Thursday, June 30, 2011

9 to 5: The Musical - Toronto Centre for the Arts

I have sat through a lot of terrible musicals. South Pacific, The Color Purple, Cats.  This misadventure ranks up there with the best of these.
I bought tickets to this show as all the gays love Dolly. She can sing, she has charisma and huge tits. What's not to love?
I found out as I and a half full theatre trekked all the way to North York for a night of the shows 10 day run. The lights went down and an audience of gays and old ladies settled in for a blast from the past. The show takes place in 1979, a time when women's lib was building to a crescendo. A time when all men were sexist pigs and all women hard done by. We're transported there inside the mind of Dolly Parton, who has a weird child-like view of the world. The show is all about girl power but not true girl power the women find themselves.  The power they get is from behaving like the men, using tactics on them like they used on the women.
The plot involves a group of secretaries who are unhappy with their boss and their jobs. They then poison their boss, hold him at gunpoint, tie him up, kidnap and blackmail him. Seriously. Girl power, right?!?!
This is the end of act one and during the break I tried to guess how many references the play had to castration. MANY. Too many to count. Also too many to count was inside references to the future. For example "Why is there an apple beside your typewriter? You can't type with a Mac apple silly!" Cue hilarious peels of laughter.
The cast was fairly good but too small. During the all male dance number for example I noticed about half the men had breasts. The standout was Mamie Parris (what kind of name is that?!?) as the lead Judy. She can act and sing and could step on to any Broadway stage tomorrow. The draw was Diana DeGarmo from American Idol. Her singing surprised me, she was excellent. The acting was not good though that could be due to the direction. Rather than play the character she played Dolly Parton playing a character and something got lost in the translation. Same with Dee Hoty as Lilly Tomlin as the character, it didn't work.
A distraction from life but not worth a trek north on the subway, or really across the street.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


In honour of Pride I present this photo from the new issue of Fab magazine.  This model I think has the best bum on planet earth.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Fringe Festival 2011

I have narrowed down my picks to nine plays, meaning one $70 pass will cover me for the whole festival.

Thurs, July 7
8:30 PM - La Duchesse de Langeais, The Central, 603 Markham St (Bloor west of Bathurst)
In a new interpretation of “La Duchesse de Langeais”, Apuka Theatre moves Michel Tremblay’s ageing, heartbroken drag queen, from the beaches of a southern resort, to a busy Toronto bar and takes a closer look at the man behind the pomp and makeup.

Fri, July 8
5:45 PM – Mickey & Judy, Tarragon Theatre, St Clair to Bathurst then south
This hilarious, pseudo-memoir, chronicles Hughes’ childhood obsession with musicals and his journey from psychiatric ward to Off-Broadway.
Chock-full of comical anecdotes, showtunes and the Judy Garland songbook, this 55 minute songfest is perfect for anyone who has ever wished they could live inside a musical or wanted to change their surname to Von Trapp.

Sat, July 9
3:30 PM – Radioactive Drag Queens from the Year 3000, Factory Theatre, Bathurst s of Queen
They’ve come from the future with an important warning... and hairspray.
Lots of hairspray.
So. Much. Hairspray.

Sun, July 10
Noon – Operation Impervious, Robert Gill Theatre, 214 College St. (at St. George), 3rd floor
Randall and Martin are two celebrity-obsessed roommates who set out to prove that the world’s most famous movie star is gay. At the same time that they infiltrate a celebrity-run religious cult, Randall’s boyfriend comes back after having been thought lost on a deserted island; coincidence? We think not!

5:45 - Keep Tightly Closed In A Cool Dry Place, Theatre Passe Muraille (Queen & Bathurst)
Serio-comic fantasies soar as three men in prison fight their lustful attractions. They grapple with guilt over a murder they committed; they bully and betray one another, exposing at every twist the violent snakes that snap and bite them in ways both painful and immeasurably full of pleasure. They are Gods and Devils, living in a jail cell.

Mon, July 11
7:00 PM - Holy Tranity! Robert Gill Theatre, 214 College St. (at St. George), 3rd floor
Gracie, Santos & Michael are looking for love in all the wrong places. Santos, a young gay teen hopes to ride his good looks to fame and fortune. Gracie’s a lady in waiting, and Michael lives the life of God’s chosen warrior. Three lives intersect in a funny and twisted tale of love, sex and unlikely friendships.

