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The Informer

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Toronto writer Alexandra Molotkow shares the secrets of her cybersexual education

I’m among the first generation to come of age on the Internet. By 13, I was an expert at chat room sex, spotting cyber-pervs and hiding my secret life from my parents

My Cybersexual Education

In 1997, when I was in Grade 6, my friends and I sat at the back of the classroom and talked about sex. We would speculate on what it felt like and place bets on how old we’d be when we finally lost our virginity. We would make fun of the way orgasms sounded in movies and imagine what celebrities’ sex lives involved. Later, at home, we’d reconvene on ICQ, one of the Internet’s first major instant messaging systems, which allowed us to have conversations we wouldn’t want our parents overhearing. That was what the Internet was to us: pretty much what a tree house would have been a few years earlier.

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The Goods

Stores

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Come As You Are is growing, making adults (and curious teenagers) very happy

Sex shops have this reputation for being filthy cash cows, with edgy, alternative men with dreads operating the tills while sexually ambiguous women flirt with customers to sell a selection of toys and costumes. But Queen West’s Come As You Are is known for its very helpful customer service and its emphasis on well-made products, including organic lubricant, vibrators for whatever you fancy and books on sexual education and politics (and yes, some erotica). The shop has moved from its formerly small digs to an 1,800-square-foot space at 493 Queen St. W., which means double the product and double the fun—the shop will continue to host its popular lectures, beginning with Midori’s (author of The Seductive Art of Japanese Rope Bondage) Hands-On Rope Bondage, How to Eat a Peach and Aural Seductions by Voice. We asked Come As You Are to pick some of its most popular items, and we’ve put together a gallery for those looking to do a bit of shopping, after the jump.

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The Informer

Random Stuff

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Sun News’s Ezra Levant really, really likes to talk about Occupy Toronto

Image: Raj Taneja

What might be most remarkable about Sun News and its reporting on Occupy Toronto is that it can denounce the movement as irrelevant while simultaneously doing lengthy segments on it. Ezra Levant recently devoted 25 minutes to discussing the protest with Jacqui Delaney, who said all kinds of nasty things about the occupiers. Levant then did a follow up, commenting on the call-and-response tactic protesters use to amplify one another’s voices. He ignored the origin of the tactic (here’s an explanation) and instead offered that it was evidence of “cult-like behavior.” Levant’s guest John Robson chimed in with his own hyperbolic offering, stating, “I think we are seeing an outburst of rather alarming tribalism.” (The segment, headlined “Mindless Mob,” is filed under the Toronto Sun’s news section, by the by.)

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The Informer

Politics

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Giorgio Mammoliti is riled up over plans to raise, ahem, rigid limit on body rub permits 

Giorgio Mammoliti is upset over a proposal to raise the limit on the number of body rub parlours in the city, a plan he says was devised behind closed doors—and one he says could make Toronto “the biggest pimp in North America” (although we’re pretty sure Las Vegas has that title in the bag). Of course, how Mammoliti believes the availability of permits would somehow have rub-and-tugs popping up like mushrooms after a rainfall remains unclear. And, come on, we all know Mammoliti isn’t exactly averse to the sex trade. Read the entire story [Toronto Sun] »

The Informer

Features

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How a chronic insomniac found a radically simple cure for her sleepless nights

I Hate the Night

I was living in a co-op on the edge of Regent Park, next to a playground that was invaded by screeching junkies every night. Everything that year was miserable. My mother had been diagnosed with cancer and was receiving radiation and chemotherapy every day for a month. My dad and two brothers and I juggled our schedules to get her to Sunnybrook Hospital from north Scarborough. When I wasn’t scared I was despondent. Even as I tried to keep up my performance at work (I was an editor at Toronto Life at the time), I wasn’t sure if I wanted the job anymore. Then I got insomnia.

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TIFF Talk

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Films picked up at TIFF: Steve McQueen’s Shame and Christophe Honore’s Beloved (Les biens-aimes)

TIFF is often lauded as the first place to look for Oscar worthy-films—the festival has previously premiered Precious, No Country for Old Men, The Hurt Locker, Chariots of Fire, and, of course, last year’s King’s Speech, to name a few. Naturally, distributors are always in town for the festival and eager to snatch up the next hot-ticket item. Already Variety is reporting that the first two films to get deals at this year’s festival are Steve McQueen‘s sexual thriller Shame and Christophe Honore’s romantic drama Beloved (Les biens-aimes).

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The Informer

Features

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How Kent Monkman—a half-Cree illustrator from Winnipeg—sexed up the exploitation of First Nations people and conquered Toronto’s art world

Kent Monkman. (Image: Jody Rogac)

(Image: Jody Rogac)

Pink high heels. Heartthrob pink. These are dream shoes, shoes to break your heart. Shoes that are up to no good, shoes to dance their way into millennial visions or scuttle their way into nightmares. Tricky shoes. Trickster’s shoes. Kent Monkman’s shoes. He is painting them into the picture he’s working on as I watch, his fine-tip brush glowing with pink acrylic pigment. The figure in the picture who’s wearing those still-wet, kick-ass platforms is Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, a virtually naked bubble-butt hussy in a cascading feather headdress. I am watching Kent Monkman sitting in front of a canvas painting a picture in which Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, who looks remarkably like Kent Monkman, is also standing before an easel, putting the finishing touches on a canvas. Tricky.

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The Informer

Culture

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We take a quick look at some of the top Bollywood flicks up for hardware at the International Indian Film Academy Awards

There’s been no shortage of Bollywood-related events taking place around the GTA this week, but even amidst all the hype and hoopla we haven’t forgotten why the biggest stars in Bollywood have descended on Toronto: the IIFA Awards at the Rogers Centre on Centre (yup, it’s big). While we wouldn’t call ourselves Bollywood experts, we’ve been following the scene pretty closely ever since we heard the awards would be coming to Toronto. With that in mind, we offer a small preview of five of the biggest and best films in the running at tomorrow’s spectacle, after the jump.

