BY 49

49 artists sharing their talents, thoughts and memories of that fateful night in an expression of kindness, love and light. 

 

Contributing Artists

 

ANDREW ROBERTSON

Andrew Robertson is an award-winning queer writer and journalist. He has published articles in Xtra!, fab magazine, ICON, Gasoline, Samaritan Magazine, neksis and Shameless. His fiction has appeared in literary magazines and quarterlies such as Siren’s Call, Undertow, Deadman’s Tome, katalogue, Feeling Better Yet?, and in several anthologies including Gone With the Dead, Group Hex Volumes 1 and 2, First Hand Accounts, DILF and Abandon among others. He is the founder and co-host of The Great Lakes Horror Company podcast, official podcast to Library of the Damned, and a member of the Horror Writer’s Association.

ALPHONSO KING JR

Alphonso King Jr is Toronto LGBT club scene import DJ Relentless. He is a internationally renown Queer African-American house music DJ, VJ, remixer, radio personality, music journalist, and HIV+ activist originally from Tampa, Florida. Relocated to New York City in 1992 where he refined his drag persona known as Jade Elektra. Jade's a recording artist and actress. Married his husband John  Richard Allan in 2010 and relocated to Toronto where they both produce events designed to bring awareness to the HIV+ Community and the stigma associated with it. 

TASHEKA LAVANN

Tasheka Lavann is a proud lesbian, LGBT Activist, Singer/Songwriter and Huffington Post/Youtube Blogger. Born on the Caribbean island of Antigua and Barbuda and now a resident of Toronto, Canada, Tasheka has been making her mark speaking and performing at Pride events across Canada. Her passion for her community, along with her gifted talents saw her being honored as Grand Marshal at the inaugural Fierté Canada Pride in August. The Hidden Talent Canada Season 8 second-place winner, who is currently working on her EP, looks forward to spreading more love and changing lives through her music. Find Tasheka on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @tashekalavann and her website tashekalavann.com

CAMILLA DIAZ-VARELA

Camila Diaz-Varela is a first-generation Mexican-Canadian citizen, musician, theatre maker and performer based in Tkaronto, on Dish with One Spoon wampum belt treaty territory. She was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia and is very proud of it. Her weapons of choice are her voice, guitar, piano, tuba, and ukulele, paired with divined original music and words. Inspired by indigenous and anti-capitalist liberation movements currently pulsing all over Abya Yala, she seeks to share her gifts with all of y’all. Follow her work via twitter + insta + soundcloud at @camilstown. 

CHRISTINE NEWMAN

Christine Newman is a Toronto-based trans woman. After a lengthy career in I.T. she now spends her time as a writer, university lecturer, semi-retired LGBTQ activist of 35 years, and is an outspoken advocate for mental health. She works with the Toronto Police Service, partnering with the LGBTQ Liaison Officer, they deliver lectures, training courses, and work on various community outreach programs. She currently sits as the civilian co-chair of the Toronto Police Service LGBTQ Community Consultative Committee. She has contributed to many publications as a writer/journalist along with multiple media appearances, and still has a hand in production for one local radio show. She longs for a quiet life in some little place with her partner and their cats.

KATE JOHNSTON

Kate Johnston is a writer and filmmaker. She grew up in her father’s projection room where she discovered magic. She believes that we are our stories and that as women, as POC and LGBTQ people we need to see ourselves up there on the big screen. She is a creator and producer of both shorts and features. Her feature film TRU LOVE (writer/director/producer) circled the globe to critical acclaim winning 15 top International awards in India, Ireland, Wales, New Zealand, U.S.A. and Canada) and is distributed worldwide. Kate is currently working on two feature films in Canada and the UK (Las Alas and The Turkish Engagement). 

AVERY PITCHER

Avery Pitcher, a lover of cultural diversity,  has been lifting her voice against discrimination since birth.  Having a hair salon, Hair n After, in Toronto's gay village for 20 years, she was globally the first to maintain non-gender pricing.   With  leadership roles  in the gay community's BIA ( Business Improvement Association ), she has stood up to speak out against injustice. Through music, poems and photography she demands a world of love, compassion,  joy and peace. Now, as founder of DFA ( Damselfly Anon )  an online retreat where women can talk about sexual assault anonymously,  she brings all of her talents together to passionately address the unacceptable statistics of sexual assault against females.

