brian francis brad fraser |sonny mills |maureen phillips
#766 MARCH 6–19, 2014
MEMORIES & MUSINGS FROM KAMAL AL-SOLAYLEE | JIM BARTLEY | BRIAN FRANCIS
BRAD FRASER | SONNY MILLS | MAUREEN PHILLIPS | JEFFREY ROUND
DAVID WALBERG | LUCINDA WALLACE + CLASSIC COVERS, LETTERS, ADS & MORE
2 MARCH 6–19, 2014 XTRA!
30 YEARS OF HEADLINES: Frankie meets the censors! And Mary Brown can’t relax over their videos Xtra #15, Oct 6, 1984
Doing it with poodles General Idea at the AGO Xtra #30, June 1, 1985
XTRA! MARCH 6–19, 2014 3
PAUL T. WILLIS B.A., LL.B.
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Board of Directors
Seeking applicants to join the Board and Board Committees
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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 positions on our Board of Directors and Board committees (i.e. Quality, Finance, Redevelopment and Foundation). This year, our search is focused on candidates with
health care management experience, construction/architecture experience and/or a commitment to fundraising.
The ideal candidates are committed to Casey House’s mission and strategic
directions, and also have the following knowledge, skills and experience:
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Casey House welcomes applicants from all communities and particularly encourages people living
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For more information about governance requirements for hospital directors,
To obtain further information about Casey House, and to obtain an application form,
please visit our website at www.caseyhouse.com
4 MARCH 6–19, 2014 XTRA!
David LeBlanc, Bruce Ferreira-Wells,
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants RCIC – ICCRC
30 YEARS OF HEADLINES: Safe sex for lovers Unsafe sex with your lover could be riskier than tricking around Xtra #50, April 19, 1986
GAY & LESBIAN
#766 MARCH 6–19, 2014
A look back on 30 years
of the little paper that could
While we weren’t looking
By Ken Popert E6
to be painted at Church
and Wellesley E11
Meet you at Woody’s
By Jeremy Willard E12
Out in the City
Downton Toronto E25
Toronto at Night Beating the
winter blues in a bathhouse
By Ryan G Hinds E26
What’s On E27
Club Scene E28
By Rolyn Chambers E30
Xtra Living E31
Daily Xtra Travel
Catrinas & cliff diving
Courting la muerte in
California’s Paciﬁc Coast
Experience the Golden State’s
natural wonders E34
The very ﬁrst
Xtra Hot column
By David Hawe E37
E Disney World
withdraws funding from
Boy Scouts of America
E Opposition parties
shy away from sex-work
E Community activist
MARCH 27 8 PM
E Former Miss Kentucky
comes out as queer
905.306.6000 X 1.888.805.8888
Easy come, easy go Why have so many lesbian bars come and gone in TO? Xtra #80, July 17, 1987
XTRA! MARCH 6–19, 2014 5
email [email protected]
comment dailyxtra.com & facebook/dailyxtra.com
While we weren’t looking
We really should have
seen this coming.
The birth of Xtra in 1984 neatly
punctuated an important transition
in the history of our communities.
The forces that had exploded onto
Toronto’s streets in 1981, in the wake
of the legendary bathhouse raids,
changed course, ﬂowing as much into
the courts as onto the pavement.
For three decades, the reassuring
rhythm of Xtra’s biweekly publication matched the steady tempo of
battles fought and mostly won.
But our history tells us — and Xtra
has often reminded us — that the
steady advance of our movement is
not inevitable, that there is no assurance of an endless summer. Our
struggle has been born more than
once, has grown, made progress and
changed minds . . . only to be brutally
crushed and extirpated, ﬁrst from
society and then from memory. But,
unlike that unlucky gay movement
in Germany a century ago, we have
the opportunity to learn from history
and take steps to avoid repeating it.
On the 30th birthday of Xtra, after
30 years of progress, that awareness of our history authorizes us to
formulate uncomfortable questions
about the political weather: Is the
temperature dropping? Is winter
True, the gay movement displays
an astonishing vitality and now
touches every inhabited continent of
our world. At the same time, it shows
signs of ﬂagging in its North American birthplace. In the United States,
the movement seems to be permanently mired, reduced to begging for
scraps like marriage. And often not
winning even those.
Here in Toronto, a city that has
been a beacon of hope for our people
around the world, the animosity of
city council toward Pride, simmering
for years just beneath the surface,
is symptomatic. What other city
festival has to jump through as many
hoops as Pride to retain its funding every year? What other festival
has its participants scrutinized by
a camera-wielding city councillor
looking for evidence with which to
Why are a dozen or so naked
men in our parade an intolerable
offence in a city that chuckles at
the Naked Bike Ride, an event that
sends hundreds of naked people on a
tour of much of the downtown core
How was a howlingly unsuitable
candidate able to storm into the ofﬁce of mayor, shouldering aside a
seasoned candidate who happened
to be gay?
How have we come to have a
mayor who builds political capital by
shunning us like a colony of lepers?
Most soberingly, what does it
mean that we have a chief magistrate
who is also the mentor of a man
charged with participating in the
brutal killing of a young gay man he
didn’t even know?
Toronto’s chattering classes seem
to regard Rob Ford as an abomination, yes, but an aberration; once he’s
gone, they let us believe, our political
system will recover its equilibrium
and banality will reassume its traditional place as ballast.
I fear that this is a comforting
I fear that Ford is a prototype,
a trial buffoon, a demagogic monster assembled behind the scenes
by a committee of political Dr
I fear that they will learn from their
mistakes and we will see Ford 2.0.
Maybe not this year — the making of
monsters takes time. But when he or
she appears, Ford 2.0 will be armed
with the same neo-conservative
agenda and will be looking to reignite
the same destructive passions that
carried the original into office. But
this time the surgeons’ seams will
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.
6 MARCH 6–19, 2014 XTRA!
be tucked neatly out of sight and the
ugly bolts discreetly concealed. Ford
2.0 will be much more acceptable at
I fear that the political left does
not recognize that the rules have
changed, that genteel, take-the-highroad campaigns, faced with hatefuelled divisive politics, will meet
with annihilation. I fear that the left
will fail to see that Ford’s constituency is an angry but clueless mob,
there for the taking by either the left
or the right.
And I fear that Ford Nation is not
With their demagogue gone,
there will be no cult of personality
to obscure the political alchemy
that has conjured his followers
into a congealed ball of carefully
And we ought to know by now
that one element of that alchemy is
We ought to understand enough
Fordnationese by now to know that,
when their leaders target “downtown
latte-sipping, bike-hugging elitists,”
they mean us. Others as well, but
Years ago, I saw a disturbing painting by a local gay artist. It showed a
grim ghostly ﬁgure circulating unnoticed in a Pride Day crowd on Church
Street; the revellers were joyful, unaware of the danger lurking unseen
in their midst. It was a reference to
the early days of AIDS, to HIV striding among us, an unrecognized serial
killer. The painting was titled While
We Weren’t Looking.
Today, it takes on another meaning. Ford Nation may be stalking us.
We can’t afford not to look.
So, as Xtra enters its fourth decade, we gaze upon a changing and
perhaps challenging terrain. Our
communities could be facing the end
of 30 years of progress.
I’m looking at Ford and looking at
a possible future. That future does
not look friendly.
But it is just one possibility; if we
start looking, the future can still be
ours to make.
Ken Popert is the president and executive director of Pink Triangle Press.
Naked at Pride
I think this editorial by Xtra’s Danny
Glenwright is all just for show [“Let’s
Get Naked,” Xtra #765, Feb 20]. It’s
simply a political response to the latest
statements by Rob Ford about the Pride
parade. I doubt very much that we will
see Danny Glenwright naked on Yonge
Street during the Pride parade on June
29, 2014 — or at the street fair on Church
Street after the parade. His genitals
will be covered. After all, if he were
to go totally nude, the photographic
evidence could hurt his future career
aspirations in the non-profit sector
or journalism. Furthermore, I don’t
think you will even see him wearing
only a thong on Yonge Street. I even
doubt that he’ll bare down to wear only
a skimpy Speedo at Pride. I think this
Xtra editorial is just another case of do
as I say, not as I do.
I think the human body is a beautiful piece of work. On canoe trips with
lesbians, I’ve gone naked and dived
into rivers and streams. This is where
I draw the line. Gay pride is exactly this:
pride. I do not wish to see naked bodies
prancing before children or other adults
who have come to delight in our creativity. Most of them support our cause.
The nakedness that I observe is lewd
and provocative. I do not wish to see
straights pretending to hump women,
either. I think we are not showing the
public a “body beautiful spectacle” but
rather we are projecting sex as a public
orgy on display.
Village rainbow crosswalk
Wellesley Street is a major street, but
it’s not a particularly gay-friendly street
[“Rainbow Crosswalk To Be Painted
at Church and Wellesley,” dailyxtra.
com, Feb 21]. Stretching from Bay to
Parliament, Wellesley is one of my least
favourite thoroughfares in Toronto.
East of Jarvis is a gay no-man’s land,
and it’s very sketchy also around Yonge.
At Church and Wellesley there is only
one actual remaining gay business to my
knowledge (a well-hidden bathhouse).
There is a gay-friendly wine store, barbershop and pharmacy, but that should
be expected at this point in Toronto.
As for the rest of the businesses in the
area, unfortunately, it’s highly questionable how they really feel about their
gay customers. No gay employees, no
“happy Pride” from them. Just north
of Wellesley resembles a tent city on
some days, and with the park closed it’s
like a dead zone. If you asked gay village
residents where is the true gay intersection, Church and Maitland would be the
more accurate answer.
I took Danny Glenwright’s editorial as
a tongue-in-cheek response to Mayor
Rob Ford and his brother Doug’s recent
comments. I don’t have a problem with
naked men marching in the parade, old
or young. I have read Paula Key’s comments and feel she doesn’t know what
she is talking about in regard to the TNT
group marching in the parade. They
are not totally nude; following rules of
the law they wear shoes and socks, just
as queer women can be bare-breasted
when they march, if they wish. I think
a half million people come to watch the
annual Pride parade because it isn’t the
Santa Claus Parade of Sensibility.
I always have mixed feelings about
rainbows. Sometimes I think they’re
stupid and mass-produced nylon ﬂags
in sweatshops. Sometimes, though,
when people say disparaging comments,
I want to remind them: you know people
died for waving rainbow flags, right?
They often made them from scraps of
fabric and waved those simultaneously
pitiful and majestic ﬂags in revolt. They
wanted a sexually liberated future. So,
yes, critique the appropriation of this
symbol. Critique the consumerism and
neoliberalism of Pride. However, try to
have some respect for what this symbol
meant and who was killed and hurt only
for the symbol to be appropriated by a
MICHEL F PARÉ
SERAN GEE (FACEBOOK)
30 YEARS OF HEADLINES: Killing us softly A new AIDS drug waits while Ottawa yawns Xtra #90, Dec 11, 1987
Pink Triangle Press is looking for an Assistant Editor
for our print and online news and entertainment
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the Managing Editor, the person in this position is
responsible for effectively implementing editorial
directives and objectives and ensuring that content
is relevant and thought-provoking.
DEC 2013–MAY 2014
THE BEST OF
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gets Spruced up
THE BEST OF GAY & LESBIAN TORONTO
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Release date: April 17
Call 416-664-5214 or email
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Note: This full-time position overlaps with PTP’s
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providing a critical perspective that engages readers
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are impeccable (factual accuracy, consistency with
editorial directions, fairness and full cognizance of
obscenity and libel law), and you are able to identify,
research and present topics that reﬂect the zeitgeist
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You will have additional proven skills and experience,
including, but not limited to, the following:
and contacts within the community and to make
connections within appropriate movements,
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publishing, internet, social media
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Visit “Work With Us” at dailyxtra.com
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The Normal Heart — are there lessons for TO in this new AIDS play?Xtra #94, Feb 12, 1988
XTRA! MARCH 6–19, 2014 7
A Proud Representative of the Gay Community
FROM THE ARCHIVES
I enjoy expressing myself,
and if I think someone’s
being a pussy,
I say it.
Craig Head, ABR
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage
— from our exclusive interview
with a young pop star named
Madonna in Xtra #172,
published May 10, 1991
Specializing in Condos Throughout Yorkville & Downtown
When people are on the
dancefloor, their Fallopian tubes
are open and they can receive
some hot messages!
— from our exclusive
interview with budding drag
queen RuPaul in Xtra #216,
published Feb 5, 1993
(For a recent interview
with RuPaul, go to
to all of our
donors & volunteers
for making the bowlathon a success!
Please keep an eye out for
all of the different events we will
be having throughout 2014 to celebrate
OUT ON THE STREET BY KYLE BURTON
Is there still a need for a gay newspaper?
8 MARCH 6–19, 2014 XTRA!
CUSTOMER SERVICE REP
Is there a need for
I’d actually like to see a
daily gay column in Metro
or 24 Hours. Instead of
we should be including
Yeah, there is. We have
a couple LGBT papers
at U of T, and it’s nice
to pick those up when
Yes, there is. There
always was, and it’s
sad when I see some of
the publications not in
30 YEARS OF HEADLINES: Tah-tah to our rights Britain outlaws the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality Xtra #101, May 27, 1988
A BIWEEKLY HELPING OF POP
CULTURE, SERVED À LA CARTE
This special edition of Sushi highlights
the gayest events of 1984, the year the
ﬁrst issue of Xtra was published.
Had the numberone song:
“When Doves Cry.”
SAME-SEX LEGAL ISSUES
CYNTHIA BOROVOY WARREN
BARRISTER & SOLICITOR
Domestic Matters: Domestic Agreements
Real Estate: Purchase, Sale & Mortgages:
Estate Planning: Wills and Powers of Attorney
Real Estate Sales Representative
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‘All the Nice Boys
Love Sea Men’
Headline on the
quarter-page ad for
“Relax” published in a
Places in the Heart
Sally Field wins an Oscar
for her role in the ﬁlm and proclaims,
“They really like me!”
