ottawa

Booty Blog .4 Julia’s Story

Originally written for Wicked Wanda’s Adult Emporium

By Guest Writer: Julia Winston

The short version of the story goes like this. Painfully virginal middle-class suburban girl grows up in painfully normal and comfortable ‘proper’ neighborhood. She learns about her body parts from books and school sex Ed. class. This girl will be a good girl, not sleep around in high school, meet her husband at 17, marry him at 21 and think that it will be perfectly fine to spend the rest of her life making herself climax after sex instead of during. At least I was capable of orgasm, I had an inkling that many women were not. Fast forward to age 22, when an unexpected man from my past reentered my life in the most serendipitous and wonderful of ways. Fast forward to the moment I realized that my marriage, although comfortable and loving and without any obvious flaws, was…how should I put this…boring. I started to get the feeling that perhaps I was missing something, that perhaps at the age of 21, I didn’t know everything. I have always been a curious person, but at the time, I had trouble escaping the cultural paradigm on which I was raised. My husband was older than me and even less sexually experienced than I was.

It took a chance encounter with my high school sweetheart to get the curiosity flowing. It took his constant positivity and trustworthiness. It took months and months of excruciatingly chaste friendship until finally, my sexual-self emerged from the shadows, a surprise it seems, only to me. He knew I had it in me all along and he was determined to help my inner slut emerge and flourish. Our society loves sexy women but shuns women who love sex. I wasn’t ready yet to be seen as a slut.

Our passion was palpable and rooted in pheromones and matching chemistry but our encounters were still reticent, cautious and controlled due to my inability to turn off my brain and surrender. I couldn’t let go of mother culture. I was open though, and willing to try new things. We would watch porn together and talk about things that turned us on. I ALWAYS skipped the butt stuff. I thought it was the ultimate turn off. How could anal sex possibly be comfortable, clean or pleasurable for that matter. Surely only porn stars have anal sex and then surely only because they are being paid and men like it. My upbringing was germaphobic and private. Asses MUST be disgusting. So although I continued being ‘adventurous’ in my eyes, I was clearly not living up to the spirit of the word. During this period in my life, I tried anal sex once or twice and did not love it or hate it, just mostly felt indifferent and confused about it.crystal jellies kit

Fast forward again. Lovers have come and gone. None have insisted on anal and so I felt secure in the fact that this would not be a part of my sexual experience and was totally at peace with that. High school lover comes back into my life again and this time, our wild oats have been sowed with others and we are ready to move forward in exploration together. He has ALWAYS loved anal sex but I never knew how much. I wonder whether my reticence on this issue will cause our relationship to fall apart and so I open myself up to all possibilities. I let love and trust rule and throw all caution to the wayside. I decide to let him ‘train’ me. He knows what he is doing and I feel confident.

Those first couple months of my training were some of the most intense of my life. Not only was I expanding my sexual repertoire, but I felt my mind and spirit expanding as well. I gained a new appreciation for my body and what it is capable of. I felt pleasure I did not even know existed. My first ass plug was a beautiful metal weighted crystal jewel plug and it felt more like a piece of jewelry than a training tool. It made my ass feel pretty. It made me feel like the hole I had so overlooked was more special than I had given credit. As my sexual appetites changed and grew, I came to enjoy anal sex even more than conventional sex. I came to wish I could train longer and harder. I came to want to please my partner in ways I would have shunned 10 years before. And the pleasure and closeness was mutual. It was as if, through the magic of submission through anal sex, I had found a new calling.anal fantasy vibe

I know this sounds dramatic and that a lot of people, even those who participate in the act, do not feel this way about anal sex, but I am a person who demands change and transformation. I am a person who is adventurous and open minded. My journey to better, closer and more intense sex with mind blowing double penetration anal orgasms and even squirting anal orgasms had now led me to want to share. My experience has led me to become a sex educator and to the creation of erotica and sexy content that suits my own tastes instead of relying on the creations of others. My constant need to improve myself and learn has led me to the extremes of anal sex, my original limits broken and smashed, I seek new and higher planes of existence. I seek to stretch and strengthen and use my body and be used. I seek to share my pleasure and my pain with others so they may get a glimpse of the revolution I have evoked in my own body. For if we do not even understand the pleasure potential of our own body, how can we be expected to understand another person?

Julia ‘Muse’ Winston is a sexual scientist and erotic artist. She is the head researcher and mastermind behind The Squirt Project, and international online resource on the topic of Female Ejaculation. Her workshops are held at Wicked Wanda’s in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Julia Winston

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The Booty Blog 3. Lubrication, Lubrication, Lubrication

Originally written for Wicked Wanda’s Adult Emporium

During my journey into anal and as a sex store clerk I’ve discovered one very important thing… Lube is key. Unlike the vagina, the anus, or any parts of your bum, do not have a self-lubricating system. Spit orgod help me, water is not good lubrication at all. Women hate it when their legs chafe in the summer or worse men hate it when their balls chafe, imagine in your butt… wait, don’t, because it is horrible. Let alone, without proper lubrication during anal play, you can actually tear and deeply hurt your arse-hole and the anal canal. So for the purpose of the Booty Blog I’ve come up with a list of the top five anal lubes that you can find at Wicked Wanda’s and which will definitely get the job done.

Sutil by Hathor#1 – My absolute favorite lube for everything sexy-time related including anal is Hathor’s SUTIL lube. One of the only water-based lubes on our list, SUTIL is a fantastic lube that is eco-friendly and chemical-free. What makes SUTIL different than the other Hathor products is that it is meant to feel like silicone but it is water-based. Through my experience with it, I completely agree that it does feel like silicone in that it is thicker than traditional water-based lubes. That said, it is still water-based so it will eventually start absorbing into the skin. Add some spit or water, even more lube and it will come right back to life. The reason I like this lube so much is because it is great for sensitive skin, leaves very little residue and it is completely safe with all toys including silicone. It also has a wonderful consistency that feels luxuriant. The price is a little steep at $24.99+taxes for 4oz/120 ml but that is because it is a Canadian-made product shipped from Vancouver and it is made from fantastic natural ingredients, rather than harsh chemicals.

