Jeffrey Does the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games (Photo Blog)

Here are a few photos of the Toronto Pan Am Games.

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Jeffrey On… Frank Gehry, Pan Am Games and Men in Shorts

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For more information about being apart of the English Open Mic Night as Montreal Pride see below

Jeffrey chats from the Frank Gehry addition at the Art Gallery of Ontario about architecture, the Pan Am Games, and men in short pants…

Here is the Fierté Littéraire event in the Fierté Montréal Guide with the English open mic event.  We are looking for English writers for the event. Bring your books to sell!

11796203_10154039121769112_6864567977381420926_nFor more information about English Open Mic Night August 13, 2015 at Montreal Pride click here

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Jeffrey On… The Pan Am Games, Cauldrons and a BIG Upcoming Montreal Pride Event

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Happy Bloomsday 2015!

What is Bloomsday?

Let’s call it a literary Holy Day.

Well it is certainly is to me – and thousands of others.  It’s also one of my favourite days of the year.  Right up there with Xmas, Halloween and tax rebate day.

For those that do not know, Bloomsday is the the annual celebration of James Joyce’s novel Ulysses. The book details an epic day in the life of Leopold Bloom, in the 24-hour span of June 16, 1904.

June 16, 1094 was also the day that Joyce met his lover, companion and eventually (they married in 1931), his wife, Nora Barnacle.

Ulysses is my favourite book.

How much do I love Ulysses?  If I had a bible, this would be it.   I even tried to find a passage to read at my wedding but couldn’t find anything appropriate.  I really shouldn’t have been surprised by that, actually.

Ulysses changed my life.

So your humble blogger celebrates Bloomsday annually. That is I REALLY celebrate Bloomsday.  I get up early for a morning celebration on the Toronto beaches,  I go to readings at libraries, attend musical celebrations and ‘hooleys’.  I even dress up like James Joyce circa 1904.

Don’t believe me?

And I’m not even embarrassed!

So this year to celebrate Bloomsday (besides the usual events) I also tweeted (and Facebooked) the timeline and summary for the book chapters, starting at 8am and ending early tomorrow morning (when the book ends).

Most folks on Twitter and Facebook had no idea what I was talking about… but what the hell.  I was having fun.

And here are my Bloomsday Facebook status updates.

You can also use them to pretend that you actually read Ulysses if by change you are ever asked.  Though your humble blogger is still waiting for someone to ask him…

8:00am    Stephen Dedalus is at Martello tower. Leopold Bloom is in his house at 7 Eccles Street, Dublin. It’s breakfast time.

9:45am     Stephen giving a history lesson in the classroom, Summerfield, Dalkey Ave. (“History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake”) while Mr. Bloom walks soberly through Dublin (post office, chemist, church and the public baths).

11:00am  The ineluctable modality of the visible.  Stephen strolling on Sandymount Strand and the beach.  Bloom at Paddy Dignam’s house on Newbridge Ave, Sandymount and then en route to Glasnevin Cemetary for Dingnam’s funeral.

12:00 noon  Bloom enters Freeman’s Journal (newspaper) office on, Prince’s Street to work on his newest advertising assignment.  Stephen arrives and tells ‘Parable of the Plums’.

1:00pm     On his way to the National Library, Bloom visits Graham Lemon’s sweetshop, on O’Connell Street, Burton’s Restaruant (but disgusted by the clientele he leaves) and finally Davy Byrne’s pub on Duke Street.    Bloom has a gorgonzola sandwich and a glass of burgundy for lunch.

2:00pm    The National Library, Kildare Street. Stephen discusses his theories of Shakespeare. Bloom enters (after having been at National Gallery across the street) and walks past Stephen.  They will not formally ‘meet’ until after 10:00pm.

Between 2:30 and 4:00pm 19 short vignettes depict the adventures of various characters, major and minor, through the streets of Dublin.

4:00pm    Bloom enters the Ormond Hotel on Ormond Quay.  Seated in the restaurant, he can only hear what is going on in the bar.  Blazes Boylan enters and discusses his meeting at 4:00pm with Bloom’s wife, Molly. This (Sirens) is my favourite chapter.

5:00pm    While his wife is having an illicit meeting with Blazes Boylan in his home at 7 Eccles Street, Bloom enters Barney Kiernan’s Pub on Little Britain Street and meets a rabid Irish Nationalist called ‘the Citizen’.

8:00pm    Walking along Sandymount Strand, Blooms sees some young people on the sand.  One in the group, Gerty MacDowell sees Bloom (still dressed in black from Dignam’s funeral) and noticing him aroused, displays her garters as Bloom…   The chapter ends with the clock striking nine.

10:00pm  Bloom walks to Street Maternity Hospital to see Mina Purefoy (who has been in labour for 3 days) and finds Stephen Dedalus drinking absinth with other rowdy men.  Worried about Stephen’s safety, after he leaves the hospital Bloom follows Stephen to ‘Baudyville’.

