Author: Lizzie Violet

Behind the deceptive smile waits the child of darkness! Never trust a girl in pigtails!

Look for the helpers. Look for the kindness. 

There is a lot of awful happening in the world right now and it’s found its way into the city I love, my city of Toronto. I don’t need to rehash it all here. Just go to any news source and you will get an eyeful. Oh yes, what a rosy way to start off this blog post. There is a point for this and I will get to that point. Please allow me to go on for a moment.

In the last few weeks, I have been trying to find ways to remove myself from a certain ‘Social Media’ platform. When I first joined in 2007, it was a fun way to interact with people. People I knew in person, people with common interests, people from all over the world. We had a lot of fun interacting, sharing and experiencing. Then… the fun stopped. It actually stopped a few years ago. The platform went from being actually social to a newsfeed filled with animal torture videos, reposts of mean tweets, horrible news stories of what was happening around the world… people just being cruel to other people. It was no longer a place to keep in touch with friends on the other side of the planet, contact long-lost childhood friends or find fun events to attend. It just became this horrible, horrible place. A place I no longer wanted to be a part of because I don’t like how it is making me feel.  But I didn’t know how to escape.

I’m a writer, performer and I run a small side business. I use Social Media as a place to promote myself, my events, my business and to find like-minded people. I, let’s say, need it. Or… do I? Raise your hands if you remember how we promoted all of this stuff prior to 2007. Show of hands, please. Just one? Just the guy way in the back??? Oh boy. Are we in trouble here? Well… how we use to do it was through postering, placing events listings far and wide, handing out flyers at other events and word of mouth. It was a lot of work and ‘Social Media’ not only made it easier, but it gave us a further reach. I run Vintage Groups on Social Media and we have members from all over the world! ALL OVER THE WORLD PEOPLE! Could I have done that pre-2007? Could I? That is my major conundrum, how do I go back to pre-2007 and still have the same impact? How do I get away from all of the awful?

Many moons ago I stopped watching the news and reading newspapers. I would go to work in an ok mood and by the time I got to work I was depressed, angry or both. Why? I had started grabbing the ‘free’ paper they gave out at the subway. It took me a while to figure out why this was happening, why I was feeling this way and then one day when the paper landed in my hand, I had bells going off! It was the culprit! I also figured out that I am super sensitive to all of it, so I stopped. Social Media is now having the same effect on me. Well, at least one platform is, the one that shall not be named. On the other side of it, platforms such as Instagram are having the opposite effect. They are bolstering my creativity and helping me build my business and career. I love how you can customize who and what you can see. It’s my happy place. I need more happy places.

Oh… right… the point!

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Last night, my fella and I went to see Won’t You Be My Neighbor? It was a documentary about Mr. Rogers and an incredibly beautiful tribute to a man who taught us that we are special and that kindness is important. Kindness. Something I myself have been trying to pass along as an important message. Kindness. Something this world really needs right now. Humankind seems to be forgetting the lessons that Mr. Rogers taught us. We need to figure out how to change this.

Along with Mr. Rogers, I also grew up with other shows that taught us the same message, The Gentle Giant and Mr. Dress Up. We need more shows like this and not just for children.

As I watched this movie, I was continually reminded of how important these shows were to me as a child. How they taught me what was ok and not ok. How happy they made me feel. If Mr. Rogers, Mr. Dress Up or The Gentle Giant were with us today, they would be horrified by the state of the world right now. There is a scene in the movie that deals with 9-11 and seeing how sad, how upset Fred Rogers was, broke my heart. You could feel this happen collectively throughout the audience. This movie touched me, touched the audience. Most of the theatre was in tears by the end of it. So… here’s the thing. Can we start remembering what Mr. Rogers stood for? Can we stop being so cruel to each other? Can we be patient and compassionate? But most importantly, can we start being kinder to each other?

Thank you Mr. Rogers for reminding me of what kind of world I want to live in. Look for the helpers. Look for the kindness.

It’s Such a Good Feeling

Written by Fred Rogers | © 1970, Fred M. Rogers


It’s such a good feeling
To know you’re alive.
It’s such a happy feeling:
You’re growing inside.
And when you wake up ready to say,
“I think I’ll make a snappy new day.”
It’s such a good feeling,
A very good feeling,
The feeling you know
You’re alive.

