Events > Musical Performance

26 Feb. 2005

EP launch for The Hidden Cameras's The Arms of his Ill

Performer
Joel Gibb
Artists
Will Munro, Luis Jacob, Paul P, and Daryl Vocat
Photographer
Bruce LaBruce

Art Metropole is thrilled to celebrate the launch of a new 10” EP by The Hidden Cameras with an in-store signing and acoustic performance by lead singer Joel Gibb.

The exquisite 10 inch vinyl LP of “home” recordings were written, performed, and recorded by Joel Gibb and the Hidden Cameras. Extraordinary art work includes front cover by Paul P, back cover by G.B. Jones, front insert by Will Munro (photo by Bruce LaBruce), back insert by Daryl Vocat, labels by Luis Jacob. Designed by Joel Gibb. Layout by Daniel Bergquist. Art Metropole collected 50 copies of this rare release and had them signed by all five visual artists represented in the packaging.


Joel Gibb (born 28 January 1977) is a Berlin-based Canadian artist and singer-songwriter who leads the “gay church folk” group The Hidden Cameras. He was born in Kincardine, Ontario.

His first involvement with the music scene was as editor of a fanzine devoted to independent bands, Glamour Guide for Trash. He also hosted a college radio show at CFRE-FM in Mississauga, Ontario. At the same time, he was writing his own songs and, in 2001, he released some of his recordings under the name The Hidden Cameras on his own independent record label EvilEvil, a CD entitled Ecce Homo.

He then gathered together a group of musicians to perform his work, playing everywhere from art galleries to churches to porn theatres to parks. Along the way, the band grew to include up to thirteen members, including a string section, choir and go-go dancers, its audience growing at the same time.

In 2003 the Hidden Cameras were signed to Rough Trade, a well-known British record label who released the band’s next album, The Smell of Our Own the same year. They began to tour North America and Europe extensively. In 2004, the album Mississauga Goddam was released, followed by The arms of his ‘ill’ on the California label Absolutely Kosher Records. The album Awoo came out in 2006 on Rough Trade Records, EvilEvil and Arts & Crafts. All The Hidden Cameras releases to date have been produced by Joel Gibb. In 2007, solo recordings by Gibb were released on the tribute to Arthur Russell compilation EP, Four Songs by Arthur Russell.

Gibb exhibits his artwork in various galleries and has been included in group shows in the past at the Tate Modern, among others. His work comprises drawings and banners, both of which are featured on The Hidden Cameras CDs and records. He also shows the videos he has directed for The Hidden Cameras.

In 2008, Joel Gibb made his acting debut, alongside Jena von Brücker, Mark Ewert, Calvin Johnson, Jen Smith, and Vaginal Davis, as one of the stars of the film The Lollipop Generation, directed by G.B. Jones. The film also features music by The Hidden Cameras.

Gibb contributed to R.E.M.‘s album Collapse Into Now, with backing vocals on the track “It Happened Today”

Gibb currently lives in Berlin.

William Grant “Will” Munro (February 11, 1975 – May 21, 2010) was a Toronto artist, club promoter, and restaurateur known for his work as a community builder among disparate Toronto groups. As a visual artist, he was known for fashioning artistic works out of underwear; as a club promoter, he was best known for his long-running Toronto queer club night, Vazaleen.

(from wikipedia)

Born in Australia, Munro grew up mostly in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, and moved to nearby Toronto to study at the Ontario College of Art, graduating in 2000. Influenced by such artists as General Idea and the queercore movement, he received critical attention for his work with men’s underwear, a medium he used eventually to create collages of colourful performers he admired such as Klaus Nomi and Leigh Bowery. He created silkscreen posters to advertise Vazaleen—his monthly nightclub party that was unusual for being a queer event where punk and other rock music was prominently played, and for being one of the first to exist beyond the confines of the gay ghetto. The party was known for attracting a diverse crowd, and at its peak brought in such performers as Nina Hagen; international “best-of” nightclub lists took notice.

Munro died of brain cancer in May 2010. Posthumous exhibits of his art work included a 2010 show at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and in 2011 he was the first male artist to be featured in the feminist Montreal art gallery La Centrale.

Will Munro was born in Sydney, Australia in 1975. Later that year his family moved to Canada, just outside of Montreal, and then lived in Mississauga, Ontario from 1980 onwards.

Despite his involvement in nightclub events, Munro did not consume alcohol or recreational drugs. He was a vegan from a young age. For many years, he volunteered as a peer counsellor at the Toronto Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youth Line, where an annual award was established in his honour after his death.

Munro was diagnosed with brain cancer and underwent surgery to remove a tumour in 2008. A second surgery was performed in October 2009. He entered into palliative care in April 2010, and died on May 21, 2010.

