Podcasting 2019

The nature of the podcasts I listen to has changed over the years. I started with various writing podcasts, added a few ‘social commentary’ but eventually got bored with them. Let’s face it I could hear so much about world building or about conspiracy theories. I stopped listening to all of them.

Then I came across Andrew Gurza (http://www.andrewgurza.com/homepage ) on some gay dating site. His profile mentioned he had a podcast which has since become Disability After Dark – shining a bright light on sex & disability. On it he talks explicitly about sexuality – gay, straight, other as it relates to various disabilities: autism, visual impairment, mobility limits & more.

I’ve heard nearly episode. His fearlessness & the articulateness of his frequent guests continue to make me aware of importance of representation in media, of myths about disability & has been sexy enough sometimes it forced me to take cold shower 🙂

Another podcast I now listen to is Buffering The Vampire Slayer (https://www.bufferingthevampireslayer.com ) – on which two lesbians (Jenny Owen Youngs, Kristin Russo) have been watching & discussing each Buffy episode in detail. They’ve also interviewed past cast members, stunt people & hard-core fans. I found them after I had started watching a box set of the entire series. I’m into season 6 & they have just finished season 4. The hosts are fun to listen to, & I look forward to each episode – usually every other week. They inspire me to be a proud cult nerd. A great podcast even if you aren’t a Buffy fan.

Another podcast is Fan Critical (https://www.fancritical.com ) – I started listening to them last year during the run of Castlerock – a collective of men, women in Britain & Australia discussing series such at Walking Dead, event movies such as Avengers: End Game. Initially the Castlerock was enough for me & it certainly helped me enjoy the series. After Castlerock ended the podcast continue looking at other Steven King adaptations.

Also under the Fan Critical umbrella is the Worst of Netflix – hilarious reviews of bad movies. I love it. I’ve also listening to their discussions of some event movies & frankly, no matter how they rave, I’ve not bothered seeing these movies 🙂

Most recent listening addition has been Gayish (http://www.gayishpodcast.com/ ). A couple of gay guys (Mike Johnson, Kyle Getz) chat over drinks. They talk about everything & each episode is focused on a single topic: i.e. Boobs, undies. Not laser focused though, as they stray into tangents often. Sex positive, often hilarious & well-researched. As with the Buffering hosts – they have an easy rapport that is inviting & enjoyable. I sort of envy them their friendships & their willingness to listen to each other. 

I subscribe to them via iTunes but they can be found on most podcast platforms. I support Disability After Dark & Gayish via Patreon. Try them out if you aren’t following any of these podcast already.

an older piece that the Gayish podcast on Boobs brought to mind:

Hooterville

the one area I feel empathy 

for straight guys is cleavage

where are you supposed to look

when caught up in this barrage of boob

focus on her eyes if you can

and hope she doesn’t perceive the wavering flickers

as you try not to get drawn down

it is easy to see how women 

become objectified

even when they object to it

how to pretend she isn’t pretty

that you find attractive attractive 

without being demonized

without being brow beaten 

by breasts for being such a beast

 

there’s no way of making up for it

no apology

no affirmative action

takes away the taint of having a dick

of having two competing heads to think with

of being faulted 

for thinking with the wrong one

regardless of which one is being used

of being opportunistic slaves to our base instinct

all men are guilty

no way out no absolution 

to be hormonally driven dick heads

is punishment enough

 

I have this simmering empathy 

when I get caught as straight men often do

in décolletage

try to make conversation

as subtle light shifts with each motion

as she pushes her hair behind her ear

try to focus on her words

try to ignore non-verbal communication

I’ve never heard a guy tell a woman 

‘stop looking at my package

my eyes are up here’

 

yeah I know

but the eyes are the window to the soul

and I don’t think either of us is 

ready to go there

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every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

2020

June 2020 – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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What am I worth?