Note: Be careful about silicone lubes, while they are the go-to for a lot of people’s anal play because they are thicker and longer-lasting, they play too nice with silicone toys. Silicone lube and toys tend to start melting into each other which ruins your toy’s integrity and eventually makes the toy useless. Of course you can use silicone lube with non-silicone toys and if you are just going with a straight up penis or fingers. It is also a misconception that you can’t have a condom on and do silicone lube at the same time. There is nothing about silicone lube that is harmful to condoms, that is oil-based lube and it is rare to find oil in lubes these days because of it.

Sassy#2 – The only other water-based lube on this list is our second place product: Sliquid’s Sassy lube. Nicknamed the booty gel by the Wanda’s staff, this lube is long-lasting and totally safe. This lube gets second place because it is glycerin and paraben free like our SUTIL friend but is not Canadian-made. The booty gel is great for a water-based anal lube because it has a thick consistency and gets the job done. It is tasteless, scentless and entirely vegan. I like this one a little less than the SUTILbecause of a difference in consistency and the less eco-friendly nature of the highly-produced Sliquid brand. For a 4oz/120ml it is $14.99+ taxes. The 8.5 oz/255ml is $24.99+taxes.

sliquid-silver#3 – Next on the list is Sliquid’s Silver lube. This is a purely silicone-based lube and it has everything one could want with a thick, silicone lube. It is smooth and simple. Sliquid is a great brand because all of their products are glycerin and paraben free, including being vegan and always consistent. This particular one is hypoallergenic, scent-free and waterproof. It can be used as an anal or vaginal lube and for sensual massage because it lasts so long. That said, it is silicone so you cannot use it with silicone toys and sometimes silicone lube stains sheets. Another one of those lubes that gets the job done for an affordable price. For 4.2oz/ 125ml it is $16.99+ taxes and for 8.5oz/ 255ml it is $29.99+taxes. You’ll notice with silicone lubes they almost always cost more because the lube itself is more expensive to make.

Gun Oil#4 – Gun Oil is our fourth place anal product but by no means is it lacking in fantastic performance capabilities. Gun Oil is another silicone lubricant that is extremely popular when we feature it in the store. It is simple and doesn’t weigh heavy on the skin or seem to coat the skin undesirably but it does lubricate really well. Like mentioned before, you do not want to use silicone toys with this one but it is popular for those coming in with a lot of experience with anal play. It doesn’t beat out theSliquid silicone lube because it does have chemicals and doesn’t guarantee being free of parabens or glycerin.

boybutter#5 – The last lube on this top 5 list is unique in ingredients and consistency. Boy Butter is the only partially oil-based lube you can find at Wicked Wanda’s but it uses oil in its ingredients for a reason. A hybrid of oil and silicone, this lube lasts a very long time and washes out of cloth and off of skin. While we do not recommend using condoms at all with this lubricant because it can immediately compromise the condoms integrity, it is a great lube for anal. There is the option of getting Boy Butter without the oil yet it doesn’t necessarily last as long. This lube is great for anal sex with wiggly bits and no condoms but due to the restrictions on usage, it gets 5th place.

Lube is absolutely necessary when experimenting with anal, either with toys or anal sex with fleshy bits. While it helps keep you safe from causing unwanted damage, it also makes it way more pleasurable for all involved. Even when experimenting solo, I found lube was fundamental for a good experience. Even using my own self-made lubrication was not enough for the long haul. You may also like to check out lubricant inserters for less mess and lube exactly where you want it. They look like fun little swords but they are great, especially for deep anal play with longer toys or with a penis. You can find all of these products at Wicked Wanda’s today.

Yours,

Lilith

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WeVibe Touch- Reviewed

Originally written for Wicked Wanda’s Adult Emporium

Power, precision and a pretty toy are exactly what you are in for when trying out WeVibe’s Touch. This little purple vibrator is top of the line quality because of its classy size and shape, quietness and wiggly bit’s approved power. WeVibe is a Ottawa founded company that has gain world renown for their couple’s toy but for solo play they also bring high quality finesse to their rechargeable beasts.

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My first impressions were largely based off of the name brand itself. Through my experience as a sexstore employee the age-old saying that “you get what you pay for” is glaringly true. While there are many good vibrators out there that are cheaper, the likelihood they will last and have the desired amount of power is a tossup. Once you get in the habit of buying a new vibrator every 6 months to a year, it gets expensive real fast with the cheap toys. Once I found out how much I enjoyed vibrations for clit play, the obvious choice was to upgrade as soon as possible to a toy that will last. A big part of long-lasting toys is also what kind of battery they take. Frankly, if your toy takes weird batteries or god-forbid watch batteries, throw and run away quickly. Watch batteries are the devil when it comes to sex toys and frankly the cost of batteries and the amount that they leak into your toys is not worth sticking to them. We usually recommend getting into the habit of taking out your batteries from vibrators between uses to help avoid battery leakage into your toy. Rechargeable is the way to go now with sex toys. That is why I like the Touch so much because it is USB rechargeable and thus never having to worry about batteries. You get about two hours of play from a single charge that takes about 90 minutes to fill up full and the toy flashes an orange light when the battery is low.

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I’m also a huge fan of silicone toys and especially high-grade silicone because it is silky-soft and cuts down on the noise of the toy. Toys like the Touch are also fantastic for cleaning because simply soap and water works well or toy cleaner if you already have some. Furthermore, the Touch is waterproof, and very enjoyable in the shower. Of course, silicone is great but what about power? This little guy is mind-blowing powerful. With 8 different speeds including pulsating, you can pick your favorites and what’s better is that whatever setting you turned it off on (presumably your favorite one) when you go to use it again, it is still on that setting. No clicking through to find your tried and true favorite. While the power levels can be soft to start the buildup, when you are ready for real vibration that rocks your socks off the Touch abides.

