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
With the Dojo Workhorse
Thursday, November 19 at 9 p.m.
Pawn Shop (10549-82 Ave.)
$10 at ticketmaster.ca
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.”
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
"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
“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
“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.
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.”
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
"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¬
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
Cheer on local student clubs as they battle on the racetrack
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TOMORROW NIGHT | Northlands Park Racetrack | Post time 6 p.m. | thehorses.com
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