The Crossover for the Adventurous Urbanite

TEXT: Abdalla Youssef 

There are a lot of things we, as well-informed and conscious consumers, expect from a car. As such, for the urbanite, driving, even in the hectic heart of Toronto, should be fun; and safe; and fuel-efficient; and aesthetically a standout in all kinds of sceneries the city offers. Toyota’s C-HR, the latest premium model of which Novella had the pleasure of experiencing at its recent launch, fulfills all these needs for the urbanite from the West to the East end of Toronto.

The C-HR’s distinct diamond shape stands out from other compact crossovers around town — the face is sharp and powerful and, once seen, unforgettable; the rear doors are distinguished by their funky Veloster-high handles; its prominent wheel flares adds to the iconic diamond shape. The avant-garde physique of the C-HR is a true indication of its bold, adventurous character.

C-HR’s insides makes this character a reality: its 2.0L four cylinder generates 144 horsepower and 139lb-feet of torque. The spirited engine gives this high-style car a distinct sporty edge, making it just as much fun to drive as it is nice to look at. Some may complain that it’s not the cast of a new Fast and Furious feature, but the C-HR’s aspirations are elsewhere altogether anyways. It’s to be driven down Queen Street, to the beach, the ride of choice for a weekend road trip out of the city: it’s the fun and punchy yet mature cousin of a rambunctious sport car and a boring crossover.

C-HR premium is a two-tone car with brilliant color options: Blue Eclipse Metallic, Ruby Flare Pearl, and the R-code–exclusive Radiant Green Mica. The compact look from the outside belies a spacious interior and headroom.

The C-HR XLE Premium starts at only $25,310 and is now on sale at Toronto dealers across Canada. You can find the latest information on it here.

The brand new 2018 Premium Toyota C-HR Launch took place at Airship 37 on July 6th, 2017. The car comes with new upgrade features from the XLE model, that was launched in 2016.

6 Gay-Friendly Cities to Visit

Hey, straight cis people aren’t the only ones who need a vacation! Of course they generally don’t have to wonder if they might get beaten or killed on vacation just for holding hands with their partner or wearing clothes closest to their own gender identity. Still, LGBT tourism has becoming a thriving new business advent with cities around the world hoping to capitalize on wealthy queers looking for a fun getaway. In fact, many tourism websites of major cities now feature small blurbs about things for the LGBT traveler to enjoy. So whether you’re looking for international drag scenes, gay history, museums, nightclubs, or all of the above, here are six of the best gay cities to visit.

Prague, Czech Republic

While not quite as flashy or expensive as some other European tourist destinations, Prague is still a popular city for tourism due to its long history and breathtaking architecture. However, despite the breadth of history on display, Prague is still a remarkably progressive city within a country that has been generally progressive since the fall of communism, especially when compared to some of its close neighbors. Registered partnerships for gay couples were first introduced in the Czech Republic way back in 2006, and Prague held its first Pride Parade in 2011. Not to mention, the Czech Republic has been home to the huge annual multi-city queer film festival, the Mezipatra Queer Film Festival, for the last 17 years.

Philadelphia, USA

Philadelphia has had a thriving gay scene that dates back to the 1930s and ’40s, beginning with a few discrete bars and coffeehouses before emerging into a full-on “Gayborhood”, as it is affectionately known, with nightclubs, performance centres, bars, restraunts, and shops. In 2004 the city of Brotherly Love put out one of the first ever tourism ads directed toward LGBT folks, featuring the tagline “Get Your History Straight, and Your Nightlife Gay.”

Berlin, Germany

Prior to the Nazis, Berlin actually had a vibrant LGBT scene, with famous cabarets and a cosmopolitan flair for the diverse, not to mention the Institute for the Science of Sexuality (whose papers of groundbreaking research on gender and sexuality were all burned in 1933). It was a hub for gay European expats and artists such as the famous English writer Christopher Isherwood. Today, Berlin has revived this spirit with museums, arts institutions, clubs, and many queer bookstores.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio has always been a popular tourist spot in general, especially for LGBT folks. In fact, it’s been estimated that around a million LGBT people visit Rio de Janeiro every year, and it’s not hard to see why. With its incredible beaches, rich nightlife with clubs and bars, many shops, luxury hotels, and historical neighborhoods, Rio de Janeiro has earned its well-deserved spot on many lists as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world. Rio also has one of the biggest Pride Parades in the world and even gay-specific activities during the famous Rio Carnival.

