My Gay Toronto - Bellini's 8 1/2

Forever radical and sexy

by Paul Bellini

On Wednesday night, I went to Radicals, a reading of erotic literature at Remingtons. Once the strippers cleared the stage, sadly, the readings began. Standouts were Sasha Von Bon Bon, who related a story about getting a Brazilian from a queen, and Bruce La Bruce read a section of the diary he kept back when he was shooting Gang of 4 Skins in 1998. But the funniest was Sky Gilbert, who read a piece describing his cock and his ass. Good old Sky.

The next night I went to see Nothing To Do With the Holidays, a cabaret featuring Jane Ford, Shannon McDonough, and Maggie Cassella. All three are old friends who I have both worked and partied with, so I kind of had to go. But it was great. All three are such pros, with great material and years of experience. Shannon did two monologues from her recent Fringe show. The second piece, an acting coach who teaches people how to play zombies on The Walking Dead, is classic. 

Jane sang and played piano, alternating between lovely ballads and quirky comedy bits. Jane is literally ageless - she looks the same as she did twenty years ago. Then Maggie hit the stage with tsunami force. For the past four years, she ran a cabaret at The Flying Beaver on Parliament, but a fire caused it to close permanently in February. Apparently, some pill accused her of starting that fire, and she proceeded to deliver a half hour screed about how stupid that accusation is. One thing I’ll say about Maggie - she’s still angry, and full of energy, the two requirements of every great stand-up. 

Two exceptional shows, anchored by local queer celebrities of my generation. It thrills me that Sky and Blab and Mags and Jane and Shannon are still out there, doing it. I wish everyone in the gay community knew how great these performers are, and make an effort to see one of their shows before they get really old and have to retire. Until then, we’re lucky to have them. And I should mention that I also had the good luck to bump into rock legend Patricia Wilson at the bar, where we did a few rounds of tequila. Thanks, Pat, for making an already great night even more memorable. Or maybe less memorable. Anyways, it was fun.