Salah Bachir

The Informer



Show and Tell

Compulsive art collector Salah Bachir flaunts his glitteriest, gayest pieces in
a new WorldPride exhibit. Here, a look at the iconic works on display

Scrapbook: Show and Tell

(Image: Tom Sandler)

Every surface inch of Salah Bachir’s two-storey lakeside condo is plastered with iconic art: a pair of Warhol’s Marilyns hang in the office, Herb Ritts’s glamour shots of Elizabeth ­Taylor in the upstairs corridor, colourful pieces by Canadian painters Attila Richard Lukacs and Stephen Andrews in the ­dining room, and a portrait of an American Gigolo–era Richard Gere in all his nude, lion-haired glory near the bathroom. Bachir, the 58-year-old Cineplex president, is known for his flamboyant style (he often dresses like a genie in billowy satin robes and hoop earrings) and lavish philanthropy (his nickname on the society circuit is Gala Salah). He’s also one of the city’s pre-­eminent art patrons, rotating his 3,000-piece collection between the condo he shares with his partner, the artist Jacob Yerex—they recently bought the unit upstairs for more wall space—and a country house in Paris, Ontario, decorated to look like a rococo French salon. Bachir began amassing art in the early ’80s after befriending Keith Haring and ­Robert Mapplethorpe on trips to New York City. In fact, it was Haring who persuaded Bachir to buy his first Warhol, a 1957 “Happy Butterfly Day” drawing. Now, with 75 pieces, Bachir ranks among the top 50 Warhol collectors in the world. He buys works that stoke his obsession with queer identity, whether in the form of cheeky camp or sultry homoeroticism. In honour of WorldPride, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art is showcasing a selection of Bachir’s most famous pieces. Here, the stories behind a few of our favourites.

Over the Rainbow

From the collection of Salah Bachir and Jacob Yerex
June 21 to Aug. 17

The Informer



Camera: Michael and Diane Budman host a private screening of Frank Marshall’s new doc in their Forest Hill home

Camera: Movie Night at the Budmans

February 29. It wasn’t quite musical chairs, but there was a flurry of seat swapping between courses during a dinner at the Forest Hill home of Michael and Diane Budman. The buzz was mostly about a new ESPN documentary by Holly­wood producer Frank Marshall that they’d just previewed in the basement theatre. Right to Play centres on Budman’s friend, Johann Olav Koss, the founder of the humanitarian sports organization of the same name. Things started slow as Budman spent a few minutes figuring out the DVD player, leaving the guests in the dark. (Martin Short couldn’t resist: “It’s a triumph, Frank.”) After dinner, Short nudged musician Stephan Moccio, his fellow judge on Canada’s Got Talent, toward the piano and delivered a semi-improvised, mostly nonsensical song that referenced bin Laden, deadbeat dads, dirty beards and Navy SEALS, and left the crowd howling. The moral of the story: when throwing a dinner party, always invite a comedian.

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