Knotty Noir

The August Noir hosted by Lizzie Violet, was her Cabaret’s farewell to Q Space, which is sadly closing at the end of the month. Noir is moving to The Central in September.

San Francisco
San Francisco

After a round of open stagers (including myself), dancer Andraya hit the stage with the first of her three numbers. Her performances were scattered throughout the show. It was refreshing to watch dance that was from the body, dance didn’t feel compelled to tell a story (as seen on So You Think You Can Dance.) Andraya didn’t overwhelm with flashy physical prowess but invited us in with a vocabulary of small shoulder gestures, sharp arm movements and emotional longing. She went from stillness to fluidity with appealing intensity, leaving the stage in a flurry of glitter.

I Feel Free: Belinda Carlisle: one of the pieces Andraya danced to:

Toronto
Toronto

Second feature knot rivals brought a handful of deeply emotional, well written poems that explored mythology of werewolves; then race and gender issues with direct and compelling language and images: ‘do others mistake you for being blessed’, ‘renaming yourself into something someone else understands.’ ‘these winters are cold/but not as cold as the people/behind door number one.’ A powerful set of pieces that moved many of us. Check out knot’s tumblr for more of this great writing.

Cape Breton
Cape Breton

Very moved was musical feature Tania Joy (whom I first heard this past June) who was more than a bit tearful during her first song Mirror: ‘you hold the mirror, you hold the truth.’ She writes simple and direct lyrics that are readily understood and relatable: ‘I push, you pull away.’

Another memorable Noir with Lizzie’s mix of spoken-word, inspiring dance, poetry and fine music. Next month’s show, September 8, promises to do more of the same with Andrea Thompson, Frenchie Fatale and Hugh Wilson.

writing sample
writing sample

one of the pieces I read at Noir

On Eating A Grape Popsicle

‘it’s the sooky baby

the gutless wonder – get him’

four pairs of feet rushed me

Dave Parsons and his cousins next door

Vic, Vic’s younger brother Stinky

and kid sister Mag

with a bruise on her arm

Dave a year older than me

Vic in my class at school

at 12 I knew what helpless meant

there was no way out

I had learned to avoid them

sometimes they were suddenly there

shoving and pushing me

‘yah yellow belly crybaby’

Dave had me in a head lock

‘can’t even fight a girl can yah’

he pushed me at Mag

she hit me in the face

‘go on – at least you can beat a little girl

you useless gutless wonder’

she hit me again

I tried to stop her third smack

the other three piled on me

‘hit her would you – we’ll teach you’

kicking and shoving me to the ground

I tried to stop crying

‘sooky baby tell your mother

and we’ll say you did that bruise to Mag’

looking back

I can place these kids

in small town unhappy drunken homes

where Dave learned

words like ‘gutless wonder’

druggie Dad   working mother

older brothers in and out of jail

acting out as they were acted upon

abuse that I didn’t experience in my home

which doesn’t change the fact

I didn’t know how to protect myself

didn’t know who to turn to

I believed that I was gutless

my useless word against theirs

Dave died crashing a stolen car

Vic and Stinky got sent to reformatory

Mag had her first kid at 16

I suppose they suffered for their actions

but even as I put them

in this sociological context

I still wish I had the power then

to beat the crap out of them

weeping for me to quit it

as I ate my grape popsicle

and pissed

on their bruised

powerless

faces

Piss-Bombed

DM Moore hosted another fine BuDa evening of strong open stagers, including the always commanding Philip Cairns, and dynamic features. Her great trivia questions kept the night moving and an unexpected experimental guitar solo, by Carolina Brown, sparked the open stage into a new direction.

sole on ice 1

First feature Gerald Hannon read sections of his memoir. I particularly related to his late 50‘s small-town life where and the slur ‘fruit’ but he didn’t really know what it meant. He escaped from that life into a city of 1000’s where he hoped to find one other male who felt like he did. I loved his story of college mates who piss-bombed queers in cars only to meet one of them years later as a hungry client when he (Gerald) was a sex-trade worker. I’m also happy to have him recording this gay history too much of which gets lost.

Second feature was Greg “Ritallin” Frankson – he dipped into his own slam history to present the first piece he slammed with and wrapped the set with a recent piece. His sense of social commentary and political activism is clear from the beginning but the focus has become sharper. Sardonic without being jaded or bitter his set was resonant and compelling – ‘the poor aren’t lazy, they’re exhausted – they’re exhausted because they are starving’ ‘minimum wage doesn’t cover minimum needs’

sole on ice 2

The final feature was Andraya Smith – fine dances whose Martha Graham training shines through even when coping with an injury. She performed seated on a stationary, red, office chair – even though she never left the chair she flew around the room with an evocative improvised performance. Yet another departure for a reading series – keeping BuDa close to is Cabaret longings.

sole on ice 3

Loyalist willow not weeping for me