Spring: the picture-perfect season for taking photos of blossoming buds. This year’s Snap! photography fundraiser turns out to be the perfect venue for host Maggie Cassella’s attempts at deflowering. Seriously, I’ve never seen an alpha lesbian so enthralled by big beefy guys and their underwear contents. “Are you guys even human?” she squeals, squeezing a cantaloupe-sized biceps. Within an hour the TD Bank art handlers have stripped off their shirts and are doing pushups and leg lunges that keep guests, including Shaun Proulx, Patrick Marano, Jonathan Hobin, Patrick Lightheart, HGTV’s Tommy Smythe and Dragons’ Den’s Arlene Dickenson, glued to their seats. (Psst: Lightheart and Smythe will soon be launching a new line of Tommy Smythe bowties, and I want one for my neck more than a hickey from Kenickie.) Almost all of the 65 live-auction lots sell well, but James Robert Durant’s Green Around Red, White and Blue, featured on the cover of this year’s guide and valued at $4,500, gavels out at a whopping $10,000 — sold to some daring gent in bold mustard-coloured pants. We have hotdogs. We set off in search.
Spring: a time of uplifting uprisings. In Toronto, however, we’re laying down arms and embracing one another at Rangeela. Tonight’s Desi disco raises more than $1,000 for the Sexual Assault/ Rape Crisis Centre of Peel. What is that aroma? Whereas Crews sometimes smells of college BO, Big Primpin’ of second-hand clothes, Byzantium of talcum-powder farts, and fly of lubed fingers, tonight the Goodhandy’s dancefloor smells of mouth-watering curry. Why? Some of the hot guys are fully working off, and working out, their dinner as the DJ slips on track after track of high-paced Bollywood, bhangra, top 40, hip hop, R&B and house. I’m getting hungry. Hey Shazad, is that a kebab in your pocket or am I just starving to see you?
The Penis Project
Spring: a time when a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of love. And lovely penises. The Penis Project, which sounds like any party at any bar on Church St, is the name given to an inaugural art and performance showcase taking place at Buddies. The second floor, transformed into an art fair, offers such goodies as intricate illustrations of high heels created out of penises, by Yigi Chang; the jaw-dropping story-telling paintings of Sybil Lamb; and large wax penis candles in a variety of warming colours — perfect for Mother’s Day! In his foreskin-pink nun’s habit, Michael Mackid hosts as almost 20 acts take the stage to address the phallus issue through poetry, dance, monologues and video. The only actual live penis seen belongs to a certain delicious dancer, who oddly wishes to remain unknown even though he bravely strips naked as part of his modern dance routine. “This was supposed to be a safe place for art and for artists,” he points out. “Taking photos was tacky and tasteless.” You took your underwear off in public. Own it. Taste it.
Prom at the ROM
Spring: the time when young boys of olde would run away to join the circus. Tonight we old boys don’t have to skip very far as the annual ROM Prom at the Royal Ontario Museum adopts the theme of “circus” for the over-the-big-top gala fundraiser. It’s full sensory overload as we enter the grand hall. Photo booth with props to the left, unicyclist straight ahead, fortune teller with crystal ball to the right. Roaming costumed servers tempt with cotton candy, pogos, pink popcorn and macaroons even as prime rib of some poor delicious animal is sliced up in the centre of the room. Guests dance around the meat, some dressed as dapper clowns and regal ringmasters; some — like Biko Beauttah, in a simple black pleated dress — look gorgeous. We explore further and get a quick educational lesson on bugs and extinct crustaceans before playing a game of carny ring-toss. We lose. Never trust a carny. Even one in a stylish suit.