Take The Ferry

I have a fair bit of Bryan Ferry in my collection. On a mp3 cd I have These Foolish Things; Boys and Girls; Bete Noire. Tucked away on another couple mo3 collections are Another Time; Dylanesque; Ultimate Collection. Not to mention Roxy Must (but that’ll wait until I get to R) So I guess I am a fan.

His non-Roxy work was an opportunity for him to explore a less progressive sound. There was always that longer lizard singer quality to his voice which he clearly relishes and make sure of in the many cover songs that are scattered over these lps. In fact Dylanesque is all, as you might expect, Bob Dylan material.

Sometimes the covers work: It’s My Party is fun; Walk a Mile in My Shoes sounds like Holiday Inn bar singer. He clearly enjoyed breaking free from the creative demands of Roxy Music. If you aren’t familiar with his non-Roxy work any of these is a good starter.

On the mp3 collection I also added – Cabaret Voltaire: Micro-Phonies. I have a cassette dupe of this lp given to me by a friend. It was my introduction to the group which I loved. More artsy rock with goth underpinnings. Also Ultravox’s Quartet – a band more in the Bowie fold – with sweeping emotionality & art rock leanings. I had this as a cassette before upgrading to a Deluxe release of this lps & love having it.

Orientation

‘For the purposes of this orientation session we will divide into groups of seven.’ The dean smiled as he looked from face to face. ‘This way you will have smaller groups to meet. Each group will have fifty minutes for exchange of whatever they choose to exchange. Then new groups will be formed, of seven different people. Any questions?’

‘What if there is an odd man or woman out. Like there may not be an exact multiple of seven?’ I didn’t want to ask any questions but this one was so glaring I knew someone had to ask it.

‘Sycorax? Is that your name? The group will be rounded off to the seventh by one or two of the seniors. To make this easier each of you has been assigned a number which the Randomizer will flash. When your number is up go to the senior holding that number.’

This certainly wasn’t as simple as it sounded. The confusion that resulted took more time to sort out that it seemed to be worth to me. But at last my first group congregated by the Midwich Clock Tower. We sat on the steps.  Lear was the leader.

‘Okay,’ Lear cracked his knuckles. Small sparks flew in the air. ‘Oops. A bad habit of mine. Now this is the acquainting no one ever enjoys, so I’m going to make it as hard as possible. I want you each to tell something about yourself that no one here probably knows. We’ll start with you …. Griffin?’

‘Why me.‘ Griffin pushed the bangs of his oversized Afro away from his ritually scarred face. ‘Well. I’m …. I’m …. black.’

We all laughed.

‘Seriously though. I suppose whatcha all might not know about me is that when I was twelve I killed two men. I didn’t mean to but …’

‘That’s enough for now. Justification is a later stage.’

 

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HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam

http://www.queerslam.com

Tuesday – September 19 – feature – Art Bar Poetry series – 8 p.m., Free Times Cafe, #20 College At., Toronto – $5.00http://It’s No Accident

http://www.artbar.org

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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Me and My Lamp Post

The Shaw Festival production of Me and My Girl: Directed by Ashlie Corcoran was a sheer delight. Well-paced, effectively staged it held my attention from beginning to end – even through the repeated curtain calls. Great songs helped – though only a few of them are that well-known: The Lambeth Walk & Leaning on a Lamp Post – thanks to my English heritage they had some resonance.

A cracker-jack ensemble dances, sings, moves sets with clockwork precision. Lead Michael Therriault as Bill Snibson brings a great sense of fun plus a Tommy Steele glint to his role of the commoner who gets turned into a Lord. As Sally, his girl friend  Kristi Frank is fresh, fun & believable. Élodie Gillett’s Jacquie Carstone is sexy, predatory & sweet at the same time. Jay Turvey’s Parchester with his very Gilbert & Sullivan-esque theme song “The Family Solicitor” managed to steal the scene every time it was used.

Parker Esse’s choreography was also scene-stealing thanks to an amazing ensemble who shifted from energetic Broadway hoofing to tap with ease. I loved the Lamp Post dream ballet. It was clear that everyone was enjoying the show. They loved to dance, to sing, to entertain & the audience was drawn in to the show & kept captivated to final bow. Highly recommended.