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xicon_waterproofxicon_rechargeable_0xicon_bodySafexicon_whisperQuiet

The shape of the Touch is also unique but incredibly smart as it curves to your hand whether for solo play or with a partner. It also isn’t too big to get in the way of enjoying other activities down-below. Furthermore, because of its great pointed end, the vibrations go directly onto the clit rather than all around. Having that focused power allows for longer play and more intense clit orgasms. This is why bullet vibrators are so popular because they are simple and straight to the point.

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Overall this toy is fantastic and I would recommend it for every womyn. At the cost of $99.99 + taxes, it is affordable for a rechargeable toy with a 1 year warranty and panty dropping power. While this toy is amazing for many reasons there are of course downsides like any toy. Largely my beef with this toy is about the way it charges. While rechargeable is amazing, it is not very common to see people recharging their toys on their computer desk and that is what you have to do unless you have an adaptor. Touch is USB rechargeable but does not come with a wall plug adaptor. That said, it is very easy to get an adaptor at the dollar store. I actually use my Iphone charging adaptor so the problem is fairly easily solved. My only other criticism of this toy is that the charging prongs that are magnetized to attach to the toy is not very strong so it is easy for the cord to be knocked off and the charging to stop. Definitely want to keep it out-of-the-way as it charges to make sure the cord stays in place.

Otherwise, this toy is absolutely amazing and I would recommend it for anyone who enjoys clit vibrations. This is not a penetrative toy because of its shape and small size. Try this toy out today, come by Wicked Wanda’s to talk to our knowledgeable staff and to see if the Touch can be your new best friend.

Lilith

To see more check out WeVibe™ Touch Video

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Sutil Lube by Hathor- Reviewed

This review was originally written for Wicked Wanda’s Adult Emporium

There is a small but strong cultural idea that if one needs lube during sex, then someone (often the woman) is doing it wrong. Of course that is only from the heterosexual perspective but even as I work in a sex store, I still encounter people who think lube is only for when you need help. Yet, on the flipside, we sell lube like it is going out of fashion. What have some people discovered that others have not? Well I’m not one of those people who believe lube is only for those who need it, but I don’t often use it. Through my time as a sex store cleric, you grow to know the different lubricants, their purposes; texture, smell and you tend to find one that you love the most. For me that is the SUTIL Lube by Hathor.

“Hathor is the feminine principal of health, beauty, sensuality, love… eroticism. It is all the same to us. We believe that sex plays an important role in health and well-being. The Products that you purchase for sex should be as natural and healing as your facial products… and having aphrodisiacs in your facial products can only enhance your day!”

Melta Swift

I can’t rant and rave enough about this lubricant because it hits me in all the good places: pleasurable, long-lasting, eco-friendly and Canadian. The Hathor brand was created in 1989 by Melta Swift and Nathanda Swift in Vancouver; they had specialized in plant aphrodisiacs in spa treatment products and then moved to the erotic industry with their Hathor lubricants. All of their product-line is chemical, paraben, glycerin free with botanical eco-certified ingredients. You ask what does eco-certified mean?

The Eco-cert standard

“The use of ingredients derived from renewable resources, manufactured by environmentally friendly processes.” Eco-cert therefore checks: The absence of GMO, parabens, phenoxyethanol, nanoparticles, silicon, PEG, synthetic perfumes and dyes, animal-derived ingredients (unless naturally produced by them: milk, honey, etc.) and the biodegradable or recyclable nature of packaging.”

Finding an eco-friendly and Canadian brand of lube is amazing and it helps that the lube itself is absolutely fantastic. SUTIL (pronounced subtle) is the newest of their products to come out and what makes it distinct is that it feels like silicone but is water-based. When shopping for lube, generally I recommend going with water-based because it is totally safe with toys and doesn’t stain like silicone can. That said many people find that water-based runs dry fairly quickly which can be a pain. Those looking for long-last lubricants (especially for anal) tend to go towards silicone-based lubes because they are thicker and generally longer-lasting. Yet, a lot of the good toys we get today are made with silicone, and silicone toys and lube do not play nice with each other, or more accurately, they place too nice and start to melt into each other. Like I’ve said before, a cute metaphor but bad for your toys and pocketbook. That is why I like SUTIL so much because it is totally safe with all toys and it is actually thick like advertised.

An application that I hadn’t thought of but discovered with the SUTIL lube was the pleasure of waiting. While lube can be wonderful to get the party going with a bang, what it can also do is build-up to THE BANG. For some, friction is what makes masturbation or foreplay with a partner result in an orgasm. I discovered withSUTIL that you have to enjoy the smoothness of the lube and really get the engines roaring before you can start to feel real friction with a toy or whatnot. That means that when finally ready to orgasm it is bigger and better because it wasn’t rushed. You can also use SUTIL for sensual touching on erroneous zones and it is absolutely fantastic for anal play!

I don’t have a lot of criticisms for this product and the criticisms I do have are more from a customer with a small pocketbook then the actual product itself. This lube is expensive when looking at the other options for lube. It is $24.99 for a 4oz/ 120ml bottle and does not come readily available in other sizes. There is no small tester bottle you can take home. That said the price is fairly understandable when you consider that the product is Canadian made and eco-friendly with really finsutil 3e ingredients. When compared to other silicone-based lubes which range around $20.00 for the same amount, the price is pretty fair for the product received. Did I mention the bottle is 100% biodegradable?

I absolutely love this product for all kinds of sexual playing and with no real taste, there is nothing stopping you from enjoying all of your sexy times with SUTIL. This product makes my wiggly bits and my socially-conscious self very happy and I highly recommend everyone to try Hathor and specifically the SUTILlubricant.

Lilith

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Glass Dildos LoveStyle Reviewed

My first encounter with glass dildos was strangely violent and fascinating at the same time. My inaugural Sexapalooza, I was walking towards theLoveStyle booth chatting with my friends about my fascination with glass dildos but how ultimately my fear of horrific glass shards lacerating my bits stopped me from ever full exploring the option. The lady behind the table must have heard our discussion as we approached because without a word, she grabbed the nearest glass beauty and smashed it as hard as possible against the table in front of her. It was terrifying. Yet she proved her point with flare- there is no chance a vagina is going to break the dildo is the table or floor can’t.