11:15pm     Bloom hallucinates has he walks through Nighttown, the red-light district of Dublin, to Bella Cohen’s brothel.  After leaving the brothel, a drunken Stephen, deserted by his friends, is assaulted by an English soldier on Tyrone Street.  Bloom comes to his Stephen’s aid and directs him toward shelter.

12:40am    Bloom takes Stephen to The Cabman’s Shelter, a coffeehouse, at Butt Bridge.  Bloom attempts to play the role of intellectual but Stephen, finally sobering up, does not seem particularity interested.  Both seem to have been irrevocably changed after their wanderings on June 16.

2:00am      Bloom returns to 7 Eccles Street (kitchen) with Stephen.   They have a cup of cocoa and converse before Stephen declines Bloom’s offer to stay the night.  He leaves but does not know where to go since he was locked out of Martello and won’t return to his father’s house.   Bloom looks at the stars and contemplates his future before entering his house.

3:00 or 4:00am     Bloom climbs into bed with Molly at 7 Eccles Street (bed) and kisses her ‘rump’.  Half asleep, Molly’s thoughts move between the distant and recent past, thinking of her childhood, her husband, her affair with Boylan, her children and her marriage.  Joyce gives the the last words of Ulysses to Molly Bloom:  “yes I said yes I will Yes.”

Yes, read Ulysses.

And happy Bloomsday!

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Jeffrey On… Grants, Articles, Memorials and Pride

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Jeffrey on… High Temps, Memorials and Praying for Anita Bryant

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Toronto City Hall

Summer temperatures come to Toronto and Jeffrey, The Gay Groom, has a few things to say.

Does anyone even remember who Anita Bryant was?

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Jeffrey on… Toronto Island, Indy Bookstores and Naked Beaches

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Taken from Toronto Island today

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Happy Birthday Alice B. Toklas. Pass the Hash Brownies.

Alice B. Toklas (left) with Gertrude Stein.

Today is the birthday of Alice B. Toklas (1877 – 1967).

Toklas was the longtime companion (read lesbian lover) of American writer Gertrude Stein and writer of a cookbook (first published in 1954) that included one famous (nay, notorious) recipe for brownies (or as Alice called it, “hashish fudge”).

I included the recipe below.

But first a little bit about Alice B.  Toklas.

Apparently Toklas met Gertrude Stein in Paris on September 8, 1907 on the first day that she arrived.  Together they hosted a salon at 27, rue de Fleures in the 6th Arrondissement (on the left bank) that attracted expatriate American writers, such as Ernest Hemingway, Paul Bowles, Thornton Wilder, and Sherwood Anderson and avant-garde painters, including Picasso, Matisse and Braque.

Your humble blogger made his way to 27, rue de Fleurus recently.  Sadly I was 80 years too late for the salon.

Jeffrey at Gertrude Stein’s Paris apartment

Your humble blogger at 27, rue de Fleurus, Paris.

Acting as Stein’s confidante, lover, cook, secretary, muse, editor, critic, and general organizer, Toklas remained a background figure, chiefly living in the shadow of Stein, until Stein published her memoirs in 1933 under the teasing title The Autobiography of Alice. B Toklas. It became Stein’s bestselling book. The two were a couple until Gertrude Stein’s death in 1946.

Apparently Stein’s work was incoherent (even more so) before Toklas’ editing.

Alice and Stein are now buried together inin  Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. They also share a tombstone with Gertrude Stein’s name on the front and Alice B. Toklas’ on the back.

Alice B. Toklas grave in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France

Alice B. Toklas grave in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France

Now back to that recipe.

(But first allow me to predicate this by reminding you that The Gay Groom does not advocate the use of hashish or any sort of mind altering drug (except caffeine, of course).  And do remember that your humble blogger is also a teetotaler who doesn’t even partake in alcohol.

I submit the recipe only as a historic curiosity.

But there was that time back in the mid 90s in the red light district of Amsterdam that I saw Alice’s recipe on a menu…  however like all my Amsterdam files, they are now closed.)

And now, as your humble blogger promised, here is an excerpt from The Alice B. Toklas Cook Book and the infamous recipe for Alice’s fudge (“which”, Alice noted, “anyone could whip up on a rainy day”):

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Alice B. Toklas Hashish Fudge

This is the food of paradise – of Baudelaire’s Artificial Paradises: it might provide an entertaining refreshment for a Ladies’ Bridge Club or a chapter meeting of the DAR. In Morocco it is thought to be good for warding off the common cold in damp winter weather and is, indeed, more effective if taken with large quantities of hot mint tea. Euphoria and brilliant storms of laughter; ecstatic reveries and extensions of one’s personality on several simultaneous planes are to be complacently expected. Almost anything Saint Theresa did, you can do better if you can bear to the ravished by “un évanouissement reveillé”.

