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A Writer’s Half-Life

Unvailed: The 2014 Hot List

Posted by on Jan 4, 2015 in A Writer's Half-Life, Featured, Parting Shots, Unabashed, Understand, Unrivaled | 0 comments

Unvailed: The 2014 Hot List

With the sound of a great crack, it was suddenly over. No, I’m not talking about Rob Ford’s term as mayor; I’m talking 2014. What a year of change, upheaval, catharsis and assorted outrage. But hey, that’s why they invented social media. 2014 started with frost quakes and an ice storm in Toronto and ended with a bit of a whimper. However, after the past year, it was a welcome winter, indeed. At Unvailed, we had a year of music, theatre, politics, smooching, sexual harassment and the timely death of a truly rotten person. So, it...

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London Theatre: Nights to Remember

Posted by on Dec 21, 2014 in A Writer's Half-Life, Featured, Unrivaled | 0 comments

London Theatre: Nights to Remember

One of the many pleasures on my recent trip to London was seeing some exciting theatre (and to see it spelled correctly!) First up was John, from DV8 Physical Theatre at the Lyttleton. Not a play in the traditional sense, director Lloyd Newson based John on transcripts of interviews with men involved in various addictions: drugs, alcohol, sex, and anger.   I went to see it for Jane Horrocks, the ever-delightful Bubble from one of my favourite shows of all time, Absolutely Fabulous. The play jumps from scene to vivid scene, while the...

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Portrait of a Play: The Bakelite Masterpiece

Posted by on Nov 8, 2014 in A Writer's Half-Life, Featured, Unrivaled | 0 comments

Portrait of a Play: The Bakelite Masterpiece

Dutch artist Han van Meegeren (1889-1947) decided early on he would rather be a first-class forger than a second-rate painter. He might have got away with it, too, having sold a fortune in forged art, had World War II not come along to unmask him. When faced with charges of collaborating with the Nazis after Hermann Goering bought one of his fake Vermeers, van Meegeren confessed he hadn’t sold a priceless Dutch masterpiece, but a worthless fraud. The outrage of the art world soon rivaled the political turmoil as van Meegeren found...

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Jon Michaelsen on Jeffrey Round

Posted by on Sep 14, 2014 in A Writer's Half-Life, Featured, Unrivaled | 0 comments

Jon Michaelsen on Jeffrey Round

What happens when author meets author? A lively, informative interview and glimpse inside the mind — and life — of writer Jeffrey Round, conducted by author Jon Michaelsen. Here is a snippet of the feature Q&A. Read the full interview after the jump. Jeffrey, thank you so much for taking time to answer some questions for members of the Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction Facebook group.  Let’s start off with, where do you live? I live in the now-fashionable neighbourhood of Leslieville, in Toronto’s east end. When I moved here,...

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Hag Wars

Posted by on Aug 8, 2014 in A Writer's Half-Life, Featured, Unrivaled | 0 comments

Hag Wars

A peculiar type of psychological thriller began in 1962 with Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?, starring screen legends Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. Over the next decade it spawned a number of films featuring well-known female actors, considered by Hollywood to be past their (leading lady) prime, who often took on sparring roles as bitter rivals. The public lapped it up. Numerous reasons were given for the stars’ decision to take on these over-the-top, noir-camp displays of scenery eating: financial necessity, a dearth of good roles for...

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Why The Lambda Matters

Posted by on May 31, 2014 in A Writer's Half-Life, Featured, Unrivaled | 0 comments

Why The Lambda Matters

Last year, I won the Lambda Award for Best Gay Mystery for my fifth book, Lake On The Mountain. The win served to raise my status, especially in the highly coveted US market. Apart from giving me a career boost, there are a number of reasons why this award matters. First, it tells me I’ve achieved a standard in writing that is recognized by my peers. As six-time Lambda winner Michael Nava wisely pointed out, however, it’s not about being best because that is “ultimately a subjective decision.” Nonetheless, there’s...

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London Road: The Evil of Banality

Posted by on Jan 27, 2014 in A Writer's Half-Life, Featured, Unrivaled | 0 comments

London Road: The Evil of Banality

We meet residents of London Road in Ipswich at their first AGM as they discuss plans to improve community relations in light of the discovery of five prostitute murders in their neighbourhood. These are the killer’s other victims: the people who live there. The group voices its concerns (“Good Evening, Welcome”) as the audience is introduced to the show’s musical style, a sort of Sprechgesang, where the flow and pitch of speech is translated to music. When not addressing one another, the cast speaks directly to the...

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Manon, Sandra and the Virgin Mary by Michel Tremblay.

Posted by on Jan 14, 2014 in A Writer's Half-Life, Featured, Unrivaled | 1 comment

Manon, Sandra and the Virgin Mary by Michel Tremblay.

Michel Tremblay is arguably Canada’s best playwright and one of the world’s great queer writers. Oddly, this play marks his first appearance at Canada’s largest queer theatre. The reasons for his neglect are not easy to explain, but the clues are there. Through the 80s and 90s, Toronto’s theatre scene was a jealously guarded and highly competitive field. At the time, Tremblay was already a big enough name that his work overshadowed that of lesser artists. As well, he’d secured support at Toronto’s Tarragon...

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New for Old: Streisand, Bowie and Hendrix

Posted by on Jan 1, 2014 in A Writer's Half-Life, Featured, Unrivaled | 0 comments

New for Old: Streisand, Bowie and Hendrix

2013 was a year for some older superstars to release welcome reminders of their heyday. (And in the case of at least one artist to make us take note of his greatness all over again.) Barbra Streisand’s Release Me is a souvenir of all that was exciting in her voice, and to a certain extent still is. The eleven tracks were recorded over a 45-year span, between 1967 and 2012. There are a handful of Broadways songs and one jazz standard among them. If there are no clear cut gems here, there are some truly beautiful moments and a few bits of...

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Canadian Writers’ Incomes Going Up in Flames

Posted by on Dec 18, 2013 in A Writer's Half-Life, Featured, Unrivaled | 0 comments

Canadian Writers’ Incomes Going Up in Flames

An Open Letter to the Presidents of the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario: Many thanks for your personal responses to my form email. Forgive me for not having penned my own initially, but I already spend so much time writing with so little recompense that I tend to overlook the niceties of human correspondence when I can get away with it. I’m acquainted with the complexities of the “fair usage” situation under consideration, the politics and philosophies both for and against copying the work of...

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