“Call in sick again”

Another cool Noir night – by cool I mean weather wise not hipster wise – the hipsters who come to Noir are way beyond cool 🙂 A packed house dug into great food & great entertainment at The Central. A wicked set of open stagers started the show off as ‘hormones & emotion arose’ because ‘it’s hard to write a love poem that doesn’t end in a restraining order’ so ‘come on girls, let’s rule the world,’ plus a fine Steve Stills cover. I did hints of my next two upcoming features.

dino01jurassic face planter

First feature Cynthia Gould  delivered a great set of original songs plus some perfect covers: We’re Not Going To Take It as a country waltz! She has a strong, confident voice that flows liquidly from whispered, sweet, gravel & full-out diva-tude. Her rhythmic guitar playing never pulled our attention away from her songs about bad girls, dangerous guitarists, sex & hangovers. ‘They’ll break your heart just to write a song’ ‘you were smoking hot five minutes ago but now you are unfuckable’ ‘fuck the day job in the morning, let’s get drunk tonight …. call in sick again.’

dino02

kiss my jurassic ass

After a break Whiskey Winter did a polished, sizzling burlesque routine to Bad Things. Her back jumpsuit with it’s sparkly seams was built for unzipping, to reveal lacy pink underneath to a final reveal & an all too brief tassel twirl. She was slinky, sensual, traditional & as always, left us want more twirl.

Another set of open stagers brought great covers of Eurythmics, Heart, ‘pressure points & pressure drops’ ‘she’s got one of those new tongue rings’ ending with a some sweet violin. But the pressure didn’t drop far before Conflicting Plaid hit the stage with a flood of bass, drums & guitar.

dino03

not another ice age !

Their songs are short bursts of complete entact punk, controlled mayhem ala the Ramones, early Elvis Costello but with less angst. These guys are in well into their 40s but aren’t revisiting their youth but reinventing the definition of age. This ain’t nostalgia. They charge full force into the propulsion without seeming to stop for a breath but do manage to down few beers on the way. ‘Back in the day, I got laid’ Love their ode to Glory (Holes) ’I don’t know if you’re a girl or a guy …. but for God’s sake don’t tell my wife.’ In Dead Sexy … ‘the queen of the zombies loves me for my brains.’ Are they really recording an album? If they do, not matter how long it is it’ll be too short.

sample

when I hit the open stage I read Negotiate from my Raunch & Roll set & this from my Summer Refections set:

Dad’s Pockets

as a kid

I would go through the pockets

of my Dad’s suit coats sport jackets

as they hung in the closet

I would find quarters which I’d take

sometimes fifty-cent pieces which I’d leave

I’d slip the over-sized jackets

off their hangers

wear them in the dark of the closet

in the smell of his things

his shoes miles too big for me

trying to steal into adulthood

 

I’d skulk out

from my secret foray

a little daring thief

sneaky   guilty

fearful of being found out

 

when he’d miss the pocket change

I’d be confronted

say too quick I don’t know what he meant

blurt out I didn’t do that

which he never believed

 

if only I’d hung those coats back the right way

he’d let me go with warning

that I never heeded

I’d be back there in a week or so

go through those pockets

try on those sport jackets

grow much too slow into adulthood

much too quick into guilt

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whitebearjurassic jilted

‘I’m some hole’

A sun thunder shower didn’t keep people away from the May Noir show at the Central Sunday night. The enthusiasm of capacity house wasn’t damped by the heavy rain as it stomped its approval for Lizzie Violet’s lineup for the night.

tossed02

time machine?

Open stagers added more than their fair share to the night’s fun with some fine acappella singing, insightful poetry & even a healthy dash of tres gay raunch (I wonder who brought that to the stage?)

