is an autobiographical game about my experiences with hormone replacement therapy.”
Clockwise from top left: a graphic from Dys4ia, a game about hormone replacement therapy; a screenshot from Mainichi, a game that simulates the everyday putdowns that designer Mattie Brice faces as a trans woman of colour; a screenshot from Lim, a video game that reflects the frustrations faced by trans people; Merritt Kopas, who designed Lim; game designer Mattie Brice.
Q It came as no surprise to the designers when the hyper-personal nature of their games and their unusual subject matter garnered attention. Some notable reaction came from Samantha Allen and her students. The instructor and PhD student at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, decided to incorporate Lim, Mainichi and Dys4ia into her ﬁrst-year gender-studies course. When she speaks with me, she has just returned from a trip to Vancouver, where she presented at the second annual Feminists in Games workshop. “Traditionally, the format of the classroom is that I’m up there lecturing,” Allen says. “I’m responsible for guiding [students] through it and offering them possible interpretations of the material.” During the past term, she had expressed con-
cerns that her classroom presentations would be reduced to “a display, a spectacle that my students could observe but not one that would require their active engagement.” Teaching with video games gave them a tool to learn and explore for themselves rather than being lectured to, she says. Allen describes one particularly touching moment when a girl playing Mainichi encountered in-game street harassment. “It looked like she was about to cry,” she says. “For me, this was
such a powerful moment of empathy, where playing this game had really allowed the student to identify with the character. As a transgender woman myself, it was encouraging to see her for a few moments really understanding what my day is like.” For Ivan Metzger, who was also in Allen’s class, these games bridge cultural gaps that “interfere with people’s abilities to relate and empathize.” He says Dys4ia, in particular, opened his eyes. As tempting as it would be to slap a “queer” label on these short interactive experiences, doing so would not do them justice, Kopas says. The label would also pose a barrier to those interested in trying their hand, Brice says. “People have started to think because they aren’t queer, they can’t make these games,” she writes in an email. “Nothing’s further from the truth!” continued next page E XTRA! JAN 16-29, 2014 15
American author Anna Anthropy is the creator of Dys4ia, a video game that draws on her experiences with hormone replacement therapy. Below, a screenshot from Dys4ia.
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The pixel is political E continued from previous page
Q Few have been more instrumental in pushing for diversity in video games than Anthropy. In her book Rise of the Videogame Zinesters: How Freaks, Normals, Amateurs, Artists, Dreamers, Drop-outs, Queers, Housewives, and People Like You Are Taking Back an Art Form, she argues that it is people in marginalized groups who must help the medium mature. “If video games are compared unfavourably to other art forms such as novels and songs and ﬁlms... it is likely a result of how limited a perspective [they] have offered up to this point,” Anthropy writes. “If a form has attracted so many authors, so many voices, that several of them come from experiences outside the social norm... can’t that form be said to have reached cultural maturity?” Anthropy, Kopas, Brice and Allen are only a few of a growing choir of voices calling for greater diversity in video games. Yet to the industry, they are decidedly outsiders. This ﬁght is also taking place in the world of mainstream gaming, but rebels like David Gallant are few and far between. The day I meet Gallant in Toronto, he has an air of defeat about him. The Brampton-based game developer is known in some circles as the creator of I Get This Call Every Day, a satirical game about working at a customer service call centre — a game that got him ﬁred from the Canada Revenue Agency. A bearded man in his early 30s, Gallant looks the part of someone
you’d imagine to be very active in the indie game sphere. And he was until this past May, when he took to the gaming website Gamasutra to denounce the community for what he described as “exclusionary behaviour.” “The more I have reached out into the community, the more I have come up against people who are in less privileged positions than myself,” Gallant says. He says he began to notice prejudice from friends and colleagues, some he had long admired. He cited one example in which a friend from the local indie scene harassed and eventually drove a female colleague out of town while the community stood by. For the ﬁrst time, Gallant says, “it shook my faith.” This culture is all too familiar to Anthropy, who says she, on the other hand, has no misgivings about inﬂuencing mainstream gaming. Instead, she focuses her efforts entirely on getting newly available game-making tools into the hands of marginalized people. “Our discussions of politics seem to always be focused on... images of marginalized people, rather than on the people themselves and on helping them gain power,” she says. “Building a
