amongst books

amongst books

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Poetic Desserts 2 Chez Moi on Sunday

Dec 4 at 7:30 pm. Bring your fav poems to share and perhaps some sweet, but not essential as we have lots of sweet up on the 19th floor (in my suite). Prose is also welcome (for you rebels). English, French or even other languages. For more info, contact me.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Rozalind MacPhail's Magical Farewell Show

at Zaphod's last night was a marathon that started at 5 pm and brought together Ottawa's most talented singers, songwriters, guitarists, drummer and yes, most especially featured flautist turned guitarist/singer/songwriter, Rozalind. I intially met Rozalind when I was a regular poetry performer at Cafe Nostalgica when Kristy McKay started it back in the early naughts and then stayed for the music open stage that her boyfriend, Trevor Tchir hosted. The flavour of Nostalgica was there with many familiar faces from the Thursday night open mic.

Rozalind accompanied the performers on flute. She was scheduled to play guitar and sing, but by 9:30, we were all too tired to stay unfortunately. We did buy her CD, Gas Station Sessions! This is an interesting idea on Rozalind's part; it's her first foray into playing guitar; she just started to learn a little over a year ago, and she wants to document her path. The lyrics (some by Lindsay Ferguson, some by Rozalind) are poignant and honest; Rozalind's voice is lovely as is Lindsay's and the guitar and flute blend beautifully. You need to have a copy of this CD, plus Rozalind MacPhail and Friends; Just for the song, Need I Say More by Lindsay alone, this CD is worth it! Her voice gives me goosebumps (the good kind).

This evening brought back fond memories of how wonderful Cafe Nostalgica's open night mic is. I really miss being able to take part and listen, but it starts past my bedtime.

I discovered the amazing voices of Andrea Simms-Karp (of The Vanity Press), Patricia Rodi and Lindsay Ferguson. I also particularly enjoyed hearing friend Melissa Laveaux perform once more with Rob Reed on tabla, Ana Muira and Melwood Cutlery. I missed the Lighthouse Keepers unfortunately but did hear Lindsay, Rozalind and Neil performing together thank goodness.

This is what I love about going out to gigs, you get to hear performers that are so much better than anything on canned homogenized radio stations.

I have few regrets, but one of them is my lack of participation in Nostalgica and not going out to hear these great musicians all the time. Thru Cafe Nostalgica's open mic. What a night, what a night.

I'll miss Rozalind and so will the Ottawa music community. She's contributed so much. I wish her all the best in her new life in Banff, Alberta where she'll be attending the Banff Centre for The Arts for a residency in song writing. I hope she comes back again to perform!

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Plan 99 at The Manx/Literary Meanderings

Yesterday afternoon: David Seymour and Karen Solie. When I first imagined going to literary readings, this is the kind of place I thought I'd be going to: a small, cozy pub with dim lighting, lots of beers on tap and a long list of Scotch varieties to choose from. Tip: avoid those big booths with the uncomfortable bench seats. It's hard to see from those booths and your back and bum will not thank you for a few hours of "poetry reader position," which is a pose unknown to yoga practitioners, but necessary to those who attend readings: neck titled, hand on beer mug, slump. Also, get there early if you want the good seats. My preferred location is at the high tables in the centre. I get a good view of the performers and am in the middle of the waitress' path from bar to booths, so she can't help but provide me with a never-ending supply of beer.

The Plan 99 Reading Series has been going on for many years, but I don't know the details. Perhaps it began in 1999, given the title, but who knows? I've gone sporadically for the past few years. Its host is poet David O'Meara who has two collections of poetry, including The Vicinity, which won the 2004 Lampman Award.

Of the two featured readers yesterday, the work that stayed with me most was David Seymour's poetry. Seymour read from his first poetry collection, Inter Alia. He's been published in Breathing Fire 2. He read from a series called 12 String Poems for Huddie Lebetter, known by Blues fans as Leadbelly. The poems had the cadence and magic of the blues. Here's an excerpt from BF2:

"Watching his new friend ride the neck of the half-empty bottle along his guitar strings, listening to the coiled steel twinge and complain. Like an old salvaged feeling. Dark as the starless night, those icy waters of the North Atlantic.
I'm sitting here wonderin', would a matchbox hold my clothes."

