Japan India Dominica Germany


This next mp3 collection is a trip around the world starting in Japan with Kuni Kawachi: Love Suki Daikirai. Someone in my tumblr feed posted ‘Graveyard of Love’ a track by Kuni & I loved the title & the song itself. This is moody, sweet early 70’s folksy psychedelic music. Kuni has an appealing voice & I was delighted by the songs. Do I understand Japanese? No, but that isn’t the point.

Next stop is Germany with Gunnar Winckler: A few hits. Once again thanks to tumblr. I follow an lp cover list – usually cheese album covers from around the world. The cover for Gin und Rum was sweet so I  checked out Gunnar. There were only a few of his tracks on iTunes. A late 1950’s hit maker in Germany. The music is rock-a-billy fun.We jump from there to India with Ganesha – My Lord. A collection by various performers of chants, rajas & spoken word in tribute to Ganesha. This a great exploration of this genre of ‘sacred’ meditation music. Some tracks over 20 minutes that are journeys worth taking.

Next we visit Guinea with music by Djelimoussa Cissoko – Kora. A kora is a 21 stringed lute-like instrument. Cissoko is considered a master of the instrument. On this lp he plays a variety of classic styles. The sound is melodious, at times meditative, sprightly & enticing. There are some jazz groups that are based around this instrument. I love this particular set though & it makes for an excellent introduction to West African music. 

Finally we come to a more modern sound with Adventura – The Last – this is a Bronx-based Dominican boy band. Latino boy bands still exist! But the competition of J or K Pop is giving them a run for the money. Fine harmonies, funky songs, nice production & in the videos they look more like men than boys.

Another Sunday Drive

“Look you little shit I’m only taking you along because Dad is here. Remember that. Get out of line and you’ll be sorry. Got it.”

“Yes, I got it.’ Dave glowered at me from the front seat of the car. He was still pissed at me for the other day, I guess.

Dad came out of the cabin and got into the front seat passenger seat.

“Okay Dave, let’s see what you’ve learned.” 

“Sure enough, Dad. I’ve been practicing all week. You know …. just driving Mike here down to the beach.”

“Sticking to the private lane I hope.”

“Of course. Dad. Didn’t I Mike.” He slowly backed out of the drive. 

Slower than I had even seen him back out. I sat quietly with my eyes peering out the window. Dave had driven me to the beach exactly once. He had been out in the car every day. Going on the highway to the store in town a couple of times. I wanted to tell but had promised not to say a thing. 

When we got the beach Dave puleld into the parking area and backed the car into a spot. This time he didn’t back right into bushes that separated the lot from the beach.

“Very good. I’m proud of you son.”

Dave beamed. “Thanks Dad. Maybe I could take us to town. We need … milk.”

“Maybe when you get your beginners. This is enough. Might as well enjoy the sand while we’re here.” Our Dad got out of the car.

We got out too. By the hotdog stand where two of the girls Dave had his eye on.

“Hi Dave,” the shorter of the girls waved and walked over. “Can you drive us into town again this afternoon?”

He scowled at her and glanced back at my Dad. “Hi Sally, this is my Dad.”

‘Oh! You taught Dave to drive great. He’s like a race car driver. He never misses a curve.” She ran her hand along her hip.

“I see.” My Dad’s eyes narrowed, as a thin smile played across his face. “You don’t say. Well, Dave why don’t you show me how you take those curves.” He pushed Dave gently back toward the car.

“Mike, you stay here till we get back.”

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

every Tuesday 2019

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

Ousmane Sembène

As I mentioned last week during September I watched a couple of amazing films by Senegalese writer/director Ousmane Sembène: Emitaï, Ceddo. I’ve also seen his Black Girl, a look black displacement & diasporia in France which I found predictable & so didn’t resonate with me. Emitaï, Ceddo were constantly surprising.

Both are set in Senegal & presented an Africa I was barely familiar with. I grew up with the Africa of Tarzan & countless white safari movies. The blacks were toters of luggage – often superstitious, cowardly and/or stupidly obedient. Also the men were usually stripped to the waist & given to wearing ceremonial tribal bones, feathers & the like when running through the jungle. Their lives were peripheral to story even when the story was about them.