Today I am reviewing the LoveStyle product-line of glass dildos and specifically the Lotus. This dildo is beautiful and efficient as the artistic form of the LoveStyle products and the utility makes my adult sexual vixen happily jumping in her panties. The very appearance of the dildos is what first caught my eye years ago at Sexapoolza, as they reminded me of the elegant water-pipes that one can find in certain herbal-friendly shops. An artisan touch which makes one think that maybe it could be displayed as an elegant paperweight on your desk without visitors screaming in fright or glee at the very sight of it. What can I say, I love pretty sex toys. Many of the different dildos have interesting artistic flares, such as coloured glass and designs featured within the glass itself. A sophisticated toy for the city-chick or trendy couple as the designs and shapes are graceful and engaging.

While looks are most definitely a selling point while shopping for your next favourite toy, the practicality of it is even more important to consider. What are the benefits of glass, you might ask? Firstly, it is easy to clean and maintain. You can simply use soap and water or toy-cleaner to keep your glass friend happy and healthy. Maintenance is practically non-existent as you do not have to worry about it hanging out with LoveStyle Glass Dildos and Dilettossilicone friends to often (silicone toys should be kept separate from each other because they can melt into each other- cute in metaphor but bad for your toys and budget). You also do not have to worry about battery decay or surface degradation because the glass will not wear-down, nor does it come with batteries. Lastly, you can use any lube you want with it – silicone or water-based play nicely with the glass. I love that it is so incredibly easy to clean and it is fully water-proof as well. Playing in the bath with them makes bath-time loads of fun for solo play or with a partner.

My absolute favourite part of owning a glass dildo is that you can heat them up or cool them down. Imagine if you will, the warm blanket feeling after pulling one right out of the dryer: now imagine that amazing feeling on your bits! Warming them up got me riled up so quickly that I wondered where those animal noises had come from. Don’t put your toy in the microwave or in a bowl of boiling water because you will have to wait to use it- no fun. I put my dildo in the washroom sink and turned the hot water on over it. I then brushed my teeth and my the time I was done, so was my friend- ready for sensual fun. Or you can cool it down in a bowl of ice or under cold water for a few minutes. While I wouldn’t recommend starting with a chilly dildo, after lots sensual fun where one is sweaty and over-sensitive- the cold can feel wonderful, just like playing with ice cubes. The great part about glass, is that it retains the heat or cold very well, so you have more time for temperature play then say an ice cube or warm towel. Alternatives for getting the hot and cold feeling is condoms or lubricant but I would give a word of caution with those products. Some work but always read the ingredients and see what chemical makes that sensation happen- some are alright for the body and some, like alcohol, are not good. Being able to get the hot/cold sensation free from chemicals is a huge bonus for me and I think a lot of women and partners out there will appreciate that too.

Lastly, there are negatives to this product, but I would more describe them as “six in one, half dozen in the other” points. The glass is very hard, there is no soft texture like the silicone which can simulate skin for the glass dildos. This can make the adjustment for penetration difficult at times or it takes longer foreplay to insert the toy. This also means that you feel everything, the dildo does not absorb any of your vibrations but instead one feels all of the curves and pulses that your own body and the toy provides. Another positive/negative is that the toys are fairly heavy. This means that using the toy can be tiresome after a long while of use both with partners or solo play. I appreciate the weight of it because you can use the weight to your advantage to gain greater depth of penetration and I’ve always enjoyed how weight can often be an indicator of quality- like stone pendants and other artistic items. My third point is the price. These toys are expensive with prices ranging from $110 to $200 and considering you can get rubber dildos for $10, it seems like a lot of money. Likewise, you can find glass dildos online for $40. Often times however when it comes to sextons – you get what you pay for. I would not trust $40 glass dildos near my partner’s or my genitalia and when you go to those company’s websites, you’ll see the sketchy nature of cheap products. With theLoveStyle products, you get quality no matter what. A toy which lasts you lifetimes and you know without a doubt of the authenticity of the product is worth the extra money.

The Lotus which I personally use is $114.99 in the store and you can find other great glass dildos which can be used for vaginal, anal and sensation play. The Lotus, like all of the dildos, can be used on both ends for all kinds of play and I would strongly recommend that you come into the shop today to check out these great products.

Wicked Wanda’s Adult Emporium

World AIDS DAy: New Doors & Clean Showers by The Velvet Studio

Written by The Velvet Studio

Today the AIDS Committee of Ottawa opened its new doors at 19 Main Street as the world’s media turns its attention to the global AIDS crisis for World AIDS Day.  With a lack of affordable options in ‘The Village’ after the legal dispute with 240 Bank Street, and having to leave their previous location, the ACO is now located in the Sandy Hill area. The move follows a recommendation from a 2012, Ministry of Health and Long Term-Care mandated a safety audit.

In good news for the Capital, the Ottawa Public Health’s recent report ‘State of Ottawa’s Health 2014’ noted that the rate of new infections was down for the previous year, dropping to 60 cases, although still higher than the provincial average. In the UK conversely an all-party group on HIV/AIDS released the ‘Access Denied’ report, which estimated that by 2030 an estimated 55 million people will need treatment. Last year 1.5 million died from HIV related illnesses.The One Campaign estimates that it would cost another $3 Billion a year to effectively tackle the issue on a global scale.

In an attempt to raise some of those funds Jack Mackenroth has helped trigger a new online fad with the Shower Selfies. Although Mackenroth’s attempt to raise funds for the Housing Works, program in New York, has only raised just over $2,249 out of its $1,000,000 goal, the challenge appears to have caught on. The challenge is to take a picture in the shower with the hashtag #weareALLclean. This is designed to tackle the stigma around HIV being perceived as ‘dirty’. The AIDS Committee of Toronto’s Board Director James has recently challenged the ACO in Ottawa to join in with the #weareALLclean drive.  As ACO provides over 30 programs and groups for people living with HIV in Ottawa, it will undoubtedly be hoping that some of the social media donations from this latest fad go to support ACO, you can Donate Here.

