Star Moments

A Woman in Red

Posted by Bruce on August 05, 2018
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Hey Brucesters

What a week! I was planning on beginning my month break from my blog when of course a bunch of cool stuff starts happening and bam, I want to write about it! I met a new friend at an event I was doing an article on and we seem to hit it off. Since then we’ve gotten together a few times and it’s really been a tonne of fun. A few of our outings are chronicled on my Instagram (@bruceinthecity). I was planning on going to my cousin’s for a family BBQ but the morning I was to go I wasn’t feeling very well. I felt bad but I’m not the type of guy to pass around bugs to my peeps.
Luckily the stomach thing that was bumming out my Saturday morning passed and later in the afternoon I took a stroll around the city. My new chum contacted me and we decided to stroll together.
As the evening arrived he suggested we stop by Dundas Square. There was some outdoor concerts going on and so we stopped by to check it out. A good crowd was gathered and from a distance we could see a young woman (Lydia Ainsworth) was dressed in a beautiful red sheer ensemble. The designers name is Nelly Akbari. You can find her designs on Instagram @nellyakbari There was some sexy beats coming from her midi gear supported by four classically trained musicians and two modern dance artists on either side as she vocalized. I went from, “Hey this is pretty cool” to “This is very good” to “Damn she’s really talented” to “Okay this is awesome and she is brilliant”. If I were to describe her music I’d have to say I heard some really interesting influences possibly from Enigma, Sarah Brightman, Enya and maybe even some Tori Amos in there. Very sexy, spiritual, and creative not to mention very easy to move to and somewhat hypnotic. I’m personally so tired of what’s going on in the music industry at the moment. Diversity in musical style is dead. Sorry but it all sounds like one long mashup. I enjoy moments of it but why is everyone so afraid to be an individual. Where did that music message go? I was encouraged to see this stunning and obviously talented artist embrace a unique yet relevant style taking from some enjoyable pop grooves and spinning her own hypnotic grooves. I have to get an interview with this artist. She has two CDs available for sale and I’ve ordered both! This is the moment in an artist’s life that thrills me because they’re just raw and true to their craft before success and industry can rob the soul. I’ll be doing a review of her latest album in a couple of weeks and who knows maybe I can bag me a one on one interview. Wouldn’t that be brilliant?! Check her out today.

Instagram

@lydia.ainsworth

Bruce In The City

Edited by Mary Ellen Monk

Bruce News! Holiday update

Hey Brucesters and B.I.T.C’s!

Whats the Buzz?

Looks like I’m not taking August off as I originally planned! There’s just too much stuff I want to write about! One in particular is an artist who’s music has literally blown my mind, both spiritually and physically and I’m going to review her latest album this coming Sunday!

Bruce In The City

 

A Proud Understatement!

Posted by Bruce on June 22, 2018
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Brucesters! It’s Pride!