 

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G  Whizzes

Henryk Gorecki is a composer caught in the ‘big hit’ category thanks to his powerful Symphony No. 3. Dawn Upshaw’s performance in the Cantabile section sent this piece to the top of the classical charts for decades. I love the deep lulling emotional resonance of this symphony – yet have not felt the need to seek out more by Gorecki. A must have for any classical fan or anyone who enjoys those emotionally compelling musical moments in motion picture funerals.

Louis Moreau Gottschalk: A Night in the Tropics. Here we have the opposite of Gorecki – a nearly forgotten AfroAmerican classical composer. Part of my personal mandate to widen my musical worldview to seek out what is rarely represented to the view of the world I get. This is rich, playful & pleasant program music. Impressionist with w strong Creole flavour. A clear inspiration for Scott Joplin.

So this wider world view moves from Polish, to AfroAmerican to Spanish with 3 cds of Enrique Granados’s piano music: Goyscas/Folk Songs; Piano Music 7; Piano Music 8. I first heard Segoiva playing guitar transcriptions & was fully expecting Granados to have written only for guitar & was amazed that in fact piano was his focus. The music is full of great for melody, subtle Spanish sadness & joy. Goyescas are his impressions of the famous & sometimes disturbing etchings of Goya.

 

Impressionistic, romantic at times to the point of florid this is classical music that welcomes new ears to the world of non-pop in a way that isn’t intimidating or emotionally dry. His Andaluza (Spanish dance no.5) may be one of the most popular & recognizable pieces of Spanish music you didn’t know he had written.

Bounders

Daphne shook the parchment over the candle flame. Small burn marks appeared but she moved it so no more than a slight smoulder was seen. As she moved the paper I let a few splashes of the albino newt’s blood fall from the glass dropper. They simmered a moment as the heat drew them into the paper.

‘We’ll know in a moment, Syc, if …. ‘

The parchment burst into flame. Daphne let go and the blackened flakes drifted to the floor where I stepped on them to prevent singe marks on the carpet.

‘That’s a sure a sign as any.’ She brushed her hands clean.

‘It is?’

‘Oh yes. No sign is as powerful as any sign. It means you aren’t to know. That you are diverting valuable energy from where it needs to go to pursue this avenue of thought.’

‘It can’t be.’

‘That attitude won’t get you very far here. Anything can be.’

‘But … that’s why I am here. To learn to see, foretell. If I can’t see how well my studies will go what’s the point.’

‘The point is …’ came from the doorway behind us. We both spun around. ‘… until your studies have begun there is nothing to foretell.’

‘Cal how long have you been there.’

‘Long enough Daph. Long enough.’

He came into the room with Lear.

‘Did a good job on that PA system today. Why does it take two of you?’

‘It doesn’t.’ Lear sat on the edge of the window. ‘But it looks better when two of us do it. Makes it look harder than it is, so that on those rare times one of us does it alone people are even more impressed.’

‘Always something with you two.’

‘Yeah.’ Caliban looked at Lear and they laughed.

‘I know you aren’t here to line us up for a double date.’

‘And pray tell Daph why would you say that?’

‘Look guys, I may be new here but I’ve been around. You two are …’ she stopped.

‘Are what?’ I asked. ‘Are brothers?’

‘Sort of.’

‘Oh. Bounders?’

‘Amongst other things yes. Bonded is the word we chose though. Goes a step beyond Bounders. United in more than blood and bone.’

‘You mean,’ it sunk in. So much for my erotic fantasy about Caliban and those sturdy legs of his. ‘How long?’

‘About four years now.’

 

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HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam

http://www.queerslam.com

Tuesday – September 19 – feature – Art Bar Poetry series – 8 p.m., Free Times Cafe, #20 College At., Toronto – $5.00http://It’s No Accident

http://www.artbar.org

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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‘silence is manslaughter’

Hot Damn! launched it’s 4th season (may the 4th be with you) at  Buddies In Bad Times Theatre Thursday night with rainbow-high-energy, out-to-win slammers, fearless open stagers & a wildly enthusiastic full house. Charlie Petch was in fine form keeping things flowing & the energy somewhere over the rainbow.

First set of open stagers & slammers: by the time you are able to read this, you may not remember me – I was told I could pave the way for women, why can’t I pave the way for all mankind – teens decomposing their own songs – this place smell of chance & lost dreams – less that nothing is still something – if it all means nothing, why not have fun – I dream of things I never want to see again – I wake to fear walking above ground – pour smoke over my heart – Wendy’s pigtails never fit the little boy that worse the – you wanna say best & breast comes out – I say I’m sorry more than I say I love you.