TOpoet

According to amazon.uk my 1977 chap book Distant Music is worth £59.95 !! plus shipping – Even some US sellers. Who knew? I was just checking google/yahoo search engines to see what my name might pull up – mainly to see how high in those lists my blog would appear –

Planning to do a down east set at the Art Bar next month it seemed fitting that I’d get a reminder of the chap book that was published while I was still stranded there. I had attended the University of New Brunswick summer writing workshops a couple of years in a row. I got to workshop with Alden Nowlan, M. Travis Lane, even John Metcalf.  Fred Cogswell enjoyed my work and had Fiddlehead publish the chap book.

stairs to where

I slaved over the manuscript. Those were the days of retyping an entire page if there was one typo – very…

View original post 228 more words

Therapy

 

True story – Several years ago I started to see a guy & there was good chemistry between us. When he found out I had never been to therapy it ended because he couldn’t relate to someone who had never been to therapy. I thought – such is life. He made me think of people who say ‘I don’t trust someone who won’t drink (alcohol) with me.’

 

A recent Gayish podcast (119) was about the role of therapy in lgbtq+ lives. One of the hosts conclusions was that everyone needs therapy – by which they mean one-on-one work with a therapist. I have never engaged in one-on-one work with a therapist. (Please don’t revoke my gay card 🙂 ) The closest I’ve come to therapy, I guess, is decades of 12 Step meetings – group therapy of sorts – in fact the that modem of group self-help is the model for group therapy. But 12 Step doesn’t involve professionals to facilitate such groups. https://gayishpodcast.podbean.com

I’ve written extensively about growing up gay which has worked out much of the ptsd I experienced as a child & teen – the ptsd I’ve experienced from the gay ‘community’ is another story 🙂 What is worse – being bullied & belittled by the straight community for being queer or being bullied & belittled by the gay community for not being handsome, young, hung or buff enough to be acceptable? 

The Gayish episode is an excellent guide to types of therapy based on the hosts personal experience. The statistics on mental health & addiction issues in the lgbtq+ community are dismaying but not surprising. As we see greater visibility for queers in our culture I hope many of the emotional, mental issues that come from isolation, fear, internalized homophobia, will lessen. Gayish is one of the ways in which such changes continue.

Lucky

when I tell people 

I’m lucky to alive today

they act as if I’m overreacting

because in many ways

my life has been a breeze

I didn’t suffer any physical 

sexual abuse growing up

never went hungry

my parents never divorced

so what do I have to complain about

 

it’s not that I’m complaining 

just making a statement of fact

I’m lucky to alive

maybe they don’t know

that there as a time

when gay teens were put into 

mental institutions to be cured

given shock treatments

lobotomies

behaviour modification

chemical castration

so they would be obedient 

normal boys and girls

 

role models were nonexistent 

until Elton John came along 

(oh, why couldn’t it have been 

Bruce Springsteen)

 

what saved my life 

was music & writing

not writing how

‘fear was too great’ 

but writing about anything 

music never judged me

never waited outside school to beat me up

didn’t tell on you

didn’t turn away

when I searched album covers

for inspiration in words

in Jim Morrison’s tight pants 

mooning over sturdy arms 

of drummer Keith Moon

never knowing anything about their lives

 

maybe if I had known 

Jim Morrison 

was a real back door man

Moon was a bi guy

their fame allowed them freedom

but not freedom of the press

careers would have been ruined

 

yeah I’m lucky to be alive

because the help I could have used

then

would have killed me

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

Please Don’t Shoot

Please Don’t Shoot

I let death happen

by proxy

if I didn’t eat meat

wear shoes

would animal treatment

become more humane

 

do it take a stand

no more meat

nothing with a face

search out alternatives

plants may have faces

that I don’t recognize

so that makes it fine

 

the air that I breathe

is teaming with life

the water I drink

is alive with microorganisms 

that may have faces

my vision isn’t that good

atomic microscopes

focus so finite 

I can’t recognize anything

 

is that jelly fish like shimmer

darting around other shimmers

afraid of being seen

shamed by our look

not ready for their close-up

they aren’t animals

are they

 

is my decision that they don’t count

relevant to anything

other than another brick

in a sense of superiority

the smug comfort

of valuing all life

only as it serves my appetites

 