For the past 20 years Cafe California has played host to an annual event unlike no other. The event has brought many shapes and sizes but I still like my medium sized white ones! Don’t get me wrong, I have tons of yellow, black, and tan in array of sizes but I just keep my hands on that old reliable. Those white boxer briefs! Cafe California has been an important part of the backbone of the Church Street strip. Their underwear fashion show has brought the boys to the yard year after year. This week’s two day extravaganza stopped traffic and brought the house down. The community sadly lost an incredible drag queen, Chris Edwards, and I can’t imagine being the next female impersonator to step into Chris’s high heels. I think everyone would agree her shoes only fit one Queen, her supreme self. However I’m saying that you can’t mourn a loss forever and some brilliant Queen would have to step up to lead the pack. In sashays Sofonda Cox! A brilliantly funny female impersonator that brings it to the stage at every performance. Sofonda will be my special guest in the coming weeks to share her story with us. Today however I’m gonna focus on the boys! The underwear fashions for the show were courtesy of my favourite men’s shop in town, The Men’s Room, the prize destination for my Badass B.I.T.C Beard contest.
Jay is the new owner of Cafe California. Also, no easy understanding after the retirement of Latisha. The community loved her. People wonder in the dark corners of the gay ghetto whether this community go to would survive. After all Latisha WAS Cafe California. I always told her it should have been called Latisha’s! But then the old girl retired. I’m not sure we ever forgave her for leaving us but we understood.
So now Jay. I have to admit I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to change. I’m a loyal guy and I’m also very careful who I support in the village because it’s a sacred place to me and to many and the idea of someone running a business in the village just to empty our wallets alone doesn’t interest me at all. It’s one reason why I won’t eat at the burger shacks that have taken over. I’m not even convince they’re in it to support the community. I mean how many burgers can one homo eat. I digress. I stopped going to the cafe. I just wasn’t sure what this new owner’s motives were. What has he done to prove he is a supporter of the gay community? After a year of not eating at the Cafe I decided with a group of mates that we would attend the ever infamous Underwear Fashion show. The menu for the event was excellent. Though on revealing who I was Jay decided to offer me something special that was not on the evenings menu with some white wine. Okay, he had me at chicken souvlaki. I thought you sneaky little fellow. Tempting me with food. As if a bearded bear can be swayed by a delicious plate of Greek fare. I was still going to watch this man closely. Could I see it in his eyes? That sparkle Latisha used to have as Chris Edwards commanded the stage. It wasn’t the wine talking. He really seemed to be enjoying the sites and sounds of his business. Working the bar and being a significant presence in the restaurant. No hiding in the back like so many owners do. He was very generous all evening and made my little group of homos happy! It was there; the passion and the heart. I can honestly say I’ve been converted. I’ll always miss Latisha but I think she would be happy to see how Jay and his motley crew continue the legacy of a friend who even at this event many years later was on the lips of patrons. It was a great show. I think you got it Jay! Keep up the great work. The food was stellar. The wine divine and the laughs a dozen barrels! On a quick side note my partner said his Filet Mignon from your events menu was outstanding (though he did steal some of my chicken souvlaki).

Happy Pride

B.I.T.C

edited by Mary Ellen Monk

Make Em Laugh

Hey Whazzzuuuuuup Brucesters!

My shits and giggles on funny dudes continues with this guy, Jeewan Gill. Now I gotta say he was all in my funny books until I learned he doesn’t really like Toronto. Stop me in my tracks! I mean, I love Toronto. The reason I got this blog going in 2010 was my love affair with this incredibly diverse city. And now I’m reviewing Jeewan funny guy to find out he disdains my city. As Madonna would sing, “Where do we go from here?” This is where I put my personal opinion aside and just tell you how funny this guy is. Jeewan? Does it mean funny man? No, in fact it doesn’t! However it does mean “Bringer of Life” so really it could mean funny guy! Being funny brings life to those sitting in the bell jar. His comedy was sharp and relevant. He was incredibly disarming and I even thought he would be even better with a larger audience. Jeewan is a west coast boy. He truly believes he was bred from birth to disdain Toronto. A city that seems to be doing good by him. Maybe he’ll change his tune on that one. He’s a Border City Comedy Festival finalist. He seems to enjoy creating humour out of incidences that normally find it missing. Of course that means touching on subject matter that may cause the squeamish to squirm.
I thought his stand up was good and solid. I’d go check him out again if given the opportunity. Hey wait! He’s opening for Chris Robinson May 13th at comedy bar and apparently the show is being taped. I might just have to crash that party! You can find him on twitter for more info @jeewangill2

4 kisses out of 5

B.I.T.C

Edited by Mary Ellen Monk

3,2,1 Launch!

Brucesters!

Tonights the night! I hope you tune in to a fabulous new show on CTV! Oh so Canadian and oh so exciting! I got a golden ticket to one of the hottest shows hitting the small screen. The Launch! Of course I say nothing about what I saw and all it’s exciting details but I will say. The taping I was at featured one of my favourite artists of all time! Boy George!!!! It was an exciting day for sure and I was one of the lucky few that got to ask Boy George a question during question answer period. He was a gentleman through and through. I never asked him a question but took the opportunity to thank him for building bridges for LGBTQ people around the world through his music and his style! Let the auditions begin!!!