Andre Prefontaine’s feature set was amazing – emotionally resonant, overflowing with rich images, vibrant precise anger, & sassy theatricality. Honey, he was tougher than any nail they used to stab you – my Dad uses your homosexuality like a pair of scissors that cuts you out of his picture – worry about the future is a tragic waste of your imagination – I’m so calm it’s almost like disassociating – don’t you know how difficult it is to blow someone and do origami at the same time – hold the bible like brass knuckles – silence is manslaughter – people killing people for killing people.

After a much needed break – during which I got to hand out flyers for my feature (see below) – I picked up a couple of copies of Andre Prefontaine’s new chap book & got caught up with Vanessa McGowan. (when is her Hot Damn! feature?) I started out the second set of open stagers with my hair piece (see below).

From the rest of the night: that little crack makes you so human – I’ve never been struck by lightning – my body tells the truth when it shows the scars that anchor me to the reality of what happened – biting is cool, bite marks are not – we can’t use my name as a safety word – you left tiny blades my throat where you name used to be – the art of drowning in perfect make up – the rest of you is still living – never explain lost battles for your recovery – somehow your pain is never about you – being gay is more than whatever gender you choose – anatomy trump compassion – that word holds a power I cannot overcome – do you know where you are – chill of frosting in my bones – I smell like a Wes Craven movie –

Scores were added up & an array of prizes were handed out. Teddy Syrette took the Queirdo Prize for funnest bingo poem. Ezra Stewart took first spot in a tight race for a chance to win the big big prize: a trip to Washington DC (if Canadians are still allowed into the USA next summer) to attend Capturing Fire.

Next Hot Damn! is Gueph! Sept 30th. Hot Damn! returns to Toronto at Buddies In Bad Times Theatre on November 30.

Don’t Touch (My Hair)

she was a stranger

who felt no compunction

in reaching out to touch my hair

I must have been in my mid-twenties

at the time

my hair was freshly washed

shoulder length

‘it’s like baby hair,’ she said

I was a natural blond

even blonder

after a month of summer sun

‘I would kill to have hair like yours’

she smiled

‘thanks’ I replied

not adding

that I hate my hair

I hate it being so smooth

hate being asked

are you a boy or are you girl

being called fruit

by guys because of my hair

not that I was mr masculine

to begin with

shortly after that

I dyed my hair for the first time

I wanted a change

I bought a home kit

to make it permanent jet black

the look was striking

my mother said

‘what were you thinking’

I went to work

raised a few eye brows

but no comments

the black faded after the first wash

so much for permanent

in a week it was ash

in three weeks

back to baby fine blond

my hair

was like my sexuality

something I couldn’t disguise

no matter what women

I flirted with

no matter what I tried to call it

bi questioning pan

no matter what I drank to blot it out

it would always be

like my hair

something I was powerless over

something I hadn’t constructed

something I had to live with

I remember my first perm

a head of tight blond curls

they bounced in the light

it was my face

but a different me

the stylist conferred with a colourist

both agreed

that my hair was too fine

to hold colour for long

that it would be a shame

to tamper with it anyway

the permanent curls

would flatten within a week

I wasn’t willing

to go to bed with hairpins

so I’d get that perm

every month or so

I loved my hair for the first week

then a week of doing what I could

to keep the curl in

it was too much work

too much time checking in mirrors

I had a friend who was

what he referred to as a hair burner

he touched my freshly washed

uncurled hair one day

‘you have baby hair

I have clients

who would kill to have hair like that’

I said

‘I hate my hair

it’s too much work’

he said

‘do you trust me’

I let him do what he wanted

it took a couple of hours

that first time

to cut it short short short

then incise with electric razor

patterns into the hair

sometimes a maze

other times circle or triangles

always different

then he died

murdered by HIV meds

I shaved my head for his funeral

no one would ever touch my hair

again

catch me on stage: Tuesday – September 19 – feature – Art Bar Poetry series – 8 p.m., Free Times Cafe, #20 College At., Toronto – $5.00http://It’s No Accident

http://www.artbar.org

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Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald! On an mp3 collection I have: Sings Gershwin; with Louis Armstrong; Rogers & Hart Songbooks. Plus a cassette of 30 by Benny Carter (so far unreleased in any other format). What can one say about this timeless singer. Adventurous and yet classic jazz at the same time. Her recordings with Louise Armstrong are amazing – their voice trade off so well – romantic, sexy & humorous. Their take on Porgy & Bess is wonderful.

