September Recap October Sneak Peek

September had many days with over 60 hits. India top the list with Canada at the top of the hit list, 2nd place, with !! Kenya 3rd & USA sliding down to 4th spot. Increases seen from Mauritius & Nigeria.  The blog now has 358 followers (up from 298 at the start of the year). 218 Twitter followers; 241 Tumblr followers. Steady increase is best. Managed to keep plugging away on Coal Dusters while I was in Cape Breton with 126,000 words posted so far – maybe another 15,000 to go to wrap things up.

Theatre outings were good. My reaction to Mae West’s Sex was mixed, an excellent production with a disappointing leaden lead. My last theatre day trip is to Stratford to see The Crucible in mid-October.


Little Shop Of Horrors at Stratford was amazing. A play about witches in October – what a concept 🙂 Other than great theatre & was the launch of Hot Damn! season six at Buddies In Bad Times.


The most interesting September event was seeing Justin on the Danforth one morning on my walk. He was shaking hands & stopping for people to get photos with him. I dodged a couple of other cellphone photographers & managed to get a decent shot.

October might bring the end of Coal Dusters 🙂 it gets a little longer each week but I am in the final chapters now. What comes next? I do have a another over 200,000 words of another novel to edit but first I have to stitch it together. So maybe Tuesdays will fall silent for awhile. Sundays will see postings of my Cape Breton photos.

This October will see a return of my horror poems. A new one every Thursday. I may ‘discuss’ past ones on Wednesday. Tackling horror tropes is fun as I push myself to see or use those old cliches. The new season of American Horror Story: 1984 is doing that with summer camp mayhem & I am loving it, so far. This year I’m not doing Nano in November. I seem to have lost my need to push so hard. I suppose my blogging has refocused that energy somewhat & also satisfies my need to write nearly every day anyway 🙂  

Watched a couple of amazing films by Senegalese writer/director Ousmane Sembène: Emitaï, Ceddo – more about them next week.


Little Shop Of Horrors:

Hot Damn! launch:

every Tuesday 2019


15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible


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


The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA


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


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


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

June  – Capturing Fire 2020 – Washington D.C. 

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

Mae Brecht’s Sex

Earlier this week we drove down to Niagara-on-the-Lake to see the Shaw production of Mae West’s Sex at the Jackie Maxwell Studio Theatre, directed by Peter Hinton-Davis.

I thoroughly enjoyed the production. The play itself contains very little actual sex but is about the manipulative power of sexuality, reputation & commodification of sex – i.e. sex for sale as opposed to sex for pleasure (neither of which are proper). I loved the use the Brechtian stage techniques that gave the play a non-Broadway sensability. In fact the production values were, as one would expect from Shaw, excellent. Starting with the perfectly curated house music that set the time period, the costumes were exquisite, the use of suitcases – literally living out of a suitcase for the first scenes – was fun & the choreography of their use was well handled by the cast.

The musical numbers were lively or compelling when need be, & well-performed. I love on stage musicians. The saxophone, tuba, & banjo had the feel & sound of Brecht-Weill’s work. The cast also clearly enjoyed these opportunities to bust loose. I fact these were the only times I felt the cast actually enjoying themselves.The decision not to ‘camp’ it up was a good one but it also drained this production of energy. The text was, for the most part, treated too soberly & slowly. I think if it had been delivered a bit quicker it would have been stronger. The plot was sturdy, the subtext of women struggling to have agency over their sexuality was powerful – a struggle still continues today. 

In fact I think the ultimate ‘obscenity’ in the eyes of the powers-that-be was Mae West’s fearless control of her sexuality & the financial success she had achieved as a writer/performer. The censors were pissed that she was a woman making money. If it had been a male playwright he would have probably been lauded for being so progressive.

I found that the performance of Diana Donnelly in the lead as Margy was lacking in spark. She never felt invested in the character except for her scenes with the excellent Fiona Byrne’s Clara. Margy’s monologue in Act 2 about sex was Diana’s best moment. Kristopher Bowman as Roc never felt threatening, perhaps he wasn’t meant to be threatening. André Sills as Lt. Gregg had a charming sexual presence, despite a cartoonish British accent.

It’s impossible to separate this play from its author & the place it has in the history of censorship. Then it was seen as the eroding of the moral fibre of the American family values – perhaps it succeed as today, nearly 100 years later, it is innocuous; but women are still being shamed for taking agency over their sexuality.

other reviews:

Costume Warehouse Tour – Me? Caped Crusader

Henry VIII – ‘Abject Object’ 

Our Father Issues

Cape Breton (Liberation Army) Day 7

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy ice-cream in Washington at 2020’s – sweet,eh?