Releases “Girls Just
Want to Have Fun.”
523 Parliament St.
Lauper wins for Best
Female Video at the
‘Like a Virgin’
Madonna performs her song live
at the MTV Awards, rolling around in
a wedding dress.
rolls out a Versace-designed Lincoln
Continental. It was
discontinued in 1985.
nude photos of the
ﬁrst African American
Miss America; she
surrenders her crown.
Mercedes-Benz Corporate Stores
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Canada’s largest inventory selection
gay bar closes.
The Cosby Show
“Wake Me Up
Before You Go-Go”
Rights precedent Gay couple wins family status Xtra #123, April 28, 1989
Ask us about Prepaid Maintenance.
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XTRA! MARCH 6–19, 2014 9
Everything gay, every day.
10 MARCH 6–19, 2014 XTRA!
30 YEARS OF HEADLINES: City fails to block bathhouse Spa on Maitland becomes the ﬁrst gay commercial bath to receive legal sanction Xtra #153, July 27, 1990
The AIDS crisis was huge. We lost a lot of friends, a lot of staff.
Woody’s general manager Dean OdoricoE 12
Rainbow crosswalk to be painted at
Church and Wellesley for WorldPride
DYLAN C ROBERTSON
Sections of the crosswalk near Church
and Wellesley streets will be painted in
rainbow colours in the run-up to June’s
Toronto City Council approved the
decision Feb 20, with only Mayor Rob
Ford and his brother Councillor Doug
Ford voting against the motion.
“The rainbow ﬂag is a sign of welcoming for our community, and we’re welcoming the world,” says Kevin Beaulieu,
executive director of WorldPride. “When
you see the ﬂag, you know someone values you and respects you.”
The entire $50,000 cost is being
covered by allocating funds from a
nearby developer. Known as Section
37 funds, developers pay the city extra
World Bank puts hold
on loan to Uganda
The World Bank has said it is putting
on hold a $90 million loan earmarked
for Uganda’s health system because of
recently enacted and widely condemned
legislation that calls for harsh penalties
against gay people, including life imprisonment for the offence of “aggravated
In an email, a World Bank spokesperson said the project is being reviewed to
ensure that its objectives aren’t compromised by the measure that Ugandan
President Yoweri Museveni recently
signed into law, Reuters reports.
According to the report, the World
Bank’s president, Jim Yong Kim, also
wrote to staff, saying discriminatory
acts against people because of their
fees when their projects exceed normal
city-planning guidelines. The city then
uses the funds to develop nearby parks,
infrastructure or streetscapes. In this
case, the developers of 66 Isabella St
contributed $450,000 in order to almost
double the building’s size.
Paint will likely not hit the pavement
until spring — Beaulieu says to expect
the rainbow road to appear in the days
leading up to WorldPride. He says the
city will work out logistics, including
whether crosswalks or nearby roads will
be painted. He also says that he’s heard
it’s easier to paint asphalt for long-term
use than cement, which lines the crosswalks at Church and Wellesley.
“No paint on the roads last forever, but it
will be there for a while,” Ward 27 Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, who proposed the
motion, said on Twitter.
sexual orientation “cannot be tolerated”
and ﬂy in the face of the institution’s
He adds, “Institutionalized discrimination is bad for people and for societies. And as we know well in this
institution, widespread discrimination
is also bad for economies.”
The World Bank’s decision to delay
approval of the loan follows decisions by
Norway, the Netherlands and Denmark,
which have signalled that they are suspending or redirecting aid to the African
country because of the enactment of
the law. The US and Canada have both
said that they will be reviewing their
relationships with Uganda.
But Museveni continues to thumb
his nose at threats from the West while
praising Russia for respecting his country’s sovereignty over its internal affairs.
Russia has also faced condemnation
for its passage of so-called gay propaganda laws, which its leaders continue
Sections of the crosswalk near Church and Wellesley
streets will be painted in rainbow colours in the run-up
to June’s WorldPride festivities. COURTESY OF PRIDE TORONTO
to defend. At the recent commissioning
of a Russian-built ﬂight simulator in
Entebbe, Museveni said, “The Russians
work with us; they don’t mix up their
politics with our politics. They just do
what we agree on.” —Natasha Barsotti
Feds seek public
input on sex laws
In a letter to his Ottawa counterpart,
Manitoba Justice Minister Andrew
Swan has outlined his views on what
Canada’s new prostitution law should
look like, after the Supreme Court of
Canada struck down the existing laws
Swan believes the new law should
target demands for sexual services
while helping sex-trade workers get
addiction counselling, mental-health
services and training to get out of
street-based sex work.
“Canada needs to consider a new
approach that focuses on reducing the
demand for the purchase of sex, and
assisting the victims of sexual exploitation,” Swan says in the Feb 5 letter.
“Without demand, there will be no
incentive to coerce others to engage
in prostitution or human trafficking.”
He thinks that what is often referred
to as the Nordic model should be examined for Canada, noting in the letter
that the “essence of the Nordic model
is not to make it illegal for a person to
sell their sexual services but to make it
a criminal offence to purchase sexual
services or to procure sexual services
for another person.”
Vancouver lawyer Katrina Pacey says
continuing to criminalize aspects of the
sex trade won’t solve anything. Pacey,
of Vancouver’s Pivot Legal Society,
represented sex-trade workers in the
BC challenge to the laws and was part of
the Supreme Court hearings. She tells
Council proclaims Pride Day Toronto city council proclaims the last Sunday of June Lesbian and Gay Pride Day Xtra #161, Nov 23, 1990
Xtra that discussions with sex workers
in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside
show that the criminalization of those
buying sex would expose sex workers to dangerous conditions, as those
customers would seek to have rushed
transactions in dark alleys, away from
the eyes of police and better-lit areas
where sex workers might be safer.
“They’re describing very scary conditions right now as a result of the criminalization of clients,” Pacey says.
On Feb 17, the federal government
launched an online consultation to ask
Canadians for their input on the prostitution laws. Canadians can access a web
page on the Department of Justice’s website to provide their input. The online
consultation will be live from Feb 17 to
March 17. —Jeremy Hainsworth
For more on these stories,
go to dailyxtra.com.
XTRA! MARCH 6–19, 2014 11
Meet you at Wood
at a Toronto
While perusing early issues of Xtra, I found a
25-year-old advertisement for the
opening of one of Toronto’s oldest gay
bars: Woody’s. It’s a full-page ad, with
the words “NOW OPEN. The right
place . . . The right time . . . The right
guys” across the top, and the rest is a
sort of collage of men’s faces. As I gazed
at those faces, most drooping beneath
the weight of ugly mustaches, it occurred to me that most queer men in
Toronto have experienced Woody’s to
some degree. Whether or not it became
a regular haunt for all of us, it’s hard to
imagine the Village without it.
To learn more about the history of
Woody’s, I interviewed two people
who’ve worked there since the beginning — its general managers, Steven
Clegg and Dean Odorico. When owner
Alex Korn opened Woody’s in July
1989, he didn’t want it to be simply a
bar, but an establishment that helped
the community. Consequently, the bar
opened with a benefit for the AIDS
Committee of Toronto. “The AIDS
crisis was huge. We lost a lot of friends,
a lot of staff,” Odorico says. Over the
years, Woody’s has maintained this
mandate, raising well over $100,000
for the AIDS Committee of Toronto.
They’ve also given their support to
organizations like Casey House and
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and
have sponsored a variety of queer
When Woody’s opened, there were
plenty of queer clubs in the city, along
with a few bars, but there were very
few on Church Street itself. The area
was home to the CBC offices and
steakhouses that catered to rowdy,
mostly heterosexual hockey fans en
route to games at Maple Leaf Gardens.
Because Woody’s wasn’t a dance club,
but just a bar, many people thought it
wouldn’t last very long. Not only did
Woody’s last, but when the CBC and
later the hockey and hockey-related
business moved away, the success of
Woody’s most likely served as encouragement for other businesses to move
to the area.
12 March 6–19, 2014 XTRA!
grew with what Odorico describes as the
“Pride explosion.” By
the mid-1990s, Priderelated tourism was
huge and the crowds
large. Odorico recalls
one occasion: “There
were women with babies out in front of the
bar. The parade was
over, and everyone
was starting to move
up Church Street. The
women couldn’t move
anywhere, so they had
to pass their babies
to our security and
we took them in and
let them out the back
Queer as Folk
gained Woody’s international attention. The show was
set in Pittsburgh but
shot in Toronto, and
Woody’s was one of its
bars. Woody’s was also
used as another bar for the show, called
Moosie’s, for which they had to alter the
exterior. “A lot of people would come
and get their picture taken on the front
steps. There was also bus tours, where
An ad announcing the opening
of Woody’s that ran in Xtra #129,
released June 29, 1989.
30 years of Headlines: Our very own festival Toronto’s first independent lesbian and gay film and video festival (Inside/Out) launches Xtra #167, Feb 22, 1991
you’d get taken to all the places on the
show,” Odorico says. Woody’s was
such a hit that during the late 1990s
its beer sales were among the top ﬁve
in the entire province.
In addition to helping shape
Church Street and its ongoing contributions to charity and local organizations, Woody’s was very important
in the early 1990s as a place to ﬁnd
other guys. Before online dating
sites and smartphone apps, people
mostly had to go to bars and clubs to
hook up. With changing social media
and increasing social acceptance,
many people have moved away from
the Village and queer-speciﬁc venues, but Woody’s remains popular.
Odorico is happy with many of the
changes that have occurred: “At one
time, gay bars were the centre of the
universe for gay people, and they’re
still important, but it’s okay to be
gay now, and I’m glad to be whatever
small part of [the community] we
are. I love when I see two guys walking down the street holding hands.
That wouldn’t have happened 20
years ago. It’s beautiful to see the
Woody’s will celebrate its 25th
anniversary this summer, and while
the date and party details are not yet
ﬁrmed up, Odorico says it will involve
some kind of “look back” at the long
history of this queer landmark.
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At one time,
gay bars were
the centre of
for gay people,
and they’re still
I’m glad to be
part of [the
LG AL 201
ON FES NE
TO ILM O J
History Boys appears in every issue
The AIDS Memorial The AIDS memorial committee announces a design for a permanent memorial Xtra #175, June 21, 1991
NEW COUNSELLING &
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XTRA! MARCH 6–19, 2014 13
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FSC certified products available upon request
We would like to express our sincerest congratulations on your 30th Anniversary.
You have inspired our community for 30 years. You have displayed exceptional courage and determination in the face of resistance and adversity. You have helped, educated and guided those around you.
This accomplishment is something that you should take great pride in.
We truly appreciate the opportunity to have been a small part of your success, and we wish you
another 30 years of prosperity.
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14 MARCH 6–19, 2014 XTRA!
30 YEARS OF HEADLINES: Lesbian porn bust The OPP charges Glad Day, queers charge back Xtra #197, May 15, 1992
All Photos of xtra issues by Adam coish
Thirty years. Where to start? How to begin
to convey the impact that Xtra has had over
three decades of activism and journalism?
Digging through the stacks of editions in our
archives, I’m looking for the “search” function
to help me tell the story of this one-of-a-kind
publication. But there are no shortcuts, no
filters, just pages and pages of old-fashioned
paper and ink, assembled with hard work,
resolve and plenty of laughs.
continued next page •
School gays, school gays The Board of Education introduces gay-positive curriculum Xtra #201, July 10, 1992
XTRA! March 6–19, 2014 15
• continued from previous page
I joined Xtra as a designer in 1994, and the job
instilled in me a lifelong passion for editorial design.
Although I left in 2001 to broaden my work experience, a little part of me always remained at Pink
Triangle Press. When I returned in 2011 as creative
director, I felt like I was coming home.
A lot has changed in the publishing industry since
Lucinda Wallace, circa 1998,
I started that first job nearly two decades ago; like with the same “press-day face”
any publication today, the print edition of Xtra faces that she has today.
increased competition for eyeballs and ad revenue.
Our revamped website, dailyxtra.com, is breaking all sorts of PTP records, in terms
of both readership and advertising sales. But it’s not always an effective tool to convey
a picture of what is going on at a given moment in time. We can’t go back and read
xtra.ca as it appeared when it was launched in 1998 and, quite frankly, who would want
to? Websites don’t age well. Digital files, coding and hyperlinks can become fractured
and obsolete as time passes.
And yet here are these old Xtras, exactly the same as the day they rolled off the press,
if a bit yellowed. Each provides a striking snapshot of what was happening in queer
culture at the time. For all the speed and efficiency that online publishing promises,
there is still a permanence that only print provides. And there is still a demand — our
pick-up rates are close to 90 percent, remarkably high for a “niche” publication.
The future is uncertain, but at PTP there are a few things that can be relied on: The
constant deadlines. The resolve to tell the stories that matter to us. The opportunity
to work with wonderful colleagues who believe in what we do — and to have a lot of fun
while we do it. It’s nice to be home.
Lucinda Wallace is the creative director at Pink Triangle Press. She was the advertising
designer and then production manager of Xtra from 1994 to 2001.
I was acquainted with Xtra from its
early days, of course, but things took
a serious turn in 1986 or 1987: my
relationship with the paper got very
hands-on at that point. You see, I got
to deliver the paper to all the bars, bathhouses, bookstores,
coffee shops, guesthouses, restaurants, churches (okay
— MCC was the only church) in Toronto. Every second
Thursday, I would rent a car, show up at the Wolseley
Street office, pick up the papers and spend the evening
driving around the city on my grown-up paper route. It was
great to check out the boy bars; as a lesbian, the concept of a veritable buffet of choices
when it came to bars and clubs wasn’t something I was familiar with.
Back in that particular day, if you wanted to hang out with a lot of lesbians, you could
go to the old bar or you could go to the new bar, provided it was still in business. The
fact that there were specialty bars for men — denim, leather, butch, dance, piano, pubs
— was nothing short of astonishing.