LORENZO PAGNOTTA

Lorenzo is a multidisciplinary artist who is most passionate about creating theatre dealing with themes related to cultural diversity and sexuality.  He has taught drama workshops for seniors and youth throughout Edmonton, Montreal, and Toronto. 

He is also a personal trainer and stretch specialist, interested in exploring the intersection between fitness and art by developing workshops that use strength-based exercise as an entry point into improv, storytelling, and other theatre activities. The idea is that by engaging both our bodies and our imaginations we are able to activate several parts of the brain, awakening new levels of performance and possibility. https://www.facebook.com/ArteFitnessCanada/

KEVIN S MAGRI

Kevin S. Magri – writer, editor, performer, educator – is an alumnus of the University of Western Ontario (B.A., B.Ed.) and the University of Waterloo (M.A., Ph.D. [A.B.D.]). Publishing highlights include the play Four Acquaintances (Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre, 2015), the chapbook Le Trained People and other writings (Filfla Islet Press, 2008), and the academic study "Finding Nemo: Puzzling Maltese Identity in Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Murders in the Rue Morgue'" in Shared Waters: Soundings in Postcolonial Literatures (Rodolpi, 2009). Email him at <ksmagri@gmail.com>.

MARGARET WAAGE

Originally from New York, Margaret Waage worked in the photography industry as a darkroom technician processing and printing B&W commercial works. Margaret studied photojournalism and earned a B.A. degree from State University of New York at Empire State College. Work experience includes image processing and lab technician for Newsday and NY Newsday, Adjunct Photography instructor for City University of New York at Q.C.C. Community College, and Sr. Photo Editor for Getty Images and Licensing and Projects Manager for The Marlin Company. Margaret currently freelances as news and feature reporter. Social Media Director and Consultant. Margaret earned a Master of Science degree in Interactive Media from Quinnipiac University in May 2014.  margaretwaage.com

MARY ADDISON

Mary Addison has been working professionally with clients who are dealing with trauma and mental health issues for over 30 years. Mary graduated from the University of Toronto with her Masters of Social Work.

Mary was the Director of the Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Care Centre and Social Work at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, Ontario for over 15 years.

Mary believes that you are both the architect and holder of your story. She understands that it is crucial to work from an empathy perspective. Exploring and working together in a partnership allows you the space to figure out new and creative ways to move forward and thrive.

DEBI ALAGO

Debra Alago, is a Master Chef, filled with enormous love, passion and creativity for food and who is infatuated with her kitchen!  Debi started her culinary journey as a child observing her “Abuelita Cocinando en la cocina with the sounds of Los PANCHOS echoing throughout the kitchen in the heart of the SOUTH Bronx. The enthusiasm and energy her grandmother exuded in her small kitchen back then CONTINUES to be her point of inspiration for bringing “El Sabor” to ones palate, this time listening to El Gran Combo.  Abuelita brought to light what would innately be Master Chef Alago’s career path.  Formally trained in the Culinary Arts by Master Chefs in Germany and France, Debi Alago has worked numerous venues including bakeries, restaurants, hotels and private schools in the last 41 years. Through her art, education and determination, Debra Alago has been generously making edible love for others to enjoy.

JOANNE VANNICOLA

Joanne Vannicola is an Emmy award winning actor. Among her 65 credits in film and television are roles that she fought hard for, including numerous lesbian and androgynous roles in movies and shows like Stonewall, Love and Human Remains, Being Erica, Slasher, and more. She is a four-time nominee in both Canada and the U.S. for her work in television and film. Social justice, activism and work for LGBTQ equity issues have always been at the forefront of Joanne’s work both in her artistic world and in her personal/political life, including a non-profit she founded between 2004-2008 around youth rights and awareness of child abuse (Youth Out Loud). Joanne has just finished writing her memoir, All We Knew But Couldnt Say. You can find Joanne at: www.joannevannicola.com 

Twitter: @joannevannicola

ANGEL TORRES

Since 2016 I am now proudly and officially a dual Canadian-Colombian citizen, I’ve lived in Toronto since 1975 when my parents brought me here. In the past couple of years I’ve dared to venture back to my motherland and felt greatly empowered as it got me in touch with and reconnected me to my cultural heritage, family and roots. I got to see first-hand great social progress, economic stability, and the seeds of greater prosperity for Colombia in the near future which is also by no means a third world country as some would mislead us to believe in North America !