She seems to have recorded non-stop, even her sleep, as she worked through song books of the great Broadway composers. Shows that she never would have been cast yet & she makes each song her own.

On this cd I’ve included work by her contemporaries: Rosemary Clooney: Ring Around Rosie with the Hi-Lows: this is an amazing set, the Hi-Lows’ arrangements are so campy at time I’m left breathless & one hears where groups like Manhattan Transfer got their best ideas. The song are energetic & fun. Her voice is clear as a bell.

Plus some Peggy Lee: Beauty & the Beat with George Shearing, Fever: a ‘hits’ collection. The Shearing is a live nightclub performance & listening to it one is right there sipping an extra dry martini. Fever is a selection of her 50’s work & leaves no doubt as to why she was revered. Very different from Fitzgerald or Clooney, she does some of the same songs but man, they are different songs in her hands.

Finally Duke Ellington’s Black, Brown & Beige featuring Mahalia Jackson. Two versions of it – the studio recording & a live take. Jackson has another of those monumental voices but she rarely sang ‘pop’, even her work here is more gospel & her reputation comes from her gospel recordings. A force of nature that draws even a cynic like me into the glory of the word.

A Mazed

‘How do like your room?’

‘It’s fine. Nice view of the Eldritch Enclosure.’

‘Ah yes. That north side is worth the extra steps.’

‘Extra steps?’

I hurried to keep up with Caliban. For a short guy he walked faster than my long legs could carry me.

‘Oh yeah. Didn’t you notice? That side of the dorm is about half a floor higher. Thanks to the Corner System.’

‘Oh great. Now I have to watch out for the corners’ too?’

‘Bright girl like you should have no trouble.’

‘Thanks. I guess.’

‘Sure. Well, here we are …’

We stopped at the edge of the Griswill Quad. Several students walked in large and small circles in front of us. I look at Caliban.

‘Maze meditations, Sycorax. There’s a new maze laid down in the grass every other week. Gives us a chance to focus and move. Very relaxing.’

‘I’m sure.’

‘Oh no, you’re not. No one is sure till they’ve tried it.’

‘Can’t be any worse than the Celtiric Labyrinth at Black Rock.’

‘You’ve been there?’

‘Last summer. The folks thought it was time to see what latent ability I had.’

‘How long did it take you.’

‘Just under an hour.’ I wasn’t going to tell him it took me nearly twelve hours. Not yet.

‘Really?’

He was as impressed as I knew he would be.

‘Then you’ll find this one child’s play. Start here.’

‘What?’

‘First day here everyone has to go through at least one of the five mazes. I’ll wait for you at the other side.’

I swallowed hard and looked at the gentle pattern in the folded grass. Once I stepped on to it I felt the slight breeze of the Form rustle my hair. The Form meant that I could not step back, step off, or step over. I would have to follow through to the end.

I moved ahead quick. I knew hesitation would change the pattern. As long as I kept turning to the left whenever I could I’d be fine. As long as I remember which way was left. Small curves in the grass spun me around and I found myself passing the start point more than once. I took a breath and stopped.

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Thursday – September 7 at 7:30 PM – 11 PM – HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam

https://www.facebook.com/events/110567226312109/

Tuesday – September 19 – feature – Art Bar Poetry series – 8 p.m., Free Times Cafe, #20 College At., Toronto – $5.00http://It’s No Accident

http://www.artbar.org

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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Tartuffe: The Dance Remix

A EuroDance remix of Francoise Hardy’s VIP filled the Festival Theatre as the house opened for seating. This was, in many ways, the perfect invitation to this production of Tartuffe. VIP an older French pop hit being remixed for a modern audience just as Ranjit Bolt’s translation remixed Molière for a modern audience.

After the rather bland attempt to add modern touches to the Changeling I was leery of the same happening again but this remix worked wonderfully. The modern set, the flourish of social media savvy by the characters gave us a production, a play that could have been written now.

 

The basic premise of one ordinary man’s blindness to the machinations of another is today’s news. To anyone who attempts to besmirch his idol our ordinary man even refuses to accept eye-witness accounts – these accounts are fake news by envious haters.