Running in and out of the gay bars was fascinating for me, and the arrival of the
new issue of Xtra was certainly hailed as an
event, especially at around 7 on Thursday
night. I was happy to provide that small
highlight, but I certainly hope that it wasn’t
the highest point in the evening. For me, the
highlight was always dropping off the paper
in the bathhouses; there was almost always
a hilarious comment from a guy who was
checking in — and it wasn’t about my package,
I can assure you.
the arrival of
the new issue
of Xtra was
as an event,
around 7 on
A portrait for Maureen
Phillips’s book review
column, Lesbian Lines.
16 March 6–19, 2014 XTRA!
Maureen Phillips delivered Xtra between 1986
and 1988. She wrote a monthly book review
column for the paper from 1991 to 2008 and
was a board member from 1993 to 2012.
In January, Pink Triangle
Press (PTP) gives birth
to a four-page bar rag
called Xtra. Intended
as a promotional tool
for The Body Politic
(TBP), as well as a
way to reach more
people (and a different
audience) than TBP
ever could, Xtra soon
outstrips its parent in
Sexual orientation is
added to the Ontario
Human Rights Code.
In November, TBP
celebrates its 15th
birthday, but the
concerned about its
financial health. The
collective and staff
decide to suspend
publication of TBP
and keep PTP alive by
focusing on Xtra.
PTP forges on with
Xtra as its new flagship
brand. The collective
votes to terminate its
own existence shortly
president and collective
member Ken Popert
as interim publisher of
Xtra. Popert remains
president and executive
director of PTP to
In February, Xtra
moves to 484 Yonge
St and reaches a
circulation of 17,000
The Dec 30 issue
includes, for the first
time, a year-end
AIDS memorial page
called Proud Lives,
an idea picked up
former Q Magazine.
It later becomes a
on a cover
On March 30 it will be
exactly 30 years since my
play Wolfboy opened at
Theatre Passe Muraille,
starring a young Keanu
Reeves, who, unlike the rest of the cast (which
included Carl Marotte, Joanne Vannicola,
Beverly Cooper, Shirley Douglas and Bob
Collins), was not all that great. Lovely boy to
work with though. Xtra interviewed me and
put me on the cover of the pamphlet-sized
tabloid that was inserted inside The Body
Politic. It was my first appearance on the cover
of anything and I was thrilled.
Sadly, the show was an enormous flop, got
terrible reviews and made me no money.
My boyfriend at the time turned out to be
a steroid-fuelled asshole. I lost my job at a
then-popular restaurant in a dispute over
the tip pool. The writing on the wall seemed
clear; Toronto was not the place for me. So
after three years of living here I pulled up stakes and retreated back to my home town
of Edmonton to reevaluate my life — vowing never to return to Toronto, a vow I kept
for nearly 10 years.
During that time in Edmonton I decided I should probably come out to my mother.
(I wasn’t in the closet at all and hid nothing; I just hadn’t told my family yet.) At lunch I
dropped the bomb. Mom picked at her salad, looked surprisingly calm and said, “I know.”
I was shocked. “How do you know?” Mom
said, “One of the gay guys at church told
me. Apparently you people have some
magazine for gays that you were recently
on the cover of.” And that was that.
So thank you, Xtra. You’ve never been
perfect, but you’ve always been important
to the community. You’ve featured me on
a couple of covers, you’ve done a number
of stories on me, you’ve printed a great
many stories by me and they’ve all been
helpful to my career and my life. But, most
of all, thank you for saving me that painful
conversation with my mother. I appreciate that more than anything else.
Here’s to another 30 years.
thank you, Xtra.
You’ve never been
perfect, but you’ve
always been important
to the community.
Brad Fraser is an award-winning Canadian
playwright. He has contributed to Xtra at
various times over the years, including
the column Fraser’s Edge, which ran from
2012 to 2013.
Xtra #2 (top) featured Brad Fraser on the
cover and was published on March 17, 1984.
Above, the ad for Wolfboy, that appeared
inside, showing Carl Marotte and Keanu
Reeves about to engage in a kiss.
3o years of Headlines: Equal, at last An Ontario human rights tribunal rules that gay and lesbian partners are in ‘conjugal relationships’ Xtra #205, Sept 4, 1992
In June, for Pride Day,
Xtra sports its first fullcolour cover, on 18,000
Fighting for our rights
The bloodstained sidewalk at Church and Maitland marked the spot
of the vicious attack for days to come.
My friends and I were strolling up Church one night when we
stumbled upon the source of the blood — freshly spilled from a gay
man, beaten to a pulp and cocooned by a quickly assembled crowd.
The attackers were still on the scene. My friends and I leapt into action, blowing
whistles as we pursued them. It was a time when so
many gaybashings plagued the Village — then known
as the Gay Ghetto — that many of us carried whistles.
Others joined community patrols and roamed the
streets at night.
I caught up with one of the alleged bashers and a
minor scuffle ensued, resulting in each of us charging
the other with assault. The first story I would write
for Xtra was an account of the assault trial.
The charge I had laid was meant to be a placeholder for the real bashing. We postered the neighbourhood and ran announcements in Xtra, but the
victim did not surface.
The whistles in question had been distributed by
Queer Nation, a group formed locally by maybe a
score of us, a group that quickly attracted hundreds
to meetings and demonstrations, thanks in no small
part to coverage in Xtra.
I had been with the paper only a number of months
at the time, but Ken Popert graciously offered the use
of Xtra’s production facilities, including its photocopier and paper supplies, for our efforts.
Xtra was the paper of record for Queer Nation’s
activities, and not always uncritically, as the group
became mired in political correctness and hierarchies of oppression. But Xtra was also a valuable
resource for the group, playing the role of both Top, David Walberg and his
backer and critic in a way that defines our particular friend Bruno at a Queer Nation
demo, circa 1990. Walberg’s long
brand of advocacy journalism.
with PTP began
I was acquitted of assault; my combatant received involvement
with a story he wrote for Xtra
a sentence of community service. And to this day, #175 (released on June 21, 1991,
I do not know the identity of the bloodied man on pictured above) and continues to
the Church Street sidewalk.
The whistles in
question had been
distributed by Queer
Nation, a group that
hundreds, thanks in
no small part to
coverage in Xtra.
David Walberg is the CEO of digital media at Pink Triangle Press. He began working at
Xtra in 1989 as the production assistant.
November sees the
premiere of XS, a
supplement to Xtra
with lesbian author
Jane Rule on the cover.
The supplement runs
43 issues before being
discontinued in 1993.
PTP enters the world of
The Church Wellesley
Review, a showcase for
new lesbian and gay
writing, debuts as a
supplement to Xtra.
PTP turns 20. The
Dec 27 issue of Xtra
is 22,000 40-page
Yonge and College
streets after Glad Day
Bookshop is charged
with obscenity for
carrying lesbian sex
mag Bad Attitude.
With June Rowlands
as the new mayor,
the City of Toronto
finally proclaims Pride
Day. The crowd for
the subsequent party
The coolest job
1984. Oh my god. Or,
as the kids say today,
I had the coolest job
at The Body Politic,
was living in Chris Bearchell’s House of
Lesbian Porn and had my first serious
girlfriend. She was in the army. Not fucking
kidding — I’ll tell you about that sometime.
Whatever that building is now on the
southeast corner of Bathurst and Queen
that used to be the Big Bop was the Holiday
Tavern, the strip joint I hung out in on my
lunch hours. The dancers seemed to enjoy
their dyke regulars: we were good tippers
and weren’t there to objectify the ladies.
Sometimes we’d tell them to put some
clothes on because they looked chilly.
My job was to organize the events listings (which I assume takes a team now)
and to come up with little entertaining bits
for Xtra, The Body Politic’s new one-page
free bar rag that we had started to try to
generate some advertising income. Basically, I was getting paid to stalk Lorraine
Segato. I wasn’t a writer yet. Man, I got
away with some dumb shit.
Thank goodness I had lots of artist
friends whose gigs desperately needed
free press, especially since my personal goal was to make sure lesbian events got space.
Ken Popert once said to me, “How come every time Beverly Bratty sneezes she gets her
name in the paper?” My understanding is that Ken is still an ass.
The Xtra experiment worked. That “bar rag” generated both income and interest,
and the collective had to make the sad decision to close TBP and concentrate our efforts
on the new publication.
Congrats to everyone who made
it through all these years. Not all of
us have! My thoughts on this anniversary are with Chris Bearchell,
Rick Bébout, Paul Baker . . . the
parties are less fun without you.
PS: By the time this is published, my tits’ll be gone.
My job was to organize
the events listings . . .
and to come up with little
entertaining bits for
Xtra. Basically, I was
getting paid to stalk
Sonny (Sonja) Mills started as a
volunteer at The Body Politic in
1983 (to meet girls) and was employed in 1984 as an editorial assistant, partly to help facilitate this
new Xtra thing. Mills also wrote
a column called Dark Triangle
— sometime in the 1990s, an even
unclearer blur than the ’80s.
Cruiseline gains in
popularity, leading to a
bountiful year for PTP.
Xtra West begins
publishing in Vancouver
in July, Capital Xtra in
Ottawa in September.
PTP also expands its
audiotext division to
serve gay and lesbian
people in the nation’s
Top, Xtra #13 from Sept 1, 1984 featured a story by
Sonny Mills (then Sonja) about the Parachute Club.
Above, the portrait for Mills’s column, Dark Triangle,
which ran in the 1990s. Jake Peters
Mission accomplished Michelle Douglas wipes out the Armed Forces’ ban against lesbians and gay men Xtra #209, Oct 30, 1992
XTRA! March 6–19, 2014 17
The ChurchWellesley Review
Xtra turns 10.
Malebox, the slutty
little brother to the
In the fall of 1989, I broached the idea of a literary review at Xtra.
My intention was to broaden the paper’s readership by injecting
culture into the politics and news items that were then its staples.
I was pleasantly surprised when the idea was approved — with
curiosity by some, but with gusto by others, particularly advertising
rep Colin Brownlee and then-designer David Walberg, later the paper’s editor (who won
a design award for the 1992 edition of the Church-Wellesley Review).
Wanting to launch the review with pizzazz, I invited author Timothy Findley to
write an introduction. When I contacted him, he seemed wary. He and his partner, Bill
Whitehead, were volunteering at Casey House, not far from the Xtra office. I decided
to pop over with co-editor Peter Hawkins for a chat.
Findley was courteous but non-committal, which brought out my persistent side.
I told him of my passion for literature and how difficult it was to find publishers for
LGBT-themed writing. Somehow, I convinced him.
On reading his introduction, I understood his hesitation: he’d been involved in a similar project where
the editor’s choices were based on sexual rather than
literary merit; neither a prude nor anti-erotic, he was
simply disappointed in the writing. Our selections
did not disappoint.
The issue proved a hit with readers when it appeared on April 27, 1990. Coincidentally, we had
founded Canada’s first LGBT-themed literary review.
The CWR ran annually to 1999 as a print publication
and, in the last few years, branched into an online
quarterly (now in Archives Canada).
For a decade, we published poetry, fiction, drama
and memoirs. Many of the writers, unknown then,
have since become favourites. They include Elizabeth Ruth, Brian Francis (see this page for Brian’s
recollections on Xtra), Daniel David Moses, Debra
Anderson, Jim Nason and RM Vaughan. Others,
like Peter McGehee and Gordon Stewart Anderson,
would be far better known now had they outlived
the AIDS decade.
We were also among the first to publish Michael V Smith, Dale Peck, Derek McCormack and
Billeh Nickerson. Novelists Paul Russell, Patrick
Roscoe, Sky Gilbert and David Watmough, as well
as poets Chocolate Waters and Achy Obejas, had
already made their marks and we were happy to
Above, the cover of the first
Church-Wellesley Review, from
Subsequent introductions were provided by newXtra #147, April 27, 1990.
comers Shyam Selvadurai and Marnie Woodrow,
as well as established writers like Jane Rule and Douglas LePan, the latter a two-time
Governor General’s Award–winner who came out in his 70s. We had four assistant
editors, numerous proofreaders and several designers, each of whom contributed to
making the review a continued success right to the end.
Until recently, I thought the Church-Wellesley Review was a page from my past. Then,
in 2010, I was approached by the University of Saskatchewan to contribute copies to
the Neil Richards Collection of Sexual and Gender Diversity. Further interest came
from the Pride Library at the University of Western Ontario.
The requests sent me scurrying to my basement to uncover copies I had diligently
stored away, only to find them damaged by mice. I was ultimately able to put together
two full collections and the better part of a third, which I completed with a scanner.
Happily, these literary footnotes are now available for future-generation fans and
historians of LGBT writing.
For a decade, we
fiction, drama and
memoirs. Many of the
then, have since
Lambda Award–winner Jeffrey Round’s latest novel is Pumpkin Eater. He continues to
contribute to Xtra and was the editor of the Church-Wellesley Review from 1990 to 1999.
18 March 6–19, 2014 XTRA!
PTP moves its head
offices to 491 Church St
on Oct 27 — 23 years,
to the day, after the
publication of the first
issue of TBP.
Ontario Bill 167, which
would add provisions
for same-sex couples
to dozens of laws, is
defeated in the Ontario
to outrage across the
province and a 10,000strong protest march in
the streets of Toronto.
The audiotext division
of PTP branches out
to Edmonton and
Xtra moves from
a folded to a
Malebox leaves Ottawa
for Toronto, getting
a facelift and a new
Male. It runs for two
more years, ceasing
publication in 1998.
In late October, PTP
turns a happy and
Xtra.ca goes live,
covering Toronto only.
In September, PTP
takes its first tentative
steps into interactive
gets its first hit.
its first formal reader
Outrage, shock, revulsion, anger and sometimes
appreciation — Xtra readers have never been shy about
letting us know what they think. In 30 years it’s one thing
that’s not changed. Here’s a selection of reader letters
from the early days of Xtra.