Let us know how you raised awareness for World AIDS Day,

And what do you think about the #weareALLclean campaign?

First published online at The Velvet Stuidio

1st Feminist Fair in Ottawa!

On Sunday December 7th at Pressed Cafe (750 Gladstone Ave, Ottawa). The Feminist Twins and Slut Walk Ottawa are hosting the very first annual Feminist Fair in Ottawa! There will be pins, art, soaps, zines, jewelry, gifts and raffle prizes! There will also be a Donation Bin for gently-used clothing for local LGBTQ youth!

Admission by Donation- 3-6pm!

See you There!

Pop Culture Roundup Show!

Recorded November 17th, 2014. On Today’s show, Lilith took the opportunity to chat in depth about what has been going on in Pop culture and News today. With a look at the real issue behind the Kim Kardashian photo shoot, and the KKK’s rebranding, there is a lot to talk about. And in honor of Carleton University’s various SEXWEEKS on campus, Lilith also spoke about what is happening in Turkey with textbooks discussing genitalia! A packed show for sure!

CKCU 93.1 FM

Click Here to Listen!

Capital Pride: The 2014 Timeline by The Velvet Studio

Who Know, Knew What, and When

A Run Down of the Capital Pride Drama this Year

Over the past couple months, following Capital Pride’s record breaking festival, there has been media attention directed at the near bankruptcy of Capital Pride. Provisionally saved at the last moment  by the membership due to a technicality of the bankruptcy process, Pride appears to have a future despite this early announcement. That even many of the membership were confused over the nature of the bankruptcy is no surprise, given the complex sequence of events, and surely anyone would be forgiven for loosing track of who knew what and when.

The Velvet Studio hopes to outline, to the best of our ability, the breakdown of the sequence of events, the availability of information, and who knew of what and when, to help better understand why the decision to declare bankruptcy unfolded as it did.

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August 15th to 24th 2014

August 18th – Events planner Sebastien Provost provides treasurer Giselle Gardipy with an updated spreadsheet outlining his expenses. He alleges it fell within the approved budget.

Capital Pride breaks previous records with an attendance of 110,000 people along the Parade route, easily beating the previous record of 75,000,. Making Pride one of the top attended festivals in Ottawa.

During the festival, there was no indication of irregularities in need of scrutiny, with the coverage being generally positive.

August 22nd – Unaware yet that bar operations needed a backdraft of nearly $24,000 for alcohol, Capital Pride was faced with a problem as their bank was closed at this time. Capital Pride provided a cheque to Provost who had offered to get a bank draft for that purpose.

In an interview with the Velvet Studio on Saturday the 23rd Stephanie Lavergne, the Assistant Treasurer, and Director of the Week’s Events, said “Everything is going kind of according to plan, and everyone is having a great time and we are really happy with all the numbers”

August 25th 2014 (Monday) 

 A meeting between infrastructure contractor Guillaume Tasse (stage, toilets, tents) and  Treasurer Giselle Gardipy was cancelled. Tasse claims he was owed $42,000 and had not been provided payment or and explanation by Capital Pride. Tasse had also additionally provided Capital Pride with a $10,000 sponsorship.

August 26th (Tuesday) 

The last time that Provost spoke with Treasurer Gardipy. Contractors were informed that Gardipy was in hospital.

August 27th (Wednesday) 

After having deposited a cheque from Capital Pride of nearly $24,000 to cover the festival’s alcohol purchase, Provost , discovers that his account is overdrawn by $15,000, . indicating the original cheque had not cleared.

August 29th (Friday)

Capital Pride releases media release

“However, at this time, Capital Pride is currently investigating accounting irregularities that have come to light upon review of its post-festival finances. A police investigation may be pending.

September 4th (Thursday)

The Ottawa Citizen: “Capital Pride investigating ‘Accounting Irregularities’

Two suppliers and a DJ reveal that their cheques bounced from Capital Pride, and they are still owed.

September 5th (Friday)

Capital Pride releases a statement

“Capital Pride is working with its experts to assess documentation surrounding the alleged accounting irregularities that came to light upon a post-festival review. We are taking this time to thoroughly examine the materials prior to presenting them to our stakeholders, the Ottawa–Gatineau LGBT community and our allies.
As always, Capital Pride will exercise due diligence to this matter.
Capital Pride would once again like to thank all those who made the 2014 Capital Pride Festival a success. We will provide details surrounding this situation as they emerge. We appreciate your patience and cooperation.”

The Ottawa Citizen: ‘Capital Pride working with experts to sort our finances’

The Arc Hotel and TD Bank both reveal that they are not owed money from Capital Pride.

September 8th (Monday)

Daily Xtra!: ‘Capital Pride plans press conference to address finances’

Povost and Tasse state they have contacted the Ottawa Police Service.

Festival Director Jodie MacNamara confirms there will be a press release on the 9th.

September 9th (Tuesday)

Without citing reasons or rescheduling, Capital Pride cancels the planned press release.

Capital Pride releases a statement, in which they thank the community before stating that they are working with experts to gather information related to the emerging situation, stating “Currently our examination centers on invoices from festival site and entertainment providers requesting payments for amounts that were not approved by the Capital Pride Board of Directors. The initial results indicate that House of SAS, through its principal Sebastien Provost, significantly exceeded the agreed-upon budget.” They noted that no sponsorship or donor funds had been implicated.

The Ottawa Citizen: Capital Pride, supplier clash over spending allegations’

The Citizen interviews Provost: “I have no idea what they are talking about,” said Provost, himself a one-time chair of Capital Pride, and long-time bar owner and promoter in Ottawa. “My records indicate I was within the approved budget that was allocated to me.” He goes on to note that he had no signing authority.

Allegra Printing allege they are owed $8,500 by the festival, DJ Stephan Grondin alleged a cheque had bounced, and Producer Entertainment, which represents RuPaul’s Drag Race, also allege they were owed a significant amount. Producer Entertainment stated that the cheque has been sent for collection by their bank.

