‘you’re not #disabled enough’

Lizzie Violet hosted anther sensation Cabaret Noir at Q Space. A perfect high-octane Mother(F**ker)s Day with stomping sets by Cathy, Vanessa & Kirsten. I made sure I got into the first set of open stagers before the features pulverized the audience. I’ve heard them all before but am always happy to hear them again & again.

wood choppers ball

With open stagers from Chicago, audience from Australia, Noir has in three short months made its presence felt. The show kicked off with a rocking short set by Nelson Sobral. His Missile song had me thinking of Delta Bravo. I did three of the April pieces, including Golden Days (because it is about my mother).

First feature Vanessa McGowan did an amazing, emotionally raw set. She digs deep into her personal history without flinching. Her direct delivery was pitch-perfect in frankness, never strident and peppered with songs sung with a tenderness one wasn’t expecting. In her piece ‘handicapped ain’t what it used to be’ we learn what happens when ‘you’re not disabled enough’. Lines like ‘we bury our deepest desires’ ‘the art of unnoticing’ related to us on a heart to heart level.

serious root canal work

Next up was Kirsten Sandwich – their pitch-perfect (most of the time) acapella harmonies give me goosebumps. With material that ranged from Elizabethan madrigals to Brecht/Weill to the Rheostatics to Kate Bush they left us wanting more.

sawdust in the snow reminds me of you

Final feature Cathy Petch, give us another musical set – accompanied herself on saw for a couple of pieces & Kirsten Sandwich on one. This was one the best sets I’ve heard from her – maybe because the new pieces still have an emotional rawness that hasn’t been woven in by slam memorization. Raunchy, tender, funny and human. ‘your mouth full of shy,’ ‘run from pieces of wall he hit instead of me.’ Loved her Love Poem to Chewbacca – ‘after you there is never enough chest hair.’ I certainly relate to that 🙂

Snow Global Warming

My final scheduled show and feature of the year brought me back to Hot-Sauced words at The Black Swan. It’s been over a year since I’ve gotten out to Hot-Sauced. I find taking in one show every ten days enough – two in less than that and the second one usually palls for me. A change from when I jumped into the spoken scene a decade ago when I did my first open stage at the Renaissance Cafe (RIP). I was getting to five or six shows a month. Now two a month is more than enough.

festive balls

The Swan had undergone renovations – gone are the stinking carpets, slick and stained with a history spilled beer, stubbed out cigarettes and other slimy substances. Comfy barrel chairs around tables change the aura considerably. Plus a new sound system. sweet.

The Anti-Christmas Pageant had a full house, raised over $300 for food drive – if only audiences were that generous for starving poets :-). It was good to reconnect with writers I haven’t seen for some time too. Not that I’m Mr Social mind you. One asked what I was working on then proceeded to tell me what he was working on before I could finish my answer.

more festive balls

The show structure was a stripped-down version of the usual H-S – some open stagers, two short features, a set by Kirsten Sandwich, break, then the other two features & a final Sandwich set.

By short features I mean maybe six minutes each. We all managed to be seasonal but not festive. Sue Reynolds, first featurette, did a couple of sweet cover poems and one original. Loved ‘the black dog of sleeplessness gnawing the rind of daybreak.’ She was followed by Kate Marshall Flaherty – her pieces were aromatic (garlic, cheese, wine), about the kindness of strangers, birth in ‘sweet hay and warm cow smells.’ Her final piece called for audience participation as we made chilly wind sounds as he performed a fun piece about Cold Air.

festive red balls

Sandwich’s first set opened with an obscure Latin carol that gave me chills – love those harmonies. This was their serious piece. They did a carol as written by Leonard Cohen ‘Santa smells of whisky and despair.’ They showed how the lyrics to Gilligan’s Island could be sung to nearly any carol followed by the reverse – how those carol lyrics could be sung to the melody of Gilligan’s Island.

After the break I started the final set. Shopping Trippy still works it’s linguistic magic. Snow Global Warming has just the right touch of queer raunch – I skipped my slutty Santa piece & closed with my Grinch List. I skipped my real raunch to allow Cathy Petch the opportunity to shine in that department -which she did in her set that followed mine, ‘finger banged next to the snapple machine.’ Her ‘Don’t They Know’ re/de construction is getting tighter: ‘Who doesn’t want what North America has?’ – but I think she’s holding back a little 🙂 The smugness behind those lyrics calls for more.

By this point in the night it was 10:15. Reluctantly I shrugged into my layers and left as Sandwich was starting their final set. I like to be home and to bed by 11. Gone are the days of disco dancing till 1:30 a.m. and taking the night bus home. And to all a good night.



Snow Global Warming

his eyes were the color of sky

a sky on the verge of snow

snow that is eagerly awaited

so that we have a white christmas

not a lot of snow mind you

a dusting of it

enough to turn the world

into a Christmas card of trees and houses

houses with warm lights in windows

fireplace blazing

as snow falls   tossed in a snow globe

us naked in front of that fireplace

a blizzard of affection blankets us together

under thick waves of heat

hearth logs crackling

and our stockings well hung

a vision of sugar plums

between his legs

the wind howling around the house

we tumble around each other

toasted   tossed in a snow globe

of swiftly changing lusts emotions

spinning transient melting

breathless and mumbling

naughty nice naughty nice

mostly unwrapped and crumpled

eager for another shake of the snow globe

golden balls