Hosted by the glittering Philip Cairns, the Damned’s May show was a veritable celebration of Toronto’s queer theatre history with open stage appearances by David Bateman & David Roche & features by Peter Lynch & Sky Gilbert.
First feature Peter Lynch did two performance pieces: ‘The School For Hopeful Wankers’ – about an acting coach introducing her method of ‘acting is about immediate honesty’ where one would have to align ‘with their formerly disembodied pelvis.’ Comic, scary and insightful by turns it was a smart portrait of acting teacher as drill sergeant. His second piece was an excerpt from his video ‘The Narcoleptic Sex Slave’ now on YouTube.
Next feature was Edward Nixon. He did a strong set of new work that resulted from a recent workshop on the works of Charles Olsen. He uses precisely placed words where none are wasted to create swift, pointed images. Too many to make note of as I listened – ‘we talked TV and underwear,’ ‘dry Caribou sky,’ ‘purple flowers necklace the blood rust.’ He uses alliteration and sonics to sublime effect: ‘sand sunk down from the granite ground.’
Music feature Ori Dagan did a captivating set that had us tapping our toes & left us wanting more. Recently declared “Canada’s Next Top Crooner” he hasn’t let that keep him back. His styling of standards are much too fresh to be called ‘crooner.’ Accompanied by an excellent bassist (Alex Coleman) he tore though a set that included I Got Rhythm, You Go To My Head, and a great bossa nova take on Nature Boy. Alex did some solid solos (love those strong fingers.) These guys love to play and we loved to hear them.
Sky Gilbert wrapped up the show with new travel pieces – that may be never seen or heard again – they certainly deserve life beyond this feature spot. His New York pieces had a flutter of pop references: Daniel Day Lewis, Carrie Bradshaw, Pink. Wry observations: ‘drinks were $26 – so there goes the romance,’ ‘I saw him limping into the adult video store and said ‘there is my next boyfriend’.’ The Palm Springs pieces were funny, tender, and even vulnerable about his own aging process and angry at the normalization of ‘queer’ – ‘can’t I go into a gay bar and not have to put up with some straight couple working out something in their relationship.’
Next month DM Moore hosts the Beautiful’s pride month show.