Having studied Advertising and Graphic Design at Humber College in Toronto in the mid 80’s, it has provided me a successful career here in Toronto in this field ever since. Through the years, having had a great eye and affinity for photography, I thus developed a real passion for it and so have added this to my creative repertoire. With so many regular technological advancements, I’ve also added web-design to my resume skills. So my vision and breadth of creative abilities is vast as I always eagerly thrive on new challenges and personal growth to propel myself ever forward. I greatly enjoy this variety of work to stimulate my mind and have an eclectic clientele in Toronto and surrounding cities thanks to the Internet. My newly branded company website can also now be viewed at: www.ArchangelDesign.ca

Lastly, just a quick mention of my immeasurable gratitude to Joie Lamar for my inclusion in this magnanimous and symbolic collaborative ensemble — thank you Joie, like a candle, your light passes on and shines as you touch so many souls around you, bless you.

XENIA 'SONNY' SALEM- ROSA

Xenia “Sonny” Salem-Rosa is an avid amateur photographer.  Born and raised in Da Bronx, New York in 1960, Sonny has dedicated her life to civil service for over twenty-five years, working for New York City EMS, Federal Protective Service and New York City Fire Department, from which she is now retired.  Sonny and her beautiful wife, Sury, now happily reside in warm, sunny Florida.  In her spare time, Sonny enjoys photography, traveling, making new friends and being a beach bum every chance she gets. 

THURAYA 'SURY' SALEM-ROSA

Thuraya “Sury” Salem-Rosa is the author of “ForeverPeople.  She was born in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 1966, and was raised in St. Thomas, U. S. V. I., Mayagüez, Puerto Rico and Silver Spring, Maryland.  Sury has a 22-year old son, Gabriel, her pride and joy, and is happily married to her forever person, Sonny, with whom she now lives with in Florida.  In her spare time, Sury loves to read, write, travel and trying out new recipes with her favorite sous chef, Sonny.  

DANIELLE BOTTINEAU

Constable Danielle Bottineau is an out and proud member of the Toronto Police Service. She has been serving Toronto for 18 years, spending the last 6+ years as the LGBTQ Liaison Officer. In her role, she has taken what was once a difficult relationship with the LGBTQ community, and has developed the relationship to one of respect, openness, and trust. Both the service and the community see her as the reason for the successes of the partnership with the LGBTQ community. She has a global reach, working with international police services to educate and build bridges to their communities. She can be found regularly speaking to schools and groups, as well as guest lecturing at colleges and universities. Danielle resides in Toronto with her wife of 10 years.

LOURDES CABRERA

Lourdes Cabrera is a 49 years young 5th grade science teacher who has taught in The Bronx, NY for the past 18 years.  She has been married to her best friend James for 17 years and they have 2 amazing, and sometimes annoying, beautiful children together: Ayana, 16 going on 40, and Gabriel, 15 going on 10, lol!  Lourdes also has a 28 year old, Matthew who has blessed her with 5 grandchildren, Caridad 10, Angelina 4, Damaris 3, Karina 8 mos., and Matt Jr. due June 12, 2017!  A very special day! In her free time (which is rare), Lourdes enjoys spending time with her family (especially her Mom who is in a nursing home due to Alzheimer’s), writing amusing anecdotals, and photographing just about anything that captures her eye.  

~I am honored to have been asked to make a contribution to such an amazing project because, “Love is love, is love, is love”!  (Lin Manuel Miranda) 

SAMUEL LOPEZ

Samuel López left El Salvador during the civil war of the 1980’s and settled in Montréal.  Samuel is currently working as a professional Spanish interpreter.