And then after chatting with friends, old and new....we left and continued what had been a full day of literary meandering starting with the OIW book fair (not really my cup of tea, but I did pick up the Tree anthology for $10 bucks);
followed by the monthly Ravenswing Craft and Zine fair (notable Sean Zio's great bags and zines, Nekusius' Bondage Bitches);
to Mother Tongue Books (Ginger snap cookies with Michelle Desbarats/poetry collections by Sheri D. Wilson and Salimah Valiani);
Plan 99...
Perfect Books (Alice Hoffman's books for teens plus a book of love poems by Carol Ann Duffy)
Mags N Fags (David Eggers' zany quarterly McSweeny, which includes a pile of random stuff, notably the YETI Researcher: The Magazine of the Society for Cryptic Hominid Investigation)

Sleep, sleep, sleep.

Monday, November 21, 2005

More On Talented Tongues/ Dusty Owl.

Busy weekend, no time to blog. Friday night's TT was fun, well-organized by Lisa and very freeing. I have no real venue to read my smut, and I have quite a lot of smut, so this was a great opportunity. To be able to read with other people who write about sex is also a good experience. From Greg's suave and seductive playfulness with the audience, to Sylvie Hill's irreverent style, Nichole McGill's hilarious list of lovers and Suki's fascinating and very hot story about a realtor and a client, the evening was a joyous celebration of freedom of sexual expression. We performed to a packed house too! We had to close the doors of VE because we had reached "fire capacity." Oh how I loved the idea of an erotic reading reaching fire capacity. We had as much fire as we could handle ;) Of course no one came over and wanted to take me home after the reading, but heh...that's why I have to write erotic fiction, to satisfy all my wild fantasies. I'm sure I'll write a story in which some very tall, attractive sex god chats me up after a reading and then comes home to my bed.

Dusty Owl on Sunday was not very well attended, which was a shame. Ronnie Brown was spicy, irreverant and mesmerizing. And the DO hosts are always so welcoming. I regret not getting out to more of their readings. I read during the open mic. Nothing smutty alas..well not much.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Talented Tongues-A Night Of Erotic Writing

November 18 at 9:00 pm. Venus Envy, 320 Lisgar St
Suki Lee, Nichole McGill, The Split and Sylvie Hill, Ritallin, Liz Cullen, Amanda Earl, Melanie Spiteri, Danielle Gregoire, Steve Sauve and Festrell. Also launch of With a Rough Tongue: Femmes Write Porn. $7.00 at the door. Doors open 8:30 pm. Hosted by Lisa Slater and Mary Alice Elcock of the Capital Poetry Collective

I'll be reading some of my smuttiest stuff for a few brief minutes. I'm the second performer, so come late and you'll miss me.

This one is important. Love's in need of love today.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Poetic Desserts #1

Last night was the first in a monthly poetry reading series (first Sunday of the month, 7:30 pm), I'm hosting at my place, along with my friend, Michelle. Inspired by an array of dangerously sweet goodies (cupcake design by the lovely and talented Nathalie, letters by the equally talented and lovely Charles), eight poetry buddies read and listened to the work of others: cover poems, as the gang at Tree like to say. From the 19th floor, the wind chimes blew as we heard the words of Gwendolyn MacEwen, Sylvia Plath, Di Brandt, Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau, Stephanie Bolster, Robert Priest, Eric Folsom, Chloe Sainte Marie who interprets poetry through song, and les Cowboys Fringants! There may have been a few poets I forgot in my sugar high. Michelle, the rebel even read a section of prose from George Eliot's Middlemarch. We sent everyone home with a doggie bag of desserts, and poems still lingering on their lips. The next Poetic Desserts will be on December 4 for those of you who couldn't make it or who would be interested in taking part. I'm not able to take part in many evening poetry readings at pubs and other venues lately, but I hope to be doing that again soon.