Munro moved from Mississauga to Toronto after high school, to attend the Ontario College of Art (OCA). From early on in his career, his signature medium was pastiche work with men’s underwear.The origins of this work date back to his Intro to Sculpture class at OCA, where his professor asked the students to “bring a special object to class that isn’t really functional, but is special to you.” Munro had long had an affinity for special underwear, ever since his mother had refused to buy him Underoos superhero underwear when he was a child; regarding white briefs, he said, “They were clinical and sterile. They weren’t very sexy. It just felt very repressed. I wanted Underoos so bad.” For the sculpture class, Munro decided to bring in a pair of underwear that he had stolen from a high school friend on whom he had a crush. He put the grey underwear on display in a Plexiglass cage, complete with air holes. In his subsequent work he decided to use white briefs as a medium “because they were so accessible.” The summer after his sculpture class, to keep himself busy on a road trip, he made a quilt out of white underwear. In 1997, his first show involving underwear was held in a gallery supported by his college. The show received publicity after conservative columnist Michael Coren, in the Toronto Sun and on the radio, criticized Munro and his show, in particular for having said that it involved “boys’ underwear” (although Munro had simply meant guys’ underwear). Coren asked the public to bring dirty diapers to the exhibit, but no one did.10 Munro went on to have many showings of his underwear art, mostly “rescued” from second-hand Goodwill clothing outlets, including at Who’s Emma, HEADspace, and Paul Petro Contemporary Art. Actor Selma Blair bought one of Munro’s underwear works when she was in town for the 2004 Toronto International Film Festival.

Munro’s influences included the work of General Idea, and the queercore movement.Speaking about the confluence of his music events and his art, Munro said in 2004, “This is where the music scene and gay underground come together. We’re at a time when all kinds of shifts are happening. The structure of artists’ galleries are changing. Magazines are changing. There’s more different kinds of artist activity that’s happening. All this is having an impact on my visual work. And my visual work is more and more going into performance.” Galleries exhibiting his work have included Art in General, in New York City, Confederation Centre Art Gallery in Charlottetown, and Toronto galleries Zsa Zsa, Mercer Union, YYZ Artists’ Outlet, Paul Petro Contemporary Art, and the Art Gallery of York University. Munro was named on the longlist of finalists for the Sobey Art Award in 2010.

A posthumous exhibit of his work, “Total Eclipse”, was presented at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2010.Works included collages, made from underwear, that depict Klaus Nomi and Leigh Bowery, both of whom Munro admired.Reviewing the show in Canadian Art, critic Sholem Krishtalka wrote that Munro’s work is “insistent on the necessity of self-made culture and buttressed by an encyclopedic knowledge of queer underground cultural history.”

Other posthumous exhibitions of his work include a 2011 show at the feminist La Centrale gallery in Montreal—a first for a male artist in that space—and in 2012 a major retrospective at the Art Gallery of York University.

Munro started the monthly party Vaseline (later renamed Vazaleen) in Toronto at a time when most gay clubs featured house music or other types of dance music. His hope was to draw a more diverse crowd: he said at the time, “I’d like to do something that’ll encompass all the freaks out there, myself included.” In addition to its stereotype-countering incorporation of punk and other rock music, his club night was also noted to be unusual for being located outside of the Church and Wellesley gay neighbourhood. It was atypical as well for having about 50 percent women attending the event. Munro said, “I was determined to get women to attend and I did it in a really simple way. I put lots of images of women and dyke icons on the posters and flyers—groups like The Runaways or singers like Nina Hagen and Carole Pope. I wanted women to know instantly that this was their space as much as anybody else’s.” It began in the downstairs space at El Mocambo in late 1999, moved to the upstairs space in January 2000, and in late 2001, when El Mocambo was threatening to close, to Lee’s Palace, where it continued as a monthly event until 2006.

In a lengthy article about Vazaleen in Toronto Life, critic R. M. Vaughan wrote, “In its lewd, spontaneous, hysterical and glamorous way, Vazaleen defined a new Toronto aesthetic, a playful and endlessly inventive mode of presentation that encompassed everything from lesbian prog- rock to tranny camp to vintage punk revival to good old-fashioned loud-mouthed drag.” In an editorial in C magazine, Amish Morrell wrote, “At [Vazaleen] it was not only okay to be gay, but it was okay to be other than gay. One could be just about anything. The effect was that it completely destabilized all preconceptions of gender and sexual identity, in a hyperlibidinous environment where everyone became a performer.” Benjamin Boles of Now wrote, “These days it’s normal in Toronto for hip gay scenes to flourish outside of the queer ghetto and to attract a wide spectrum of genders and orientations, but that didn’t really happen until Vazaleen took off and became a veritable community for everyone who didn’t fit into the mainstream homo world. For too long, it was too rare to see dykes, fags, trans people, and breeders hanging out together, and Munro changed that.” Vazaleen became a launching pad for such musical acts as Peaches and Lesbians on Ecstasy. Other bands performing at Vazaleen early in their careers were The Hidden Cameras, Crystal Castles, and The Gossip. At the height of the event’s popularity, Munro appeared on the cover of Now magazine (made up to look similar to David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane album cover), musical guests included Carole Pope, Tracy + the Plastics, Vaginal Davis, and Nina Hagen, and Vazaleen appeared on “best-of” nightclub lists internationally.