In 1993, Samuel made his directorial début with the documentary Samuel & Samantha, an autobiographical documentary about his life as a Latino drag queen activist, founding member of the Latino Gay Group HOLA in Toronto. In 2008, Samuel directed and produced the short documentary “Our Faces, Our Stories” for Latinos Positivos Toronto. He has directed several short documentary videos for the Canadian AIDS Treatment Information Exchange and HC Link/ Réseau CS. “The Sugarcane” premièred in December 2013 at the Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano in Havana, and was the recipient of the Best Local Emerging Filmmaker Award in the Latin Film Media and Arts Festival ALUCINE 2014.  At AIDS 2016 in Durban, South Africa, Mr. López screened his new work Johnny, Vaya Con Dios

JOIE LAMAR

Bestselling, Puerto Rican Lesbian, author Joie Lamar published her first novel -volume 1 of a 2-part memoir called MAMBO LIPS — in 2016. Since then, she has published volume 2, SALSA HIPS , and a poetry book titled Sapphoetry.  Joie will be releasing her first fiction novel, titled "G", in early 2018. She is both the vision behind this book, Cuarenta y Nueve, and a contributor. MAMBO LIPS, part of her successful Lips and Hips memoir series, is now included in the curriculum and library portfolio of two LGBTQ+ schools in the USA, Harvey Milk High School, in New York, and Pride School, in Atlanta.  Ms. Lamar makes her home in Canada with her wife, two fur babies, and a growing number of world changing projects, including a feature film titled Las Alas, based on her memoirs.  www.joielamar.com   Twitter @joielamar

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/lipshipsnmore/

LISA GINEL

Lisa Ginel, owner of Lisa’s Beauty Loft and new resident of Santee, brings with her a vast amount of beauty experience.  With over 25 years in the beauty business, Lisa’s work began working for Laura Mercier introducing the infamous “face primer” to the world of cosmetics.  Since then Lisa’s experience has been plenty.  As beauty spokesperson featured on Canada’s Shopping Channel, to working with quite an impressive list of celebrities, her work has been shown on talk shows, live musical entertainment shows, Housewives of Orange County and more.  When it comes to addressing the maintenance of healthy skin, once again Lisa has met this challenge with the level of excellence she is accustom to.  As a licensed esthetician, Lisa worked with some of the best doctors and their celebrity clients.  Proven to be one of the best in her ranks; humbled in her experience, her personality is vibrant.  If you let her lead expect GREAT things. www.lisasbeautyloft.com

CHARLES RICE GONZALEZ

Charles Rice-González is a writer, long-time Bronx LGBTQ activist, co-founder of BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance and an Assistant Professor at Hostos Community College - CUNY. His debut novel, Chulito (Magnus 2011), has received awards and recognitions from American Library Association and the National Book Critics Circle, and he co-edited From Macho to Mariposa: New Latino Fiction. He’s the chair of the board for The Bronx Council on the Arts and The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures.

MONICA GARRIDO

Monica Garrido is a Mexican performer, filmmaker, writer, comedian, producer and Dance Battle Champion. Her short films “Diferente” open at the 2015 Inside Out Film festival, and "Love You to Death" premiered at the 2017 Inside Out Film festival. She has had the privilege to work with different companies such as Aluna Theatre, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Bad Dog Comedy Theatre, and Grupo Teatro Libre.

She was a part of the 2016 Emerging Creator Unit at Buddies in Bad Times where she created the show "The Cunning Linguist" winner of the 2016 Queer Acts Audience Award, and is currently part of the Youth Elder Project cast 2017.

NATALIE JANSZ-LAMAR

Natalie Jansz-Lamar is a Tax Production Program expert for IBM Canada by day. She is also a talented jazz / RNB / Funk singer who has performed in several renowned Toronto venues such as El Mocambo, Lees Palace, Danforth Music Hall, and Mojo Vino Whitby. Some of Natalie’s notable engagements include performing on Breakfast Television and for IBM’s charitable functions. An avid lover of spoken word, this is her first foray into writing poetry of her own. She endeavours to continue this writing adventure by collaborating with her spouse, Joie Lamar on a relationship book, in the near future. Natalie and Joie have been together almost 18 years, and legally married in Ontario since 2010. She also shares her life with her 22-year-old daughter, Nicole, and their two fur babies.

