Tuesday, 24 December 2013

2013 HEROES AND ZEROS OF THE YEAR



Vienna’s Leopold Museum courted controversy with its Nude Men from 1800 to Today exhibition


Here is the expanded version of my 18th annual column of the past year’s heroes and zeros which originally ran in the January 2014 issue of Fugues magazine.

Zero Lebanese security forces, for using discredited “anal probe” exams to test for proof of men being gay. The doctor checks for traces of sperm, and takes a picture to ‘study’ the shape of the hole – the larger the width the more ‘likely’ the person is gay. Human Rights Watch says the tests amount to humiliation and torture.

Beth Ditto married her longtime partner

Kristin Ogata in April

Zeros The Gulf states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who are developing a medical test to “detect” homosexuals. Yousouf Mindkar, director of public health at the Kuwaiti Health Ministry, told the Kuwait newspaper Al Rai in October, “Health centres conduct the routine medical check to assess the health of the expatriates when they come into the Gulf Cooperation Countries. However, we will take stricter measures that will help us detect gays who will be then barred from entering Kuwait or any of the GCC member states.”

Zero Greece, for reinstating laws to arrest anyone suspected of having HIV. The law also allows authorities to publicize the names of HIV-positive people, and have them evicted from their homes.

Zeros The 1,000 people who protested same-sex marriage in Haiti (which currently bans SSM). Days later, across the Caribbean nation, Haitian gangs beat 47 gay men with machetes, sticks and iron bars, then looted and burned down many of their victims’ homes.

Zeros The 1,500 extremists who firebombed police protecting 150 LGBT activists taking part in an Oct 20 Gay Pride march in Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro. 

Sunday, 8 December 2013

MARIELA CASTRO ON LGBT RIGHTS IN CUBA AND GROWING UP CASTRO


Mariela Castro received the international Grand Prix award at the Gala Arc-en-Ciel in Montreal (photo by Andre Querry)

Bugs' sit-down one-on-one interview with Mariela Castro originally ran in Daily Xtra

Mariela Castro, the daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro and the niece of former president Fidel Castro, was in Montreal recently to accept an award for her work promoting the civil rights of LGBT people in Cuba.



Mariela Castro (Photo courtesy

Conseil Québécois LGBT)
Castro received a warm standing ovation at Montreal’s sold-out Corona Theatre at the 10th annual Gala Arc-en-Ciel, the awards ceremony honouring LGBT activists and presented by the Conseil Québécois LGBT each October. Previous winners of the gala’s international Grand Prix award include Svend Robinson, Louise Arbour and South African Supreme Court Justice Edwin Cameron.

“I am honoured to receive this award, which I dedicate to my mother, feminist and revolutionary Vilma Espín, who, since the first years of the Cuban Revolution, defended the rights of historically marginalized social groups in colonial and neo-colonial-dominated Cuba,” Castro told Xtra. “I also accept this prize as recognition of the work of those working with me, who have greatly contributed to our work at the Cuban National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX).”

Castro is a sexologist and the director of CENESEX. Since 2004 she has been the driving force lobbying for healthcare for transsexuals in Cuba and in 2008 won approval from the public health ministry to offer free sex-reassignment operations to Cubans. Castro is also president of the Cuban Multidisciplinary Centre for the Study of Sexuality, president of the National Commission for Treatment of Disturbances of Gender Identity, member of the Direct Action Group for Preventing, Confronting and Combating AIDS, and an executive member of the World Association for Sexual Health.

Along the way she has publicly advocated for same-sex unions in Cuba, and her organization CENESEX has given sensitivity training to Cuban police and continues to campaign for effective HIV/AIDS prevention.