people

like me who still eat meat

will always be ethically

self-indulgent creeps

who should be shamed

better yet shot

 

but please don’t shoot me

until after dinner


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Everyone Has One

Everyone Has An Opinion

his opinion was

irrelevant to me

not that he was

in fact I enjoyed

spending time with him

until he commented

on an item in the news

the item was not relevant

to why were naked together

 

as he went on & on

I was at first amused

then dismayed

offered a more moderate

point of view

which goaded him even further 

 

he was fun in bed

I choose to overlook his opinion

one I never asked for

& now that I knew it

there was no need to

know more about him

or his opinions

only when we might 

get together again

 

which we did eventually

and when we did

it was good

until he launched 

into an opinion

 

he spoke as one

who only listens

to those who agree with him

which I understand 

why spend time 

with people who argue with you

life is too short

 

I’m no one’s teacher

besides he knew what he knew

who was I to disagree

so

seeing him again

was no longer relevant

Sex & politics are often a bad mix. One of the traditions in 12 step recovery is that our opinions on outside issues are left outside of the room – the focus is on recovery not on who is running for x party. As in this piece, knowing too much about the other person can often change how we hear them. One things I’ve realized about myself is often I have no real opinions only smart-assed one-liners.

I don’t mind making chit-chat when I see a guy mind you but I stick to things like the weather, music, maybe TV shows we discover we both like – but I avoid politics, religion, etc. I can be judgemental when certain political, race, or even class options don’t coincide with mine. This guy, & this is a real experience, felt fine to spontaneously mouth off with his bigoted thoughts on both blacks & whites.

As I haven’t experienced the world as he has I didn’t argue but let him know I didn’t see some of these issues as he did. At least he wasn’t homophobic 🙂 The sex was great, but to be honest, that isn’t enough for me. Even in a FWB relationship I need some emotional &, I guess, philosophical connection.  He on the other had felt that because I wasn’t argumentative that we were compatible enough for his needs.

I stopped putting energy into future get togethers. Made excuses a few times, caved a few times (solely because the sex was good). I succeeded in directing conversations away from his hobby-horses. But it was more work than I was willing to put inot what was supposed to be play. That was the focus of our getting together, not me learning tolerance & patience. So I stopped responding. Such is life. 

The title is a reference to the phrase – “Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one and everyone thinks everyone else’s stinks.”


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Chapter LIV: Birk in the Rubble

Coal Dusters: Book 1 is now available as as PDF – this covers the first 35 chapters – 65540 words – send $1.99 to  paypal.me/TOpoet

Coal Dusters – Chapter LIV

Birk

in the

Rubble

By the third day the faces were fully ready to be worked. Birk found that he and Clancy were back into their old routine. Joking in the mornings and focused when they started to work. Birk was happy to hear Clancy singing behind him as they got back to the grind of hacking the coal out of the seam. He slipped back into his physical digging and everything that had happened in the past few months vanished as he sweated.

“Com’on by. Time for a slurp of tea.”

“Wha?” Birk pushed himself out of the crevice he was working in.

“Can’t make up for lost time that way Birk.”

“Feels good though to be doing sumthin’ ”

They put their tools in a safe spot, got their lunch cans and scuttled along to a level spot on the floor to sit.

“Where you get to when you take off?” Birk asked expecting the same answer.

“Back to my Ma’s. How many time’s do I haf to tell you? I figured your family have enough to do keepin’ fed without my extra face to feed. Not much to do here with out getting pulled into that spineless union’s foolishness. Ya can’t trust them.” Clancy slurped his tea. “Still smells the same down here.”

“No more ‘an you can trust the owners.”

“That’s for sure. I hear you kept yourself busy in a pretty way.”

“Wha?” Birk nibbled at his bread.

“You and the nun. Steven O’Dowell’s betrothed.” 

Birk could see Clancy smirk in the dim light.

“That lass’s only been trying to teach us how read and write proper. Don’t see as I’m going to do much with that. I could read figures well enough. But now I can sign my name pretty good. But …. ”

“She’s was getting to you, wasn’t she?”

