PRIDE weekend is upon us. I am lucky to be part of such an amazing community that is supportive, loving and downright fabulous!
This year I get to perform during PRIDE with The Beautiful & The Damned committee (David Bateman, Duncan Armstrong, Philip Cairns, DM Moore and myself)! One of the amazing things I’ve done since returning to performing. The details are below. Get your sexy asses out to the parade and all the performances! In the same venue, later in the day will also be some of my favourite ladies, including Rex Baunsit. Please check out Iman Wain, Meghan Morrison and Arlene Paculan and of course Rex.
July 1, 3-4 pm
Clean Sober And Proud Place
The Community Cafe
Paul Kane Parkade
(on the north side of Wellesley St. between Yonge and Church)
On March 24, 2011 something amazing happened, a monumental moment that would change my life as well as many others. I attended a poetry reading at the Fabulous Zelda’s. A catalyst to what was to come. A new beginning.
The event itself was fun, but it was the place itself, something about it gathered together six people, six minds with a similar plan, a plan that became The Beautiful & The Damned.
Since being part of the series I have started performing again, met people who have changed not only my outlook, but my life. This oddball freak of nature finally feels like she is part of something, part of a community. This chapter of my life began at Zelda’s.
Zelda’s was not only a fabulous restaurant and performance space, rather a home and a cornerstone in the Queer community. We will not only miss Zelda’s, we will miss her extraordinary staff. The best ladies you could ever know. I wish them all the best, you’ve been a huge part of the last year of my life and will always be in my heart!
Holy cow, Toronto, this is going to be a crazy week in the world of spoken word and poetry slam in the region! With Pride getting underway this week as well as a flurry of events as the calendar flips solidly into summer, this is the time to get out and see something if you’ve been hanging out in the AC at your house/apartment/best friend’s place the last little while. Here’s what’s on tap for the GTA in the next seven days:
Loose Leaf Poets Poets & Writers converge once again on The Gallery Studio Cafe (2877 Lakeshore Blvd. W.) for their weekly open mic event. If you have words to share with others, this is a great environment to get your work out there! Showtime is 7pm. Admission is free.
The Glad Day Bookshop (598 Yonge St. near Wellesley) will be hosting a number of events as…
Silence can be a beautiful thing for a noisy mind.
I swing hard between needing complete silence to not being able to function without chaos. I have never been able to find an in-between. As a creative person, a writer, I’m not sure I want an in-between. I find when there is darkness and chaos in my life, I do my best work. That said, when there is pure silence I can be efficient, thorough and accurate. Last Sunday I took a day of silence. No music, no television, no verbal distractions. The only sounds I heard were those around me, outside of me. Birds singing, people on the belt-line, the sounds of distant traffic and my own breathing. I don’t remember the last time I heard myself breath. I’m too busy holding my breath in anticipation of what comes next. Part of the reason I have a hard time with the silence is the freaky circus act that is constantly running my mind has to shut down, the rides need to stop, the freakshow takes a very long lunch break. When that happens I have to face reality, the grown up stuff, bills, responsibility, life. I prefer the vaudeville act, actually most artists do. The thing is, I like to be able to eat, be entertained and pref not to be homeless, so, I decided to deal with what needs to be done. The silence helped clear out some of the crap building up in my brain, clogging my creative arteries with plaque. Once I accepted what had to be done, I was able to open the gates and write. Welcome to the new tradition of Silent Sundays!
Since last Sunday’s reawakening I’ve been seeing things in my life without the rose coloured glasses, rather with 20-20 bionic vision. I can see people clearly now. I’ve also been having ‘Charlotte’ moments. Anyone who is a fan of Sex and the City will get that reference. Ok, ok! I have a confession, this horror, sci-fi, martial arts movie fiend, independent feminist type, who HATES the romantic comedies of today, (but is a sucker for anything prior to the 60’s), loves Sex and the City. For those who don’t know the show or movies, Charlotte is a very Pollyanna type, who believes in traditional love and romantic fairy-tales. Charlotte will also blurt out random bits of wisdom, wisdom you would never expect from her. Very…. level headed yet progressive in many ways. I am the un-Charlotte. I don’t believe in romantic fairy-tales, I think love should be passionate and crazy, a journey, not this neat little package that is delivered with a bow to your door. It should be about challenging each other, growing together, and knowing that when the shit hits the fan, you can both deal and will be there for each other. I base love on how my parents have grown and survived their life together. They’ve been together for 46 years and even though they have lived through moments of utter hell, are still crazy about each other. That is what I want and something I said last night to a friend made it clear to me why I don’t have it and why I have been struggling in life as a whole. Roadblocks.
