Thursday, 18 December 2014

Thankyou Kim Jong-un!

I don’t know how to express my gratitude. People say you’ve done some pretty horrible things in your reign as dictator in North Korea (I’m not sure - because, like so many I don’t read newspapers anymore). But whatever your mistakes in the past, somehow, you’ve finally seen your way to do some good. You know what I’m talking about don’t you, Mr. Jong-un? (Or should I address you as ‘Your Highness?’ Or ‘Your Holiness’? I’m never sure. Frankly, I wouldn’t know how to address our great Canadian leader Stephen Harper in similar circumstances!)
Anyway, Your Magnificence, you know what I mean. You succeeded in stopping a new movie called The Interview from its Christmas release. You’ve done a great service to The American People. Did you see This isThe End? I’m sure you did (I mean, who didn’t)? For that would certainly explain why you decided to put a stop to The Interview. What a piece of boring garbage This is The End was! And so you decided, in your deep spiritual wisdom, to nip another Rogan/Franco commercial blockbuster in the bud even before it had a chance to cheapen our lives with it’s soul-crushing mixture of cheerless, witless, gags, useless nonsense, and intensely unfunny profanity. 
Thankyou, Oh Great One.
There is one obvious benefit of course. Hopefully, cancelling The Interview will be a blow to the commercial film careers of  Seth Rogan and James Franco. They are a couple of pretty smart guys. And Seth Rogan, I think, has some real artistic talent (Franco may simply be a ‘pretty face’ — I’m not quite sure yet, as I’ve always been blinded by pretty faces!) But the point is, both Rogan and Franco show both the intention and potential  to develop into serious artists. But now they might — since their commercial movie hopes have been dashed in this particular instance — turn their time to more serious intellectual pursuits, i.e: novel creation, playwrighting, and HBO.
Bravo, Peerless Leader!
And, if you’re not too busy issuing proclamations and reviewing the troops,  could you turn your immense brain to some other subjects that immediately require your attention?
Could you see your way to making terror threats against the movie musical remake of Annie (You know, the — ‘Let’s do it over again and make a fortune, only this time we’ll have a BLACK Annie, so it will be socially relevant’)? And could you stop all future sequels to The Hobbit and The Hunger Games? In fact, could you threaten to bomb theatres in American that show bad movies, period?
I would be particularly glad if you could take the care to jeopardize the sequel to Frozen. (Any threat to Disney would be welcome. I’m asking you with the utmost respect, Your Supremeness!)
Legions of future generations will thank you.
I don’t know if you’re aware, Jong-un The Amazing, but girls around the world have learned from the hit animated film Frozen that to ‘Let it Go’ means having your hair turn from brown to blonde, and your dress transform from the colour of mud to sparkling blue! And the young women who learned their ‘feminism’ from Frozen now idolize glamorous celebrity Emma Stone (who in a recent very prestigious speech at the U.N. taught us that modern women might improve their lot by being nicer to men)!
In fact, could you do me one final favour (I promise, this is the final one!). Jong-un The Omniscient, could you simply drop a bomb on Disney studios? 
Not just a bomb threat — a real bomb. 
Like, soon?
Of course you would have to do it in the dead of  night. I don’t want there to be any loss of life. But certainly it would be great if you could destroy all that digital technology that is responsible for ‘special effects.’
I’m sure you’re aware, Oh Jong-un The Terribly Special, that there was a time when Hollywood films had value, when they weren’t all hatched from the tiny brains of fat, dumb, sexist, capitalist executives yearning to pack their pockets with loot, but from the brains and loins of visionary directors and writers the likes of: Bill Wilder, John Ford, Martin Scorcese, Alfred Hitchcock and his wife Alma, Ruth Ford and Garson Kanin, and Frank Capra — to name a few.
But that time is over. As Theodore Adorno and Max Horkheimer predicted so many years ago, entertainment in America  has become purely an industry, and what inspires movies these days is dollar signs in the eyes of CEOs!
Again, thanks, Your Umatchable Wiseness!
Western culture is forever in your debt.