DIANA BENGTSSON

Diana Bengtsson is an Appalachian writer and poet of Cherokee-Swedish heritage from Chattanooga, Tennessee. She speaks seven languages, the most important of which is love. She came out as transgender in 2016, and as a consequence, lost her job as a teacher in northwest Georgia immediately afterwards. She is dedicated to see all LGBT people achieve full equality in all facets of life, and works actively in her community for a variety of LGBT causes. 

KARIM LADAK

Alias: Cosmopolitan Nomad. Born in Tanzania, now a Canadian. Lived in 10 countries, travelled to 150 (now 160). Worked at Proctor and Gamble for 29 years, and now spend my time volunteering for non-profit causes and travelling to learn more about our world. I travel to cause a shift from tolerance to appreciation. My motto in life “If It Is To Be, It Is Up To Me”.

My BOOK.   The Cosmopolitan Nomad - A Globetrotter's Story.   BUY at: https://www.gladdaybookshop.com/products/cosmopolitannomad

Visit http://cosmopolitannomad.com

GABRIEL SALEM

Gabriel Jacob Salem is the author of Love Is A Choice. He was born in Silver Spring, Maryland in 1995 and currently resides in Miami, Florida. A writer of philosophy, Gabriel focuses on topics such as love, death, existence, the ego and mind relationship, psychoanalysis, and psychedelia, and the main goal of his writing is to help clear the illusory nature of the ego in which he believes most people would otherwise be doomed to live. Beginning with guitar lessons in 2006, Gabriel quickly grew a passion for creativity in all expressive forms and soon found a much greater passion in the written word. A few of his latest, in-the-making projects include an experimental rock band, an animated series co-written with and created by Hunter Schwartz ("Koto, the Delivery Boy"), and a full-length book detailing his philosophy on life and death.

MICHELLE DOYLE

After travelling to over twenty countries, Michelle completed her education in International Business and Marketing in Budapest, Hungary. After a few years in the corporate world, she decided to fulfill a decade long dream of visiting India. That trip would shift the entire course of her life. For the past nine years, she has been a yoga teacher and keynote speaker. Her topics promote wellness, self-empowerment and positive change, both inside and outside of the workplace. Her audiences range from health care professionals to executives in office boardrooms, hospitals and conference halls.  Based in Toronto, Michelle is an activist who passionately supports Amnesty International, and is also a writer, stand-up comedian, MC, ice hockey player and musical theatre enthusiast. She is currently writing her first book, with anticipated release in 2018. Her blog is featured on her website, www.michelledoyle.ca.

INSPIRED MEDIA INC.

INspired Media Inc. (www.inspiredmediainc.ca) is a leading LGBTQ media in Toronto and Canada, both in its line of products and scope, as well as its connections and involvement in the community. Branded “The FEEL GOOD Media”, INspired Media publishes the oldest and most successful directory of its kind, The Pink Pages Directory, along with the much loved magazines PinkPlayMags and theBUZZ, and also produces the talk show On the Couch which airs on local television in the Greater Toronto Area as well as YouTube. “On the Couch” produced a special episode honouring the launch of “Cuarenta y Nueve” https://youtu.be/ChghRvXs6hw 

PAGES 104 & 105: The artwork submitted and printed on the closing pages of Cuarenta y Nueve was contributed by the wonderful INspired Media Inc. team. These are a passionate group of talented & creative individuals: Kim Dobie, Bryen Dunn, Mychol Scully, Carolyn Burtch, Donnarama, Wendy Chiavalon, Michael Wille, and Antoine Elhashem. They are writers, editors, graphic designers, artists, and media professionals, who were heartbroken by the Pulse massacre in Orlando, and came together to create a postcard. It is from their collective hearts and dedicated to all those affected by the tragedy. 

BRUNI LUGO

Bruni Lugo, was born in Manhattan N.Y., and raised in the Bronx N.Y. This was the foundation for her strength to work three jobs, attend night school, and raise a child as a single parent. She remains devoted to her only son to this day.