We have been conditioned to believe that if there is a roadblock in life, you either figure out a way around it or break the roadblock down. I am so busy trying to figure out how to do both that I never move forward in certain aspects of my life. An aspect such as love. I am so busy trying to figure out how to make it work, how to fix it, how to reason, causing other things suffer. I do this with my career too. I should be going down road x but keep choosing road y. STUBBORN! Last night Cate and I were chatting about a personal issue I’m dealing with right now, one that I’ve grown weary of dealing with and have decided not to pursue any longer. She asked why and I blurted out, ‘Too many roadblocks.’ I had one of those, stop, shake you head moments. Too many roadblocks indeed. Roadblocks I am no longer going to deal with. Right there and then, I made a promise to myself, when I see a roadblock, go the other way. In my life I have to stop trying to get over them, around them. Are these challenges put in front of me to better myself or make ‘life’ worth living or are they the universe telling me that there is nothing good on the other side, to turn around and head towards a clear, open road to something amazing. I believe it’s the latter. The universe and I are coming to a very firm and solid understanding, when it gives me messages, I’m going to start paying attention. No more roadblocks for this girl.
The road ahead is clear, smooth driving down the route of life.
Shortly after my friends, Kat, Lizzie, Lizzie’s friend Janis and I entered the back room of the Horseshoe last night, we met up with drummer Johnny Rowe, who was set to do double duty with two bands: Inlet Sound and Tin Star Orphans in back-to-back sets at the top of the evening – which is just fine by him because, stamina challenges aside, he loves to play.
First band up was Inlet Sound, a folk rock band from Hamilton with a great Celtic, violin-backed, east coast sound, bringing to mind great east coast bands like Great Big Sea and Rawlins Cross. Dream Awake, a lovely collection of lyric ballads, is their EP release – I picked up a copy at the venue last night – and their first full-length record The Romantics is nearing completion. Check them out and give them a listen here: http://www.inletsound.com/
A few years ago, I was raw for 6 months. During that time I made fancy raw dishes, bought pre-made raw products, dehydrated, bought books and spent hours on the web researching. Because of this, I have a really good understanding of the raw food diet, what I need, what is and isn’t considered raw and so on. I discovered what foods work best for me and which I don’t like (flax seeds, bleech). I also discovered that if you aren’t mindful, it can become very expensive. This time around I don’t have that luxury and have been discovering ways to do it poor girl or as a friend says poh gurl style. These are a few things I realized can be done to keep it budget savvy and to keep you from getting bored.
1. Chinatown! The picture above, was my weekly trek to Toronto’s Chinatown. This food will all last me for a week. I still have veggies and some fruit left over from last Saturday’s trek. In that pile of food above is: baby bok choy, kale, romaine lettuce, garlic, cucumber, peaches, pears, apples, tangellos, kiwi, strawberries, blueberries and banana’s and they cost me, wait for it… $19.03. I did a bit of grocery store research and that same pile of food would have cost me approx $27 at No Frills and almost $35 at Loblaws. 2. Change it up! One of my main entrees is salad. It is soooooo very easy to get sick of it. Guess what, there are a million kinds of salad and a good portion of them don’t have lettuce. One of my favourite salad bases is baby bok choy. Damn delicious, you can also use kale or sprouts, sprouted beans, cabbage, cucumber, mixed veggies and the list goes on. Another trick if the majority of your salads have lettuce as the base, change the other ingredients or dressing each time. My favourite dressings are Lemon Tahini (1 lemon juiced, 3 tablespoons Tahini and water/a large jar of Tahini will last a really long time), Miso (miso and water), and Apple Cider Vinegar (apple cider vinegar, olive oil and sweetner (I use raw agave, but it is very expensive)). 3. Stick to the basics! In the last few years, the raw diet movement has become monumental. Thankfully people are becoming more and more aware of their health and the environment and are making a change. Preparing raw food is a lot of work and not everyone has 1-2 hours each day to slice and dice. The food industry and retail consumerism has caught on to this as well. There are a million different products out there to help save time, such as pre-made sauces, dressings, breads, dehydrated products, desserts and snacks. All very expensive as well. Last time I was raw, I invested in a dehydrator and did a majority of all that myself, though I will admit, I got sucked in with all the raw nut butter and other so called ‘staples’. Fresh is better. 4. Prepare ahead! Every night before I go to bed I prepare everything I am going to eat the next day. This way I only have to prep stuff once a day and if I have all my food ready, I won’t CHEAT and go buy a bag of crap. As I said above, there is a lot of prep and I know if I do it once a day rather than several times a day I am more efficient and it doesn’t feel like that much work. 5. Learn to spout! There is a tonne of protein and vitamins in sprouts AND you can grow them yourself in a matter of a couple days. All you need is a couple sterilized jars, some door mesh, a few elastics and a place to put the jars to drain while sprouting. I have included a link to a video on the very simple steps for sprouting. This video is brilliant and shows how easy it is and how few seeds you need to fill a jar.
