As a child, during the holiday season, my mother would drag me in tears to see Santa Clause in the local shopping mall. During the summer months, my family would make a few trips to Canada’s Wonderland, where happening upon the costumed characters would make me sweat, for chance that they’d spot me for a photo op. As for clowns, with their bright painted faces, loud attire and large expressive gestures had me ducking for cover. I guess the “Don’t Talk to Strangers” campaign really stuck to my formative little brain. So, it’s no surprise that as I grew up, my fear of the costumed and face-painted translated into another fear — the fear of drag queens.
This month’s Blog Hunter, Adam Graham, is discussing modern issues facing the gay community and urban community at large.
Tradition is loosely defined as “something that is handed down.”There is no implication of right or wrong, good or bad – just “something.” So, it’s interesting when a tradition is so strongly defended. In this ever-changing world, we are faced with ideas that challenge our traditional way of thinking, and often tradition is defended over innovation, because there is some sort of comfort in familiarity. Currently the most discussed tradition pertaining to the gay community is traditional marriage, but one that is buzzing quietly is the transformation of gay villages.
The Contact Photography Festival is on now, and continues to mid summer. Various locations throughout the city bring you both free, and events where you need to pay. It’s a great opportunity to expose yourself to photography that you wouldn’t normally see. Listed for your convenience are a few films, workshops and installations that I thought were worth a mention. The words in this blog mostly belong to the Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival Website. I chose to do so, as clarity comes best directly from the source. Here is a complete map of everything that there is to experience this year. Here is their Twitter @ContactPhoto and Facebook
One week + a day until the official launch party of BAZZUL Studio’s collaboration collection with L A B & iD. It’s going down Saturday May 18 @ Brockton Collective. We seriously cannot get enough of this exciting new local brand, and want you in on this major event. Toronto’s very own Condocoon and Drang will be keeping you lit for the night with very special guest DJ Roberto Piqueras flying in from London, UK! Preview a few pieces from Roberto’s newest collection, then head over to L A B & iD to buy everything you’ve seen from the night.
This month’s Blog Hunter, Adam Graham, is someone who has always had a fascination of the world, from the mainstream to the obscure. This fascination has encouraged him to travel, read and learn with an open ear and open mind. Having lived in Toronto, Vancouver and Hoboken [Manhattan adjacent] and spent several months in Europe in his 20′s, he has encountered a lot of different points of view, which has had a great influence on him. He’s going to share his thoughts on where a young gay man fits into the world when gay isn’t something that he thinks of as an identifier to begin with.
If you are familiar with the many stereotypes of homosexual males, then you are probably well acquainted with the one pertaining to fashion: gay men can put together a mean, “fierce” outfit, “H to T” (head to toe). This often-true stereo type is not a shocking one, since we gay males are practically born and raised in a proverbial closet. This closet is small; a single person can survive in it during the younger years, simply because we don’t know any different. Soon comes puberty, where we get bigger and develop sexually, which is when this closet becomes confining, uncomfortable and suffocating. Many young people try to make it work through high school and sometimes later as a survival tactic. In my early years, my naïveté kept me from even knowing that I was living in a closet. I would play with G.I. Joes and Transformers, watch said cartoons on TV, but when my step-sister would visit every other weekend, I had no problem picking up a Barbie doll and play along. For a person aware of sexual identity, this must have raised some rainbow-coloured flags, but I was none the wiser — until my sexual interests started to creep in around the age of 14. I luckily wasn’t raised in a religious or oppressive household; I was raised in a home that welcomed all forms of music, artistic expression and free thinking. This was great, but the real closet was outside my front door and it was where isolation began.
Attending high school in White Suburbia, Ontario, I fell into the “eccentric and weird” category, that generally created a distance between my peers and me. This distance allowed the closet door to stay relatively closed, but I’m sure there was some speculation. This isolation was a blessing and a curse, because as social animals, we human beings crave social interaction. Soon after high school, I skipped the whole post-secondary thing to peek outside of the closet. Moving to the great city of Toronto, still closeted, I began to socialize in the melting pot of West Queen West. I was intrigued by the spectrum of characters that buzzed around (the trendy hipster, the artist, the young professional, et al). There didn’t seem to be a definitive identity, so I felt welcome. I tried to put my eccentricities ahead of my sexuality, but didn’t confirm or deny that my xtube viewing was set toward men. Eventually, it became very clear to me that my sexuality was completely irrelevant in the social circles that I ran with, because by then I was terrible at faking it and I still had friends — gay and straight. The city became a place of comfort and I finally felt like I was home again. Unfortunately, a rude awakening came when I’d visit my parents in their respective suburban towns, where I would reluctantly step back into the closet; I’d wear my “straightest” clothes (no skinny jeans, no purple, no tight-fitting T’s). It wasn’t donning armour to defend myself from my parents, but the people that lived in their towns. I vividly recall walking to my dad’s home from the Go Transit stop with my Ben Sherman gym bag slung over my shoulder instead of firmly gripped in my hand, when some 20-something coward yelled “Nice purse, faggot!” from a green Ford Escort (probably their mom’s), packed with their best dude-bros. This was an uncomfortable reminder that the world outside of the city hadn’t changed while I was transforming in my urban escape. In this world, accepting that everyone will not agree with me — who I am, what I believe, how I see things — can’t stop me from living accordingly. It’s not that I am ashamed of who I am, but acknowledging that how I conduct myself and know where I best fit in is crucial if I hope to live happily and healthily. It’s not that LGBT people can’t survive in the suburbs, but like big-time stock traders, swingers, ambitious journalists, actors, fashion photographers, or marketing mavens, being in a large city is the most rational place to thrive. Just simply based on retaining a larger population in urban centres, discovering like-minded individuals is more apt to happen.