Having always loved the medical profession, Bruni dedicated herself to accelerating her career in a variety of ways in the field. She began as a Phlebotomist, later became a Medical Laboratory Technician, and furthered her education to finally become an Emergency Medical Technician / Paramedic. Today she is a retired Paramedic after an incredible career with the N.Y.C. FDNY EMS.

Bruni enjoys many hobbies, one of which is writing poetry which captures the many emotions of her life experiences both as an EMT, and personally. 

MIRANDA LUKEMAN

I’m a late-bloomer, a trans woman and a poet. Every part of my life—both good and bad—got me to this undefined place. Living in the moment is my only goal now. I’m open to the universe sending me whatever it wants to send me: coincidences, pokes, comedy, surprises, shipwrecks, and—of course—sadness. There is always sadness.

ELANA HARTE

ELANA HARTE enjoys a successful career as a writer, performer and producer. A gifted vocalist and guitarist, the Montreal-born songstress has released a number of CDs and has been featured on numerous compilations/soundtracks. 

She is the sole producer of The M-FACTOR INDIE MUSIC SHOWCASE, a long-running weekly Toronto Indie showcase, featuring local, national and international talent. She co-produces the BIRDSEYE MUSIC FESTIVAL, a music showcase and fundraiser for bladder cancer; She was the founder and co-producer of BARE BONES AND UP FRONT, a showcasing series at Toronto Centre for the Arts; MUSICIANS FOR MEDECINE, to raise money for people living with cancer, and is the co-founder for TORONTO MUSICIANS FOR CHANGE, a holiday-themed fundraiser for the Toronto Bread Bank.

Elana was a founding member of VINNICK, SHEPPARD HARTE with Suzie Vinnick and Kim Sheppard as well as the V-GIRLS with Heather Bambrick. She tours extensively throughout Canada, solo with STILETTO FLATS and with her trio, BACA. She released her CD with STILETTO FLATS in 2015. Her latest project, BEAUTIFUL SALT, will release its debut CD in 2018. Visit www.elanaharte.com for concert information and more details. 

REBECCA BRILL

A small business co-owner, world traveller and documentary junky I’ve also been a writing addict from birth. Having a pen or keyboard in front of me gives me joy. That addiction has been nourished by completing various University of Toronto courses and private writing workshops and completing my first novel. I’m relentlessly hopeful that the world can be saved by cultivating the finer nature of human beings everywhere. 

KARIN HAZE

Karin Hazé began her career promoting multi disciplinary artists and deejaying in NYC  during her Living Room Parties at the legendary ¨Time Caf騠while she was studying at Parson's University. She has been producing directing and programming for over 20 years and serves as the Creative Director of Cinema Feast¨ a boutique production company based in Montreal which specializes in international collaborations advancing humanitarian causes. In 2000 her one minute short ¨Cercles¨ featuring 1895 archival footage of the experimental sound film entitled "The Gay Brothers¨ by the motion picture camera inventor ¨William Dickson¨ was selected to represent Canada in the One Minutes Film Movement in the Netherlands and as part of the One Minutes  Anthology. It went on to win the Best International Short in Shanghai and  toured in over thirty Bieniales and Museums around the World.

ANA DOLORES LLOMPART

Ana Dolores Llompart is blessed to be the mother of two daughters, Alyssa Diane and Katherine Diane.  She has also been a cat mom her entire life, a love that began since she was 8 years old. She calls her life partner, Elizabeth Garcia, a lifesaver. They have been happily together since 1999. Ana is a Brooklyn girl, born and raised in Prospect Heights, where she attended Clara Barton HS.  Ms. Llompart is a graduate of New York City Technical College. Today she works for the NYC Dept. of Education where she finds that every day is an adventure!

EVA TIHANYI

Eva Tihanyi has published eight poetry collections, most recently The Largeness of Rescue (2016) and Flying Underwater: Poems New and Selected (2012), and also one volume of short stories, Truth and Other Fictions (2009)She has taught at Niagara College since 1989.  Although she considers photography a “passionate hobby,” her work has been exhibited occasionally in galleries.  Visit her website www.evatihanyi.com for more information.

