Feature performers included Josh Smith, Myna Wallin and blueVenus (Andrea de Boer & Jessica Stuart), and there were several excellent open mic artists as well, including Kat Leonard, who got us up on our feet dancing to the One Billion Rising music video on her iPad. Check out the pics from last night’s festivities.
Last night’s edition of The Beautiful and the Damned was dedicated to the Day of the Dead, with featured dead celeb Frida Kahlo – hosted by the lovely and talented Lizzie Violet, who introduced the evening’s features and open mic artists, as well as exercising our minds with trivia about Kahlo. The Art Gallery of Ontario has an upcoming exhibit of Kahlo and Rivera’s work, opening October 20: http://www.ago.net/frida-diego-passion-politics-and-painting
Philip Cairns: hilarious poems about friends – quirky, loved, neurotic, former fuckbuddy, male, female, depressive, bipolar, a love of ugly Fendi bags and a nod to Gordon Pinsent.
Mark Martyre: usually a musician, read some poetry – internal, reflective, self-deprecating even, bravely breaking out of his comfort zone.
Devin Edwards: existential flow of consciousness poetry, at times erotic, sensuous, everyday intimacy – “the heat of a toilet seat” – and a sonnet of loss, love and pain.
Host Lizzie Violet read her piece “Corpse Flower” – Louisiana bayou vampire slayer child, once thought to have murdered her parents becomes the local savior against the Nosferati that hunt her town. Saving the townspeople is incidental to exacting vengeance for her parents’ deaths. Later, reading “Chaos among the Ruins,” one of a series of zombie-themed poems – a pursued woman, hidden in the shell of a building, watches the creatures outside. Horrific, agonizing memories of the child she couldn’t save from them even as she saved herself. Until she walks out from her hiding place…
Feature performer, poet Duncan Armstrong: Dark, funny, visceral and sensuous pieces. Darkly funny titles; Stratford road trip, an eerie but intimate ode to the colour of eyes becoming a study of the red of sherry, blood, bruises; mysterious bite marks; the fate of a sugar maple reflecting the fall of a marriage; cell phone found on the subway ringing in a sob-filled phone call; slam style rhythmic, fast-paced, moving; Robert Johnson-inspired blues, selling one’s soul to the devil “Everything to live for and nothing to lose;” the mystery of vampires looking so good, yet casting no reflection; “Full Moon” regarding the fate of children entering a haunted house and never seen again.
Brandon Pitts: metaphysical, Mesopotamian, existential, erotic piece – sexual, religious, sacred and profane. Profane in the sacred.
Melissa Benner: spoken word piece “Out” to acknowledge National Coming Out Day – love at first sight among the bok choi at the grocery store; sexy, honest, sweet, real. Sexual fluidity, attraction goes its way.
Tom Smarda: poetry and music – political, social, lyrical, passionate, activism in art. A folk balladeer with a heartfelt protest song – a mother’s loss of her son to the war.
Feature Monica Kuebler: reading from her web story Bleeder – Chapter 6. First-person narrative finding our heroine, who may or may not be human, in the clutches of vampires, brought before the vampire king. Struggling, injured, fighting to keep her head together. Uncertain of her fate. http://www.bleederbook.com/?tag=monica-s-kuebler
Stedmond Pardy – reading/performing “Ode to Liza Minnelli” – moving with the rhythm of the words, celebrity religion, ode, love, obsession, masturbatory glee. “You have no fucking equal. To you dear there could never be a sequel.”
Lucille Barker – powerful words coming from such a small frame; poems about death, dead women poets, wry political commentary.
Feature L’Rock brought a rockin’ acoustic set, offering a sample of tunes from her Law of Attraction CD. Rawkin’ drivin’ vocals that would make Annie Wilson proud. Passionate, free-spirited tunes – the title track was my fave. Accompanied by Nik Beat on guitar and Michael Ratt on bass. http://www.lrockmusic.com/
Another fabulous evening of music, poetry and spoken word upstairs at the Glad Day Bookshop, where I also picked up a copy of Born This Way– Real Stories of Growing Up Gay, a selection of childhood photographs and coming out stories from the blog of the same name, created by Paul Vitagliano. Here’s the link to the blog site: http://borngaybornthisway.blogspot.ca/
All in all, an incredible, inspiring way to spend the evening on National Coming Out Day.
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/