First feature Valentino Assenza open with a couple of well-detailed urban Toronto pieces, streetcars ‘echoes of rides past’  & street corner signers. His set was filled with ‘echoes,’ of the city, of his boyhood summers in Molica, of mentors. ‘the wash and posh,’ ‘business blur of buildings,’ ‘I need you to smother me some relief,’ ‘don’t follow the text book trail,’ ‘playing possum with Buddha.’

tossed

moving on

After a brief break Christina Walkinshaw (http://walkinsauce.tumblr.com) brought the house down with her comic tales of Tinder (‘a Pez dispenser for horny people’) life & being ‘happily single.’ ‘smiling at a child in Loblaw’s is as good as being a mother,’ ‘some girls are wholesome, I’m some hole.’ The story from her blog was wry & taught me, one again, how hard it is to edit while you read. A great fun set.

blackcan

the noir throne

Arlene Paculan (http://www.arlenepaculan.com) closed the show with a sweet sampling of her well crafted pop songs. The great thing about a keyboard is that the musician doesn’t need ten minutes of tuneup before they can start 🙂 The songs she performed covered longing, love & survival. Catchy music and direct, emotional resonant lyrics – ‘I found that bad bad boy/ I trapped him in my broken heart,’ ‘lonely miles away from you,’ ‘I keep waking up to no one,’ ‘I’m stronger than you ever thought I could be.’ As usual she left us wanting more.

rough draft sample
rough draft sample

besides The Amazing (http://wp.me/p1RtxU-PE) I read this new piece:

Sex With Men

I have sex with men

I almost started this with

I sleep with men

opting for that gentler phrase

but the truth is

I don’t sleep with them

I can’t remember the last time

I spent the night with a man

I can’t sleep with someone beside me

 

I have sex with men

I like the kissing

but that isn’t a deal breaker

unless they want

to push on to more than

sucking

 

I almost said oral

opting for that gentler phrase

but the truth is cock sucking

plays a big part in what turns me on to more

the more mutual the sucking

the more that is possible

 

I said ‘more’

opting for that gentler phrase

because anal

I mean butting fucking

opting for that gentler phrase anal

is another way to distance you from what happens

 

I have sex with men

gay bi straight curious

single partnered married

with or without children

living alone

still living at home

as long as they are willing

I’m willing

 

willing up to a point that is

what I’m not into

I’m not into

I draw that line when I have to

I can say no

to what won’t get me off

I say no

because there is no gentler phrase

 

what works for you is fine

if you want to say ‘sleep with’

‘oral’ ‘more’

or sex suck fuck

it’s all the same to me

as long as you do it with me

because I have sex with men

 

 

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The Shrine of Saint Elizabeth

David Bateman, always a fun & generous host (digging deep into his own book collection for trivia question prizes) put together a great line up of features for the April show at the Secret Handshake Gallery – at last I can say I did a feature in Kensington Market. It was a bright warm afternoon that gave me the opportunity to play dogem with strollers, cars, people on various devices, and photographers while enjoying a great bagel from NuBagel.

blueframe

blue frames

First up was Lizzie Violet https://lizzieviolet.wordpress.com who cooled us down with some of her eerie pieces about zombies, gypsies & serial killers. ‘well worn cards of the future … choosing your lover of today,’ ‘trails of entrails,’ ‘how did I fall from grace into a chaotic blood vortex.’ Blood Vortex – a latte I’d order. Lizzie’s pics of the event: https://www.facebook.com/lizzie.violet.1/media_set?set=a.10155490776165725&type=3&l=356ec5fa21

redchairs

snow bound chairs

Next up was Philip Cairns with his animated, invested and glittering verse. His pieces abound with diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds. ‘a closet full of art and no buyers,’ ‘powder blue jag crashing into a red brick wall,’ ‘ashes to ashes dust bin to dust bin.’ At The Shrine of Saint Elizabeth we found ourselves resonantly om-ing ‘Elizabeth Taylor Elizabeth Taylor Elizabeth Taylor.’

After the break Dan Curtis Thompson did a section from “Consonance: A Stand Up Dramedy.” Although I’ve heard this piece before it remains fresh, emotional true and involving. ‘all I needed was a girl who likes the same video games as me to believe it’s real love.’ It’s always good to see a musician who doesn’t spend ten minutes tuning up. Check out his story telling series  Mountains and Molehills!

reddanger

danger ahead

I closed the show with my Born To Be Blown blast. It was a fun, energetic set of pieces to perform, pieces I’ve blogging about here on Wednesday this past month so look’em up. Heads were nodding to the rock, shoulders where jiving to the disco beat and by the end everyone wanted to ‘get head out on the highway.’

samples

a piece that didn’t make the final cut for the Born To Be Blown set:

 

Saint Jim

 

Pere Lachaise

section six section seize

‘seize the moment in section six

you have to seize the moment

saiser l’instant’

Jim starts a new song

‘you have to seize the moment

in section six’

I can hear him shout

through stage fog strobe lights

teeny bopper girls rush the stage

police push them away

as he taunts flaunts teases pleases

scowler prowler

hurt lost shouting shaman

 

like those silly teeny boppers

I lust after that idol

I wonder what they saw

that day in Miami

if he did flash the iconic cock

 

I make my way though a light rain

everything is a line in a Saint Jim song

‘making my way

through cemetery rain’

I know he‘s here somewhere

I see mystic marks sprayed

mementos of worship

‘the blue bus stops near here’

the rain stops

and I am there

 

no monument

only a flat grey space

with a tombstone

his name wrong

James isn’t Jim

beneath my feet his bones

unless they’ve been stolen

relics in sacred altars

for those who think

 

they can petition this saint

a bunch of faded flowers

some used condom lizard skins

‘lizard skins drying in the sun

show we have seized the moment’

 

I hear birds

then dozens of people

hiss of cameras

posers smile lean over the tombstone

stoke his name then gone

 

left alone

I seize my moment

unzip

flash my cock

the only gesture of his I can duplicate

construction

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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.

dish01

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.

dish02

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.

dish03

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

summer15

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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Slut

A fine sunny Sunday, a great Noir line up, great food & drinks -what more could you ask – well a running transit system for one thing 😦 Not that I fault the TTC for the track level incident that resulted in shutting down the east/west line from Pape to St. George – but having to face nearly an hour of travel time waiting for, getting on & off  shuttle busses can be discouraging. Welcome to city life.

So the house was a bit smaller than usual as a result but that didn’t diminish our enthusiasm but did cut down on the number of opens stagers: just two of us. Cate McKim with a perfectly performed, emotionally stirring take on Come To My Window. I did a couple of pieces & had time to explain a bit about the writing of the Skipping Songs. Let’s face it no one ever says – there weren’t enough open stagers.

wheel03

water wheel

First feature June Morrow (http://thechangeroom.ca) – is a story teller – had a story about sexual shaming & bullying in mid 80’s high school. When a boy who broke off with her because ‘she was too good for him,’ starts a ‘slut’ calling campaign – having his friends call her ‘slut’ in front of others – she plots revenge. As an adult she looks back wondering ‘was he trying to say that sex is bad … that is is bad to enjoy sex.’  A powerful, well-constructed and performed piece about the nature of bulling and how it can result in forcing the ‘slut’ to think thing though in ways the bully never does. I never enjoyed being called faggot in high school but I did force me to examine the nature of sexuality in way that many men never do.

wheel02

wheels in the air

Next up was Dan Curtis Thompson with a story of recovering from a tough break up & getting back into the dating game. He gets caught between a booty call or time with a woman he really longs for. Should he follow his dick or his heart? Funny, emotionally true and performed with self-deprecating sweetness he showed us another side of talk to the hand.

wheel01

under my wheels, anyone

After a brief break the delightful duo The Vaudevillian (Brendan J Stephens and Willow Walker) hit the stage for an energetic set of old-time music. Excellent guitar work, simple washboard (with bells) rhythms gave us a set that was like being on a seaside boardwalk in the 20’s. I loved being taken to another time by their effortless performances that let the natural humour & emotion of the music carry us with them.

Lizzie Violet put together yet another cabaret of great talent. I can’t wait till the next one.

samples

 

I read some of these when I hit the opened stage:

Children’s Skipping and Play Songs of Isle St Nuit

mama kentu

she makes a list

mama kentu

she makes a list

makes a list

she holds tight

in her fist

in her fist

 

