Thursday, February 24, 2011

Saint Carmen of the Main - Canadian Stage

If you're thinking of committing suicide anytime soon, make sure you stop by a showing of this play on the way. It has that great "push you over the cliff" mentality suicidal audiences are sure to love.
In the program we read the many, many, many notes of the set designer, detailing his exhaustive research in to the play, the period. S/he (I have no idea if the name "Eo" is male or female) cites ten separate influences before sharing his hope of "distilling the set to a mythic simplicity".  Which in this case means a wall with two doors and a Texas longhorn antler set. This is it for the entire 95 minutes, no set changes. He finishes saying "with this design I have tried, in my way, to be an artist".  One wall and a set of antlers. Really???  I forgot to mention there's also a beautiful carpet but as the balcony was empty and everyone sat on the floor no one could see it. And again we're left staring at beige walls.
Much has been made of turning the lead Carmen in to Lady Gaga, part of the reason I wanted to go. It's Lady Gaga with a lobotomy. No emotions, no like-ability, nothing dynamic. And one outfit worn for the whole show, a white cat suit. I have no idea where these comparisons are coming from.
The show is narrated by a chorus of transvestites and prostitutes, which sounds good, but in reality means 12 people speaking the same line all at the same time, all dressed in red. I was asleep within five minutes.
The story revolves around a singer and the power of her songs. We never hear these songs, there's no music at all in fact until the last sixty seconds of the play which feature a song sung in some language that is neither English or French and sung by someone else. Considering the play is set in Montreal, I have no idea why they chose whatever language that was.
Finally the plot, the last 20 minutes of the play is two characters describing a murder. When I was talking to the friend I went with, he revealed to me that the murder never actually happened, the whole thing was them concocting a story. How I was supposed to get that I'll never know, although if I had been conscious that might have helped. Probably not.
This is the kind of theatre that makes you not want to go to the theatre. No new ideas presented, no great acting feats and an indiscernible plot just left me wondering why I had left the house.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mysterious cat

For a month now I've been talking about the mysterious cat outside my house.
Here's proof!  My kitty and I went to investigate...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Vincent River - Tarragon Theatre Extra Space

One hour 'till show time. I rushed this play tonight. I don't think I've ever rushed a play before, usually I like getting my tickets far in advance. But I have missed a few plays lately as I felt over-booked and the money has gone to waste. I figured by rushing I could ensure I still felt like seeing the play on the day in question and save $15, so it was a win-win.
Not being familiar with the rushing concept I got here about 5:30 for the six pm sale and was easily the first one here. By 5:55 one other couple had shown up and I've seen no one else since. I suppose the 20 available rush seats will go unsold, barring a miracle.
The theatre is in a remote location near Castle Loma and with nothing to do for two hours, I walked to one of the nearby restaurants (both Indian) and got a chicken curry which was decent. That killed about 15 minutes or so and I've come back and been sitting in the theatre lobby ever since. I'm still feeing quite seasick so I don't trust myself to go home and come back. Plus it would have probably taken about 30 minutes each way, leaving me a cool 15 minutes at home anyway.
So I'll sit here and wait, review to follow after the show.

The play was perfection, it will haunt me for the rest of my days.  It starts off with an interesting premise, a boy, 17, follows a middle aged woman home. She invites him in. They start to talk. It turns out he's been following her for weeks, she's noticed him. He's aware that her son was recently killed, murdered in a gay bashing. Does he know more?
The stories of the two unravel, spilling out, never too fast, never too slow. Watching, I lose all sense of time, of myself, of my surroundings. There is only them, there is only the story. The actors are the characters, they pull you in and pull until you can't get back. At the end a final reveal and my blood stops running, I cease breathing. This is why theatre was invented. This is why I go. This is the power of the stage.
My heart slowly starts beating again, moving slowly, unwilling to step out of the moment. The story, haunting, is a part of me. I walk but don't see, don't smell, don't taste, my senses high-jacked.
I just missed my subway stop.
The show was perfect. The acting by the two leads, Matthew Gorman and Kyra Harper, was perfect. The staging was perfect. The story was perfect.