CBCnews: ‘Capital Pride says some suppliers asking for too much money’

CBC revealed in an interview one of the suppliers, Tasse “A $40,000 budget was agreed to by Capital Pride before the festival took place, Tasse said, and a second, smaller invoice for things the festival forgot to request was agreed to by the site manager. It was about $1,200, Tasse said. He was originally promised 50 per cent of the $40,000 budget before the festival took place, but was later told by Capital Pride that they could only offer 25 per cent up front, Tasse said.

September 10th (Wednesday)

Daily Xtra!: ‘Capital Pride comments on accounting irregularities’

Xtra! interviewed Provost, who revealed more details;

“’When I went to their bank, the Bank of Montreal, to try to have my cheque certified, I was told by the branch that there was actually never any money in the account, that those cheques were knowingly written without funds. And that is when I proceeded to go to the police and press charges,’ he says.”

Xtra! Also revealed that in a discussion between MacNamara and Tasse, MacNamara objected to a $3,000 LED wall used on the stage, stating it was not board approved. When Tasse offered to drop the invoice to $39,000 and separately discuss the LED wall, he was told ‘No Comment’ by MacNamara who then dropped communication with Tasse.

The Daily Xtra! also revealed that the Ottawa Police had begun investigating. Separately, it was stated that Producer Entertainment had informed Xtra! that its legal team were looking at all options.

September 11th (Thursday) 

Capital Pride reaches out to Daily Xtra! for an exclusive interview.

Provost refuses an Xtra! interview, stating he had begun legal action. It is later reported that Provost specifically took legal steps against Capital Pride.

September 12th (Friday)

Daily Xtra!: ‘Capital Pride speaks out on alleged accounting irregularities’

In an exclusive interview with Xtra!; “’The cheques were returned NSF because right after the festival we found a preliminary, apparent shortfall [of bar revenue] that added up to tens of thousands of dollars,’ says Jodie McNamara, chair of Capital Pride.”

Xtra! further reveals that “’Suppliers have come forward saying they have agreements with Capital Pride when those agreements were never reviewed by Capital Pride,’ [MacNamara] says. ‘We have received invoices for at least $23,000 over the budget we approved to House of SAS for the entertainment on site.’” MacNamara refused to reveal to Xtra! The names of the unapproved invoices.

MacNamara stated to Xtra! that they plan on speaking individually to each of the contractors. When asked if they were able to pay contractors she stated “we have funds.”

September 22nd (Monday) 

In a letter to Allegra Printing, MacNamara informed them that they planned to pay the $8,569.07 it owed for signs and other printing.

October 6th (Monday) 

Capital Pride hosts a Public Consultation Meeting to review Pride Events. The Velvet Studio was informed by the Secretary that nothing related to the finances will be discussed. The AGM is announced for November 5th.

October 10th (Friday) 

Jodie MacNamara, while working as the Chair of Capital Pride, begins to reach out to community members to create a new organization to replace Capital Pride. The public is not officially made aware.

October 15th (Wednesday)

Daily Xtra!: ‘Capital Pride faces legal threat’

Xtra! revealed that, following Capital Pride’s Sept 9th media release, Sebastien Provost filed for libel against the Capital Pride Board of Directors. Xtra! notes “Jodie McNamara, chair of Capital Pride, confirms they’ve received Provost’s notice of intent to sue for libel… ‘The notice requested a retraction, and everything we said was true, so we will not be making a retraction,’”

In the article Provost alleges that MacNamara refused to meet with him and the bar staff prior to releasing the statement on the 9th. He goes on to say “’The damage to my career has been so profound,’ he alleges. ‘I’m not even sure I’ll be able to recover from it. My credibility to book artists right now is shot. My company’s name has been all over the press embroiled in criminality that Capital Pride has alleged, without even meeting with me, without ever discussing it with me.’”

In the article, Provost outlines three possible causes for the drop in revenue: first being a broken beer fridge, with six taps broken leaving them with a single unit with two taps; the second issue was a bar mix order which Capital Pride, he alleged, delayed through error in till  Sunday evening, leaving them without soft drinks and mix in till 5pm; the third issue being the claim that Pride had handed out 235 free passes to the VIP area which included an open bar.

October 20th (Monday)

Capital Pride releases a statement on their Facebook.

“It is with extreme sadness and regret that Capital Pride must inform its membership, stakeholders and community, that after 29 years of operation, the Board of Directors has found itself in a financial situation beyond its ability to alter or repair and is now forced to declare bankruptcy.

The Board of Directors has been working very hard for the last two months to find a viable solution to enable Capital Pride to continue its operations for the sake of the Pride movement, the LGBTQ community and Ottawa residents, but with no success. Operations are now clearly unsustainable.

Capital Pride has had the privilege of working with many dedicated and supportive volunteers, organizations and individuals who worked exhausting hours in order to see the vision of Pride movement be elevated in Ottawa and we have seen some great moments throughout our history.

The AGM will happen as scheduled on November 5th. An email will be sent to our stakeholders shortly with a revised agenda so that everyone will know what to expect from that meeting. Much of the focus will be on the future of the Pride movement in Ottawa, going into it’s 30th year and beyond.”

Daily Xtra!: ‘Capital Pride declares bankruptcy’

CBCnews: ‘Capital Pride festival to declare bankruptcy’

CBC reveals that the Ottawa Police fraud unit investigators have opened a file on the financial issues at Capital Pride.

The Ottawa Citizen: ‘Capital Pride declares bankruptcy as suppliers fume’

The Ottawa Citizen revealed that Provost had been paid back the $24,000 from the liquor purchase. It was noted that Allegra Printing, who was owed $8,569, had not been paid. In a interview with the Citizen, Provost revealed he was out almost $7,000 in legal fees.

October 21st (Tuesday) 

The Ottawa Citizen: ‘Pride will go on despite bankruptcy, gay community says’

Provost reveals he is planning an ‘international’ festival for Ottawa next year. Stating that Capital Pride had lost all credibility.

