Rainbow Pride EastEnd Toronto

More rainbow flags from around east end Toronto.

tree proud
bases covered
patriotic queers
more tree pride
porch proud
growing into pride
let it wave
pride is essential

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it.

paypal.me/TOpoet 

A Not Bored Covid Diary

Many people I follow or am in contact with have been  bored into stressing about having nothing to do in their social isolation. These are the sort who post lists of Ten Stop-Motion Films that have changed their lives. One recently blogged a list of ‘last times’ they did certain things like eat in a restaurant, call a barista a stupid fucking idiot – those things we all miss so much.

To rub salt in that wound I haven’t had time to be bored 🙂 Blogging, editing, yard work, house cleaning, purging & zooming around have kept me busy. Covid has saved me money – do I really want to line up for a cup of watery coffee? Are those bonus optimum points for bagels worth the effort of gloves & masks? 

I found some who took social isolation too far by not leaving their homes, apartments for weeks on end. I told one ‘friend’ I go for walks nearly every morning  & they were shocked. They didn’t see the difference between locked down & locked in. Though having a house with two floors & a reasonable sized front & back yard does give me more space for social isolation. I don’t have the experience of being cooped up in a bachelorette for days on end.

It has been inevitable, but sad, to see many businesses along the Danforth closing down with ‘for lease’ signs in their windows. Even with government assistance most didn’t have deep enough pockets to deal with a lockdown this long. Some that are reopening, or who have reopened, have limited hours/days they are open. 

The Danforth itself is about to under go a ‘transformation’ from Broadview to Dawes Road that is to see a reduction in car lanes, an increase in patio space & bike lanes. I hope the bike lanes are wide enough to keep cyclists off the sidewalks where we pedestrians are such a nuisance to them. There’ll also be prettification to encourage people out of their homes & spend spend spend. There’s nothing like the smell of spilt wine & vomit from the night before on a hot summer morning.

 

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee & donuts

– sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

rainbow flags all east end Toronto

East End Rainbow Pride

Lots of personal rainbow flags scattered all over east end Toronto

on caged
branch office
between two ferns
rainbow privacy

almost real rainbow
maple leaves over the rainbow
anyway the wind blows
a la porch

I do have a limited number of the original Distant Music chapbook for sale for $25.00 each (includes surface mail postage). Send via the paypal above along with where to send it.

paypal.me/TOpoet 

Covid 101: McMask Meals

Actually it’s probably 105 days of ‘lockdown’ which has loosened somewhat this past week even here in Toronto. I can tell by the amount of traffic on the streets both vehicular & pedestrian. The shift to more masking has seen an uptick, as is masks litter. Though I haven’t seen much ‘corporate’ branded masking. No McMask Meals yet. But I predict they’ll take the place of baseball caps & t-shirts as give-away promotional items. What would you prefer another notepad or a mask? 

No covid immunity breakthroughs, not that I expected one this soon. We’re learning how to keep it from killing people but that’s small consolation. One way to boost the immune system is to stop reading/listening to all the contradictory news. It is clear that travel for pleasure will be restricted to the wealthy, if it happens at all. No DC visits in my future 😦

The US has decided the economy is more important than health – well, that’s always been the case – profits trump everything. Maybe there’s more money to be made in ventilators or letting people die, than in keeping them safe. As they say follow the money – if there was no profit in poverty there’d be no poverty. Treatment is more profitable than cure. What are funeral costs like these days?

In my walks around the neighbourhood I see more dusty stuff at the curb. The result of social isolation covid cleaning frenzies. By stuff I mean old dressers, old upright pianos – big items clearly dragged up out of basements or down from attics. Many of which I’m sure are gone before garbage pick up. I know stuff I’ve ‘curbed’ has been gone within hours. Thanks to covid my house weighs at least 1000 pounds less. 

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee & donuts

– sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

‘the unzipping of the promise’

Season six of Hot Damn! has seen attendance grow steadily while the courage & numbers of slammers grow as it continues to offer a safe space for lgbtqia creatives to explore & express themselves, plus laugh, cry, sing & dance in harmony.  The newly shorn Robyn Sidhu hosted the show & left things moving smoothly with some handy Dad jokes & pointed political comments. Her family escaped Punjabi state sanctioned genocide to Canada where she now witnesses Canada’s state sanctioned genocide of its native population. 

A fair bit of the work centered around mothers – the guilt of not loving the one who never loved you, the decision not to be one, the struggle for acceptance from the one who loves you. Some addressed the struggle with body image, gender dissonance & even the conflict between biology & hormone replacement. Heartfelt without becoming melodramatic or self-pitying.

The feature Sincerely Shyy gave us a set brimming with ‘black girl magic.’ ‘she is born of the cosmos’ ‘she is an indictment’ ‘I tried to make a home out of you’. I particularly liked her piece: ‘I’m not here for the revolution – I just want to fuck you’ – it was honest, sexy, fun while being politically resonant. Her set was too short 🙂

If you’ve been reading my Hot Damn! reviews you’ll notice this time there are no quotes from the open-stagers or the slammers. One thing the Queer Slam does in regards to photos is let people op out for privacy. I decided to do the same for the performers (except the feature). The show is in a public space but its contents is only for the public that shows up. ‘the unzipping of the promise’ comes from one of the slammers.