“Yeah, but not is that way.” Birk was eager to have someone to talk to about Lillian. There were things he didn’t he could tell his mother.  “Everyone thought I’m …. sweet on her. Asked me how I felt about her getting hitched to him. As if I would be bothered by that. But t’isn’t so. Sure she’s pretty and that but she makes it hard to breathe when she’s around. It was as if she’s trying cover me up with whatever scent she’s wearing. Always looked at me as if she wanted something more than an answer to what the numbers add up to.”

“She must have had her eye on you.”

“I wish she didn’t. Ma gets so burned up about her being a Catholic girl. She thinks Lillian wants to turn me mick too. I wished I knew what she was after.”

“What most women want Birk m’boy. To land a decent man who’ll look after them.”

“She was living at the O’Dowell’s then anyway so she had him. He’s more the decent man. I’s surprised to see him coming down everyday with us too.”

“Politics. He aims to be premier. He can brag how he knows what common folks have to do to get by. I don’t know what she saw in you, less she needed hairy chimney sweep.” Clancy’s laugh echoed in the shaft.

“Yeh. I’m glad yer back … that … Clancy, I never had a mate I much took too … not even m’brother.”

“Yeah. I missed you too monkey.”

Birk resisted the temptation to reach out and touch Clancy.

Back at the face they were working he was happy to hear Clancy singing the familiar ‘shovel and pick, pick and shovel,’ then, ‘rake and hustle, hustle and rake.’ He stopped mid-word.

“Hush,” Clancy whispered. “Stop for a minute.”

Birk leaned away from the wall. “What is it?”

They stood holding their breaths. A distant rumble could be heard. Then the ceiling over them groaned and a long, thin, flat shard of it shook free and fell with a dusty thud.

Birk pushed Clancy toward the wall. “We better high tail it.”

“Right. That’s what happens when you only have inspectors come to check the air. Not the shoring of the faces.”

They made their way to the main shaft that was crowed with the other men on the shift. They were grousing about how the management had pushed to get things started and how the union didn’t make any difference or even care about the possible unsafe conditions. Another heavier rumble overhead stopped their nattering.

“At’s a big one.” Jake Malone called across from where he was working.

Part of the ceiling collapsed ahead of them.

“Shite.” Clancy swore as he crawled into the now narrowed shaft. “Come b’y before it gets worse.”

There were men scrambling in front and behind them. More than once Birk got a solid kick in the side or face. He was pushed out onto the rough floor. Other men tumbled out after him.

“Clancy!” He called out. He choked on the thick gritty dust. 

The miners pushed him along to the cage that would take them up. There was another even louder crack followed by a rumble and the ceiling behind him came thundering down amidst the shouts of men trapped under it.

“Clancy! Me buddy’s back there.” Birk stopped and pushed his way back to the rubble, fell to his knees and began to pul at the chucks of rock. Some crumbled in his hands.

“Come away lad.” Hands pulled at his shoulder. “There’s nothing we can do for them as got caught.”

It took two of the miner’s to pull Birk to his feet. 

“We all lose someone to the coal one way or t’other.” one of them put an arm around his shoulder and led him away.

“No!” Birk muttered. “I can’t give up.” 

He pushed them away and went to where he had been digging and began to pull the rocks away again. “I know he’s alive. I can feel it. I can’t give up that easy.”

It was the same feeling he had before Clancy showed up at Sal’s burial. Something in his chest told him Clancy was near then and that something told him Clancy was here now. Alive.

One of the miners who had pulled him away came back to him with two shovels and handed one to him. “This’ll make it easier. One things as I know is to never ignore that feeling.”

They were joined by some of the others in shifting the debris. They came to the canvas air flow flaps. There was someone trapped under that. Part of the frame for the ventilator had crumbled to offer some protection to those men.

“There’s men under this.” Birk shouted as his hands tried to get a purchase under the thick edges to peel it back. It was too dark to see exactly who it was though.

Red and two of the men left the bodies they had found and brought them to the less dim area of the shaft by the cage entrance. One of them was dead. The other moaned as he was being moved.

