Interview with comedic pop dynamo Kat Leonard

imageKat Leonard is a multi-faceted, multi-talented ball of endless joy and positive energy. She performs her own brand of music, using a combo of comedic and poignant themes; is one-half of the music/comedy duo Musedy Tag Team (with Arlene Paculan); and also works with Paculan as the A.D. of Let’s Make Good (LMG) Productions to produce and present the WonderFest series of music, comedy and spoken word/poetry events. I had a chat with Kat over email about what’s been up with her lately, 2014 in general and upcoming events.

LWMC: So you’ve been a very busy lady lately. What’s been going on? What have you been up to?

KL: Oh man, that’s what I’d like to know! The year has whizzed by like bursting piss that’s been held in way too long! I started a new health and wellness business, and I’ve been doing some motivational speaking presentations and workshops (which I love), and of course still writing and performing my music and comedy, and being Artistic Director of Let’s Make Good Productions and WonderFest.

LWMC: I get the sense that 2014 has been a year of big changes. How would you sum up this past year – for you?

KL: Big changes. 2014 was the beginning of my detox, which continues into 2015. I’m detoxing my mind, my body and my world. Don’t worry. It’s not the end of cussing, beer and gyrating for me – in fact, it might mean even more! I’m just really scrutinizing what I let into me physically and emotionally. (That actually wasn’t supposed to sound dirty, BTW ;p)

LWMC: And what was your favourite gig of 2014?

KL: If I had to choose one favourite gig of 2014 it would be our Wonder Women LA showcase because we were in L-fuckin-A and I revel in the vibe there. I love the warmth of the people – and obviously the sunshine – I love the way they embrace art and take risks. We did a jam-packed four-hour show that was filled with soooo much talent and love – from music, comedy, spoken word, visual and multimedia artists. We had two stages at opposite ends of the venue so we could flip back and forth between artists, the sound was amazing, the food was amazing and the people were amazing. It was full of amaze! I made a lot of friends and felt that glorious buzz that lets you know you’re in the right place at the right time.

LWMC: I’ve always wanted to do this in an interview, and you’re my first. I’d like to give you James Lipton’s adapted Bernard Pivot/Proust questionnaire.

KL: I love it!

What’s your favourite word? I think it might be “fuck.” Maybe lowbrow, but it’s so totally versatile, eh? I like its sound and the different emphasis that can be put on it, and the effect it has on people.

What’s your least favourite word? Sometimes I don’t like the word “skin” even though it’s quite harmless and obviously I use it a lot. Just sometimes I hear it and get weird visuals of empty skin just lying around. In those moments, I don’t like it.

What turns you on? Low rumbling bass notes, a good beat, honesty, courage, strong hands, kind lips, boobs.

What turns you off? Complaining, arrogance, boredom.

What sound or noise do you love? People laughing, especially when it’s that erupting uncontrollable kind they can’t stop. Even better when they’re somewhere inappropriate and they gotta try to muffle it.

What sound or noise do you hate? Anything high-pitched, especially whining. And hockey game din. All my life, I’ve been surrounded by people watching hockey. Good lord, shut up!!! 😉

What is your favourite curse word? Fuck.

What profession other than your own would you like to pursue? International Spa Tester. I would be so good at this!

What profession would you not like to do? Ultimate Outdoor Survivalist. I would be so not good at this.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? Surprise!

LWMC: You have a special gig coming up on January 8th at Flying Beaver Pubaret. What’s that about?

KL: THURSDAY, JANUARY 8 – 7pm SHE’S LISTENING: BENEFIT CONCERT FOR OVARIAN CANCER CANADA

This is a benefit concert for Ovarian Cancer Canada. There will be laughter and love, door prizes and other surprises! A spectacle of rock, pop and comedy mixed with the spirit of hope and help, this is an evening not to miss! However, if you must miss it and would still like to donate, please consider donating directly to Ovarian Cancer Canada.

$15 advance/$20 at the door: tix available at The Pubaret or online. Dinner available before, during and after the show. Dinner patrons get priority seating. E-mail heather@pubaret.com for rezzos or call 647.347.6567

Artists include:
Heather Hill
Kat Leonard
Angela Saini
Jessica Speziale
Kristine St. Pierre

This is the link to the Facebook Event should anyone wanna click!