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The Informer

Culture

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Skins recap, episode 9: the show that gets high school right—except when it doesn’t

Chris and Tina get serious (Image: MTV)

This week’s episode finally fills us in on the illicit (never mind totally illegal) relationship between Chris and teacher Tina. And while the after-school special fan in us loves a good hot-for-teacher plotline—they’re all the rage these days, according to Entertainment Weekly—this one felt really uncertain about what it wanted to be. Funny bits like Chris handing in an essay entitled “How I’m Going To Bone You Tonight” didn’t quite jibe with more serious scenes, like the one where Tina is arrested for rape. This lack of identity has been Skins problem all along; ridiculous characters like Dave, Tina and that weird girl taking all the pictures make it unclear whether the show is trying to paint a real picture of high school or parody it. As always, here is our weekly reality roundup of what passes the reality test and what feels faker than teacher Tina’s trout pout.

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The Informer

Culture

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Skins recap, episode 8: the show that gets high school right—except when it doesn’t

Daisy at work on Skins (Image: MTV)

In this week’s fairly heavy-handed opening sequence of Skins, we learn that Daisy is the member of the gang “who fixes everything.” We also learn that she works at the Skins equivalent to Hooters (finally, the secret behind her ever-present cleavage revealed! Well, sort of), and that a game of sexual broken telephone has left just about everyone in the gang with a case of the clap. Everyone, that is, except Daisy and Abbud, because they’re still virgins. Or, at least, they were still virgins, until they decided to re-enact the plot of No Strings Attached before our very eyes. Groan.

As always, our Skins reality roundup: where the show’s rendition of high school reality gets an A, and where it gets an F.

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The Informer

Culture

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Pillars of the Earth recap: dirty, sexy clergy, episode 8

(Image: Starz)

First off, a correction. We were under the impression that this week was the Pillars finale, because it was episode 8 and the show is described as an “eight-part miniseries.” Except that the CBC must have turned it into nine parts to fit in commercials. At any rate, there are still many loose ends to be tied up, both in Shiring and beyond (we know we haven’t seen the last of snarly Alfred or the diabolical Bishop Waleran). Here, our roundup of the unresolved issues at hand.

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The Informer

People

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Justin Bieber on sex, health care, abortion and how awesome Canada is

This being awards season, it must have seemed fitting to the folks at Rolling Stone to put Canadian mega-star Justin Bieber on the cover their current issue (that is, before he lost the Best New Artist Grammy to Esperanza Spalding). The Bieb’s hair may channel the cast of Jersey Shore, but the article inside delves deeper than mere primping. The Rolling Stone Web site provides a few details from the pop star’s interview. Vanessa Grigoriadis manages to get his views on the predictable stuff—sex, love, Canada—and a few stranger topics, including abortion and Korean politics. Here, our favourite opinions from the interview.

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The Informer

Culture

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Skins recap, episode 5: the show that gets high school right–except when it doesn’t

Michelle embraces Stanley (Image: MTV)

This week’s Skins was all about Stanley. We’re not sure why. Doesn’t it feel like we already know Stanley? He’s goofy, gets food all over himself, loves his best friend’s girl and has a poor relationship with his parents. Oh, and he skips school a lot, which was the kickoff to this week’s action-packed (and yet strangely humdrum) episode. Below, our usual reality roundup, this time including why Esquire magazine needs a refresher course on the teen pack mentality.

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The Informer

Culture

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Pillars of the Earth recap: dirty, sexy clergy, episode 5

Alfred (Liam Garrigan), Aliena (Hayley Atwell), Jack (Eddie Redmayne) (Images: Starz)

A lot went down in what was without a doubt the most riveting Pillars episode to date. We definitely didn’t see Tom Builder’s sudden murder coming, although, come to think of it, we probably should have—characters always die right before they’re about to reveal some big truth.

On the plus side, his death sets the spotlight onto his rivaling “sons” Alfred (the real one) and Jack (the mistress’s spawn). The boys represent the age-old talent versus ambition debate, and come up on different sides of just about every coin. Alfred is competent, Jack is brilliant; Alfred had his father’s blood, Jack had his gifts; Alfred has Aliena’s hand in marriage, Jack has her heart. In fact, the only thing these guys have in common is the love of the same woman and strangely modern haircuts (Alfred’s is bordering on a Bieber bob). It’s pretty much a medieval, gender-bending Betty and Veronica situation, so the big question is: who should Archie—er, Aliena—end up with? And who will she end up with? And is the answer the same?

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The Informer

Culture

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Skins recap, episode 3: the show that gets high school right—except when it doesn’t

Chris goes surfing (Image: MTV)

In the most depressing episode of Skins yet, we get the story on Chris, the skin-headed, pill-popping party boy who’s been abandoned by his parents and would probably trade all the ecstasy in the world for a little stability. Or maybe not. While Skins purports to be above (or is it below?) the classic teenage morality tale, the show quickly establishes that behind Chris’s drug abuse and out-of-control behaviour is a scared and insecure little boy who feels he’s undeserving of love. Chris’s inappropriate relationship with his teacher Tina, which was hinted at a few episodes ago, was developed further this week, but it’s anyone’s guess whether we’ll get to see this forbidden teacher-student love affair come to its dysfunctional fruition.

Now that word is out that Skins’s ratings sank 50 per cent between week one and week two—despite a parental uproar that should have made it must-see TV—this week’s viewership numbers will be crucial. While we still can, we give you our usual high school reality roundup. Below, what rings true and what feels faker than the Jo Bros’ virginity pledge.

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