“Just because someone is not heterosexual does not make them any less human,” she says.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

REMEMBERING OSCAR WILDE

Oscar Wilde died on Nov 30, 1900, at the age of 46 (Photo by Napoleon Sarony, circa 1883)


Over a century after the American Revolutionary army made the Château Ramezay in Old Montreal its Canadian headquarters in 1775 – Benjamin Franklin himself would later overnight there in his quest to persuade Canadians to join the American Revolution – the Château’s gardens (then already a fraction of the size they used to be) would be visited by none other than Oscar Wilde during Wilde’s lecture tour of Canada in 1882.
Don Anderson resurrects Wilde

In Wilde’s children’s story The Selfish Giant, originally published in the collection The Happy Prince and Other Tales in 1888, kids play in an orchard very much like the gardens of Château Ramezay, which was built by Claude de Ramezay, the military commander appointed Governor of Montreal in 1704.

Château Ramezay was dubbed "the most beautiful house in Canada," and its gardens and orchard – only 750 square metres remain today – sloped down to the St-Lawrence River.

When I first visited the garden a few year ago I could not help but think of Oscar and The Selfish Giant, a story that can still bring me to tears today.

The Selfish Giant is the story I listened to most when I was a child and when I read it today I can hear my father’s voice,” says Montreal actor Don Anderson, who memorably portrayed Oscar in the Montreal New Classical Theatre Festival production of critically-hailed American playwright Moises Kaufman’s Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, back in November 2006.

“It’s a powerful story," Anderson continues. "Like so many of Oscar’s stories, there is a moral underpinning. All of what he wrote had a moral underpinning.”

Wilde, of course, really was the world’s first gay icon, and later a gay martyr when he was tried and convicted of sodomy in 1895, even though Oscar would never know what he would become, much less recognize the word “gay.”

Thursday, 7 November 2013

SAL CAPONE EXPLORES BEING GAY IN THE WORLD OF HIP HOP


 
The cast of Sal Capone: The Lamentable Tragedy Of (Photo courtesy Black Theatre Workshop)


The debut play by Montreal-born playwright Omari Newton, Sal Capone: The Lamentable Tragedy Of,  is wowing audiences at Montreal’s Black Theatre Workshop. The play tells the tale of gangster hip-hop trio Sal Capone who have a shot at the big time when their gifted DJ, Sammy, is shot nine times by local police on the eve of Sal Capone’s big musical launch. Sammy falls into a coma, leaving his bandmates, rappers Freddy (Tristan D. Lalla) and Jewel (Kim Villagante) and their business manager, Chase (Jordan Waunch), bickering and angry at the police.  

Newton was inspired by the death of Fredy Villanueva, an 18-year-old shot and killed by an officer in an altercation in Montreal North in 2008. In the play, the police shooting of Sammy gives Newton the opportunity to explore the machismo and homophobia of the hip hop world, especially when (SPOILER WARNING) sammy’s friends discover via a First Nations transvestite and hooker (Billy Merasty) that Sammy was gay.
 
The video design by Candelario Andrade is  beautifully staged, the cast is excellent, and actors Tristan D. Lalla and Kim Villagante can rap with the best of them.

When the script focuses on Sammy’s sexual orientation and homophobia in the hip hop community, the play is absolutely riveting.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

SHYAM SELVADURAI ON GAY LIFE, GAY LIT AND ADVICE OF NOBEL PRIZE WINNER ALICE MUNRO



Award-winning author Shyam Selvadurai (Photo by Richard Burnett)

Bugs' interview with Shyma Selvaduria originally ran in the November 2013 issue of Fugues magazine
 
The last time I interviewed author Shyam Selvadurai was way back in 1998 when his sophomore book Cinnamon Gardens shot up the bestseller charts. He was a young sensation then, still riding the triumphant success of his 1994 debut novel Funny Boy.

“I experienced a lot of pressure when I wrote my second novel, Cinnamon Gardens,” Shyam told me recently. “It’s not just an external pressure, it’s also internal. You want to achieve a higher goal. Each book has its own problems and challenges. I remember I met [2013 Nobel Prize-winning author] Alice Munro soon after Funny Boy came out and she asked me how I was dealing with all the pressure. I told her I was having second-novel syndrome and Alice replied, ‘I’m having ninth-book syndrome! It never gets easier.’”

