Deep Dish does the Snap Gala

Rolyn appreciates art and hunks at the annual fundraiser

Thursday, March 26

Bram & Bluma Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library

“Shit,” says Jake Gold of Canadian Idol fame. “It’s a photo of two sailors. I don’t stand a chance in a room full of gay men.” Gold is fretting over his chances of securing the highest bid for one of tonight’s coveted pieces up for bids at the annual Snap Gala Charity Auction.

Why would a married straight man desire seamen so? For Gold, in this case, it’s more about the photographer than the subject matter.

The piece in question is one of many — by a previously unknown photographer — which have entered the photo art world recently. Her works are the hot ticket all over the North American photography scene. If only Vivian Maier were alive to appreciate it. Maier’s photo negatives were recently discovered in an old suitcase bought at an auction in New York. Since then, many have been developed and put up for auction. She kept most of her work hidden while she was alive, but now her name and her works have been popping up everywhere. In the end, Gold loses out . . . yes, to a gay man named Robert, who’s $5,000 bid overtakes Gold’s healthy $4,700.

Some other pieces from the beginning of the night sold for below estimate. But as the night gets going and as the wine starts flowing, and auctioneer Perry Tung starts gaveling, many others sell for more than double, making tonight’s charity event for Aids Committee of Toronto a big success.

Another piece that sells well is my friend Patrick Lightheart’s Realness, a photo of a gorgeous man grabbing what appears to be a generous package, which also graces the cover of this year’s guide. “It’s the second time in five years that my photo has been chosen for the cover,” Lightheart informs us as we discuss issues of race and photography with FashCam founder Len D Henry.


Also seen bidding and schmoozing are several familiar faces, including new Pride Toronto executive director Mathieu Chantelois (sans partner), designer and TV personality Tommy Smythe, recently married couple Al Ramsay and Michael Daniels, InsideOut executive director Scott Ferguson . . .

. . . photographer Michael Pihach, and Fashion Magazine’s Elio Iannnacci, chatting with ACT’s cute, new director of development Daniel Knox.

The silent auction room, meanwhile, gets loud and rowdy. Though there are some great works quietly calling out, there are not very many bids on paper. There are however many loud looks taking place between faux-bidders. My friend decides to turn on both his Grindr and Scruff apps. I protest. Tacky. Events like this should be app hook-up free. Judging from the constant buzzing coming from his back pocket, I realize another type of biding war has erupted over a different kind of photo.

Rolyn Chambers is a graphic designer and freelance writer. His first book, The Boy Who Brought Down a Bathhouse, was published in 2017.

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