So, I guess what I’m saying is this: Being more reserved while traveling to foreign countries or small-town Canada doesn’t feel like oppression, ’cause leading with my sexuality has never been my forte; I know I have a place where I am welcome as my whole self. Living in a large urban centre has allowed me to find people who accept me, who don’t put my sexuality before the rest of my personality traits. I’ve busted out of my one-man closet and moved into a bigger, nicer, more exciting and engaging closet, where those who I am comfortable around are welcome to see my clean and dirty laundry.
You may have missed out on April 20, 2013 at exactly 4:20pm. Yonge Dundas Square was a virtual smoke out. Weed was everywhere, and being smoked from everything: bongs, pipes and blunts. Here is a brief look back at what transpired that afternoon. The politics, the entertainment the grass roots feel. I have included various Youtube clips and live streams. Social media sites used the hashtag #420toronto. I found links for your enjoyment from Twitter and Instagram.
The weather was variable on this day. In Yonge Dundas Square a gathering of over 8,000 people assembled. Vapor Central brought it’s best comics, political activists, poets and bands to play to the thousands on the stage. The smell of weed flowed to Queen Street. It was definitively a day to keep those in : who can only breathe air not soaked with Kush, BC, Homegrown, and JDW. That’s just to name a few.
If meat’s not murder, it’s definitely suicide: Why adopting a plant based diet is where it’s at.
You’ve seen the images and heard the horror stories (or have you?) The same way smoker’s see the ghoulish images and continue to smoke, turning a blind eye to the warnings and photo’s, the initial shock worn off; business as usual.
But what if the information was presented in terms of saving our environment, because honestly, we can and will kill ourselves with this nasty, fear and loathing style diets, but what about what we are doing to our planet, our only home? What about the instant gratification crowd who say, who cares? It won’t affect me, yet go on to have children?
An air of mystery is not something most bands cultivate when they’re first starting out, but The Neighbourhood did and it worked in their favor, accruing a huge following with the release of their first single, Female Robbery, on the interwebs in early 2012 with little to no explanation. A year later, they are the buzziest band at Coachella, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re easy on the eyes. We got a sneak listen of their debut album, I Love You, and we were mighty impressed.
According to A Queer Grrrrl: Dream Bridge Exchange and VIP Youth Networking Sessions : April 24 2013
The Dream Bridge Exchange is an “urban youth networking agency.” They have been attracting sponsors to support events that support LGBTI youth. The mission statement is very clear : “We empower our LGBTI youth through collaborative community events which will provide socializing opportunities in order to better improve corporate world employment possibilities or entrepreneurial innovation.”
Get off your ass and get moving!
This winter seems to be never ending. Completely bi-polar or someone with massive mood swings with one day being 18+, the next hovering around zero, just to sky rocket again followed by rain and now the inevitable winter storm with snow, ice, sleet and rain. It can be tough to find the motivation to get outside and get moving, but get moving you must!
Eating is becoming far too much like skydiving. People eat gross unnamed foodstuffs, massive quantities of carbs and fat, or just sit and list off how many species they’ve digested. I say yes, please, go ahead and explore if it is delicious. Eating is not skydiving, you don’t get an adrenaline rush from easting a teste as much as you do a gorgeously cooked less-nasty bit, like a foot. Extreme eating is one of those pet peeves that isn’t going to go away much like my aggregations with people in bunny costumes or parsnips. But, we have had one great culinary tradition come to life and rise above the miserable mist and that is nose-to-tail cooking. Gastronerds may already know that this trend got its place in the spotlight thanks to Fergus Henderson, the British Chef and owner of St James Hotel in London who revolutionized how we look at meat.
The sexiest sparkling water maker, Perrier, is turning 150 years old, and to celebrate they are launching an unprecedented digital experience called Perrier Secret Place with 5 amazing trips up for grabs.