Come On Get Happy

After My Renaissance Teapot it seemed fitting that I had a chance to catch Michael Oesch perform at The Spring Fling at Hirut on the Danforth. Hirut is a block east of the old Ren when I first heard Michael over ten years ago. Host Arlene Paculan opened the show with a song & handed the stage over to Michael.

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Michael did a vibrant set full of sweet, yet dirty, slide guitar work on mostly original songs. He recounted his long walks; one from TO to Labrador, the other TO to Vancouver. Needless to say he had one about The Walking Blues. He did a couple of covers as well: Come On Get Happy as an ode to Shirley Jones & a great take on Stevie Wonder’s Higher Ground.

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Next up was Lizzie Violet with a strong set pulling from her favourite genres: sex, zombies & her mother. It was great fun to see the audience taking Selfies with her in the background doing her piece Selfie that starts ‘I am not a selfie’ – meta audience participation.

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Last up was Allen Rex with a fun, in your face, set of his queer songs – propelled by driving acoustic guitar his was in fine form. ‘Keep your shape/ so you can rape yourself.’ ‘In a city of outsiders/I’m a misfit.’ A dynamic set.

Hirut is a great spot for a night out – the Ethiopian food is spiced perfectly & served in the tradition way – no cutlery only a soft, rolled bread to pick it up. The food made me happy. To make me even happier vote for Arlene in there CBC Searchlight Contest: http://music.cbc.ca/artists/arlene-paculan

sample

Abjure

your dedication to work

takes priority over your personal life

in fact it is your escape from it

that job is your bottle

and like a drunk you can’t help yourself

it blots out everything outside of it

even when you are told not to be there

you are there to tie up loose ends

that tie you up for days on end

how can I unswear allegiance

to my heart and mind

to my body and hormones

when each time I think this is it

there’s another time

you swear you’ll change

that reform is possible

and while you hold your hand to my heart

my head tells me

you will never hold true to this vow

I smile knowing better and doing better

are such different things

and as much as I know better

doing you is better than not doing you

the paradox of that oath I never took never signed never swore to you

unconsciously I have pledged

to be accepting forgiving

not to make plans

I know you will never fulfill

even the simplest promise

of calling when you say you’ll call

I’m trying to swear off you

no more of this bullshit

while a part of me rather likes

getting caught up by this hurt slightly martyred feeling

it has a sweet reward all of its own

I can pine at a window

hope the passing car is yours

when I know very well it’ll never be

having someone to long for

has a tang of romance

of humanness

lets me feel less self-contained distant

soon

I may not be holding my hand out

except to wave good bye

soon

May 7 – Thursday – 8 pm – Judging – Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam Season 1 finals – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre – 12 Alexander St., Toronto –

hdamnfinal

https://www.facebook.com/events/726986450755918/permalink/726987687422461/

June 5-7 – attending – Capturing Fire – Washington DC

fire

http://www.thedccenter.org/capturingfire/

( I’ve registered already 🙂 )

June 21-26 – attending – Rosemary Aubert’s Workshop: The Novelist’s Selfie – Loyalist – Belleville https://www.facebook.com/events/965611026782246/

( I’ve registered already 🙂 )

loyrocket

register now while there is room at the table

page 23 for details next page down for registration info

https://www.loyalistbanner.com/ceweb/doc/LoyalistSummerArts2015.pdf

June 27, Saturday – 7:00-  Feature: Hot Summer Nights at Hirut, Hirut Restaurant, 2050 Danforth Ave., Toronto

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September 3-6 – attending – Fan Expo

Expo15

( I’ve registered already 🙂 )

http://fanexpocanada.com

October 18, Sunday – feature: Cabaret Noir: Inner Child Sacrifice

noiroc

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thanks

‘the language of creation’

Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir marked it’s second year as one of TO’s most eclectic evenings out with a diverse set of dynamic features playing to a packed house. The show started with a flurry of open stagers: Brenda Clews flashed us; Cate McKim let us feel her love; Shawn Nolan (new to Noir) shared his dirty business; TOpoet.ca swore up a storm.

bluesky

blue sky

First feature was Komi Olaf (http://komiolaf.com/about/) – another Nigerian (Nnedi Okorafor at the Colloquium http://wp.me/p1RtxU-173  was also Nigerian) writer. His pieces popped with alliteration & rhyme: ‘busy buzzing beneath the hive,’ ‘masters masquerading,’ ‘countless dictators trying to dictate the vote count.’ Some pieces were rich in the colors of the jungle, others with sweet romanticism ‘our love rises before the dawn.’ Political without being didactic, romantic without being overly-sweet his set was nicely paced and by the end we knew ‘the language of creation may not be in English.’

greysky

grey sky

After a brief break David Roche hit the stage with a classic cabaret turn – classic in the Noel Coward sense of classic. His urbane patter, classic show tunes and seemingly effortless singing brought the classic into the a new decade. His relaxed performance allowed the songs to shine, letting the words speak directly to us.