Tues, July 12
8:30 PM – Saved, Factory Theatre, Bathurst s of Queen
SAVED is a disturbingly violent and shockingly funny look at lower class British youth desensitized to sex and violence. Set at the height of rave culture and the cusp of our current era, amidst our media influenced society, this retelling of Bond’s modern classic reveals the timelessness and universality of the play that abolished censorship in England.

Thurs, July 14
7:30 PM – Living With Henry, George Ignatieff Theatre, St George Stn, Bedford Rd exit
A new musical drama that explores the fear, complications and realities of living with HIV/AIDS in our society today. The narrative revolves around Michael - a gay man who comes to realize the pain of “dis-ease” and is forced to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges to gain a much deeper understanding of self and the complex world around him.

Fri, July 15
7:00 PM – The Tiki Bikini Beach Paradise Party A-Go-Go, Tarragon Theatre, St Clair to Bathurst then south
A loving, comical celebration of the Beach Party films of the 60’s. Freddie, Jeannette, and their beach pals plan to celebrate the final weeks of summer vacation by throwing an outta sight beach party on Bikini Beach! Featuring a live band and new music by Jeffery Straker & Allison Beula with a cast of whacked out go-go gals and guys. It’ll be Tiki-Tastic!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Glee Live!

Pre-concert dinner at Marché.
Sam (Chord Overstreet) had cut his hair and looked much better.
 Kurt, why was he wairing paisley?  No one can pull that off.
 Hottie Mike Chang rocking the Michael Jackson dance moves.
 They were selling these shirts.  The brand name was "Island Sun" and when you held them up to the light you could see right through them they were so cheap.  White cotton, $40.
 This is one of the few shots I could get of Darrin Criss, he didn't sit still for the 1/80th of a second for my camera to work, all the rest of his shots are blurs.  He was great, the life of the concert.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The End of Doctor Who

During the height of the David Tennant years I was a regular Who-freak.  I bought the action figures and the collectables and devoured every episode of Doctor Who like it was the last.  The show was great with big budget special effects, interesting story lines, a gay sometimes sidekick and a perfect blend of camp and seriousness that made the show unmissable.

I didn't care for the first revamped Doctor, Christopher Eccleston, as I felt the characted was too dark.  Similar to the first Batman movie, Michael Keaton was serviceable but he wasn't the main draw.  When David Tennant first started everything changed.  Similar to when Val Kilmer first took over the role of Batman and at the end of the movie Batman Forever everyone couldn't wait for the next one.

David Tennant was not afraid to go there, and similar to Zack Morris in Saved by the Bell, he made you want to come along for the ride.  The stories could be complex, the villans were great, and while you felt the Doctor's fear at the Daleks and the Master, you also loved it when he laughed.

Fast forward to the recent season premiere of the Matt Smith led series.  The series had been going downhill since Matt Smith got involved and the new season has been waiting on my recorder for quite a while waiting to be watched, not usually the best sign of quality.

The double-episode season opener concerns a plot involving a race called The Silence and the rest of what happens is anyone's guess.  I did watch both episodes but the story was so convoluted with characters dying and then reappearing, Richard Nixon, and the ever annoying wife plot with River Song who should just die already, I defy anyone to watch it and discuss what happened. It was too confusing. 

At one point in the episode the Doctor makes his sidekick swear on something important to know she's not lying and she says "I swear on fish fingers and custard."  A hack inside joke played for laughs from three year old boys, there's no emotional depth to the series anymore, few light-hearted moments with any real levity, and the entire show has become unwatchable.

At the end of the episode they showed a preview of episode three, a Pirates of the Carribean themed plot wherein the Doctor actually dresses up like a Pirate.  Is there really no limit to how far they'll go to ruin this character?  Would you see Tom Baker dressing like a pirate and swinging on a rope???  No!

I remember wondering why the show ever went off the air with the level of quality scripts they were producing.  That question has now been answered and I seriously doubt the show will be on the air past this season.

The show is now unwatachable and Doctor I bid you adieu.

Monday, June 6, 2011

National "Kick Adam In the Nuts" Day

Well today is apparently national "kick Adam in the nuts" day. I wish I had of known; I would have dressed for the occasion.

I went to my doctor who has disappeared for some reason. 6 weeks ago he didn't show up to work, his diploma is still on the wall, all his stuff is there, but no doctor. So I saw his replacement (temporary??) who said I can't eat three hours before bed or I could have the food come back up when I lie down and choke to death on my own vomit.