LWMC: Anything else you want to shout out?

KL: Let’s Make Good Productions is partnering with SIPO Foundation and One Fire Movement for our next big WonderFest event in March 2015! We are also always looking for people to be featured in our weekly WonderFest series. More information on all of this at our website.

LWMC: Anything else you’d like to share?

KL: I’ve been maintaining my blog wherein I sometimes do People Profiles. Anyone who would like to be featured can contact me. Here is my latest one, on musician Marcus Walker, if you’d like to check it out. You should check him out too!

LWMC: Thanks, Kat! It’s been a pleasure.

KL: No, thank YOU!!! YOU’RE the pleasure! 😉

You can also keep up with Kat Leonard on her YouTube channel and on Twitter.

So much fun coming up!

Thought I’d take a moment to post about some ongoing/upcoming arts events.

Alumnae Theatre Company’s New Ideas Festival (NIF) continues this week with the Week Two program and reading (March 13-17), with Week Three program/reading running the week after (March 20-24).

Quick note on Saturday’s Week One reading of Falling: We had a packed house, with an audience who responded very positively and had some great feedback for playwright Jamie Johnson. Shouts to Jamie, co-artistic directors Pat McCarthy and Carolyn Zapf, director Ed Rosing, AD/SM Jake Simpkins, dramaturge Diane Forrest, sound designer Rick Jones, and fellow cast members Carys Lewis, Cora Matheson, Ruth Miller and Kristen Scott! And a big thanks to all the folks who came out to support the play, including friends and family – some of whom trekked in from Ottawa, Burlington and Hamilton. xo

The next edition of The Beautiful and the Damned is Thursday, March 14 – 7 p.m. at Glad Day Bookshop. Host DM Moore introduces feature performers Greg “Ritallin” Frankson, Gerald Hannon and Andraya Smith, and some amazing open mic folks.

The next Songwriters Circle of Jerks is coming up on Thursday, March 14 – 8:30 p.m. at Free Times Café, featuring Brian Cober, Hugh Wilson, Marcus Walker, Nelson Sobral and Nick Verona.

Nightwood Theatre’s Groundswell Festival opens Friday, March 15 and runs until March 24 at Berkeley Street Theatre – check out the cool promo vid for the fest.  Features a new play by one of my favourite playwrights: Judith Thompson’s Who Killed Snow White? Also check out Nightwood’s annual International Women’s Day Celebration FemCab on Wednesday, March 20.

Speaking of my favourite playwrights, check out ongoing productions of works by Hannah Moscovitch (Double Bill) at Tarragon Theatre (till March 24) and Theatre Brouhaha’s production of Kat Sandler’s Rock at Storefront Theatre (till March 23).

And while you’re at it, check out the March programming and workshops at Red Sandcastle Theatre.

Canadian Music Week (CMW) is coming up hard and fast (March 19-24) – so check that out. Just a selection of some artists I know who will be performing: Angela Saini, blueVenus, Meghan Morrison, Jessica Speziale, Tin Star Orphans

But wait – there’s more! Bella’s Burlesque Birthday Bash: DIRTY THIRTY DANCE PARTY is coming up on Thursday, March 28 at Lee’s Palace – 8:30 p.m. Bella Fox hosts a night of burlesque, music (including High Heels Lo Fi), dancing – it’s going to be a blast. Next day is Good Friday, so lots of you will be able to sleep that one off.

All the more reason for me to get over this stupid head cold, which I’ve had since last Thursday.

More great sounds at Graffiti’s Tumultuous Tuesday

Yep, out late and drinkin’ beer on a school night. Fun!

Great time with friends and music at Graffiti’s last night for their Tumultuous Tuesday line-up. First up was Ellie Anderson, who accompanied herself on some heartfelt tunes on a sweet Takamine acoustic guitar. A clear, clean voice and a laid-back, fun demeanour reminiscent of Jann Arden, check Ellie out: http://www.ellieandersonmusic.com/

My pal Kat Leonard entertained us with a selection of Depper Love favourites, as well as her song from the TPM Madonna songbook evening, Love Don’t Live Here Anymore, and a new Madonna medley! Wish I could have joined in more, but I’m more familiar with the Cyndi Lauper songbook. 🙂  You can find Kat here: http://www.katleonard.com/home.cfm

Last but not least was host Marcus Walker, this time with a band. The man’s vocals are deep and smooth, and he and fellow guitar player Nelson know how to make those strings sing. A nice mellow way to wind down the evening.