Hungry Sneak Peek – April 2019

First a recap of March 🙂 March was cold then cool, dark then sunny. Started the rewatch of Taboo. The series is as intense as I recalled, also as illogical. The image clarity of the DVD is clearer than the original broadcast so some things are more noticeable – no this plot holes but the make-up on the King& other characters doesn’t hold up at all. But Tom Hardy is a magnificent beast & the tattoo work is exceptional. His great coat pulls focus everything he walks down the street.

Also rewatching Castle Rock. Knowing what is going on from having seen the series already doesn’t detract from the mystery but does let me ignore the endless red herrings, and frequent incidents that only exist for atmosphere or for the writers to show us how clever they are. Re-listening the the Fan Critical commentaries as well.

Speaking of Fan Critical I have also been listening to their reviews of ‘event’ movies I’ll never get to see until they turn up on TV. This is a very funny, intelligent group of commentators. Their newest addition is the ‘Worst of Netflix.’ Hilarious.

As I expected with the end of google+, my WordPress hits have dropped from frequent 60+ a day – to an average of 20 a day. My followers have increased: WordPress – 312, (following 36) Tumblr: 223 (following 54). TW: 215 (following 99). The Tumblr purge hasn’t ended the site & the nudes keep coming. I’m still deleting follows from hetero porn sites.

Coal Dusters is moving along well. I’ve blogged just over 90,000 words with at least 40,000 more words to go. This is clearly a second draft & not the final draft. I realize that I have to iron out wrinkles in time. I have to makes sure I have a time line that all these events can fit into. I suspect I have to get some of my geography settled as well. I am using some imaginary places i.e. Castleton  – but also real places i.e. North Sydney, New Waterford.

Now for the sneak peek part of this post. First up is Hot Damn! It’s A Queer Slam Season 5 finale at Buddies in Badtimes Friday April 5, 7 p.m. 5 Cities! 8 Poets! But only 1 Champion. I can’t wait to see who wins the grand prize of a trip to Capturing Fire Slam, the International Queer Summit & Slam in Washington DC. I love everything about this expect the part where I can’t afford to go to Washington DC this year 😦 

The Hot Damn! feature is a dream come true! The out of this universe fantastic Nasra Adem NASRA is a queer, Muslim, Oromo creator/curator living in Amiskwaciwȃskahikan (Edmonton) on Treaty 6 territory. They were the Youth Poet Laureate of Edmonton from 2016 to 2017.

So far tickets have been booked to see Henry VIII, Nathan The Wise, & Little Shop Of Horrors at Stratford. Considering Private Lives, Othello if good seats go on sale. Tickets booked to see Sex at the Shaw Festival. Yet to book there is The Ladykillers. Oddly I’ve never wanted to any of their actual Bernard Shaw plays.

Not so distant future coming event is why I can’t afford to go to Washington DC this year: my visit to Cape Breton in August. I haven’t visited since June 2012. Plans include a visit to Fortress of Louisbourg, day trips to North Sydney, New Waterford for Duster’s & Picture Perfect research. Sydney has an unexpectedly lively lgbtq+ community now. Judging by the large number of Squirt profiles there are lots of men on the prowl too.  I guess I got the seven year itch?

Hungry Plants

more or less

all or nothing

how much is little enough

what constitutes over load

enough is a feast 

but we all want more

give em an inch

they‘ll want sex

quantity or quality

a little of the good stuff

or all you can eat

in for a pound

staggering from the corner 

for another go

another kick at the can

another bite at the hands 

that don’t feed enough


when things are overflowing

too much is left behind 

not every bit gets eaten

all those tiny crumbs

don’t miss one

good to the last drop to the canvas

slug fest of who gets

the bigger piece of pie

who gets left high without a dish to dry 

without a mouth to feed

getting is better that giving

don’t let anyone tell you otherwise

become the gracious receiver of gifts

so that others 

can indulge their need for generosity 


while you relax into gluttony

thank you thank you

don’t be shy or ashamed

anything you offer is fine by me

don’t stop giving

I want it all 

both my hands helping you 

by rifling through your wallet 

while you look the other way 

I know you’d be dismayed if I didn’t

you don’t want all that stuff

as much as I do


feed me Seymour feed me now

we’re all hungry plants

duking it out for the purse

raging shrill hogs

barely able to stand on two legs

in the lunge for greased joys

gimme gimme gimme 

more than my share is all I want

don’t get parsimonious on me now

after all it’s for the good of your soul

for the good of the world

more for me

means less for the people 

you really want to punish


you know I’ll always be thankful

even when I go behind your back

to the people you deprive

for more

I’ll take it from all givers

I’ll never let pride get in the way 

of getting more than I deserve

of getting more than you can spare

everything not nothing

biggest piece is always mine

so give now

be generous


live with your selfish regrets 

because that’s all you get 

to take to the grave

every Tuesday 2019

June  – Capturing Fire 2019 – Washington D.C. 