He also said I needed to lose weight and that people start developing lung cancer around 45 so I have ten years to quit smoking or die.

We laughed, and laughed.


A bitter pill to swallow.
It had been suggested that I submit some writing to the local gay paper.  I started with a review of a local gay play which the editor said he enjoyed but the paper didn't print play reviews and they had enough people working on theatre.  He did say though I should try something else.
I wrote two pieces, one a summary of my cruise and the other was about my gay photo workshop experience which I reproduce below. The editor said the cruise piece was too old and they didn't really publish travel articles, and he said both pieces were too long.  He suggested I focus more on something local to Toronto.
I didn't understand so I wrote back saying the photo piece was from Toronto and could always be shortened.  I received a shorter, terser response, saying "I really like to have pieces that are as close to complete and ready to run as possible. The photo piece is good but it’s quite long and could use with a bit more density."
Thinking about what's in the paper, there are some columns with opinions but these are all from regular contributors, not outsiders.  Without a fresh take, why would they publish my opinions?  The rest of the paper is mainly news related and I'm not qualified to comment on any of that.  So there doesn't seem to be a place for my kind of ranting, and while he did say he'd be happy to look at anything more, I don't really see any option I could have from here which is disappointing.
The good part is I tried and I have to give myself credit for that.

The photo workshop piece:
I saw an ad in Xtra for an erotic male photography class and thought to myself what a great idea it would be. A chance to combine my two loves, photography and naked men, and what a great story to tell at parties!

The fee listed was $100 and a sample model photo was enclosed with a handsome model that was shirtless in a pair of shorts. I had some doubts, would the model be keeping his shorts on? Would the level of photography be too advanced for a relative beginner like me? Would I be able to convince any of my friends to come with me? So I called all my slutty friends, figuring they’d be up for a bout of naughty fun. Alas, being cheap also means being poor and everyone balked at the $100 price tag. I figured the model would be getting more than $100 so the whole thing seemed cheap to me.

I called and spoke to Dave Smith, which has to be the most generic name ever, the owner of Limelight Books and Photography and he explained the way it would work. The article had said the next session was Friday and I had visions of the instructor and I leering and snapping photos in a dark grim basement somewhere late into the night. Would there be semen? Would I get nude? I figured I was up for everything and what better than to have a filthy night of reckless abandon?

It turns out the whole thing was much more on the up and up. Dave explained that the course would be a two night session, one this Friday and one next Friday. On the first session I would bring my camera to his studio and we’d go over the features and settings of the camera model I had and discuss what I could expect the following week. Week two would be the actual shoot, with me, the photographer, another student and the nude model.

The first Friday couldn’t come fast enough with me telling nearly everyone I met how I was now a pornographer. Yes, I was still amateur so far, yet I was sure my big break was just around the corner.

I got there after work Friday night and took out my camera, a standard digital SLR, and the instruction manual. I really had no idea how to use most of the features; I had wanted a camera with a good zoom lens and had received this model for Christmas a couple years earlier. I knew it took good photos, but I didn’t know how to make them better.

What followed was a fantastic couple of hours of discussion. Dave the instructor had prepared a manual for the course which we reviewed including the model release form. It turns out the model would be receiving $50 for posing for us for about an hour and a half, and in exchange we the students agreed to send the model our photos so he could pick any he liked to add to his modelling portfolio. For that little money there needed to be some reciprocity. Also the model had to agree to have his picture used each time I wanted to release it and I couldn’t use the photos for commercial gain.

I spoke to the instructor and he said he would never spend over $100 on a model, that when he shot he generally wasn’t looking for erections and there was no hanky panky, so he didn’t feel he should be paying hanky panky prices. This seemed reasonable in the abstract, but the concept of paying someone only $50 to stand around naked while I took photos of them still seems hard to swallow even now.

We discussed my camera with what seemed like just the right amount of depth. When he went too far on the technical side and my eyes started to glaze over there was a practice session taking headshots of each other with the studio and lights, which I had never used. After this we discussed the problems I had faced in the past with my camera, possible solutions, and we were done.

I again spoke to everyone I met for the coming week’s shoot. I alternated between excited and nervous and horny and artistic-minded. I had seen some sample shots from other students and what struck me about them was how each time the model was framed in the centre of the shot, lots of open space on either side, just a stick in the middle. I had been told to have a few ideas for the shoot and thought about how the model could stretch or reach and take up the whole of the shot so he wasn’t lost in the middle.