VIVIANNE LaRIVIERE

Vivianne LaRiviere, spiritual arts practitioner, and multi-media artist holds a Masters of Pastoral Studies, a Masters of Theological Studies, and is a Doctoral Candidate in her final year of a Doctorate of Ministry Program. Additionally, she holds a diploma in Recording Arts Management, and is a Reiki Master. Vivianne honours her Indigenous ancestry, and is a drum maker and carrier. As a facilitator, Vivianne brings decades of experience working with the convergence of art and spirituality, noting the language of symbols and metaphors as an extremely powerful tool, that can open the portals toward healing and transformation. Her special skill set helps determine what lays beyond the image on the page, invoking a responsible conversation with your authentic self: your soul.

JOANNE NEGRON

Ms. Joanne J. Negron applies more than 34 years of progressive experience and a comprehensive background in engineering, project management, training, sales, marketing, and administration of technology operations, staffing, and resources. The consummate engineer, Negron has been a key factor in facilitating the introduction of numerously strategic, significant, and high-profile new technologies in the telecommunications and energy sectors throughout her career. She remains focused on innovative, future-thinking technology and design that will revolutionize the industry and save the planet. When not deep in her technical books and research, Joanne enjoys writing poetry, painting, and wood working.  

DESI CABRERA

Born in the seventies in Toronto, Canada of Ecuadorian parents, I was raised in a single-parent household with a strict religious up bringing. Despite being sheltered well into high school I found creative ways to participate in the drama club’s extra curricular activities, notably performing in an anti-racism and sexism theatre production touring to local schools. Participation in the project was eye opening and laid the foundation of core values of acceptance and understating that were instilled in me, while also setting me on the path of living my authentic self. Throughout the process, I found myself to be fortunate to be surrounded by a loving and accepting group of family and friends. Today my journey has led me to Montreal, Quebec where I work as a Relationship Manager, enjoying the vibrant energy that our community offers. 

VALERIA MATZNER

In the veins of this eclectic singer/songwriter flow the rhythms and melodies of her native South America. The excitement of Brazilian samba, the sweet seductiveness of bossa nova and the passion of tango insinuate their way into her music. Valeria is releasing her solo album entitled Anima in the Spring of  2018 under Toronto record label Triplet Records. Valeria is supported by Scott Metcalfe on piano, Max Senitt on drums and Scott Kemp on bass.

Since arriving in Canada from Uruguay, Valeria has collaborated with many accredited artists such as Hilario Duran, Darren Sigesmund, Aleksandar Gajic, Darryl Jahnke, Celso Machado, Salvador Ferreras and Lache Cercel among many others. Valeria has also performed at various national and international music festivals such as The Vancouver International Jazz Festival, The Vancouver Folk Music Festival, The Toronto Jazz Festival, among others, as well as at various national and international jazz venues in New York, Montreal, Vancouver, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Manila, Tokyo and Toronto. In 2007 Valeria recorded live for CBC Radio as part of the Jazz Series and in 2008 she performed for the International Association for Jazz Education Conference in Toronto alongside many international and national artists.

PERRY SENECAL

Perry Senecal lives in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. In 1997 he began his studies in photography at the University of Montreal and Dawson College. He discovered his new passion.

He specialized in portrait photography working with both natural and artificial lights. He is involved in all aspects of the shooting sessions; he works without a stylist or an assistant creating complicity and intimacy with his models. Inspired by photographers from the 50's, his dark backgrounds and his use of light and shade show sensuality and elegance.  

MELINDA PARADIS

Melinda is a Montreal-born musician, photographer, writer and director who has already made her mark in the music business with several projects and artistic contributions. She is an advocate for the LGBTQ community, both personally and professionally. Paradis recently joined the board of directors of the LARA (LGBT Academy of Recording Arts) - OUTmusic Awards as the director of communications. 

She has had articles published in Curve Magazine, Planet London and The Human Experience. Paradis is a multi-talented artist who gives a lot of her time to causes that are close to her heart, and who believes in paying it forward whenever she can. melindaparadisofficial.com

CONSTANCE RENNETT

Using red clay, her tools and her hands, Constance Rennett sculpts larger-than-life-size portraits. Inspired by her background in anatomy, but more so by her passion for observing emotion, she documents the human condition. Constance prefers exaggerated expressions to emphasize what she sees and feels.

