ART FAG choreographed and directed by D.A. Hoskins (Dietrich Group/Buddies in Bad Times, 12 Alexander). Opens Friday (January 4); runs to January 13. $20-$25. 416-975-8555, www.artsexy.ca. Rating: NNNNN
Choreographer, director and visual artist D.A. Hoskins feels cynical about Toronto’s art and dance scenes. Too many artists have become complacent.
“As an artist, my job isn’t to be safe,” says Hoskins.
To break through the conformity he experienced working with local dance companies and schools, he’s started his own production company, the Dietrich Group.
His first show, a sexy triptych called Art Fag, opens tomorrow at Buddies.
Three years ago, Hoskins was working on a piece based on Lady Chatterley’s Lover, or rather the contemporary idea of lady.
When his producer backed out, he expanded the developed material into Art Fag, a multimedia dance work made up of three sections unified by the theme of identity.
“In Art Fag I want to present something that is uncompromising,” says Hoskins, “that speaks to my identity and my belief in art.”
To this end he brings featured dancers Danielle Baskerville and Brendan Wyatt together onstage with other artists including a playwright (Byron Fast), a filmmaker (Nico Stagias) and various musicians.
“Of course, to do a piece called Lady, I had to have a soprano,” he insists, referring to Deidre Fulton.
In the section Hard Candy, which premiered in Montreal last year, Hoskins choreographed scenes to spoken-word artist Jill Battson’s monologues on topics like “artificial” and “beauty.”
Hoskins says Hard Candy, which looks at individuality within relationships, is full of extreme elements. Such as? “Danielle smashes a bouquet of flowers into a Pollock-like painting on the floor.”
The I Am Marilyn section, about identifying with that famous icon, began in Hoskins’s mind as a film but has now turned into a solo dance for Wyatt and Fast’s monologue about a street person who believes he’s Monroe.
“Maybe it’s a fag thing, but there’s something really unselfish about Marilyn Monroe to me,” says Hoskins. “There’s an essence there that I relate to.”
In the third part, Lady – Images In A Melodramatic Setting, Hoskins wanted to include a male/male duet and asked Battson to create a monologue about the history of sissy boys.
“It’s very uncompromising and challenges the gay community as well as the straight community,” says Hoskins.