Shyam Selvadurai was born in 1965 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, then came to Canada with his family at age 19 and grew up in Toronto’s sprawling suburbs.

“Toronto has and hasn`t changed – some of the suburbs are just grim, but they are more ethnic than when I came and people have learnt to make lives for themselves,” says Shyam, who today divides his time between Toronto and Colombo where he is the founder and Project Director of Write to Reconcile, a creative writing project in English undertaken by The National Peace Council of Sri Lanka. Selvaduria spends up to five months each year in Colombo.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

THE TRUE COLOURS OF CYNDI LAUPER

Cyndi Lauper, circa 2013 (Photo courtesy Equipe Spectra)

Bugs' brand-new uber-queer interview with Cyndi originally ran in Daily Xtra. (A second, more mainstream interview ran in The Montreal Gazette.)

Queer audiences know Cyndi Lauper’s anthem, “True Colors,” is the theme song of the many star-studded True Colors tours she created to empower LGBT youth and benefit LGBT organizations and support groups across America.

But few people know that New York City’s True Colors Residence for homeless LGBT youth — which Lauper’s non-profit True Colors Fund built in partnership with New York’s West End Intergenerational Residence — was inspired by her close long-time friend Gregory, who was kicked out by his parents at the age of 12 when they discovered he was gay. “Gregory slept on park benches,” Lauper says today.

Shortly after Gregory died of AIDS in 1985, “True Colors” (written by songwriters Billy Steinberg and Tom Kelly) was offered to Lauper.

“Songwriters pitch you songs in your style, and this song was originally written for Anne Murray. All I had was the melody and lyric. I sang it really softly,” a teary Lauper told me a year before the True Colors Residence opened in 2011. “And as time went on, I realized that with the True Colors Residence, Gregory [would] finally get his wish.”

Lauper recently told me that on opening day, “I put a little plant for Gregory in their garden.”

BOWIE'S BISEXUALITY ON DISPLAY AT AGO: "I CAN'T DENY I'VE USED THAT FACT VERY WELL"


Photo from the “David Bowie Is” exhibit at the AGO in Toronto. Album cover shoot for Aladdin Sane (1973), design by Brian Duffy and Celia Philo, make up by Pierre La Roche. (Photo courtesy AGO)

Who doesn’t love David Bowie? Except for maybe the voters at the Grammy Awards, who snubbed Bowie during his peak creative years and finally awarded him a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.

The Grammys aside, Bowie is widely-revered as one of the great visionary talents of the late 20th century, and he finally gets his due in the massive “David Bowie Is” exhibition currently drawing capacity crowds at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.

The man appeals to just about everybody, alternative and mainstream, gay and straight. Like Bowie once famously quipped, “It’s true – I am a bisexual. But I can’t deny that I’ve used that fact very well. I suppose it’s the best thing that ever happened to me. Fun, too.”

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

THE HANGOVER: DIVA LAS VEGAS!


The Go-Go boys at Krave Las Vegas take 5 to pose for Three Dollar Bill 

(Photo by Bugs Burnett)

This travel column originally ran in the October 2013 issue of Fugues magazine
I pretty much didn’t draw a sober breath for five days when I visited Las Vegas this past summer with a motley crew of some of the world’s finest gay journalists. It was also my birthday, so I had a legit excuse.

Bugs enters Vegas limo with refreshments
But after listening to Old Vegas stories from my buddy, onetime chorus line dancer Michael Doughman, pretty much any excuse is reason enough to party in Vegas.

“Like any high-tourist town, local people tend to band together,” Michael told me. “They have their little groups and aren’t anxious to mingle with passers-though, invest time in people just for a few days and never see them again. Tourists are star struck when they come to Vegas, so there’s that starfucker mentality going on: ‘Oh yeah, I slept with one of the guys from this show or that show.’”

Friday, 18 October 2013

FAMED AUTHOR AMELIE NOTHOMB COMES OUT AS BISEXUAL



Amélie Nothomb’s new novel La Nostalgie Heureuse


Internationally-acclaimed Belgian author Amélie Nothomb’s new novel La Nostalgie Heureuse is racing up the bestseller charts. But back in 2009 when her memoir Tokyo Fiancée topped the charts, I asked Nothomb about her love affair with a – gasp! – man that she famously documented in her memoir.