Xtra’s first letter
“It’s important to shock
people about who you are,”
headlines singer Micah
Barnes. “His sexual ambiguity is arresting and deliberate,” simpers writer Robert
Wallace. The inescapable
conclusion, of course, is that
Micah Barnes is sexually
ambiguous. Maybe, maybe
not. It may (eventually) not
be all that important. What
is important is that a publication of The Body Politic,
a “magazine for gay liberation,” once again has printed
an interview with a “sexually ambiguous” entertainer.
We would be delighted to
find writing in TBP or Xtra
that questioned the centrality of sexual orientation in
our self-definitions — but
we don’t think we have yet.
Until we do, we’re inclined
to read “sexual ambiguity”
as “gay is poison in the media market.” How simpleminded of us, how unenlightened, how un-80s.
Brian Pronger, Gerry
Oxford, David Sanders
May 19, 1984
Sexual orientation is a private matter.
Mayor Art Eggleton
City of Toronto
After trying for years to
get the City of Toronto to
declare a Gay and Lesbian
Pride Day, it is an insult to
learn that a Muppet Babies
Day is declared in Metro Toronto . . . Grow up, Art.
Out of the
closet and into
I am writing to express my
concerns about Xtra Issue
145, which clearly showed
two naked individuals on
the front cover. I don’t think
I should have to tell you that
this front page was in very
poor taste and that I hope
this type of photography will
not be repeated on the front
page in future issues of your
Toronto City Councillor,
The scene of Pride Day
was one of sadness and disgust. Is it a day to don ridiculous outfits and crotch
watch? The whole scenario
at Cawthra Park reminded
me only of a circus show. Is
being gay a reason not to be
For women only
I am sick of reading about
door problems at The Rose
and the seemingly increasing enmity between lesbians
and gay men. Lesbians and
gay men do happen to be
people capable of carrying
on human relationships.
If the men who go to lesbian
bars and to designated “dyke
nights” were as enlightened
and politically correct as
they think they are, they’d
know that there’s hardly
anywhere in this city for
women — straight or les-
bian — to go, to be with other
Z Sonia Ostrowska
I am not a feminist. I am
an individualist. I am not
anti-men. But I really enjoy
being able to go to a bar that
is filled with just gay women.
I am sure I am not the only
lesbian who feels this way.
As a lesbian, I am quite
aware of the prejudice and
people have acquired concerning homosexuals. Talking, educating and including the straight people in
our community is the only
way to relieve this prejudice.
How will any of us succeed
if individuals in our community are as prejudiced as
We would like to express our
sincerest and deepest appreciation for providing us with
such a hot, erotic, mindboggling, clitoris-tingling,
nipple-rousing photo of the
last issue’s Xtra Hot woman.
Two winnable lusting
What I really want to know
is this: who is the hunk that
had lunch with AIDS Committee of Toronto executive
director Steve Manning in
the front window of Pints
Friday, April 5?
30 years of Headlines: Pat Burns needs coaching Maple Leafs boss says gay men have no place on hockey teams Xtra #224, May 28, 1993
Sometimes a new label on an
old product helps its sales.
The terms “sexuality” and
“sexual orientation” should
be removed from the English vocabulary and replaced
with “sexual individuality,”
incorporating lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual and transsexual.
I find it troubling that bars
such as Woody’s and The
Barn now charge four dollars for a bottle of beer.
H Gerald Wittenberg
or night vision?
I have personally witnessed
(from several inches away)
many cases of men ejaculating into other men’s mouths
and having anal sex without
condoms, in saunas and in
parks. After they finished,
they went their separate
ways — in silence — without
even a “thank you.”
It is well known within the
diverse queer communities
that Xtra panders primarily to white, middle-class
Lesbian Youth Peer Support
fuck you up
I dreamt I was having an affair with this gorgeous older
woman. With, of all people,
Kim Campbell. I won’t get
into any details, but let’s
just say that nature took
its course. Last time it was
I suppose it’s always good
in a roundabout way when
the global online community gets some press. But in
Randal Oulton’s column on
the cute “taglines” people
on [the] internet append to
their online messages, is it
really so much to ask that
he refer to them by their
correct name[s]? They are
called .sigs (with a dot), a
contraction of .signature,
the Unix file name most
people’s .sigs are stored
under. And to think Oulton
exhorts us to “get with the
program.” This is the biggest case of the pot calling
the kettle beige since letterwriter Brian Mossop called
I have another suggestion
for dealing with assholes
yelling from the safety of
their cars. Yell back! A friend
and I once yelled back,
“Suck my cunt!” and “Eat
my pussy!” And this to great
effect. I’ll let lesbians come
up with their own genderbending obscenities.
The owners of Toronto’s gay
bars are self-serving hypocrites. On one hand, they all
make a big fuss about raising money for people with
AIDS, while they utterly and
completely fail to look after
the health of any of their
patrons, let alone those with
HIV. Not one bar in Toronto
has even the most minimal
of ventilation. This means
that high levels of cigarette
smoke accumulate. Which
in turn means high levels
of carbon monoxide and
Is the rainbow flag now just
a bunch of pretty colours
and no longer a symbol of
diversity — real diversity
— and not just the diversity
approved by the A-list gays?
I have attended Pride Day
for many years and this was
the most disappointing display of filth I have ever seen.
In our minds, this sort of
exhibitionism only adds
fuel to the straight community’s ideas of what gay life
is actually like. We as proud
gay men and women should
avoid at all costs this type of
foul, vulgar antics.
Ron Forster and
on the family
The traditional married
family has been consistently shown to be the safest
and most satisfying living
arrangement for not only
women and children, but for
men, too. In fact, it’s in the
amorphous web — unfortunately championed by Xtra
and much of the activist homosexual community — that
most abuse is documented
President, REAL Women,
Squirt.org, a site that
allows gay men to
swap cruising tips and
Pride Week was a blast, eh?
But what about commercialism? Whew! Rampant,
wasn’t it? How long till we
see a luxurious convertible
entered in the parade with
some cute old coot seated in
the back, waving and smiling — and plastered on the
side is a banner that reads
“Molson’s proudly presents Toronto’s oldest living
Xtra publishes a
that police have raided
Toronto’s Bijou porn
theatre. Police charge
18. The charges are
dropped months later.
PTP launches a glossy
magazine, Go Big. It
runs three issues before
being discontinued in
Toronto police raid
the Pussy Palace and
Xtra covers samesex marriages at
Xtra covers Marc
Hall’s fight to take his
boyfriend to the prom;
the libel ruling against
Toronto councillor Kyle
Rae, for comments
he made about the
conduct of seven
police officers during
the Pussy Palace
raid; and the arrest of
seven members of the
Totally Naked Toronto
Men contingent in the
Toronto Pride parade.
PTP produces the first
season of gay travel
show Bump! It airs on
PrideVision, a Canadian
PTP joins a consortium
of investors in
the purchase of
channel is rebranded
as OUTtv. The press
will eventually build
an almost 25-percent
stake in the enterprise.
a member-paid site.
Ottawa gay couple adopts child Same-sex couples have no status, so only one dad is legal Xtra #226, June 25, 1993
I often compare my years
working at Xtra to living in
an all-gay dorm. There was
loud music, lots of drama
and dirty pictures posted in
the bathrooms. There were a ton of good stories,
too. From the erotic masseur who demanded
we refund the cost of his classified ad after we
accidentally typed that his services included
“prostrate” massage to the unsuspecting wives
who called to inquire about the Cruiseline
charges on their phone bills.
You’d think Canada’s premier queer publication would go all out for Pride, but it was the
opposite. I don’t know whether we were all so
exhausted by the time the Pride issue came out
or if Pride was something seen as work rather
than play, but there were no big whoop-dee-dos
at the office.
True, we did have an office party. We’d put tea
lights in Mason jars and cover the tables with
newspapers. Someone would put on a CD (likely
Ani DiFranco). There might be a tray of cheese
cubes or, at the very least, a bowl of Doritos.
When I look back at my years at Xtra, I’m
proud that I was a part of something. It was an
exciting time to be working at a queer newspaper. National advertisers were just beginning
Top, Brian Francis with then-publisher
to come onboard. I remember Absolut com- David Walberg and the Absolut ad
missioned us to do their advertising (I played that Francis played a part in. Above,
wedding guest in the “Absolut Commitment” Francis and colleague Ali Drummond
ad). It was rewarding to be part of something that flee from a monstrous Christie
Cameron on the cover of Xtra #356,
was constantly in motion, to build a paper every published on June 18, 1996.
two weeks only to tear it down and start all over.
Maybe this was the reason that our own Pride party wasn’t a big deal. All of us working there — from the editors to the sales reps to the receptionists — were focused on
the bigger picture. Pride came around once a year, but it was in our post-Pride lives,
after the parade and celebrations, after everyone went back to their usual routines,
that Xtra forged ahead.
When I look back at
my years at Xtra, I’m
proud that I was a part
of something. It was
an exciting time to be
working at a queer
Brian Francis is the author of the novels Fruit (a finalist for Canada Reads in 2009) and
Natural Order. He worked at Xtra from 1995 to 1998, first as a sales rep and later as
XTRA! March 6–19, 2014 19
30 years of covers With 766 issues under our belts, it’s impossible to show
#5, May 5, 1984
#28, May 4, 1985
#61, Oct 18, 1986
#67, Jan 3, 1987
#98, April 15, 1988
#266, Jan 6, 1995
#300, April 25, 1996
#260, Oct 14, 1994
#513, June 24, 2004
#547, Oct 13, 2005
20 MARCH 6–19, 2014 XTRA!
#322, Feb 27, 1997
#354, May 21, 1998
h Van Bon Bon
#564, June 8, 2006
#598, Sept 27, 2007
#610, March 8, 2008
30 YEARS OF HEADLINES: Coming out on computer Bulletin board services are creating a hot, hi-tech queer community Xtra #226, June 25, 1993
you all the best covers in one spread. Here, a selection from each year since 1984.
Mitchell ‘Mitch’ Bailey
#119, March 3, 1989
#147, April 27, 1990
#184, Nov 8, 1991
#188, Jan 10, 1992
#229, Aug 6, 1993
Gaill Maurice & Columpa
#393, Nov 18, 1999
#415, Sept 21, 2000
#445, Nov 15, 2001
#469, Oct 17, 2002
#489, July 24, 2003
#753, Sept 5, 2013
f d Cox
#649, Sept 9, 2009
#664, April 8, 2010
#696, June 30, 2011
#730, Oct 18, 2012
The London kiddie porn ring that isn’t Of 37 arrests, only two were charged with possessing child porn Xtra #259, Sept 30, 1994
For more covers, follow us
on Facebook at Dailyxtra.
XTRA! MARCH 6–19, 2014 21
The Toronto Women’s
reaches a settlement
with the Toronto Police
Service over the 2000
Pussy Palace raids.
Starting out in
my writing career
I still remember how much I got paid for my first story as a journalist
and what I did with the money. For the princely sum of 50 bucks,
Xtra’s then arts editor, Gordon Bowness, asked me to write a feature
on a book about women and style and the role gay designers played
in turning public figures into sartorial icons. For an unemployed,
relatively new immigrant — I had been living in Toronto for only about eight months
— the money meant a week’s grocery bill plus a satisfying number of pizza slices and
falafel sandwiches when I felt like splurging on a meal out. But food be damned. I needed
new clothes to help me get laid. The preppy look wasn’t cutting it. Even though my need
for sensible winter clothes to get
me through my first Canadian
winter was greater, sex trumped
necessity, as it always did for me.
(How I would have loved to end
the previous sentence on the present tense — “as it always does for
me” — but practicality and lower
sex drive came with my soonto-be-over 40s.) I picked up my
cheque from the old Pink Triangle
Press headquarters on Church
Street, deposited it, immediately
withdrew $50 and walked to the
Gap on Queen Street West, where
I had my eye on a pair of khaki
pants that I then paired with a
hand-me-down black sweater
from my roommate’s boyfriend.
If this sounds like an immigrant
rags-to-riches tale, that’s because
it is. Clichés and narrative tropes
exist for a reason. That first byline
in Xtra in January of 1997 marked
the beginning of my career as a
journalist (and now professor of
journalism) in Canada, and for
that I remain extremely grateful
to this publication and aware of
the role it plays in shaping and
reflecting the diverse communities it addresses. I’m always
stunned by the number of stories
Above, Kamal Al-Solaylee and filmmaker
in it that I can’t find anywhere else
BH Yael were featured in Xtra #316, Dec 5, 1996,
for their perspectives on queer Arab art.
in mainstream or indie media. Gay
magazines exist for a reason, too.
Starting out in the gay press meant never having to write from the closet as a journalist, even when working for a national newspaper. That made me at once cavalier — I
often inserted references to The Golden Girls and Barbra Streisand songs in my Globe
and Mail theatre reviews that only diehard queens would get and no copy editor ever
did — and careful not to be thought of just as a gay writer. The balance between identity politics and personal ambition marked (and still marks) my life as journalist and
author. Thank you, Xtra.
I’m always stunned by the
number of stories in xtra that
I can’t find anywhere else in
mainstream or indie media.
Kamal Al-Solaylee, associate professor at Ryerson’s School of Journalism, is the author
of Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes, winner of the 2013 Toronto Book Awards. He was
a regular contributor to Xtra from 1997 to 2003.
22 March 6–19, 2014 XTRA! The mad old ads
In the early days of Xtra, the main advertisers were gay
bars and gay-owned businesses. But as acceptance of gay
rights increased, so too did companies looking to court
the exclusive “gay dollar.” A look back at some of the old
ads is almost as evocative as the articles themselves.
Canada fully embraces
with the passage of
the Civil Marriage Act.
PTP provides office
space and sponsorship
for Canadians for Equal
gay publication The
Guide, which will
later be transformed
into a travel-focused
transition from print
entirely to web in 2010.