(apologies to Jonathan Swift)

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Homosexuality Is Not Productive

As I watched two young men walking down Church Street holding hands, a question occurred to me. 
What will all this come to? 
I thought: well, this can only lead to ‘trouble, and seat wetting!’ (to quote The Rocky Horror Picture Show).
As Ian Brown notably stated — when speaking of Sasha Baron Cohen’s Bruno — “I would say there’s something inherently edgy in the ideal of male on male sex – the primacy of desire, it’s genetic futility – and anything that defrays that tension can be funny.”
Yes we find homosexuality edgy and/or funny, but it’s difficult to take it seriously. Neither two men together nor two women together can ever produce children naturally or easily. Gay couplings never will.
Do not underestimate the significance of that fact.
It’s always been essential for human beings to procreate, ever since The Bible and the endless ‘begats.’ These days it might be better if we slowed down the procreation a bit (i.e. world overpopulation) but that doesn't matter. People will always value procreation because of major cultural fears about the death of the human race.
Gay people seem to have only recently figured out the cultural significance of the fact  that their unions are unproductive, and have tried their best to make themselves appear otherwise. Witness: images of gay bankers and prosperous gay men in gay advertising (are we not business leaders like other white men?) Witness: gay and lesbian obsession with the adoption of children, with the trading around of sperm and the freezing of eggs, with gay ‘families.’  And lest we forget: the endless (quite offensive) talk of the tragic deaths of the apparent masses of artistic homosexuals from AIDS. But these hastily cobbled images and obsessions are no substitute for the real thing. The truth is that homosexuals are not any more successful at business than anyone else, can only adopt children (not produce them) and just as many gay plumbers and construction workers have died of AIDS as gay artists. (However in the haste of gay leaders to make us appear productive — no one seems to want to talk about gay plumbers and construction workers. Need I point out that plumbers and construction workers are also quite productive?)
The point is that homosexuality and lesbianism — by being essentially unproductive — are simply not an effective component of a capitalist culture. The traditional family is a very important component in the capitalist system (mother stays home and has kids, dad goes out and works, kids grow up and become part of the labour force).
So, as much as gays and lesbians are hellbent on assimilating, they never will be seen by anyone as an effective cog in the machine of capitalism. I know it, you know it, and everyone knows it (though we don’t dare talk about it).
What replaces the value of productivity in queer culture? Pleasure, beauty and contemplation. People have a sense of this — they often imagine that we queers have more pleasure (I wish we did, but such fantasies about us ignore the strip clubs and the sex trade industry in straight culture ) or are more beautiful (come on, straight women are as obsessed with being pretty as gay men are) or are more thoughtful (nice fantasy, but no, gays and lesbians are generally just as dumb and thickheaded as straight people.)
No. We are not prettier or smarter than heterosexuals, and we do not have more fun than they do. Yet, pleasure, beauty and contemplation are the values that queer culture inspires, and the place where our culture inevitably directs itself.
After all, if gay men are more ‘aesthetic,’ it is about beauty and pleasure, not productivity. To quote Socrates, who was fortunate to have lived before the advent of capitalism:  “therefore I decked myself out in finery that I might be among fine young men.
The culture of capitalism has in mind for us a quite different and specific end: that we fill our lives with twinkling electronic and digital devices, soft-core porn images, expensive fashion, fancy restaurants, and budget breaking real estate purchases. And on top of this it is very important that each of us work 24 hours a day so that CEOS of the global mega corporations can amass huge profits.
And capitalism requires heterosexual families in order to function.
So where does that leave us — the queers?
Happily, forever outside.
Don’t you agree?