cloudysky

cloudy sky

Door prizes were given to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of the show, the Central donated champagne that was eagerly downed by most of the packed house. Final feature was the artist currently known as Allen Rex (http://www.allenrex.com). He is bubbly enough without the bubbly though. He did a propulsive, plaintive setoff original work starting with ‘I wish I were a lesbian’ so he could be spared so much worry about the latest trends as a non-white gay guy (I hate to break it to him but lesbians have the same issues).  His energy was infectious, his songs were personal, perceive and funny. They have great hooks that are ripe for expansionist a bigger sound to really rock out. It’s time for a queer Fall Out Boy. Buy his new single ‘Waste of Time’ on iTunes.

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Photos of the event here: Noir at 2

sample

Besides Nuncle John (http://wp.me/p1RtxU-Qe ) I read one of the pieces I read at the first Cabaret Noir:

The Bridge of Sighs

I met the Buddha

crossing the bridge of sighs

there wasn’t enough room

for each of us to get by

He giggled

‘life is suffering

let me pass by’

I said ‘as you wish

but let me remind you

life is an illusion

so is this bridge’

the bridge disappeared

the Buddha was on his back

in the cold cold water

I stood dry on his stomach

and was careful

not to step on his face

as I made my way

to the other side

soon

June 3/4/5 – Washington DC

nufire

http://www.thedccenter.org/capturingfire/

(2016 registration posted but details not posted yet. )

 

 

 

 

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Being For the Benefit of Mr. K

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A packed, generous house at Glad Day Books made for a night of spirit lifting & reassurance for my friend Kyle Andrews & his dog Duke, after the destruction of their apartment by fire. Everyone was effected by this show of support by strangers for strangers, as it was the first time some of the performers had met Kyle, as well being the first time I’d met some of the performers.

coat hairy coat

I kept the talent lineup simple, even turning down some who had volunteered to perform. Too many performers makes for a less focused show, I thought. I’d rather four great songs by a great band than four great songs by four different performers. Plus less time getting people on & off stage.

All the performers respected my request not to do cover versions of Disco Inferno, Light my Fire, Burning Down The House, You Started a Fire, Ashes to Ashes or any songs by Arcade Fire.

whitesink that sinkless feeling

Allen Rex started & ended the show with his rocking, folk, queer and energetic songs. Duke made his stage debut with tricks only dog can do, then Kyle read some poetry about recovering from the fire. Renee’s rewriting of pop songs was hilarious, sharp & well sung, too. NorthStar were sweet, emotive in their two sets. Their take on Sugar Sugar gave me chills (you know who can pour his sweetness all over me anytime 🙂 ) Arelen Paculan wowed us with a couple of great songs but had to scoot to another gig, leaving us wanting more.

Cate McKim kicked off the second set with her direct from the heart a cappella songs – After the Gold Rush gave us all chills.  NorthStar did another couple of excellent songs. Paul Bellini arrived to do Yoko proud. Allen Rex wrapped the show on a high note. Many left wishing they were ‘skinny white boys.’

Spoken word performances were good too: Lizzie Violet give a different kind of chill, as did DS Campbell with a section of his twitter feed zombie novel. I reached into the raunchy bag to some of my pieces to make sure there wasn’t a dry seat in the house.

clothes

cleaning out sale

The raffles were a great success. Letting people pick the prizes they were interested in meant that the six-packs of gay porn went to good homes. It was curious to note that the ‘mature man’ porn pack had a handful of tickets whereas the six-pack of twink porn had the most number of tickets. Gift cards for Fresh Burger, Cara Foods, Glad Day all proved to be popular.

Money was raised but more importantly sprits were raised. It was powerful to see diverse strangers come together to support someone in their struggle, and do so gladly and happily. Pics of the event Fun at out of the fire

one of the pieces I read – WP sometimes does weird things to line breaks 😦

What I Did For Sex

let him think I was falling in love
brought flowers
pretended to be drunk
said I’ve never done anything like this before

walked endless blocks at 3 a.m. in pouring rain

flew from one coast to the other

said yes when I meant to say maybe
said maybe when I meant to say no
said no till the first kiss
didn’t shower for three days as requested

lied about my age

agreed to let him take pictures

pretended to be straight
watched a direct to dvd Steven Segal comedy

‘wading pool paratroopers 2’

pretended to believe he was straight l

istened to music I hated – Diana Krall

wore knee high athletic socks

apologized when it wasn’t my fault

watched hetero porn with him –

‘The Breastler’

spoke tres mauvais French

let him take my socks off with his teeth

ignored the kitty litter underfoot
put my feet in his face
took showers together

exclaimed it’s the biggest one I’ve ever seen

let the dog stay in the room
stood in smokey bars for endless hours
let him think I wasn’t falling in love

nelboots these boots were made for rocking’ someone’s world 🙂

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