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the Gateway » volume c number 2 1 




Secret lives of Poster Boys and girls 

Davina Stew art tells how her character grapples with relationships 


Ohbijou says bye bye Bellwoods 



musk preview 

Ohbijou 

With the Dojo Workhorse 
Thursday, November 19 at 9 p.m. 
Pawn Shop (10549-82 Ave.) 

$10 at ticketmaster.ca 


SARAH STEAD 

Arts & Entertainment Editor 


Tilt- romantic notion of the "starving artist" is 
one often applied to musicians, particularly 
during the inevitable start-up pliase every band 
must endure on their way to fame. But for Casey 
Mecija, one of six current members of orches¬ 
tral indie-pop outfit Ohbijou, an important part 
of being an artist has been using her music to 
fight others' hunger. Working collectively with a 
few dozen other bands from Toronto. Mecija and 
bandmaie James Bunion decided in the summer 
of 2007 to put together a compilation album 
called Friends in Bellwoods, turned after Mecija’s 
home on Bellwoods Avenue. 


‘Tm sort of in transit right now. 

I’m on tour so much that it 
doesn’t make sense for me to 
rent a place.” 

CASEY MECIJA 

ON BEING TEMPORARILY HOMELE5S 

"The basement [of Bellwoods] was a really amaz¬ 
ing place to have shows arid the place that Ohbijou 
had its practice.. Ii became this place where lots 
of musicians played and hung out. james and I 
thought this was a really important tiling to capsule 
that summer, and we tried to put out a compilation 
oi artists that are our friends, or are people that have 
inspired us in some way." explains Mecija. 

All of the proceeds from Friends in Belhwxx/s 
were donated to Toronto's Daily Bread foundation, 
and because of the project's success, Mecija and 


friends decided tlul 2009 was a great t ime for a fol¬ 
low-up: Friends in Bellwoods 2. To date, tlieprojeu 
has raised neatly 18.000 dollars in the fight against 
inner-city hunger. 

"We were thinking about something that 
affects our city [when we chose a charity], dial 
we see everyday just walking down our city 
streets. [There's] Itonielessness and with that 
comes hunger and poverty. Tltey are always in 
need of donations and support. We thought that 
that would be a good organization to donate the 
profits to" she says. 

Ironically. Mecija herself became homeless 
during the process of putting ibis project together. 
At die end of this past summer. Mecija discovered 
tltat Bellwoods was infested with mold, and after 
broaching the issue with her landlord, she was 
evicted. 

“It was sort of bittersweet after living there 
for like four or five ytars." Mecija remmktes. "It 
was really sad. bin it was also exciting because a 
ample days liefore we moved out we liad all of the 
Bellwoods compilation CD releases in die city. It 
was a very happy time, but sad because the house 
was no longer a part of it." 

Conveniently. Mecija was able lo stay with 
friends in the city before taking off with Olihijou 
in September to tour in Europe and the UK. and 
promote the land's new allium Beacons. As we 
talk on the phone, she’s at her parents house, drop¬ 
ping off boxes and her dog Appleby, preparing for 
die Western Canadian part cif the band's tour, and 
while she admits she hasn't lined up a place to live 
for wlien she returns, she doesn’t sound too con¬ 
cerned about it. 

'Tm sort of in transit right now. I'm on tour so 
much that it doesn’t make sense for me to rent a 
place," she says. 

Although she knows fin- certain slie won't be 
returning to the Bellwoods house, Mecija says that 
she hasn’t ruled out future Friends in BeDwoods 
projects. 

“I drink with Friends in Bellwoods, die name 
may just become an umbrella for organizing other 
projects. Maybe in tliefmure we'll havea show that 
aintribtnes to oilier projects. I'm not sure if well 
have another compilation, but we'll see [_.] Maybe 
in two years we'll do a third," she laughs. 


theatrepreview 

Poster Boys 

Written by Michele Riml 

Directed by Bradley Moss 

Starring Jesse Gervais, Jell Haslam, Davina 

Stewart and Frank Zotter 

Roxy Theatre (10708-124 St.) 