Graham Abbey, Tom Roone, Anusree Royby & Maev Beaty are excellent. Abby & Roone superlative at both physic comedy & tricky language play. Deadpan double-takes rule. Roone & Beaty attacked the ‘drumming’ for attention that leads to the big confrontation with a sense of actorly joy. In fact one could sense that all the cast enjoyed themselves.

The finale with the rapturous use of Trump memes brought the house down & to it’s feet for a sanding ovation when the show ended. Sets, costumes, lighting all at the very high Stratford level didn’t disappoint. But I have to compliment the consistent music choices that really created a sense of time & place. I don’t know who credit for that goes to director Chris Abraham, or sound designer Thomas Ryder Payne. I wish the program notes listed the pieces used. Smart choices for a smart production I recommend to anyone looking for a great contemporary comedy.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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Feist or Farrell

In the opera world there is a niche in which sopranos let there hair down to perform ‘pop’ music. In the 50’s one of the most successful was Eileen Farrell. I came across a used copy The Eileen Farrell Album several years ago & it is pretty fun even if her takes on nightclub classics aren’t convincing but they do skirt camp. She has a full strong voice that makes for an interesting contrast to Feist.

I have as stand-alones Feist’s let it die, open season,The Reminder & tucked in an mp3 collection Metals. She has great pop sensibility, a well-produced sound. I do find it ironic that she is considered more authentic than say Katy Perry as their music is equally as slickly produced.

Feist is a whisperer, most of the time. Like Farrell she’s controlling her full range when she sings. This frailty lends much of her work a vulnerability that is appealing. I enjoy the music & the lyric content but none of it really sticks to me either.  I never felt ‘wow’ what an unusually sound’.

She not the first Canadian whisperer to make it big in the international market either. Way back in the 60’s there was Susan Christie – who hit it big with the novelty song ‘I Love Onions’ – the lp that song comes from is as sweet & endearing as anything Feist has recorded. Feist owes Susan a debt of gratitude. One she also owns to Françoise Hardy as well. Françoise, product of the 60’s, has another of those sweet little voices & the similarities to Feist are very strong. Same with Brigitte Bardot http://wp.me/p1RtxU-TV . I would be amiss not to mention  Blossom Dearie http://wp.me/p1RtxU-28a – an amazing jazz singer with the same ‘frail’ range & a great sense of humour too.

Orientation

‘Welcome Students …. ’

The PA system cackled with crackle and echo. Two boys rushed to the front, flipped the panel open and did something.

What was that something? Where did they learn it? Certainly not here. Electronics and knob fiddling wasn’t one of the classes in the curriculum. Where did the two guys I remembered from high-school who would always show up learn to fiddle away these little auditory defects? Why where they always in two’s?

The shorter of the two nodded to the dean. The little tuft of black hair on his chin made his face almost look older.

‘Welcome Students …’ Crisp as fresh washed lettuce.

The two boys high fived and walked up the aisle. Our heroes. No need to get a sports letter when one knew how to fiddle about.

‘Welcome Students … ’ the Dean began again. ‘I am Dean Yogg. I know this is the start of a great life for all of you. Lovecraft University is pleased to welcome you all.’

There was a polite rustle from the mass of students.  ‘Yea Lovecraft.’

‘For the new students there will be an orientation session in Room 413 in the Dunwich Building after lunch. Each of you has been assigned a senior to help you through the first week. That pairing off will start now.’

A senior stood and called off the name or two that had been assigned to him or her.

‘Sycorax Falanna.’

‘That would be me.’ I stood up. Rarely did I hear my name pronounced correctly first time. I saw that I had been assigned the shorter of the two boys who had fixed the sound system.

‘Welcome to Lovecraft U. I’m Cal Fortunata.’

‘Cal… is that short for Caliban?’

‘You got it.’ He laughed. ‘The sweet sounds of night.’

 

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Thursday – September 7 at 7:30 PM – 11 PM – HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam

https://www.facebook.com/events/110567226312109/

Tuesday – September 19 – feature – Art Bar Poetry series – 8 p.m., Free Times Cafe, #20 College At., Toronto – $5.00http://It’s No Accident

http://www.artbar.org

 

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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DeJohnette DeGenius 

Jackie DeJohnette is a jazz master genius. I’m not up on jazz critical literature so I can’t say if he is under-rated but I can say he is certainly not under-recorded. In addition to his own solo & group work he has played with with nearly every jazz musician of note. His work with Keith Jarrett is sublime.

