Army of Lovers: A Community History of Will Munro by Sara Liss (2013)
Publisher: Coach House Press
Format: Artists' Books
Size: 12 × 19 × 1 cm
"Will was pretty much the perfect role model." - Beth Ditto, The Gossip
In the spring of 2010, Toronto lost one of its most important queer civic heroes when local artist, DJ, activist, impresario, promoter, party-thrower, café operator, community-builder and lover Will Munro died of brain cancer at the unfathomably young age of 35. Famed for his subversive, irreverent visual art, which co-opted rock 'n' roll imagery and raunchy gay iconography, and his legendary Vazaleen dance parties, which singlehandedly reinvented Toronto's queer nightlife culture, Will did more to revolutionize both his community and his city in a decade than most folks do in a lifetime.
Weaving together a collage of stories from and about the people who knew and loved him, Army of Lovers is both a biography of Will Munro and a document of a galvanizing period in the history of Toronto, a moment when the city's various subcultures - the queer community, the art scene, the independent musicuniverse, the grassroots activist enclaves - came of age and collided with one another. Selected by the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) of the American Library Association (ALA) for the 2014 Over the Rainbow Project book list
"Will Munro contained multitudes. The Toronto queer icon was a brilliant artist, organizer, nightlife impresario, DJ, go-go dancer, longstanding volunteer at the Toronto LGBT Youthline, lifelong teetotaler and the world’s foremost creator of custom-made men’s underwear. But what Army of Lovers: A Community History of Will Munro by Sarah Liss demonstrates foremost is that Munro, who died of brain cancer in 2010 at the age of 35, was a community-builder; he was 'a bringer-together of people, groups, and things.'
Liss tells Munro’s life story in the form of a community oral history, consolidating dozens of interviews into a fascinating, multi-perspective narrative. Including the voices of his immediate family, his collaborators in the art scene and several of his close friends, Army of Lovers is as much a portrait of the community that Munro valued and contributed to as it is the biography of a single remarkable individual.
In assembling this chorus of voices, Army of Lovers wonderfully embodies and extends Munro’s own celebrated community spirit."
Review by Jeff Miller, December 13, 2013. To read the full review please click here.