The other thing the instructor told me was to find a shot I liked in a magazine, book, or on the internet, and bring that in, show it to the model, and try to duplicate that pose. I looked around on Flickr and found a shot I wanted to replicate – a construction worker with his pants open and his dick out – but I didn’t know if I’d be able to show it to the model. There was still in me a worry I would show the model the photo and titter with giggles like a school girl. A part of me was still thinking “Would he really let me take these kinds of photos?”

I spoke to one friend who suggested props which I thought was a great idea. I armed myself with a construction workers hat, a drill, a colourful tie and a Trilby hoping to recreate an 80’s cheesy porn shoot atmosphere with high camp outfits. I brought along the new Scissor Sisters CD to set the mood.

When I arrived at the studio I met the other student and we started setting up. I had been told the model would be a German guy, about 35, with a huge uncut cock so I was surprised when a young Asian fellow walked in. He was about 25 and half-Asian, half Native and seemed nice enough. I was to shoot first so I showed him my photos of the nude construction worker and he didn’t bat an eye, but also I don’t know that he really understood. I put on the Scissor Sisters and asked if he liked the band which resulted in about a five minute conversation consisting of me trying to over accentuate my words and dumb down my vocabulary. Breaking the ice was not going to work due to the language barrier.

The model took his position and I noticed he was wearing track pants – not ideal for my construction worker fantasy series. I had hoped to have a few shots of him drilling or working with his jeans open and his cock out and that wasn’t really going to happen. As I started to take the photos I noticed his face and eyes were dead – no expression. I get why he wasn’t jazzed up about being there. He didn’t understand English and was only getting $50, but how to not let that show in the photos?

I talked to him, showed him a photo I had taken, and suggested he try an aggressive face. He had no idea what that meant, or I think the concept of what I was talking about. I decided in the end to go for a laugh, I mimed laughing and the shoot continued. So now I had a man in his underwear with a drill laughing hysterically which was all I was going to get.

I asked the model to remove his shirt which he did to reveal a fantastic chest. That picked things up for me. After several more shots the instructor asked the model to remove his underwear and thank god for him otherwise I’d probably still be there trying to pluck up the nerve. The hardest part for me once he was nude was thinking of poses. The studio was very small and I had an excellent camera with auto-focus and light so I didn’t have to spend time on settings. I’d think of a pose, get the model into it, take the photo, and that would cover about 10 seconds. For a 45 minute shoot, the ideas can dry very quickly.

Afterward it was the other student’s turn and I really enjoyed watching his shoot. I could jump in and take the odd photo without having the stress of thinking of new poses every 10 seconds and trying to give direction to someone who didn’t speak English.

At the end of the session the model dressed and we all left. On the streetcar on the way home I felt great, I had a real sense of accomplishment. I knew I had taken quality shots, I knew my model photos weren’t going to be centered sticks in the middle of the frame, and best of all I felt I had been able to do something with the lack of expressions through the laughing but also with turning the face to certain angles, a trick I’ve seen many photographers use since.

I’m not sure I’d do it again, especially if I’m the one who has to organize the shoot. When you look through the internet for models, it’s very similar to online dating, and I’m looking through thinking “Too cute, can’t afford him” or “Not cute enough, ugh” for every model. It’s a lengthy process, setting up a profile, finding a model, convincing them to come, finding a studio, paying for the whole thing. I was glad I had the opportunity to do it with a real professional!

Friday, June 3, 2011


I was in line today at McDonalds waiting to order my Southwest salad.  A few people in front of me, standing alredy at the counter, was a man who had been badly burned at some point in his life.  Long since healed, his face was full of scar tissue and I noticed half his ear was missing.

I looked at this man and thought about inner beauty, about how people are all the same inside.  Could I love this man?  Could I have sex with this man?  Looking closer I could see that he was handsome and he still was, he had an attractive face and was in his early thirties.

I thought about life, how things change, how appearances change, how some of us are luckier than others.  I thought about how he was probably used to stares, about how it would be easy to get a complex about that.  But also how I was looking at him, not at the scars, about how I was looking beyond and about how anyone you'd actually want in your life would also be someone who could look beyond.

