Noir One Year On

Lizzie’s Cabaret Noir celebrated it’s one year in style – a packed house was treated to massive talent & wild raffle prizes. Doing the front-of-house I was glad to see many generous people dropping more than a fiver in the pwyc.

glove (g)love in the leaves

The show kicked off with a slate of dynamic usual faces starting with Nelson Sobral (soon to replace all of the Rolling Stones), Brenda Clews with a saucy piece, Cate & Dee with a great a cappella duet, Jeff Cottrill telling us why Halle Berry is better than you, me (because I did the first open stage a year ago). closing with Matt Gerber: aka Mr. Furious.

hockeydiscarded dreams

Feature Philip Cairns with Peter Lynch performed a short new play, What Ida Said, written by Philip with David Bateman A sharp comic piece that played with the slippery gender roles, aging, insest & conformity. ‘I don’t remember about sex? What is it?’ Peter was the perfect foil with his dry offhand delivery against Philip’s more emotionally sloppy character. After the short play Philip did a great job on Dory Previn’s Mr. Whisper, then Peter did a monologue as, I think, Tony of the Soprano’s mother.

blanket bundle of dirt

After the break more things where raffled off – I restrained myself from buying tickets as I have enough ‘things’ already :-). Next feature was the sensational The Rando Bando. I manned the iPod for their music & managed to get my cues right. The songs were sharp, sexy, bawdy, funny lyrics to well known (at least to me) melodies. You Don’t Know Me – became the stalkers lament: ‘You don’t see me – I’m watching from the heating duct’  The set had great flow that took us from from saucy to flat out vulgar. Loved it.

pink2 pink parking

By the time they were done it was 10 pm, and time for me to head home (I like to be abed by 11 most nights) so I missed Arlene Paculan’s set – maybe another time Arlene. A great show & a great night.

great Noir photo set:


June 23-27 – attending – Manuscript to Book – Loyalist Summer Arts – Belleville, Ont

100_0495 writing blocks broken at Loyalist

August 28-31 – attending – FanExpo Canada

pineoct at The Central


Laid Plans

so things didn’t go as planned

no one took into account

the end of the world

getting in the way of important things

why did it have to come to an end

before our plans could come to fruition

all those hopes and dreams

dashed turned into a dusty waste of time

time that could have been spent relaxing

enjoying the flow of things

we squandered those precious moments

on worries constructing news ways

of controlling to suit our wants

now all for nothing

the world has come to an end

almost laughing in our faces

as the tremor shook us up from its core

rending the sky

while we were busy getting our way

making things safe secure perfect

if only we had at least time to get naked

enjoy one last fuck   one last embrace

but the end came sudden fast relentless remorseless

crushing without pleasure

leaving this desolation in its wake

where there was once a planet there is debris

debris without even a residue

of karmic happiness left in the air

because we were so busy

we didn’t have time to leave a warm glow behind

didn’t even have sense enough to enjoy

the end of the world

saxophone daydream saxophone daydream of trombone love

Au Noir at Cabaret Noir

Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir December show was yet another packed house for the Central and an unnecessary confirmation of Lizzie’s ability to put together a dynamic show, though being a part of the evening’s line-up I may not be impartial.

benchOpen stagers were many and diverse with an odd connecting image of drowning and the sea working through them – John Oughton, being drawn into a carpet pattern; Heather Babcock with a section from her novel whose heroine teasing invites drowning between her legs; Philip Cairns longs to drown in summer warmth; Cate McKim singing of the Dark End of Street where lover drown in shadows; Meagan Morison with her song about rising from the waters of difficult times. And that was just the first set of open stagers.scarfI was the first feature and felt that my set went over well. Even if it didn’t my shirt did (shirt Atilio by bought at ). Because one of the features was unable to make the show I had a few extra minutes to fill so I started with covers of two Anne Sexton pieces. I had careful built my set around bitter-sweet memory pieces and then took it briefly to my brand of in-your-pants raunch. Candy cane and cock is festively naughty.