#67, Jan 3, 1989
The AIDS Memorial Committee
PTP produces the first
of its ongoing annual
Film Festival television
shows, [email protected]
PTP buys the assets
of Toronto’s fab
it discontinued in
2013). The magazine’s
final issue of the
year features a cover
and interview with
Lady Gaga, who
on to some success as
a pop star.
#195, April 4, 1992
In 1995, Xtra approached Absolut
Vodka about advertising in the
publication. At the time, there were
few large corporations brave enough
to directly target the gay and lesbian
market. We proposed to develop
a special series of ads based on
Absolut’s well-known “bottle” ad
campaign. Below, the original marker
rendering. Right, the finished ad.
Christopher Skinner is
beaten and crushed
to death under the
wheels of an SUV just
blocks from Toronto’s
gay neighbourhood. His
killers remain at large.
30 years of Headlines: Is Buddies ready for the good times? Premier queer theatre maintains flamboyance in new digs Xtra #259, Sept 30, 1994
#229, Aug 6, 1993
Xtra undergoes a
includes a new logo.
Xtra covers the Pride
PTP flees its longtime
second-storey digs at
491 Church St for a
swanky new space at
2 Carlton St.
#255, Aug 5, 1994
moving to a square
#264, Dec 9, 1994
a new website
called Daily Xtra at
dailyxtra.com. The new
site incorporates the
travel site Guidemag
into a new section
called Daily Xtra Travel.
Toronto police arrest
several people in
connection with the
murder of Christopher
Skinner, including a
five-time team captain
for the Don Bosco high
school football team
who was coached
by Toronto Mayor
The Absolut Pride campaign
was a huge success. They
wanted more ideas, so we
went back to the drawing
board. Since Xtra is often seen
in rapidly diminishing stacks
around the city, we had the idea
of creating a very large stack in
the shape of a bottle.
Above, the Polaroid test from
the photo shoot, featuring staff
members as hand models.
At right, the resulting Absolut
Xtra ad, photographed by
Anal-sex law overturned Judge rules legislation is unconstitutional Xtra #269, Feb 17, 1995
Mayor Ford attempts
to remove a Pride flag
that officials had raised
at city hall to show
solidarity with LGBT
athletes and LGBT
Russians during the
Sochi Winter Olympics.
Ford, who has never
attended a Pride event,
confirms he will not
in Toronto in 2014,
noting, “I’m not going to
change the way I am.”
I can’t say I’ve been an avid or extensive traveller in my life. If I get
on a plane it’s usually to visit a handful of friends in foreign places
or do research for a writing project. Starting about 14 years ago, I
began a series of trips to the Balkan lands once known as Yugoslavia.
That first trip in 2000 presented me with a young man hitchhiking on a rural Bosnian roadside. Even before he got in the car I was 90 percent sure
he was gay. Once he was sitting beside me, the shared vibe was unmistakable. As we
improvised a lively chat in our minimal facility with each other’s language, he invited
me to visit his grandmother in their nearby village. That encounter began my first
glimpses of what “gay” means in a place where the only word for it in general use is
peder — as in child molester.
Our community is spread across the world, but that world is very often not our friend.
Choose anyplace anywhere and we’re there, scattered like raisins embedded in a vast
cake, our very existence and self-acceptance threatened by heteronormative families
and cultures, some fairly liberal, others
ranging from censorious to downright
horrific. It’s this universal embedding,
while being isolated from one’s own kind,
that makes sexual minorities unique.
It’s also what makes reaching out to one
another, knowing one another, so difficult
— and so necessary.
Nine years after I met Damir on the
roadside, Xtra editor David Walberg
heard I was about to head off for three
weeks in Bosnia. He urged me to write
a piece. The timing was right. A handful
of Bosnian activists had just managed
the herculean and dangerous task of
creating the first Queer Sarajevo Festival.
The article became the first substantial
appearance of Bosnian LGBT activism
in Canadian media. More important, it
was just a small part of a rapidly growing
commitment to international coverage that has arguably made Xtra and
dailyxtra.com the North American leader
in global LGBT news.
Since 2000, stories and mentions of
other countries and continents have
surged hugely in the pages of Xtra, in
print and online. Managing editor Danny
Glenwright has been a prime mover in Xtra #711, Jan 26, 2012, featured a cover story
this. To pull a few representative num- on gay refugees seeking asylum in Paris.
bers: In 1999, we published only one It was just one of the many articles on global
issues published both in the magazine
reference to Russia. By 2010 we totted LGBT
and online in recent years.
up nearly 100 for the year. In 2013, the
year Putin glowered from the cover of Xtra, we had more than 200 articles about Russia or articles that mentioned it. African news items totalled 110 in 2013; the United
Kingdom, 150. In the past five years, more than 1,500 articles have mentioned Africa,
Russia and the UK.
Similar coverage of other countries, from Europe to Asia to South America, reflects
Xtra’s ever-broadening horizons. The heartening trend underscores that among cultural
differences, we remain one global LGBT community, in a multifaceted struggle to free
our love — just as Toronto WorldPride will demonstrate this June.
Our community is spread
across the world, but
that world is very often
not our friend.
Jim Bartley serves on the board of Pink Triangle Press. He made his debut with PTP
as a news and occasional feature writer for The Body Politic in the 1980s. In 1998, he
began 11 years as a books columnist for Xtra. He has served on the board of directors of
PTP since 2001.
XTRA! March 6–19, 2014 23
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24 MARCH 6–19, 2014 XTRA!
30 YEARS OF HEADLINES: Gay hustler suspended Ryerson investigates journalism professor Gerald Hannon Xtra #290, Dec 8, 1995
There are not many gay and lesbian voices in the art
world in Ukraine, so I just don’t have the right to be
silent. Anna Mikhailova Edailyxtra.com
A shitload of comedy
Gavin Crawford’s colon will once again spew
forth comedy gems as he performs his solo show
Sh**ting Rainbows at the ninth annual Toronto
Sketch Comedy Festival.
Crawford often performs at standup clubs
and festivals, where he’s usually the odd
man out with his trademark sketches and
character monologues — he’s basically a
one-man comedy troupe. “It’s always a
little weird to be a lone sketcher in a ﬁeld
of standups, and so it will be nice to be
part of something that’s just about sketch,”
The festival is an 11-day smorgasbord of
performances and parties focused on sketch
comedy, which the festival website deﬁnes
as “any funny performance that is written,
rehearsed and performed by a cast of comedians. It’s like Saturday Night Live... and no, it’s not
funny pencil drawings.”
Sh**ting Rainbows has evolved since Crawford performed it at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre for Pride 2013.
He’s been to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe — handing out
ﬂyers while “dressed like a chunky Australian girl” — and
a lot of wacky things have happened in the world, providing him with plenty of fodder for new material.
“One thing I’m working on has to do with these
people who are co-opting bullying — like when
religious people say they’re being bullied by
atheists. There’s something inherently funny
in that to me,” he says. “Oh, and there will be
hot dancing boys in this show.”
The festival will also include a live staged
reading of the 1996 ﬁlm Brain Candy performed by all five members of the Kids in
the Hall; a panel discussion of the TV show
Slings & Arrows, featuring its creators, Susan Coyne, Mark McKinney and Bob Martin;
and a performance by British Teeth, the duo
that comprises Allana Reoch and Filip Jeremic.
The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival runs Thurs, March
6–Sun, March 16. torontosketchfest.com
Paul Verhoeven may have the most oddly inconsistent catalogue of any ﬁlmmaker in the last three
decades. Though he’s the eye behind celebrated
ﬁlms like Total Recall and The Fourth Man, it’s
perhaps his worst-received works, Basic Instinct
and Showgirls, that went on to be his best known.
The twin tales of a bisexual, possibly murderous
writer and an ambitious, possibly bisexual stripper
form an odd mirror in the effect they had on their
female leads. The former saw unknown actress
Sharon Stone brieﬂy ﬂash her pubes, igniting an
ultimately Oscar-winning career. The latter saw
Saved by the Bell star Elizabeth Berkley completely
naked most of the picture, tanking her attempt at
career relaunch. She ultimately became an advice
guru for teenaged girls.
But recently, critics are giving these films a
“Both have a deep relationship with cinema history,” says Jesse Wente, head of ﬁlm programs at
the TIFF Bell Lightbox and curator of the current
Verhoeven retrospective. “Basic Instinct is a ﬁlm
noir, complete with the femme fatale, and Showgirls most obviously recalls All About Eve, which
lends itself to critical rethinking. Showgirls is
also unique, in that it’s become celebrated for its
inherent weaknesses and it’s had a critical rebirth
as a result of those weaknesses.”
TIFF is a venue known for showcasing the
Elizabeth Berkley gives
a good pole lickin’ in
world’s top cinema, so doing a series on Verhoeven
could seem an odd decision. But Wente doesn’t
see it that way.
“It wasn’t a hard choice,” he says. “We’ve been
asked to do Verhoeven by our audience on a
number of occasions. With the new critical thinking happening around his cinema, it seemed the
ideal time to revisit his diverse and remarkable
career. There’s still much that could be debated
about his movies, but I don’t think there’s any questioning that, seen as a whole, Verhoeven’s work is
fascinating and extremely rich.” —Chris Dupuis
Flesh + Blood: The Films of Paul Verhoeven runs
until April 4 at TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St
W. Basic Instinct screens Thurs, March 13, at
9:15pm and Showgirls screens Fri, March 14, at
Broken condom no defence House of Commons considers a bill that would make the transmission of HIV a criminal offence Xtra #292, Jan 4, 1996
While Downton Abbey’s Crawley family
struggles with endless historical-eventinspired crises, their clothing — including,
perhaps, the outﬁt worn by Lord Grantham
when he stood up for the homosexual
Thomas and one of the large purple hats
the Dowager Countess wears when going
into battle against Isobel — is making its
way to Toronto.
Built in the mid-to-late 19th century and
restored to how it looked in the 1920s and
’30s, the charming mansion known as the
Spadina Museum is the ideal setting for a
Downton Abbey exhibit.
Last year the museum started doing
Downton Abbey–themed tours. Museum
administrator Karen Edwards explains: “As
you went through the house with a staff
person, they would link the themes and
stories of the ﬁctional Crawley family with
the real-life things that were happening
in Toronto and at Spadina Museum in the
same time period, including the changing
roles of women, increased technology and
the impact of the First World War.”
Linking the museum to the show turned
out to be a great way to get people interested in Spadina House and in Toronto’s
history. “It operated as a way to start a
conversation with people that isn’t very
threatening and made people feel like they
didn’t have to be history nerds to visit the
museum,” Edwards says.
The tours were such a success that it
was decided to put on a full-blown Downton Abbey exhibit, featuring 20 costumes
actually worn in the ﬁrst three seasons of
the show (complete with stains, aka “real
Downton Abbey dirt”), period-appropriate
dresses and accessories from the City of
Toronto collection, and the now-quitepopular themed tours. — Jeremy Willard
Dressing for Downton: Costumes from
Downton Abbey runs Tues, March 11–Sun,
April 13, at Spadina Museum, 285 Spadina
XTRA! MARCH 6–19, 2014 25
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Four-time JUNO award winner Isabel Bayrakdarian takes to
the stage with Tafelmusik for an exciting concert of music
written for the famous “rival queens” of 18th-century London.
Featuring stunning arias by Handel, Hasse, and Bononcini.
Join us for a special Talkback with Ms. Bayrakdarian after the April 9 show.
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April 9 & 12 Sponsored by
26 MARCH 6–19, 2014 XTRA!
April 10 & 13 Sponsored by
Season Presenting Sponsor
Beating the winter blues
Shake off the
shame and don
a white towel
RYAN G HINDS
“Gurrrrl. I need some
dick tonight or else imma die!” This
was the text I got on a recent Saturday
night. My amorous friend was openly
seeking sexual congress in a lascivious
manner. In vulgar parlance? He wanted
to get good and fucked. Seems like he
had a bad case of what I like to call February Fever, which is like cabin fever,
but with horniness. Post–St Valentine’s
Day Blues adds a layer of pressure to
pair off, the winter chill starves us all
for warmth, and we all want a peek
under the parka of that cutie on the
streetcar. Just as the best way to get
over a guy is to get under one, the best
way to get warm during winter is to
share body heat... and luckily, we live
in a sexually open city.
Or do we? Back to my frisky friend.
He didn’t want to hit a bar or club,
and trolling Craigslist would “only
bring out the trolls.” He was late on
his cellphone bill, so Grindr and Hornet and Jack’d and Scruff and Growlr
were not options. I suggested a visit to
one of our city’s ﬁner bathhouses and
received a pearl-clutching “No! Omg,
how could I? I’m not a freak!” Now,
remember this is a person who not ﬁve
minutes earlier needed a man on pain
of death, yet the mere mention of a
bathhouse turned him into a shrieking
It always surprises me to learn how
many people out there in our nightscape share a similar view. What is it
about openly pursuing sex that makes
us all blush? Toronto the Good boasts
four bathhouses, a couple of queerpositive sex clubs and a bunch of other
places where guys can go to get off, all
of them perfectly legal. Why should
we be coy about enjoying them? Some
of the sluttiest (said with love, gentlemen) guys I know are the ones who are
most anti-bathhouse, imagining them
to be dens of homeless people, drugs
and disease, reeking of shame; so, in
the name of “research” I convinced
my friend to go. He begged me to tag
along to one of the bigger bathhouses,
where he was greeted by name and
was asked if he wanted his usual locker
There is a weird, wonderful, horriblesexy “Orpheus in the Underworld” feel-
Toronto boasts four bathhouses, a
couple of queer-positive sex clubs
and a bunch of other places where
guys can go to get off. THINKSTOCK
ing once you enter. It’s like being in a
casino: impossible to tell the time, easy
to get lost and no way to tell what’s going on in the outside world. After very
quickly losing my friend down a dark
hallway, I determined to chat (and only
chat!) with a few strangers throughout
the night, even though an odd code
of silence reigns. Looks, sounds and
touching stand in for words here. It’s
a social-justice warrior’s nightmare:
consent is more often implied than explicitly given, and one person I talked to
said, “If I really want a guy, I’ll say no. It
makes him work harder to get me, and
it’s hot to be chased a bit before giving
in.” If you see a celebrity or someone
you know or work with (and I’ve seen
all the above at bathhouses), it’s de
rigueur to pretend that you don’t know
each other. Talking, if it must be done,
happens in low voices and whispers, á
la the library.
