Truth in Advertising. It works. Find the single truth, the one big idea that people connect to, and build everything from there. Be seen. Be heard. Be remembered.
Combining footage from the final days of St. Marc’s Spa with interviews from Toronto artists Sky Gilbert, Keith Cole, Brad Fraser, Drasko Bogdanovic & Shane MacKinnon, we explore the art culture and ultimate demise of one of Toronto’s longest running bathhouses. Worldwide preview screening Thursday March 30 at 9:30pm | TIFF Bell Lightbox as part of the 23rd annual Inside Out LGBT Film & Video Festival. More info at: The Reading Salon.
So many men, so little time. Thank you so much to all the guys that participated in this landmark survey. The results of the Male Call Canada are out and you can have a peek at one of twenty survey fact sheets or for the more adventurous you can download the full 70 page technical report. Go ahead, snoop around – we know you want to! Let’s Talk Facts. Graphic Design: Raymond Helkio. Read the Globe & Mail article.
Every year, the Greater Toronto Area design community showcases its ingenuity by creating structures built entirely of canned and packaged food for the benefit of the Daily Bread Food Bank, Toronto. CANstruction demonstrates the commitment of design professionals to local communities by utilizing their skills to alleviate hunger in a unique and creative way. Our annual calendar goes out to architect & design firms and members of the CANstruction community. The food donated from this event is The Daily Bread Food Bank’s second largest food drive.
Preview documentary available March 16, 2013. Through interviews with artists Sky Gilbert, Keith Cole, Brad Fraser, Donnarama, Lena Love, Drasko Bogdanovik, Shaun O’Mara and Shane McKinnon we explore the art history and ultimate demise of one of Toronto’s longest running bathhouses. Visit The Reading Salon for more information.
Moral courage is the willingness to stand up when others want you to sit down. It is living with integrity. Through this new channel, the Moral Courage Project will inspire people worldwide to question dogmas, speak taboo truths and create honest conversations. Behind these videos is multimedia producer Adam Grannick and if you haven’t heard of Adam yet, you are about to because he’s behind the cool graphics and video work. It’s going to be one hell of a season starting April 2013! Check out Moral Courage TV channel and don’t forget to subscribe.
HIMBO! Sex, Drugs, Celebrity, The Law of Attraction & Other Adventures is a life love letter from a man learning to live authentically without apology. A time capsule of sparkling yet gritty modern life, Shaun’s book debut includes no-holds-barred provocative selections from his many contributions to the likes of The Globe & Mail and Xtra!, as well as thought-provocation from a multitude of celebrities he has interviewed for his acclaimed radio and TV shows – from Lady Gaga to Liza Minnelli, Betty White to Rosie O’Donnell. Sample ePub available here. Graphic Design: Raymond Helkio.
To criticize Israel, Gaza or Palestinian is not the same as criticizing it’s people. A political system, or lack there of, is worthy of criticism if no other reason than it’s position of power. You see, the person in the position of power is the only one who can truly make peace last. It’s like an adult with a unruly child, the parent must set the example. Parents aren’t necessarily smarter either, they’re just in a position of power which is why they are parents.
Look, it’s shitty businesses that rockets have been flying out of Gaza and I feel for the terror that it is causing ordinary people. You gotta fight back and protect your peeps, isn’t that what Dali Lama would do? Well maybe not quite, he’d likely retaliate with some form of peaceful non-retaliation which would a beautiful thing to witness but I’m afraid a lot of people would end up dying. Could criticism, dialogue and debate achieve peace? It can when the political entities that control the war feel the public awareness and hear the demands for answers. Public interest, public pressure, debate and the free exchange of ideas are vital to keeping our politicians on their toes, otherwise who is keeping score? How do we know what’s the truth? The CBC and CNN combined couldn’t do a decent profile on the the Israel/Palestine conflict if they tried. Where are the discussions, the debate, the interest for our fellow humans? The curiosity about what is truth and what are we being told?
It’s a political game that has profound cultural ramifications for its citizens but I’m afraid it’s not the people in the places, it’s the people running the places. Leaders must take greater responsibility and the people must hold them to account. Over and over. And over. After all, the political leaders are the only ones that can really stop a war, start a war or put it on hold. Even if it’s just a 24 hour cease fire, if they can stop it for a little while they can stop it for a long while. It’s a choice and anyone who tells you that the situation with Israel and Palestine is complicated is referring to only to their understanding the situation. Peace is not complicated, history can be.