After the break the slate of open stagers started with Arlene Peculan’s tsunami song; Neil Tenant paid tribute to John Lennon & also sang about rain (keeping up that water motif); Myke Mazzei reeled in a lost track from After The Gold Rush; Rex Havoc wanted to drown in Xmas hit song royalties; Brenda Fricker was drying out from a flood in her apartment; Vanessa ? swimming in the memory of why she loves poetry; George with a sailor memory; Evan ? with a section of his novel – a seaside dream sequence; finally open stager was Nelson Sobral with a chilly winter song but no one can feel a chill with him heating up the stage. (sorry about any mispellings of half-heard names. see below for list of open stagers supplied by Lizzie)

blueput your toys away

Final feature was Matt Gerber whose ukuele and kazoo combo makes me think of seaside boardwalk buskers. I first heard Matt Gerber in August of this year (see review) and was looking forward to hearing him again. There wis no flavoUr without U, neither is there msic without U.

  sample one of the pieces from my set

Wooden Soldiers

I always wondered what happened

to those presents the magi brought

gold frankincense & myrrh

were they accepted refused lost

put away for a rainy day

because I don’t recall Joe & Mary having a life of ease

while Jesus was growing up

did he ever ask about those presents

did he remember the magi

did he look at the myrrh

and think what the heck

how much gold was there

a few ingots   a darling little ankle bracelet

did he drum on the frankincense & myrrh jars

till they broke

and another thing what happened to lazarus

after he was risen from the dead

is he still wandering around cursing the miracle

eager to sleep to dream of being able to die

but mostly I wonder about the magi’s gifts

I don’t have any of my first xmas gifts

my first toy car

my earliest gift recollection is of wooden soldiers

I must have been about four

I’d found them hidden away in a closet

under some towels

I wanted plastic ones & was disappointed

but I have no memory of unwrapping them on Xmas morning

did my folks decide to teach me lesson

and not give them to me after all

did Jesus have a memory the smell of barns

did the sight of camels make him wonder

where is my gold mom

is lazarus playing with my wooden soldiers



Set 1
John Oughton
Heather Babcock
Philip Cairns
Cate McKim
Meghan Morrison
Set 2
Arlene Paculan
Neil Trayor
Myke Mazzei
Rex Havoc
Brenda Clews
Vanessa Smythe
Evan LeBlanc
George Deagle
Nelson Sobral

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‘handcuffs and stomach pumps’

The Damned launched their move to Q Space with another stellar line up – Philip Cairns hosted, his bejeweled emerald outfit brought out the Irish in him for sure. A jam packed open stage ran the gamut of 15-year -olds getting on stage for the first time to tired old bald guys, like myself. It’s good to see so many new, to us, faces on the open stage.

leg less
leg less

First feature Shawna Dimitry give us a set of emotional and romantic pieces some dealing with mental health – ‘the pills are dissolving, so am I’ ‘handcuffs and stomach pumps aren’t the luxuries we wished for.’ Her powerful, direct images connected with us all. She mixed in some tender love poems – ‘you cracked my fear with a kiss.’ A strong set delivered with a sense of humor and acceptance of the issues many deal with ‘I’m sorry I didn’t live up to your expectations/ stop looking at me as if I were dead.’

a growing up green
a growing up green

It’s been a few years since I last heard second feature Phlip Arima. His set was polished and emotionally complex. Reading from ‘Breath Now’, and from his new collection ‘Pin Pricks’ – I enjoyed the multi-layer images that sometime seem random but with theme and variation new resonances are set off as images contrast, collide then add up. His narrative piece Be Quiet ‘there’s something different about the house,’ captures a child’s fear and need to understand and yet be protected from that understanding. He summed up the paradox of Facebook: ‘why do we play alone when our list of friends gets longer.’

the red pillow
the red pillow

Music feature Matt Gerber was a delight. Accompanying himself on ukulele, tin can
ukulele, kazoo he channeled the fun and politics of Pete Seeger, Jim Kweskin – made the 60’s folk style fresh for this decade. His spelling song about the difference between US & Canadian spelling was hilarious ‘there is no flavour without u.’ Even if he is Mr Furious he brought us a set of bright summer-perfect music.