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Ninety Percent of Children Cry

I couldn’t watch CNN anymore. There were three women on New Day sitting on a couch talking about what was going on in Bill Cosby’s pants when he drugged them and had sex with them. No disrespect to these women but — is this news? I mean are we really watching this because we are concerned about the abuse of women, or just because dirty stories about inter-racial sex just titillate us so much?
I switched to CBC. Some nice guy was talking about kids visiting Santa. (‘At last, I’m home,’ I thought.) Then he said — apologetically — (So typical of CBC, they’re apologizing for everything nowadays with Stephen Harper intent on taking them down.) “Ninety per-cent of children cry when they see Santa.”
Now that really hits home.
The obvious response would be - duh. Wouldn’t you cry if you were three years old and some determined parental unit plunked you down on a fat man’s lap and you were suddenly confronted with blindingly red and white colours and a huge fake beard? And what if Santa was old and smelly (there are Bad Santas you know)? What then?
Which leads me to inquire: if 90% of all children who go to see Santa do not enjoy the experience (and are blatantly obvious about it), why in heavens name would parents continue trotting them out for this sadist Christmas ritual?
The answer is simple and terrifying.
Most parents couldn’t care less what their children need. Instead, it’s all about the parents.
Children take their kids to see Santa, not because it brings the children pleasure, but because it’s a required rite of passage — because their parents took them and it terrified them, and because everybody else does it, and well — you just, should, eh? Because it’s something people do.
Double, wow.
The reason I’m so appalled by this is because it strikes me that generally speaking, people have children for no other reason than to fulfill society’s expectations, not because they care about children or raising them.
And the effects on the children are devastating.
My background is an exemplary example. My mother married when she was 17 and I was born when she was 21. She didn’t want to be married. She was still just an adolescent escaping her own mother. So the fact that she screwed me up so royally is really not her fault.
Perhaps this isn’t happening anymore (you say)? I beg to differ. Every day I look out the window of my house in downtown Hamilton and see legions of babies with babies — pretty girls chatting on cellphones, smoking and doing drugs, while the boyfriends in baggy pants follow them pushing strollers.
It will always be the same: people have children because they are supposed to — the last thing they care about is the needs of the children. Instead they expect the children to fulfill their lives and live up to their expectations, and someday make them proud.
Being gay, I had some hope for gay parents (though I would never want to be one myself). After all, it takes so much planning and effort for a queer couple to manage having children that I thought maybe gay, lesbian and trans people might raise children for all the right reasons in stead of the wrong ones (ie because they love the kids and truly care about their development).
But no. It’s the sheer hysteria of gay parents — all that pride in the little kiddies, all that money paid to surrogates — and the frenzied showing off of the little’uns, that makes me afraid that queers really are going to be just as bad at parenting as their straight counterparts. 
Oh well.
I suppose it’s too much to ask that it all might stop?
Of course I understand that people will forever want to raise children, and that’s fine (okay, after all, we do need to propagate now and then) but perhaps they might  do so  only when they are emotionally mature and have energy for the kids — and wish to respond to the person those kids turn out to be — instead of trying to shape them into a societal expectation of success.
But I doubt it will ever happen.
So the children will continue visiting Santa.

And alas, they will continue crying.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Why Are Gay Men Such Bad Citizens?

