“To prepare for bobsled event, I look at lots of photos of the Canadian bobsled team topless,” explains James and the Giant Pasty of his brutal physical regime in advance of the Boylympics. “And I practice sitting ass to crotch with three other men in spandex. We put in some really long, hard hours training that way.”
James, the founder and mastermind behind BoylesqueTO, is no stranger to incarnating sporty objects of desire. He is fetching when undressed as a hockey player or in the now classic routine that débuted during BoylesqueTo’s Class Dismissed. The emotional piece saw James struggle with his sexuality before joyfully coming out, clad only in a jockstrap and a skimpy rainbow flag. Now that the world has Michael Sams and James Collins, the bump n’ grind bit takes on an eerie and erotic prescience.
BoylesqueTO Presents the Boylympics tackles, in the troupe’s usual tongue-in-cheek and cheeks exposed style, the foibles and sexual undertones of the Sochi Olympics. “Nudity has no place in the Olympics any more,” laments James referencing the original ancient Greek tradition of competing in the buff. “The Boylympics however . . . The path to the podium is lined with glitter and discarded items of clothing.”
Sochi may have spectacle but the Boylympics have superstars. “No Olympics is complete without an overdone Olympic flame,” notes James. “Mahogany Storm will warm the cockles of your heart, or the heart of your cockles.” Take that Sochi Bear.
The fey artistry and sartorial excess of figure skating is also lampooned. “I’m not really sure Johnny Weir has anything on Dew Lily, except maybe a crush,” says James. “I’ve personally seen Dew Lily do a quadruple axle without leaving the couch, while eating a bag of potato chips and putting on fake eyelashes.”
Resident burly hunk Bruin Pounder will be “competing in men’s hair curling or something like that,” enthuses James, “And special guests The Mansfield Brothers are bringing their acclaimed Bi-sexualathon to the Boylympics. They’re from Ottawa so I’m sure their bilingual talents will come in handy.”
The big question is what scandal Wrong Note Rusty will create as he continues his quest to up the ante on his “accidental” pucker reveal on national TV. “Wrong Note Rusty will be portraying Vladimir Putin so I think he technically is the only censor,” says James. “So he can show as much or as little as he approves. Knowing Rusty, there will be lots of homosexual propaganda.” Add in Balonia Wry, Ginger Darling and Sexy Mark Brown as commentators, Man Chyna as Mussy Riot, and El Toro doing whatever he wants with his sexy bod, and the Boylympics are shaping up to be an event entertaining enough to turn Canada's Sochi hockey triumph into an afterthought.
The games are not all fun and games. “I have to take a moment to be serious,” says James. “I think it’s incredibly upsetting that neither the IOC nor any of the major sponsors took a stand for human rights and spoke out against the human rights abuses that are happening against LGBTQ people in Russia. In the Boylympics, our sponsor, Egale Canada Human Rights Trust, is all about speaking out against human rights violations. And we are proud to be supporting the tremendous work they do. Two dollars from every ticket will go to support the work of Egale in promoting LGBTQ inclusion in and through sport, from playground to podium.” Take that Coca Cola.
The boylesquers have been honing their chops and flaunting their flesh at burlesque events around the world, but James is happy to be presenting a big show in their home town. “We’ve performed at many venues across Toronto, Canada, and internationally, but Lee’s Palace feels like home. It may not be the prettiest or have the best lighting, but there something just a little bit grungy and edgy about it that fits BoylesqueTO. Lee’s Palace doesn’t have any red velvet curtains or fancy cocktails, but that’s not really who BoylesqueTO is. And we love the wild raucous energy of 400 people standing in the pit waiting for us to take the stage.” Take the stage and go for the gold. Or at least a barenaked bronze.
BoylesqueTO Presents the Boylympics is on Fri, Feb 28 at Lee’s Palace, 529 Bloor St W. boylesqueto.com