mama kentu

she makes a list

she take it to

the snake skin man

the snake skin man

and on the list

she writes

salt and pepper

salt and pepper

on the paper

salt and pepper

give me a candy

and all will fall

into the list

mama kentu

she makes a list

***

three little babies

left out in the rain

one had six legs

the other had pain

the third

was shed

to become the skin

of the next of kin

three little babies

left out in the rain

***

call me quick

call me trick

and the leaves will leave

and the rain will fall

take the time

to bring back my ball

we see the world

all in all

I will go to France

you will go home

because you  wet your pants

I will to heaven

and you will go to hell

because

you have no secrets to tell

***

1   2

we march and we flew

3   4

we found the key to open the door

5   6

the snake in the stick

7  8

he made us wait and wait

and when got back again

it was time for

9 and 10

9 and 10

fingers and toes

one to touch the sky

the other to touch his nose

***

father father

call us to your church

father father

let us learn to sing

mother mother

we know the Mary mild

we have the reach

we have the perch

high in the trees

where the dead children chirp

we know the way

we know the day

father father

call us to church

***

I have seen

we have seen

your mama and your papa

with the mambo snake

he was green

and he was slithery

and we were busy

in the kitchen

so he would go

to your house

eat you all up

faster than a mouse

***

the forest is wet

and we are pretty

we have no place to set

our feet

that isn’t dirty

****

the three red boys

bring the snake his joys

the little green bird

swings and sings

this the pail

and this is the brook

we all know the  skin

and we all feel the grin

as the joy goes up

and boys go down

***

skip a rope

find a slope

bring a stone

and start alone

jump and weave

time to leave

for the next to jump in

quick

quick

what list did she bring

salt pepper

salt pepper

fast slow

and away we go

***

snake jala

snake jala

didn’t finish her dinner

come out come out

we want to see

if you got thinner

snake jala

snake jala

don’t be shy

we won’t make you cry

just finish your dinner

slip and slip

we are ready

to see to play

come out now before the crack of day

***

he hides and waits

slake and fakes

hunts and kills

so get you home

before the sun

slides behind the hills

sleep tight

sleep at night

and all will be better in the morning.

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‘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.

menoirmar15

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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Serial Killers @RedRocketCoffee

On a frosty Friday night Dan Curtis Thompson took over as host at Makin’ A Racket at the Rocket while regular host Sandra Cardinal enjoyed an escape to southern climes. Staff at the Rocket made sure we were well warmed up with hot chocolate and their great sweet treats.

sno01

snuggle up

Norman Allan lead off the open stage set with some pieces based his art (which he showed us): ‘sharing turns our pain to love.’ He was followed by Cate McKim with a standup set about drive-ins and this years Oscar swag bag. I closed the set with the last of this month’s bitter/sweet/sweaty love poems.

sno02

hunker down

Two of the features: Tracy Hamilton and Ariel Kagan I’ve seen (& reviewed) recently at the story telling show at The Free Times: (Once Upon: http://wp.me/p1RtxU-14M). I may have to do a google search for that rare music niche: South African metal bands to fill in Ariel’s history. Tracy’s recollections of recess games made me miss my days of mumblety-peg. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mumblety-peg).

The other feature Lizzie Violet, is also a story storyteller but her stories are about zombies, serial killers and other sunny moments. I’ve heard & reviewed Lizzie many times (use the WordPress search feature). Her sets are always strong, thoughtfully constructed, and tingle with ‘bodies hitting the ground before the blood leaves the veins.’

sno03

crouched couch

Thanks to Dan I realize that cancer is not an STD. As I left I enjoyed the way the icy patterns on Rocket’s frost-swirled windows reflected, nearly dripped I might say, with blood red.

sample

besides Star Trek Subtext (http://wp.me/p1RtxU-153) I read this:

The Big Hurt

he said

someone must have hurt you real bad

was that a line

or a real observation

was he hinting he was sensitive

that he saw more in me

than others did

or was that a stab in the dark

because we all carry some past hurt

that makes us defensive

self-protecting

when we meet new opportunities for fresh hurts

I didn’t want to tell him

he was wrong

I’ve never been hurt so bad

that I carry any scars with me now

not that I’ve been shallow in love

but kept my expectations in reality

I haven’t counted on someone’s love

to make me whole

complete

functional

unlike all those movies

where the right someone

comes along to rescue you

with great lighting

and that special song

so when he said

someone must have hurt you real bad

at first I’m at a loss for words

pushing him away

will confirm to him he’s right

pulling him in

will let him think

I’ve given in to his ruse

but because two can play

this game I reply

not as badly as someone hurt you

and if it’s not a game

may be we can get past square none

soon

April 26 – Sunday – 2-5 – Featuring – The Secret Handshake Gallery – 170 Baldwin Ave., 2nd floor, Toronto.

