Arts & Entertainment

July 18, 2013

Toronto Cabaret Queen Ryan G. Hinds Graces #MTL’s Just for Laughs

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Written by: Ian
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Just for Laughs is well underway, and Montreal is getting an extra serving of gay at this year’s festival. Every year is a big year for this event, but 2013 is boasting some of the worlds funniest LGBT and queer stand up acts which should help us all digest the dire heat a little easier. Alongside some of the big American names like Tig Notaro, Kathy Griffin and Joan Rivers, are some home grown honeys, including DeAnne Smith and the eternally entertaining Ryan G. Hinds.

I had a chance to talk with Ryan G. Hinds about his already illustrious performance career and where he sees his next steps. A veteran of the cabaret and drag scene Hinds points to Toronto’s enormous Pride celebrations, the many at which he has performed, as the highlight of his career. Through Pride, Hinds has worked with renowned acts such as this year’s Diana King (first out Jamaican lesbian performer) and fabulous performers in the past such as Maya and Macy Grey. His performance strength has similarly put him alongside iconic homophiles such as Liza Minelli and Debbie Reynolds. It is the same power in his vocals (in talent and strength) that transfixed the audience of Cabaret 87 (See photos) with his rendition of Céline Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” in celebration of AIDS Community Care Montreal’s 25th anniversary, and will make Candyass Cabaret a show not to be missed.

In our conversation Hinds indicated that his new goal in performance is to bring out the “full range of emotions from the audience, more than a one cheap laugh [Hinds] will take you from laughter to tears and back again.” That is certainly an emotional trip worth taking with this acclaimed performer (boasting titles such as Missassauga Citizen of the Year, Steinert and Farreiro Award Winner and EGALE Black History Month Honoree). He has broken barriers as the first Black actor to take on the role of Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Itch, no small feat in an industry that, of late, has shock shocked many a queer with its regressive race politics (I am here referring to recent incidents of blackface and “terrorist drag” in Toronto). Hinds, ever graceful, asserts that everything has its place, “it’s a matter of thinking about that place, and space, and asking if you are the one take on that taboo.”

Performer, artist, mover and shaker, Ryan G. Hinds is a must see of this year’s Just For Laughs festival. The Candyass Cabaret brings a revival of vaudeville, circus, and neo burlesque from the heart of Montreal’s historic entertainment district of the Main, with cabaret stars Sasha von Bon Bon, singer Damiana Dolce, belly dancer Diane Labelle, and MC Nat King Pole.  A dab of drag and a bissel of burlesque to delight and provoke the heart and mind, all curated by the insatiable Velma Candyass

tickets via JFL:


Velma Candyass:  514-816-8054

About the Author

Dancing queen, colour addict, marathon runner. Former nighthawk, I am now dedicated to the infinite possibilities of sunlight. I love rad risk theory, critical theories of health, public health and mental health. Coffee black, apples cored, mostly maple and very uncomfortable.




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  1. Marc Lepetit


  2. Spelling Police

    While I agree that the city needs more sass in it, the correct spelling should be Mississauga.

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