Emitaï deals directly & mercilessly with French colonial attitudes & actions. When the villagers resist sending their sons to fight in WWII they are treated like children who don’t understand the right of the French to do what ever they want. When the village is also ordered to give all its rice to the war effort & refuses as it means they will starve they are treated like selfish children whose cultural values aren’t valid. 

The film shows their ordinary daily lives, their tribal religion & burial rituals as well as rice planting. All ordinary & all in direct relation to the land. They are more interested in maintaining their own dignity & families than they are in defending France against the Germans. I loved the scene where the native militia doesn’t understand how de Gaulle, a two-star general can over-rule Pétaina four-star general.

Ceddo deals with religious colonization with Islamic persecution of villagers who won’t convert. The class system, enforced as much by guns as history, is one that runs through many cultures. The disregard of other belief systems as illogical superstition is still one of the middle east’s bones of contention. The Christians aren’t much better mind you.

I was quickly drawn into each film & appreciated this ‘insider’s’ look at colonialism – cultural & religious – that wasn’t balanced by the need to appease either the French or the Islami. Both films are in native languages & maintained the rhythms of their everyday speech. The performances were excellent & I loved the music in Ceddo by Manu Dibango (Soul Makossa). I found the Ceddo soundtrack on iTunes 🙂

If you want to step out the confines of the usual film story-telling these are two films worth tracking down.

The Trade-Off

what I want

what it’ll cost

is that the price I’m willing to pay

is the sacrifice 

going to be worth the result

 

it is so unfair

why can’t I set the price

is that too much to ask

I’m willing to compromise

but when is enough enough

when can I say no

to what want to say yes to

when I think I’m losing 

more of myself 

to gain something I think I want

 

if my price was unreasonable

I’d understand

but they’re not reasonable

with their barriers of cost control

 

you can have this steak 

but you have to eat it with a spoon 

I suppose that’s possible

how can I say yes 

and no 

at the same time

say yes

I want what you offer

but not the conditions you offer it with

 

don’t forget

the cost of keeping it

will be greater

than the cost of giving it to me

who doesn’t want it

anymore

even for free

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

every Tuesday 2019

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

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.

Sex: https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3ND

Little Shop Of Horrors: https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3Oo

Hot Damn! launch: https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3OC

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

every Tuesday 2019

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

Plant Food For Thought

Seeing Little Shop on the last day of summer seemed appropriate. I’ve seen a few productions of the musical & also the rather dull film version & of course, the original film. The star of all is Audrey II. The plot is wildly non-Broadway musical but the songs are pure show tunes with amazing melodies & clever lyrics. The subtext – consumers being consumed is still powerful. 

 

We have Seymour (Andre Morin) consumed by his heteronormative longing for Audrey & the cult of fame, Audrey (Gabi Epstein) consumed by her longing for a suburban wifedom. The direction and choreography of Donna Feore was well-paced, while music direction of Laura Burton maintained a nice period Motown sensibility.

The performances are all strong, singing is spot on, the staging is top-notch, a Greek chorus (Vanessa Sears, Starr Domingue, Camille Eanga-Selenge) in wonderful costumes & a cast that clearly loves performing this show. I was quickly & completely caught up in it. Dan Chameroy, almost stole the show from Audrey II as Orin Scrivello, the charming dentist. I’ve always wondered how the ADA feels about this portrayal of their profession? I’m sure the AFA would approve of Steve Ross as the flower shop owner.

The puppetry for Audrey II (by Jason Sermonia, Henry Firmston, Evangelia Kambites, Jordan Mah) was perfection. The mostly immobile plant was given great personality by the operators. I particularly enjoyed the moments where the leaves reached out sweetly to stroke Seymour as it convinced him to fulfill its feeding demands. Matthew G. Brown voicing A II was both threatening & seductive & was perhaps the most complex character in the show, I was glad to see him brought out for bows at the end of the show.