The injured man reached out and grabbed Birk by the wrist. “Monkey is that you?”

“Shush, Clancy. It is. We’ll get out of here soon.”

They laid Clancy on one of the coal trams. In the flicker of his lamp Birk saw a thin ooze of blood around Clancy lips and ears. 

“I can’ feel anything.” Clancy whispered. “Are my … “

“Yes Yes yer legs is there. They look okay.” Birk ran his hands lightly over Clancy’s body feeling for any breaks, no bones were sticking out. “You’re all there.”

“Even my little fella?” Clancy tried to laugh but coughed some blood.

“Pretty sure. Maybe a bit worse for wear after that.” Birk wiped a tear away. 

Red came over. “How’s he doing.”

Birk stood up. “He’s making jokes about his little feller, that’s a good thing.”

Red kneeled beside Clancy.

“You going to be fine son.” He put his ear to Clancy heart. “That’s still beating. How’s it to breathe?”

“Not so easy.” Clancy wheezed and coughed up more blood.

“Suspect you broke a couple of ribs back there. Good thing the manifold fell atop you.” He stood brushing his hands off. He turned to Birk. “Masters wasn’t so lucky.”

“I got the count for you Red.” Ken Langly, one of the miners came over. “Feenie, O’Conner, Slake Jim, French Dan and Dark Sammy unaccounted for. A few cuts but none as is hurt that bad.”

“Something to thank the good Lord for.” Red signed deeply. “Air’s not too bad. Ventilator shafts must still be clear enough.”

The cage shaft echoed with the screech of mental on mental. The harsh sound grated on Birk’s ears.

“They tryin’ to move the cage up and down. She must a got stuck somewhere when the … collapse shifted things.”

Without the cage the miners would have to either wait near where they were, or start to climb up the sides of the shaft. They were more than a mile below the surface and they was the risk some of the handhold stavings had come loose if the shaft was twisted out of shape enough.

“I’m going to start up.” Ken Langly announced. “One of us has to make a try. I’ve done it more than a few times.” He laughed. “You know, to get a breath of fresh air.”

“I’ll go with ye lad.” Red said. “They’ll be wanting to know who’s survived and who’s hurt down here. So far only young Clancy here. Busted a couple of ribs.”

They started up the sides of the shaft. Every so often some debris would come down.

“How you doing?” Birk sat on the floor by the tram where Clancy was lying.

“Only hurts when I talk about it.”

“Go on with ya.” Birk leaned back, his head against Clancy shoulder.

“You know when that slab fell on me all I could think was that I’d never get out to Blue Lake again. You done any fishing out there?”

“Took my sisters out a few times but not same as the last time we was out there. Too far for them to walk anyway. I ended up carrying Sal, the fish and everything else too on the way home.”

“At’s all right and you were learning how to read and write the way a proper Boston boy would.”

“Sure while you was playing nurse maid to yer old mother.”

“She not as fine as that one though.”

“Why you keep harpin’ on about that gal. She’s all yours Clancy if she’ll have you. That is if O’Dowell can’t keep her happy. I told you before I don’t care none for her fine ways. Sure they can grow on you after a time but that doesn’t mean I want to … spend anymore time with her than I have to.”

“Gives me something to think on besides us dying down here.” Clancy said.

A mass of rocky debris and some lumber fell through the shaft and down to the bottom of it.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License


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Garland Jeffreys

I can’t remember when I first heard Garland Jeffreys. One of my friends in Sydney had picked up an lp or maybe I’d bought one on spec at Woolworth’s in their rack of deleted lps. Or I might have even read a review in Rolling Stone. But he is a memory from my Cape Breton life. I have now in an mp3 collection Guts for Love; Rock & Roll Adult; Don’t Call Me Buckwheat.

He was more a cult favourite than a big pop star. More of a Warren Zevon than a Jackson Browne – who were also making ripples at this time. Jefferys’ sound was somewhat different though. More soulful, dash of reggae  Tough songs about love, politics & race. A direct influence on Lenny Kravtiz. Rock & Roll Adult is an amazing live album. Cool Down Boy about his physically abusive father is powerful.

