Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Porn, paddles and paintings

Annual Buddies fundraiser brings out all the 'A-list fruits'

"There will be porn. There will be KY lube. I promise," says Keith Cole of Buddies' annual art auction.
It’s true that ArtAttack!, Buddies in Bad Times’ signature fundraising event, is an art auction. But it’s certainly not like any other art auction you’ve ever been to.
 
“Pastry chef Karen Frostitution is making puff pastry emergency butt plugs — so those could end up anywhere,” says artist Keith Cole. “Hopefully, we’ll catch a glimpse of Derek Liddington’s soft, downy hairs on his pert, peachlike bottom as he struts throughout the auction in leather chaps. And Brendan Healy may just drop his trousers for a $100 cash donation to Buddies.”
 
Cole — former mayoral candidate and drag hot mess extraordinaire — is the curator of the inaugural Rock Hudson Memorial Tuck Shop, a new ArtAttack! feature that will allow patrons to buy original multiples and limited editions at affordable prices in a cash-and-carry style. “ArtAttack! is necessary and fun and always controversial,” he says.
 
While the event has long been known for its outrageousness (just ask Kristyn Wong-Tam if she’ll be finding a creative use for her auction paddle again this year), this edition is also notable for the calibre of artists it features.
 
Host Shawn Hitchins will be auctioning off works by Charles Pachter, Will Munro and art deco illustrator Erté, among others, thanks to the careful curation of Chris Ironside.
 
“They are all A-list fruits,” Cole brags. “ArtAttack! has grown up in that we can now toss and tussle with some major buyers, dealers, artists, collectors and enthusiasts.”
 
At the same time, the Rock Hudson Memorial Tuck Shop helps make the event accessible to those of us whose art collection may still include posters we bought in university. “It’s about being inclusive,” Cole explains. “Think of it as me sharing my sleeping bag with others, cuddling up close, giving off warmth and being generous with my body on a chilly November evening.”
 
Of course, there are those who attend the auction simply to enjoy the show. With music by DJ Regina the Gentlelady (aka Gentleman Reg’s long-lost twin sister) and performances by Thom Allison, Boylesque TO, St Stella, Bianca Boom Boom and Drew Deveaux, there’s plenty to keep you occupied even if you’re not the bidding type.
 
“ArtAttack! is a party,” Cole reminds. “It is unlike other auctions. You do not have to sit down and shut up and bid or observe in silence.”
 
So, whether you’d like to see if you can snag a startling nude portrait of Nina Arsenault or simply find someone to spank you with an auction paddle, this fundraiser has a lot to offer — and maybe even some surprises.
 
“Olivia Chow may announce her mayoral hopes and dreams at the event,” Cole teases, adding quickly, “There will be porn. There will be KY lube. I promise.”
 

Ever the provocateur, Cole is keen to lure patrons of all stripes, be they political junkies or smut-hounds, but he’s uncharacteristically serious when he explains the reason. “Buddies in Bad Times Theatre is necessary,” he tells us. “Buddies has been my buddy for a long time. And always will be.”