As a percussionist, drummer he is equally at home in combos, big band, solo, chamber, free jazz & experimental. When I was buying cds if I saw he was a part of the line up I knew it was going to be worth listening to even I had never heard of any of the other players.

Like many jazz players at one time he was a mainstay of the ECM label. I can’t list all the releases of theirs that he appears on. As a sideman he was inventive, supporting but rarely called attention to himself. He knew how to make others shine.

I have stand alone Pictures. A suite of impressionist pieces in which he plays piano, organ as well as various percussion. Amazing. In an mp3 collection I have his New Rags; Special Edition; Standards: New York Session with Keith Jarrett – all replacements for vinyl versions I had at one time. This is adult thinking jazz but with strong emotional pull – never so abstract as to distance the listener. To round the mp3 collection I have some of his work with Chico Hamilton: El Chico; Kenny Wheeler: It Takes Two!; Wynton Marsalis: Think of One.

If you are, as I once as, just starting to enjoy jazz or want to explore deeper than easy listening I’d recommend anything that includes DeJonnette in the line up.

Embrace

Mike stepped out of the shower. He cursed himself for not opening the room window so the thick steam could escape but at the same time enjoyed the feel of it on his warm skin, the slick of it on the walls.

He left the shower running while he stood in front of the mirror. The day had been hot and dry and his body longed for this damp. He attempted to wipe the mirror clean to shave but the beads reformed too fast.

Reluctantly he turned off the shower. He half expected the smoke alarm to go off in his room.

Yes it was going to be a good trip after all. He rubbed himself dry twice. His skin tingled from the heat of the shower, from the heat of the day, from the rough of the towel. He could still feel Robert’s embrace. How long ago was that? Two hours? Three? He couldn’t believe it. He, Mike had met a strange man, in a strange city, and made that contact!

Not just any man but a handsome exotic dark skinned man. The kind he frequently fantasized about but felt that with his humdrum looks would never get to meet or if he did meet wouldn’t get more than a condescending smile from.

Robertino De Saint-Zexpris. He repeated the name several times. Rolling the R’s and squeezing the X. Such a name. Such a man. Such a man whom he would be meeting with shortly.

What should he wear? Nothing. Ha Ha. Now that’s the best part. Naked would they get naked this night, this first time, or would that be held out, put off till neither of them could wait.

Naked. Ha! There’s my mind running wild. So he hugged me. So we had a great time at the museum and he’s asked me to sup with him tonight.

Where does naked fit into that? Just a guy who wants someone to eat with. Simple. Yes, he had to keep it that simple, so that if that was all it turned out to be he wouldn’t be disappointed. He didn’t want another disappointment after the bomb-shell Jack dropped on him.

Yes, let’s just keep this as an opportunity to dine out not eat out. Mike laughed at his little joke.

What to wear? What would come off the fastest? What would wrinkle the least? Wrinkle! Who gave a fuck if it wrinkled. If it was coming off it would come off whether it was Hugo Boss or Goodwill.

chapbooks for sale http://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

kiss3

Thursday – September 7 at 7:30 PM – 11 PM – HotDamn! It’s A Queer Slam

https://www.facebook.com/events/110567226312109/

Tuesday – September 19 – feature – Art Bar Poetry series – 8 p.m., Free Times Cafe, #20 College At., Toronto – $5.00http://It’s No Accident

http://www.artbar.org

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s capfireslam.org – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/topoet

A Bloodless Dracula

Made a day trip out to Niagara-on-the-Lake to see the Shaw Festival production of Dracula adapted by Liz Lochhead. Much like Hamlet, in this day & age, it is impossible to see Dracula for the first time. And like see various productions of Hamlet one comes to see what they have done with various production values, performances & subtext.

This version features great performances by Allan Louis as Dracula; Marla McLean as Mina; Cherissa Richards as Lucy; and Graeme Somerville as Renfield. Each invested their characters with real emotion & clearly relished some of the juicy text without over-acting. The others were strong though I found the supporting servants, nurses etc relied on campy comic accents giving us laughs in a text that needed all the tension it could get.