Graffiti’s Tumultuous Tuesdays will be taking a break next week, but they’re back the following week to celebrate their first anniversary.

Best Valentine’s Day ever!

Valentine’s Day can be  a mixed bag if you’re single and wishing you had someone special to get all soppy romantic with. There’s this strangely logical combination of irritation at seeing all the happy couples and longing to be one of them.

I had dinner – alone – at Free Times Cafe; the latke and soup combo (with their fabulous carrot, sweet potato and ginger soup), a pint and a very tasty apple crumble pie and coffee for dessert. And I didn’t mind eating alone in a restaurant on an evening when lots of couples are out eating at restaurants – ‘cuz I was off to meet my two girlfriends Lizzie Violet and Kat Leonard at Graffiti’s to see Lizzie read some poetry at the Tumultuous Tuesday Valentine’s edition.

It was a mostly girl power night at Graffiti’s, with singer/songwriter MJ Cyr opening the evening on vocals and guitar, with her friend Anna backing her up on cello for some tunes – hauntingly spiritual, using some cool looped soundscapes, her upcoming CD release is a concept album, with lyrics based on the writings of a mystic philosopher. Check MJ out at her website: http://mjcyr.com/

Host Marcus Walker read a couple of his poems to prime the audience for the second set – spoken word/poetry and two more talented ladies. Lizzie went up first, reading several frank, edgy and darkly funny pieces – not love poems, but on the subject of love – as well as one extremely personal one, a love letter by John Keats and a couple of haikus (one of which was dedicated to Kat and I!). I was so proud of her – and so glad to have finally been able to attend one of her readings. Snaps for Lizzie! Check out Lizzie’s blog here: http://lizzieviolet.wordpress.com/

YA horror writer Monica S. Kuebler read some of her poems – erotic, visceral and primal – her husband recording her on video as she read. Which kinda made it even more sexy. Anyway. Check out Monica’s serial YA vampire novel Bleeder here: www.bleederbook.com

Last up was singer/songwriter Meghan Stock, accompanying herself on a very cool red electric guitar, with sounds ranging from 70s folk to jazz – she’s at “the corner of cool and refreshing,” as Marcus said in his intro. Check out Meghan’s website here: http://www.meghanstock.com/

Drinking beer with friends while listening to some very talented artists perform – and one of them is your friend. Best. Valentine’s Day. Ever.

Great music & mellow times @ Graffiti’s

Out on a school night – again – last night. This time, it was Graffiti’s with my pal Lizzie Violet for the Tumultuous Tuesday open mic event, hosted by Marcus Walker and featuring musicians Polly and William, Meghan Morrison and Marcus himself. And what a great place to be – out of the miserable weather and into the warmth of beer and music.

Polly and William are a duet act, both on acoustic guitar, and William switching to banjo and harmonica for a few tunes. Harmonies reminiscent of June and Johnny Cash. Here’s a photo of William on banjo (all pix courtesy of Lizzie):

Meghan Morrison is a delight – a tiny gal with a big shiny positive energy. I missed her CD launch a while back, so I was glad to score a copy from her last night (features awesome cover art that Meghan designed herself); check it out on her website: http://www.meghanmorrisonmusic.com/fr_home.cfm). She’s a lovely singer/songwriter who reminds me of Alanis Morrisette crossed with early Sarah McLachlan. She was performing without her band last night, but ably accompanied herself on bass (very Beatles stylin’) and keyboard – though, not both at once ‘cuz, like, she may be energetic but she only has two hands. Here’s Meghan singing and playing keys (it was mostly a Lizzie-requested set list last night, including Hush – one of my favourites):

And last, but not least, host Marcus Walker did the final set of the night (filling in for a missing act, apparently). It was kinda last-minute, but he was up for it, accompanying himself on a guitar he borrowed from William. Marcus puts the “m” in mellow – smooth voice and great hands on those strings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A great night out in Kensington Market. Check out Graffiti’s next time you’re down there.