Neo-con gay writers like Andrew Sullivan talk a lot about how important it is for gay men to be good citizens. By good citizenship they mean getting married, supporting the police force, and going to church.
I don’t call that citizenship.
I call it conformity.
Then what after all, is a good citizen?
Recently I assigned a group project to my students. One student told another student that they didn’t care to participate in the group because ‘after all, it’s not being marked.’ I tried to make the students understand that this was very bad citizenship. I mean are you going to spend the rest of your life throwing garbage on your neighbour’s lawn?
President Kennedy said; ‘ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’
That’s what good citizenship is. 
To be fair, most people are bad citizens. They don’t give a shit about anything or anyone but themselves, and they’ll get away with what they can get away with, and certainly would never think of helping out those less fortunate than they are (‘after all, what’s in it for me?’).
To get back to gay men. A case in point. AIDS ACTION NOW tells us that ‘from the beginning of 1989 to June of 2012, at least 140 people have been criminally charged for allegedly failing to disclose their HIV+ status to a sexual partner.’ Many gay men — especially those who live in small towns with homophobic public health officials — are now often afraid to identify as HIV positive. This means not going to the doctor. This means, for many, getting ill, and perhaps dying.
Do gay men give a shit about this?
It seems pretty clear that emphatically, they do not. After all, gay men are not the only victims of the criminalization of AIDS — a disproportionately high number of sex trade workers and people of colour are demonized by these prosecutions. Gay men don’t seem very eager to associate themselves (even through philanthropy) with those who have less privilege than they do.
And what about all the gay men who are political conservatives? Their reasoning: get gay marriage, get rights in the workplace, and then turn around and support the very politicians (like Stephen Harper) who never supported you in the first place, politicians whose political party is filled with closet cases, and who support anti-feminist attitudes to abortion.
Also, I’ve heard lots of idle talk about queering gay marriage. People jaw on and on about the fact that gay men and lesbians could introduce the world to alternative forms of marriage — open relationships, polyamory, etc. That gay men and lesbians shouldn’t blindly participate in an institution that historically represses women and basically doesn’t work (so many marriages end in divorce!).
But who’s actually doing that?
And finally what about those in our gay community who happen to be feminine?
Many gay men shun them. They like their men to be ‘real’ men, and these days that means wearing beards and clomping around in construction boots (lumbersexuals anyone?).  Many gay men certainly don’t want any ‘fats or fems’ propositioning them on Grindr.
So why are gay men such bad citizens?
Because we all are. This is just the way it works. Forget the golden rule. Forget doing unto others as you would do to yourself. Just get that privilege and run with it. If other people don’t have the same privilege as you — well tough for them in this dog-eat-dog neo-con world. 
‘I’m happy to throw my garbage on my neighbour’s lawn. Hey, I do it in the dead of night, so no one is the wiser! Makes me happy, and I’m the one who matters to me, right?’
Right on, buster.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Jian Ghomeshi is NOT Kinky!

Recently the front page of The National Post featured two headlines side by side. One said: Profiting from Vice and the other said Proud to be Gay. (The first article was about Rogers and Vice Media, the second was about Apple CEO Tim Cook.) Co-incidental placement? Perhaps. And yet I would suggest that many North Americans still think sex is a vice.
            Its important to remember our ancestors. Many of us are descended from United Empire Loyalists who migrated from the United States. Take it from me, those guys were a bunch of crazy religious zealots Puritans and the like, kicked out of England because they hated their bodies, wore hair shirts and flagellated themselves for having lewd thoughts. Religious extremists, the lot. With our nutty ancestors, its no wonder we North Americans have a little trouble being human.
            Commentary about the Jian Ghomeshi scandal has gotten out of control, and every uptight old fart (including Noah Richler) now has an opinion. Richler (oh dear, how far the apple has fallen from the tree!) takes Jians actions as an excuse to castigate young women for liking kinky sex. He suggests it would be a good idea for every Canadian father to ask his daughter why she thinks being choked, even by a celebrity, is okay.
            All of this betrays a misunderstanding of what sex is, and that is typical of the Puritanical hair-shirt-wearing Canadians we are.
            The misunderstanding is simply this.
            Jian Ghomeshis actions were not sex.
            Going out on a date with a girl, or meeting a girl for the first time, or having a girl over to your apartment, and then slugging her (surprise!) without permission, is not sexy to anybody. Its not kinky, its not a turn-on, its not foreplay. In fact its the opposite of foreplay. What these young women experienced was abuse, pure and simple. And abuse is not sex, period. It is the opposite of sex.
            Of course the whole issue is confused by Ghomeshis desperate, pathetic attempt to defend himself using Lynn Coady and Fifty Shades of Grey. Hey, I think we should leave poor Lynn Coady out of this. But just stop by any s/m chatroom and you will discover, in two shakes of a lambs tale, that no self-respecting kinkster likes Fifty Shades of Grey. Instead they rightly view it as nothing more than soft core porn romance for women who like their vanilla fantasies spiced with a little s/m, but wouldnt dare admit to their desires or try them in real life.
            When Jian Ghomeshi used the kinkster defense he set sexual liberation back to the stone age.
             Sex is all about power, and naturally contains elements of aggression. Have you ever seen an animal bite the neck of another animal during coitus? Have you ever heard a female cat in heat? Have you ever enjoyed your partner pressing you into the bed as he or she ..well, you know. We are animals, and that thing that gets our genitals excited is mixed up with aggression and power, tops and bottoms, butches and femmes, masters and slaves.
            But in order for this thing that happens between human beings to be sex, both parties must know they are having sex, and agree to it. If they do, they can do anything they bloody well please as far as Im concerned. One persons sexual treat is another persons nightmare (just like one persons favourite desert turns anothers stomach) but thats why there is consent, so we can agree about what we are doing beforehand.
            But if you slug somebody or choke them without consent - thats not sex, its violence.
             Do you understand the difference?
            I know its difficult for some to understand. But it shouldn't be, really. I mean Jian Ghomeshi  has a a very practical reason to pretend not to know the difference between sex and violence (i.e. he wants to keep himself out of jail).
            But, hey, whats your excuse?