Israel has been saying that they want the bombs to stop. The leaders and public figures chat this mantra over and over on the news because it’s truth for all of us: we all want the bombs to stop. But what about the big pink elephant in the room? Hello Military Occupation Elephant we’ve all been wondering about you.
The right to self-determination is the right to govern one selves as they see fit but Israel has made it very hard, if not impossible, to do that.The wall Israel built and is still building acts as a deterrent to terrorists – especially the kind that blow up busses with women and children on board. The facts speak for themselves because once Israel started putting the wall up, the incidence of terror almost vanished. There is all kinds of crazy shit that the people of Israel need to be protected from ranging from the rational to the truly insane but protecting yourself should not infringe on the fundamental human rights of a fellow human being.
Who’s making more peace-centric requests? When Benjamin Netanyahu is asked direct questions about matters pertaining to peace he is rarely forthcoming with ideas outside of they have to stop throwing bombs. This seriously stunning PR line suddenly positions the entire battle as if it’s being waged over Hamas tossing bombs at them for some unknown reason. There’s no good reason the throw a bomb but the reasons are pretty integral to the storyline.
We know both sides are capable of peace because they can agree to some peace even if it’s in the middle of battle. This is not an issue of capacity, this an issue of willingness and intention. But it’s not enough to just stop throwing bombs.
Just like you can’t grow a garden on a sidewalk because you need rich fertile soil. No different than peace because if you want peace, you’ll need a rich playing field where no fighting exists in order for anything to grow. even if you set up a two state garden, we’ll need to tend to the soil first.
Public criticism and discourse can get us though this but we have to be willing to talk about it. There is no power in ignorance, so pick a side and know that you might be wrong. But please pick a side becasue people are dying.
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” –Desmond TuTu
PositiveLite.com and the OHTN have teamed up to start the smoking cession discussion among AIDS Service Organizations and similar healthcare providers. PHAs (People Living With HIV/AIDS) may face greater challenges to quitting smoking due to a unique set of social, economic, psychiatric, and medical needs that may affect their smoking habits and their ability to quit (6) The resulting overlap between treatment, care and support for HIV/AIDS, substance use, and mental illness makes smoking cessation among PHAs a more difficult proposition than in the general population. To read the full background article click here. Design: Raymond Helkio
In an article titled Henry Comes Knocking: Video discloses absurdity of Court’s HIV non-disclosure rulings AIDS ACTION NOW gives a big thumbs up to The Reading Salon‘s efforts with this work. The criminalization of people living with HIV (or any illness) is an epically wrong way to manage a public health concern and is a slippery slope into the archaic world of disease management by law enforcement. Thanks AAN for adding your voices into the mix! Watch the video below.
What’s Moral Courage? Do I have it? Do you? Moral Courage is the willingness to speak truth to power and risk backlash for a greater good. And now there’s an App we’ve designed that guide you through your moral courage journey. Currently the App can support 17 languages and counting.
As Robert F. Kennedy told students at the University of Cape Town “Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet is it the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change.”
The Moral Courage Project (MCP) is lead by Professor Irshad Manji out of New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and through the MCP website which serves as a hub for students around the world.
If you have questions about MCP you can always send me an email and as one of the Canadian ambassadors for the project I can help you get involved or answer questions. Don’t forget to download the App (it’s free!) and look for my video question in the Ask Irshad section.
As part of winning the Buddies in Bad Times Theatre Indie Producers Package (Art Attack), Architect Theatre won a new logo & stationary set in time for their opening season. Architect Theatre is a Resident Company of Theatre Passe Muraille. Logo design: Raymond Helkio
Toronto artist Raymond Helkio, in a video interview with publisher John McCullagh, talks about his graphic design work for PositiveLite.com and about living with HIV. Since its inception in 2009, PositiveLite.com has relied on social media and word of mouth to let potential readers know of our existence. And we have been very successful in that regard. However, not everyone uses social media and our experience tells us that there are many Canadians living with HIV who are not familiar with our online HIV magazine.
To remedy this, we decided that we needed to undertake some promotion of the magazine in more traditional ways, such as displaying posters about our site at places where HIVers are likely to see them – like AIDS service organizations, doctor’s offices, clinics, pharmacies and community centres as well as at workshops, conferences and other special events.