Friday, February 18, 2011


I had a letter published in this month's Attitude magazine, the UK's best selling gay magazine and my personal favourite.

Upon reading this, I thought they had changed a couple words as I don't remember ever using the word "rag" before in my life, but apparently I did as my original is very close:

"I loved the column "HIV and Me" in this month's issue. Who doesn't place road blocks in front of themselves? This is why I love your magazine; it has hot boys and helps me understand myself and the world in a relatable gay context. I was worried when I heard your format was changing, I thought you might become another toss away rag you spend 5 minutes with. Worry alleviated, issue 201 was three hours well spent."

Although I do question them adding the word "really" at the end there.

Here's the original article I wrote in about (click to enlarge):

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Middle Place - Canadian Stage, Berkeley

This fast-paced 70 minute docu-play is comprised of excerpts of interviews with homeless youth at a shelter in Etobicoke. It is presented in the style of The Laramie Project with rapid fire dialogue from a variety of characters portrayed by four different actors.
No one is going to say this play is bad, but at the same time it does miss it's mark. The play starts with dialogue from shelter workers who relay the stories of some of the youth involved and how they lack very basic life skills, such as the ability to say the alphabet up to the letter G. They also relay their struggles with the youth's sense of entitlement. How they expect to get hired at every job interview, and it seems to me the frustration that what is so easy for everyone else is so hard for them.
I'm a bit of a Scrooge with this topic, as I've been there, I've lived on my own since I was 16, so the topics discussed aren't foreign, and I watched the play with a bit of wondering what I'd tell my former self.
I thought Kevin Walker's performance was the best, that he was best able to convey unique character's personalities. That being said I don't feel the script did the actor's any favors by having such jarring quick cuts ALL the time to the point of having the actors talk over each other.
The actors come out barefoot and perform on a white spotlight, giving more the idea of an acting class workshop than a youth hostel, and this goes back to the reason I said the play ultimately doesn't work.  No one is walking out of that theatre with a better understanding of homeless youth. And without that, why are we even there?


On the ship they take a lot of professional photos and sell them for a ridiculous $20 each, I bought this one:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cruise Videos

Cheyenne Jackson - Fuck You

Cheyenne Jackson - You Make Me Want to Wait (from Alter Boyz)

Cheyenne Jackson - A Change is Gonna Come

Atlantis "Final Rinse" Tea Dance - Glee Tribute

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Feb 12-11. 10:10 pm

Feb 12-11. 10:10 pm

Cheyenne Jackson. Wow oh wow. Went to see him last night and he took my breath away.
Went to some dances and the dinner in the dining room where we sat with an amazing couple, very nice handsome guys. Oh yes, I forgot, I had an amazing day lying in the sun on a deck chair. It was hot but not too hot and I lay there with my towel and dozed off for the afternoon, marveling how I could never do that at home in February.
More of my favourite door and another cute one:

Anyway, these guys at dinner were saying how they may have taken a photo of me by the pool, and I laughed it off and assumed they were talking about someone else. But no, it was me! And some other cute guy flirted with me in the elevator and took my hand and kissed it. Definitely an ego booster. For some reason I turned off the dating switch a while ago now, maybe it could be nudged closer back to on.
So after dinner the dreamy Cheyenne Jackson. That man can sing sing sing!  I didn't know what to expect going in but he is handsome and tall and built and funny and has the best voice I've ever heard. I was enraptured throughout his show and time stood still. It was an amazing moment. So amazing that we went back again tonight.

After Cheyenne's show last night we went to the big white party dressed in our swan outfits.

It was great, I really felt a sense of belonging, and unlike the last time I wore the outfit I didn't feel like I stood out like a sore thumb. There were a lot of outfits WAY more over the top then mine so I felt like I fit in nicely in the middle. A few people even asked to take our photos, and since our outfits didn't involve displays of our chests or asses (or cocks), I was satisfied.