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Ten Things Wrong with Audiences at the Royal Alexandra Theatre

1. They are fat.
What difference does that make? Well it makes a lot of difference when you’re seated beside a whale of a person who insists on pressing their gigantic arm into your side.
2. They are ugly.
I know, you don’t think it’s nice for me to criticize a person's appearance. Well I’m not talking about  how they look on the outside but the way they are on the inside. People who are selfish, ignorant and unkind are ugly. On the inside.
3. They are older than God.
Well they are. (So am I, but that doesn’t make it a good thing!)
4. They are rude.
Some guy bumped right into my friend in the lobby, and continued walking along as if nothing happened. He didn’t even say  ‘Excuse me.’
5.  They have no sense of humour.
Some woman sitting in front of me kept turning around, annoyed, when I laughed  during the play. (The play was Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good.) Why the hell can’t I laugh? I have every right to laugh! Or is this Canada, and we don’t laugh? Or is this ‘high art’  that cost a lot of money to see, so we’re supposed to be quiet like it’s church? Or maybe, lady, you just don’t have a sense of humour. Let me explain what a sense of humour is.  A sense of humour is not what happens when you watch The Three Stooges or Big Bang Theory or a Youtube video of a guy diving into a wading pool at a Norwegian bachelor party. That’s a visceral, conditioned response like farting or burping. A sense of humour is a response to human weakness that reminds you of your own frailty. When you see an actor creating a real flawed individual onstage, it is sometimes funny. So you might try laughing instead of making me feel uncomfortable for my thoughtful, natural, reaction.
6.   They don’t know how to raise their children.
This is what happened. Right after Our Country’s Good began, people started leaving. At the intermission, half the audience had left. During the second act, more people walked out. I know why. It’s because there’s lots of talk in the play about women opening their legs, and women being whores.  And early on — the ‘c-word’ was uttered. I’m sure some of the audience members who walked out found the show ‘offensive to women.’ Give me a break. These are the same audiences who brought their children to see Rock of Ages. Rock of Ages featured table dancing strippers. At Rock of Ages they sold t-shirts that said I LOVE BOOBS. Which show would you say was the most offensive to women? And why in heaven’s name would you bring your impressionable kids to see a sexist piece of garbage like Rock of Ages?  You should have brought them to see Our Country’s Good! Our Country’s Good is actually ABOUT sexism. The kids might have learned something.
7. They are insensitive.
When you have a company of wonderful actors acting their hearts out in a beautiful play like  Our Country’s Good, it behooves you to react, in some way. No, don’t lean back in your chair and fall asleep. Listen! Watch! Think! This is art you numskull!
8. They are ungrateful.
And when it’s all over, you might consider giving Our Country’s Good a standing ovation. After all, you gave a standing ovation to a warmed over piece of crap called The Wizard of Oz, and to Lord of The Rings (which was more of the same, with better lighting) so you might consider the standing 0 for a play that actually deserves it, for a change.
9. They have no idea what David Mirvish has done for them.
I never thought I would say this, but thank you David Mirvish, for trying to improve the quality of mass entertainment in this town by bringing a beautiful produced political poem — dark, thought-provoking, human and humane, for all of us to see and enjoy.  You brought us a 20th century classic. And what do you get? Bad ticket sales, walkouts, and complaints. Is there no justice?
10. Oh, did I say they were stupid? 