“I loved a Japanese boy and it was a nice and strange experience,” Nothomb told me. “But then I escaped and I wanted to explain this poetic place. He wanted to marry and marriage is not for me.”

Why not? Are you a dyke?

“I am very open to that state of mind and most of the characters in my books are quite indefinite when it comes to their sexual identities,” Nothomb replied. “Indefinite like their author.”

That’s as close to publicly coming out as Amélie Nothomb has ever come.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

STAR TREK LEGEND GEORGE TAKEI ON SOCHI, HOLLYWOOD CLOSET AND WILLIAM SHATNER


George Takei starred as Captain Sulu in the original Star Trek TV series and six movies
Bugs' new interview with George Takei was first published in XTRA. This is the longer version of that interview.

Star Trek legend George Takei has been the ultimate outsider for much of his life. Interned in American “War Relocation Camps” during World War II, Takei later dealt with racism and the Hollywood closet during his Tinseltown years.

Takei is currently advocating for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics to be relocated to a country that respects gay civil rights.

George Takei
“I remember the terrible morning when [I was five-years-old in 1942] my parents got my younger brother and baby sister up early, and I saw two soldiers with bayonets on their rifles flashing in the sun, stomp up the porch and knock on the front door,” Takei, now 76, remembers. “They ordered us out of our home. My mother was the last to come out and she was carrying the baby in her right arm and held a huge duffle bag in  her left hand and tears were rolling down her cheeks. I remember that vividly.”

Takei's personal experiences in WWII internment camps would later inspire the 2012 play Allegiance in which Takei also starred.

“I remember the barbwire fences, but I also remember chasing butterflies,” Takei says. “A child is amazingly adaptable. It wasn’t until I became a teenager after the war, talking with my father, that I learnt how degrading and humiliating it really was for my parents.”

By the time Takei got to Hollywood in the 1950s, he was relegated to playing stereotypes. But Takei told his father, “I’m going to change that.” 

Saturday, 7 September 2013

XAVIER DOLAN KICKS ASS - AND KISSES IT - AT VENICE FILM FESTIVAL

(Xavier Dolan. Courtesy of Ixion Communications.)

Glory be! Proud Montrealer and 24-year-old film wunderkind Xavier Dolan finds himself once again rubbing elbows with filmmaking royalty at the Venice Film Festival where this week Dolan’s latest film Tom a la ferme was awarded the critics’ prize by the Federation internationale de la presse cinematographique.

A couple of years ago, at the Cannes Film Festival, Dolan was already a star and drank it all in.

"I was at Cannes for 10 days, did 160 interviews, drank too much alcohol and smoked too many cigarettes!" Xavier told me, laughing lightly. "[Then] I had this Cannes glamour moment where at some mini-shindig I walked into some bar with Benicio Del Toro and this French actress, and suddenly my life changed. These people were [no longer up] on the screen. They’re chatting with you and you’re talking to them about cinema and your life and their life and you’re laughing [together]!"

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

ROBERT PATTINSON REVEALS HE "PLEASURED" HIMSELF FOR REAL ON-CAMERA FOR GAY FILM




Robert Pattinson, shown here in the 2008 Spanish film Little Ashes

(Photo still courtesy Kaleidoscope Entertainment)

Before matinee idol Robert Pattinson won international fame as a vampire in Hollywood's Twilight franchise, he portrayed artist Salvador Dalí having a love affair with poet Federico García Lorca in the 2008 Spanish film Little Ashes.

Now, in a new interview in the September issue of Germany Interview magazine, Pattison admits he masturbated on the set during a sex scene.

“My orgasm face is recorded for eternity,” Pattison said, pointing out that faking it “just doesn’t work, so I pleasured myself in front of the camera.”

In other words, Pattison whacked off on film. This is what they call “method acting.”





