Last year I had the honour of starring in a hilarious one-act play called Hamlet In A Hot Tub. The creative forces behind that show have regrouped and are in the process of preparing a new show, just in time for Pride. Called RAID: Operation Soap, it’s a look at the infamous 1981 bathhouse raid that gave cops a taste of Gestapo power as they rounded up hundreds of naked gay men and smashed down doors in every bathhouse in town at the time.
The incident made news around the world and still leaves a bad taste in many mouths. Even at the time, you had to ask yourself, why would the cops care what gay men do in private, unlicensced establishments with each other? With the exception of Pussy Palace, a lesbian bathhouse event in the 90s, it hasn’t happened since. Frankly, I think the cops are afraid to burst into the Cellar (now rechristened The Black Door, apparently). Anyway, there are less bathhouses in Toronto now than ever before, and law enforcement has moved on to harrass other types of people. But that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten about that shit.
David Bateman and Raymond Helkio have written a new play, with music by Stewart Borden and starring local legend Keith Cole. It will play June 29 at Buddies. You can show your support right now by visiting their GoFundMe page and consider pitching in towards the costs of producing the show independently. And definitely make time to see the show. Even if you’re too young to remember the bathhouse raids, the sight of Keith Cole in a towel will be worth it.