born

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

fire

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

(2015 registration posted but details not posted yet. I’ve registered already 🙂 )

June 21-26 – attending – Rosemary Aubert’s Workshop: The Novelist’s Selfie – Loyalist – Belleville

loylab

Loyalist Workshop is the real deal

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

summer15

September 3-6 – attending – Fan Expo

Expo15

http://fanexpocanada.com

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

noiroc15

front yard violinist
front yard violinist

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Inventory Of An Abomination

In recovery one of the process I went through was a look at my past – a fearless & moral inventory. Much of my boozing sprung from the fear of growing up queer (which is probably the most interesting thing about me). Dealing with the lack of understanding & tolerance of the time (have things changed that much?) was easier when I was numbed to it.

glass

box for two

Being called, as the scriptures say, an abomination unto the face of the Lord – is a label difficult to rationalize. That label combined with a culture that valued conformity above all else pushed me deeper into fear. A push I felt but didn’t comprehend or question either. After all what 15 year old doesn’t feel the need to resist conformity.

Psychology didn’t help much – there were detailed books on the disease of homosexuality, state of the art treatment was shock or chemical castration – thank God I didn’t caught, discovered, diagnosed & treated. I reached for the bottle & bottled myself up at the same time.

greentoy

toys boxed

By the time I’d come into recovery I had come to an intellectual understanding of my sexuality & had to stop using it as an excuse for self-abuse. But those years of fear where hard to work though. My first sexual interactions were more about finding someone willing to touch me without revulsion but with eagerness (that self-shame runs through many people regardless of their sexuality).

whitelamp

light box

Through the moral inventory process I’ve come to realize that I had to stop looking at the ways I didn’t live up to or fit into cultural norms – ways I felt judged. Not that I’m a radical nonconformist but I’m certainly in a counterculture that is beyond that hippy-dippy notion of counterculture. It’s been very liberating to free myself of certain cultural baggage – even queer cultural baggage such as the assimilationist cant of gay marriage.

But trust me even nonconformists get caught in their comfort zones or want to break out of them.

sample

Spawn of Satan

someone shouted out from a car

‘spawn of satan’

loud harsh intent

could they have meant me

there weren’t many others on the sidewalk

so I guess it was me

getting the recognition I deserved

I checked myself out in a store window

not too bad for an old guy

spawn of satan

must mean I’m looking pretty hot

hot in that hot sexy way

do I carry a smoulder of danger

that I’ve become unaware of

though the truth of the matter

was that I’m tidy as opposed to hot

I know the truth can set you free

but it rarely gets you laid

or is that how the spawn of satan works

lies his way into what he wants

but my dad certainly wasn’t satan

though his family tree is a bit obscure

immigrant Swedes at the end of the 1800

who changed the last name

of their first born into what I have now

a name that wasn’t Swedish for satan

I’m sure if that change hadn’t happened

I would have had an even harder time in school

always correcting people on that name

though maybe I would have been know as Swede

as opposed to queer    gear box

fairy    fruit

so being called the spawn of satan

isn’t really that bad

just don’t ask me to live up to it

soon02

March 7 -Saturday – attending – 2015 Toronto SpecFic Colloquium – Round Venue, 152A Augusta Ave., Toronto

specfic

http://chiseries.ticketleap.com

April 26 – Sunday – 2-5 – Featuring – The Secret Handshake Gallery – 170 Baldwin Ave., 2nd floor, Toronto.

born

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

fire

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

(2015 registration posted but details not posted yet. I’ve registered already 🙂 )

June 21-26 – attending – Rosemary Aubert’s Workshop – Loyalist – Belleville

loylab

Loyalist Workshop is the real deal

(further info & links: TBA)

September 3-6 – attending – Fan Expo

Expo15

http://fanexpocanada.com

October 18, Sunday – feature: Cabaret Noir: Deep Burlesque Hallowe’en

noiroc15

 

warbox

lunch boxed

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

n0ir n0ir 7

Icy sidewalks (can we talk about the city’s war on pedestrians), subzero weather, storm warnings & even the Grammies didn’t keep people away from the February Noir. I’ve seen bigger houses for the show but regardless of size of the audience the talent on stage is always large.

fog02

After a round of dynamic open stagers – Philip Cairns (missing Anita Ekberg), Tracy Hamilton (romantic memory), myself (bitter/sweet romantic memories), Josh Goldstein (fast flow fever dreamer) – David Bateman gave us a fine set from his recent books, & also a lesson that being published isn’t the road to riches.

