Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

SCENES FROM THE UNDERGROUND, An Illustrated Memoir By Gabriel Cholette Out October 4, 2022

The book features illustrations by Jacob Pyne.

SCENES FROM THE UNDERGROUND, An Illustrated Memoir By Gabriel Cholette Out October 4, 2022

Fascinating and contemporary, in Scenes from the Underground (Oct. 4, House of Anansi Press) a Montreal club kid getting his PhD in medieval studies travels from Montreal to Berlin and Manhattan with stops in New York, Miami and Paris.

Originally written as a series of Instagram posts, his journey through the bathrooms and dark rooms of clubs and raves explores gender identity, relationships and the anonymous sex, drugs and techno music that define gay nightlife. Here, dubious decisions and intimate connections go hand in hand.

The book is a stunning portrait of the Instagram generation. Hear author Gabriel Cholette among others at the Violet Hour reading series, hosted by Christopher DiRaddo on October 5 from 6-7:30pm. The book contains mature content, language and images.

Recrafting jotted social media entries is an insightful, fresh approach to creating an artwork-filled memoir. Newly translated from Les carnets de l'underground, Cholette's book is a hybrid of fragment and image that was developed on Instagram as a creative laboratory. Accompanied by Jacob Pyne's full-colour illustrations, which perfectly punctuate the narrator's occasional self-destructive melancholy, Scenes from the Underground delivers candid, fully uninhibited field notes of the club scene; an adventure of self-discovery, doubt and vulnerability. The fun and moving book is a party in your hands, in small, safe doses.

For House of Anansi Press publisher Leigh Nash, Cholette's book is an engaging peek into eclectic characters' lives, "It's a punchy, provocative collection of vignettes that lets readers dip in and out, just like they might scroll through their social media feeds-Scenes from the Underground is the analogue cousin to Tumblr and Instagram for anyone needing a screen break," she said.

Cholette's initial impetus for the book was to impress illustrator Jacob Pyne, who he had recently met, "I told him I was writing erotic literature, since he was doing erotic illustrations," he said. "Then I started writing the book. I initially kept it to myself and a few friends but realized it's important for gay men to talk about and celebrate these often taboo, secret experiences that create a lifestyle of hiding, which is not good for mental wellbeing."

Another important element for Cholette is the notion of queer spaces, "Often queers are associated with 'night' venues-we work in bars and we party at night. I want to break this stigma to show that these spaces are important, and also want to see more 'day' spaces. This will come with advocating for more inclusivity in society, which is what I'm aiming for with this book." Cholette has written about the recent trans and queer initiative to claim the right to practice at a Mile End skatepark, usually occupied by straight males.

Like memory, the intensely personal work is not chronological, yet is connected and flows, with the sometimes seemingly random clips meshing. Cholette is likeable throughout, a self-described low-key nerd who's a bit clumsy. In this fascinating dive into another world for most, his vivid descriptions bring readers along for the voyeuristic ride following his story as a 15-year old just coming out twink to today.

Violet Hour's goal is to introduce emerging and established LGBTQ writers and their work to a larger audience. Place du Village has invited them to present this evening of writers featuring Gabriel Cholette, Virginie Savard, Su J. Sokol and Neil Smith.

TodayTix Black Friday

Related Stories

More Hot Stories For You


KPOP Announces Final Performance on BroadwayKPOP Announces Final Performance on Broadway
December 6, 2022

Today, the producers of KPOP announced that the groundbreaking new musical will have its final Broadway performance on Sunday, December 11 at Circle in the Square Theatre.

Video: Bob The Drag Queen, Kornbread & More Pay Tribute to A STRANGE LOOP With New MedleyVideo: Bob The Drag Queen, Kornbread & More Pay Tribute to A STRANGE LOOP With New Medley
December 6, 2022

Watch A Strange Loop Medley, produced by Michael Korte and Bryson Camper, starring Bob The Drag Queen, Kornbread, Anania Williams, Kyle Freeman and Elyn.

Photos: Go Inside Opening Night of THE FAR COUNTRY at Atlantic Theater CompanyPhotos: Go Inside Opening Night of THE FAR COUNTRY at Atlantic Theater Company
December 6, 2022

See photos from opening night of Atlantic Theater Company's The Far Country, an Atlantic commissioned world premiere play by Lloyd Suh, directed by Eric Ting.

David Cale, Nat Wolff, Hari Nef & More to Star in THE SEAGULL/WOODSTOCK World Premiere at The New GroupDavid Cale, Nat Wolff, Hari Nef & More to Star in THE SEAGULL/WOODSTOCK World Premiere at The New Group
December 6, 2022

David Cale, Patrick Foley, Hari Nef, Daniel Oreskes, Parker Posey, Bill Sage, Aleyse Shannon, Amy Stiller and Nat Wolff will appear in the company’s world premiere of The Seagull/Woodstock, NY, by Thomas Bradshaw, adapted from Chekhov, directed by Scott Elliott. 

Join BroadwayWorld: Open Ad Operations Team PositionJoin BroadwayWorld: Open Ad Operations Team Position
December 6, 2022

BroadwayWorld is looking for a full-time Ad Operations team member with a solid understanding of the digital advertising ecosystem. This candidate should be a self-starter and demonstrate previous experience as well as excellent communication skills. Communicating technical issues across departments will be a key function of this role. Attention to detail is a must.