The season finale is Friday, April 3, at Buddies in Bad Times theatre.

I did hit the open stage & presented ‘Swim’ (https://wp.me/p1RtxU-4cX) & this revised version of ‘Satisfaction’

Satisfaction 

it went exactly as planned

the only one disappointed

was me

I wanted things to be better

the story of my life

 

the right size is never right enough

a good fit isn’t adequate

the praise adulation 

are mere stop gaps

diversions

from going beyond expectations

 

good enough

feels like settling for less

it isn’t satisfying to measure up

it has to be unforgettable

 

your good enough is fine by me

but that good enough

isn’t worth bothering with

when I am the one not satisfied

by perfection

https://capfireslam.org

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees &  eat at Capturing Fire this June in Washington DC – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Cape Breton Pride

Just over fifty years ago, on May 14, 1969, bill C-150 amend the Criminal Code to decriminalized homosexuality in Canada. Before then same-sex sexual activities between consenting adults were considered crimes punishable by imprisonment. Re-read that.  Not only did I grow up in the 60’s with ‘imprisonment’ looming over me but also a culture in which ordinary citizen could take the law into their own hands & assault queers & get away with it. 

When I attended the Living Library during Pride Week (!) in Cape Breton I was happy to hear about high-school clubs to support lgbtq+ student. Things have certainly changed since 1969 – even then such an idea would never have happened. 

Driving in from the airport with my sister I saw rainbow flags everywhere, though much the sight of them here in Toronto, the show of support is probably more commercial than anything. A rainbow decal in your store window can’t hurt business. The event has grown considerably over the decades. I recall a pride parade down Charlotte St in the early 2000’s during one of my sporadic visits home. It was over in less than half-an-hour. Local TV personality Bette MacDonald was the parade Marshal waving from her convertible. Some baton twirling, a few cars with handmade Pride posters. It ended, I think, in what is now Luisa Gardens, at the end (or is that the start?) of Amelia Street.

This year the week started with a flag raising on August in front of the City Hall followed by a week of events. The parade was the next afternoon ending at the Open Hearth Park. I caught the tail-end of it at the Park. It was too blisteringly sunny for me to stand around watching. Much like Toronto’s Pride there were tables of handcraft rainbow merchandise & a stage with a DJ & a gaggle of drag performers eager to entertain.

The thought of a drag queen in Cape Breton at one time was tantamount to a severe beating. So this was a sign of real growth in the community that goes beyond lip-service compliance with human rights issues. The one event I had an opportunity to take in was the Living Library https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3G7. 

It was comforting to know that any same-sex sexual activities between consenting adults I might have had was no longer a crime but merely me being a slut 🙂

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

24 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

7 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

23 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

March

March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April

April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies andBbad Times Theatre

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C.  capfireslam.org 

Hey! Or you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Over The Rainbow (Flag)

The weekend I was in Washington DC coincided with their Gay Pride parade on Saturday & the Equality march on Sunday. Both of which had record breaking participation – in a clear show of defiance to the current administration. One of the side effects of both was the flood of the rainbow in every form including flags. They were everywhere: beads, hankies, stickers, tiaras, shorts, temp tattoos. At one time I would have seen this is a good sign, now I feel that it has all the sincerity of a … sidewalk Santa.

It has become a commercial ploy as opposed to a sign of political or ideological support. The message is ‘we are friendly to your wallet – your wallet being the pot of gold at the end of this rainbow’. Liquor stores displayed rainbow stripped bottles that I’m sure will be gone asap after the parades. Like Easter chocolates sold off or stored away until the next cash in opportunity.

Recently there’s been some ‘dissension’ over the addition of two more bands to the flag – one black, one brown – to make it more inclusive – I had never realized the the colors on the flag represented different ethic groups – I though it was meant to represent the bold colourful queer life style. There is no white stripe. But what ever allows people to feel more included is fine by me. Next they’ll have to add a grey streak to include the aging queer population. Because if there’s a group that seems to be under-represented that is the one.

The DC Pride Parade was stopped for an hour or so by a protest non-commercial Gay pride march. It seems as much as the commercialization of gay, of the flag, has gained in public tolerance there are many who find what these corporations represent ethically objectionable.

I’m a little too shallow to know what those exact objections are – but much like Black Lives Matters points out the dichotomy of allowing those that have a history of oppression representation in the parade, I accept that commercialization now places Pride at an interesting deciding point.

My take on commercialization is sort of two fold- Firstly I am not the target demographic for any of these corporations – I object to liquor companies capitalizing on Pride to sell the community a substance that is so destructive. In Toronto the ‘safe space’ for non-drinkers was reduced year after year – partly I think, because it didn’t serve the Brewery’s mandate – they didn’t understand why the safe space wouldn’t accept a gift of de-alcoholized beer.

The other fold is that all too often money is there for star power while local talent is usually expected to perform for free, or next-to-free, to show their support for the movement. If they are lucky they’ll get a free rainbow flag sticker. You know where they can stick their flag.

