Margaret Moores


OCAD-trained Moores and York-trained Travassos are erstwhile life partners and artistic collaborators, internationally-acclaimed pioneers of the independent women’s/queer film scene in Toronto for over two decades. Involved in New Left and lesbian activism during the 70s, the pair segued into lesbian film and video production through curating the 1980 Feminist Film Festival at the Funnel. They first created a strong impact with Labyris Rising (1980, 14) a gentle satire of Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising, displaying a lesbian ten-speed instead of the Harley, the Michigan Women’s Festival instead of a Hells Angels rally, and a lesbian cat instead of... well, you know.. Over the years the film has acquired historical value as a document of the late seventies Toronto lesbian scene, including pool-playing and the infamous Fly By Night Lounge. (See Chapter 5.) Usually the labour was divided up between Moores the writer-director and Travassos the cinematographer-director, and included documentary and more experimental fare as well as comic narrative. My personal favorite among their works of the 1980s is another classic, Frankly, Shirley (1987), about a one-night stand that turns to romance in the strangely empty public spaces of wintry Toronto and ends when Jane and Wendy actually start to talk. The film shocked some because it was one of the early works to envisage public sex as a dyke fantasy and reality. Their more ambitious, campy and very queer Dog Days (1999, 40) revisited the utopian Michigan pastoral fantasy with a narrative about big-city dykes (played by a who’s who of Canadian lesbian video, from Shawna Dempsey to Deirdre Logue) discovering their relationship to the land and the invisible queer past. The two artists increasingly worked separately, as in Travassos’s collaborations with Campbell and Greyson and her Bianca Comes Out (2002, 9), a personal confession about predilection for soap operas, subtitled in Portuguese in homage to the artist’s grandmother. Travassos has taught media at OCAD since 1999.