To this end, we needed a graphic designer. And who better to turn to than Raymond Helkio, who has long applied his artistic skills to benefit charitable and not-for-profit organizations within the HIV and LGBTQ communities… [click here for the full article]
Photo: Guy McLoughlin
Watch past shows here
The Reading Salon is an experimental moving art event that gives voice to the printed word. Every month Toronto artists come together at a TBA location to celebrate the spoken word. One hour later we go live with a 15 minute curated performance of the work. In our first installation From The Book of Butter is from the desk of Amy Pearl, better known as MISS Butter for her hip-hop, free-style rap and spoken word performances from New York to her hometown Toronto. Please join us for a live 15 minute broadcast starting at 8PM on Tuesday August 21st, 2012. This months show can be heard on Blog Talk Radio is be hosted by Raymond Helkio. To chat live during the show listen online at Blog Talk Radio or you just just listen to The Reading Salon at 8PM on the player below. See you at the salon!
Queers for Social Justice logo: Raymond Helkio
Queers for Social Justice is a coalition of queer community groups, organizations and causes. The group was formed at a community town hall meeting for queers on May 27, 2012. We have come together to bring a unified message of social justice and politics to Pride 2012.
Drawing attention to the struggles that affect queers in Canada and abroad: homophobia, transphobia, bullying, the criminalization of HIV, refugee Bill C-31, homonationalism (e.g., focusing on “gay rights” to the exclusion of the broader concept of social justice) and the cuts to services at all levels of government.
Join for Pride 2012 us as we celebrate, demonstrate and agitate! You can find out more on facebook.
Please join me Thursday May 24th at 10PM (EST) on Blog Talk Radio with host Roy Mitchell for the show ROYNATION. We’ll be talking about The Great Meeting Room, Free Speech, Moral Courage, the Rob Ford: Prove It! campaign and Roy’s trending fashion. It’s going to be lively!
Blog Talk Radio is free and you can login with facebook to chat with us during the show!
Also on the show is Greg Youmans who wrote a book about the film as part of the QUEER FILM CLASSICS, a critically acclaimed film book series that launched in 2009; the series will cover twenty-one of the most important and influential films about and by LGBTQ people, made in eight different countries between 1950 and 2005, written by leading LGBTQ film scholars and critics. The series will unspool at the rate of three new titles each year until 2015.
Please join me for this year’s amazing line-up of films at the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival. This year I have sponsored the film August which is showing at the TIFF Bell Lightbox on Friday May 18th, 2012 (7:15pm) and I hope you’ll be able to join me for another year of incredible LGBT films.
About August: Five years ago in LA, Troy and Jonathan were in the midst of a full- blown love affair. But when their relationship proved too intense, Jonathan broke up with Troy and escaped back to Spain to follow career aspirations. Since then, Troy has made steps to re-establish a healthy life and has found a new love in handsome Argentinian bartender, Raul. Just when things seem to be returning to normal, Jonathan shows up unannounced looking to strike up a casual friendship that leads to old habits and a mounting sexual tension that threatens Troy’s newfound balance.
Avoiding the clich?s of a typical gay romantic triangle narrative, Rapaport’s debut feature deals with the difficult choices people are forced to make in order to break the cycle of self-destruction that accompanies unhealthy relationships. By approaching the story from each character’s perspective, Rapaport’s August thrives, and his mix of Middle Eastern and Latin influences help add to the film’s charm.
Based on Rapaport’s award-winning short film, Postmortem, August is more than just a steamy showcase for its gorgeous eye-candy cast, many of whom got their start in famous soap operas. The film is a refreshingly honest take on a universal problem.
A real story of a man wrongfully imprisoned and facing possible execution. This video by Hailey does a great job explaining a very unfortunate situation and through her Free Hamid campaign we hope to bring Hamid back to his family. You can help by watching and sharing this video with your friends and colleagues. Thank you for caring enough to watch.
Dear Rob, I hear you turned down another invitation to show your support for Pride day in Toronto – what a shame. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for spending time with the family but perhaps you haven’t considered the implications of being our mayor. It requires of you to be supportive of a diverse and culturally eclectic city. Perhaps you don’t see the job description that way, who knows.
Here’s the rub: you don’t show up for Pride or the flag raising and you really need to pick one. My impatience with you is growing and so I have gathered a group of connected friends to help disseminate a campaign to reveal what’s really going on with you.
I am not interested in hearing from you as words do not mean much to me. I am however very interested in seeing you take action on behalf of the LGBTQ community and show up at either Pride or the flag raising at City Hall. You get to pick.