Then, again, perhaps my real issue is that my ego can’t take being ignored by tens of thousands of men at one time.

The Original of The Species

I did not

copy your runway walk

paint in your style

well

maybe I did take a little

you can’t blame me though

consider it flattery

I didn’t do it as well as you did

at least

I don’t think I did

no matter what others say

I didn’t try to do you

better than you do yourself

I never claimed to be the originator

just because I didn’t credit you

with being my inspiration

merely means

I knew everyone would see through me

would see you

not me

the fact that they didn’t

isn’t my fault

I’m not using your name

to get ahead

I’m not denying your influence

to suppress you

I’m denying it because

I have the power to do so

which was one of the best things

you taught me

how to use what power I have

to minimize the obvious influence

of others so my reflection of you

has now becomes the real deal

Chapbooks available: http://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

meandchap

kiss3on going 🙂 when new podcast are posted:  Disability after Dark  iTunes

http://www.andrewgurza.com/picturethisdoc

August 31-Sept.3 – I have my ticket already

fec17-header

https://www.facebook.com/events/526940540845331/

November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_winner

http://nanowrimo.org/

June 8-9 attending: Capturing Fire 2018

https://capfireslam.org

check out these poets from  Capturing Fire 2015 & 2016

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee  – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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Public Slap Fight

So, some millionaire queer celebs have gotten into a bit of a public slap fight. A nearly has-been pop star verses a fairly passé fashion house swatting at each other, perhaps in an attempt to seem relevant? Both parties come off as defensive as opposed to having something of value that adds to the quality of gay life.

blackjacket

shitty Armani jacket

It ultimately reflects the factions of who is being queer the right way. The pop star sees this as a homophobia – ‘how dare you be critical of my accessories.’ It’s on the same level, to me, of labelling someone homophobic because they don’t find drag sexually arousing.

The pop star now refuses to purchase anything by the passé fashion house & there’s even a petition good gays are to sign to teach the world we won’t take it – all things considered maybe buying D&G knock-offs would be as effective as a sign of protest.

blackshoes

Berluti cast offs?

The surface details – how children are made, what sort of parenting is best for them – is distracting. It covers the undercurrent of who is being queer in a way that fits in with the current wave of assimilation as progress. To be gay and not want to get married is now seen somehow as being homophobic, especially if you admit to the fact of not wanting to get married.

redcushion

St. Geneve trashed

I think everyone should have the right to marriage, the right to have & raise children – but to make those opportunities mandatory, or like merit badges as the only acceptable way to show the ‘world’ how normal queers are isn’t progress, but it is happening. If you don’t want those badges you are giving queers a bad name – I’d rather a bad name than a boring one.

sample

Flag

“Did you know Greg well?” Jane asked the sullen man beside her.

“Met him a few times in the neighbourhood. You know at the annual street sale. Sometimes I’d stop to chat while he was working on the front bed of his.”

“Front bed?”

They had both stepped out of the chapel to smoke.

“Garden. A little patch of tulips & crocus. He kept pretty much to himself. Did you know him?”

“About as much as you did. I have the house across the alley from his. We’d wave sometimes when he was mowing the back lawn, but that was it.”

“So you live in this neighbourhood, too?”

“Yes. I have seen you at the corner store a few times.” Jane said.

“Yeah.”

“Well, sad though isn’t it?”

“It happens.”

“Makes you wonder though, just how well you know people. Like he’s lived here nearly fifteen years and I didn’t even know his name.”

“Yeah.”

“Yours is?” He stuck his hand out at her.

“Jane Brown. That’s my husband over there.”

“Right. Good looking man.”

“Thanks. And yours?” Jane asked.

“My husband isn’t quite that real. Single life.”

“I mean your name?”

“Ah, right. David Peters. I’m at 456 River and you?”

“512 Green.”

“We’re nearly neighbours too.” David said.

“Yeah.”

“Small world, yet it seems to far at the same time. A few hundred yards. Sorry I never got to know Greg better. Not many other gays in this area, you know.”

“I suppose not.”

“You knew Greg was … gay?” David asked.

“Not that we ever talked about it, but that rainbow flag, single white male living alone except for the occasional male visitor. It adds up.”

“I think he had one in the front too. That one would go up around gay pride.”

“Oh, that’s what that was all about. The changing banners, I just thought there were decorations not signals.” Jane joked.

“See, you’re learning more about him already.”

“So you are … gay too?”

“Yep. Not much point is pretending otherwise.” David said.

“Strange that you’d live so far from the heart of town … you know … where I understand most of that goes on.”

“I like it out here. Quieter, feels safer even if it isn’t.”

“Isn’t safer?”

“Oh yeah. Didn’t you hear about the shooting At McD’s near by? Pretty nasty stuff. But yeah, this is pretty much like the neighbourhood I grew up in. Nice homes, families.”

“Doesn’t keep death away from the door though does it.”

“Not many places do, Jane, not many places do.”

soon

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/

loyclass

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 26, Friday, 10:00 pm – feature – Pride 2015 Erotic Cabaret – Glad Day Bookstore, 598a Yonge St., Toronto

glad

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

partsnoir

 

ice01

waterford

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr

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