Munro produced other Toronto club nights such as Peroxide, which featured electro music, No T. O., which showcased No Wave, Seventh Heaven Dream Disco, and the amateur stripper party Moustache. In 2006, Munro and his friend Lynn MacNeil bought The Beaver Café, in the West Queen West neighbourhood. Arts columnist Murray Whyte of the Toronto Star wrote, “Will’s virtual status as hub took bricks-and-mortar form: The Beaver quickly became that cozy, everyone-in-the-pool house party, a sort of community hall/mini dance club, and an alt-culture oasis”. “Love Saves the Day” became Munro’s dance music night at The Beaver, which he continued to organize even as his illness began to prevent him from leaving home. His final night of DJing in person was at a special Halloween Vazaleen party at Lee’s Palace in 2009.

Bruce LaBruce wrote of Munro’s impact on Toronto, just prior to his death: “As we all know, Toronto can be a cruel and unforgiving city. What makes Will Munro so extraordinary as an artist and as a person is that he has not only remained true to such a harsh mistress, but that he has also contributed so substantially to the fabric and heft of this often maleficent metropolis. His dedication to community work (including volunteering for a decade at an LGBT youth crisis hotline) and to creating social and sexual stimulation for the queer community outside the decaying gay ghetto (namely, his wonderfully raunchy club night, Vazaleen, and his participation as a founding partner in revitalizing the Beaver Café) is unmatched.

Luis Jacob was born in Lima, Peru, in 1970. Lives and works in Toronto.

Luis Jacob is a Toronto-based multimedia artist and curator concerned with notions of collectivity, and, increasingly, with acts of looking and meaning-making. Jacob studied semiotics and philosophy at the University of Toronto in the early 1990s, and he soon became immersed in local politics and club culture, as well as the art world, all three coming into play in his first decade of output, which often included experimentation with relational aesthetics. In 2005, Jacob showed Habitat at the Art Gallery of Ontario; this, among other things, piqued the interest of then-visiting Documenta 12 curators Ruth Noack and Roger Buergel, who included him in the 2007 event. Since then, Jacob has shown internationally and with great variety, focusing on found objects (his Album series, for instance, part of which is now owned by the Guggenheim Museum in New York) and the nature of the image. A touring retrospective of his work was hosted by Montreal’s Darling Foundry and Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in 2010 and 2011.

Born in Hamilton in 1977. Lives and works in New York.

Paul P. is a painter and draughtsperson whose exquisite landscape and figurative work has equal roots in late-19th-century aestheticism and gay pornography. P. was raised in Mississauga and studied at York University; as a student, he was a studio assistant for artist Stephen Andrews, and began using gay porn as a life-drawing reference. He exhibited his first portraits of young men, many faces from these porn magazines, in 2001. In 2003, he made his New York solo-show debut at Daniel Reich Gallery, and in 2006, relocated to Paris for several years. Recent oil paintings recall the gauzy, abstracted vistas of James McNeill Whistler and the European Symbolists. P.’s work is in the collections of, among others, the Museum of Modern Art and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Bruce LaBruce is a Toronto based filmmaker, writer, director, photographer, and artist. He began his career in the mid eighties making a series of short experimental super 8 films and co-editing a punk fanzine called J.D.s, which begat the queercore movement. He has directed and starred in three feature length movies, No Skin Off My Ass (1991), Super 8 1/2 (1994), and Hustler White (1996). More recently he has directed two art/porn features, Skin Flick(2000)(hardcore version: Skin Gang) and The Raspberry Reich (2004)(hardcore version: The Revolution Is My Boyfriend), and the independent feature Otto; or, Up with Dead People (2008). After premiering at Sundance and Berlin, “The Raspberry Reich” took off on the international film festival circuit, playing at over 150 festivals, including the Istanbul, Guadalajara, and Rio de Janeiro International Film Festivals. He was also honoured with retrospectives at the end of ’05 at the Madrid and Hong Kong Gay and Lesbian Film Festivals. Otto; or, Up with Dead People also debuted at Sundance and Berlin and played at over 150 film festivals, culminating in a screening at MoMA in New York City in November of 2008. His new film, L.A. Zombie, starring French star Francois Sagat, premiered in competition at the Locarno International Film Festival in August, 2010. It will have it’s French premier at the L’Etrange Film Festival in Paris and its North American premier at the Toronto International Film Festival in Septemer. 2010. The hardcore version, L.A. Zombie Hardcore, will be released at Halloween, 2010.