It’s such a good feeling
To know you’re in tune.
It’s such a happy feeling
To find you’re in bloom.
And when you wake up ready to say
“I think I’ll make a snappy new day,”
It’s such a good feeling,
A very good feeling,
The feeling you know that we’re friends.

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Killer B Cinema Presents: Starcrash and Plan 9 from Outer Space!

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July Killer B Cinema is out of this world! Starcrash and Plan 9 From Outer Space will not disappoint! The perfect double bill and all for the low, low price of $5. That’s right FIVE DOLLARS! And there will be trivia with prizes! Spacesuits are optional! Audience Participation approved!

Doors (back performance space) open at 8 pm and the movies begin at 8:30 pm.
Where: The Imperial Pub Performance Space, 54 Dundas Street East
Facebook Invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/1963093910686899/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/killerbcinema/

Starcrash (94 minutes) is a 1978 American space opera film directed by Luigi Cozzi and written by Cozzi and Nat Wachsberger. The cast includes Marjoe Gortner, Caroline Munro, Christopher Plummer, David Hasselhoff and Joe Spinell.

Plan 9 from Outer Space (80 minutes) (originally titled Grave Robbers from Outer Space) is a 1959 American independent black and white science fiction film, written, produced, directed, and edited by Ed Wood, that stars Gregory Walcott, Mona McKinnon, Tor Johnson and Vampira (Maila Nurmi). The film also posthumously bills Bela Lugosi as a star (silent footage of the actor had actually been shot by Wood for another, unfinished film just prior to Lugosi’s death in August 1956). Plan 9 from Outer Space was released theatrically in 1959 by Distributors Corporation of America (then credited as Valiant Pictures).

A huge thank you to this month’s prize sponsors! The Haunted Walk, Jeff CottrillLisa de NikolitsCaroline ColantonioSupertashToronto Poetry Slam AND a raffle for a special Plan 9 From Outerspace creation by Unravelled: Crocheted Items by Carlin!

Each month join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a double bill of B-moves from the 1930s to 1970s!

Thank you to the Imperial Pub and their staff! They make our monthly event extra amazing!

We hope to see you at The Imperial!

Important: The Imperial Performance Space is a licensed establishment, outside alcohol is not allowed. Anyone in possession of outside alcohol will be banned from both the event and the establishment. We appreciate your co-operation in this matter.

Redheads Writing in Cafes and Chantilly Lace

Do you believe in ghosts? I sure as hell do. I believe there are many kinds of ghosts, some that can’t leave this realm, those who don’t want to pass over and those who show up once in a while like right now, to check in on you. I know this is fact because I just got a whiff of Chantilly Lace.

My Grandma Betty smelled of baking and Chantilly Lace. Whenever you hugged her you would always breathe it in and as a kid, I just assumed that was how she smelled, until the day I found the little pink box with the fluffy white powder puff. The minute I sat down this morning to write about her, I got a very scent of her perfume surround me. I’m now feeling extremely nostalgic, I miss that woman so very, very much.

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Elizabeth Smart was more than just my grandmother, she was a force. She emigrated to Canada from Scotland, got married, had fourteen children and who knows how many grandchildren followed after that, however, she was more than that. She was neighbourhood warrior, standing up for those who couldn’t stand up for themselves. I’ve heard many stories about people being chased by the cops for minor occurrences hiding out at her place, she’d then talk the cops down from arresting them. My grandma was a badass. You also didn’t mess with her family. Oh no, you didn’t! Was my grandma Bonnie Parker, no, pay attention, she was a Betty!

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The older I grow, the more I realize how much I am like her. When you met Grandma, she was welcoming, chatty and her laugh would fill the room. She loved to help her community, was loving and was always there if you needed comforting. She also relished time on her own, reading, knitting, sewing and of course, baking. Like myself, she was an Extroverted Introvert. She made the most incredible, melt in your mouth shortbreads, currant cake and pies. To this day, I’m the only one who has nailed her currant cake recipe. The one main thing we have in common, try to corner us, and we come out fighting. My Grandma put up with zero crap.

When I was fifteen, I went through a really shit time in school. I was the weirdo, the girl who dressed all in black, had the weird hair and carried books about ghosts everywhere she went. There were four particular girls who would verbally abuse me. As much as you interacted or ignored them, this still wears you down, especially if you are a teenager. Being told one too many times to basically suck it up, it can’t be that bad, I stopped talking to anyone about it and let it silently eat away at me and it really did. After one particularly horrible day, I couldn’t hold it in any longer, I started crying during my walk home after school. Little did I know, Grandma Betty was walking right behind me. I have no idea how long she was behind me, but I know it was long enough for her to figure out something wasn’t quite right, because her fifteen-year-old granddaughter rarely cried and especially not in public.

