Raymond Helkio is an author, director and award-winning filmmaker. As a graduate from the Ontario College of Art & Design he cofounded The Reading Salon and is a Canadian Ambassador for the Moral Courage Project. Email
Pink Elephant Manifesto
Occasionally walk in the opposite direction from the heard.
Be loud when others are quiet and quiet when others are loud.
Listen without speaking.
Question everything with a smile, especially your boss.
Night of the living dead: creating chaos at the AGO
CBC Arts, RM Vaughan, October 28, 2016
“Keith Cole’s new universe in #HashTagGallery Slut includes a dreamy film created by his frequent collaborator Raymond Helkio; a drag performance by club queen Maria Delmonte; a real canoe, in which Cole attempts over and over to drown himself… to create an open space and interpretative actions that will allow others to join in on the conversations about the artists.”
RAID: Operation Soap, June 9, 2016
Daily Xtra, Do young Grindr gays know Toronto LGBT history?
“As part of Buddies In Bad Times Theatre’s Queer Pride programming, RAID: Operation Soap is an unconventional love story about two the men that experienced the infamous raids. Written and directed by Raymond Helkio with David Bateman, music by Stewart Borden, and starring Keith Cole and Johnny Salib, the play is based around a Bette Midler–inspired character who allows us to reconnect to a significant historical event in a way that is as entertaining as it is heart-breaking.”
Scene Changes, June 27, 2016
“Director Raymond Helkio talks about what inspired Raid: Operation Soap… “This story is about an unlikely activist whose personal transformation happens in the face of unforgivable brutality” says director Raymond Helkio who co-wrote the play with David Bateman. “Whenever I hear people referencing the bathhouse raids it’s almost always with a certainty of how things played out, but there was no certainty about anything, life for the LGBT community had been overshadowed by mounting fear and doubt for years leading up to the raids.” Read more.
Drew Rowsome, June 30, 2016
“…a version of Raymond Helkio and David Bateman’s Operation Soap in the Alexander St Parkette dramatizing the horror and righteous-inducing anger that were the bathhouse raids, while Bruce LaBruce launches a DJ set complete with projections on the Church-Wellesley BIA ‘Circus So Gay’ Stage…”
Towels Off For Pride, MyGayToronto.com, Paul Bellini
“David Bateman and Raymond Helkio have written a new play, with music by Stewart Borden and starring local legend Keith Cole. It will play June 29 at Buddies. You can show your support right now by visiting their GoFundMe page and consider pitching in towards the costs of producing the show independently. And definitely make time to see the show. Even if you’re too young to remember the bathhouse raids, the sight of Keith Cole in a towel will be worth it.”
The Great Meeting Room addresses the alienation young gay people experience in our culture. April 4, 2016, Out In Jersey
“The Great Meeting Room, the newly released storybook by Raymond Helkio, addresses the alienation and exclusion young gay people experience in our culture—indeed in most cultures of the world today… In few words a great deal is said.”
Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Fuck You
March 14, 2016, Daily Xtra
Queer zine redefines family and supports Glad Day in the process
“They act as an intellectual and artistic hub for us and this is a way to raise money for them and demonstrate our love and commitment to their work,” Helkio says. “They’re an important institution who helped fight for some of the rights we currently enjoy. I think many of today’s youth understand the fight that preceded them. But so many more have no real appreciation of how fragile their rights actually are at this early point in our history.”
A Zine About Family, February 29, 2016, MyGayToronto.com
“So it’s only fitting that provocateur artist Raymond Helkio would dig into the past to shape the future for the benefit of the always financially struggling Glad Day.”
Pushing Boundaries And Coming Out Queer
Coming Out QUEER, June 1, 2015, Daily Xtra, Chris Dupuis
Raymond Helkio: Having the same rights as everyone else doesn’t mean we have to be like everyone else. Our community has changed its battle cry from “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it!” to “Do you like our pretty parade?” We need to ask ourselves if the trade-off is worth it.
10×10 Photography Project
Featured artist: Raymond Helkio photographed by George O. Dwitte for the 2015 edition. Public display at the Gladstone Hotel June 2015, print book available through 10×10.
Raymond Helkio, Keith Cole And A Cast of Dozens Destabilize Normal
May 28, Drew Rowsome
“He references the Daytona Bitch and Donnarama scandals and ‘how they were handled. There are those scenarios and how we respond as a community. How cool and powerful that they were trying something new, too bad it may or may not have worked, and we say, ‘When boundary pushing doesn’t work: you’re over.’ We usually cast out really great people in our community for trying something extraordinary.’ says Helkio.”
Rhubarb Festival: Hamlet In A Hot Tub
February 16, 2015, CREW Magazine
Shakespeare By Way Of Gender Bending, Video and Bathhouses
An Evening With The Impostors
May 31, 2014, Daily Xtra, Chris Dupuis
Pretty in Port Hope: On the road with four Toronto drag legends
“His previous short, Death of a Bathhouse, had screened at Inside Out last year, and he was longing to make a follow-up. Not content to simply film the girls and fork over the footage, he decided to turn the experience into his first feature and An Evening with the Impostors was born.”
Death Of A Bathhouse
May 29, 2013, Daily Xtra, Chris Dupuis
A New Film About The Closing Of Toronto’s St. Marc’s Spa
Helkio: “There’s definitely increasing conservatism in the gay community, both among young and older generations, and I think that comes partly from the apathy associated with a sense of safety. We have this idea that we have all these freedoms in Canada, like it’s a place completely free of homophobia, and that has an impact on how we express ourselves sexually.”
Poster Design And The Politics of Pride Funding
May 29, 2013, Daily Xtra, Marcus McCann
Mammoliti Will Try To Yank Pride Toronto’s Funding Retroactively