August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee on my trip to Cape Breton – sweet,eh? 

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

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Grand Hotel

I enjoyed the Shaw production of Grand Hotel though the music itself is not very memorable. I didn’t leave the show haunted by any of the melodies but by the wonderful performances. Director Eda Holmes had her hands full with set of strong, compelling characters – at time it was more traffic cop with all the blocking needed to move everyone, sometimes all at once, on the stage. 

Based on the 1932 all-star film the plot moves with clockwork perfection. Multiple characters with different needs, motivations & secrets interact over 24 hours in a plush hotel. Staff is attentive but have their own stories tell as well. I loved the telephone operators. As ballerina Elizaveta Grushinskaya, Deborah Hay demonstrates some real ballet barre chops. Vanessa Sears as Flaemmchen gives ‘Girl In The Mirror’ real longing.

This is very much an ensemble piece. It’s almost as if the writers counted words to make sure each principle character had their fair share of lines. All were strong singers and dancers as well. Parker Esse’s choreography captured the energy of 1929 without it feeling like a museum piece. It was also clear that the cast loved what they were doing. The energy in ‘We’ll Take A Glass Together’ was palpable. Michael Therriault as Otto Kringelein shows amazing physicality in this number as well. The spinning bar was a delight.

The script handles multiple characters without becoming confusing or muddled. The layers of story telling were intricate &, for a change, logical. I can’t speak to the historical accuracy of the play though. My only negative comment is that the sound balance for the chorus scenes: multiple characters singing different view points with the chorus having their own songs – became rather muddy – as if the band felt it had to play louder to be heard – result: singers & lyrics drowned out.

1929 Berlin was simmering between the wars & there is little sense of what was to be, when people come to the Cabaret. A thoroughly entertaining production I’d recommend. 

Other recent reviews:

Long Day’s Journey Into Night: “a ghost haunting the past” 

Coriolanus: “My rage is gone” 

The King and I: “The King and My Memories”

Julius Caesar: “Honourable Women”

The Hound of the Baskervilles: “Entertainment Afoot”

The Tempest: “Brave Spirits Indeed”

Entertainment Afoot

The Shaw Festival production of Hound of the Baskervilles is top-flight entertainment. Well staged with a great ensemble cast it delivers a fun, fast-paced adaptation of the the Doyle novel that chills and even surprises in ways that will please the most dedicated Sherlock fan. Sounds too good to be true? Trust me I was anticipating a muddled mess like the Shaw production of Dracula last season.

With Sherlock it is hard to say who the lead is Sherlock or Watson. Damien Atkins, as Sherlock, heads a sharp ensemble cast, with Graeme Somerville as his Watson. Both were good – I found Atkins a bit young but enjoyed him all the same. Somerville gives us the ‘Nigel Bruce’ Watson, as opposed to the Jude Law take on the character.

The staging was perfection. The use of projection & scrims was precise & as effective as their use in Stratford’s current Coriolanus. I love the rolling stairways in the chase scene & the clever use of trap. The moors were perfectly created & properly moody. Sadly, in this preview production, the hound itself was not a success. John Gzowki’s music was so good I hoped to find a cd of it in the gift shop – no such luck.

The text brought in elements of the Sherlock mythos not in the novel. It stuck to the essential points of the Hound’s plot & characters but did insert some new scenes – a dinner party that was not in the novel but which worked perfectly giving a more romantic edge to the story. It also introduced layers of villainy that were satisfying. I was gratified that there was no nods to the current modernized Holmes. A fine production that I’d recommend to anyone.

Other summer reviews:

Long Day’s Journey Into Night: “a ghost haunting the past” 

Coriolanus: “My rage is gone” 

The King and I: The King and My Memories

Julius Caesar: Honourable Women 

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Me and My Lamp Post

The Shaw Festival production of Me and My Girl: Directed by Ashlie Corcoran was a sheer delight. Well-paced, effectively staged it held my attention from beginning to end – even through the repeated curtain calls. Great songs helped – though only a few of them are that well-known: The Lambeth Walk & Leaning on a Lamp Post – thanks to my English heritage they had some resonance.