6. Do it for your health! As I said in an earlier post, I’m not doing this for the weight loss, though it is a desirable side affect. Prior to starting this I was feeling gross, since starting that feeling has gone away, clothes are fitting better and there is very noticeable health change. This journey is about becoming healthy! 7. Know your limits! I know mine. I remember when I was 100% raw for 6 months, I had cravings for cooked food all the time. A combination of that, a huge stress that happened in my life at the time and a knee injury, I stopped being raw. I love cooked food too much to be 100% raw and after the detox will stick to a 75% raw diet. What I will be changing this time is the cooked food, must be made by me the majority of the time and be all natural ingredients, no more junk food. There are a few processed products I will continue to use, only because they do have healthy benefits. Because I know my limits and don’t want to fail this detox, I am allowing myself a cooked food day every 5th day, BUT the cooked food has to be homemade and all natural. Yesterdays cooked meal was a big bowl of miso noodle soup with broccoli and tofu.
8. Fresh Juice and Smoothies! Drink both or if you don’t have a juicer, smoothies are amazing. In the picture above is a 20 year old juicer that gets used almost daily. My favourite combination is carrot, apple, pear, beet and ginger. The juice I made today is missing the beet. I couldn’t find any in Chinatown. I never can, I don’t know what they have against beets! Another favourite is strawberry, banana, spinach smoothie. There is a store in Chinatown that sells huge bags of baby spinach for $3! I meant to grab some so I could do smoothies this week, but forgot. That will be on next weeks list.
I do have a confession to make though. I am having a really hard time giving something up. My best friend coffee. I tried to go cold turkey a couple times and ended up with a massive headache. This morning was the worst. I had to fast for blood work and and yowsah! I caved and had coffee. The problem is part habitual and partly addiction. This weekend I am weaning myself off, so Monday I have a fresh start, coffee free. I won’t be giving it up permanently, nor wine, just till the end of the detox so I can achieve the full benefits from it.
Since I mentioned it above, here are some links to my current favourite websites that I recommend for anyone curious about or want to try a raw detox.
I sit here realizing I need to book more features/hosting gigs. After a string of appointments, a visit to Chinatown, amongst catch-up day, getting my performer resume is on today’s todo list! In the meantime. Here are a few of my upcoming gigs.
July 1, 3-4 pm
Clean Sober And Proud Place
The Community Cafe
Paul Kane Parkade
(on the north side of Wellesley St. between Yonge and Church)
Our fabulous, damned and beautiful committee members will each be reading.
Wonder Women V
August 8th, 2012
Celebration Square Amphitheatre
Wonder Women V and LMG Productions are excited to be partnering with Mississauga Arts Council and the City of Mississauga. The August 8th
edition will be the largest Wonder Women event yet, widening it’s scope. Wonder Women’s outdoor venue allows for a larger audience to attend and appreciate the talents of the wonder women of our day.
Smash Words at the Press Club
850 Dundas Street West
Sunday August 12 at 7:30 pm
It will be a cabaret evening of music, poetry and dance, produced by Queer West Fest
The Beautiful & The Damned – October Mexican Day of the Dead edition
Thursday, October 11, 2012
692 Yonge Street
The Beautiful and the Damned is a Poetry Cabaret every second Thursday of the month at Zelda’s on Yonge (692 Yonge Street (upstairs)).