Click to enlarge and look closely at the dress:
Speaking of which, I saw a man of about 70 walking with his cane in a pair of white briefs and nothing else. I've still got youth on my side, for now. Time to make hay while the sun shines.
The white party was followed by the demons party, who doesn't love a bad boy?
Packing today and a tea dance this afternoon:

And some time spent by the surfing machine:

One last dance tonight. Dinner and back for more Cheyenne! No sun as it's about 12 degrees Celsius. Cheyenne was great again.


Now packing, for the first time ever my bag will be over the 50 lb limit, meaning a $50 penalty. What are you gonna do?  A great time, looking forward to getting home around 7 pm tomorrow!!!
Oops forgot, Cheyenne Jackson said he grew up in a home with no running water, they had an outhouse, and his family was very religious. They had a sign over the TV that said "If Jesus was here, would you be watching this?"

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Feb 10-11 9:34 pm

Feb 10-11 9:34 pm
Got off the ship in St Maarten this morning. We had to rush to find the McDonalds where we met Jack, a friend from work, and his wife Beverly. First though time for a little shopping. A huge bottle of vodka for my friend Joe who is watching my cat and some cigarettes for me. I had planned on buying a lot as my native supplier fell through in the quality department and the price went over $10 a pack in Toronto. As I was leaving the airport I forgot my cigarettes at home and had to buy a pack at the airport, over $13 there, so I needed to buy a few to tide me over. They had five cartons of Marborolo Ultra Lights for $85 so I got those, then found some no name brand of for 5 cartons for $40 so I also got 10 of them. My allowance is one, and I now have 15, so I need to smoke a lot in the next two days.
We met up with Jack and Beverly and it was so nice to see a familiar face. I had tried to call my mom in St Thomas but it didn't work so I was glad to see someone I knew from Toronto. We had an amazing expansive tour of the island and their beautiful home with the incredible views and their commissioned artwork.
The view from their property:

Their bedroom.  Imagine waking up to this view ever morning.
From there off to a market where I bought some pure vanilla. You can't buy that back home and i love it in my coffee, the problem is I go through it so fast. The last bottle I got from Mexico I went through in a week, so this time I bought three bottles. I was hoping to find like a huge gallon jug for cheap but no luck in St Maarten.

Then on to a local restaurant for some Cajun ribs with all the fixings and a stop at a French bakery.

Apparently on the French side of the island there are all kinds of beautiful patisseries and high end French restaurants.  We walked around, I petted a dog (no cats around) and back to the ship.
First a walk along the beach:

The Newlywed Game was alright, and the big production show Blue Planet. Everyone was wetting themselves over this before and after the show and I thought it sucked. It was like a tree comes to life as the music of Enya plays and everyone went nuts. I fell asleep.
Afterward we stopped by the karaoke club for "finish the music lyrics" trivia. I volunteered, figuring I know music. There was five of us on stage and soon two were cut and we were down to three. At this point I looked around the room and noticed it was full. I started to alternate between being happy to be there and excited and nervous and trying to breathe. I looked around the room and saw Pandora Box from Ru Paul's Drag Race in the audience which didn't make me less nervous.
It was down to three of us and one guy got cut so it was down to two of us. The host started to ad lib comedy and was asking who else in the audience was Canadian like me and I had to fight the urge to cut her. Get on with the show!
It's the final round and tension is high. My opponent goes first and has to complete the lyrics to "Dancing Queen" by ABBA, the gay anthem of the century, so of course he does. Then my turn and I get "All star" by Smashmouth. A song I hate that I remember always turning the radio station every time it came on. So of course I lost and he won, the grand prize was a highlighter and a luggage tag so I didn't feel too bad. I did feel about a thousand years old when he then didn't know a Paula Abdul song as it was from before he was born but what can you do?
Afterward I had about 100 heart attacks from being on stage for so long and sat down for a while in another Brad Loekle comedy show. Then something I've never done before, I'm spending some time in my beautiful room.
Usually on these cruises I have a crisis of self esteem but not this time. I feel good, I don't feel inferior to anyone else and if I feel someone is trying to snub me I know they're an idiot, that it's their loss. But, there's always something and now after seven days away I miss some of the things that make me be me, that help me feel happy about myself, like my cat, my home, my city, my theatre shows, the gay archives, my family, my friends, stuff like that.
Hopefully will get a second wind tomorrow.
This was my favourite door.  I hope to find a copy of this artwork:

Update:  For some reason I don`t know why, I thought I would be able to find this artist on the internet as the work on this door was unsigned.  I thought if I Googled things like `Gay art nude apple`something would come up.  I was wrong.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Feb 9 2011. 10:55 pm

Feb 9 2011. 10:55 pm
At the 80's video dance party right now and thought I would blog while they play crappy songs from before I was born. They just played Janet Jackson's  "Miss You Much" which tore the roof off, then back to more crap.
Today we got up and went to St Thomas, part of the US Virgin Islands. Someone at dinner had overslept through it and asked me "how was it, just a picturesque little town?" and I said "yes! But without the picturesque".
Let me take a photo with this of the party. It's dark so I'm not sure how well it will turn out.

I'm back. Madonna's "Into the Groove" came on and if you don't stand up and dance for the Madonna songs on a gay ship they throw you overboard.
I've been thinking about Madonna. What has she done for the gays recently? She has kids, becomes a billionaire and forgets who put her there?  Maybe I'm being too harsh. Cher isn't here either, but she retired at least.
St Thomas. Yes. Well, I will admit not as much of a hole as Nassau. The problem is these dirt poor islands in the middle of a lake can't really compare to the majesty of the ship.
We walked past about four or five hundred jewelry stores and finally found somewhere to buy a postcard. I sat and wrote it out on a bench, there was a chicken under the bench squawking at me to leave and what sounded like a knife fight a couple doors down. We had entered the barrio by mistake and my postcard says something like "I hope to escape with my life". So a great time there.

We walked, no sprinted, back to the ship:

and had a nice lie in the sun until about 6 when it was time for the dating game. Great fun as always, the highlight was one of the bachelors telling a story of how when he was 21 he noticed his hard penis pointed down and had surgery to fix it. Apparently it's a syndrome, who knew?
We went to dinner in the dining room... Break time. I just got back from the casino where I saw and spoke to Gavin Crawford, host of the CBC's How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria and star of Sky Gilbert's play I Have AIDS. I told him how much I liked his acting and he told me he's in the next Gilbert play The Situationists in April and I told him I'd go, he shook my hand, a nice experience. After I left I thought of the real questions I should have asked but when I walked by him later he was talking to friends and busy. I should have asked whatever happened to the follow up show to Maria looking for a Joseph to star in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. I realize it's a terrible show, but it didn't stop England from doing it. And it can't be any worse than Cats!
The big question I should have asked was if he ever tried to get with John Barrowman, and if not what is his number?  Maybe next time I see him.
Okay yes, dinner. Uneventful, we talked to a nice couple from Miami about penis surgery.
Afterward singer Aiden James. He's handsome with a nice voice but I don't know why, he doesn't really do it for me so I left early.
Video dance party followed by a gay comedy showcase featuring the hilarious Brad Loekle, we loved him and laughed our asses off.
1:17 now, off to bed, up tomorrow for St Martin.
Also went on the rock wall today, managed to get about 2/3 of the way up.  It's harder than it looks!

February 9, 2011. 3:13 am

February 9, 2011. 3:13 am

The ice show was good, better than normal. Usually they have some crappy kids-themed show and this was at least a little more adult. The aqua show was great, loads of guys with amazing bodies high diving in to a pool the size of my living room. There was some acrobatics and stuff too, it was a little like Cirque de Soleil but again the hot guys really made it worth while.

Before the big hero party we went to karaoke with Miss Richfield and I had my first true belonging experience. All of us crowded into a small room laughing, telling jokes and singing show tunes. That special feeling from being with a group of gay men and belonging was great and something I've only had before on these cruises.

The hero party was great but it was already very late. We stood by the door for a while and got photos of people coming in.

This one guy was dressed like a broadway Spiderman in a hospital gown. The nice part was it was a windy night and his gown kept blowing up, underneath he had a swimsuit that awoke a desire in me long dormant. So I followed him around for about 10 minutes hoping he would stand in a draft so I could get a nice photo but no luck. The one opportunity I had his friend I think tapped him on the shoulder to say to turn around, someones taking your picture, so I had to turn the camera at the last minute and pretend I was taking a photo of the wall.