A cracker-jack ensemble dances, sings, moves sets with clockwork precision. Lead Michael Therriault as Bill Snibson brings a great sense of fun plus a Tommy Steele glint to his role of the commoner who gets turned into a Lord. As Sally, his girl friend  Kristi Frank is fresh, fun & believable. Élodie Gillett’s Jacquie Carstone is sexy, predatory & sweet at the same time. Jay Turvey’s Parchester with his very Gilbert & Sullivan-esque theme song “The Family Solicitor” managed to steal the scene every time it was used.

Parker Esse’s choreography was also scene-stealing thanks to an amazing ensemble who shifted from energetic Broadway hoofing to tap with ease. I loved the Lamp Post dream ballet. It was clear that everyone was enjoying the show. They loved to dance, to sing, to entertain & the audience was drawn in to the show & kept captivated to final bow. Highly recommended.


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A Bloodless Dracula

Made a day trip out to Niagara-on-the-Lake to see the Shaw Festival production of Dracula adapted by Liz Lochhead. Much like Hamlet, in this day & age, it is impossible to see Dracula for the first time. And like see various productions of Hamlet one comes to see what they have done with various production values, performances & subtext.

This version features great performances by Allan Louis as Dracula; Marla McLean as Mina; Cherissa Richards as Lucy; and Graeme Somerville as Renfield. Each invested their characters with real emotion & clearly relished some of the juicy text without over-acting. The others were strong though I found the supporting servants, nurses etc relied on campy comic accents giving us laughs in a text that needed all the tension it could get.

I was disappointed in this rather bloodless production in which the over 25 set/scene changes proved most of the action. I realize dramatizing the novel, told in letters & journal entries presents challenges. Lochhead streamlines the story & keeps it moving along but inviting characters so shoehorn in social commentary about the times was distracting & didn’t add, for me, any resonance to the play. The same with the mildly Oscar Wilde humour that was added. I would have rather seen one of the stage versions that popped up in the early 1900’s.

I was not disappointed by the score by John Gzowski. Moody without being used to create emotion. I would have bought the cd if there was one. Costumes (finally a Dracula cape I would actually wear), lighting, the constantly changing sets all worked well. Allan Louis made a most robust Dracula, one who clearly didn’t really need his ‘superantural’ powers to bend women to his will.

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Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s – sweet,eh?

“The Flypaper of Life”

Made a last minute decision to see something on stage – the first show, on a day & time suitable, was Sweet Charity at the Shaw, Niagara-on-the-Lake. We didn’t see any shows in their last season – nothing appealed. I’ve never been a fan of Shaw – too much social conscience for me, I suppose.


marzipan hat

I’ve seen the film, Sweet Charity, a few times & also more than one drag and/or burlesque take on Hey Big Spender. I quite like the film, fast forward, as the plot & characterizations are merely there to pin the numbers on. By the mid-60’s The Broadway musical found itself unable to be ‘relevant’ in the wash of pop music: Bob Dylan, Beatles. Then along came ‘Hair.’ Sweet Charity paves the way for shows like ‘Hair’ & ‘Godspell’

The staging is excellent with the serviceable main piece that serves as bridge, subway car, dance hall swing; the costumes are spot-on; the music is serviceable, some fun moments & the orchestra is excellent. Support players are good, never pulling focus, dancing & singing capably.


chocolate bark boat

The lead: Julie Martell is fine with a Barbra Streisand sensibility. She belts without over-signing, which I like, but never gets a song that pulls me into her character – not that she doesn’t get some great songs mind you. A better singer than a dancer, which might be the point with Charity stuck as a dance-hall hostess. Kyle Blair as her prince-charming was good, but needed a little more Woody Allen in his performance.

Melanie Phillipson & Kimberley Rampersad as Charity’s co-hostesses were great fun to watch & I found myself wishing for more of them & their Neil Simon patter. “There ain’t no use flappin’ your wings, ’cause we are stuck in the flypaper of life!” Their duet ‘Baby, Dream Your Dream’ was a show highlight for me.


maple fudge Laura

Choreographer Parker Esse had the biggest challenge in the face of the iconic Fosse moves in the film & original Broadway production. He wisely resisted duplicating, or even paying direct homage to Fosse. There were some fun glints of imagination in the Rich Man’s Frug sequence but on the whole the dance work lacked spark. Energetic enough but none of it made me think ‘wow’ – I’m someone who can be moved to tears by good dancing. Even though I wasn’t captivated by the dancing I would highly recommend the show.