I remember on a vacation in Florida I asked a guide at a stately home to take my photo.  She said she wouldn't be any good at it as she had cereberal palsy and I insisted saying it would be fine.  She was humbled that I'd even ask her and after she took our photo, which I now have framed by the way, she explained how grateful she was to have even been hired.  She said she had been sure no one would ever hire her with her disease and loved her new job and was very appreciative.  Then she said something I've never forgotten, she said "Well, everybody has something."  She looked apologetic and said I wouldn't at my age and tried to apologize but I said No, she was right, everyone does.

Everyone has their cross to bear.  I remember reading once that if you took all your issues to a swap, when you looked beside you to the issues of the person next to you, you'd take all yours back. And this is ultimately the thing, to accept yourself, to love yourself, and to go easy on yourself.  So often we're our own worst critics.

I was thinking all this and the man turned to me and said "You got a problem with me?"  I looked closer and noticed he appeared homeless, that he was wearing a red mardi gras beaded necklace, that his shirt was open exposing many tattoos, that he spoke like someone with a third grade education.  I shook my head no and the McDonald's employee got his attention, they argued for a second before the man started yelling "I'll spit on you!  Get my food!  I paid for that!  I'll spit on you!".

Ahh, good times.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Doors Open 2011

Doors Open is always a great time and I usally get to spend it with my mom.
We started out early and went to the Evergreen Youth Shelter place, formerly the Yonge St Mission. Lots of great photos of the mission work during the depression and a tour of the expansive facility. At one point a man joined us and said he had used their services in the past when he was homeless and was now a missionairy and made millions, which he obviously did not.  Also the man giving the tour was great except for a couple points, one when he said "Aren't you the guy who lives down the street from me and is always walking his dog Princess?" and the other when he said "We did a study and found 95% of the people who use our services have been physically or sexually abused and we think the other 5% are lying" which is obviously not true.  People leave home for a number of reasons, mental health issues, lack of respect for authority, tons of issues, so I felt it was irresponsible to quote as statistics things you made up.
From there on to the King Edward Hotel.  Their ballroom had an orchestra which was nice but had fallen into severe disrepair:
I liked the rugged exterior but my mom not so much.
From there we went to Osgoode Hall which was amazing.  Walking in the door I saw someone I know, Paul, who lives in my complex and also volunteers for the archives. The tour was great including court rooms:
And a fantastic library:
I really liked the World War I memorial at the end of the hall.  More memorials should use nude men.
From there across the street to the Canada Life building.  I had wanted to find out what the symbols meant on the beacon on top of the roof.  I knew it had something to do with weather but I had no idea how complex it was:
Green - clear weather
Red - cloudy weather
Flashing red - rain
Flashing white - snow
Also if the lights are running up it's going to get warmer.
If the light are running down it's going to get cooler and if the lights are steady then no change.
Finally day signals are for the balance of the day, night signals are for the following day and the signals are updated four times daily.
Well no wonder I couldn't remember it off the top of my head.  Sheesh!
From the top we had some great views of Osgoode Hall across the street with the two city halls, old and new:
Old city hall again:
From there we took the streetcar to Queen West to see 36 Chambers, the former site of Usher's Grocery store.  Now a Parkdale artist's studio, there wasn't too much to see set up here.  It was cool to see the conveyor belt they used to bring up groceries from the basement into the store, and also the had a photo display set up where a professional took your picture:
I love this shot. I got it framed and put it on my desk at work.
We were next to the Drake Hotel so we stopped in and saw some pastel 3D art with mostly naked ladies.  Then since we were right there I took my mom to the Fred Herzog exhibit and finally my mom wanted to go to the Clothing Show on the CNE grounds.
Not very many men's clothes and no clothes for people that weren't sticks.  My mom browsed the jewelry and I took a photo of a handsome gay fellow painting t-shirts:

Home after a very long day.  Slept well.

Sunday morning we were back up at it again and got to the Flatiron Building a few minutes before it opened at 10 am.  Here it is taken from the King Edward ballroom window:

We went in and heard a great lecture on the history of the building, then got to climb to the top and have a look around.

We were a little early for the next stop on our trip, the Toronto Harbour Commission Building.  We waited about 45 minutes, the line was short as there was a misprint in the Star which said the building was closed on Sunday.

Once we entered we had a great tour and saw a photo from when the building was built right on the water.  As you can see in the photo above the water has since been replaced with landfill.

Apparently the employees used to be able to skate on their lunch hours.  That sounds like the life!