October 30th (Thursday) 

While acting as Chair of Capital Pride, MacNamara reaches out to community members to form a new organization with the intent of replacing Capital Pride.

November 1st (Saturday) 

Reacting to leaks of a ‘secret committee’, members of the community reacts angrily to allegations, by individuals named in the proposal,, that someone [revealed to be McNamara] within Capital Pride is planning a secret committee to replace Capital Pride.

November 2nd (Sunday) 

Jodie MacNamara, in a Facebook post, refutes that the Capital Pride replacement committee is secret.

November 4th (Tuesday)

Daily Xtra!:Capital Pride chair convenes committee to address future’

In an interview with MacNamara, she states “’This committee has nothing to do with Capital Pride or the current Board of Directors,’ McNamara continued. ‘I have assembled the committee as a community member, not as the chair of Capital Pride. As a representative of Capital Pride I have provided infrastructure and the hands-on support necessary for the collaboration, but neither I nor Capital Pride have been in anyway [sic] involved in their conversation.’ […] McNamara said the new committee involves nearly 20 people, representing 14 organizations, sponsors and community members who have collaborated on a list of recommendations to take the Pride festival into its 30th year.”

November 5th (Wednesday)

The Velvet Studio: ‘Pride Chair organizes ‘Secret’ Committee ahead of AGM

The Velvet Studio releases a number of interviews from members contacted by MacNamara which indicate that she began planning as early as October 10th, and was acting as if representing Pride as late as October 30th. The Velvet Studio also revealed that several members of the Launch Committee had withdrawn prior to the 4th, issuing concerns with the “lack of transparency”.

Capital Pride holds AGM at City Hall

The Ottawa Citizen: ‘Capital Pride pulls back from Bankruptcy filing in surprise move’

The Ottawa Citizen, reporting from the Annual General Meeting (AGM), revealed that, despite a debt of $89,000, the membership of Capital Pride had voted to postpone filing for bankruptcy for 45 days, and called for the mass resignation of the Board, leading to the creation of an interim board.  The Citizen noted “According to the organization’s financial statements, made available Wednesday, it took in $341,907 in revenue in its 2013-214 festival year, but spent about $430,917, leaving it with a loss of about $89,000. […] Often on the brink of tears, McNamara offered her and the board’s apologies. ‘Nobody is claiming nothing went wrong, that we ddidn’tmake serious mistakes,’ she said. ‘I want to apologize from the bottom of my heart for a job done poorly.’”

CBCnews: ‘Capital Pride annual general meeting delays bankruptcy for 45 days’

The CBC revealed that the meeting, which held around 200 people, was originally slated to hear the two proposals, one from the launch committee and one from another alternative. However, the agenda changed when it became apparent that Capital Pride had not yet successfully filed for bankruptcy. CBC noted that the board refused to answer questions related to finances, and also refused to speak to the media.

All in a Day, a daily CBC radio broadcast, reports that Launch Committee spokesperson Doyle  noted there had been concerns raised in the community as it had been organized by MacNamara. A separate Pride reformation group lead by Gatineau Pride co-president Zarraga noted his proposal was not in anyway related to the current Pride board.

The Ottawa Sun: ‘Capital Pride cleans house’

The Ottawa Sun noted that, when it became apparent the papers had not been filed, the membership moved to dismiss the 7 member board and replace them with an interim Board.

November 6th (Thursday)

Daily Xtra!:AGM delays Capital Pride bankruptcy’

Following the AGM, Xtra! spoke with former Pride Chair Marion Steele “’I was annoyed, partly because [a debt of $89,000] is not enough to claim a bankruptcy over,’ Steele said. ‘We came in in 2004 with a $200,000 debt, and we did not declare bankruptcy. We held creditors’ meetings. We held fundraisers. We were out of debt in three and a half years. So, it’s doable and you don’t have to lose your branding.’”

Xtra! also interviewed MacNamara; “’It’s felt like being on a ship that’s sinking and there’s nothing you can do to stop it,’ McNamara said tearfully to reporters after the meeting. ‘But maybe there is.’”

The Velvet Studio: ‘Capital Pride saved in M. Night Shyamala Plot Twist

The Velvet Studio revealed the names of the four Directors who resigned, as well as the names of those on the Interim board. The Velvet Studio also spoke with Interim Director Kevin Hatt, saying; “I just couldn’t see Pride disintegrate, and I will do anything I can to get it through this rough patch”. He noted that the delay until December “… will give [us] the time to get our ducks in order”, and also that “It’s hard to say right now what steps will be taken, but proper steps need to be taken before an AGM can be called, we should have our finance statements, preferably audited, at least correct”.

As an editorial note; the Velvet Studio added that the Directors were forced to resign in order to make room for the interim board, and also noted that at least two of the candidates of the Launch Committee, previously organized by MacNamara while acting as Pride Chair, had withdrawn their candidacy upon learning that Pride was not bankrupt.

November 7th (Thursday)

The Ottawa Citizen: ‘Capital Pride called police over missing bar revenue, ticket account changes: chair’

The Citizen reported that Capital Pride had filed a police report that someone had changed the online ticketing information to a different account. It was spotted prior to the almost $10,000 in the account was effected. She is also quoted saying “’We bought X amount of alcohol and then after the festival X amount of alcohol was left over. And the value of the alcohol that was gone, if it was sold at the prices we were selling it at, was $45,000 more than was actually brought in and deposited,’ said McNamara.”

November 8th (Friday)

CBCnews: ‘Capital Pride ex-chair says she’s partly to blame for lack of oversight

In an interview within days after leaving Pride, MacNamara is quoted as saying “’I didn’t insist on the kind of oversight that obviously was needed. I trusted that it would just happen. I’m as much to blame for that as anybody else,’ she said[….]‘We don’t know what happened at the bar. But we have filed a police report so we’re hoping that they will be able to investigate,’ McNamara said. ‘We have no idea. We don’t know.’”

