Friday, December 5, 2008

A Chorus Line / It's A Wonderful Life

Howard Kane and I love to go to the theatre. In this entry, we went to see productions of A Chorus Line at the Canon Theatre, and an adaptation of It's A Wonderful Life done like a radio show in the Forties, presented by the Canadian Stage.

Paul: Which of the two shows did you like better?

Howard: A Chorus Line, but you're talking to a Chorus Line queen.

Paul: You were actually in a production of the show.

Howard: I was, as Bobby, 22 years ago. It did on and off for about 3 years. I've seen it as an audience member about 300 times.

Paul: And you never get tired of it?

Howard: No. I saw the revival two years ago, but before that it was about fifteen years.

Paul: We got to meet Baayork Lee recently. 

Howard: Wasn't she wonderful? She was Michael Bennett's associate choreographer. She recreates the choreography for every production. She was the original Connie Chung, the girl who is four feet ten.

Paul: Why do you think it's such a great show?

Howard: Let me ask you that question, Paul.

Paul: I like its simplicity. I like the fact that it's in real time. I like that the monologues are directed to the audience, so you're constantly being engaged. I love the fact that there's no intermission, so there is nothing to take you out of that world for two hours. It's so visually stimulating, considering that there is nothing onstage but mirrors and people dancing. But also because it's about theatre, and so honest.

Howard: I love the emotional content of it. If you don't get it, you don't have a heart. It was way before reality TV, way before people talked about these things. It was the first musical I ever saw, and it's why I'm in the business today.

Paul: You mentioned reality TV. In the past ten years, we've seen a rise in shows in which people compete in talent shows, like American Idol and Dancing with the Stars. The whole competition and elimination elements. A Chorus Line anticipated that. That's probably why it's still so popular.

Howard: It was so ahead of its time. When I interviewed Bob Avian, the other choreographer, he said that today, he and Baayork would not get jobs. Nowadays, everyone has to be gorgeous, and a triple threat. Michael Bennett was so ahead of his time. Thirty-three years ago, he was putting in gay characters because they were a part of New York's theatre culture. He didn't shy away from it. No one did that. Plus the show had Asian and black characters.

Paul: I first saw it on Broadway in December 1979, within the first few years of its run.

Howard: The show was at its peak then because Michael Bennett was still involved.

Paul: Why on earth did we go see It's A Wonderful Life? Comps?

Howard: I love seeing bad theatre with you, Paul.

Paul: It was the day after Chorus Line. We were still on a high. It was the complete opposite to Chorus Line. Wonderful Life had a beautiful set, the interior of a radio studio from the 40s, with all that cool furniture, and yet absolutely nothing was happening. A Chorus Line, with no set, was more visually interesting. All those Canadian actors in period make-up running around very busy, looking for their scripts and whatnot, but it was curiously unengaging. No one looks at each other or at the audience. They just shout their lines into vintage microphones. You can't watch radio. It's insane, the dumbest idea for a show ever.

Howard: The publicist could not tell me what the story was about. That's how I knew we were in trouble.

Paul: Radio is easy to listen to, because it's made in a controlled environment. This was a stage play, so everything is so screechy and echoey. There was a piano player on one side, a foley artist on the other, and too many actors yelling in the middle. It was really hard just to listen to it. Plus there was a clock on the wall as part of the radio studio's set design, and it had the real time, and all I could think was, "How much longer do we have to sit here?"

Howard: When I saw those two old ladies walk out, I looked over at you and I knew we were thinking the same thing.

Paul: Yeah, how lucky they were to bail. We were trapped dead center.

Howard: I interviewed cast member Steven Gallagher, who is such a handsome man, but no one looked good in this show. Everyone looked so ugly.

Paul: I know. There were so many cute boys in A Chorus Line it was like being at Remingtons. Remember the doll who sang "I Can Do That"? I pointed at him and looked at you and said, "I could do that."

Howard: I loved going out for martinis afterwards, it was so New York. I felt like we were two theatre critics leaving a disastrous production and going to the bar next door to trash the show. I liked trashing the show more than the actual show. I don't think Christmas shows ever work. I'm so glad A Chorus Line was here, but Richard Ouzounian did not give it a good review. He said it was tired and stale.

Paul: I heard he was actually just talking about himself. 