Then she was standing beside me. Just like every time I’ve needed her.

I told her what had happened and she listened without interrupting, then these words… the words that have always stuck with me, the words that I repeat over and over whenever anyone tries to belittle me, talk down to me or insult me.

Grandma: Why do you care what they think.
Me: (starts to explain again what happened)
Grandma: Yes, but why do you care what they think.
Me: (starts to explain again what happened)
Grandma: Why do you care what they think.
Me: (getting it) Oh.
Grandma: Those girls aren’t worth it. Who cares what they think.

My grandma stopped and hugged me. I finally got it. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. You need to be yourself, do what makes you happy. Be the person you want to be. This is a hard message for a teenager to grasp and it did take me a while to accept it, but when you repeat it to yourself over and over, it does eventually sink in.

Did the verbal abuse stop. No. But I not only found a tool to handle it better, I had someone to talk to that would actually listen to me and not brush it off as teenage angst. For those who are wondering, why didn’t the school do anything? It was the late seventies/early eighties and trust me a small town high school… didn’t understand that bullying was a horrible thing for a kid to go through. That said, I did have one teacher who was also one of my heroes. One day I will write more about Mr. Bob Rix.

Grandma Betty is my badass, give no shits hero. I miss her every day and when I get that whiff of Chantilly Lace I know she is checking in on me to make sure I’m doing ok.

 

 

Redheads Writing in Cafes Except When It’s a Redhead Riot!

Similar to my previous post about Thea, Heather Babcock is another inspiring woman in my life who, when I met her, we immediately clicked. We discovered very early on that we were both obsessed with the 1930s and pre-code movies and vintage fashion. We instantly bonded, this was a friendship that was meant to be. Every day I am inspired by this beautiful woman!

The first time I met Heather was after she read at a Plasticine Poetry event. Her reading was amazing and she looked like a 1930s redheaded moll. During this time I was co-running The Beautiful & The Damned and my own show Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir. She was so incredibly sassy and talented, I knew we needed to book her and I wanted to talk to her on a personal level. My gut screamed that girl is super swell! My gut was right!  Eventually, I met her boyfriend Neil and they met Zoltan. Together we now put on a show called The Redhead Revue and we have all become incredibly good friends.

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When I hear Heather read or when we talk about our interests or life in general, I am motivated to do better and to be a better person. After spending time with Heather, I always feel like I’m not working hard enough. She is one of those writers who, without knowing she is even doing it, kicks me in the ass!

Heather Babcock is an incredible writer, storyteller, poet and performer. She has an incredible wealth of knowledge about the 1930s and pre-code movies. In fact, she is a walking library of facts. Oh… and she also happens to be a published author! Heather’s chapbook Of Being Underground and Moving Backwards was published by DevilHousePress in 2015 and her novel Filthy Sugar is being published by Inanna Press. Please also check out her blog Heather Rose Babcock…Writing to Exhale.

 

 

Redheads Writing in Cafes Except When It’s the Backyard

A heaviness hangs in the air. It’s been there for the last few weeks and it’s stifling. There has been a lot of shitty things happen in the last few weeks, including our provincial election, the deaths of two well-loved celebrities and a thickness in the air that leaves us all feeling worried, scared, uncertain. This disillusion has us unsettled. I don’t like it. I’m certain no one else does as well. This has opened a dark rift for many of us.

During my darkest moments, I do my best writing. I have been harnessing the darkness these last few weeks, the things I write require it. However, I need to harness it so it doesn’t take hold of me, rip away at my soul and push me into the mire. It’s a battle that is always hard fought by me and so many others and doesn’t always end in a fairytale ending. I’ve seen too many taken by the evil demon. With all of the negativity in the air right now, politically, life, life ending, channels are opening up again to talk, try to understand, heal. My heart breaks for those who could not cast out the darkness.  You will have noticed that I haven’t blogged in a while, only posted about my events. A huge part of it was I honestly felt the only things I could write out would include a demonic presence and a world falling apart. So… I avoided it.