Like many of my mp3 collections this one spans time & genres. So it also has Frank Ocean’s Channel ORANGE. Hop-hop artist with a queer vibes that is sonically dense but none of the songs really grabbed me. Same with Bruno Mars: Unorthodox Jukebox – radio friendly pop. I enjoy this sort of disposable music from the likes of Mars or even the Jonas brothers. Romanic, r’n’b lite. 

Here as well is a Toronto indie band Melting Pot: Cancel Everything. Grounded by the guitar of Nelson Sobral this is solid rock that is well produced, engineered & fun. Finally another throw back with a sort best of collection of The Left Banke: There’s Gonna Be A Storm. A brilliant 60’s group that didn’t hop the psychedelic bandwagon & produced some great songs. Their mix of strings, harpsichord & rock is refreshing, clearly a precursor to the chamber pop of Antony and the Johnsons.

Pain

‘Is there pain after death?’ Tom looked over to Frank. ‘That’s what we’re here to find out, isn’t it?’

‘Not entirely. But that’s a good notion to work with. I doubt if there is pain after death, with no attachment to the nerve endings, no corporal presence to to be connected to, there is nothing to feel the pain.’

‘Physical pain but what about emotional pain, spiritual pain?’

‘Spiritual pain? Have you ever felt spiritual pain?’

‘Yeah. It’s a restless emptiness that can’t be filled with people, places or things. When I use them to sooth that pain, it only gets worse. The spiritual remedy is the only one that has helped.’

‘Well, we are certainly in a philosophical frame of mind this morning.’

‘Must be my Season of Change. ‘What has been started, continues in each of us, even if we don’t know it.’ ’

‘That’s from Dr Melburton’s book?’

‘I think so. It what made me come with you. To find out what there was to find out here.’

‘So you believe there is a power here.’

‘Here, there and everywhere. Hiding. Always hidden.’

‘Only we don’t know what we might find.’

‘We know what we hope to find. That’s a start isn’t it.’

‘And we hope to find out if there’s pain after death?’

‘Something like that. I’ve felt something around me since we heard that chant. You have too haven’t you Frank?’

‘I suppose. Seems the air is more humid today.’

‘Rainy season is creeping up.’

‘The dead are just hiding and we are seeking them.’

‘What?’

‘Something my Dad once told me. He said they have passed beyond mortal sight.’

‘As if life were hide and seek … I kind of like that image. They’ve merely hidden and we may never find them.’

‘Oh, we’ll find them. The harder we seek the sooner we’ll find them.’

‘Then perhaps we’d better stop looking so hard.’ Tom laughed uneasily. ‘I don’t think I’m ready to …’

A flash of lightening was followed by a nearby clap of thunder. The drinking glasses on the bathroom sink rattled.

‘Very close.’

‘I have come to protect you?’

They turned and the leader of the boys they had seen two nights ago stood on the balcony of their room. His body streaked with raw, red paint, daubed with splotches of red, white and yellow. He was naked.

There was another ground shaking crash of thunder. The rain started. Heavy. Thick rain that darkened the room.

The boy stepped into the room and collapsed on the bed.

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

every Tuesday 2019

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

 

DC Dreaming 2018

Sadly not going to Capturing Fire 2019 😦

TOpoet

Three weeks today to June 8 when Capturing Fire ignites its 8th slam happy weekend with the launch of the landmark anthology Stoked Words. The anthology captures work by the many brilliant poets who have slammed, participated or wore fabulous shirts. Yes, I’m in the anthology. What pieces? You’ll have to wait to find out. Being a US publication it might end up in the Library of Congress!

The launch, workshops & slam are all taking place at The Woolly Mammoth Theatre on D St. NW. Getting there will take me through parts of Washington I have have never seen so there’ll be lots of new photo ops, new exotic Starbucks to discover (as if Starbucks is exotic). Schedule of workshops posted here: https://capfireslam.org/2018-schedule/.

