Hilariously scathing social satire in Jeff Cottrill’s This Album is NIT FENNY! spoken word CD

I’ve described Jeff Cottrill as a stand-up poet, his work an LOL funny mash-up of stand-up comedy and spoken word that pokes fun at individual and societal silliness – and this is in high evidence in his recent spoken word CD This Album is NIT FENNY!

This Album is NIT FENNY! features 12 tracks of original work, performed by Cottrill, with Mike Bryant joining him on two pieces. From the pointed send-up of mainstream movies and the cult of celebrity in “Pitches” and “Hallie Berry,” to extremist left-wing politics and activist posers in “How to Become a Deranged Leftist Reactionary” and “IAmSoOffended?” to Darwin Award-winning stupidity in “Safety Instructions” (one of my personal faves) and “Politics” – this is spoken word that neither suffers fools nor pities them.

Cottrill’s work has not been without controversy. He’s been accused of being offensive, and that he makes fun of social awareness, left-wing activists and feminists. Everyone’s entitled to his/her own opinion. I’ve seen him perform several times, including bits from this record, and my take is that what he’s making fun of is stupidity, extremism and intolerance. Basically, Cottrill is pointing out that anyone can be a jackass – which means we’re all capable of jackassery. And his tongue-in-cheek stand-up delivery results in performances that stay clear of mean-spiritedness.

Cottrill even sends up his own acquaintances, as well as himself, in the hysterical build up of bullshit excuses from a guy who claims he won’t be able to see a friend’s show in “The Jim Show,” and the sarcastic praise (from a female point of view) to his own personal quirks and shortcomings in “Dreamboat” (which I’d love to hear Dame Helen Mirren read sometime).

NITFENNY_FrontBack_01Jeff Cottrill’s This Album is NIT FENNY! is hilariously scathing social satire delivered via spoken word – and no form of wackjobbery is safe, no matter how well-intentioned.

You can catch Cottrill in and around Toronto at various poetry/spoken word events and open mics, including Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir; you can check out upcoming events here. You can also keep up with Cottrill’s shenanigans on Twitter and Facebook, and various other links.

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Upcoming music, theatre & spoken word awesomeness

It was some big fun, not to mention a great pleasure, as I worked the door at Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir (LVCN) last night, with feature artists Andrea Thompson, Frenchie Fatale and Hugh Wilson. It was LVCN’s first night at its new home at The Central – and the place was packed, with an incredibly engaged audience.

There’s still all kinds of awesome goodness coming up in T.O. this month, my friends. Here is just a small sample of what’s happening on the small stage and indie scene:

David Hustler & the Trustworthy EP release – Wed, Sept 11 @ Horseshoe Tavern @ 8:30 p.m. – $5 cover

Songwriters Circle of Jerks – Thurs, Sept 12 @ 8:30 p.m. @ Free Times Café, featuring Hugh Wilson and Nick Verona from Big Name Actors (among others), Nelson Sobral from Melting Pot and I Hate Todd, and David Hustler of David Hustler & The Trustworthy, with guest Meghan Morrison – PWYC

Eclectic – September Group Exhibit – opening Thurs, Sept 12 from 6-8 p.m. and running till Sept 29 @ Fran Hill Gallery

Jeff Cottrill’s tour fundraiser show Keep Calm & Get Rid of Jeff – Sun, Sept 15 @ 7:00 p.m. @ Black Swan, with a whole line-up of music & spoken word guests – $10 cover

Studio BLR punk rock production of A Streetcar Named Desire – The House Show – Sept 19 – Oct 5 @ 8:00 p.m. – show starts in Dragon Alley at the northwest corner of College/Dufferin

Alumnae Theatre production of The Underpants – Sept 20 – Oct 5 on the Alumnae Theatre main stage

Anglewalk Theatre production of tick, tick… BOOM! – Sept 21 – Oct 6 @ Toronto Centre for the Arts Studio

The Beautiful & the Damned – Thurs, Sept 26 @ 7:00 p.m. @ The Central, hosted by Duncan Armstrong, and featuring Heather Babcock, Brock Hessel & Nelson Sobral

Matt Gerber CD release – Sat, Sept 28 @ Tranzac, doors @ 7:00 p.m. – $15 cover

Look out for Big Name Actors and I Hate Todd as the play various dates and venues around the city.

