Wednesday, January 18, 2023

The Toronto Midtown Yonge Complete Street Pilot needs to become permanent!

For decades, many parts of Toronto have been dangerous for most cyclists and pedestrians.

Slowly, thanks to the leadership of community activists and many others, we continue to see gradual improvements to our road infrastructure that promotes safety for all.  While a fully integrated network of bike lanes that connects the whole city remains elusive, there has been big progress on its creation. 

Furthermore, as a winter cyclist, I can attest that most bike lanes in the downtown core are promptly cleared within a couple days of snowfalls.

The permanent implementation of bike lanes on Bloor West has improved road safety for everyone, without impacting significantly on motorist driving times. 

A more recent major win for safety was the Midtown Yonge Complete Street Pilot which temporarily created bike lanes as well as more car parking and street design on Yonge Street north of Bloor all the way up to Davisville Avenue. 

These bike lanes have impacted on me directly as my doctor's office is located on Yonge Street south of St. Clair Avenue.  Before the pilot project, I took considerable risk cycling north or south along Yonge.  So I am sincerely grateful for the pilot.  

City of Toronto data recently released shows the Yonge Street pilot streetscape between Davisville and Bloor continues to see increased use from pedestrians and cyclists with minimal disruption to the flow of traffic.  This jibes with my experience along Bloor West, where the complete street makes for a safer, more predictable trip for all involved, including motorists.  

It's urgent that the Midtown Yonge Complete Street pilot become permanent, in my humble opinion.   

We are down to a couple of weeks until the Midtown Yonge Complete Street is voted on at the Infrastructure & Environment Committee (IEC) on January 30th at Toronto City Hall.  I've been happy to help out a bit to support the group Yonge4All, including its super-active leader Holly Reid, which has been advocating for the pilot and collecting signatures from residents supporting it being made permanent.  

If you haven't signed the petition, here is the link.   

And please consider contacting Mayor John Tory or your local councillor if you agree.  I'll update this page in the days ahead with more information and ways to support this important cause.  

Friday, December 30, 2022

UPDATED: My Favourite Films of 2022 (So Far)


I’m a huge film fan, as many will know.  I didn’t have time nor money to see any Toronto International Film Festival movies during the festival.  So I’ve been playing catch up since. As you’ll see below, I still have a lot of titles on my to-see list.  

Nevertheless, I’m happy to share my top favourites of the year below.  As I see more, I reserve the right to add them to my favourites list.  

UPDATE January 11, 2022: I finally caught The Batman and The Woman King on an overnight flight and have added them accordingly below.

MY FAVOURITE 11 MOVIES FROM 2022:

1: Everything Everywhere All At Once - So much fun to watch again and again, original, zeitgeisty, hilarious, with a heart of gold at the centre of its bagel, this feels like this year’s Parasite (meaning, the small awesome indie that wins hearts and takes the top prize at the Oscars over other more conventional, respectable but less loved flicks.)

2: She Said - This compelling, riveting thriller / tribute to investigative journalism follows two New York Times journalists taking on the sexual monster Harvey Weinstein and inspiring the beginnings of the #MeToo movement.

3: Nope - Truly creepy, slow burn horror flick by Jordan Peele.  Not as good as Get Out nor Us, but still quite something to behold. Remembering some scenes still makes me shudder, which means it got under my skin.  And that’s always a great thing in a movie.

4: The Fabelmans - Touching and very personal memory play by the esteemed Steven Spielberg.  

5: Top Gun: Maverick - I was late to the party watching this only last month on the big screen (where it should be seen).  It’s totally entertaining and hits all the right notes, or all the right moves.  Good job, Tom Cruise!

6: Aftersun - Small, subtle indie about a lonely, troubled single father played by the gorgeous Paul Mescal trying to connect with his teenage daughter on a trip abroad.  

7: Good Luck To You, Leo Grande - Wonderful, sex positive story about an older woman learning to get comfortable and embrace her sexuality with the help of a gorgeous male escort.

8: The Batman - Finally caught this artful, very dark, brooding, slightly twisted take on the franchise starring Robert Pattinson and Zoe Kravitz.  The art direction and various other technical effects, plus the acting were superb, although Pattinson is no Christian Bale.  Not sure his take brought much new to the role.  I enjoyed it though as I do dig super hero movies like this but this won’t be for everyone.  Plus like many movies this year, they could’ve easily cut 30-45 minutes from the long running time.

9: Women Talking - Beautifully written and acted and very timely.  It often felt like a play rather than a movie.  But clearly this hits so many important notes about the power of collective action to overcome systemic oppression and abuse.  

10: The Banshees of Inisherin - I first found this a tad boring and confusing (why is he cutting off his fingers?!!) but later I came to appreciate it as a big metaphor for the uselessness of civil war (the Irish civil war to be specific.)  

11:  Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - Entertaining but not as good as the first one.  But beautiful and superbly acted.  

And the rest in order:

Elvis

The Woman King 

Bros

Glass Onion: Knives Out

Golden Delicious

The Swimmers 

Thor: Love and Thunder

White Noise

Doctor Strange 2: The Multiverse of Madness

My Policeman

Uncharted

The Edge of War

The Good Nurse

The Wonder

 

I want to see as soon as possible, in order:

Tar 

Weird: The Al Yankovic Story

The Whale

Argentina, 1985

Triangle of Sadness

Till 

Empire of Light 

The Menu 

Babylon 

Crimes of the Future

I Wanna Dance With Somebody

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio 

All Quiet On The Western Front

Living

Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris

Decision To Leave

Emancipation

Armageddon Time

RRR 

Turning Red

Devotion

I have no plans to see Avatar’s sequel as the first one didn’t do much for me. 