Come join us for a magical night of poetry, cabaret and decadence.
I’m on day 8 of a 30 day raw detox. The last several months I’ve felt gross, sluggish, bleech. A recent doctors appointment having me realize, no matter how much I love my curves, 20 lbs of them needs to go. That isn’t why I’m doing the detox though. I need to get my body and life back on track. I’m at day 8. Last time I tried this, it was at day 8 that I failed. I was doing it for all the wrong reasons. Each day measuring my progress, growing frustrated that I wasn’t losing inches. I’ve changed up my strategy this time. I know that I can’t do 30 days straight, 100% raw, so I am allowing myself every 5th day to eat cooked food, BUT only if it’s healthy and made by me and it has to be mostly vegetables. No carbs, no fried anything, no crap! I am also NOT measuring myself. If I start doing that, then this becomes about weight loss and it should be about becoming healthy. I also need to do this on the cheap. Being broke means Chinatown shopping.
Something I’ve noticed happening since the beginning of the detox is my inability to sleep. I was hoping the healthy diet would get rid of my Insomnia, rather it’s made it even worse. My nights are filled with nightmares, one consistently appearing each and every night. I guess I needed to detox more than just my body, I need to detox my life. Detoxing my life means removing anything negative, anyone negative. I tend to hold onto things and people way too long and part of this process has to be letting all of it go. Hopefully by doing all of this, I will find ways to remove both the emotional and financial stresses and worries from my life. One thing I have admitted is I need to get a 9-5 job that pays me enough to not be broke. Freelancing full-time has put me in unmanageable debt. Going forward I need to concentrate on what I love, writing and performing. A 9-5 job will allow me the luxury to do both without worrying about not paying rent or my bills. I’ve been taking a lot of time to think over the last month, my life is due for a change. I’m distracted and cannot concentrate on what’s important, the distractions are about to go bye bye.
I’m not sure if this is due to the detox or that I am finally accepting my own emotions. Saturday, while on the subway, I got weepy. The beautiful Kerrick warned me that it could happen. As toxins leave your body, hormones go a bit nuts. I don’t think that is why. There was a couple sitting and talking. He touched her as they talked, she smiled each time he looked at her. He was truly in love with her, his eyes said so. I was weepy because I realized I want that. I want someone to look at me, the way he looked at her. I think I’ve been trying to convince myself that I don’t need anyone, that if there is no one around I won’t end up with another broken heart. I finally admitted I am lonely and long for the love of someone I will never have. That isn’t the detox talking, that is my heart. I’m so busy listening to my gut, I keep forgetting my heart has a say in things. Maybe it’s time I opened my ears.
These next 30 or 60 days if I choose to continue, will be a very interesting journey, but one I need to do for my own physical, mental and emotional health. Here’s hoping for 8 more days!
Back upstairs at Zelda’s (aka “the trailer in the sky”) for another edition of The Beautiful and the Damned last night – with my pal, the lovely and talented Lizzie Violet – this time, for a special (and early treat) Pride edition, sponsored by Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QAIA). Dead celeb of the month: Jean Genet http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Genet
Host DM Moore had a full roster of features and open mic readers/performers, and as I’ve done previously, I’d like to go for a word association riff here. If I’ve misspelled or misnamed anyone, please let me know in Comments and I’ll correct the error asap. One thing all these artists had in common was passion in their words, whether by poetry, spoken word or song.
Features: Ghadeer Malek – poetry of the pain and resilience of the Palestinian people, resolving to not just survive but thrive; marginalization of queers and Palestinians, and…
When I was about seven, I asked my mum where babies came from. Mum having been a nurse and all, plus me being the oldest of four kids, I knew we came out of her belly (and even had the opportunity to listen in with her stethoscope when she was pregnant with my sibs) – plus, duh, that baby bump is pretty hard to miss, especially on a woman as tiny as my mum. But I wanted to know how the heck they got in there. During our initial chat, she gave me this whole spiel about the flower which, while very interesting from a botanical perspective – and even quite poetic and lyrical – was confusing as all hell.
For about a year, I thought I was a Chrysanthemum. So I went back and asked her how all that flower stuff worked with people – only to be shocked…