Runs November 26-December 13 at 8 p.m. 
2 p.m. on Sundays. No show Mondays. 
$15-50 at tickets.theatrenetwork.ca 


JA\ Y\ Y1NG DENG 

Arts & Entertainment Staff 


Theatre Network’s latest comedy Poster Boys 
features a new spin on true events. Career- 
obsessed middle-aged executive Caroline 
(Davina Stewart) is in the midst of an ad cam¬ 
paign for a large credit bank. The two poster 
boys featured in this ad just happen to be die 
first same-sex couple in a major marketing 
campaign. Perhaps this is not an impressive 
fact, unless you consider that one of the love¬ 
birds happens to lie Caroline’s ex-fiance Jack 
— the man that left her at the altar over a 
decade ago. The play is an imaginative inter¬ 
pretation of a real Vancity Credit Union ad 
project, which brought about a strong reac¬ 
tion from Catholic Archbishop Adam Exner. 

But according to Stewart, this comedy is 
not about political or moral controversy but 
"gay relationships, relationships with people, 
family relationships, work relationships, and 
the blurring between them." 

At the centre of all of these overlapping 
relationships is Stewart's character. Caroline. 

“She is living a lie. When people 
in these positions are selling 
something to tlie public, they 
can understand people and 
read them. They know how 
to spin doings so it will work 
for a product, but they don't 
necessarily know how to be 
honest with themselves.” 

DAVINA STEWART 

AS CAROLINES POSTER SOYS 


“She’s dealt with the relationship [with her 
ex-fiance Jack] by focusing on work, not deal¬ 
ing with that part of her life, so ii becomes 
a story for her about dealing with relation¬ 
ships tliai didn’t work out [and] how she has 
to deal with it when she sees him with his 
partner.'' explains Stewart. 

Part of Caroline’s coping even involves a 
little blurring of the lines between herself 
and her co-workers — particularly with one 
younger man at the office. 

"1 have a sort of liaison at work. It's a power 
struggle with him. because I’m in charge. 



I'm Iris boss, it’s lovely [and] controversial,” 
Stewart notes humorously. 

But Stewart's character is not about to be 
pushed to the sidelines of the story. She lias 
her own issues to face, and plays a strong and 
important role. Encountering Jack allows her 
to confront her own self-doubts and fears, and 
reflect on what she might be missing in life. 

"The fear of being alone — it is difficult 
at times to know what that means,” Stewart 
ponders. "When you get married there is 
that moment when you think you're going 
lo be 80-years-old together, but for her it 
didn’t last that long. You get a rude awaken¬ 
ing when you find ii only lasted five years — 
now what? You have to think of your life in 
a different way and sometimes that can be 
terrifying for people, re-imagining who they 
are going to be. That is her story and what the 
play is about." 

To compensate for this loneliness, Caroline 
propels all her energy and time into her 
career — a move that causes her to question 
what she Ii3s become. 

"She is living a lie. When people in these 
positions are selling something to the public, 
they can understand people and read them. 
They know how to spin things so it will work 
for a product, but they don't necessarily know 
bow to be honest with themselves," Stewart 
adds. 

"She has the designer shoes, ihe designer 
bag. Expensive purses become status symbols. 
Caroline has a lot of status symbols in her life, 
things that cost a lot, but don't have a lot of 
value. Sometimes you're not just paying the 
price with money, you’re paying the price in 
oilier ways. That is what she finds out at the 
end. She has sort of sold herself on that idea 
and realizes maybe that is not enough any¬ 
more." 

Stewart hopes audiences can see Poster 
Boys as a comedy and a story of individuals 
rather than a "gay story." The show reminds 
us that "the best stories are from real life," 
and that understanding yourself is a topic to 
which everyone can relate. 



THE HORSES AT NORTHLANDS PARK 

COLLEGE COMBAT 

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