“I built a boat”

A warm May night – patios overflowing with winter-whitened people happy to be in the sun. Who wants to spend time indoors listening to mumbly poets, whiney singers or watching comic burlesque? Well, let me tell you, Cabaret Noir reached out and filled the house with an eager crowd.

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First feature was Nik Beat who succeeds in evoking smoky basement jazz cafes in a time when no one smokes in doors. He started with some poetry about fallen idols – Janis Joplin with her ‘corn textured hair’; Marilyn Monroe: ‘dark angel food cake.’ Then he picked up his guitar, joined on bass by Mike Ratt, for some songs. In ‘I made a God out of my Girlfriend’ he tells us ‘I made a god out of the way she gave head.’ In another he warns us ‘love but don’t fall in love’ even though he wanted to ‘be famous for falling in love.’ A great set.

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After a quick set up Dottie Dangerfield (the Dame who puts the D in danger) hit the stage with fun, frisky comic burlesque routine. From cupcakes to tassels in less than four minutes it was a sweet sample of traditional tease that certainly left us wanting more.

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Last up was Giraffe (Lynne Rafter and Mike Copley) with a bouncy set of original songs, full of their off-kilter harmonies, wry (but not bitter) observations of relationships, stardom and work life. Lots of fine lines ‘you had it all figured out now you have to stand down loveless’, ‘I built a boat to sail away from you.’  Noir Photos

Lizzie, planning ahead, has booked me for Cabaret Noir’s extra Noir October show.



Cute Rebels


look what they’ve done to the revolution

they’ve made it retro chic cute cunning

safety pins and tats for Barbie

there is no sting left in being a brat

saying fuck is just an attention getter

no one really reacts you say fuck the pope

or tell a bus drive to screw off asshole

verbal abuse is water off a duck’s back

no one give a shit

the revolution is old news old hat

been there done that

bought the designer rice fabric t-shirt

the special limited-edition running shoes

that got Oprah talking faster

that got mentioned in Jay’s opening monologue

saw a clip of the peak of the revolution

flash by in a Madonna video

who knew she was spokesperson for the revolution

because  we had so many high powered names

speaking out on our behalf

all those stars rockers politicians

were eager for a fresh start

time for a change

time to take down the wall of inequity

and replace them with transparency

that only the rich could afford

the poor had to keep hidden

they didn’t want revolution

any more than the rich did

but at least they were honest enough to admit it

in the end


once the mini series was over

we found the right blog to remind us

of what once could have been

the right sponsor to adopt some of the color scheme

we were safe again

not quite right back where we started

but comfortable happy

even a bit amused by the current revolution

those kids acting as if they’d invented the right way

to say fuck all this hypocrisy

we want change and we want it now

I know the feeling

but just like us

they don’t really know

what they want to change in to

if they knew

then we’d have a real revolution on our hands

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Noir and #NaNoWriMo

Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir brought some welcome heat to a chilly November, as well as a needed respite from my NaNoWriMo (22300 words so far) tunnel vision 🙂

November Cabaret played on a chilly windy night to a warm receptive audience. After a quick round of open stagers (including myself with some of my in-your-pants raunch) we were treated to the antics and songs of the clown duo Hans von Struddlebutt and Frauline Clothesline.


Some of their scene was traditional clown fair – objects out of a carpet bag, wildly over dramatic gestures and  with a modern twist of frank sexuality. I loved the Toronto song: ‘When in Toronto/You can do what you want to/any time of day.”


Last up was music duo (Giraffe) (Lynne Rafter and Mike Copley) with a sprightly set of wryly comic songs. I enjoyed their sweet then piquant harmonies and bouncy stage presence. A crisp guitar playing propelled their sharply written folk pop songs. ‘I don’t want to be a dead fucking star” was a great take on the rise and fall of rockers who want to stars more than they want to be alive.

Doing the door I also got to observe the belly up to the bar drinkers – a trio of whom rapidly went through a variety of beers and shots. Drinking the way I used to – trying to impress others and paying for it with a credit card.


Next Noir is December 8 – I’m to be one of the features. That’s right – the last of my rare features this year (why don’t I feature more? Why not suggest me to host of your local spoken show.)



[as you can see this draft is so rough full names, or even names, aren’t used in my need for speed]

The miners who were still in the church rushed out. Some pulling the picket fencing up around the church garden to give them something to use in self defense.

Lillian cautiously went to one of the side exit doors to peer out. She saw a mass of men with pickets flailing at men on horses weilding thick black clubs. Both sides were shouting accusations at each other.