There are free condoms and safesex info everywhere, and it mystiﬁes
me that some people think having
sex at a bathhouse is any more or less
dangerous than meeting a guy at a bar
or online. Most bathhouses also take
a hard stance on open drug use on the
premises, but as one out-of-country
repeat visitor said, “This is my first
time being here sober. Weird.”
They are also strangely democratic
places: although there is some worshipping of worked-out bodies, there’s a
Dionysian element of openly enjoying
whatever kind of guy you like. Looking
around at who is pairing off with whom
gives lie to the idea that gay men go after only versions of themselves: “traditionally” attractive guys get with those
who aren’t, guys who may struggle to
get picked up in a bar suddenly find
themselves being worshipped midorgy, and all manner of age, racial and
“type” pairings happen. Whether it’s
twink with bear (the slim, lithe twink
said, “And no, I don’t have daddy issues; I just like how bellies feel!”), football-gear fetishist with senior citizen,
bookish nerd with crossdresser, or
someone who isn’t easily classified,
everyone either ﬁnds someone to like
or is that someone getting liked. Sure,
you run into the occasional meanerthan-necessary rejection or attitude
problem, but welcome to life! Brush it
off and chill in the sauna.
I never did ﬁnd my friend again that
night, but every single person I talked to
expressed a need for connection. Sometimes it was a fun need and sometimes
it was a sad need, but connecting with
another human being is something we
should never feel shame about. Until
the weather gets warm again, if you
ﬁnd yourself needing to get rid of your
February Fever, shake off the shame and
don a white towel — you’re guaranteed
to ﬁnd someone to connect with.
Toronto at Night appears in every
second issue of Xtra.
30 YEARS OF HEADLINES: Down with downtown Proposed megacity hurts homos and our habitat Xtra #319, Jan 14, 1997
The Wanderers —
Buddies, runs until
Sun, March 23
HEALTH & ISSUES
The 519 Legal Clinic
A free, accessible service for lowincome people. Volunteer lawyers
provide legal advice, referrals and
help with forms and letters. The
conﬁdential and private visits
are ﬁrst-come, ﬁrst-served. Bring
any necessary documents. Every
Thursday; registration 6–6:30pm.
The 519 Community Centre, 519
Church St. Free. the519.org
A peer-support and discussion
group focused on community and
solidarity. Thurs, March 6, 8–10pm.
The 519 Community Centre, 519
Church St. Free. torontobinet.org
FTM Support Group
Trans men share their experiences
in a supportive environment. Takes
place the ﬁrst and third Friday of
each month. For more information,
contact [email protected] Fri,
March 7 and Fri, March 21, 7:30pm.
The 519 Community Centre, 519
Church St. Free. the519.org
Queer youth ages 14 to 29 gather
to watch movies, participate in art
projects and special workshops,
and seek the support of Supporting
Our Youth’s community mentors.
For more info, contact [email protected]
sherbourne.on.ca. Every Monday,
5:30–8pm. Sherbourne Health
Centre, 2nd ﬂoor, 333 Sherbourne
St. Free. soytoronto.org
Youth and Allies
FOR MORE EVENT LISTINGS, GO TO DAILYXTRA.COM
COMEDY & CABARET
Paul Bellini’s Liar
Liar Pants on Fire
Guests tell dubious tales, and
audience members are challenged
to decide whether the stories are
true. Thurs, March 6, 7:30pm. The
Flying Beaver, 488 Parliament St.
No cover. pubaret.com
Nice Girls Beneﬁt
An all-female singing and standup
extravaganza, featuring Lucy Conte,
Jana Peck, Annie Bradley and more.
All proceeds go to Anduhyaun Inc,
a shelter for aboriginal women. Sat,
March 8, 7pm. The Flying Beaver,
488 Parliament St. $10 advance,
$15 door. pubaret.com
Drag divas Gina Hamilton and Bunni
Lapin host a night of outrageous
trivia and fabulous prizes. Every
Tuesday, 9pm. O’Grady’s, 518
Church St. Free. ogradyschurch.ca
Queer youth 25 and under have
ﬁve minutes each to ﬂaunt their
special talents — anything from
drag to juggling — at this monthly
open-mic. Wed, March 12; 7:30pm
sign-up, 8pm show. Buddies in
Bad Times, 12 Alexander St. PWYC.
Standup comedian Mandy
Goodhandy presents a weekly
open-mic comedy night. For more
info, contact [email protected]
com. Every Wednesday, 8pm–1am.
Club120, 120 Church St. No cover.
TOG Board Games Night
This month’s featured board game
is Ticket to Ride, with a host of
other games also on hand, including
Resistance, Candy Land and
Settlers of Catan. Sat, March 8, 7pm.
Glad Day Bookshop, 598 Yonge St.
Gaming geeks gather to play Super
Mario and Tetris on a big screen,
as well as Pac-Man, Donkey Kong,
Galaga and Frogger. There are also
such board games as Trivial Pursuit
and Scrabble. Every Tuesday, 7pm–
2am. Henhouse, 1532 Dundas St W.
An afternoon of food, music and
art for queer newcomer youth aged
13 to 24 and their allies. For more
info, call 647-529-4211. Wed, March
12, noon–5pm. Oriole Community
Centre, 2975 Don Mills Rd.
of horny hecklers. Fri, March 7,
10:30pm–2am. Buddies in Bad
Times, 12 Alexander St. $10, free for
Artists, academics and activists come
together to consider feminist issues
through art. Registration required.
Sat, March 8, 11:30am–7:30pm.
OCAD University, 100 McCaul St.
Queer Slowdance: Early
St Patrick’s Gay Edition
Butt wigglers set up dances with
one another using dance cards,
while designated dancers coax
out the wallﬂowers. Sat, March 8,
9:30pm–3am. Dovercourt House,
805 Dovercourt Rd. $10 admission
includes dance-card booklet.
Dressing for Downton:
Along with Downton-themed tours
of the historic Spadina Museum,
fans can view several costumes
actually worn on the show. See page
23 for more details.Tues, March 11–
Tease — The
Sun, March 9
Sun, April 13, various times. Spadina
Museum, 285 Spadina Rd. $25.
The gay community organization
holds its annual dinner. For more
info and tickets, contact craig.
[email protected] Sat,
March 15, 5:30–9pm. Fran’s
Restaurant, 20 College St W. $40
Burlesque — The Flying
Beaver, Sun, March 8
A Beautiful View
Daniel MacIvor’s play explores a
friendship between two young
women. Runs until Sun, March 9,
various showtimes. Factory Theatre,
125 Bathurst St. PWYC–$25.
A father and son escape the
horrors of war in Afghanistan, only
to be haunted by a mysterious
presence that reminds them of
the devastation they escaped.
Runs until Sun, March 23, various
showtimes. Buddies in Bad Times,
12 Alexander St. PWYC–$37.
Marry Me a Little
Songs cut from Stephen
Sondheim’s better-known musicals
are spliced into a dialogue-free
musical about the relationship
between a man and woman.
Runs until Sun, April 6, various
showtimes. Tarragon Theatre,
30 Bridgman Ave. $21–53.
The Vagina Monologues
Meets The F Word
A peer-led support group for gay
men working through substance
abuse issues. Takes place the ﬁrst
and third Tuesday of each month.
Tues, March 18, 6–8pm. The 519
Community Centre, 519 Church St.
This sexy, controversial and
powerful show combines pieces
from The Vagina Monologues and
The F Word. Proceeds go to Nellie’s
Shelter and the Centre for Women’s
Studies and Education. Fri, March 7–
Sun, March 9 and Fri, March 14–Sun,
March 16, various times. Buddies in
Bad Times, 12 Alexander St. $16–26.
LEISURE & PLEASURE
SEX & BURLESQUE
An LGBTQ Memoir
Belle’s Boudoir Burlesque
Various community members tell
their tales, including David Bateman
and Ricardo Rodriguez. Takes place
the ﬁrst Thursday of each month.
Thurs, March 6, 7pm. The 519
Community Centre, 519 Church St.
Strip Spelling Bee:
Set Phasers to
It’s much like strip poker, but it’s a
spelling bee and there’s an audience
Police crackdown More police raids force closure of gay cinema Xtra #384, July 15, 1999
Performers Johnny B Goode, Zilly
Lilly, Fawn Doe and Belle Jumelles
herself warm folks up in Belle’s
boudoir. Sat, March 8, 9pm. The
Flying Beaver, 488 Parliament St.
$15 advance, $20 door. pubaret.com
Great Canadian Tease
Brunch, followed by something
sweet and steamy. Features
performances by Mysterion, Tanya
Cheex, El Toro and Fionna Flauntit.
Sun, March 9, 12:30pm–2:30pm.
The Libertine, 1307 Dundas St W.
XTRA! MARCH 6–19, 2014 27
Thurs, March 6
Coven Diane Obomsawin
launches her new graphic novel,
On Loving Women. Co-presented
by Drawn & Quarterly and The
Beguiling. Readings at 9pm, dancing
to follow. Henhouse, 1532 Dundas St
W. No cover. henhousetoronto.com
Kink 101 Join BDSM players and
educators, with free hands-on
coaching for individuals and
couples/play partners. Floggers,
restraints, rope, spanking bench and
cages available for use. 9pm. Black
Eagle, 457 Church St. No cover.
Pussy Party Acid/homo/porno/
techno/T-girl party, with DJs
Boy Pussy & Vindik8. 11pm. The
Beaver, 1192 Queen St W. No cover.
The Smirnoff Best Chest Contest
Georgie Girl and Cassandra Moore
perform, then get the men to show
their pecs for a chance to win $300
in cash prizes. DJ Mark Falco spins.
Midnight. Woody’s, 465-467 Church
St. No cover. woodystoronto.com
Fri, March 7
Flying B Friday DJ Jacqie Jaguar
spins dance beats for women in
Fly’s lower level. 8pm. Flying B,
8 Gloucester St. facebook.com/
Brighter Days DJ Mike B throws
down classic and Chicago
house beats, with Lexi
Tellings and her gogo boys performing
live. 10pm. WAYLA,
996 Queen St E.
Fly Pop DJ
top 40, house
faves. 10pm. Fly, 8
Gloucester St. No
cover before midnight, $4 after.
Hip hop for homos, with DJs Max
Mohenu, Craig Dominic and Phil V.
10pm. Wrongbar, 1279 Queen St W.
Bump N’ Hustle DJs Paul E Lopes
and Mike Tull spin soul, funk, house,
disco and boogie tunes. 10pm–3am.
Rivoli, 332 Queen St W. $10. rivoli.ca
The Gay Squad Remix DJ AVS
spins house in the steamed-up
venue. 11pm. Byzantium, 499 Church
St. No cover. byz.ca
Sat, March 8
Belle’s Boudoir Burlesque
Burlesque performances by Johnny
B Goode, St Stella, Zilly Lilly, Fawn
Doe, Audrey Dwyer, Chris Tsujiuchi
and Mlle Belle Jumelles. Belle’s
Bootie Bounce to follow. 9pm. The
Flying Beaver, 488 Parliament St.
$15 advance, $20 door. pubaret.com
Business Woman’s Special DJs
Sammy and Nino Brown spin, with a
special drag performance by Tynomi
Banks. 10pm. Round Venue, 152A
Augusta Ave. $6. roundvenue.com
Hosted by Judy Virago and Igby
Lizzard, with performances by
House of Filth, Connie Lingua
(Montreal) and Matthew Lindholm.
10:30pm. The Beaver, 1192 Queen
St W. $7, no cover in TrAnime drag.
Bad Tuck: TrAnime
DJs Sarin and Boy Pussy
spin for the manga and
hentai honeys decked out
as their favourite anime
Woody’s Sunday Hollywoody
Broadway Show, co-hosted by
Scarlett Bobo and Sapphire Titha
Reign, with Truvy Robbins, at 6pm;
Old School, hosted by Georgie Girl,
with Michelle Ross and D’Amanda
Tension, at 9pm; Five Smokin’
Hot Divas, hosted by Georgie Girl,
with Devine Darlin, Sofonda Cox,
Cassandra Moore, Katinka Kature
and DJ Blue Peter, at 11pm. Woody’s,
465-467 Church St. No cover.
Mon, March 10
Drag Race Viewing Party Scarlett
Bobo and Daytona Bitch host a
dinner and bitchfest every Monday,
with Bradley serving up food and
libations. 8pm. The 8th Deadly Sin,
6 Gloucester St. No cover. the8th.ca
Singular Sensation: A Musical
Theatre Open Mic Amateur
crooners perform their favourite
show tunes with a live band every
Monday night. Hosted by Jennifer
Walls. 10pm–1am. Statlers,
487 Church St. No cover.
NightCubbing — Henhouse,
Sat, March 15
Tues, March 11
Play Again? Geeks and gamers
plug in for the weekly games
night, featuring Nintendo on the
big screen, an arcade game table
and classic board games. 7pm.
Henhouse, 1532 Dundas St W. No
Wed, March 12
Toronto Drag Kings Tyler Uptight,
Cameron, Kenny and Chase
Manning perform in the weekly
drag-king show. 11pm–2am. Zipperz/
Cellblock, 72 Carlton St. No cover.
28 MARCH 6–19, 2014 XTRA!
monthly for this puppy-play event.
Bring your own pup hoods, squeaky
toys, collars, tails and leashes
(limited gear available to borrow).
No dress code. 9:30pm. The Black
Eagle, 457 Church St. No cover.
