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Inventory of the Records of The Body Politic & Pink Triangle Press
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Community Page, # 5. File compg.jpg 279x195
The Community Page
-- when it still had room for fun

# 5, Jul / Aug 1972


Page 24 / Inventory Series 16

This series covers the work of publishing regular lists of community resources and events in The Body Politic, and later editorial work on Xtra -- which was initially built around such listings.

The first issue of TBP (Nov / Dec 1971) devoted its entire centre spread to a list, called the Community Page. Continuing regularly under that name through Issue 71, it was limited to "democratically constituted organizations, cooperatively run clubs and community centres, bookstores which sell gay and feminist literature, and non-profit gay periodicals."

There were 30 such groups (not all strictly gay) from six cities listed in Issue 1. By Issue 71 (Mar 1981) there were more than 230, covering 45 cities and towns across Canada.

Out in the City, # 97 File oitc97.jpg 145x118
Out in the City -- from column to section
# 97, Oct 1983


From Oct 1978, "Out in the City" had been the name of a column on urban life (a name that survives to this day, heading what's- on entries in all three Xtras.) With TBP's Apr 1981 issue it expanded into an entire section.

The Out in the City section listed upcoming local events, Toronto- area groups from the former Community Page (now, less Toronto listings, renamed Network) and -- for the first time -- commercial enterprises as well. Twenty-three Toronto bars, baths, restaurants and clubs were listed in Apr 1981. Within two years there would be more than 50. Out in the City often ran to five or six pages, including a calendar of upcoming events (usually as TBP's centre spread) and reviews of local theatre, film, dance and art exhibits.

Xtra # 3. File x5.jpg 80x171
Xtra -- when it was still pocket-size
# 3, Apr 7, 1984


Xtra premiered with a preview issue dated Jan 27, 1984 and began regular twice-monthly publication on Mar 3. Though small at first -- a single 17 x 22-inch newsprint sheet folded to pocket-size -- it was soon duplicating the function of Out in the City.

By the late spring of 1985, local commercial and entertainment listings were turned over entirely to Xtra. TBP restored Toronto community groups to its own Network listings and, in its Jun 1985 issue, launched Coming, a section highlighting event all across Canada.

Coming was a lot of work but never a success. Issue 129 (Aug 1986) finally announced that "Coming had to go." Network continued through TBP's final issue, # 135 (Feb 1987), eventually listing more than 400 groups across the country.

Out in the City represented TBP's recognition -- up to then a suspicious one -- of the commercial "ghetto" as a significant locus of gay (if, then, not so much lesbian) life. Tentative plans for the section go back to the late '70s, but its launch in the Apr 1981 issue, released in mid-March, was fitting: the Toronto bath raids of Feb 1981 had seen ghetto- goers, not just activists, rise in massive protest. Xtra would continue the Press's attention to -- and radically increase its dependence on -- the local commercial scene.

Out in the City was initially the work of Ed Jackson, and later John Allec. Both also worked for a time on Xtra. By mid-1984 an editorial working group was handling both. It was called Inmag -- the in-house code name for a bigger Toronto-focused insert then planned for TBP. [1]

Collective members Paul Baker and Sonja Mills, among others, came to play key roles in Inmag. Later Ken Popert would see the group through abandonment of its namesake (with TBP's demise, there was nothing for Inmag to be in) and onward to expansion of its central idea: a strong and clearly local gay paper. Thus did Xtra grow.

83-010 / 12
Community Page, 1971-1980.

83-010 / 11
Community Page, 1980.

82-019 / 09
Network, 1981.

82-019 / 02
Network, 1982.

87-011 / 06
Network, 1983.

82-019 / 09
Out in the City, 1981.

88-004 / 07
Out in the City, 1981-1984.

87-004 / 16
Out in the City, 1983-1984.

86-001 / 02
Out in the City, 1984.

88-004 / 12
Coming, 1985-1986.

88-004 / 01
Inmag Group. Minutes, Aug 1984 - Feb 1985.

87-004 / 16
Inmag Group. Minutes and memos, 1985.

  1. For more on new publication plans at the time, out of which Xtra was born, see files on "Diversification," Accession 87-004 , Boxes 01 and 14 in Series 1: Policies, planning and budgetting. For more concise reports see the Aug 1983 and Aug 1984 issues of the Sustainer Letter -- Accession 89-075, Box 2 in the same series.
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