If video games are compared unfavourably to other art forms... it is likely a result of how limited a perspective they have offered up to this point. GAME DESIGNER & AUTHOR ANNA ANTHROPY culture where anyone can make a game and not be silenced... that’s a change that will transform our culture.” Within the last few years, a number of alternative game conferences and workshops have sprung up, including the Queerness and Games, Different Games and Feminists in Games conferences, all of which offer views on new directions in which the medium can head. Similarly, Toronto’s Dames Making Games organization, of which Gallant is now a member, provides programming workshops to minorities, including members of the queer community. As recently as March, the Tropes vs Women in Video Games web series launched, having raised 26 times its initial fundraising goal. As of writing, it has already produced several videos analyzing sexism in games. Even if judging solely based on the number of people doing work similar to Kopas, Brice and Anthropy, change is coming. “I’m heartened,” Kopas says. VANCOUVER’S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS
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Public Hearing on West End Zoning Amendments The West End Community Plan was approved by Vancouver City Council in November 2013. The plan will be the future road map on areas ranging from housing and land use to transportation and public spaces. As part of the implementation of the plan, amendments have been proposed to the Zoning and Development By-law for social and market rental housing, residential and commercial developments, and the Downtown Ofﬁcial Development Plan and Rental Housing Stock Ofﬁcial Development Plan. The proposed changes include adding deﬁnitions for “social” and “secured market rental” housing, and rezoning on portions of Davie, Denman and Robson Streets. CITY COUNCIL WILL CONSIDER THE PROPOSED AMENDMENTS AT A PUBLIC HEARING ON: Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 6 pm City Hall, 453 West 12th Avenue, Third Floor, Council Chamber Anyone is welcome to attend the Public Hearing. If you would like to speak at the meeting to present your comments or concerns, register individually by 5 pm on January 23, 2014: Email: email@example.com Phone: 604-829-4238 In person: 5:30 to 6 pm on the day of the Public Hearing You may also submit comments by email to mayorandcouncil@ vancouver.ca or to City of Vancouver, City Clerk’s Department, 453 West 12th Avenue, Third Floor, Vancouver, BC V5Y 1V4. Copies of the draft by-laws are available for viewing starting January 10, 2014 at the City Clerk’s Department in City Hall, 453 West 12th Avenue, Third Floor, and in the Planning Department, East Wing of City Hall, Third Floor, Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. FOR MORE INFORMATION: vancouver.ca/publichearings and vancouver.ca/westendplan
18 JAN 16–29, 2014 XTRA!
Host Michelle Visage called it their fabulous “shit-show,” which Willam Belli took literally. Her unique version of “Scream & Shout” was renamed “Scream & Shit” — and let it all out! Girl brought the raunch. “After the show I’m giving free STD tests,” she said. “In my mouth.” On Jan 10, RuPaul’s Drag Race Battle of the Seasons played The Commodore Ballroom. Brought to you by OUTtv, TFD Presents and Live Nation, the queens represented cast members from the reality show’s ﬁve seasons, including Carmen Carrera — campaigning to become a Victoria’s Secret Angel by wearing as little clothing as possible — Manila Luzon, Jinkx Monsoon, Pandora Boxx, Willam and Ivy Winters. Visage started the show by making sure the crowd knew that being mistaken for a drag queen “is the greatest compliment you can be given.” (And here I thought the greatest compliment is “Your money’s on the nightstand”!) The Drag Race judge sang a live song from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and her voice was tolerable, but unfortunately, it set the tone for the rest of the night. Almost every girl performed her shitty single, which I admit I sometimes blog on dailyxtra.com — when it’s a slow news day. Manila Luzon “sang” — a term looser than her asshole — to a backing of her single “Hot Couture,” but it was her version of “Vogue” that was truly contemptible. I needed a blood transfusion by the time she left the stage. My ears are still bleeding! At least when Pandora Boxx sang, she was in on the joke. “This song is so fucking bad,” she said, while still performing it. Pandora shone during her monologue, getting the most laughs from the diverse crowd. The number of straight couples at The Commodore brought home the cultural signiﬁcance of Drag Race as a bridge between communities. “Are there any heterosexuals in here tonight?” Pandora asked to
As far as Raziel’s concerned, the Battle of the Seasons went to Ivy Winters (right), who trailed giant butterfly wings and stomped around the stage on stilts, Jan 10 at The Commodore. VICTOR BEARPARK
thundering applause. “Well, get your own fucking event! Get the fuck out of here! God says no.” After pausing for more cheers, this time from all the gays, she winked. “I just wanted you to know what it feels like.” The only queen who killed it vocally was, as expected, Jinkx Monsoon. She sang “Everybody’s Girl” faultlessly. Each set started with a video montage of the performers. In her video, Jinkx taught us the effects of different drugs, from laughing maniacally at a carpet on LSD, to scrubbing a toilet with a toothbrush really fast on meth, to wanting someone to put another baby inside of her on ecstasy... Don’t act like you haven’t been there! For one of her onstage skits, Jinkx, the Season 5 winner of Drag Race, neurotically pulled out the hairs of her blonde wig while saying in a quavering voice, “Every time a promo comes out for the new season, I feel my power slipping away... If I knew who was going to win, I’d kill her and reign for another year!” But it isn’t a new queen she should be worrying about. As far as I’m concerned, the Battle of the Seasons was won by the inimitable Ivy Winters, who trailed giant butterﬂy wings and
stomped around the stage on stilts. And who was wise enough to lip-sync to someone else’s song while doing so.
Name shame Remember when everybody was freaking out about the name Queer Bash for a party, saying it promoted violence against gays? And then there was the uproar over Fag Friday because some cunts decided that “fag” is a politically incorrect term. Oasis management recently pulled an event I helped create, Pussyboi, because, they say, they got complaints about the word “pussy” from some pussies who were bullied by that word growing up. Plus, some people reportedly felt the dollar signs replacing the two Ss in the name, which is how the logo was styled, promoted prostitution. That wasn’t the intent, but if it were, what’s the problem? Lord knows someone needs to make money at that place... Answer me this, Vancouver: if the oppression comes from within our community, what chance do we stand against oppression from outside groups, governments and religions? Show me your dick, not your dictatorship! VANCOUVER’S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS
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hosts its ﬁrst dance of the season. Lesson at 8:45pm; dance until 11:30pm. Newcomers welcome; no partner required. 8–11:30pm. Let’s Dance Studio, 927 Granville St, 2nd ﬂoor. Tickets $12–15 at Little Sister’s, 1238 Davie St or email firstname.lastname@example.org. notsostrictlyballroom.ca
WinterPride — Whistler, Sun, Jan 26 THINKSTOCK
Tomboy Vancouver’s newest queer night for boyish girls, girly girls and girly bois who like girls, with DJ Kasey Riot spinning a mix of electro, house, trap and dub. 9pm–2am. Heaven’s Door, 1216 Bute St. $5. heavensdoor.ca
Sun, Jan 19 Time To Get Jacked Vancouver’s newest gay sex club hosts a jack-off party for guys. 2–5pm. Club 8x6, 1775 Haro St. $10, includes locker. 8x6.ca
Mon, Jan 20 Condom Packing Party Join the guys at the Health Initiative for Men every Monday to help package condoms and lube for distribution. 6–9 pm. HIM, 1033 Davie St, Ste 310. checkhimout.ca Genderqueer This support and social group for people who identify outside the male/female binary meets the ﬁrst and third Monday of every month. 6–7:30pm. Qmunity, 1170 Bute St. qmunity.ca. The Bobbers Vancouver’s queer improv comedy troupe is back in the Davie Village with a whole new show in a whole new format. 7–9pm. Heaven’s Door, 1216 Bute St. No cover. heavensdoor.ca
Tues, Jan 21 Men on Men A weekly discussion group for men who love or have sex with men. Every Tuesday, 6:30pm. Gordon Neighbourhood House, 1019 Broughton St. checkhimout.ca
$10 members, $15 guests; includes locker. 8x6.ca Gay and Bisexual Men’s Bereavement Support Group This support group for men grieving the loss of a same-sex partner meets the second and fourth Thursday of every month. 7–9:30pm. Qmunity, 1033 Davie St, Room 610. Free. qmunity.ca Timberline Vancouver’s countrywestern dance group meets every Thursday. Dancers of all levels are welcome. 7pm. St Paul’s Anglican Church, 1140 Jervis St. $10 donation partially beneﬁts A Loving Spoonful. timberlinedance.org
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Thurs, Jan 16 The Sundown The Cobalt hosts a laid-back clubhouse-style night for queer women and their allies every Thursday. 9pm. The Cobalt, 917 Main St. $3–6. thecobalt.ca Lipstick Jungle This month’s party for the “cosmopolitan lesbian” and her friends features singer/ songwriter Nat Jay, 8–10pm, then dancing with DJ Cho Cha until 2am. Ginger 62, 1219 Granville St. $6. ginger62.com
Fri, Jan 17 The Revolution Will Not Be Circumcised Puppetry of the
20 JAN 16–29, 2014 XTRA!
Penis meets An Inconvenient Truth in a live multimedia show for adults about foreskin and sexual freedom. 5pm. Buchanan Building A104, 1866 Main Mall, UBC campus. Free. can-fap.net Underwear Friday Whether you prefer tighty-whities, boxers or briefs, Club 8x6 invites you to show off your underwear on Friday nights. 8pm until late. Club 8x6, 1775 Haro St. $10 members, $15 guests; includes locker. 8x6.ca
Sat, Jan 18 Come Out and Dance! Vancouver’s same-sex ballroom and Latin dance group, Not So Strictly Ballroom,
Trans Workshop: Emotional Well-Being Facilitated by peers and service providers, this workshop aims to offer trans and gender-variant people strategies for emotional well-being. 6:30– 9:30pm. Qmunity, 1033 Davie St, Room 610. For more info or to register, contact education@ qmunity.ca or call 604-684-5307 x112. qmunity.ca Gay & Grey Join this group of gay senior men every Wednesday for friendly, casual and supportive discussions on topics such as retirement, housing, dating and self-image. 7pm. Roundhouse Community Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews, second-ﬂoor boardroom. Gab Youth Drop-In This fun, inclusive drop-in group for LGBT youth and their allies meets Wednesdays at 4pm and Fridays at 7pm. Qmunity, 1170 Bute St. email@example.com
Thurs, Jan 23 Woof Night Vancouver’s newest gay sex club hosts a bear and cub night. Dress code: less is better. 8pm until late. Club 8x6, 1775 Haro St.
Sat, Jan 25 Glitter DJ Paulo (LA) kicks off WinterPride week with wall-towall projections and glittery go-go gods. 10pm doors. Club 560, 560 Seymour St. $20. gaywhistler.com Judy & Company Take a trip over the rainbow with drag queen Delica C to support Frank Theatre’s March show Ga Ting and its queer youth writing workshop, Telling It Bent. 7–10pm. The Frank Theatre Company, 928 Beatty St. $10. thefranktheatre.com Sin City The sinners host a customer appreciation night with reduced cover. Dress code: fetish. 9pm–2am. Blvd22, 750 Paciﬁc Blvd. $9 before 10pm, $10 after with pass, $12 without. sincityfetishnight.com
Wed, Jan 22 The Revolution Will Not Be Circumcised — Buchanan Building, UBC campus, Fri, Jan 17
Search for Gay Surrey BC Pageant Weekend on Facebook.
Gear Saturday: VML Join the Vancouver Men in Leather for their monthly get-together. Dress code: leather, rubber and fetish. 9pm. PumpJack Pub, 1167 Davie St. No cover. pumpjackpub.com
Underwear Friday — Club 8x6, Fri, Jan 17 THINKSTOCK
Fri, Jan 24 Friday Yoga Drop-In The Health Initiative for Men offers yoga sessions every Friday night. 7–8:15pm. Scotiabank Dance Centre, 677 Davie St. Drop in or call ahead for info: 604-488-1001. Free, but donations gratefully accepted. checkhimout.ca Gay Surrey BC Pageant Weekend Surrey’s drag court hosts its 15th annual pageant weekend, starting with a show for friends and family tonight at 9pm and culminating Sat, Jan 25 with the pageant, hosted by Mr Gay Surrey, David Cook. 7pm doors, 8pm pageant. Both events at Olympia Pizza & Restaurant, 10257 King George Hwy, Surrey. $20.
Bears, the Baths and Beyond Steamworks hosts an afternoon for bears the fourth Saturday of every month. 1–6pm. Steamworks, 123 W Pender St. Membership and rental rates, $6–150. steamworksonline. com/vancouver Out in Harmony Vancouver’s queer choir presents its winter concert and reﬂects on the nature of time. 7:30pm. Unitarian Church of Vancouver, 949 West 49th Ave. Tickets $15 at Little Sister’s, 1238 Davie St, or at the door. outinharmony.org
Sun, Jan 26 WinterPride Whistler’s 22nd annual gay ski week begins today and runs until Sun, Feb 2. gaywhistler.com
Cruisey Cinema Sunday Hang out with other porn-loving guys in a safe, comfortable porn space. 2–8 pm. Club 8x6, 1775 Haro St. $10 or $5 each with a buddy. 8x6.ca
Mon, Jan 27 GPS: Gay Poz Sex Positive Living BC presents a weekly program for gay and bisexual HIV-positive men, facilitated by gay, HIV-positive men. Every Monday, 6:30–8:30pm. Positive Living BC, 1107 Seymour St. Contact Michael or Jonathon at 604-240-7205 or firstname.lastname@example.org. BiFocus This peer-led social and support group to help bisexual and pansexual people cope with biphobia and heterosexism meets the second and last Monday of every month. 7–9pm. Qmunity Generations, 1033 Davie St. Free. qmunity.ca
Tues, Jan 28 Our Lives, Our Stories The Health Initiative for Men presents a 10-week creative-writing course for gay men. 6:30–8:30pm. HIM, 1033 Davie St, Room 310. Group runs weekly until Tues, April 1. Free. checkhimout.ca
Wed, Jan 29 Vancouver Men’s Chorus Open Rehearsals Join the chorus tonight and on Wed, Feb 5, 7:15pm. Vancouver Academy of Music, 1270 Chestnut St. Free. vancouvermenschorus.ca Bingo for Life Joan-E’s weekly fundraiser for Friends for Life features brilliant prizes, cheap drinks and snappy drag queens. 8–10pm. Celebrities, 1022 Davie St. $10 donation at door for bingo cards. celebritiesnightclub.com
Submit your event listing to email@example.com. Deadline for the Jan 30–Feb 12 issue is Wed, Jan 22. VANCOUVER’S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS
Health Care Services HIM - Health Initiative for Men checkhimout.ca Sound Hearing Clinic 604-687-1488 STOP HIV/AIDS Team 604-838-1331 Vancouver Coastal Health 604-736-2033
Hearing Aids Sound Hearing Clinic 604-687-1488
THE BEST OF GAY & LESBIAN VANCOUVER
Home & Garden Bedding
Mr. Mattress 604-255-2113
Aarm Dental Group 604-647-0006
Boat Cruises & Charters
Harbour Air 604-274-1277
Waterway Houseboats 1-877-WATERWAY
Daher Orthostyle – Dr Sam Daher 604-662-3290
Business & Professional Organizations
Orchard Recovery 604-947-0420
AIDS/HIV Resources AIDS Vancouver 604-893-2201 AIDS Vancouver Island 250-384-2366 1-800-665-2437 ANKORS 1-800-421-2437 Dr Peter AIDS Foundation 604-608-1874 HIM - Health Initiative for Men checkhimout.ca Positive Living 604-893-2200 Vancouver Coastal Health 604-736-2033 STOP HIV/AIDS Team 604-838-1331
Alternative Health Ignite Smoke Shop 778-786-0977 Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary 604-255-1844 My CannaMeds mycm.ca YoGuy Men’s Yoga 778-995-1970
Apartments Capreit caprent.com
Archives Vivo Media Arts vivomediaarts.com
Art Galleries Vivo Media Arts vivomediaarts.com
Audio Visual Equipment Vivo Media Arts vivomediaarts.com
Bakeries Andy’s Bakery 604-251-5667
Beauty Enchante 604-669-9166
Dr Dean Wershler 604-688-4080 Dr Langston Raymond 604-687-1008
West End Business Improvement Association 604-696-0144
Redtree Dental 604-873-3337
Downtown Chiropractic 604-685-9444
Cleaning & Maid Services The Maids 604-987-5651
Clinics Travel Clinic 604-736-9244
Education & Instruction Vancouver Elementary School Teachers’ Association 604-873-8378 Vivo Media Arts vivomediaarts.com
Community Groups & Services
Ballet BC 604-732-5003
West End Seniors Network 604-669-5051
Museum of Vancouver 604-736-4431
PlayLand Amusement Park 604-253-2311
Community Based Research Centre 604-568-7478 Vivo Media Arts vivomediaarts.com
Amherst Funeral and Cremation Services Inc 604-831-3023 Valley View Funeral Home 604-596-8866
Home Improvement & Repairs Maison D’Etre Build Inc. 604-484-4030
Paciﬁc Coast Massage Therapy – Christopher Robins RMT 604-687-4078 Rick Girardeau, RMT rickgrmt.com
Media Vivo Media Arts vivomediaarts.com
Men’s Services BC Society for Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse (BCSMSSA) 604-682-6482
Motorcycles & Scooters Motorcycle World 604-582-9253
East Van Graphics eastvangraphics.ca Mail Box Plus 604-683-1433 Minuteman Press 604-572-8558
Poncho’s Restaurant 604-683-7236
Dr Joachim Sehrbrock, Registered Psychologist 604-366-3112
Psychotherapy Edward Sandberg, Counsellor/Therapist 604-728-6569
Freeway Mini Storage/U-Haul 604-251-2017
Publications Pink Triangle Press 1-800-268-9872
Xtra (Vancouver) 604-684-9696
Abasa Optical 604-687-3937
Xtra (Ottawa) 613-986-8292
Valley View Memorial Gardens 604-596-7196
Bruce Eyewear 604-662-8300
Xtra (Toronto) 416-925-6665
Laundry Valet 604-568-2020
Real Estate Agents
Kitty Kare 604-813-4239
Darryl Persello 604-306-1340
Dahl & Connors 604-687-8752
Pet Stores & Supplies
Ian Eggleton, RE/MAX 604-773-1443
Barbara Findlay 604-251-4356
Dog Country 604-558-1995
North Shore Law LLP 604-980-8571
Pets First 604-590-7387
Lyn Hart, Macdonald Realty Ltd 604-724-4278
Grocery Safeway Davie: 604-669-8313 Robson: 604-683-6155 Urban Fare (Bute Location) 604-975-7556
Hair Stylists & Barbers Enchante 604-669-9166
Libraries Vivo Media Arts vivomediaarts.com
Liquor West End Liquor Store 604-689-3100
Marketing C&C Communications 604-664-8995
The Dance Centre 604-604-6400
Dr. Aaron VanGaver BSc ND 604-629-1120
Vancouver Farmers’ Markets 604-879-3276
Health - Men’s
DeVie Business Solutions 604-298-4148
HIM - Health Initiative for Men checkhimout.ca
The Maids 604-987-8181 Tisol 14th & Main St: 604-873-4117 12th & Arbutus: 604-730-1768 Grandview Hwy: 604-436-3001 Gilley Ave, Burnaby: 604-434-2812
Physiotherapy & Rehab Andrea Martens, BScPT, CAFCI Urban Active Sport Therapy Clinic 604-669-8233
Maison D’Etre Build Inc. 604-484-4030
Susan Cameron 604-266-1364
Renovations & Restorations Maison D’Etre Build Inc. 604-484-4030 Mr Build 604-732-8453
Restaurants & Cafes
Couriers Mail Box Plus 604-683-1433
Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival bardonthebeach.org
Transportation Harbour Air 604-274-1277 Helijet International 800-665-4354
Travel British Columbia Black Rock Oceanfront Resort 877-762-5011 Tourism Harrison 604-796-5581
Websites squirt.org squirt.org twospiritwolf.com 604-688-6648
Yoga YoGuy Men’s Yoga 778-995-1970
THE BEST OF GAY & LESBIAN VANCOUVER
Gastown treasures Gearing up for winter The Drive’s organic soul The heart of gay Vancouver
Joe Ramirez Integral Counselling 778-227-9423
Willow Tree Counselling 604-521-3404
Joe’s Grill 1031 Davie St, Vancouver: 604-682-3683
Iosono Counselling Services – Ron Paviglianiti, RPC 604-290-1445
Tricia Antoniuk, MSW, RSW 778-378-2633
Scotiabank Dance Centre 604-604-6400
2 Dears and a Queer 604-306-1340
Counselling BC counsellingbc.com
Monique Silverman, MA, RCC, CCC 778-228-8456
Gallery Cafe & Catering. 604-688-2233
Lehmann Counselling Service 604-614-8121
Instant Bedrooms 604-270-BEDS(2337)
C&C Communications 604-664-8995
Rodrozen Designs 604-558-4443
Richmond Funeral Home 604-273-3748
Martin Brothers Funeral 778-330-7799
948 Denman St, Vancouver: 604-642-6588 2061 West 4th Ave, Vancouver: 604-736-6588 3048 Main St, Vancouver: 604-879-6586
Felicity Webb 604-721-7537
Linda Duncan, RMT 604-630-0101
Eden Accents 604-523-3433
Massage Certified/ Registered
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XTRA! JAN 16–29, 2014 21
A world of gay adventure
Boys’ weekend in Vegas Party like a rock star in the city of sin BY DANNY GLENWRIGHT
Las Vegas is not for pussies. It’s the kind of town where you can get married on your first date, sign your name with dollar signs and strip down with random ﬂoozies in a plush hotel room — right, Prince Harry? Everything is big, Sweetie, huge. Lacroix, Chanel, Wynn! Wolfgang, Darling, Wolfgang! When Celine builds a dressing room in Vegas, she creates a replica of her real home, which is only minutes away from the Caesars Palace theatre that was also constructed for La Dion on the famed Vegas “strip.” When they make burgers in Vegas, they ﬂy in the beef from Japan and top it with French truffles and foie gras; when they run out of water, they steal it from Arizona; and when they create ice sculptures, they carve them from cubes previously used to freeze Walt Disney (okay, that last one might not be true). If you want to make it in Vegas you’d better have big tits, big tigers or big talent. The saying goes “Don’t mess with Texas,” but it’s Las Vegas that’s really something to be reckoned with. “Lost wages,” as the city is so tenderly known by locals (and there are so many ways to lose yours), is also gayer than Steel Magnolias. It’s the city of Liberace, Siegfried & Roy, Elton, Barry Manilow, David Copperﬁeld and Frank Marino. And those are just the divas. It’s also a city ﬂush with the best and worst of everything American — which means it’s a perfect place for a dynamite quick-and-dirty weekend getaway that you won’t soon forget (depending on 22 JAN 16–29, 2014 XTRA!
how much you drink). This intrepid journalist took one for the team and got wasted like Britney for the sake of the story — and, of course, in order to suss out the best Vegas has on offer. Here are some suggestions for an excess-ful gay weekend in Nevada’s ﬁnest oasis.
Arrival Grab a quick beer while you acclimatize at the McCarran International Airport — named after Pat McCarran, a Las Vegas senator from 1933 to 1954. McCarran was a Communist-hating politician who spent many years trying to restrict immigration to the United States and Nevada. It didn’t work, and the senator is surely rolling in his grave: one ﬁfth of those who live in Nevada today were born in another country, making it one of the most diverse states. The airport has several bars and slot machines where you can drink to McCarran’s failed policies and whet your appetite for the weekend ahead. Better to enjoy the airport’s booze and blackjack at the beginning of your trip because you’ll likely retch at the sight of both on the way out.
