If the Gladstone Hotel’s Come Up To My Room had an affair with Oprah’s Book of the Month Club their offspring might look a lot like Keith Cole’s latest offering, Performance Club 2. Created in conjunction with FADO Performance Art Centre, Keith and co-conspirator Shannon Cochrane have designed this five week long week course in which participants are expected to read the 466 page Valley of the Dolls novel and show up prepared to discuss, analyze and reconsider the book’s relationship to ourselves and one another. On the surface, Valley of the Dolls (VotD) is like watching a train wreck unfold before your eyes yet finding the experience exhilarating. But when viewed from a queer-feminist point of view, the book gives behind the scenes access points into the pill-popping, chauvinistic world of celebrity, fame, and fortune. 

Prior to signing up for the Performance Club 2, I knew little about what to expect. As we made our way to the side entrance of Chinatown Super 8 Motel on Spadina Avenue. We take the world’s slowest elevator up to the room, hang our coats and sit down on the big bed. I kick off my boots, get under the cover and wait for the games to begin. About twenty people have come for the first class; artists, thinkers, writers, painters, actors and high school drop-outs alike sat in silence as we munched on snacks, drank red wine and opened our hearts and minds to the VotD’s experience. From Anne and Neely to Jennifer and Harry, Lyon and Tony, they have left an indelible impression on me. Each week my journey delved further into the state of human nature and how our impact on one another affects our outward choices. On the surface, VotD is about a bunch of drugged up spoiled rich girls but after five weeks of looking at the world through their eyes, it’s become apparent, that what’s on the surface is rarely a true reflection of what’s underneath. Join the Performance Club 2 for the official graduation ceremony and film screening:

Performance Club 2
Valley of the Dolls with Keith Cole
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
401 Richmond Street West
7-10PM, Free