Constance began to sculpt in 2005 when she took her first class at the AGO in Toronto. In 2015 one of her pieces was selected for inclusion in the juried TWAC/CNE up and coming artist competition. Constance currently sculpts at the Al Green Sculpture School and Studio in Toronto.

BOYD KODAK

Boyd Kodak is a transman Musician, Song Writer and Activist. Prior to transitioning, as Jan Waterman, he won a precedent setting case for LGBTQ Human Rights in Canada. Since transitioning Boyd has been involved in film festival programming, curating, television segment production, film festival shorts production that have played the festival circuit. He is also considered an integral part in the formation of Toronto’s LGBTQ community. He is also a writer, song writer and musician. Boyd has done a great deal of groundbreaking work, that has made him a Lifetime Achievement award recipient, and in 2012 he was inducted into the International LGBT Hall of Fame. Boyd is currently working on an original recording and is writing a musical.

VERO DIAZ

Vero Diaz is a Toronto based artist from Abya Yala, from a place called Mexico. Vero focuses on lens based expression, movement, creative writing, watercolours, and mystical art.

Recently, she has been developing her artistry within lifestyle and spiritual photography which includes an artistic process that includes body, mind, and spirit. Vero is interested in connecting people to re-establish relationships with their bodies, with nature like trees, rivers, and non-human species. She has a decolonial art practice that intersects spirituality and ancestral indigenous knowledge and creative ways of being.

Vero completed my Masters at York University in LatinX transformation & decolonial art practice. She investigates themes of LatinX identity, migration, mestiza spirituality, fluidity, the erotic, and queer futurity. Vero spent a year under d'bi young's mentorship through the Transdisciplinary Artist Residence in the Watah Theatre where she produced a one-woman bio-mythic multimedia performance called Red Surrender.

LAURIE SUTHERLAND

Originally from Toronto, Laurie has always had an affinity for the Arts, particularly in music and drama.  She left Toronto in 1999 and moved to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where she was co-owner of Mz Adventures, a tour company catering to the Lesbian community.  She relocated to Montreal in 2001.  Two years ago she began taking pictures from her phone and with encouragement from friends she purchased her first camera, a Sony ALT58.  She captures everyday, authentic moments; moments without pause or hesitation. 

PEARL SHOWALTER

Pearl Showalter loves her family and friends and the whole wide world. Her mission in life is to inspire glittering love, joyous acceptance and deep understanding. She endeavours to make the world a better place.

DIOMAR CUOTO

Born on a small island in the Azores Portugal and surrounded by many beaches, I had what many would consider an idyllic upbringing. However, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows, it was hard growing up gay with no support because according to local society and religion being gay was not “normal”. Immigrating to Canada at thirteen and adapting to a new culture wasn’t easy either. I was bullied in school not for being gay but for coming from a different country, but I always stood up for myself. I have been very fortunate because to my surprise my family and friends accepted me when I finally came out. Today I take a stand to injustice and firmly believe we are all the same no matter our orientation. Currently, I feel lucky to live in an accepting city like Montreal Canada where I am myself and where there is widespread acceptance.

CAT GRANT

Cat Grant is a multimedia artist graduate from OCAD. A published poet she works for Inspired Media an LGBT media company as a freelance journalist and photographer. She also writes her own column SHE BEAT for Toronto's Buzz Magazine. With 45 broadcast segments and several short videos under her belt she has also done curation for several queer festivals including San Francisco and Toronto. A reporter in the 90's for Canada's first Gay and Lesbian TV show 10%, Cat now interviews for On The Couch a LGBTQ TV show. Her activist work has won her the Transplanet S.O.F.F.A Award. She illustrates for children’s' books with 3 in production this year. Her work has been described as "colourful and imaginative" by Bishop Tutu and her paintings hang in several institutions and galleries. Her portrait of author Jane Rule has a permanent spot at the Toronto Lesbian and Gay Archives.

 
 Live from the stage/my workspace