There are few places in the city where talent, art and delightful perversity come together the way they do at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.
Just like every other alternative playhouse, they’re always short on funds, but they have a very Buddies way of combating the deficit: the annual ArtAttack! fundraising auction collects the best of the company’s big names and smut for a good cause. This year, Shawn Hitchins is hosting it and, says curatorial advisor Chris Ironside, “I don’t know what surprises he’ll have in store for us.”
Provocateur and long-time art-attacker Keith Cole can’t help himself: “The underwear! There’s a whole underwear component. And Mason jars. And that’s all we’ll say for now.”
Ironside adds, “It’s all about preserves.”
A visual artist in his own right, Ironside is heading up an impressive team, which includes sculptor and performance artist Johnson Ngo, photographer Elise Victoria Louise Windsor, visual artist Cecilia Berkovic and Magenta Magazine
editor Bill Clarke. “This year there’s artists that haven’t been involved before,” Ironside says. “There’s some very, very exciting emerging artists, and I’m really [looking forward to] the tuck shop.”
The Rock Hudson Memorial Tuck Shop is a new initiative curated by Cole. It’s an option for those who want to support Buddies but may not have a couple grand to drop on a piece of art. “This way you can come away with something that’s 20 bucks, 50 bucks, 70 bucks,” Cole explains. “Some of them are multiples; some of them are first edition; some of them are created just for this.”
The tuck shop is an arty memorial to the dead (or dying — it was almost the Courtney Love Memorial Tuck Shop), with a Fifth Element
, space-age, Clinique counter-esque aesthetic. “In reality, it’ll be a neon sign and a couple of shelves, but in my mind Milla Jovovich and Bruce Willis are running around, and all the supermodels are there,” Cole says.
The evening also features a silent auction and, of course, the live auction, with some absolutely fabulous pieces. Erotic photographers Mikel Marton and Drasko Bogdanovic have donated work, and there is a fantastic piece by Parisian designer Erté. Of course, ArtAttack! is always more than just an auction. Alongside the ever-irreverent host Hitchins, Canadian stage and Broadway performer Thom Allison will add his talents to the evening, as will special guests Boylesque TO, DJ Regina the Gentlelady, pornstar and performer Drew Deveaux, and burlesque babes Bianca Boom Boom and St Stella.
Above all else ArtAttack! is an opportunity to support a Toronto institution. “For me,” Ironside says, “Buddies is always the place that I was first introduced to queer Toronto art culture. I think it’s a great organization and great place. I believe in what they do.” —Michael Lyons
ArtAttack! is Thurs, Nov 22, 8pm at Buddies, 12 Alexander St. $25, $100 limited VIP tickets. buddiesinbadtimes.com/art-attack