Considering the current trend of gender & race blind casting it might have been fun to see more of that here: Suddenly a Simone, or an Aubry, would have given the show a real sense of edginess that would have put it over the top. I throughly enjoyed this production & if I could afford it, had the time & could get decent seats I wouldn’t hesitate to see it again before the end of the run.

 

other reviews:

Costume Warehouse Tour – Me? Caped Crusader https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3vQ

Henry VIII – ‘Abject Object’ https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3vW 

Our Father Issues  https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3CB

Cape Breton (Liberation Army) Day 7 https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3Gj

Mae Brecht’s Sex https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3ND

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

Ask Me Anything

Ask Me Anything

why you are asking me

are you trying to make a fool of me

which by the way

isn’t that hard to do

 

so you didn’t have to put so much thought

into asking me anything

but first I need to know

why ask me

 

right that isn’t answering your question

so try someone else

or say what you mean

because you don’t want an answer do you

 

it doesn’t matter 

what answer I give

you are trying establish 

that I’m not as smart as I think I am

 

while I am willing to admit

I have no answer for you

for any question you might ask

so ask away

 

I’m listening


This piece is about the asking of questions. I see film stars interviewed about who is in running for office, yet never see politicians interviewed about who is in running for the Oscars. This reminds me of a commercial parody – “I am not a doctor, but I played one on TV, so I recommend ^^^ for you.”

 

I recall being interviewed, with a couple of other poets, on the radio. The host asked the others about their inspirations, aspirations & upcoming events. When the host got to me the questions were about my record collection. Apparently their interest in me a poet was non-existent. Oh right – the other poets had creative writing degrees too, so they were real poets.

 

This is also a variation on my theory people only ask what you think so they can tell you what they think. What you think is irrelevant to them. I’ve learned to say things like ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I’ve never given that much thought.’ Both relatively harmless replies. I once did ask directly ‘What difference does it make to you what I think?’  They had no answer.

The ‘ask me anything’ also reflects a willingness of my part to share things about myself freely, if I think they are relevant. One my recent trip to Cape Breton I had a great conversation with my niece about the nature of novel plotting, publishing & satisfaction. She actually wanted to hear what I had to say & actually pushed me into more complex answers about the psychological drive for writing.

Once when I was in Indigo someone asked me where a certain section was. When I said I didn’t know they got a bit miffed that as an employee I didn’t know. I said that I was a shopper not a clerk. They muttered something about bad customer service & wandered off. Ironically it turned out I was in the section they were looking for. Why ask me?


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee at Capturing Fire 2020 – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Sydney Sights

Cape Breton Highlanders cenotaph on Kings Rd.

Highlanders cenotaph on Kings Rd.

haunted haircut house

haunted haircut house

Wentworth Park War Memorial

Wentworth Park War Memorial

The big hands of the founder (the scarf gets replaced regularly)

I went to these schools ‘*’

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

https://wp.me/s1RtxU-diop

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.  

http://blog.modernmechanix.com/when-mae-west-went-to-jail-for-sex/?fbclid=IwAR3JR1DrQGT14Ddn3Tu3Hr-oIZznL6JUP7vjBLDkft2tLdfO0wTHRpvF1rk

other reviews:

Costume Warehouse Tour – Me? Caped Crusader https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3vQ

Henry VIII – ‘Abject Object’ https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3vW 

Our Father Issues  https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3CB

Cape Breton (Liberation Army) Day 7 https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3Gj

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

Sydney Louisbourg Train

Train Museum Photos

https://www.facebook.com/slrailway/ 

a busy schedule

watches of past station masters

no room for emotional baggage

much like the typewriter I learned on

station master’s uniform

station master’s bed – I don’t think the scatter rug is period though 🙂

model of one of the trains that used to run on the line

great plate 🙂

Cape Breton Day 5 https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3FU 


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee at Capturing Fire 2020 – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet 