Before Robert Pattinson won international fame as a sparkly vampire, he starred in a little known Spanish film called Little Ashes.
Released in 2008, the British actor played artist Salvador Dalí exploring his friendship and love affair with poet Federico García Lorca.
According to an interview with a German magazine, Pattinson said he chose to approach the role using, well, method acting.
He said he pleasured himself to completion in a scene, as faking it ‘just doesn’t work’.
‘My orgasm face is recorded for eternity,’ he joked.
Pattinson also says the production was the ‘worst’ as working around other naked male actors was ‘mortifying’.
While critics hated the movie, describing it as ‘dry’ and ‘dull’, they certainly gave him a hand for his performance.
- See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/robert-pattinson-reveals-he-%E2%80%98pleasured%E2%80%99-himself-real-gay-film040913#sthash.HgLZCoRV.dpuf
Before Robert Pattinson won international fame as a sparkly vampire, he starred in a little known Spanish film called Little Ashes.
Released in 2008, the British actor played artist Salvador Dalí exploring his friendship and love affair with poet Federico García Lorca.
According to an interview with a German magazine, Pattinson said he chose to approach the role using, well, method acting.
He said he pleasured himself to completion in a scene, as faking it ‘just doesn’t work’.
‘My orgasm face is recorded for eternity,’ he joked.
Pattinson also says the production was the ‘worst’ as working around other naked male actors was ‘mortifying’.
While critics hated the movie, describing it as ‘dry’ and ‘dull’, they certainly gave him a hand for his performance.
Last year, Pattinson made headlines for when he revealed he was caught in a 'gay dogging' raid at his favorite biking spot.
Check out a montage of scenes from Little Ashes below
- See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/robert-pattinson-reveals-he-%E2%80%98pleasured%E2%80%99-himself-real-gay-film040913#sthash.HgLZCoRV.dpuf
Before Robert Pattinson won international fame as a sparkly vampire, he starred in a little known Spanish film called Little Ashes.
Released in 2008, the British actor played artist Salvador Dalí exploring his friendship and love affair with poet Federico García Lorca.
According to an interview with a German magazine, Pattinson said he chose to approach the role using, well, method acting.
He said he pleasured himself to completion in a scene, as faking it ‘just doesn’t work’.
‘My orgasm face is recorded for eternity,’ he joked.
Pattinson also says the production was the ‘worst’ as working around other naked male actors was ‘mortifying’.
While critics hated the movie, describing it as ‘dry’ and ‘dull’, they certainly gave him a hand for his performance.
Last year, Pattinson made headlines for when he revealed he was caught in a 'gay dogging' raid at his favorite biking spot.
Check out a montage of scenes from Little Ashes below
- See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/robert-pattinson-reveals-he-%E2%80%98pleasured%E2%80%99-himself-real-gay-film040913#sthash.HgLZCoRV.dpuf
Before Robert Pattinson won international fame as a sparkly vampire, he starred in a little known Spanish film called Little Ashes.
Released in 2008, the British actor played artist Salvador Dalí exploring his friendship and love affair with poet Federico García Lorca.
According to an interview with a German magazine, Pattinson said he chose to approach the role using, well, method acting.
He said he pleasured himself to completion in a scene, as faking it ‘just doesn’t work’.
‘My orgasm face is recorded for eternity,’ he joked.
Pattinson also says the production was the ‘worst’ as working around other naked male actors was ‘mortifying’.
While critics hated the movie, describing it as ‘dry’ and ‘dull’, they certainly gave him a hand for his performance.
Last year, Pattinson made headlines for when he revealed he was caught in a 'gay dogging' raid at his favorite biking spot.
Check out a montage of scenes from Little Ashes below
- See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/robert-pattinson-reveals-he-%E2%80%98pleasured%E2%80%99-himself-real-gay-film040913#sthash.HgLZCoRV.dpuf

Sunday, 1 September 2013

MORE! MORE! MORE! AUTHOR JAMES ARENA PAYS TRIBUTE TO FIRST LADIES OF DISCO


Bugs' interview with James Arena originally ran in Daily Xtra on Aug 31

Gay audiences had torrid love affairs with disco divas well before the mainstream even heard the first strains of Donna Summer’s crossover smash hit “Love to Love You Baby,” which peaked at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1975.