While you waffle over your decision I have launched a campaign that I hope you will respond favourably to – its called Rob Ford: Prove it. I will accept nothing short of your participation in one of these two events as your assurance that you are trying to understand us.
We, as a community, generate a lot of “gravy” for the city and I insist that you recognize the LGBTQ’s financial and creative contribution to this great city. The time has come to prove it.
Press for Rob Ford Prove It!:
Morning Brew, BlogTO
New Campaign Asks Rob Ford to Prove He Supports the LGBTQ Community, Torontoist
A FACEBOOK DISCUSSION ON THE LIMITS OF FREE SPEECH
This Tuesday March 20th at 6pm (EDT), I’ll be guest moderating a discussion on Irshad Manji’s fanpage and I’d love you to join the conversation. Here’s the upshot, last week #ToMyUnbornChild was a trending topic on Twitter and the idea was to tweet a message to your future child. Some tweeted some lovely things while others chose to use this hashtag to declare that they would kill their child if they were LGBTQ. While this story was posted on The Huffington Post and more recently on XTRA!, the people who have made these outrageous tweets haven’t otherwise been held accountable – or should they be? Please join me on facebook as we discuss free speech, hate speech and the limits of accountability.
The Moral Courage Project is housed at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and is lead by professor Irshad Manji. The Moral Courage Project is growing into a global leadership program to help students engage in difficult dialogues about culture, power, justice, responsibility, citizenship and other contentious issues. For more information about MCP you can visit the website or contact me directly.
The AIDS Committee of Toronto’s winter/spring newsletter is out. The theme is ACT Gay and this particular issue is dedicated to gay men – you can get your copy here. ACT’s Executive Director says “Our Gay Men’s Community Health Programs have taken this to heart, with a campaign launched at Pride to celebrate the resilience of gay men through 30 years of the HIV epidemic in Toronto. It’s a community we’re proud to come from, and a community we continue to serve as a priority.”
Graphic Design: Raymond Helkio
Launched this past September, Male Call is the most comprehensive national survey of men who have had sex with men in Canadian history. For the final few weeks of the campaign, professional soccer player and former Montreal Impact most-valuable-player David Testo is joining us to encourage gay and bisexual men across the country to participate in the national, bilingual Male Call Canada study, led by the University of Toronto and supported by national partners including the Canadian AIDS Society, the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT), and l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). This research is collecting data about the attitudes, knowledge and sexual behaviours of men who have, or have had, sex with men and will help inform future public health and HIV prevention strategies, help build healthier communities and ultimately save lives.
Testo joins researchers from universities across the country, community partners and a national advisory group to help promote the study, which aims to recruit 6,000 men for a confidential, toll-free telephone survey. Potential study participants can call 1-855-846-MALE (6253) to confidentially and anonymously take the survey. The lines will be open until the end of January 2012.
For gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men and who are interested in becoming study participants, David Testo, who recently came out as a gay man, has a clear message: “I urge you to make this very important call. Over the last decade, much has changed in the lives of men who have sex with men, and more information is needed about their attitudes on a national scale.” Testo adds: “This survey provides an opportunity for men to contribute their opinions on current issues so that we can better educate, promote and develop effective programming for our community and the population at large.”
“This is the most comprehensive survey of men who have had sex with men in Canadian history,” said University of Toronto Dr. Ted Myers, Principal Investigator for Male Call Canada. “We hope David’s endorsement of this study will encourage even more men to participate in the study. The more men who participate, the better the results, the stronger the study’s findings and application.”
Once the data is collected and analyzed, a report complete with findings will be available by July 2012 at www.malecall.ca. The study is also supported by the national advertising campaign themed ‘Let’s Talk’. Photograph by West Phillips
He’s part of the team behind those witty “Fact or Phallusy” sex survey ads you may have seen on Facebook. Or not, depending on if the social media site banned them. Raymond Helkio is our new Man of the Hour, explains Male Call Canada, and then takes our TMI Questionnaire to reveal the accidental boiling of a Japanese fighting fish.
Please give generously to the Toronto PWA Foundation’s 5th annual PROUD FM JOY DRIVE. You can help by dropping off non-perishable food items. Details at Proud FM.
Graphic Design: Raymond Helkio
Male Call Canada is a national university-community collaboration that surveys men who have had sex with men. Participation goes a long way in helping create effective community health programs. Read the story in xtra! about about our recent facebook ban and then come join our fanpage! Graphic Design: Raymond Helkio