Cape Town, South Africa

South Africa is frequently cited as being one of the most LGBT-friendly countries in Africa. Indeed, the post-apartheid constitution, written in 1994, outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation and in 1998 the Constitutional Court of South Africa ruled that a law prohibiting consensual gay sex was unconstitutional, and South Africa has had marriage equality since 2005. Within Cape Town you can find beaches, nightclubs, and other fun attractions. Additionally, since 1994 Cape Town has hosted the Mother City Queer Project, a yearly costume festival meant to celebrate the multiple and diverse queer communities in Cape Town.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

You might think that the much larger tourist attractions of cities like Guadalajara and Acapulco would be on this list, but in recent years Puerto Vallarta has become a beacon of LGBT tourism in Mexico, attracting both international visitors as well as domestic tourists. Sitting right on the western coast of Mexico, Puerto Vallarta boasts beautiful beaches, pride celebrations since 2013, nightclubs, bars, and restaurants.

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Is Rock Really Dead?

Ever since its invention all those decades ago, rock music has been a corner stone in popular culture and entertainment. New artists innovated to create new branches of rock music and its reach expanded over time. However, in recent years, rock’s popularity went from a roaring flame to a mere pilot light. The days of stadium rock and roll band glamor are all but memories as indie bands struggle to find the limelight that once bathed countless acts.

Black and white promo photo of Chuck Berry Holding His Guitar and winking
Chuck Berry — photo: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

In The Beginning…

Rock music quickly gained momentum after Chuck Berry defined its sounds in the early 1950s and it began to infiltrate everyday life more and more. Fashion began to take heed of what was going on in the world of rock and roll; the art world took on a new life inspired by the fury of rock music; and movies and television started casting quintessential rock stereotypes to appeal to the growing interest in rock music and culture.

By the 1970s rock solidified its positon as the most popular genre of music, beating out the great pop music makers of the 1950s and ’60s. As the ’70s pushed forward, musical acts like Janice Joplin, Led Zepplin, The Rolling Stones, and Lynnard Skynard branched off into various sub-genres of rock ranging from folk and psychedelic to southern and hard rock. This influx of rock artists eventually came to obliterate the disco explosion that had just started taking over the United States at the time. And by the start of the ’80s, rock had effectively killed disco and remained the driving force in the entertainment industry.

A vintage Guns n' Roses press photo
Photo: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Shoot for the Stars, Land in a Stadium

As the ’80s motored along, pop began to once again infiltrate the charts. Artists like Tiffany and Madonna became the idols of teen queens everywhere. However, rock music was also going through drastic changes. Acid-dropping bell bottomed psychedelic rockers were quickly phased out and replaced with artists and bands that oozed far more heart stopping edge than ever before. Gone were the days of smoking dope and singing about white rabbits. The ’80s ushered in drugs, sex, and rock and roll. Bands like Motley Crue, Guns and Roses, The Cure, Whitesnake, Metallica, and Aerosmith swept the globe with stadium rock. Rock bands no longer played festivals and bars. They now sold out entire sports arenas to tens of thousands of adoring fans who wanted to live the glamorous lives of rock music’s biggest stars.

However, as rock left the ’80s and entered the ’90s, artists were no longer interested in the glamour of hair metal and stadium rock. Rock once again returned to its roots of rebellion, self-expression, raw emotion. Bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Garbage, The Smashing Pumpkins, and Hole pushed against the money and fame the ’80s promoted and carved their own paths in the music world.

Vintage Nirvana promo photo
Photo: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

The Slow Descent

After the ’90s left many a grunge rocker battered and beaten, the 2000s rolled in and ushered in the birth of pop punk — rock in its most agonizing and commercial state. While the ’50s birthed rock and the ’70s nurtured it, the ’80s gave it a money making platform and the ’90s saw it return to its roots. In the 2000s rock music once again went through a change. Unfortunately, this time the change would be fast the worst kind there is. As the 2000s progressed, rock became more of a novelty than a platform of expression. Society and mainstream media began to shift its position on the idea that rock could continue to be a profitable genre of music. Bubblegum pop took hold of half the music industry and hip hop and R&B began to dominate the rest. Countless bands popped up throughout the 2000s, attempting to dominate the music landscape by creating sub-genres like indie rock, alternative rock, pop punk, screamo, and more. But the music world no longer had room for rock music to grow in like it did in the ’70s and ’80s.

Photo: John Varvatos

“Well They Say That Rock is Dead, We’ll They’re Probably Right…”

When grunge goddess Courtney Love uttered these lyrics back in 2004, it made her futile attempt at solo career all the more heartbreaking to watch. Now many have stated that rock is officially dead, and many have argued that rock lovers just aren’t looking deep enough. But the truth of the matter is that rock most definitely isn’t dead, but it sure as hell is breathing its last few breaths. While a handful of acts seem to burst onto the scene every year from the realm of indie rock, none can really claim to have the success of bands like AC\DC or Judas Priest. And it really comes down to a simple and completely unavoidable fact: Rock is no longer profitable. Unlike the baby boomers and their kids who made various musical acts and, in turn, various genres profitable by connecting with and see parts of themselves in the music, millennials fall in love with the packaging before sampling the product. This in turn caused the mainstream music scene to become unbearably homogenized. Folk artists blur lines by merging soft pop songs with dancehall beats, while pop princesses become rappers for one song and teen idols for another. Poetic rap has been replaced with set guidelines and molds that spell success for those willing to follow them, and irrelevancy and empty bank accounts for those who try to push against them. The same has happened to rock music. There isn’t a shortage of dreamers wanting to become the next big thing — that hasn’t changed in the slightest. What has changed is that the rawness and intensity have been drowned out. The likelihood of ever having another Patti Smith challenging the status quo or a Marilyn Manson using our own discomfort against us to send a message are slim to none. Rock has become a game of who can sound the most easygoing and digestible rather than mesmerizing and self-exploring.