“Coal Co doesn’t even want us to go to church in peace. They have no respect for the God.”

“Commie rabble. Papiest scum. Pray to your God now.”

“I knows you father Billy Dunfield.”

“Get off the streets now or …”

“These are our streets, ya goddamed company bastard.”

Another shot rang out. The fighting stopped a moment. The miner’s fell back to the chruch grounds. The militia pulled back a few yards to regroup as well.

A runner dashed up to one of the horsemen with a message.

“A child is dead because of you.” The horseman said. “How many more have to die before you learn your place.”

“Who?” several men shouted at once.

“Robbie Kelly.” The horseman shouted back. “Slipped under one of the horses. You redy to leave peacefully.”

“We was till you charged as us with no cause.” Someone yelled back.

The horseman nodded and all the troops stepped forward. “If that’s how you want it we’ll trample the lot of you.”

“Kill another child. Is that what you want?”
“Not us. You behave and there’ll be no trouble.”

Lillian’s uncle pushed through the men and stood alone in front of them. “How can we disperse with you blocking the street and sidewalk?” he asked quietly. He puts hands out palms up.

One of the horses reared and the front hooves hit her uncle. He fell foreward under the horse. Lillian darted out to try and drag her uncle out of the horse’s way.

“Get out of the way you Catholic biddy.” One of the other horsemen laughed and Lillian glanced at him as he swung his baton at her.

“That’s it!” a male voice from the other side of that horseman shouted as the horseman was yanked backwards off the horse. She caught a glimpse of Steven McD wresting that rider to the ground.

The rider of the rearing horse had it under control and had pulled it away from the prone body of her uncle.

She knelt beside him. He was on his stomach and she wasn’t sure if she should turn him over.

“Uncle Pat can you hear me.” she said.

“Yes child.” He turned his head toward her.

She saw that he was bleeding from his forehead. He pushed himself up painfully with his right arm. She struggled with his weight to help him stand. Two miners came over to take his weight from her.

“Thank you. I’m a bit winded. When I saw the beast rear before me it was like the horsemen of the apocolypse had come for me. But this one was only an animal, not a messenger.”

“Lillian …” Steven came quickly to her, brushing dust off his coat. “You haven’t been harmed in any way have you?”

“No Mr McD I haven’t. Father Patrick has suffered some though. We must get him some medical attenton.”

Thye helped her uncle back into the church. Inside on the benches were several others who had been assaulted by the militia.

In the evening Lillian returned to the McD’s after making sure her uncle was comfortable at the manse. Although he was gateful for her attentions earlier, he made it clear that was a matter of circumstance. His distrust of her remained as firm as it had been.

(Maybe we need this conversation)

The McD’s living room was crowded with union men, a couple of the more out spoken miners and the provinical member of the legislature. She stood at the door as inobtrustivly as she could.

“They have to go back.” One of them was saying. “After this violence they really have no choice.”

“But the union didn’t hire those goons from the mainland!” another man said.

“Yes but know how this will read in tne newpapers. That the miner’s insitgated the company guards …”

“Yeah. The fat over fed louts in unform with guns were forced to defend themselves from the miners who haven’t a decent meal in months.”

“You tell ‘em Neddy. It was those Godless Catholic whipped into a righteous frenzy in d’chruch who came charging out with candles to set fire to those poor deputies who just happened to riding their horses along the street by the chucrh to enjoy the Sunday sun.”

“It’s never any one’s fault but ours for wanting a decent wage.”

“Your points are well take.” MLA stood. “But I have some news for you that none of you are going to like.”

“What? Coal Co is pulling out of the fields here!”

“Our prayers have been answered.”

“No, boys, no. There’ll be a bill proposed that’ll force you back to work.”

Lillian backed away as the men exploded in profanity.

She went up to her room. She was happy to shut the door at last to the noise, to the day. She slipped her pretty blue shoes off. There weren’t so blue anymore. They were covered with dust, mud, horse dung and what she suspected was dried blood. With a damp cloth she wiped them off. Most of the grime came off easily but the leather had deep scatches she knew would never be removed. Another layer of her old life in Boston had been removed. There was knock at her door.


“Come in Clara. I was just washing the dust of the day off.”

Clara came in followed my Aileen with a tea tray.

“I thought you might like a cup of tea before you turned in.” Clara nodded for Aileen to put the tray on the vanity. “That will be all Aileen.”

“Yes Miss Clara.”

Once Aileen had left Clara poured them both a cup of tea.

“My mother would sometimes do this with me. Come to my room with tea and biscuits.”