Today’s tonic: “(Dis)Ordered Liberty” by Erin O’Toole

Today’s tonic: “(Dis)Ordered Liberty” by Erin O’Toole.  Refreshing and I wish we had heard more of this tone from him when he was in charge of the CPC 

https://erinotoole.substack.com/p/disordered-liberty 

#cdnpoli 

Monday, December 19, 2022

Exclusionary, cisgendered male only, elitist functions are so hypocritical and need to go away from our community.

Last night, I had the misfortune of attending the latest Gentlemen's Club event at the Carlu in downtown Toronto. It will be the last one I ever attend. 

Post-pandemic, I wanted to push myself to go to more social events to try to break free of my pandemic malaise, the state of mind that's taken hold in me and so many others when it comes to social occasions.  I've been rusty as hell in some of my efforts to get back to pre-pandemic outings. 

Sadly, last night was a setback for me and a reconfirmation why I stopped going to Gentlemen's Club events years before the pandemic even struck. 

The event is generally held once every year, usually a Sunday night in mid December (because better nights are for heterosexual events, I guess) and dubbed "Gentlemen's Night."  Many of the types of gay men who flock to these events tend to treat it as an excuse to put on their pretentious fashion best and strut around feeling self-important, like they've made it at the centre of elite gay Toronto. 

Not queer Toronto, because this crowd is 100% cisgendered and as white-centric as you can imagine.  Sure there was some racial diversity, but true inclusion isn't on the menu at this place as men of colour tend to fade into the background a bit.  And women are completely absent. 

But if you regularly like to spend $1000 from your probably inflated private sector salary on suits every month, and like to hang around with others just like you, the Gentlemen's Club is definitely the event for you.  

I was reminded why I stopped going to these men-only events the moment I looked around the place last night.  Pretentiousness, hypocrisy and classism are hard to stomach. 

I was probably not dressed well enough either.  You know the drill, a 50-year-old man no longer as cute as he used to be.  To fit in, he's got to really level up his fashion to compensate for the aging body.  But I'm not a fashionista.  I'm sure I didn't measure up to the high-powered suits on display last night and I bet at least one pretentious fag probably whispered when looking at me, "How tragic!"  Or at least, that's how it felt as my social anxiety really kicked in. 

The whole thing epitomized everything I dislike about Toronto's gay male community.  The whole thing reminded me why these exclusionary, male only, elitist functions are so hypocritical and need to go away from our community. 

We don't allow straight-male-only clubs that exclude women anymore.  Why do we allow gay men to get away with the same damned thing?      

I was only there an hour before I decided I had had enough and left immediately.  My apologies to my friends I ghosted.  I just couldn't stay another minute longer. 

Going forward, big gross gay male-only fashion parades for the self-appointed gay male elite will be events I avoid.  Sadly, so much of gay establishment Toronto is exactly that.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Tonight’s tonic: “Danielle Smith’s sovereignty act eats at our trust in democracy. Why aren’t Conservatives calling her out?” 

Tonight’s tonic: “Danielle Smith’s sovereignty act eats at our trust in democracy. Why aren’t Conservatives calling her out?” 

http://www.thestar.com/politics/political-opinion/2022/12/03/danielle-smiths-sovereignty-act-eats-at-our-trust-in-democracy-why-arent-conservatives-calling-her-out.html 

#cdnpoli #abpoli #democracy 

My 2016 comedy short film "Tri-Curious" is back on YouTube!

Actors Rob Salerno and Trevor Ketcheson
My first short film as a director Tri-Curious is now available for the world to see on YouTube as of December 1, 2022.

The film spent the last 5 years available on Dekkoo, a fine, paid subscription media streaming service focused on gay male content, until last month when the licence they purchased from me expired.  (Man, how time flies!)  Before Dekkoo, Tri-Curious had racked up 1.5 million hits on YouTube.  The video has been private these five years to respect the licensing agreement.  But now I think it's time the public be able to watch the film again without a subscription for a while.

Re-watching it, I'm super proud of the moments the filmmaking team captured with sexy actors Trevor Ketcheson, Rob Salerno and Michael Went.  For my directing debut, I'm very happy with it.  The opening wide shot of Queen Street East in Toronto facing south across a long-gone parking lot is no longer possible as condo construction has blocked the view we captured in late 2015.

A special shout out to the crew who worked hard over two days of shooting in autumn 2015, including cinematographer Nico Stagias, assistant director Allen Braude, associate producers Jefferson Darrell and Tom Yarith Ker, sound guys Randy Resh and Pirhan Dastoor, make-up artist Mishka Prefontaine, and musician extraordinaire Mike Freedman. 

The film chronicles the last minute anxiety that threatens to ruin a young couple's first threesome together. 

As a young gay male couple gets ready for their first threesome together, one half of the pair gets cold feet and wants to cancel.  The trouble is, it’s 20 minutes until their “guest” is set to arrive at their apartment. 

The film wasn't autobiographical but did explore some issues around sexuality, monogamy and relationships that continue to intrigue me to this day.   I followed up Tri-Curious in 2020 with my next short film The Big Snore, which also did a festival run and got picked up by Dekkoo in 2021 where it will play exclusively until March 2026.  

In the mean time, if you haven't seen it yet, please have a look at Tri-Curious.  If you have seen it, give it another view.  I hope you enjoy it!