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A Fab farewell

Some of Fab's greatest writers, columnists, photogs and lovers remember the good ol' days...

05.08.2013

Jim Armstrong 
Former Editor  

Working at Fab was fun, unpredictable and exciting. Fab was about having a good time, about being who you were or who you wanted to be. Fab was fabulous, no apologies.

Lindsay Lozon
Photographer

I started shooting with Fab when Michael Schwarz owned it. We called it “little Fab” back then, as it was pocket-size, about six by nine inches.

Darren Cooney
Designer 

When the little magazine went political, when the likes of David Miller, Jack Layton and Olivia Chow, and Stockwell Day graced its cover. Fab was a place where those kinds of ideas would hit you when you least expected it.

Mitchel Raphael
Maclean's Columnist & Former Editor 

When Olivia Chow discovered that the $6,000 Dolce & Gabbana dress we got for her cover shoot was too small. She pulled out dental floss from her purse to tie it closed in the back. And when we put Toronto police chief Julian Fantino in makeup for the first time in his career for his cover photo — he remarked that he should wear it all the time because he liked how it looked so much.

Maha Rishi
Stylist

I was honoured to work on the cover with Jack Layton because he always defended the underdog and basic human rights, but also all the memorable covers that brought Church (Street) and state together! Fab celebrated the lives of members of our community who would not necessarily be memorialized in mainstream publications.

Steven Bereznai 
Author & Former Editor

My love for Fab can be summed up by the article “How Le Chateau Saved My Life” by Michael Pihach. It’s the story of a teen goth queer struggling with depression, searching for fabulousness in his small town. There was no gay community centre. No gay bookstore. No gay bar. But there was a mainstream clothing outlet that sold body-hugging, shiny clothes, which, ironically, gave him air to breathe. He took something superficial, materialistic and of questionable longevity and turned it into something life-affirming and beautiful. At its best, so did Fab.
Michael Pihach
Former Writer /
Associate Editor

Whether it was getting young people talking about issues like censorship and body fascism or delving into why the party you went to last Saturday sucked, Fab always had a cheeky way of engaging readers.

 

Jesse Stong
Playwright

In my first Twink column, I compared my life to The Wizard of Oz. Mitchel Raphael really was like a wizard to me, teaching me how to write, instead of letting me pretend to be Carrie Bradshaw.

Sofonda Cox 
Drag Performer

Being chosen to be on the Pride cover for the “thickest issue of Fab”! I remember they called it “Sofonda Cox Uncut,” and it was the first time people got to see both of my personas — Sofonda and Jonathan — in an in-depth interview, beautifully written by Michael Rowe.

 

Michael Rowe
Journalist & Author 

It’s easy for jaded, too-bored-by-half queens to sneer about Fab’s legacy, but let’s not pretend it didn’t have a national, even global, scope at times or that it wasn’t the only gay magazine in history to make the National Magazine Awards shortlist.

Todd Klink 
Co-Owner of Club120
& Former Columnist

I really loved when Fab paid high-end pornstar/escort Talvin DeMachio $410 to sodomize me, and interviewing the “Chicken Man,” a guy who took me through his very subversive (and disturbing) fetish of fucking raw whole chickens.

Daniel Paquette 
PR Director & Former
Music Columnist 

It was incredible when a reader would take the time and money to mail me a box of CDs, colour photos and T-shirts of their all-time favourite singer with a letter explaining why I must immediately write a 10-page article about long-lost divas like Olivia Newton-John, Donna Summer or Siouxsie Sioux. 

Matt Thomas
Film Producer & Former Editor

I got dating advice from David Sedaris over dinner, talked about sex in the back of cabs with Lady Gaga, got a musical birthday phone call from Dolly Parton, flirted with Gregg Araki and turned Cheyenne Jackson into James Dean before getting him soaking wet. But the things that affected me in ways that are harder to explain are the memories I treasure the most: like jumping into the pool naked with the older gents of TNTmen for a lesson on body image.

Andrea Nemeth
Former Associate Editor 

I list being the only woman on a staff of gay men on my resumé (it’s gotten me job offers!) because, although Mitchel Raphael ran the place like a benevolent dictatorship, it was well known that “Mitchel’s in charge and Andrea’s in charge of Mitchel.” I’ve never had a job I loved more (or that paid less!).

 
Anthony Collins 
Writer & Former 
Assocaite Editor

Writing the captions for Flash, a collage of seen-about-town pictures. This was the last thing we’d do before we put the issue to bed. Whoever happened to be in the office would pitch in. And when wit failed us, one of three go-to cutlines would invariably suit the photo at hand: “Pretty in pink,” “Brothers in arms” or “[So-and-so] gets a leg up.”

 
Max MacDonald 
Fashion Editor 

After my first stint at Fab in 1990, I was the Style columnist with editors Drew Rowsome and Matt Thomas and the three dream photographers Derek Lang, David Pike and Mikey Sin. And I got to roll around on the floor with designer Phillip Bloch.

 

Scott Dagostion
Glad Day bookshop Manager, Contributor

As editor for one single issue, I joke that I’m the George Lazenby of Fab, but I’m forever grateful to former editor James Fortnum for granting me my first-ever paid interview: a 1997 chat with Mayor Barbara Hall. As managing editor, I served the marvellous Steven Bereznai and then the criminally under-appreciated Paul Gallant.

 

Rolyn Chamers
Deep Dish Columnist

Interviewing Sir Ian McKellen with my Fisher Price tape recorder, and he asked, “Are you seriously going to interview me with that thing?” He also pinched my ass. Bonus.

 

Tony Thong
Photographer

Taking Fab photos for 10 years, I’ve enjoyed every moment but one, recently, when I was informed that the police and some other media outlets were looking for me because I had photographed a cannibalistic serial killer (not once, but twice!) as the Fab Guy.

 

Elio Iannacci 
Maclean's Arts Editor & Former Music Columnist 

In 2003, I listed the top 25 divas of all time. For obvious reasons, I left out the usual suspects, such as Streisand, Spears, Garland and Dion and, instead, included Siouxsie Sioux, Björk and Jill Scott. The hate letters and angry emails didn’t stop pouring in until 2007.

 
Donnarama 
Drag Preformer 

[Plays Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done for Me Lately?”]
 

Michael Schwarz 
Co-Founder of Fab

I have so many great memories, but the one that sticks closest to my heart (other than firing that prick John Kennedy) was the night one of the issues hit the streets and we invited all the writers and assorted friends who made it all possible to an impromptu party at my house on Granby Street. Many cocktails later, someone played the song “Absolutely Fabulous” by Pet Shop Boys and we sang till our voices broke.

 

Say what you will about Fab (as so many have!), It's been very, very good to a great many people in Toronto. 
Some of the magazine's movers and shakers share their favourite memories. 

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