B.I.T.C

Bearded Fur Christmas!

Posted by Bruce on December 24, 2017
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It’s Christmas Eve in the city and around the world. A lot of hustle and bustle today. Then the quiet of one of the most significant nights on the planet. The year is closing in and family and friends gather to take a moment to forget the crazy of world politics and of wars and disease. We’ve hopefully done our very best to right these things throughout the year with marches, charities and hope. It’s not always easy to be light and festive with all that is the world today but it has always been this way. The good, the bad, and the ugly all forgiven on the night of nights. My blog isn’t that significant really in the whole scheme of things. I know this, but if for just one moment I can help my readers forget that nasty boss or that illness that won’t give up or maybe you are finding yourself alone. Maybe my antics can take you out of your plight for but a moment. That’s really what this is all about for me. I love to promote good people, good companies and, oh yeah, let’s not forget those outstanding beards! 
The popularity of my Beard contest has taken me aback! Look at who made it into the Badass B.I.T.C Beard hall of Fame this week! Sean Harraher was introduced to show business at the age of 4 in 1986. His mother brought him to an audition his sister was attending because she could not find a babysitter in time. He was noticed in the waiting room and was cast in a National Colgate commercial alongside his sister that ran for 5 years. Sean was raised in Oakville Ontario Canada. He graduated with a B.A in Humanities from York University in 2006. Throughout his time in university and upon graduating Sean acted in many commercials as both a hockey player and a football player. He has performed improv with TrailerVision in Toronto. Sean’s television credits include a small recurring role as “Constable Worsely” on Murdoch Mysteries. He is an avid Toronto Maple Leafs and Hamilton Tiger Cats fan and enjoys long walks on the beach.

Congrats dude you are now enter in the Badass B.I.T.C Beard of the Week year end prize!

B.I.T.C

Editor

Mary Ellen Monk

 

A Provocative Encounter

Posted by Bruce on September 24, 2017
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Here are a few names I’d like you to remember as I begin to tell you about a play:

Steven Elliott Jackson, Playwright
Tara Mohan, Production Stage Manager
Brandon Conclaves, Lighting Designer
Sonia Valiant, Stage Manager
Kwaku Okyere, Actor
Conor Ling, Actor
Tanisha Taitt, Director

We’ve all been to many plays. They have become so grandiose that sometimes you can feel as though you are lost in a movie at the trendiest movie house. It’s almost so encompassing that one could lose track of the plot and purpose. But when you take “The Seat Next To The King”, there is no mistaking it’s plot. There is no mistaking it’s purpose.

Opening scene. Just a simple stage set to dim lighting. Songs of hope and of an era almost long forgotten play reminders in the background. A men’s room. A young white man enters and takes his place in front of the urinal. Moments later a black man enters the men’s room. He also takes his place in front of the urinal. They notice one another in an awkward exchange of glances. The audience, unsure of whether to giggle, feels the erotic undertone or is aghast at the subtle vulgarity and this is where their polarizing, political and unexpected affair will begin to transfix you.

I had an opportunity to briefly meet Playwright, Steven Elliott. I learned quickly of his passion for a little project he called “The Seat Next To The King”. He shared with me where the inspiration occurred. It wasn’t at some obscure niche in this vibrating city. It was incredibly unassuming. As he sat in the burger house under the golden arches, Steven began to pour out his soul onto a piece of paper. Like a river flowing through his mind, I romanticized as he shared his story with me. In less than an earthly hour he had managed to write one of the most compelling love stories I feel ever to be told.