I was disappointed in this rather bloodless production in which the over 25 set/scene changes proved most of the action. I realize dramatizing the novel, told in letters & journal entries presents challenges. Lochhead streamlines the story & keeps it moving along but inviting characters so shoehorn in social commentary about the times was distracting & didn’t add, for me, any resonance to the play. The same with the mildly Oscar Wilde humour that was added. I would have rather seen one of the stage versions that popped up in the early 1900’s.

I was not disappointed by the score by John Gzowski. Moody without being used to create emotion. I would have bought the cd if there was one. Costumes (finally a Dracula cape I would actually wear), lighting, the constantly changing sets all worked well. Allan Louis made a most robust Dracula, one who clearly didn’t really need his ‘superantural’ powers to bend women to his will.

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Fanny

My first & only Fanny lp for many years was Charity Ball which Picked up from a reminders pile at either Woolworths or Zellers in Sydney. An all girl rock band! The guys I hung with were amused then dismissive, as was the rock press at time. These were cute girls, who played their own instruments, wrote their own music but were never as good as the men. For one thing they were always ‘girls’ not women. They weren’t the Supremes.

Like the all female big bands of the 40’s & 50’s they were considered a novelty as opposed to a real musical identity. Sure Janis Joplin was a power house, Grace Slick was amazing but they also struggled to get male rock press acceptance. Fanny was a good solid bar band type of group. The music moves from hard rock, folk-rock, a bit of country & a dash of jazz. In an mp3 collection I have their 1st, Charity Ball, Fanny Hill, Mothers Pride. They never achieved success partially because they refused to be prepackaged as sluts that sing or as women run by male producers. They finally stopped because the record company felt they lacked commercial appeal. Has the industry changed that much? Kesha’s recent struggles indicates that it probably hasn’t.

The male pop world has frequently been challenged with how to respond to strong female performers & in this mp3 collection I’ve included Flora Purim: Everyday Everynight – a Latino powerhouse, creative, daring & grounded in jazz, pop & Latin she is a complete package but lacked the sexual appeal of Shakira. Here also the Pretenders: Viva El Amor!; Chrissie Hines is a force of nature who has survived in the rock world by trading on her tough girl rep. Finally Fiona Apple: Extraordinary Machine – another amazing voice, intensely creative, brilliant as a teenager, thwarted by an industry that wanted only a certain look & product from her – the Laura Nyro syndrome. This lp struggled in a dispute with the record company over its commercial appeal. The same sort of need for commercial appeal that plagues so many female rockers.

The Sun Serpent

‘Thanks.’

‘Don’t mention it.’

Mike wanted to say more than thanks but didn’t have the words for what it was he felt. He wasn’t thanking Robert for handing him the towel but for much more. Much much more. With the sudden end of his relationship with Jack it had been almost a shock to meet up with someone else. Especially a someone who was so tender and affectionate towards him.

‘Here let me.’ Robert took the towel and began to dry Mike’s back. ‘Not too hard am I? I mean rubbing.’

‘I know what you mean.’

‘Just relax a little.’

Mike  let his shoulders drop as Robert rubbed him with the towel.

‘Where did you develop this strange and delightful ability.’

‘Oh ho that’s a story for another time.’ Robert kissed him on the biceps.

Mike pushed him away playfully. ‘Oh no we can’t start that again.’

‘We can’t?’

Robert tumbled Mike onto the bed and lay on top of him. ‘What makes you think that?’

‘I don’t think. Remember. You told me earlier not to think so much and now I’m not thinking at all. At all.’

‘Yeah, well, let’s see you keep that thought in mind.’

They both laughed.

Robert sat at the side of the bed. Mike ran his hand over Robert’s back, felt the ribbon of scars that ran along either side of his spine. Tribal markings Robert had explained. Markings that gave Mike no images, no flashes. In fact he saw nothing when he touched Robert. A blessing in itself. Not to be plagued by visions.

‘You looking for another way in?’

‘No no. Was it painful?’

‘I was quite young when the first incision was made. The chosen. I was called to be the Son of the Sun Serpent.’

Mike let his hand drop away. The son of the sun. Made living up to his vision seem paltry.

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kiss3

Thursday, September 7, 7:30 – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam

https://www.facebook.com/events/110567226312109/

Tuesday – September 19 – feature – Art Bar Poetry series – 8 p.m., Free Times Cafe, #20 College At., Toronto – $5.00http://It’s No Accident

http://www.artbar.org

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