Mr. Leather Toronto competition

The Mr. Leather Toronto competition took place at the Phoenix Theatre in Toronto on November 27, 2008. The evening was co-hosted by Shaun Proulx and David Kloss. Shaun fluffed the crowd by saying that leathermen are the best sex he's ever had, and are also responsible for all his fetishes. "It's your fault that all I want for Christmas is a rim seat."

The eight contestants first appeared in full leather, then in minimal wear, which is always a treat. They also get to speak. This is my seventh MLT, and everyone, always, wants to give back to the community, whatever that means. Proulx gave each contestant 90 seconds to talk about themselves, but every one of them took much more than the allotted time. "That's 90 marijuana seconds," he clarified. 

The eight contestants were:

Tom Bishop, Mr. Zelda's Leather, who is an accountant by day;

Peter Dillon, Mr. Spearhead, who is into camping, gardening, and wrestling steers;

Wendell Leadbeater, Mr. Gladaman's Den, former armed forces, who wants to help open a habitat for wolves, and is apparently in the December issue of Inches;

Corey Breau, Mr. Churchmouse & Firkin, who said "When my mother found out I was in the leather community, her exact response was 'Well, maybe you'll actually meet somebody.'" The laughs continued when he admitted, "When I moved her from the east coast, I felt to be honest that Torontonians were very rude, my exact word was 'vile'." Then he met Matthew Pavelich, who turned him around;

Jon Henderson, Mr. Steamworks, who is still in school and sports fully tattooed arms, also does some modeling, and as Shaun said, "He's bi ... lingual." His cause was to raise money for the PWA Foundation;

Ritchie Brown, Mr. Cruiseline, welder, who was asked "If you had a superpower, what would it be and what judge would you use it on?" Ritchie took the high road when he declared, "I would take the power of healing and use it for Richard Hubley," one of the judges who is in a wheelchair, then got all choked up talking about his late father. Ritchie had the most fans in the audience, and I thought he was a lock to win, especially after David Kloss dropped some innuendo about Ritchie having an enormous shlong;

Pete Villeneuve, Mr. Cedars Campground, who was asked which celebrity he wishes would be into leather, and what would he do to that celebrity? "Tim McGraw," he deep-breathed into the mike. "What wouldn't you do to Tim McGraw?" Listen to his music for starters, Pete. "I have a dream," he said, referencing MLK as he talked about his vision for the leather community;

And finally, Matt Muir, Mr. Priape/Woody's, who is a hockey coach and camp counselor, and the only one without facial hair. He wants to get the younger generation involved in leather, and although estranged from his family, feels warmly welcomed by the leather community.

At last, the judges came to a decision. Corey Breau won both Mr. Fellowship and First Runner-Up; Tom Bishop took Second Runner-Up; and Peter Dillon was named Mr. Leather Toronto. 

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Intense Eye Therapy

I'm one of those people cursed with big huge eye bags. It doesn't matter how much I sleep or how many cucumber slices I put on my eyes. Even Preparation H doesn't work. It's been a lifelong frustration. My aunt Andea sports massive eye bags, too. I guess I took after her.

So I was quite excited that the geniuses at dermaglow NUVECTIN have created Retinol-PX Intense Eye Therapy (or RPXIET). The box claims that the clinically proven results will show a 68% reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, a reduction in dark circles, and fast-acting reduction in under-eye puffiness. It contains pure retinol complex, acetyl tetrapeptide-5, palmitoyl oligopeptide, and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7.

The box claims that "this anti-aging eye cream uses two of the most effective anti-aging ingredients available to dramatically transform the appearance of skin. Peptides and Pure Retinol combine for superior anti-aging benefits: significant hydration for a more youthful look around the eyes; enhanced elasticity smoothes skin; skin tone appears more even and luminous; instant and gradual brightening under eyes; and no irritation and redness." I was particularly excited about the luminosity. I could use some.

I've used RPXIET for several days, but I'm not sure I see much difference. I may be too far gone. I could pack for two weeks in Paris with these eye bags. But I will continue to use it, until such a time that I see a youthful set of eyes looking back at me in the mirror. And more importantly, I'm getting some RPXIET for Auntie Andea, too. Thanks, dermaglow.