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The Mooch is Denied a Honeymoon Period and Other News

Starting this Sunday, we’ll round up a weekly list of contents from the Internet (so big!) that we think you would (or should) be interested in. 

A postcard depicting the Latin Quarter in Paris
Photograph by Billy Farrell / Patrick McMullan (Getty)
  • And finally, long-time The New York Times chief book critic Michiko Kakutani announced earlier this week that she would be leaving her post. Her twitter page has already been updated: “former chief book critic, The New York Times.” Her impersonal stance, though often criticized, assured objectivity and scared and elated writers of the past four decades. You can read her criticisms here.

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Fragrances you’ll love all year around

Choosing the perfect year around fragrance can sometimes be the most difficult beauty decision one has to make. Feminine fragrances tend to be too sweet for everyone’s tastes, men’s fragrances tend to be far too spicy or woody, and unisex fragrances tend to underwhelm. However, there are a few fragrances that stand out as not only interesting, but they also perfectly move from summer to winter without creating a jarring wall of scent.


Maison Margiela: Replica Soul of the Forrest

Photo: Sephora

$200.00  @ Sephora | Soul of the Forest encapsulates the strength and severity of strong woods and leafy forest greens. Many fragrances claim to encompass the fresh and familiar scent of a walk in the forest, but Maison Margiela‘s Replica fragrance perfectly recreates the smell of a dense forest that glistens with the faint sparkling of a sun shower’s remnants. It is packed with strong notes of balsam fir, cedar, and incense, creating an intoxicating masculine scent that edges ever so slightly into gender neutral territory.

Atelier Cologne: Sud Magnolia

Photo: Sephora

$145.00 @ Sephora | Atelier Cologne‘s Sud Magnolia may not be the first for a masculine fragrance at first glance, however, the light Magnolia scent is wrapped beautifully in tart citrus notes of pomelo and bitter orange, giving the scent a sweet yet hard bite that meshes perfectly with the elegant and warm scent of southern Magnolia. Perfect for cold winter days that need a warm pick me up or warm summer days that require a familiar summer sweetness.


Gender Neutral

CLEAN: Cool Cotton

Photo: Sephora

$95. 00 @ Sephora | One of the most pleasing scents available on the market is the unisex fragrance CLEAN Cool Cotton, which boasts a beautifully pure and impressive aroma of clean countryside cotton. Imagine leaving your house like the freshest breeze of the wind you’ve ever smelt; like a sweeping hillside cinematic moment captured in a small glass flacon. That’s the beauty of this lemon peel, cotton, and mint concoction. It’s also slightly more cost effective than many other options on this list!

Tom Ford: Mandarino Di Amalfi

Photo: Sephora

$172.00 @ Sephora | One of Tom Ford‘s best selling and most appreciated sscents is Mandarino Di Amalfi. It conjures up images of the fresh Mediterranean coast. An image of inviting sea water, white sailed sail boats, tan bodies, and the freshness of a citrus orchard under the sun all come crashing together in this stunning confection. The absolutely fresh unisex is made possible by the presence of grapefruit, lemon, and orange blossom.



L’Artisan Parfumeur: Les Chasse Aux Papillons

Photo: Sephora

$170.00 @ Sephora | Florals are a sure fire way of capturing a soft and feminine scent that isn’t overly sweet or childish. The playfully elegant and entrancing Les Chasse Aux Pipillons by L’Artisan Parfumeur aims at bottling a memory rather than a scent. Instead of bottling the literal, Papillons is a blend of tuberose, linden blossom, and jasmine, which carries a memory rather than just a fixed scent. Unlike other florals, Papillons’s transports the wearer back to their childhood of butterfly chasing in a lush fragrant meadow bathed in sunlight.

Guerlain: Aqua Allegoria Pera Granita

Photo: Sephora

$78.00 @ Sephora | Guerlains Pera Granita is a scent built on the more light and effervescent side of the fragrance spectrum. With sparkling grapefruit, pear, and lemon, this tart scent perfectly compliments high summer and adds an aromatic and invigorating zest to the winter months. However, this can be a tad bit sweet depending on personal preference, but nothing compares to the tarty bitterness of grapefruit in the morning. Think of it as breakfast for your body!

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