|Tom Cavanagh plays a gay NHL player in the classic 2007 film |
Breakfast with Scot (photo courtesy Miracle Pictures)
Sunday, 20 November 2016
Thursday, 17 November 2016
|The trailblazing Godfather of Gay Lit, Felice Picano|
I call literary icon Felice Picano the Godfather of Gay Lit because Felice revolutionized gay literature as the founder of SeaHorse Press and as one of the founders of Gay Presses of New York, which launched such writers as Harvey Fierstein, Dennis Cooper and Brad Gooch. In fact, when SeaHorse Press began in 1977, it was just the second gay publishing house in the world, after Gay Sunshine Press in San Francisco.
Felice is also a world-class memoirist who has met everybody: Rudolf Nureyev once grabbed his bum, Felice had lunch in Fire Island one afternoon with Elizabeth Taylor, his cock was photographed by Robert Mapplethorpe, and when he outed the late Anthony Perkins years after their affair, critics screamed, “Picano is a name-dropping slut!” There is also bootleg film footage of Picano at New York City’s famed Continental Baths in 1971, where Bette Midler is performing with her pianist Barry Manilow and pulls Felice out of the crowd. “This was all set up beforehand,” Felice says. “Bette sort of sings to me, looks down at my crotch and says, ‘Oh, you’re disgusting!’ and pushes me back into the crowd because I had a hard-on at that point, but it wasn’t from her!”
I first met Felice at a Montreal brunch in either 2000 or 2001, and have written my annual Felice Picano column ever since. Once, when I wrote a column about my crush on Justin, a Tanzanian cook I became infatuated with when I hooked up with an overland truck in Kenya a lifetime ago, Felice – mindful of the criticism and threats I’d gotten from irate readers at the time – wrote me, “I always remember what my grandmother told me: ‘If everyone likes you, that means you’re mediocre.’ I’m not, and neither are you.”
|Nights at Rizzoli |
Felice is the author of 35 books of poetry, fiction, memoirs, nonfiction and plays, including his must-read memoirs True Stories: Portraits From My Past, True Stories Too: People and Places From My Past and the award-winning Nights at Rizzoli.
I caught up with Felice recently, to preview his recent appearance in Montreal headlining the Never Apart Centre’s Legend Series, whose past guests include Mink Stole, Bruce LaBruce, Joey Arias and Carole Pope. We talked about everything from Robert Mapplethorpe to queer politics in the age of Grindr. The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Monday, 7 November 2016
Saturday, 5 November 2016
|Tony winning actor Michael Cerveris (Photo courtesy In The Wings Promotions)|
Playbill calls legendary American actor Michael Cerveris “arguably the most versatile leading man on Broadway.” And for good reason: Cerveris has played everything from Shakespeare’s Romeo to the homicidal title character in Sweeney Todd, to trans rock diva Hedwig in the landmark rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Along the way he has won Tony Awards for Best Featured Actor in a Musical in 2004 for his portrayal of John Wilkes Booth in Assassins, and Best Leading Actor in a Musical in 2015 for his portrayal of Bruce Bechdel in Fun Home.
On the eve of his Nov. 11 acting masterclass in Montreal – during which participants will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with Cerveris – I sat down with Michael for a candid Q&A about his spectacular career. The interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
Tuesday, 25 October 2016
|Proulx: "Brokeback Mountain coalesced thoughts and feelings that many people secretly held."|
Those days are long gone.
I recently interviewed Proulx, the literary titan whose novels include The Shipping News (1993), which won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for Fiction. But she may be best known for her short story “Brokeback Mountain,” which was originally published in The New Yorker in 1997 and begat an Oscar-winning film as well as an opera for which Proulx wrote the libretto.
In a wide-ranging interview, Proulx and I discussed her love for Canada, her new novel Barkskins which explores her deep concern for the future of our planet; how she comes up with her characters’ names, such as Ennis del Mar, Jack Twist, Ribeye Cluke and Beaufield Nutbeem; and, of course, the “Brokeback Mountain” phenomenon.
Sunday, 16 October 2016
Montreal’s famed disco scene cranked out many disco stars during its 1970s heyday and the scene’s epicentre was the city’s famed Lime Light disco founded by Yvon Lafrance in September 1973, on Stanley Street above where the Chez Paree strip joint stands today.
Montreal DJ Robert Ouimet was the house deejay at the Lime Light from 1973 to 1981, and today Yvon Lafrance says Ouimet – known worldwide as the Godfather of Montreal Disco – was hands-down the best deejay in Canada from 1973 to 1982, when Ouimet was declared best North American DJ by Rolling Stone magazine in 1976, and won Billboard magazine’s DJ of the Year Award in 1977.
“I used to go to New York all the time during the week – I remember I was flown over there once for the premiere of (the movie) Thank God It’s Friday (starring Donna Summer),” Ouimet told me in 2013. “Then I used to work in Montreal on the weekends.”
|Disco diva France Joli (Photo by David A Lee)|
Meanwhile, Montreal singer France Joli became an “overnight success” at the age of 16 back on July 7, 1979, when she headlined a legendary beach concert performance for 5,000 gay men now famously known as Beach ’79.
Donna Summer had cancelled at the last minute, so Joli stepped in as a replacement and sang her song Come to Me, which would chart at #15 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart – then at #1 on the disco chart – and to this day the song is widely-known as “the definitive Fire Island dance classic.”
“I was blown away, I was a kid and had never seen gay life like that before, it was beautiful to see two men embracing – and it was 1979!” France Joli told me in 2013. “I loved that freedom and the happiness that disco reflected. It’s impossible not to be happy and dance to disco. The lyrics could be dark, but the music always lifted you up.”
Both Ouimet and Joli will take part in the Québec Électrique: Montréal Discoville event at the Paradoxe Theatre as part of the 2016 Red Bull Music Academy conference being held in Montreal.