Up & Coming Launches Smart Smut
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Up & Coming Launches Smart Smut

A new magazine's debut festivities remind Toronto to be less Good.

Most magazines do not hold their launch parties a sex club complete with live sex shows, let alone pack said sex club full. Up & Coming is not most magazines.

[Editor’s note: Image after the jump NSFW.]

Described on its website as “a quarterly erotic art and lifestyle magazine” that features “mostly cerebral, entirely tasteful essays, photo spreads, and fine smut for adults,” the magazine itself is an impressive production: glossy photo renditions of suggestively arranged shellfish, nipples, and conventionally attractive people in various stages of undress, with text squeezed in every so often for good measure. It made sense, then, that the arrestingly visual, almost tactile erotic publication held its Sunday night launch at Oasis Aqualounge—a “water-themed adult playground” in a Victorian mansion.

The turnout for the late-night event, which was hosted by trans performer Lexi Tronic (with food provided by Brockton General and tunes courtesy of DJ Young Adult), was astounding. The narrow corridors throughout the mansion’s four floors throbbed with young, good-looking partygoers, as people wandered from sex rooms (there were multiple) to dance floors (there were two) to the lounge’s heated outdoor pool. Attendance seemed even to exceed the expectations of the launch’s organizers; a “consensually planned” BDSM show in the club’s dungeon room was so densely packed with eager voyeurs that magazine editor-in-chief Mike Feswick was forced to direct traffic around an adjoining stairwell.

While some crowdgoers could be overheard complaining of the “hipster tourist” demographic that prevailed among the hundreds in attendance (as opposed to, one presumes, hardened, unhip sex-club regulars), attendees were by-and-large respectful and enthusiastic. Though the hours would render the party’s populace lubricated and libidinous—and, yes, people could indeed be found screwing—a sense of mindfulness for safety and the boundaries of others seemed to prevail.

It’s reassuring that such an event should take place in Toronto, a city still struggling to shake its prudish Protestant reputation of yore, in which “the Good” remains a thinly masked euphemism for “the Boring.” But, clearly, one need not travel to Montreal in order to have a fun and filthy old time. While Feswick’s magazine isn’t exclusively, overtly Toronto-centric, its contributors and subjects (infamous writer/filmmaker/photographer Bruce LaBruce and launch hostess Tronic among them) include fixtures of the city’s queer underground in addition to more on-the-rise local artists. It’s refreshing to see them showcased in a well-made, proudly sex-positive publication.

As Mike Feswick puts it in Up & Coming‘s introduction to readers, “One of the core values of Up & Coming is to reveal the fundamental diverse and unexpected nature of this thing that is personal and unique to each of us, yet exists in some form in everyone.” Thank goodness we’re reminded of the possibilities, right here and now, in the Big Smoke.

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