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My Gay Toronto - Bellini's 8 1/2

It takes a Village


Recently, I had dinner with my cousins, three elegant women who live in the gaybourhood. As I knew they adore Ru Paul's Drag Race, I suggested we dine at Glad Day, currently enjoying a zeitgeist moment by airing the show to crowded rooms every Friday night. The menu, which was created by the women behind Cardinal Rule, was quite good. (My cousins previously lived on Roncesvalles and dined at Cardinal Rule frequently.) I had a heaping bowl of fusilli, while they enjoyed the vegetarian fish'n'chips and poutine. 

Afterwards, we grabbed a round of drinks and settled back to watch Drag Race. The crowd grew rapidly, swelling to capacity. The venue plays last week's episode first, then the new one. People are really into this whole drag thing. The evening was hosted by two drag queens who performed numbers of their own during the breaks. 

In last week's episode, a queen named Alexis Michelle was booed for creating an outfit based on the Native American member of The Village People Felipe Rose (who, thank God for him, was half Sioux). Alexis adorned her dress with turquoise (a mineral found all over the world) and used a bow, sans arrow, as a fascinator. It wasn't a good look, but worse, one of the drag queen hosts accused Michelle of cultural appropriation, this year's 'worse than cancer' over-reaction. Bows and arrows, by the way, predate recorded history, and the oldest was found in Denmark, for fuck's sake. So how is this even "cultural appropriation?" 

Yes, we owe other cultures our respect, but I failed to see how that outift was worthy of any but the most disingenuous and sanctimonious outrage. It's selective scorn. After all, weren't we watching a TV show in which men appropriate the attire of women, and the whole thing is hosted by a black man wearing a blonde wig? Do young people have no capacity for discernment, no sense of irony? Is everything nowadays about revealing one's moral high road in order to provide self-congratulation? And to see the rest of the crowd jump on the lynching bandwagon made me want to flee, and I would have, but then again, I had to stay to see who was going to be voted off. (No one, as it turns out - a bum episode.)

My cousins had a great time, and we hope to do it again. If nothing else, it swells my heart to see a bookstore reinvent itself as a community hub. The new Glad Day is everything the old one wasn't, and that fusilli was delicious, by the way. Books, food, and a good show. What more could you want? Maybe a little less throwing of stones by those who live in glass houses. 


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