I am ashamed for this city. I am ashamed to ever have lived in Toronto. A brilliant theatre company came all the way from England to perform a fine, profound, challenging play for us. I watched the actors in the curtain call, when the audience could barely get it together to clap. Some of the actors were trying desperately not to judge us. They just looked sad and worn out. They had work their butts off for two and a half hours for nothing. But some of the actors looked at us, and I knew what they were thinking. They were thinking: “What a bunch of provincial hosebags these Torontonians are. What a a pile of dumb philistines. Yes Canada is certainly rightly nicknamed ‘The Colonies.’ Oh yeah, you know about Torontonians don’t you? They elected Rob Ford. And it looks as if they might just do it all over again. It all just kinda makes sense, doesn’t it?”

Saturday, 18 October 2014

The Tyranny of a Genderless World

This is the way I am
Yes I'm just made this way
And when I want to laugh
Why then I laugh all day
I love the guy who loves me
So how am I to blame
If the guy who loves me
Is not every night the same?
- Jacques Prevert (translated by Eric Bentley)

This has always been my song. I believe that everyone is different and -- as long as nobody's killing anybody or molesting anybody -- we should let people be whoever they are.
Surprisingly, not the whole world agrees with me (or with Jacques Prevert!).
The big surprise is that some recent opposition to Prevert's ideas comes from an unexpected place: the trans community. But this is not surprising, since the queers who started this whole sexual liberation thing got it wrong in exactly the same way.
Let me explain.
Lately some trans activists (Kate Bornstein, significantly) have been raising the banner of 'no gender.’ I've got nothing against Kate Bornstein, I've met her, and she's probably as charming and sweet a person as you'll ever meet. (And two more different people you will never meet: Kate's about as laid back as I am stressed out!) But as much as I adore Kate, I disagree fundamentally with her idea that there should be no such thing as gender. 
The argument goes something like this. Gender causes a lot of pain. When we label children boys or girls, we force them to fit into the straightjacket of gender assimilation. Who are we to tell anyone what a man or a woman is? And yet, inevitably, says Kate, as long as there are gender labels, those labels will continue  to oppress people. Gender is a kind of fascism. A genderless world would be a world without homophobia or sexism.
A lot of people have picked up on Kate's ideas, including the trendy gender activist Beatriz Preciado. 
But Kate’s ideas are not new.
Contrary to what you might think, early queer activists were not just fighting to make the world safe for gays and lesbians. No. They were fighting to create a world without sexualities. The fantasy of early gay and lesbian activists was the same as present day trans activists --  that labels would some day be unnecessary.  
So what's wrong with this dream?
I believe that such a world would be even more oppressive than the world we live in now.
For example, right now some feminists no longer feel comfortable about beginning a sentence saying — "As a woman, I --"
Why? Why, after years of fighting for women's liberation, would women feel that it’s wrong to speak 'as a woman?' Because for some, speaking 'as a woman' enforces a fascistic gender binary.
I’m sorry, but all this has to stop.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Kate Bornstein has only the very best of intentions.
But a world in which people are afraid to embrace the labels that they have chosen for themselves is not a better world. 
It is, unfortunately, easy to imagine an impossible, utopian vision. What's much harder to do -- but what we must do, at all costs -- is respect the labels that people make for themselves and somehow (and this is very difficult) teach them not to oppress others with their own self-identification.
So if somebody tells you that you can’t speak 'as a woman' or 'as a  gay man' because gender and sexuality are oppressive labels, just say. ‘You’re oppressing me!’
Let's be gay, lesbian, straight, gay, genderless, male, female, gender variant, bisexual, trans -- let’s be different!
But please please -- I beg you --  let’s not tell anyone they can't self-identify.
Because in that imagined freedom you will find a kind of slavery.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Exclusive Interview with the Stars of STRANGE LOVE!