Jockstrap DJ Neill MacLeod spins
for beefcakes and jocks; hosted
by Dale C and Chris Munro. 11pm.
Marquis of Granby, 418 Church St.
Crews & Tangos Thursday
DJ Craig Dominic in Tangos, and
Vocal Rehab karaoke, with Elyse,
in the Zone. 10pm. Crews &
Tangos, 508 Church St. No cover.
Go Hard: Glamity DJs Blackcat and
Pleasure spin old- and new-school
reggae, soca, R&B, hip hop and
mashups. 11pm. Harlem Lounge, 67
Richmond St E. $10 until 1am, $15
Fri, March 14
Sun, March 16
That Time of the Month DJs Alex
and Devon spin feminine soul and
R&B grooves. 10pm. Henhouse,
1532 Dundas St W. No cover.
Lesbian Tea-Dance Hang out with
the sweethearts for an afternoon
delight every Sunday. 4–7pm. Flying
B, 8 Gloucester St. facebook.com/
Cub Camp DJs Nita Aviance (NYC)
and Scooter McCreight spin for the
hairy boys. 10pm. The Beaver, 1192
Queen St W. $7. beavertoronto.ca
Sweat DJ Blackcat spins house,
new disco and top 40 remixes for
the Spearhead Toronto LDSC party.
5–10pm. Black Eagle, 457 Church St.
No cover. blackeagletoronto.com
The Dirty Hustle The DJ spins hiphop dance beats for the west-end
crowd. 10pm–2:30am. The Steady,
1051 Bloor St W. No cover. facebook.
Sat, March 15
Rock & Retro DJ Chris Steinbach
spins, while Lee turns the Bad
Boy Prize Wheel. 8pm. Woody’s,
467 Church St. No cover.
Fit — The
Sun, March 9
Bush Beat DJ Shoegayz and Pony
spin for the ladies’ dance party.
10pm. Henhouse, 1532 Dundas St W.
No cover. henhousetoronto.com
RVM Rave Factory DJs Shok, Paul
Savage, Edwin Somnambulist,
Saiyan and Sprout spin
hardstyle, dirty electro,
industrial and jump beats.
wear: rave, glowsticks,
gas mask, chem suits.
120 Church St. $5
before 11pm, $10 after.
Big Primpin’ —
Wrongbar, Fri, March 7
Thurs, March 13
Pup Night Pups, handlers,
spectators and dirty dogs gather
Men of Steel St Patrick’s Day
Celebration More than 25 hot men
will strip to their shillelaghs for the
Kiss Me, I’m Irish night. 5pm–2am.
Remington’s, 379 Yonge St. No cover
before 8pm, $10 before 11pm, $15
Trade DJs The Carry Nation (NYC)
and residents David Picard and
Scooter McCreight spin deep, tech
house for the bearded bad boys.
10pm. Black Eagle, 457 Church St. $5
before 11pm. blackeagletoronto.com
NightCubbing DJs Andrew
Awesome, dyslexia and Fforeplay
spin house, disco, electro and
remixes at this one-off event for
bears, boys and furry friends.
Performances by ladybear
extraordinaire Fay Slift and House
of Filth’s Nancy Bocock. 10:30pm.
Henhouse, 1532 Dundas St W. No
Fit DJs Kris Steeves and Phil V spin
sweaty beats alongside Donnarama,
in her Beaver debut. 10:30. The
Beaver, 1192 Queen St W. $5.
Fooftastic Karaoke Foofer hosts
the east-end singing and dancing
event. 10pm. WAYLA, 996 Queen
St E. No cover. facebook.com/
Wed, March 19
Club120 Wednesday Open-mic for
comedians, magicians, illusionists
and burlesque performers (show
up before 8:45pm), hosted by
Sasha Van Bon Bon and Rob Testa
and featuring a performance by
Mandy Goodhandy. 8pm. Club120,
120 Church St. $8, $5 guest list
([email protected]). club120.ca
Mon, March 17
WAYLA’s ’90s Trivia Night
Kaleb Robertson and Miss Fluffy
Soufflé take turns hosting the
retro quiz event, with dance
moves, audio clues and more.
7pm. WAYLA, 996 Queen
St W. No cover. facebook.
Luck of the Irish DJ Green
Peter spins to celebrate
St Patrick’s Day. 8pm.
Church St. No cover.
Dinner and Drag Race
House of Filth hosts a viewing
of RuPaul’s Drag Race, followed by
Untucked and ﬁnishing with a live
performance. 9pm. Henhouse,
1532 Dundas St W. No cover.
Submit your event listing to [email protected]
Deadline for the March 20 issue is Wed, March 12.
30 YEARS OF HEADLINES: Happy not horny How party drugs are changing the gay club scene Xtra #401, March 9, 2000
& music meet
A 21st-century Bestiary
March 16, 3:30 pm & March 18, 8:00 pm
Trinity St. Paul’s Centre
By Daniel MacIvor
Starring Becky Johnson and Amy Rutherford
Directed by Ross Manson
Presented in association with BeMe Theatre, Munich
Factory Studio Theatre
$25 full price
$20 students, seniors
& arts workers
PWYC March 4
Everything gay, every day.
Rock out Will Munro and Miss Barbraﬁsch slather you with Vaseline Xtra #402, March 23, 2000
XTRA! MARCH 6–19, 2014 29
BY ROLYN CHAMBERS
PHOTOS BY TONY FONG & ROLYN CHAMBERS
SAT, FEB 15 @
Ever had cop-porn ﬂavoured
popcorn? Neither have I, but it
would really be a perfect complement to the events unfolding around me at Courthouse.
The cruising, the whispers,
the stares, the drooling: it’s all
worthy of its own HBO reality series — Real Leathermen
of TDot County. Aside from an
unfortunately small coat check,
Montreal’s Fétiche Armada’s
ﬁrst Toronto party, BlackKnight,
is a big success, bringing out
meaty men from both cities. And
from in between. “I wanted to
say ‘hi,’” Joe from Ottawa says,
shaking my hand as I eyeball his
crotch. “I always say hi to the
one or two other black guys who
come out to these events.” And
here we all are, gathered in our
ﬁnest leather, rubber and fetish
wear. But I have always found
that having a leather party in a
sterile, pristine environment
like this makes me feel like I
should be buying Tupperware
over tea. The leather community
needs to ﬁnd a space worthy
of its (and my) kinky outﬁts. A
leather party should not be held
in the same space where ﬁlmfestival parties take place and
905ers start ﬁghts as a result of
roid-rage. But this is Toronto,
and we have horrible liquor laws
that limit our venue choices. At
least this one allows us to scope
out men (including the yummy
yellow-Speedo guys) from the
second-ﬂoor balcony as DJ Jack
Chang spins or cozy up to the
stage to drool over pornstars
Dirk Caber and Jesse Jackman
(who, by the way are married —
damn) or smell the leather as it
ﬂogs willing backs. Some more
buttery lube on your cop-porn
popcorn? This is the good part.
1E Dirk Caber & Jesse Jackman
2E Real leathermen of TDot
County 3E Dirk Caber & Jesse
Jackman at it again 4E DJ Jack
of High School
SAT, FEB 22 @ THE BEAVER
Ever had dark-meat-ﬂavoured
chicken breast? Neither have I,
but it would indeed be an interesting mixture. Kind of like the
combination Ryan Arthurs is
giving us at his birthday-party
blowout at The Beaver tonight.
With his new three-foot-long
dreads, this little white boy is
pulling off a Milli Vanilli. Tonight’s Badass Bitches of High
School party is a combination
of his high-energy crew and
regulars who have no idea that
a birthday party of Mean Girls
proportions is about to be
thrown down. Drink up, losers,
we’re going snorting! While
snorting drinks with party
photographer Sarah Clayton
Nesbitt, party poster-boy Simon
David and resident Beaver cutie
Robin Sharp, many important
world issues are discussed,
including this: “If you have spacers, by law you should always
be required to wear them.”
“Because if you don’t, your ears
will look like saggy vaginas?”
“Exactly. Illegal!” And this: “If
you’re gonna get ghetto, please
have some coin in your bank account.” “Otherwise you’re not
‘getting’ ghetto, you actually are
ghetto?” “Exactly. Trash.” This,
of course, all happens while
DJ Aeryn Pfaff plays eclectic
tracks that perfectly soundtrack
our worldly observations, like
Danny Elfman scoring a Tim
Burton ﬁlm. This is also before
birthday boy Ryan is led onstage
and serenaded by the talented
Miss Barbie Jo Bontemps, whose
mega-song mashup culminates
with Riskay’s oh-so-jaunty
“Smell Yo Dick.” Does it smell
like dark-meat-ﬂavoured chicken breast? That’s the best part.
5E Glammy, Ryan & Barbie Jo
Bontemps 6E Ste & Matthew
7E Ameena & Simon
8E Igby & Cody 9E Kathryne & Kai
Chang & organizer Ghislain
Deep Dish appears in every other issue of Xtra. For this week’s
Xposed column, by Anna Pournikova, visit dailyxtra.com.
30 MARCH 6–19, 2014 XTRA!
30 YEARS OF HEADLINES: I do Commons passes historic bill Xtra #540, July 7, 2005
Services – Kenton
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Love’s frontier Brokeback Mountain braves dangerous terrain Xtra #551, Dec 8, 2005
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XTRA! MARCH 6–19, 2014 31
A world of gay adventure
& cliff diving
Courting la muerte in Mazatlán
BY NATASHA BARSOTTI
Blanch-faced, dressed to the nines and
ornately adorned with plumage, ﬂowers
and sugar skulls, las Catrinas sashay
along Mazatlán’s crammed Plaza Machado to frenzied drumming, piercing
trumpeting and ﬁrecrackers.
The pleasantly macabre signature
characters of the annual Dia de los
Muertos move among the sea of humanity that converges on the central plaza
to jumpstart the carnival in honour of
beloved departed relatives and friends,
flirtatiously thumbing their noses at
death or delighting in it.
The image of La Catrina, skull and
bones wrapped in ﬁne period fashion
and elaborate head-wear, is associated
with turn-of-the-20th-century Mexican
illustrator José Guadalupe Posada,
whose satirical work provided sharp
commentary about race, making fun of
Mexicans who aspired to be European
in appearance and culture.
But it was artist Diego Rivera who
took Posada’s image and turned her into
“an icon of Mexican-ness,” geography
professor Juanita Sundberg says. “That
was what his work was about, creating
this idea of a Mexican national identity,
situated in its pre-Columbian and folk
roots. He is reportedly the one who
called her La Catrina.”
As Posada and Rivera have demonstrated, the Catrina image can be leveraged to make an array of statements,
political and otherwise.
From the sidewalk patio of the Plaza
Machado’s bustling Pedro y Lola restaurant, I wonder if I’ll see any genderbending Catrinas. I don’t have to
wait long to spy one or two amidst the
promenading heteronormative calavera
(skull) couples, some rushing — plastic
cups in the air — to catch up with the
burro-drawn carts of free beer that
the “bartenders” are dispensing hand
“You can see how the image would
lend itself to drag. It’s supposed to be
all about playing with costume and
playing with your identity. That’s what
Posada was talking about, even though
he wasn’t commenting about gender
identity or sexuality,” Sundberg says.
The dead are very much part of life,
and they have it made, at least on the
ﬁrst two days of November — Dia de los
Angelitos (Day of the Innocents) followed by Dia de los Muertos, the day of
32 MARCH 6–19, 2014 XTRA!
30 YEARS OF HEADLINES: Hot town DJ Blackcat kicks up Caribana a notch Xtra #591, June 21, 2007
Clockwise from far left:
literally throwing caution
to the wind, cliff divers
plunge into the churning
waves; a freshly painted
gravesite at Panteón El
Quelite, to the northeast
of Mazatlán; this Catrina
couple joined hundreds who
took to the Plaza Machado
and surrounding streets
for the annual parade
commemorating Dia de los
Muertos; a panoramic view
of Olas Altas beach.
remembrance for adults who have died.
Walk into restaurants, artists’ studios,
businesses or homes and altares de
muertos (altars to the dead) are front
and centre, decorated with banderillas
(small ﬂags), bread of the dead, tequila,
fruit, skulls of sugar and clay, and speciﬁc effects treasured by the deceased.
In Mazatlán’s historical centre, the
storefronts of ﬂower shops, some almost three generations old, are a riot of
blooms, including cempasúchil — otherwise known as the Mexican marigold
— touted as the ideal ﬂower to adorn
loved ones’ ﬁnal resting places.
As Dia de los Muertos approaches,
the panteones (cemeteries) are anything but sites of sadness and regret to
be avoided. They are a ﬂurry of preparation and anticipation: children run
in and among the graves, which have
been swept, weeded and given fresh
coats of paint.
Entering the cobblestoned, colonial
city of El Quelite, about 40 kilometres
northeast of Mazatlán, a handful of
families are in vigil mode in the local
panteón, patiently awaiting the arrival
of recent or long-gone loved ones whose
favourite foods, drink, books and other
personal items are laid out to entice
them to a celebration of their lives.
“It’s about saying, ‘We honour the
dead.’ It’s saying that our dead are with
us, and we memorialize them,” Sundberg says.
The seeming absence of fear of the
hereafter, or of mortality itself, extends
into everyday life.
Situated along the six-and-a-halfkilometre seawall, Olas Altas, is a
14-metre rock where cliff divers literally
throw caution to the wind that whips
around its height and crevices.
Below, the churning waves submerge
and expose the rocks below.
Timing is everything, the story goes.
As the waves come in, there is ideally
just over two metres of water to execute a safe, head-ﬁrst dive. Absent the
“right” wave, the depth is a little more
than a metre.
A mini-ﬁgurine of Mary and some
ﬂowers are tucked into the mid-section
of the outcrop in memory of the last
diver who, in 2006, did not emerge
alive. It serves as a reminder, but hardly
a deterrent, to fellow divers, who carry
on — for the right price.