Post Curtsy of The Velvet Studio with Permission

Go to their website: www.velvetstudio.ca 

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Fast approaching is the somber and incredibly important day: The Transgender Day of Remembrance: November 20th. Some may ask why this day is so important to honor and respect, especially when many do not experience what being transgender is like or do not understand what transgendered means. Hell, my word-checking software on this computer does not recognize transgendered or transgendering…

http://www.mlp.org/2013/11/08/never-forget-faces-transgender-day-remembrance-2013/

So what is transgendered? Transgender is a hugely complex umbrella term which in many cases (but not all) the gender identity one is does not match the assigned sex they were born with. Some identify terms which fall under transgendered for some people include:

Female- Male Transgender

Male- Female Transgender

Gender- Queer

Intersex Individuals

Transsexual (however, this term is becoming more obsolete)

Bigender

Transvestite/ Cross-dresser (these are hugely contested terms, and it really depends on an individual persons choice to identify as this AND transgendered. Be leery of using these terms now a days.)

Drag Kings/ Drag Queens (Much like transvestite and cross-dressers, just because you perform in drag does not mean you are automatically trans. Drag Kings and Queens bend gender boundaries and sometimes identify as trans but not always and not always openly.)

AND MANY MORE

Yet that in itself does not express the complexity of transgender identity because one of the most problematic assumptions and aspects of cis-gendered society’s views of transgendered, is that it relies simply on biological difference and the medicalization of experience and genitalia. Essentially, the problematic reliance of mainstream society on if a trans individual is pre or post-op, takes away from the lived reality of trans identified individuals by melting away the person to simply being what their genitalia is or if it is recognizably male or female. I think a big part of this problem is that many people see transgender as meaning trans-itioning, as if they are in the process of being changed or even fixed. Just because some people identify as trans does not mean they still have sex-assignment surgery to do or they are still on hormone. Don’t medicalize their bodies and identifies for the sack of clarification. This hyper-focus on the genitalia of a transgendered identified person is in stark contrast to another huge problem trans identified people face: invisibility.

Invisibility within straight culture (or mainstream culture) but also within GLBT culture. The erasure of trans experience and voice is a big part of why November the 20th should be recognized and honored. The Transgender Day of Remembrance is to celebrate the lives of trans identified individuals who have been killed because of transphobia and to have a national conversation about the invisibility of these people and the marginalization and discrimination they face, simply because they exist.

There are many events happening around Ottawa to mourn and celebrate the lives of trans identified people, taken too soon. Below you will find a list and links.

Ottawa Trans Day of Remembrance- Celebrate, Educate, and Commemorate. HOSTED BY PTS

Novemember 18th- November 20th

https://www.facebook.com/events/176848085733100/

“There are few populations in Canada not recognized in Human Rights law and protected by Hate Crimes law. Few still experience the intolerance and violence that transsexual, transgender and gender-queer (trans) people do.

This year, Ottawa trans communities are organizing a weekend-long event to celebrate, educate and commemorate the lives of transsexual, transgender and gender-queer communities – providing an opportunity for people of all trans experiences and backgrounds to get involved and participate.

From November 18 to November 20, you have the opportunity to stand in solidarity with trans people as we raise awareness, encourage dialogue, celebrate our lives and remember our loved and lost ones. We encourage everyone interested in supporting the lives of ALL trans people to join us for this weekend of celebration, education and commemoration.

The weekend of events will include a flag raising, dance party and political meet and greet; and in tradition, the annual Ottawa Trans Day of Remembrance will be observed on November 20 with a vigil at the Human Rights Monument.”

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Schedule of events
Focus Event:
CANDLELIGHT VIGIL
Sunday, November 20, 2011, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Human Right’s Monument (Elgin and Lisgar)
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Other Events:

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2011

11:00 am – Hotel de Ville Gatineau City Hall Flag Raising
(25 rue Laurier, Gatineau)
Informal Ceremony

1:00 pm – Ottawa City Hall Flag Raising Ceremony
Ottawa City Hall (110 Laurier Ave. W.)
Speakers to be confirmed

6:00 pm – Ottawa Police Services Flag Raising Ceremony
Ottawa Police Headquarters (474 Elgin St.)
Speakers to include: Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, Chief Vern White, Fire Chief John de Hooge, Paramedic Superintendent Paul Morneau and Trans Communuty Members Alex Thompson and Amanda Ryan.

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SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2011

12:30 pm – Ottawa Paramedic Flag Raising Ceremony
Ottawa Paramedic Headquarters (2465 Don Reid Dr.)

2:00 – 4:00 pm – Political Meet and Greet
Ottawa City Hall Councillor’s Lounge
Speakers to include: MPP Yasir Naqvi, MP Randall Garrison, Paramedic Superintendents Paul Morneau and Deanna Schofield, Trans Community Member Jessica Freedman.

10:00 pm – 2:00 am – TDOR and Certain Sort present: The Real T Party!
A dance party to celebrate Ottawa Trans Day of Remembrance.
With CPI and DJ Y’alla! Y’alla!
The Royal Canadian Legion (330 Kent St.)
All ages (bring ID, all those over 19 with valid ID will get bracelets that will allow you to purchase alcohol).
$5 – $15 sliding scale
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=208895885850033&notif_t=event_invite

Accessibility Notes:
The front entrance, bathroom and bar/lounge area are all accessible to those using wheelchairs. The dance floor is down two medium steps.

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SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 20, 2011

7:00 pm – TDOR Candlelight Vigil
Human Right’s Monument (Elgin and Lisgar)
Speakers to Include Trans Community Member Alex Thomas and Volunteers who would like to speak about a friend or family member they have lost.

The vigil will include reading from a list of names of people who have died as a result of transphobic violence and/or suicide. If you would like a friend or loved one included in our list of names, please email transaction@ptsottawa.org with the details. We are also looking for speakers who would like to talk about how transphobic violence has affected their lives.

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For more information or for media inquiries please contact:

ottawa.trans.day.remembrance@gmail.com

Transgender Day of Remembrance- Non-Profit Organization

Novemeber 20th

https://www.facebook.com/transdayofremembrance/info?tab=page_info