                At Toronto’s fabulous filmfest this year, I had a unique  opportunity!  I was thrilled to interview Jon Lithgaw and Albert Molino, both starring in the soon-to-be-a-hit  film STRANGE LOVE -- which opened the Toronto International Film Festival last week ! I happened on the twosome by chance really; I was on my way to Bruce LaBruce’s trendy little late-nighter at Bambi’s on Queen Street, when who should I catch my eye, sharing a couch, but the venerable stars of stage in screen  in – of all places – the TIFF lobby!
                Well I wasn’t about to spoil this chance. I told them I was representing a prestigious blog (i.e. ANOTHER BLOG NOBODY READS) and asked them if we might have a little ‘Socratic dialogue’ about their upcoming film. When they said yes, I simply yanked over a convenient potted plant, and perched myself on the edge.
                Molino was well groomed and sat almost a foot away from Lithgaw, who -- bow tie rakishly askew -- was characteristically (and charmingly) unkempt.  “So I see you guys don’t sit too close to each other when you’re not acting in a gay movie.” I opined, ironically. Both laughed. It was genuine laughter, Molino deep and husky, Lithgaw a bit higher and grittier (he’s a smoker).
                “Well we don’t view it as a ‘gay movie’” said Lithgaw, putting cute quotation marks around the latter words with his fingers.
                “Do you agree, Albert?” I asked.
                “Most certainly,” said the slightly more formal Molino. “This is a film about people.”
                “I’ve heard that there’s a double Oscar buzz around the flic,” I said, a mischievous twinkle in my eye.
Lighgaw jumped in immediately, and earnestly: “It’s not about awards, it’s about the work.”
                There was an elephant in the room; I knew I just had to ask a question that was certain to be on the minds of all serious cinephiles -- “You two share -- shall we call it -- a ‘gay kiss' In the movie. What was it like actually doing  that kiss?”
                 Both men started to speak at the same time, and then apologized to each other.  Albert nodded to Lithgaw, who began: “You know, when it comes down to it, a kiss is a kiss –"
                “And a sigh is a sigh!" quipped Molino
                (Hearty laughter from all.) “Yes,” agreed Lithgaw, “and if you’re playing a character who is in love with someone else, it’s quite natural for the kiss to grow from that love.”
                Mischievous again, I leaned in from my improvised seat beside the Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree “And how did your wives feel about that kiss?”
                Again, we all laughed heartily. Then Albert filled the brief,  ensuing silence: “I think on the day  we shot that scene, my wife did hold me just a little more tightly as we wished each other goodbye.”
                “Well, Jon’s a looker,” I proffered.
                “Why thankyou” said Lithgow decisively, with a witty flick of the hand.
                “And your wife, Jon?”
                “She’s a trooper, she knows it’s all part of the job, ever since Roberta Maldoon in GAP.”
                “Ahh. Now I have a rather serious question to ask you,” I said -- as we reached  the heart of the interview.
                “I’m girding my loins” rejoindered the redoubtable Lithgaw.
                “Well,”I said, trying to look them both in the eye--  at the same time -- no mean feat, “do you think this film will have any effect on your careers –"
                Lithgaw interrupted me. “Are you serious?”
                “Well, because it’s a gay film, I mean.’
                “Oh Pshaw!” joked Lithgaw, histrionically (a bit of his film character showing through!)
                Albert eyeballed me seriously. “I can’t believe you asked that question! Surely we’ve moved beyond that! This is a movie about human relationships. A deep and important movie with a message.”
                “And what IS that message” I asked, pithily.
                “That everybody is the same.”
                “Exactly the same,”  agreed Lithgaw.  “Inside, we are all, exactly alike.”
                My mind moved quickly to images of spleens and large intestines, thumping hearts and kidneys, and useless little gall bladders, pondering thoughtfully the similarity between all of our digestive systems. However I didn’t have time to marvel at the depth of these stellar observations because both men were immediately swept up by handlers. Well enough with celebrity interviews!  I was on my way to experience the joys of Bruce’s  little Toronto-grown sybaritic film festival romp in hipster heaven!
                But (and I mean this truly, madly, deeply) it was a joy sharing it all with you.