In October 2012, lovers William Ellis and Jordan Tannahill moved into a former barbershop in Toronto’s Kensington Market neighbourhood and turned it into an art space called Videofag. Over the next four years Videofag became a hub for counterculture in the city, playing host to a litany of performances, screenings, parties, exhibitions, and all manner of queer fuckery. But hosting a city in their house took its toll and eventually William and Jordan broke up, closing the space for good in June 2016.
The Videofag Book is a chronicle of those four years told through multiple voices and mediums: a personal history by William and Jordan; a love letter by Jon Davies; a communal oral history compiled by Chandler Levack; a play by Greg MacArthur; a poem by Aisha Sasha John; a chronological history of Videofag’s programming; and a photo archive curated by William and Jordan in full colour.
Watch the Book Launch and Reading:
Praise for Videofag:
“Videofag was a busy nexus of performance and art, a focal point for a wide assortment of communities, including the queer art scene, underground film culture, comedy, and theatre.” —Torontoist
“The queer arts hub [known as Videofag] has served as the incubator for countless projects and artists over its life, becoming a critical meeting point for creators from around the city and across the country.” —Daily Xtra
Press Coverage of The Videofag Book:
“A cacophonous, eclectic, and fitting homage to one of the most important cultural incubators in recent Toronto history. Every fan of Videofag will want a copy of this book” —Trevor Corkum, Toronto Star
“The portrait of the time and place set out in The Videofag Book is very compelling. The book is certainly a mythologizing exercise: it induces the feelings of having misssed out on the histories of the Belle Epoque or Weimer Berlin… But the fact that the book makes you wish you were there is exactly the way in which it is successful.” —Andrew Woodrow-Butcher, Broken Pencil
Jordan Tannahill and William Ellis on the Legacy of Videofag, One of Toronto’s Most Exciting Art Spaces —Open Book
Love Week: Love, Home, and Work, and The Videofag Book —All Lit Up
William Ellis is a performer whose work in theatre and dance includes Other Jesus by Evan Webber, Even This Old Town Was a Forest by Aurora Stewart de Peña, WorkingOnWorkingOnUs by Andrew Tay, S h e e t s by Salvatore Antonio, and Greg MacArthur’s A Man Vanishes. He has performed for choreographer DA Hoskins in Machine Room, The Coating Project for the Luminato Festival, and This is a Costume Drama at Harborfront World Stage. Recently he received a Toronto Theatre Critics Award—Special Citation for Videofag, an ongoing collaboration with Jordan Tannahill.
Jordan Tannahill is a playwright, filmmaker and theatre director. He won the Governor General’s Award for Drama for Age of Minority: Three Solo Plays and was shortlisted for the prize again for Concord Floral (also a recipient of the 2015 Carol Bolt Award). He has twice received Dora Awards for Outstanding New Play while his play Botticelli in the Fire won the 2017 Toronto Theatre Critics Award for Best New Canadian Play. He is the author of Theatre of the Unimpressed: In Search of Vital Drama and his first novel, Liminal, will be published by House of Anansi Press in Januaray 2018. Jordan’s films and multimedia performances have been presented at festivals and galleries such as the Toronto International Film Festival, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the Tribeca Film Festival. Most recently, his virtual reality performance Draw Me Close, a co-production between the National Theatre (UK) and the National Film Board of Canada, premiered at the 2017 Venice Biennale.
Chandler Levack is a filmmaker, writer, and journalist who lives in Toronto. A graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s screenwriting program, her writing has been published in SPIN, the Village Voice, the Globe and Mail, Maisonneuve, and Flare, among other publications. Previously, two articles published in Maisonneuve, “The Music We Hate” and “Visions of the Future,” were nominated for Best Art and Entertainment Writing at the Canadian National Magazine Awards. Chandler currently works at TIFF, where she is the digital editor of The Review, a blog featuring interviews and long-form criticism about TIFF’s programming and film culture at large.
Greg MacArthur is a playwright, dramaturg, and teacher. His plays have been produced extensively across Canada, as well as in South Africa, Germany, the UK, Mexico, Romania, Hungary, and the US. They have been translated into numerous languages. His work includes: A Man Vanishes; Horror Story; Kate Bowie; A City; The Missionary Position; Tyland: The Toxic Bus Incident; Recovery; Get Away; Snowman; girls! girls! girls! He was the Lee Playwright-In-Residence at the University of Alberta and was short-listed for the 2011 Siminovitch Award for Playwriting. He holds an MFA in Theatre Studies from the University of Lethbridge, where he currently teaches in the Department of Theatre Arts.