MLT Seminars part two

The second workshop was entitled Resistance is Futile: Interrogation Scenes, and it was conducted by the soft-spoken Ingrid, certainly one of the scariest people I've ever laid eyes upon. "When it comes to interrogation, there are no right answers," she grinned. A girl named Anna was tied to a chair, sobbing. Ingrid slapped her and asked, "Where is your bank?" Anna just kept sobbing. Ingrid took out a knife and teased Anna's nipples and pussy, then threw a pillow case over her head and continued to teach the class, which consisted of 24 women and 7 men. Why, I wondered, are women drawn to the concept of interrogation? Is it because they are naturally nosey?

Ingrid started the discussion by asking us to determine if things were Hot or Bad, for example Abu Garib. Can something be both? She talked about how some people enjoy trauma. "If it doesn't end with blood or tears, then its just an argument," said Ingrid. There was all this shit about religion, politics, race, class, yawn. There was also lots of talk about negotiating boundaries (i.e., no hair pulling, or no using racial slurs, etc.), and how to choose a safe word or a safe gesture. But fear is the most important element. "There is nothing worse than fire play with someone who has no fear of fire. You might as well have been playing Scrabble."

Ingrid then told us a story about a woman who arranged to be kidnapped in public, but some passers-by panicked and tried to intervene. "Why are you doing this?" screamed one woman. "Because it's her birthday," replied Ingrid. "You mean she wants this?" asked the woman incredulously, which lead into an impromptu seminar on BDSM. I'll bet that poor woman wished she had just stayed home that day. Ingrid suggests that if you want to commit a criminal act, real or fake, just arrange for one of your number to shoot (or even just pretend to shoot) the whole thing on a mini-cam. Everyone will just think you're making a student film.

At the end of the session, after talking about the appeal of torture, power play, submission, trust issues, and even 'top drop' - meaning the torturer gets all fatigued after torturing someone - Ingrid finally untied Anna and took the pillow case off her head. Anna positively glowed. She had obviously been having the time of her life.

MLT Seminars part one

As part of Mr. Leather Toronto Weekend, I attended two of the educational seminars presented by the organization, both of which were held in the Mackenzie Room of the Primrose Hotel on Saturday, November 27, 2008.

The first workshop was entitled Scrotal Infusions (Saline) and was conducted by Marc Paquet-Decker and his boy connor. I love how in gay life the word 'boy' can describe someone in his sixth decade. The seminar was attended by 17 men and 6 women.

Marc was funny and charming as he demonstrated filling connor's testes sack with a half litre of .9% saline solution. The saline bag is hung on a film tripod (cheaper than medical equipment and does the same thing) and connected to connor's balls through an IV drip tube and a butterfly needle inserted precisely into his sack tissue. "Do not inject into the testicle," said Marc. "If you even so much as graze his testicles, it would take three hours to scrape him off the ceiling."

Prior to that, connor's balls were pre-shaved and tied off with a cock ring. His cock was already adorned with a Prince Albert and a Jacob's ladder, very busy down there. He sat relaxed, arms folded, his ball sack gradually swelling to the size, colour and texture of a big pink grapefruit.

Marc cautions against using more than 2 litres as it may cause everything to stretch and even detach. "Then you'll have turkey neck between your legs for the rest of your life." He said that often the foreskin would also fill with solution and swell up, which makes it difficult to urinate. "Lots of pressure on the pisshole," he said. "You won't be able to pee unless you sit, but you don't pee in a stream, you more or less turn on a sprinkler. I sprayed myself like you wouldn't believe, like a squirt of Fantastic or a cute little fountain. I could have been in the middle of an Italian garden."

I had questions. How did all this start? Who came up with this idea? Another attendee mumbled a response, something about doctors in the fifties inflating the sack and shining a light behind it in order to find tumors or something. There was also some talk about how the rise in home care over the past two decades may have also contributed to the practice. I also asked how can you get that salt water back out of the sack. Marc said that since saline is naturally present in the body, it will merely absorb over time, usually about 24 hours, but if it doesn't and you end up with a case of severe scrotal cellulitis, go to emergency. Then a woman asked if she could inject her labia. 

Much discussion of how to dispose of needles took place, and also never to do it if you take blood thinners. Finally, Marc discussed sealing the puncture. "There are several things you could use. Polyfilla is not one of them," he said. "Polygrip, however, is the best, and get the extra strength. It's cheaper than liquid band aid and burns less than crazy glue."

Once it is full, you can have hours of fun playing with it, but apparently, it's pretty difficult to fuck or cum with a swollen sack.

•end of part one•