Friday, 24 January 2014

THE NIGHT CONRAD BLACK VISITED MONTREAL GAY LEATHER BAR TRUXX




Le Journal de Montreal's front-page coverage of the police raid on Truxx and Le Mystique


The historic Montreal police raid on gay leather bar Truxx in the wee morning hours of October 22, 1977, was the largest mass arrest in Canada since the War Measures Act. Police charged 146 men with being found-ins in a common bawdyhouse. Police also simultaneously raid the neighbouring gay bar le Mystique.

“More than 50 uniformed and plainclothes police from the divisional morality, mobile and technical squads carried off the raid” in the early morning hours of Oct 22, The Body Politic reported. “The heavily armed members of the technical squad entered with bullet-proof vests and at least two machine guns.”

The 146 men arrested were held for up to 15 hours at police headquarters “while ‘compulsory’ VD tests were administered.”
Andy Warhol's portrait of Conrad Black

The next night over 2,000 LGBT people blocked the corner of Ste-Catherine and Stanley in protest, and a few weeks later, on December 15, 1977, Quebec’s National Assembly passed Bill 88, banning discrimination based on sexual orientation in Quebec's Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. The law also made Quebec the second jurisdiction in the world (after Denmark) to forbid discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation

Truxx was also the site where my first mentor, the late Nick Auf der Maur — famed Montreal boulvardier, former Montreal city councillor, columnist for the Montreal Gazette and the father of Melissa Auf der Maur (rock star with Hole and Smashing Pumpkins) — brought his old friend Conrad Black, the conservative Canadian-born former newspaper publisher, historian, author, columnist and convicted felon (in the United States, for fraud).

Nick gleefully recounted to me for my Three Dollar Bill column the time he bumped into Black in downtown Montreal one day in 1978, not long after the Truxx police raid.

“Let’s go for a drink,” Black suggested.


Tuesday, 7 January 2014

LILY TOMLIN MARRIES PARTNER JANE WAGNER - AND OFFERS SOME "COMING OUT" ADVICE




Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner get hitched

Emmy-winning couple Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner got married on New Year's Eve. Tomlin, 75, and Wagner, 78, have been together for 42 years.

The wedding, reported by columnist Liz Smith, does not come as a complete surprise: Just before the US Supreme Court struck down California’s marriage ban last June, Tomlin said she and Wagner – author of The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, The Incredible Shrinking Woman and other Tomlin vehicles – might get married.

A few years ago, I asked Tomlin – who had spent much of her career publicly closeted – what she would tell  gay actor or performer seeking advice about coming out.