Incredible feature performers & open mic artists on a night of words & music @ The Beautiful & the Damned

Another night of incredible poetry, spoken word and music at the September edition of The Beautiful and the Damned on Thursday night, in its new home upstairs at Glad Day Bookshop.

Host DM Moore got our brains cooking on trivia questions (for prizes!) on this month’ s dead celeb, Gore Vidal, during three amazing sets of artistry, while event co-founder Duncan Armstrong worked the beverage service/merch table. As usual, so I can get everyone included in the post, I like to free associate on this event…

Marcie Rogers told a devilishly fun, sexy and visceral fairytale of a demon in disguise, on the prowl for an angel.

Felicia Guy Lynch served up some rap rhythm words and got the audience in on it – “You Should Know.”

Jeff Cottril made me laugh so much, I almost forgot to take his picture. Hysterical, ironic and real poem “Apology” – and I think I’m dubbing him as the stand-up poet.

Feature artist, poet Jacob Scheier, read some beautifully crafted pieces from his collection More To Keep Us Warm – at times intense, grotesque, grim, angst-ridden and funny, as well as reminiscences of his NYC Jewish family roots, a three-part Occupy Wall Street piece, and images of Constantine and The Seagull. This spring, ECW press is launching his next volume, Letter from Broadway. http://www.jacobscheier.com/

Alec Butler read a selection from his novella, sharing struggles of coming out as queer and trans, family abuse, recalling the vandalism of the Pieta, navigating queer politics as a trans person – “I’m still confusing people – and people don’t like to be confused.” Candid, brave and good-humoured.

Brandon Pitts performed a piece from his collection The Pressure to Sing – biblical, political, raw and rhythmic.

Duncan Armstrong read his poem “You and Whose Army?” – hilarious, political, one-upsmanshipping, making fun of homophobes and slut shamers, biting, irreverent and sexy.

Feature performer David Bateman gave us a haiku about a beautiful but vacuous man, the laugh-out-loud funny “Crocodile Cock” (an ode to hemipenes), cats names changed from Tabby and Puss to Caspian and Euphrates in a darkly funny break-up poem, a remembrance of mother’s china cabinet, a shout out to Marshall McLuhan – with a decidedly unusual and sexy alternate use for a vacuum cleaner “You are screwing a vacuum cleaner. You have no conscience.” – and an ode to Canadian Tire.

Sam Kay offered up a lyrical, romantic folk ballad, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar – song from his dad “Rachael’s Song.”

Lucille Barker read a poem about the life of the 99% as seen through the eyes of a six-year-old witnessing day-to-day family hardship, bright young eyes still able to see past the negative.

Kenn Chaplin, author of the blog My Journey with AIDS, gave us images of crisp, cool colours, a snapshot of a cottage on Lake Simcoe, then recalling the final moments of a dear friend’s life – the everyday becoming a surreal montage as those who survive continue their lives. http://myjourneywithaids.wordpress.com/

Alanna Cook – sweet and saucy haikus and a short poem, smart and sexy.

Final feature of the night, singer/songwriter Jessica Speziale, dubbed a “pop rock poet” by a Bracebridge newspaper, gave us a sweet, soulful, at times driving, acoustic guitar/vocal set – selections from her EP Dear Reverie, including my personal fave, the award-winning “Turn Me On.” A delight to watch, as well as inspiring – she recently recorded “How To Be A Man” for We Are One, a compilation of artists supporting Nellie’s and Amnesty Canada. http://www.jessicaspeziale.com/

Marcie Rogers
Felicia Guy Lynch
Jeff Cottrill
Jacob Scheier
Alec Butler
Brandon Pitts
Duncan Armstrong
David Bateman
Sam Kay
Lucille Barker
Kenn Chaplin
Alanna Cook
Jessica Speziale