Playwright, director, broadcaster. English Canada’s leading playwright of his generation, the Alberta-born, Toronto-based Fraser got his first taste of directing only in 2002, adapting his own Poor Superman (1995) as Leaving Metropolis. Savaged by critics, this creditable directorial debut is a fiercely unapologetic urban tale of desire, relationships and mortality that struck a chord with festival audiences despite some greenhorn stiffness behind the camera.
Before that in 1993, Fraser’s script of his own Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love (1989) was brought to the screen with somewhat more finesse by Denys Arcand as Love and Human Remains (100). Arcand produced a respectable though underwhelming transmission of Fraser’s universe of cynical young gay and straight singles in an urban universe threatened by violence and the virus. Arcand’s research on English Canada and homosexuality left something to be desired, and Fraser’s uncanny knack for capturing the yuppie inner core of an unnamed prairie city was completely lost on the Montrealer. The film’s vaguely abstract Toronto setting, peopled by imported minor stars, had American critics talking of “interstates.” Others however recognized a very un-American quality in Fraser and Arcand’s “depiction of mature relationships between various genders and sexual identities, while still examining the undercurrents of a damaged generation.”
Fraser’s name was also attached to several short videos including Parade (co-dir. Daniel MacIvor, 1996), an Ecstasy-laced Pride Day love story. Meanwhile Fraser has been a charismatic talkshow host on Pridevision cable and in Nik Sheehan’s 1996 “postmodern” documentary Symposium: Ladder of Love, where he discusses his views on love—in bed. Fraser supplied the voice and narration for the NFB’s queer sexual history essay Anatomy of Desire (Jean-François Monette, 1995).