Approached at night, both rock and
diver are shrouded in darkness, except
for the ﬁery ﬂares the latter brandishes
to induce takers.
Guadalajara-born Mario Gonzalez Aguilar, 76, first flirted with cliff
diving in 1962. He has taught almost
every diver in Mazatlán the tricks of
While he stopped diving — for health
reasons —four years ago, he is eager to
take the plunge again.
Perched on a ledge on the landward side of the cliff he has mastered,
Aguilar, with pet iguana astride his left
shoulder, shrugs off questions about
the risk of his profession and rejects
any notion of fear.
He has no logical answer to give.
It’s just his life and a way to make a
Homo Milk Gus Van Sant’s Harvey Milk biopic Xtra #628, Nov 20, 2008
XTRA! MARCH 6–19, 2014 33
A world of gay adventure
California’s Paciﬁc Coast
San Francisco and Los Angeles may
be among the world’s top LGBT travel
destinations, but there’s much more to
California than The Castro and West
Hollywood. With its lush scenery,
sparkling blue ocean and quirky seaside towns, the Paciﬁc Coast Highway
route between these two cities can form
the spine of a wonderful adventure on
which journey is the destination.
The highway takes many different
names along its route — Route 1, US
101, Coast Highway, Shoreline Highway,
Cabrillo Highway — but by any marker
it’s one of the most scenic drives in the
United States. The best approach is by
car, allowing for stops along the way.
Experienced cyclists can conquer the
route by bicycle. In both cases, travelling south is the best option — you’ll
get better views, and the wind will be
in your favour.
By car, you can complete the trip in
a day, but give yourself two or three to
make the most of stops along the way.
Your journey begins before you leave
San Francisco. The iconic Golden Gate
Bridge is a part of Route 1, and the best
way to experience its 2.7-kilometre span
is on foot or by bicycle. For a different
perspective, hop aboard a Blue & Gold
Fleet cruise at Pier 39, on which you’ll
learn the history of the bridge’s construction while passing underneath it.
Back on land, indulge in the touristy
shops and restaurants along the pier.
Make your ﬁrst stop on the road at
Año Nuevo State Park, in San Mateo
County, home to a colony of marine
mammals, including elephant seals,
sea otters and sea lions. The best time
to visit is from December to March,
when the seals arrive for mating season.
Hordes of tourists come every year to
watch the males ﬁght for dominance and
the females give birth. (Reservations are
A more casual elephant seal refuge
is further south, near Piedras Biancas
Light. You’ll see signs for a lookout over
a cliff down to the seal colony.
34 MARCH 6–19, 2014 XTRA!
Bixby Creek Bridge, in Big Sur, is one of the tallest single-span concrete bridges in the world.
The highway bypasses the Monterey
Peninsula, but it’s worth turning off to
visit Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf and
Cannery Row, a street of repurposed
factories named for the Steinbeck novel.
The nods to California’s maritime history and ecology include America’s only
remaining whalebone sidewalk and one
of the country’s largest aquariums. On
a three-day journey, Monterey or the
nearby artist colony of Carmel are good
places to spend the night.
South of Carmel, you enter Big Sur
country, a sparsely populated region
known for its stunning views of and
from the Santa Lucia Mountains, which
rise dramatically from the ocean. On
this stretch, the highway alternately
runs right along the coast or along sheer
cliffs up to 300 metres above the water.
Drive carefully — it’s easy to get distracted by the gorgeous vistas. Luckily,
there are strategically placed turnoffs to
stop and snap pictures. Take note of the
picturesque Bixby Creek Bridge, one of
the tallest single-span concrete bridges
in the world.
Halfway through this stretch, you’ll
ﬁnd the tiny hamlet of Lucia. Meals at
the roadside Lucia Lodge are only soso, but the cliffside patio overlooking a
crystal-blue bay is a major attraction.
Big Sur has little in the way of amenities, but that can be part of its charm. As
long as you stock up on supplies — ﬁll
up your gas tank before you leave Carmel — the Big Sur River Valley is a great
spot away from the bustle of the cities to
rent a rustic cabin or pitch a tent for the
night. As accommodations are limited
in the region, be sure to book ahead.
Next on your itinerary is the must-see
Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Built by
publishing magnate William Hearst, on
whom the ﬁlm Citizen Kane was based,
the sprawling 90,000-square-foot estate
is a pastiche of styles inspired by — and in
some cases, structures imported wholesale from — Hearst’s travels in Europe.
The building houses thousands of antiques and artifacts from Hearst’s private
collection, which was donated to the
state of California after his death. There
are several tour options elaborating various aspects of the grounds, including the
gardens and the grand rooms.
South of San Simeon, the highway
veers inland slightly to the sleepy San
Luis Obispo. Even if you’re not staying
the night, stop at the Madonna Inn, a
lavishly adorned motel with 110 themed
rooms, including Love Nest, Rock Bottom
or Cayucos Queen. Check out the rockwaterfall urinal in the men’s bathroom.
Wander San Luis Obispo’s quaint
downtown, with its pedestrian-only
streets. Don’t miss Bubblegum Alley,
on Higuera Street, where the walls
are lined with thousands of pieces of
chewed gum. The town also makes a
good base for an afternoon exploring the
many small wineries in the Edna Valley.
Your next major stop is Santa Barbara,
with its well-preserved Spanish colonial
architecture and wharf, sandy beaches
and luxury attractions. Take in the view
from the courthouse tower, check out
the brown pelicans at the end of Stearns
Wharf, and sunbathe at Arroyo Burro
Beach. A few miles west is More Mesa
Beach, popular with nudists and gays.
You’ll enter Los Angeles County
through Malibu, where the highway hugs
the beach for the town’s entire length.
Some of the county’s most beautiful
beaches are here, as is one of California’s
most famous surf spots, Malibu Lagoon.
A short drive through Highlands Park
will bring you to one of the best seaside
views in LA county. From the cliff, you
can see as far as Palos Verdes and watch
surfers and dolphins below.
You’ll enter LA proper via Santa Monica. After your time on the road, it’s worth
unwinding in the capital of the gay party
scene, West Hollywood. The Ramada Inn
WeHo has surprisingly posh rooms right
on Santa Monica Boulevard, a stone’s
throw from the best gay bars and clubs,
as well as Sunset Boulevard’s comedy and
music scene. In the morning, make up for
your partying with a little history: Out &
About Tours offers bus and walking tours
of the city’s queer history.
From LA, the Pacific Coast Highway continues to Orange County, from
which you can head on to San Diego or
Mexico. Or you can turn east to explore
the inland mountains, deserts and forests. With enough time and a car, the
possible routes to explore the Golden
State are endless.
30 YEARS OF HEADLINES: Fighting the criminalization of HIV How punishing poz people is making everything worse Xtra #653, Jan 5, 2009
The Dinah: A ﬁve-day
As temperatures in most parts of the
Northern Hemisphere continue to lurk
determinedly at the cold end of the thermometer, we’re desperately in need of
a blast of heat. And it doesn’t get hotter
than The Dinah, the world’s biggest lesbian event, hitting Palm Springs for ﬁve
days of parties, pools, poker, comedy
and ﬁlm from April 2 to 6 this year.
What started out as simply a few gay
women meeting when the Dinah Shore
Golf Tournament came to town grew
bigger and bigger with each passing
year. In 1991, promoter Mariah Hanson,
seeing a golden opportunity, took a
risk, booked out a hotel and hired talent — and The Dinah was born. Now
in its 24th year, the gargantuan girl extravaganza lures thousands of women
to the desert town each spring for what
Hanson, who still produces the energetic event, memorably describes as
“a ﬁve-day bacchanalian whirlwind of
While some sources put numbers at
15,000 pool- and partygoing women,
Hanson prefers not to dwell on ﬁgures,
choosing instead to focus on delivering the best entertainment possible to
however many thousands and thousands descend.
“We produce an event that rivals any
in the country, straight or gay, which
is not always the case with lesbian
events. I don’t skimp on entertainment
or production. We try to outdo ourselves each year. It’s a good recipe for
delivering a ﬁve-star event,” she says.
When the going gets tough, the tough
ﬁnd a really nice place to recharge.
Some sources put The Dinah numbers at 15,000 pool- and partygoing women.
This year, Canadian lesbian heartthrobs Tegan and Sara headline and
are responsible for what is set to be
the Dinah’s largest audience yet, with a
substantial inﬂux of Canadians due to
join the hordes.
“This year we’ve got a lot of Canadians coming because of our headliners,
of course,” Hanson says, “but predominantly, it’s women from the western US
states, although we get folks from all
50.” In the last few years, the fame of
The Dinah has been spreading beyond
the continent; Hanson credits both
word of mouth and the event’s starring
roles onscreen. “We’ve had an international audience all along, but the
L Word TV shows have deﬁnitely been
instrumental in spreading the word
— both the original L Word when they
ﬁlmed an episode here in Season 1 and
The Real L Word. They’ve now ﬁlmed
here three times.” — Aefa Mulholland
ON THE WEB
More details at thedinah.com.
Saturday gay beach party in Vegas
Opened in 1957, the Tropicana is one of
the few original hotels remaining on the
legendary Las Vegas strip. Now, after
a $200 million renovation, “The New
Tropicana” resort is promising to revolutionize the day-club experience for
Starting in the spring (the launch
date has not yet been announced) the
Tropicana Beach Club will be home to
Xposed — the only Saturday gay pool
party on the strip. It’s billed as the “ultimate Saturday beach party” for LGBT
travellers, promising “sun-kissed go-go
dancers, celebrity guest performers and
DJs spinning all the latest hits.”
“From attending all major-city gay
pride celebrations nationwide to hosting Sin City Shootout, the largest LGBT
sporting event in the world, and the
2013 launch of TropLV GLAM, we support the community wherever we can,”
says Fred Harmon, chief marketing ofﬁcer for The New Tropicana. “Xposed is
the next phase in our property’s LGBTQ
initiatives, and we look forward to providing the ultimate Las Vegas day-club
for LGBTQ travellers.”
The all-new Tropicana Beach Club
features breathtaking waterfalls, palm
trees, luxury daybeds and cabanas,
alongside two Olympic-sized sand volleyball courts, two heated pools and a
high-rise stage for live entertainment.
A food menu will feature handcrafted
cocktails and light bites.
And for Abba fans, starting in spring
2014 (tickets are on sale now), the
Tropicana Theatre will be home to the
smash Broadway musical Mamma Mia.
Direct flights to…
Like no place else.™
Disney World withdraws funding
from Boy Scouts of America
ON THE WEB
The all-new Tropicana Beach Club.
Protesters muzzled by Pride Toronto Xtra #668, June 3, 2010
More details at xposedlv.com,
XTRA! MARCH 6–19, 2014 35
NEXT BOOKING DEADLINE:
WED, MARCH 12 @ 1PM
Married, Separated or
Divorced Gay Father?
We’re here to support you
on your journey.
Our meetings are informal,
Gay Fathers meet the second
and fourth Thursday of every
month at 8pm
at the 519 Church Street
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Communication — Relationship — Life Skills
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30 YEARS OF HEADLINES: Jack Layton 1950–2011 A tribute Xtra #700, Aug 25, 2011
To commemorate the 30th anniversary of Xtra, we give you the ﬁrst-ever
Xtra Hot column, from Issue #134, which hit the streets Oct 13, 1989.
Checking in with Jeremy: Week 8
Exercise is all about sex. Well, not
entirely. There is a not inconsiderable
part of me that wants to get in shape
to ﬁt into clothing better — clothing
is not made for chubby people — and
to defend myself against the violent
blunderings of Ford Nation. But there’s
another, probably stronger, part that
just wants better sex. Just to be clear,
I call that part my penis.
After six weeks, I’m already seeing
improvements in my sex life. I’ve lost
about 14 pounds so far, which is enough
for my boyfriend to notice, and he
frequently grabs my butt possessively
while making satisﬁed animal noises.
These compliments cause my
conﬁdence to rocket. Which causes my
rocket to rocket, too. To be clear, my
rocket is my penis.
Obviously, he was also attracted
to me when I was chubbier, but he
supports my efforts to get into better
shape — in a very “this is something
important to you, so I support you” sort
of way, rather than a “you need to lose
weight, you bulging dirigible” way —
and my changing body is an exciting
new experience for him.
My increasing physical strength also
helps with sexy times. My boyfriend
is quite slim, and when we’re rolling
around in bed, it’s nice to be able to
Keep things hot while the temperature drops.
Bring a little Stag Shop home.
532 Church St
physical strength helps
with sexy times.
reach down with one arm, lift him
and just move him to where I need
him to be, rather than awkwardly
muttering, “Can you scooch over? Just
scooch? Yes, just over there! Fine, good
We’re also making plans for when
I’m a bit stronger. One involves benchpressing him; I’m not sure how that
constitutes sex, but I’m sure we’ll ﬁgure
something out. The other is lifting him
into my arms while standing and just
sliding into him. Clearly, the slide-y part
is my penis.
For more information about Evolution
Fitness and its team of experts,
Xtra and Talisker
Players bring you a chance to
win a pair of tickets to Creature to
Creature: A 21st-Century Bestiary at
Trinity St Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor St W,
for either Sunday, March 16 at 3:30pm
or Tuesday, March 18 at 8pm.
To enter, send your name and phone
number to [email protected]
before Tuesday, March 11. Some restrictions
apply. Only winners will be contacted.
to [email protected] be
Game changer Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke takes on homophobia in sports Xtra #715, March 22, 2012
XTRA! MARCH 6–19, 2014 37
38 MARCH 6–19, 2014 XTRA!
30 YEARS OF HEADLINES: Victory How we won the battle for GSAs in Catholic schools Xtra #721, June 14, 2012
Out at the Games Russia may not know it, but the Olympics have always been more than a little gay Xtra #758, Nov 14, 2013
XTRA! MARCH 6–19, 2014 39
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