Blogging to me meant writing poignant, clever and sometimes funny pieces, whether it be sharing the things I enjoy or waxing poetic about life. Several months ago, two friends began journalling their daily observations and I, for a short period of time, also joined in, until I realized by observations became repetitive and melancholy. I don’t think that was what the exercise was meant to be. Last Friday, a group of us sat around the table in my backyard, gossiped, wrote and talked about life. It felt good, I felt energized afterward and it opened something up. Some of us see the sunshine, some of us drink in melancholy and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

A blogging project I am now beginning is talking about the women who have inspired me during my life, kicked my ass when I thought I was failing and have lifted me up out of the darkness. The first person I want to talk about is Thea Munster.

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Tarot reader, thereminist, hearst driver, writer, world traveller, ghoul, b-movie queen, zombie walk creator, fiend.

I was not in a great place in my life, I avoided going out and definitely didn’t want to be around groups of people. Somehow an acquaintance convinced me to come to a Zombie Walk Committee meeting. Previous to this, I had been to a few walks. I loved the idea of dressing up as a Zombie and then disappearing into a crowd of the undead. After some arm twisting, I relented and went with her. Believe it or not, I am an introvert. There are many times that I have to talk myself into going out to events and honestly did try to talk myself out of this one. I am so glad that I didn’t. Not only did I walk into a group of people who were working on that years walk, I had found my fiends. A table of like-minded people who didn’t judge me for my very dark, very creepy interests. I found my people.

The meeting concluded, Thea and I chatted for a while, she was on her way to the Bovine to watch friends in a Misfits cover band and asked if I wanted to come. Instead of immediately making excuses for having to go home I blurted out yes and didn’t regret it. There was no awkwardness, no uncomfortable silences, we talked non-stop. This was how I met Thea. We were friends from that moment on, even periods of time between not seeing each other made no difference. We always pick up where we left off.

Thea has always been my inspiration. Seeing how she goes after her dreams, makes them happen and radiates a green glow from them, I am driven to work harder at my own dreams. I get to be the dark little girl with the crooked smile fearlessly.  Thea, thank you for being a true and honest ghoulfiend.

Please follow Thea on her blog and other social media. I have listed them below. You will definitely want to follow her on Instagram, she is posting videos playing the Theremin and they are spooktacular.

Blog: My1000moons.com

Instagram: ghoulygal

Twitter: boneyardbetty

Killer B Cinema: Santo & Blue Demon vs The Monsters and Kilink

June is International Fight Club Month and do we have some monsters for you for you. Kilink and Santo & The Blue Demon vs The Monsters will not disappoint! The perfect double bill and all for the low, low price of $5. That’s right FIVE DOLLARS! And there will be trivia with prizes! Lucha Libre masks are optional! Audience Participation Approved!

Doors (back performance space) open at 8 pm and the movies begin at 8:30 pm.
Where: The Imperial Pub Performance Space, 54 Dundas Street East
Facebook Invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/158830411451532/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/killerbcinema/

Kilink: Strip and Kill! (1967 — 93 minutes running time) Kilink is between 2 rival gangs and manages to turn one against the other. All of them are after a precious microfilm and a big foreign treasure. Kilink proves to be the most perfect Fantomas of them all, changing disguises more often than he changes socks.

Santo & The Blue Demon vs The Monsters (1970 — 85 minutes running time) To foil his plan for world domination, wrestling superheroes El Santo and Blue Demon battle the mad Dr. Halder and his army of reanimated monsters.

Each month join Lizzie Violet & Zoltan Du Lac for a double bill of B-moves from the 1930s to 1970s!

Thank you to the Imperial Pub and their staff! They make our monthly event extra amazing!

We hope to see you at The Imperial!

Please sir, May I have some more books?

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Murder, The Maritimes, Migration, Mayhem and More!

May promises to be all that it’s meant to be…our big book send off! Fall will be here before you know it (sorry, but it’s true) so you need to join us on Sunday May 27 at 5:15 for your last reading feeding!

These are also the last readings before you really start to organize and manage your schedule of summer reading! These books are essential inventory!

David Huebert  Peninsula Sinking “brings readers an assortment of Maritimers caught between the places they love and the siren call of elsewhere. From submarine officers to prison guards, oil refinery workers to academics, each character in these stories struggles to find some balance of spiritual and emotional grace in the world increasingly on the precipice of ruin. Peninsula Sinking offers up eight urgent and electric meditations on the mysteries of death and life, of grief…

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