I sat in the audience watching this piece of work transform the audience word by word, opening our minds to the possibilities of a love forbidden in it’s time capsule. A moving and utterly relevant story in the temperature of today’s political climate.
My eyes were moved to tears in only twenty minutes. I fought them back. I’m reviewing this, I want to remain objective. I want to tell you the truth. I had no idea it was going to transform me. The heartache as I watched those two talented actors bare their souls as the characters revealed themselves scene by scene. The layers of self realization were literally heart wrenching.

Just when you thought all joy was lost the incredibly sharp delivery of whit by actor Kwaku Okyere against the angst of Conor Ling’s performance was a buffet of emotion. I laughed, I cried, I learned. I grew aware of my own humanity. Their performances were completely riveting. Scene after scene pulled me deeper and deeper into this affair that I will certainly always remember.
From the music, lighting, stage setting, and directing, this play was on point in every way. The hope of one more chance at love and understanding it’s a human right to have and to be loved.

It was wonderful meeting many of the contributors of this evening’s performance. Tanisha Taitt’s directing was clearly precision and she looked stunning opening night. Conor Ling and I had a moment to chat together and I was a bit star struck I must say. I look forward to following his work; that man is going places. What can I say about Kwaku Okyere? Well I almost waited as long for him to stop for a photo op as one would for Beyoncé but when he finally pulled himself away from his adoring audience he was gracious and just as bodacious as he was during scene stealing moments of the performance.

A blog like mine can almost diminish the importance of a piece of work such as this. This was not just a throw away love story. This was an important piece of an untold (fictional) narrative of it’s time regarding the black community. Even more so, untold stories of many forgotten beautiful black gay men who had no voice at all through discrimination coming from polar angles. This is a tribute to not just the gay community but the need for an awakening of the struggles that continue to exist within our multi-cultural society.
I know there are hundreds of great shows to see in this grand city, but why settle for less then what’s fit for a king?

4 kisses out of 5

Now on stage

The Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen St. West

Sept 17-Oct 1

tickets $29 service charges may apply

Book 416-538-0988

B.I.T.C

Edited by Mary Ellen Monk

Photo credit Michael Thomas

Selfie by Bruce Christopher

 

Let It Go

Posted by Bruce on July 16, 2017
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One of the best parts of Summer in the City is it’s concert series. I love seeing a great live performance. It takes on a different level mid listen when you know you’re going to be writing about it in a blog that coming Sunday. I want to be as impartial as I can be, even when I’m a fan. Truth be told I don’t go see artists that I don’t like, but the thing is I’m not always impressed with the show. People pay big bucks to see these great artists and they deserve a top notch performance. I went and saw Madonna a couple of years ago and it had its highs and lows too. I don’t blame the artist completely for these awkward performances. There are a lot of people deciding what that show is going to look like and I feel there are too many “yes people” who just aren’t being straight up with these artists during the creation of their show. I saw Idina Menzel Friday night at the Sony Centre and off the top I have to say overall, a brilliant performance. When she was hot she was hot, but when she was not… well!? There were a few moments during the performance that were, how should I say… awkward. Let’s just put this out there right now, she is clearly a talented artist. Her voice is absolutely killer and she is a total sweetheart. Whoever decided to throw a Led Zeppelin mashup in the mix was not doing Idina any favours. I was pissed for her actually because she killed it vocally but the set up left the audience confused. I wanted to just hug her and say fire that music director immediately. She just couldn’t sell us on the headbanger rock queen ode to. When Idina was clearly calling the shots she was vocally and emotionally unstoppable. She had a few raw moments that really made you think who screwed this woman over? Very jagged little pill (Alanis Morrisette). If I could give her a call about the show I would honesty tell her to keep the Zeppelin but do the whole song and set it up better for her older audience so they are ready to take the journey with her. We are clearly there for the ride, we just need to understand how bumpy it could get. Who doesn’t love a good girl kicking some rock and roll ass along the way. Killer moments have to be acknowledged; Let it Go, her mega hit from Frozen, was a showstopper. The kids went crazy of course. She sang for us unaccompanied and micless. You could hear a pin drop. That moment when an audience understands what a formidable force of talent their experiencing. The show had many of these moments and in spite of Idina forgetting a lyric during a performance, her connection and human vulnerability made the whole experience thought provoking hours after the spectacle. She was real. She was raw. She was quit simply Idina.

4 kisses out of 5

B.I.T.C

Editor

Mary Ellen Monk

Time to Get Moody

Posted by Bruce on July 10, 2017
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With an incredible career spanning the 1960’s The Moody Blues have written some of the most creative pieces of music merging rock and classical works, creating a revolutionary collection of Rock Anthems that have literally secured an almost cult style following for decades. This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of those albums, “Days Of Future Passed”. Released in 1967, producing a mammoth hit for them “Nights in White Satin”, the album blends classic rock and full orchestra classical overtones that were made to be experienced live.
Last night, right here in Toronto at the Sony Centre, The Moody Blues captivated everyone in attendance with a first set dedicated to their many hits and then returning from a short intermission with a full orchestra to present a stunning visual and sound experience that was incredibly perfect. A total transport of emotions for the captivated fans. With a special multi media presentation starring multi award winning (Oscar winner 1990) actor Jeremy Irons. I have had the privilege of seeing these incredible musicians three times and each tour has been a true music lovers experience. I’m completely at a loss that this library of great and relevant works has not landed these rock gods in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Let’s get on this. To not induct these talented artist soon would be a complete insult to their years of great work and to the music industry in the U.K. that has produced some of the greatest popular artists for decades including The Moody Blues. If you have the chance to see these guys in action do yourself a musical favour and get yourself one of the hottest tickets on sale now!

B.I.T.C

Editor

Mary Ellen Monk

My Very Sordid City

Posted by Bruce on June 04, 2017
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Sometimes I just feel like I have to pinch myself.  My life is nowhere near a perfect one, and certainly some would call it sordid but I would have to describe it as lucky and brilliant!  You know, just when I’m about to disappear into this big old city and say good bye to my very public blog forever, I fall upon another situation that I just have to share with my Brucesters.  I ended up at a red carpet event this past week with my partner and that buddy of his once again.  Are we becoming the three muskaqueers!? We thought we’d stay on that fun celebrity trend from the week before when we all flew out of Hell together.  You’ll have to scroll back if you don’t get the reference.  We landed at the Bell Light Box at “A Very Sordid Wedding” which is the latest film in the chapters of this gay cult classic.  This series began as a stage show which, became a movie which, turned into a TV series which, turned into the latest film by Del Shores of another massive gay cultural hit, “Queer As Folk”.  Del Shores was a writer for the show in season three.  Well we got to meet him which was fabulous.  If good gay independent movies are your thing you need to get your hands on this flick.  Sadly, not available until October, we got to see the only viewing in Canada.  The movie stars are plenty on this really incredible film.  In the new world we find ourselves living in, it is really great that there are people sympathetic to the continued plight that continues to affect the LGBT community.  Some great names to look up are Leslie Jordan, Ann Walker, Bonnie Bedelia, Dale Dickey, Emerson Collins (also a producer on the movie) Whoopie Goldberg and Canadian sweetheart Caroline Rhea!  I was beside myself as we posed together for a selfie!  All of these wonderfully talented people have diverse bodies of work and are worth looking up.  You know as much as I loved the movie it is really hard for me to understand why in 2017 we still have to have movies that address these types of prejudices against the gay community.  I just could never understand why people feel it’s any of their business who people love.  I guess hatred will always be in the world but maybe step by step through fun and provocative movies such as this, people will continue to learn that we all deserve love and we all share the same responsibility to grow from love.  On a side note I also grabbed a selfie with Camryn Manheim of “The Practice” and Romy and Michelle fame among other great works.  What a thrill and such a gracious women.  What a blast!  The movie was laugh out loud funny and just absolutely flawless.

B.I.T.C

Edited by Mary Ellen Monk

A note from the editor: You meet celebrities, I coach little league.  Not really comparable.  LOL.  Have a great day!

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