LaBruce has written a premature memoir entitled The Reluctant Pornographer, from Gutter Press. The Plug-In Gallery in Winnipeg, Canada published a book on LaBruce’s work, Ride Queer Ride, in 1998. In the past several years, LaBruce has written and directed three theatrical productions. Cheap Blacky (2007) and The Bad Breast; or, The Strange Case of Theda Lange (2009) were both produced at the Hau 2 and featured Susanne Sachsse and Vaginal Davis. Macho Family Romance (2009), commissioned by Theater Neumarkt in Zurich, also featured Ms. Sachsse and Ms. Davis. LaBruce was a contributing editor and frequent writer and photographer for Index magazine, and he has also been a regular contributor to Eye and Exclaim magazines, Dutch, Vice, the National Post, Nerve.com. and Black Book. He was also formerly a frequent photographer for the US porn mags Honcho and Inches, and has recently contributed to Butt, Kink, Jack, Currency, Kaiserin, and Slurp. As a fashion photographer he has contributed stories to such magazines as Dazed and Confused, Bon, Tank, Tetu, Fake, Attitude, Blend, Tokion, Purple Fashion, and the National Post.

LaBruce had his first solo show of photographs presented by the Alleged Gallery in New York in December 1999. He has had subsequent solo exhibits of his photographs at the Pitt Gallery in Vancouver, MC MAGMA in Milano, Italy, Bailey Fine Arts Gallery in Toronto, Peres Projects in San Francisco, and at John Connelly Presents in New York. His show Heterosexuality Is the Opiate of the Masses opened on July 16th/05 at Peres Projects in Los Angeles. In July/06 he mounted Polaroid Rage: A Survey of Polaroids, 2000-2006 at Gallery 1313 in Toronto. He has also participated in numerous group shows. In October of 2006 he was the featured artist at the Barcelona International Erotic Festival. His latest solo shows include Untitled Hardcore Zombie Project, which opened at Peres Projects in Culver City, LA, on May 23rd, 2009, and L.A. Zombie: The Movie That Would Not Die, which premiered at Peres Projects Berlin on January 30th, 2010. LaBruce has also made a number of popular music videos in Canada, two of which won him MuchMusic video awards.

Daryl Vocat , born in Regina, Saskatchewan, is a visual artist living and working in Toronto. He completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Regina in Saskatchewan, and his Master of Fine Arts degree at York University in Toronto. His main focus is printmaking, specifically screen printing. He works out of Toronto’s Open Studio.

He has had solo exhibitions at Toronto’s Thrush Holmes Empire, Open Studio, and York Quay Gallery. He has also had solo exhibitions at SNAP gallery and Latitude 53 in Edmonton, Eastern Edge Gallery in St John’s, James K. Bartleman Art Gallery in Elliot Lake, The Wilfred Laurier Gallery in Waterloo, and Malaspina Printmakers Gallery in Vancouver. He has participated in several group exhibitions both in Canada and beyond, including an internationally touring exhibition titled Further, Artists From Printmaking at the Edge. Most recently he had work in the New Prints exhibition at the International Print Center New York.

His work has been acquired by the National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives, The Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop in NYC, The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery permanent collection in British Columbia, The Saskatchewan Arts Board permanent collection, and the City of Toronto Fine Art collection. His artwork has been published in YYZine from YYZ Gallery in Toronto, Briarpatch magazine from Regina, and Printmaking at the Edge by Richard Noyce, published in Great Britain.

Images

1: A crowd gathers as set-up for the performance wraps up.
2: AM Director Ann Dean (left) and Joel Gibb (right).
3: Will Munro manning the merchandise table.
4: Luis Jacob (left) and Will Munro (right) taking in the sights and sounds.
5: The Hidden Cameras textile wall hanging acted as a backdrop to the performance.
6: Joel Gibb of The Hidden Cameras performing.
7: The crowd for the EP launch.

  1. EP Launch for The Hidden Cameras’s The Arms of his Ill
  2. EP Launch for The Hidden Cameras’s The Arms of his Ill
  3. EP Launch for The Hidden Cameras’s The Arms of his Ill
  4. EP Launch for The Hidden Cameras’s The Arms of his Ill
  5. EP Launch for The Hidden Cameras’s The Arms of his Ill
  6. EP Launch for The Hidden Cameras’s The Arms of his Ill
  7. EP Launch for The Hidden Cameras’s The Arms of his Ill
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