Regroup and explore your mini bar Now is not the time to stop and rest. Check into your hotel (the city has dozens to choose from, including six of the world’s 10 largest), have a quick whore’s bath and pack the necessities for a night out: gum, cologne, condom, deodorant, p-p-p-poker face, check! Don’t forget a cheeky shot from the mini bar and you’re on your way.
Above, Bellagio. Right, the Luxor hotel’s Temptation Sunday is where all the cute boys of Vegas play in the afternoon sunshine.
Dinner on the Strip The infamous Vegas Strip is like a Monopoly board, with as many pitfalls as opportunities. Please don’t end up in jail. Depending on where you start, the Strip can seem either daunting or mesmerizing. If you’re planning a big Friday night out, better to save your energy and head
straight for one of its glitzy restaurants. Try a light dinner at Andrea’s at Wynn, where chef Joseph Elevado’s sharing plates are just right for a group. Elevado spent almost a decade working under celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa (whose Las Vegas spot, Nobu, is also a mustvisit for dinner), and his modern Asian VANCOUVER’S GAY & LESBIAN NEWS
Left, the buffet at Simon Restaurant at The Palms includes everything from French toast to sushi. Above, Roman guards (and gods) abound at Caesars Palace.
LAS VEGAS TOURISM
dishes show off what he learned. Our group especially loved Andrea’s wagyu beef tataki with ginger and green onion and the scallop sashimi with salsa verde.
Round one Las Vegas has dozens of nightclubs, including several gay spots. The safe bet for a Friday night is Share, a two-storey nightclub, bar and lounge that offers VIP cabanas for groups that want to party like rock stars. For those looking for something more traditional, Share provides private rooms, and its website suggests customers “ask shot boys how you can receive special treatment and make your experience a little more Sharable.” Nothing says slutty vacation like an anonymous backroom hookup with a hot cocktail waiter.
ment. The Bathhouse’s dark and cavernous clothing-optional hot tub and sauna area also allows for a full recharge before heading back into the bright lights of Vegas. And its cute pool boys will help you get other systems back up and running. Before leaving Mandalay Bay, grab lunch at Border Grill, where famous lezzie chef Susan Feniger — of cooking show Too Hot Tamales — and business partner Mary Sue Milliken have created a hot and spicy Mexican menu that’ll guarantee the previous evening’s booze continues to evacuate your pores. We couldn’t get enough of their Peruvian ceviche and Yucatan slow-roasted pork in banana leaves. If you’re ready to start drinking again, Border Grill’s ﬂavoured margaritas are a very good place to start.
Sweat it out
Glut, guzzle and gamble
If you completed day one following the above instructions, you’ll be feeling a little worse for wear Saturday morning. That’s what you get for waking up in Vegas! Best to follow Katy Perry’s lead, shake the glitter off your clothes and sweat out your hangover at one of Vegas’s many luxury spas. The Bathhouse (not that kind!) at Mandalay Bay’s THEhotel offers spa packages that include everything from hot stone treatments to “soufflé” scrubs. My throbbing head thanked me for the spa’s gorgeous deep-conditioning scalp treat-
Spend Saturday afternoon like any selfrespecting Las Vegas tourist: walk the Strip, gamble, spend money you don’t have, eat lots of bad food and drink slushy piña coladas from guitar-shaped plastic glasses. Remember that casinos offer free drinks to customers who gamble, so it’s a great way to get soused without the fuss of reaching for your wallet. I recommend the MGM Grand, where wait staff always made sure I had a bevvy so long as I was shifting cash from my bank account into the hotel’s
ﬂashing appliances. Once you’re bored from not winning, jump on the handy Vegas Monorail and head back to your hotel to freshen up for an evening show.
It’s all coming back to me now It’s not a trip to Las Vegas without a show. And boy, did my group of boys put on a show as we walked drunkenly down the street on the way to see Celine. “There were nights when your cock was so hard,” we sang (well, shouted and squealed), so excited were we to see Canada’s most popular export. Celine didn’t disappoint, but of course, if you’re not into Ms Dion (don’t admit to that in Vegas), there are plenty of other options. Cirque du Soleil usually has a handful of shows on the go (give Zarkana a miss, see O if you can) or check out magicians Penn & Teller or one of the many celebrities always on hand.