Take 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 whole nutmeg
4 average sticks of cinnamon
1 teaspoon coriander
These should all be pulverized in a mortar.

About a handful each of stoned dates, dried figs, shelled almonds and peanuts: chop these and mix them together.

A bunch of Cannabis sativa can be pulverized. This along with the spices should be dusted over the mixed fruit and nuts, kneaded together.

About a cup of sugar dissolved in a big pat of butter. Rolled into a cake and cut into pieces or made into balls about the size of a walnut, it should be eaten with care. Two pieces are quite sufficient.

Obtaining the Cannabis may present certain difficulties, but the variety known as Cannabis sativa grows as a common weed, often unrecognized, everywhere in Europe, Asia and part of Africa; besides being cultivated as a crop for the manufacture of rope.

In the Americas, while often discouraged, its cousin, called Cannabis indica, has been observed even in city window boxes. It should be picked and dried as soon as it has gone to seed and while the plant is still green.

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So there you have it, dear readers.  And please do remember that Alice stresses the point that “two pieces are quite sufficient”.

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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A Rapture Primer (For Those About To Be Left Behind)

An artist’s rendering of what Rapture will look like

This week Conservative loon Michelle Bachmann said she believed that the Rapture was at hand because of loving gay couples are now marrying in many parts of the United States.

But what is this Rapture?

Here is a primer I wrote a while back when Harold Camping (another nut) was telling his followers that the Rapture was only days away. SPOILER ALERT! In a shocking twist, the Rapture did not happen.

So for those who were not brought up in the Rapture Cult like I was… allow me to elucidate!


So according to a Harold Camping, the 89-year-old doomsday prophet and former engineer, the Rapture will occur on Saturday at 6pm.

What, you may ask, is this ‘Rapture’?

A very good question.

Since I was brought up in the loving bosom of the evangelical church…  well, no, it was not the bosom exactly… and neither was it overly loving, come to think of it.  It was more like the scary mean periphery of the evangelical church.

My father had some kind of religious awakening after he screwed up his life so badly with booze (and it’s accouterments) in 1977 that god was, at that time, the only one who would take him.  So he became a born again Christian to the delight of the other born again Christians in his own family and to the dismay of my mother (I had better preface this by saying that I love my father and am glad he found something in his life that makes him happy.  Though I’m not really sure god did make him very happy).

So after his conversion, god (who never really had a seat at the table in our home) become… well… I don’t want to say important… but perhaps a tolerated guest in our home (at least to me).  It was then that your humble blogger was packed off to Sunday school with his little red Gideon New Testament (they don’t still hand those things out in school do they?).

But from day one I never bought their bullshit.

The Rapture is a perfect example of their bullshit.  It comes from a few lines from that hysteric Paul’s hysterical letters to the Corinthians.

1 Corinthian 15:51-52

51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

From these few lines, the evangelicals have made the Rapture cult.

Song after song (your humble blogger could sing you a couple), sermon after sermon, all directed to that lovely day when we in this ‘twinkling of an eye’ won’t have to go through a physical death but instead will suddenly turn immortal with all the other believers and fly up to heaven to be with Jesus forever and ever (a revolting thought to me).  Then we have the extra added fun of  looking down on the nonbelievers who will be tormented through the great tribulation (an even more revolting thought) until Jesus comes back for the big battle of Armageddon and kicks some devil ass… bla bla bla.

Ridiculous, I know, but a lot of people believe ridiculous things.

And the rest of us, those ‘left behind’ (the theme of a popular Christian book series) get to live through the horrors of a world without the righteous (who have just floated up in the sky) which of course means that the world would go immediately to hell (a la the Book of Revelations).  According to this Camping nut, the real end of the world will occur in October.

So the next five months should look something like this:

Hell as imagined by Hieronymus Bosch

Experts (Rapture experts?) have said that such ‘end of the world’ movements become more prevalent during specific dates (i.e. the year 2000) and during intervals of increased stress and uncertainty in the world.

So one wonders how these poor stupid believers in Camping will react on Sunday when they wake up not having been raptured (yes, I’ve turned it into a verb).  Will they finally start using their mind… and not see the cost of their magical thinking?

Not likely.

From my novel, Shirts and Skins:

Dead and gone. They had all thought they would be raptured into heaven in a glorious white light by the hand of God. But instead they died like his Aunt Peggy, gagging on her own bile in the cancer ward of Hamilton General or Uncle Andy, who they found face down on the cold bathroom tile when he tried to get off the toilet without an attendant. And then there was Aunt Sue, who didn’t even know who God was when she wandered out of the nursing home on a rainy day. They found her, sitting with her legs crossed and her hands folded ladylike on her knee in a bus shelter on King Street the next morning dead, wearing only one slipper and a soiled nightgown.

Jeffrey, The Gay Groom

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Jeffrey On…. Buffalo, Spring and Patsy Cline

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