the king

the queen

both were at the table

both were on the table

hand in hand


playing the Mortal Coil

looking to discard

looking for a loop hole

a way out

a trick

to bring the house tumbling down

a way to keep

the bridge sturdy and going

to keep one out of each other’s clubs

doing the spade work

to keep each row of roses

perfect and still

the shrill craw of peacocks

as they drag their lumpy tails

across the the dewy lawns

the screech of cooks

missing their tarts

the final insurrection

and off with those heads

or head them off

before they make it to the pass

before they make a pass

at the king

or the queen

before the deal is made

before the dealer’s golden arm

is ready for another poke

as our lives

go up the hole

in daddy’s arm


college educations

all those tidy possibilities



shot up



taking up more space that needed

more suites

more ties

ripping the diamond brooch

off the the queen

lobbing the pieces of my heart

go on take it

take another piece

take another chance

bid now or

too late sold

to the jack of all trades

who didn’t eat

who didn’t even have to bluff

he knew and he took

simple and direct

flex and flushed

the door slam

catching fingers

shaking that ace up the sleeve

out and on to the table

to rest


between the king and queen

between the devil and the deep blue sea

between you and me

nothing much else matters

expect the games we play

the ins and outs

the red on black

the odd and even

and the odds are

one of us will get even

one of us will make the play

one of us will find his way

to the fridge to make a snack

for the other will find his favorite show on tv

is now on at the same time

as the other’s favorite show

and then where will we be



in separate rooms

flipping through channels

wondering if the other one

has better channels

has something hidden

has one last chance

to fill in the straight story

to come home to a full house

to give the queen a break

see the future laid out neatly

ah yes letter will arrive

a stack of letters

will shuffle through

the mail slot

and in one of them will be news

of a trip

a long lost relative

a triple threat opportunity

that mean


nothing much beyond

the horizon

under the stairs

grandma’s house

those dusty hidden corners

where we’d find cobwebs

and once a dead mouse

do you remember

neither do I

but I’ve been told

I screamed and screamed

when I put my hand on

the sticky little furry spot

couldn’t be calmed down

till someone sat at my bed side

warm milk

and read the gospel of the card

these are the apostles

this is the journey of the magi

this the second time

and here

here is the future

of mankind

playing with a full deck

playing with a full stomach

and I fell asleep

and woke up back in reality

on this side of the looking glass

in front of you

beside me

wearing the same old shoes



I know things will be alright

once we cut out the crap

and pick a card

any card



September 3-6 – attending – Fan Expo


( I’ve registered already 🙂 )

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


November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo


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liquorice shoe 

Hot Box Girls

Guys and Dolls was our one Shaw Festival production for the season. For some reason seeing an actual Shaw play holds little appeal to me so I was glad there was at least one production at the Festival I wanted to see. I was not disappointed.


We drove down Wednesday – a perfect day for travel – sunny & not hot. Traffic reasonable. With a Tim Ho’s at the right place for a pit stop. We found a shady parking spot at N-Lake, also a nice bonus.

Lunch was at Yianni’s – great cajun crab cakes, fine house burger but inedible fries. A few new cafes have opened on that little strip of gift shops, fudge shops, gift shops, & we may try of them the next time. Picked up a couple of movies at Silver Screen -including a Tarzan serial from the 30’s. Oddly there is no book store in N-Lake.


G&D was at the main theatre. We had excellent balcony seats. The production was well-paced and well-performed. From the opening trio I was hooked and taken for a fun, melodic ride. When an ensemble and cast enjoys performing a show as much as these did it’s impossible not to enjoy it. The orchestra was great.


I would have liked more of the Hot Box Girls (by more I mean another number or two) and less of the gamblers but such is life. The text is very much of the time though some things haven’t changed as much as we’d like to think. At one point the women sing ‘marry him today, change him tomorrow’ – a song I hear many people still singing. The problem with fixer-uppers is that they turn into money pits 🙂


November 1-30 – participating – NaNoWriMo

June 6-8, 2014 – attending – Bloody Words


For the Heart of Hearing

one from the hard

my hard was in my throat

the hard of darkness

a hard attack

I left my hard in San Francisco

hard of the dark continent

open hard surgery

I hard NY

talking hard to hard

places in the hard

don’t keep breaking my hard

hard harded hanna

the hard of the hard of the country

hard healthy

change of hard

hards of fire

open your hard

wearing my hard on my sleeve

deep in my hard

the hard foundation

I gave you my hard

when hards collide

my secret hard

the hard of the matter

like a stake through the hard

take a little piece of my hard

tore the hard right out of his chest

gotta hide my hard away

take it to hard

the bleeding hard

my hard skipped a beat

queen of hards was baking some tarts

hard on a platter

you gotta have hard

falling hard first in love

cross my hard

hard in my hand

the hard is a lonely hunter

a growing up green
a growing up green