Pre-clubbing drinks If Vegas were a zoo, The Cosmopolitan hotel would be the panda enclosure. Take yourself there Saturday night when you’re still somewhat fresh and classy and a few drinks away from “Work Bitch.” (Britney’s video, by the way, was ﬁlmed in Vegas.) Head for The Chandelier bar, a three-storey affair surrounded by two million crystals that feels a bit like Studio continued next page E
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54 meets The Ritz. The Cosmopolitan is known for its mixology program that includes more than 150 cocktails. Your mouth will hopefully be filled with all kinds of wonderful things during a Vegas weekend but likely none more unique than The Verbena cocktail, also known as the Szechuan Button. The tequila-based potion is garnished with the bud of an Acmella oleracea plant, native to Brazil, which, when chewed, releases mouthnumbing chemicals. It intensiﬁes everything you taste for the next few minutes, including the citrus cocktail it garnishes. Adventurous types may want to grab a few extra Acmella buttons for later.
A room with a view at the Cosmopolitan hotel. Right, the Bathhouse at Mandalay Bay has a clothing-optional hot tub and sauna area.
Lather, rinse, repeat
Krave Massive, Las Vegas’s newest gay club, should be somewhere on your agenda. Not to be outdone by the other superlatives ﬂoating around Vegas, Krave bills itself as the country’s largest gay club. While it doesn’t yet have the energy of an established space like Share, Krave is worth a visit. If you get there early, stop in for a drink where there’s plenty of vibe at Drink & Drag, a drag-queen bowlingalley bar in the same complex as Krave. Warning: the Las Vegas City Council recently denied both bars liquor licences, so be sure to check online to see if they’re up and running again before you go.
You’ll be all fear and loathing when you look at yourself in the mirror Sunday morning. But you still have plenty to discover, so swig back a quick hair of the dog from the mini bar — or down a coffee if your stomach’s not there just yet — and get back out there. Start with a buffet brunch at Simon Restaurant at The Palms hotel. There’s something deliciously trashy about a Vegas buffet — but that said, it’s best to get your buffet fetish out of the way at brunch so you can reserve your evenings for the city’s best dining spots. The team at Simon knows their clientele, and the all-you-can-eat
Sunday brunch includes sushi, paninis, peel-and-eat shrimp and an all-youcan-drink Bloody Mary bar complete with every possible garnish, from spicy beans to Mexican hot sauce. I drank my way through several of my group’s drink combinations because I’m a journalist who likes to get to the bottom of things.
Sunbathe like an Egyptian The Luxor hotel’s Temptation Sunday is the Don Juan of Vegas’s gay party scene — a poolside event that’ll have the pants off any lad still wearing them. This is where all the cute boys come to play, and
it’s a refreshing homo vibe compared to many of the strip’s family-friendly or ultra-macho pool areas. Rent a cabana, order a bucket of beer or a pitcher of margaritas, get into a tiny swimsuit and kick back and enjoy the sunshine.
Leaving Las Vegas It’s always hard to wrap up a vacation, but something about the debauchery that is Vegas makes it a particularly easy city to leave. It could be the sunburn or the scabies, or possibly that big hole in your bank account. It’s not that you didn’t have fun — of course
you had fun — but gosh, there’s only so much fun you can have before you collapse into an airplane seat and think, “I can’t wait to get home.” But beyond the slot machines, there’s something rather addictive about the city. And just like Celine before you, a new day will come and you’ll likely head back there again. For now, settle back into your seat, order a cocktail from the ﬂight attendant and, whatever you do, don’t post any of your photos until you’ve had a chance to sober up. There’s a certain saying about allowing some things to stay in Vegas.
The city that never sleeps NOV 2013–APR
Pride in Tel Aviv & opera in Masada
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Tel Aviv, known as “the city that never sleeps” and the “white city,” is considered by many to be the most cosmopolitan city in the Middle East. You can saunter down almost any street and ﬁnd café-goers, joggers and dog walkers. With its prime position on the Mediterranean coast, Tel Aviv is known for its sea, sun and surf. This fun-loving city never stops. There is always something to do or see, whether it be entertainment, art, shopping or visiting picturesque artists’ quarters. Visitors can also enjoy a rich nightlife, shopping and international cuisine. Tel Aviv is considered a gayfriendly city, where anyone is free to live, love, work and play. A specially designed tour to Israel for the LGTB community led by Colin Sines, president of Travel Gay Canada, is being offered by Aufgang Travel (based in Toronto) from June 9 to 17. The tour will put you in Tel Aviv just in time to celebrate Pride Day on June 13 with thousands of others who descend on the city each year for the festivities.
The tour will then continue to Masada, where you’ll enjoy a spectacular performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera La Traviata on June 16 (after you ﬂoat in the Dead Sea). Competing with all the gay capitals around the world, this experience of Israel encompasses both celebration and culture. In addition to visiting Israel’s regular attractions, more than 50 special events take place during Pride Week, culminating in La Traviata. Above, Gay Pride Tel Aviv. Below, La Traviata at Masada. YYZ TRAVEL GROUP
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