Tuesday, November 5, 2019


Arrived by train to Toronto where I had the good fortune to stay with one of my writing mentors, Ian Young, a giant of Canadian queer publishing, who like Felice, built his own press (s). He also wrote a important book about the gay movement and AIDS Crisis, The Stonewall Experiment: A Gay Psychohistory and did a bunch of groundbreaking anthologies (The Gay Muse, On the Line) which is how I originally connected to him...way back when I was asked to edit (along with Marci Blackman) Beyond Definition: New Writing from Gay & Lesbian San Francisco by Jennifer Joseph, who ran Manic D Press 
as well as the premier SF poetry reading of the early '90s at Paradise Lounge. I had not published a book before, so it was an honor and I reached out to everyone who'd come before who had done something similar, and so I met Ian...but only digitally...it would take another 10+ years to meet him for real one day in NYC.
Ian was born in South Africa and grew up in both England and Canada, along with many years spent in NYC as part of the Gay Liberation Front in the early days of the gay movement

Ian below, on left, with partner Wulf, who grew up in a hunting lodge in northern BC and now does sets for the Toronto Opera. Interesting guys to say the least, and lovely hosts....

Wulf whipped up a very northern meal (pirogis, beats, red cabbage, peas, sour cream), except for the Filipino sausages

Their house is a lovely menagerie of books, records, cds, films, statuettes, art, toys and wonder...

Amazing painting above the fireplace which changes colors with the light...it depicts Anubis, the Egyptian dog-headed god at the gates of the underworld (the Aztecs have a similar myth of a dog who guides departed souls through the underworld)

The Pan altar

Ian's downstairs study where he showed me his extensive collection of chapbooks, one of mine included...I'll send him the other 4 when I get home...he also asks visiting poets to add a poem to his poetry guestbook, which I was composing on that yellow legal pad that just happened to be a favorite writing surface of my late Dad

That's Ian's house across the street from a coffeeshop. It was a grey, rainy few days, so we stayed in a lot, spending 
most nights in animated discussion about all manner of things - economics, politics, art, film, literature, history, architecture, etc.
At one point, I mentioned Gus Van Sant's Mala Noche, an excellent film...Ian casually pointed...it was sitting on the table :)

Some of the stand out music that played while we sipped beer and wine, smoked weed, laughed and discussed:

Morton Feldman
Tangerine Dream

Miriam Makeba

Nusrat Ali khan

We went out for Native American food, something I'd wanted to do in Toronto as I'd heard there were several places of note.
We went to Tea N Bannock

Squash soup

That's Ian's Arctic Char and my Char burger on frybread...below is 
Wulf's bison stew


Camille at Glad Day bookstore...she was so helpful, welcoming and friendly...bookstore folks are often socially awkward and/or a tad morose and reserved...not Camille! :)

I read from my story "Ghost" which is becoming a favorite it turns out....

Thursday, it was raining for the second day in a row, but I wanted to go see a new neighborhood...where are the artists? Where are the transitioning neighborhoods? (a nice word for gentrification, or the sweet spot before the salaried and the developers come in...Wulf directed me to Parkdale on the west side of the city....exactly what I was looking for .... in my ideal world, we'd stop the process right at the point Parkdale is in.....rent control I guess....and let them build lofts and apartment towers stage left in some nearby neighborhood, but not here!
I tooled along for hours, ducking into coffeeshops and Dollaramas when the squalls proved too challenging...as long as I have a book and a pad of paper and a pen, I can just wander the cities of the earth like this forever, completely content

Note the queer rainbow steps on the church...this isn't the gay neighborhood, but the more adventurous gay folks are here....the gay neighborhood, which is downtown and where the gay bookstore is, has gone the route of  most gay ghettoes over the last couple decades and is touristy, expensive, bland and rather soulless

The two cool Parkdale sisters who opened Tattoos & Coffee, sheltered me from the rain, and then encouraged me to also check out the western reaches of Bloor Street

So it ended up a big circular walk and I headed north and then east back down Bloor Street ...

finally reaching downtown and Yorkville where Felice was doing a presentation on gays in Hollywood in the golden age of film (Carey Grant, Randolph Scott, Garbo, Dietrich, etc.)....

Passed this window and thought of Ernest Posey, my late painter friend and mentor, who often did meticulous spirograph type paintings similar to these...
Some of Ernest's:

Felice Picano and his friend Beverly, who he went to college with...teacher, dancer and, as she reminded us - and most importantly - a New Yorker! We had a nice Middle Eastern dinner together

And an answer to my question about the mystery salad in Ottawa:
Thank you Marshall Moore who nailed down the scientific name, and Paul Holden, who as a Quebecois, gives us the colloquial - 
sea bean salad :)

Marshall and his boyfriend Simon on left

Paul and two of my favorite people, his twin sons Henry and Patrick :)

Samphire originates on the coast of Northern France in sea-sprayed marshes...so not quite seaweed, but kinda......another indication that the Quebecois are Northern French...will be eating lots of it if I move to Montreal....

I ate mine with cheese balls, so not vegan, but this just in from a non-vegan:

Question: How do you know if someone's a vegan?

Answer:  They will tell you.

The Goof

Returning to the U.S....wish me luck!!


Nov. 4, Mon., 7 pm - Reading/Q&A
Magers & Quinn Booksellers
3038 Hennepin Ave.
w/Raymond Luczak
(612) 822-4611

Nov. 6, Wed., 7 pm - Reading/Q&A
Quatrefoil Library
1220 E. Lake St.
(612) 729-2543


Nov. 9, Sat., 7 pm - Reading/Q&A
Elliott Bay Book Company
1521 10th Ave.
w/Alvin Orloff
(206) 624-6600


Nov. 16, Sat., 11 am, Radical Faerie Coffee
Triumph Coffeeshop
201 SE 12th Ave.
(971) 229-1631

Nov. 17, Sun., 6 pm, - Stage Reading
Crush Bar
1400 SE Morrison St.
w/Daniel Elder
(503) 235-8150

Los Angeles

Nov. 22, Fri., 7:30 pm - Reading/Q&A
Skylight Books
1814 N. Vermont Ave.
w/ Alvin Orloff & Tara Jepsen
(323) 660-1175

Palm Springs

Nov. 27, Wed., 6–8 pm – End of Tour Book Party
Palm Springs Cultural Center
2300 E Baristo Rd.
(760) 325-2582


Dec. 5, Thurs., 7 pm - Reading/Q&A
E.M. Wolfman Bookstore
410 13th St, Oakland
w/Alvin Orloff & Brontez Purnell
(510) 679-4650

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