But according to James Arena, author of the just-published book First Ladies of Disco, the genre’s gay core fan base is very much a North American phenomenon, closely tied to that era’s gay liberation movement.

James Arena (Photo via Facebook)
“The women I interviewed in my book told me that gay audiences don’t dominate their shows in Europe,” says Arena. “Their audience base in Europe is broader and more diverse than it is here in North America.”

Which is also why – with the arrival of HIV – the homophobic “disco sucks” backlash destroyed many careers on this side of the pond. Disco, mainstream America made very clear, is cocksucker music.

But in First Ladies of Disco, all 32 singers that Arena interviewed – including Martha Wash, Anita Ward, Gloria Gaynor, Carol Douglas and Evelyn “Champagne” King – embrace their gay fans.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

HURRICANE BUGS ROCKS NEW ORLEANS!

Tara in Gone With The Wind was modelled on Houmas House in New Orleans (Photo by Richard Burnett)
 
I blew into New Orleans with my buddy Bicente two days before Halloween 2008 and scared the bejezus out of the Big Sleazy on our absinthe-laced boozy first night there when I tripped and fell on Bourbon Street, then slid face first into a gutter next to a policewoman on her horse.

It reminded me of the famous Oscar Wilde quote, "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."

Except I now know the stars look brightest from the gutter.


Bugs morphed into Starlet O'Hara

at Houmas House
Anyway, I got scrapes on my knees and elbows for all the wrong reasons, as well as a bruise the size of Africa on my left thigh. And local spices made my ass so sore I decided to forgo a visit to The Club bathhouse on lower Toulouse Street ("Too Loose!" Bicente called it) in the French Quarter.

Still, on this, my third trip to N’Awlins – a city founded in 1718 by the former French governor of Louisiana, Jean-Baptiste le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, who was born in Montreal in 1680 – I regaled friends old and new in a city that has won my heart.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

VIDEO FOOTAGE OF MONTREAL CANDLELIGHT VIGIL OUTSIDE RUSSIAN CONSULATE

Fierté Montréal's candlelight vigil in front of the Russian Consulate in Montreal on August 13 (Photo by Lyle Stewart)

Despite rain, over 1,000 people showed up for Montreal Gay Pride organization Fierté Montréal's “peaceful candlelight vigil” in front of the Russian Consulate in Montreal on August 13. Watch the video below.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

AN AUDIENCE WITH QUEBEC LITERARY ICON MICHEL TREMBLAY

Michel Tremblay (Photo courtesy Talonbooks)
Bugs' February 2010 Daily Xtra interview with Tremblay was reprinted July 26, 2013 by Talonbooks

Quebec literary and gay icon Michel Tremblay divides his time between Montreal and Key West, where he still hardly ever speaks English. Tremblay is the focus of a new English play about a fictional 1969 meeting of a 27-year-old Tremblay and then-47-year-old famed Beat writer Jack Kerouac. Tremblay graciously agreed to sit down and answer my questions in English.

BUGS BURNETT: You hardly ever speak English, even in Florida?

MICHEL TREMBLAY: I live in a big house and last year I had 22 friends come visit me. I live in French. I haven’t made friends in Key West in over 19 years because I’m not the friendly man I am in interviews. I always say, “The worst thing that can happen to me is that I meet somebody new.”

Monday, 22 July 2013

JOAN RIVERS STILL RUFFLING FEATHERS 50 YEARS ON



Joan Rivers returns to Montreal to headline Just For Laughs Festival (Photos by Charles William Bush)

 Bugs' new interview with Joan Rivers originally ran in Daily Xtra on July 19

Hollywood myth has it that former Tonight Show host Johnny Carson was betrayed by his public heir-apparent, stand-up comic Joan Rivers, when she signed with FOX in 1986 for her own late-night TV talk show.