His monologue on the death of a lover starts ‘am I ready to write about you/two decades later’ – there is no time limit to grief – ‘you and someone like you dying inside me.’ The set was sprinkled with haiku ‘if there’s a kind of hush/all over the world/why can’t you shut up.’

foggy

A brief intermission was followed by Toronto’s Unexpected Bite: Regina Dentata as she explores the various forms of burlesque. To a great 007 theme remix she was captivating in an emerald green glitter gown that would have been perfect for the Grammies red carpet. Slinking through the audiences she drew a few lucky guys into her routine, doing a glove peel around the neck of one man (he may never wash that neck again:-) ). A sweet reveal and some dangerous derriere tease that made twerking look tame.

Special guest Dan Curtis Thompson took to the stage, indulging in banter with Regina as she changed behind the backstage curtain: ‘it’s not sex if it’s your brother.’ He did funny, romantic story telling (as opposed to stand-up) structured around irrational fears – balloons & falling in love – both of which are unavoidable – the need to tell someone you love them becomes literally like a balloon filling and about to burst.

balloonspink

By now the hands on the clock were pushing past 10 & it was time for me to head for home (thirty minutes via TTC) so I missed the bulk of Shikha Sehgal’s set – what I heard was, not surprisingly, excellent. Next month is Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir’s 100th anniversary show – get there early if you expect a decent seat. https://www.facebook.com/events/871522222908961/

sample

besides ‘a crown of #kisses’ http://wp.me/p1RtxU-13E I read

Debt

 

you

you owe me sixteen dollars

for that time

you forgot your wallet again

when you were taking me out to lunch –

you owe me for all those boring

comic Jim Carey movies

I had to see to keep you happy

while you refused to see anything

that I might have actually enjoyed –

 

you owe for the times

I’ve skipped seeing my friends

so I could be with you –

seeing lousy movies

you owe me

for never skipping your friends

to be with me –

 

you owe me for

never telling me that you loved me –

you owe me for the three weeks

I had the crabs

and had to wash every sheet in my house

and then had to wash all your sheets

you owe me

for the time I spent sorting your laundry

and folding it

and putting away

while you were too sick to do anything –

 

you owe me for the two trips to Montreal,

for the week-end in Niagara Falls –

you owe me for the the cd’s I lent

you to get burned

but which vaporized somewhere along the line –

you owe me for the computer virus

you though was so cute

but which ate not only my hard drive

but also my cat

and the house plant you bought me –

you owe me for the times you got off and I didn’t –

you owe me for the the five bounced checks –

you owe me for taking me for granted –

 

you owe me

for the free rental of my thoughts

and worries

when I could have been worrying

about things

that deserved my worry –

like the holes in the ozone

you made with oven cleaner –

you owe me for the starving children

in wherever the hell they are

because you made me look a that commercial

and send them money

and now I get photos

of even sicker kids every week –

 

you owe me

you owe me

for the broken ankle you got

falling down the stairs drunk –

you owe me for death of your parents –

you owe me for the bad season of the Walking Dead –

you me for updating your FB status

to ‘in a relationship’

and five minutes later

when you were supposed to be taking a shower

I saw you on Grindr

looking for NSA

 

you owe me for

the shitty attitude that waiters give me

when I go out to lunch on my own –

you owe me for the now lumpy mattress

I have to sleep on –

you owe me

for the time I found out

that you weren’t even human –

you don’t remember that do you –

well I do and you owe me for that

you inhuman prick –

 

you owe me big time

and will always owe me big time

and now it’s payback time

so get our your wallet

I mean cash

no more bounced checks

soon02

March 7 -Saturday – attending – 2015 Toronto SpecFic Colloquium – Round Venue, 152A Augusta Ave., Toronto

specfic

http://chiseries.ticketleap.com

April 26 – Sunday – 2-5 – Featuring – The Secret Handshake Gallery – 170 Baldwin Ave., 2nd floor, Toronto.