I’m staying at the same hotel, which is steps away from DuPont Circle metro. Google maps tells me its a 45 min walk to…

View original post 444 more words

“Abject Object”

Over the years I have seen nearly all Shakespeare’s plays. Thankfully Stratford Festival presents one of the infrequently produced ones every year or so. This year it is Henry VIII, which we saw at the intimate Studio Theatre. A play with the largest cast list done in the smallest theatre presented a challenge for director Martha Henry, which she met with ease.

This was a preview production but most of the performances were excellent. Irene Poole as Queen Katherine was strong, her death scene was compelling – cutting the appearance of the spirit apparitions allowed the scene even greater emotional resonance. Kim Horsman as Duchess of Norfolk was great fun. Jonathan Goad as Henry was boyish, regal and made the king so appealing one almost forgives his treatment of women. The supporting players were good, Scott Wentworth as the Duke of Norfolk was particularly strong.

Thanks to the series The Tudors I was able to sort out the political web that was being spun for Henry’s marriage to Anne Boleyn but I’m not sure how anyone unfamiliar with the actual history would have fared with the religious & political intrigues that run though the play. But the play is also an emotional look at the disintegration of a marriage regardless of the political context.

The staging was simple, the costumes were detailed, though there were more sequins than one would have expected at that time 🙂 The ending bows were cleverly  choreographed. Highly recommended.

 

My only quibble is with an audience member, in my row, two seats to my right who felt it was perfectly fine to use his smartphone to check messages & text replies two different times, while the show was in progress. I guess I should be grateful he didn’t start a whispered conversation on it. 

 

 

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Me? Caped Crusader

On Wednesday May 15 we went to see Henry Viii at the Stratford Festival. This year I added a 10:30 a.m. tour of the Costume Warehouse. We managed to arrive almost on time. There was about a dozen of us in the group, most of whom were frequent show attenders. The guides were volunteers. The warehouse was stuffed the rafters with decades of costumes, some going back to the first shows in the early 1950’s.

We were given a bit of background of some recent items from last year’s productions of Coriolanus, The Tempest & The Rocky Horror Show. Then the tour started. The pieces we were to see had been lined up already in various areas so we didn’t really get to wander much. 

Hats, shoes, jewellery, wigs each have their own department at the Festival. We learned how costumes are cleaned – some get sprayed with vodka which deals with body odour. It would have been fun to get a peek at the actual costume fabrication shops. The guides were certainly knowledgeable & clearly enjoyed showing off some of these pieces. We could take all the pictures we wanted but couldn’t touch things.

 

At the end of the tour we were given the opportunity to try on costumes that weren’t to be kept in the collection. The ladies on the tour became little girls in their excitement to try on gowns, hats. I needed the help of a dresser to don the golden caped mantle in which I did feel rather kingly. The tour changes every year so I’ll definitely do it again next year.

he’d slept on that bed for years. same mattress. new sheets when needed. always freshly washed. changed once a week. that was the night he slept the best- the night of the fresh sheets. he loved the bed. the welcome it offered at all times. unquestioning. a few new mattresses over the years. given longer life my spinning them in spring. flipping them in the fall. 

the bed was the refuge and support. the cradle of dreams. he laughed to himself the cradle of dreams. he was turning into a bed poet. he’d move it every now and then from a corner to more central in the  room under the window or opposite from the window. all meaning a move of maybe 3 feet in anyone direction at any time. not enough space in the bedroom for much of a dance with the frame.

sometime’s he’d share the bed with others. for a night but not often. it was sturdy enough for sexual romps, play with with willing bodies. but he felt that sleeping in it was something for him and him alone. he didn’t want to share this comfortable retreat with anyone for long. he never learned how to sleep with others. didn’t want to. that would certainly be the deciding factor in any long term relationship, live in or other wise. the bed was his domain to be shared briefly but not over night.

sleep was a bargain between him and the bed. kiss would undo that bargain. unequivocal.

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every Tuesday 2019

May

Stratford Festival – Henry VIII

July

Stratford Festival – Nathan The Wise

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

September

Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

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