I found a Superman shirt at Old Navy which I wore to the hero party.
Up late so I slept late until about 1 pm. Got up and went to the game show "Are you smarter than a straight girl?" which turned out to be a waste of time. I could have gone to see Clash of the Titans in 3-D instead. Oh well.
The disco themed tea dance was next and I ended up staying for about two or more hours and dancing. This couple in front of me was wearing quite revealing outfits and then their friends the "horny bees" (instead of "honey bees") came in similarly small outfits and that kept me entertained for quite a while.

From there off to catch the very last rays of the sunset and I actually finished my book, a first for a vacation for me. It was called Probation and I bought it in Ptown this summer.
We decided to catch Miss Richfield's show again and were glad we did as she was high energy and lots of laughs tonight. To close the show she played "Somewhere over the rainbow" on her saw and I cried, it was a beautiful touching moment and I got a glimpse of why that song has become such a gay anthem. I'd like it played at my funeral if anyone with any sway there is reading this. I think my book got my thinking about death a bit.

From there the sold out Pam Ann show. She was funny, much better than the last time I saw her, and it was nice to know we have gay celebrities that all the gays know and the straights have no idea who they are that come to things like this.
From there the Matt Yee show which was good but the same exact show I've seen him do twice before with the same exact jokes which is starting to feel a little tired.
Finally a quick visit to the "Lost Continent" party, just a walk-through. I wore my pirate cap I bought at the costume shop before the cruise and tied a fake parrot to my shoulder. It would have been easier to spray paint a seagull and tie that to my arm!  The thing kept falling off and was so cheap one eye had fallen off and the leg kept coming out. What a disaster for my nautical party!

Tomorrow St Thomas at 9:30 am and its 3:43 now so I gotta go!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day two on the Allure of the Seas

Monday Feb 7/11

Day two on the Allure of the Seas.
Yesterday getting on the boat was easier than expected, both times previously there was a row of police with sniffer dogs, this time nothing. Really, if they don't come at all for the straight cruises how can they bring 50 dogs for the gay ones?
The negative was Levi Poulter, who has been on every cruise I've been on was not there to greet us and it turns out not on board at all. That sucks as I brought a book I bought with him on the cover just to get him to sign it.
A quick snack and on to Chicago: The Musical which tours with this boat. I've never seen the show live and it was amazing, really great, a lot of fantastic songs and no Richard Gere to ruin this show like he ruined the movie. It's a very high energy show with songs you know and sexy outfits. A great time, I might try to see it again later in the week.
The dining room was beautiful after the show and I had the onion quiche to start followed by the steak with baked potato and mixed vegetables and a blueberry/peach cobbler for desert. Excellent overall.
Off to Miss Richfield 1981, she didn't seem to have as much energy as she usually does but any show with Miss Richfield is a great one and we were glad to go.
 Afterward a quick stop by the party to see surprise guest star Deborah Cox and then too tired to continue I went to sleep.
This morning up at 9 am to go out to Nassau, Bahamas. Not too much to do there and not to much time to do it. We had to be back on ship by 12:30. Lots of people stopping us to offer their stuff, services or goods, and cheap t-shirts and trinkets from Hong Kong. We shopped for about an hour before the close confines of the stores, the heat, and the relentless badgering got the best of us and we got back on the ship.
Pool games at 1:30 was Project Runway, which is always a great time. This was followed by bingo with Miss Richfield and a military tea dance.

5,500 people left little room on the dance floor to move so we went up to the top deck and Alberto did the zip line. I did it yesterday, it was scarier than I remember it being in B.C.  The moment where you take the step in to thin air definitely takes your breath away.
I went to the sun chairs with my book to try and get a tan from the rapidly setting sun while Alberto wandered the ship.
The ice show and aqua shows are tonight followed by the hero party. Good times so far.
I'm feeling good.
Our door:

The door across the hall: