My Gay Toronto - Bellini's 8 1/2

Hamlet at the Tubs
Shakespearean Baths And
Thus Spake Baloneyous

“It’s your birthday treat,” declares my sister Christine.

“But it isn’t my birthday until September,” I protest. Doesn’t matter. She wants to treat me to Scandinave Spa Mont-Tremblant. Braving the horrific Toronto traffic, we get to the spa in time to do the full circuit – two massive outdoor Jacuzzis with waterfalls, and two cold plunge pools. The idea is to jump from one to the other, and take a eucalyptus steam in between. So refreshing. It’s like the baths without cocks.
I spend a lot of time poolside this summer, reading the latest books, like Christopher Logan’s d.r.a.g., a coffee table book featuring gorgeous portraits of the worlds most celebrated drag queens. Or even more delicious, I can’t wait to read Darwin Porter’s Pink Triangle, a new triple biography of the three main gay literary icons of the last century – Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, and Gore Vidal. All three bitches loved and hated each other in equal amounts. Darwin doesn’t skimp on a single salacious detail. The busy author is getting ready to release biographies of both Jackie O and the Reagans. Probably the most published author on earth (he wrote all the Frommer travel guides), I hope Darwin keeps cranking them out. I get so lost in these books that I didn’t even notice that I had been neglecting the pool.

On August 12, I got together with some friends at Tallulah’s Cabaret to shoot a video directed by Raymond Helkio. It’s a gay bathhouse version of Hamlet, called Hamlet in a Hot Tub. It was written by David Bateman and Brock Hessel, who star as Gertrude and Hamlet respectively. Donnarama plays a sparkling combination of Ophelia and Barbra Streisand, and I of course assay the role of Polonius. Hearing my ridiculous ‘Laurence-Olivier-in-Richard-III’ accent, my friends have taken to calling me Baloneyous. It was great fun. I can’t wait to see which film festival is brave enough to program this one.

Then on August 13 I had a fun night at the Flying Beaver. Maggie Cassella was doing a live version of her old TV show Because I Said So, with guest Peter Keleghan. Before that, she hosted a lively panel discussion with Brad Fraser, Martha Chaves, and Shannon McDonough, touching on various hot button topics like the war in the Middle East. “Why can’t the Jews and the Muslims work it out like Christians,” quipped Shannon. I sat there enjoying a lovely dinner courtesy of cute chef Zachary Voros. The duck prosciutto flatbread was garlicy and good, and the butternut squash ravioli floated in an effervescent tomato sauce. Barkeep Heather Mackenzie kept the goodwill flowing with pints of the house beer, my favorite being a house brand called Beaver White. I think I’ll use it for my new drag name.

Then on Sunday I took in the final performance of David Benjamin Tomlinson’s new one act play for Summerworks. Called Gash!, David stars as one ofthose southern gothic hags like Bette Davis or Joan Crawford in movies like Strait-Jacket and Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? There’s a huge body count, a talking mannequin, intrigue, inclement weather, southern accents, lots of laughs- basically all the ingredients of a great show. Let’s hope there’s a remount in the future.

Wow, I’m so exhausted from all this running around that I feel like heading back to the Scandinave. Or at the very least, the baths.