born

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

fire

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

(2015 registration posted but details not posted yet. I’ve registered already 🙂 )

June 21-26 – attending – Rosemary Aubert’s Workshop – Loyalist – Belleville

loylab

Loyalist Workshop is the real deal

(further info & links: TBA)

September 3-6 – attending – Fan Expo

Expo15

http://fanexpocanada.com

October 18, Sunday – feature: Cabaret Noir: Deep Burlesque Hallowe’en

noiroc15

 

foggy

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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

Blazing BeBop Deluxe

On to one another of my favourite, nearly unheard of groups: BeBop Deluxe: cd1: Axe Victim, Futurama, Starburst Finish, Modern Music, Live in the Air Age. cd2: Drastic Plastic, Radioland (BBC); Bill Nelson: Sound on Sound, The Love That Whirls; Yellow Magic Orchestra. Stand alone: Raiding the Divine Archive.

tables

patio mushrooms

Prog rock was a force at one time, one that never really made it to the charts mind you. Bands like ELP, Yes, Caravan – to name a few – where pushing pop in what was supposed to be complex directions with lot of classical organ, piano & seemingly random structures.

light

shaft of light

BeBop, is a guitar based group – the genius of Bill Nelson on guitar. For me it was truly progressive. Starburst Finish & Modern Music are the two lps I know the best – stunning engineering, surreal lyrics & a scifi subtext propels their music. Always surprising and rarely dull I always enjoy re-listening to their work. Unlike, say, ELP, which can be a bit of a slog at times – slog prog: a new genre.

Many of the arrangements are astonishing – each line seems to come from a different song yet they cohere and take me with them with a consistent sonic flow that seems effortless. Some of the lyric writing now has a sense of the time: that ironic 70’s stance, but who cares.

carpet

carpet hedge

Rounding it out is a couple of Bill Nelson’s solo & other work: excellent. His Beauty & The Beast is worth tracking down. He released a new CD, After the Satellite Sings, in 2014 – every bit as good as the recent David Bowie. I also added some Yellow Magic Orchestra lps: electronica from Japan that is a delight to hear, at times a bit cheesy but without these guys there’d be no FatBoy Slim.

sample

Thought

The radio suddenly went dead. The overhead lights flickered and went off. A few seconds later the emergency power kicked in but that was only enough to keep vital monitoring machines going.

“What the fuck is going on?” Carl’s shouts echoed down the hallway. “Did I just die or what the fuck? I thought this was a … “

“Keep calm and quiet.” the nurse pushed the door to Carl’s room open. “We have enough to worry about without your shrieking.”

“Sorry to be such a bother but what am I supposed to do? It’s not as if I can just get up and get out of here.”

“Yes, well, if it came to that you’d have nothing to worry about.”

“Haven’t met you before, have I?”

“Janet Green. No you haven’t met me before I just got back from leave of absence. But I have heard all about you.”

“I’m sure you have.” Carl laughed. “Gotta keep you guys on your toes.”

She smoothed his bedding and headed out the door. “I have others to check on.”

“I’m sure you do Janet. But what the fuck is going on?”

“I don’t know. Got batteries for that radio?”

“Nope.”

“None in your vibrator?”

She let the door shut and went to the nurses station.

“So any word on what’s going on?”

Don held his hand over the receiver of the telephone. “It isn’t the end of world. Looks like a transformer blew. They should have us back on line with-in the hour.”

“Just what we needed.”

“Thought things had changed while you were gone?”

The emergency power flickered and plunged into black.

“Oh shit now what.”

“What the hell is going on here.”

“Yeah.”

Frightened complaints flowed out from the rooms on the floor.

“I gotta go down and see what’s happening.”

“You know about that sort of stuff?”

“Well, no, Janet but someone has to go down. The phones are still live anyway. You see if you can get someone. An electrician would be the best thing.”

“What about  the maintenance guy, Amos?”

“Try him at home. He might be able to help.”

Don was on his knees looking for a flashlight on a shelf under the nurses station when the lights flooded back on.

 

 

 

 

 

Like my pictures?

carpet02

 I post lots on Tumblr

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