Can we talk?
Except the little-known truth is it was NBC and Carson who betrayed Rivers: there was an internal NBC memo with a Top 10 list of candidates to replace Carson, and her name was not on the list.

“A friend of mine, [then] NBC vice-president Jame Michaels got the internal memo and sent it to me,” Rivers says today. “And he wrote on it, ‘Darling there is no place for you here.’ That’s why I walked away. And Carson never spoke to me again.”

But don’t fret for Joan: “I say what I think and I move on and I don’t hold grudges,” she says. “That’s why I don’t have an ulcer.”

In fact, the octogenarian comedian (she turned 80 on June 8) is in great health, and will host the July 27 Gala at Montreal’s Just For Laughs comedy festival.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

GAY COWBOYS READY TO WRANGLE THE AMAZING RACE CANADA



Photo courtesy CTV

Openly gay Alberta natives and best friends Jamie Cumberland and Pierre Cadieux say they will “represent our towns, represent our province, and represent our tribe” in the debut season of CTV’s The Amazing Race Canada.

Cumberland and Cadieux’s CTV bio states, “Jamie and Pierre, known as “The Cowboys,” are best friends who met through the Alberta Rockies Gay Rodeo Association fundraiser dance 15 years ago. When Jamie first saw the call for applicants for The Amazing Race Canada he immediately called Pierre and said, “Girl! Clutch your pearls, we can finally apply for The Amazing Race!” Pierre screamed “I’m in!” and the rest is history.” 

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

MONSIEUR MONTRÉAL: HOW FORMER TRUDEAU CABINET MINISTER CHARLES LAPOINTE PUT GAY MONTREAL ON THE MAP

 
The Right Honourable Charles Lapointe (Photo courtesy Tourisme Montreal)


Bugs' story originally ran in Daily Xtra.

Charles Lapointe was just 17 years old when he stepped into his first gay bar, La Rose Rouge, in Montreal back in 1961.

“There were no gay bars in my hometown of Tadoussac, and I didn’t think there were any gay bars, so this was a very big discovery for me. I wanted to meet other gay men, and I discovered a vibrant gay scene in Montreal,” says Lapointe, the president and CEO of Tourisme Montreal, which put Montreal on the international gay map when he spearheaded a trailblazing gay ad campaign in 1994.

Today, Montreal is widely hailed as a pioneer in the multi-billion-dollar world of gay tourism. New York, London and Tel Aviv have all copied Tourisme Montreal’s gay-tourism template.

Friday, 21 June 2013

2013 BLACK & BLUE FESTIVAL MOVES TO L'ARSENAL FOR NEW "UNDERGROUND" FEEL




B&B has generated more than $320 million in local economic spin-offs, plus donated $1.8 million to various AIDS and LGBT groups (All photos courtesy BBCM)

The BBCM is revamping its Black & Blue Festival with its upcoming move to the cutting-edge L’Arsenal space in Montreal’s historical Griffintown neighbourhood, for the famed circuit party’s 23rd edition this October.

Who can forget the entire field

At Olympic Stadium covered in

candles with a walkway to the dance

floor in the shape of  an AIDS

ribbon, at B&B in 2000?

Some 5,000 people danced the night away on three dance floors in Montreal’s Palais des Congrès last year. The all-night circuit party’s attendance peaked in 1999 when 17,000 partygoers packed B&B’s dancefloor in the outfield of Olympic Stadium.

“We are excited to begin a new era of events with the selection of L’Arsenal as a major innovative space,” says Black & Blue president and co-founder Robert Vezina, “a great way for BBCM to increase the success of the Foundation and the generated proceeds in order to help community groups.”

The Black & Blue Festival this week also announced its new major partnership with the Priape group as a Principal Title Sponsor, which  follows the recent announcement of its major partnership with New York’s Saint at Large. “Our new partnerships with Priape and The Saint will help us reach our goals,” says Vezina, pointing out the event will be re-geared towards the gay tourist jet setters from all over the world, with a focus on the U.S.A.