Fortress of Louisbourg Photos

Model of original Fortress – area in pink is where most of reconstruction has been done so far

along the Quay – cloudy big sky

table set in guard room

things to play with: costumed guide, fiddle, cards, checkers

period water sprinkler system in Grandchamp Inn

pea soup, coffee & bread in Grandchamp Inn

children at play outside Grandchamp Inn

waitresses luring customers into the Grandchamp Inn

for more about my visit to the Fortress see:

Cape Breton Day 5 https://wp.me/p1RtxU-3FU 

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

Cubs Scouts to DeMolay

On my recent visit to Sydney I check out some of the places, other than schools, that were a part of my growing up and some of them are still standing !! One place was the First United Church on Whitney Avenue. It is no longer, as far as I can tell, a functioning church. Signage out front has been removed for one thing.

I went to the Sunday school here for a while. This is where I went for Cubs. My memory is quite vague though. I recall the uniform, neckerchiefs and the Jungle Book power structure of the dens. We earned badges of learning knots, doing community service. It was an exclusively male territory. Girls had Brownies, Pixies & such. Our den had a den mother though – wife of the the Akela. She died in a car accident & the dens attended the funeral service. There was lots of crying even though there was no badge for that.

I ‘graduated’ from cubs to Boy Scouts. Our troop meet at, what at that time I think was a Baptist Church, on the corner of Charlotte & Townsend St. (Now it is the United Heritage Church). Points & badges for being on time, tying knots & neckerchief slides. The troop did out of town a couple of times to do a treasure hunt with compass directions & cook outs. I got a badge for cooking – baked potato wrapped in foil in an open fire.

Next level possibilities were things like Air Cadets – which my dad though was too military. He was a Masonic member so I advanced to DeMolay. Both of which are exclusively male domains. In fact my dad was one of the organizers so I guess I’m one of the founding members. We met at the Masonic Temple on the Esplanade at Dorchester St.

Like the Masons it was very ritualistic, Knights Templar stuff. There was a password to get in – that sort of thing. We did fund-raising for community organizations, I think. I know there was at least on car wash. Once we were sufficiently organized we went to New Glasgow to be officially installed. The intent was good but I found the ‘religious’ stuff silly & the ritualistic aspects even sillier. I was not, in the end, a good candidate.

The Visit

I went up to my room. Parents can be so weird at times, even though I had changed, they had room had restored to pretty much to what it had been like when I was in high-school. Maybe that was when they were happiest with me. When I was still the boy who would grow up to fulfill their dreams of ae perfect heterosexual son.

True I had taken much of my furniture with me when I finally left home for university so they unearthed what had been stashed in the basement – including my old, narrow, single bed. I could remember the fight when I wanted to get rid of it for a larger one. Mom was sure a bigger bed would take up too much of the limited space in the room. She was right but at the time I wasn’t giving in a an inch. The oak frame had a new mattress on it though. The headboard had been sanded lightly but some of my carving still remained as reminders of time frittered away. Initials of girls, I now didn’t remember, in little hearts with my initials. 

Maybe some boys though, as then I didn’t know better, or maybe couldn’t admit what I sort of suspected. Like the only reason I went out with ‘D.K.’ who I remember as Darla, was because her older bother mesmerized me with his smile. I could still see his face so clearly while her’s a blur in a yearbook.

“I’m about ready to leave.” My Dad called up to me.

“Okay.” 

Outside, I looked over the house, the garden. It had been over five years since I’d been home last. Trees were bigger.

“You want a lift anywhere?” My Dad opened the car door.

“No, thanks. Think I’ll just take a stroll.”

“Enjoy. Some of us have to work you know.” He laughed.

I watched from the front steps as he drove away.

I walked to the corner and stood for a minute to look in each direction. One way was the walk to my grade school, another direction to my high-school and a third, the direction towards downtown. Which set of memories did I want to tackle first?

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

every Tuesday 2019

September

17 – Shaw Festival – Sex (Mae West)

22 – Stratford Festival – Little Shop Of Horrors

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

October

15 – Stratford Festival – The Crucible

November

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

December

The Secret Handshake Gallery – feature – date TBA

January

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

March

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

April

Fri 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