Category Archives: Book

Redheads Writing in Cafes #4 and Why I Support Local Indie Artists

Just to warn you. There may be swears.

The last few days have been lovely. Wednesday, I hung out with my sister from a whole other family, October. Thursday, live music at C’est What with Neil Traynor and band. Had another productive cafe writing session with Heather Babcock and John Oughton on Thursday, Saturday, my fella and I crammed in watching Street Poetry in High Park, a second viewing of the cherry blossoms and then dinner and live music in The Junction. After an amazing few days of enjoying local independent art, music, and poetry with the people I love, fellow creatives, why do I not feel content? Why instead am I feeling contempt? Here’s why.

This has been nagging at me, scratching at my gray matter for some time now It’s been bubbling just below the surface, pulling at me, like that song, that sits on the tip of your tongue and it’s driving me mad. I have talked to others about it. I’ve occasionally posted status messages about it and tried to get people’s attention and their consideration for it. Now… now I’m at my wit’s end and I’m pissed. No, I’m fucking angry. It’s time to make a change.

Ok.

Ok…

Those were the swears. I can’t promise those were the last.

What initially pushed me to the brink was a group of four women who were in their early twenties. As we were having our writing session at a local Mom and Pop run cafe Thursday, these young women were standing in line waiting to be served. A long line. The cafe was busier than normal due to the cherry blossoms in High Park. When they were about three people away from being served, one of the young women loudly exclaimed, “I want to support local, but they are too slow here. Let’s go to Starf*cks.” (she didn’t call it that and used the proper name, I did. Guess who will never be sponsoring me.).  Did these women not notice the cherry blossom festival chaos across the street and consider it might be affecting the businesses in the hood? If you really wanted to support local, wouldn’t you be patient? Wouldn’t you take how busy the shop was into consideration?  I did.

This, however, isn’t what I want to talk about. It was what triggered everything.  Thursday night, a good friend was playing with his band at a popular downtown venue. When it came time to pass the tip jar, we went around to everyone who was, what we thought, enjoying the music. We asked everyone to throw in a loonie or toonie to help support local music. Some put money in funds (mostly other artists), while the corporate types (I have another name for them, but won’t write it) declined — very rudely in most cases. This really bothered me.

I’ve put on many events and attended an even greater number of them. I’ve observed when the tip jar is being passed around, for the most part, artists will always put money in, even if it is whatever loose changed they have in their pockets. Artists will go out to other artists events without batting an eye. We support each other, promote each other, help out at each others gigs, artist supporting artists. This, sadly, does not help us grow, help us get noticed outside of our community and when we try to get others to come to events or if they are at an event, put a few dollars in the tip jar, they don’t or rather won’t and they make you feel awful for asking.  On Thursday night, we received snarky comments and evil stares when we asked. I felt that we were asking for their first born (no thanks) or for a donation of blood. (again no thanks) It was frustrating.

Once upon a time, artists were revered. If this was the 1920s or 1930s we would be looked upon at a higher level, would make a nice living from our art and be respected. Why is it, in 2017, we are looked down upon, brushed off and disrespected? We are asked to work for free and when we do get paid, it’s for way less than minimum wage.  We struggle to get anyone, who isn’t an artist to come out to events (when was the last time our families, workmates or other acquaintances came to see us).  We work hard to promote our events, prepare for the events and then put on the show.  How do we get people to start supporting local artists? How do we get them out to events? How do we get them to respect us?

This city is full of performers, writers, playwrights, theaters, bands, songwriters, singers, visual artists, photographers, poets, spoken word artists, designers, painters, sculptors, magicians, burlesque, comic artists, comedians — the list goes on. How do we get the average Joe to support us? How do we get the city and venues to support us?  And speaking of venues, how to we keep the supportive ones going?  I see my fellow artist struggling every day to get their art out there and to survive financially. I see musicians like Cynthia Gould trying to get awareness out there through her TO Rock Cult Facebook page. Yesterday I witnessed Street Poetry trying to raise awareness. I applaud these artists and all the others that are making an effort, but my question, the thing that is bothering me, nagging at me is how do we as one huge collective, make this happen on a bigger scale? How do we get the populous to once again respect and revere artists?

I will keep promoting, supporting and helping my fellow artists. I will continue to walk around venues asking everyone to put some money in a tip jar. I will keep posting and voicing out how much we need to support independent artists, but I need help. Cynthia needs help. Every person who is fighting to survive as an artist needs help!  Here is where you can help. Everyone who reads this, please share it. If you see an artist’s having an event, go to it, buy their art, books, CDs, merch. Post about their events, tell your friends. Better yet, gather your friends and bring the to events. If you are an artist, keep promoting your fellow artists. Let’s, as one huge collective get the rest of the world to see us!

Share this post.

Share other artist’s posts.

Let’s make change happen.

SUPPORT LOCAL ARTISTS!


I’m free! FREE!

Now I can officially start writing full-time! So glad jury duty selection is over. It was an interesting experience. Similar to the the first time I was called for jury selection, yet different in many ways. I also found it much more stressful. A combination of sitting for long periods in the court room(s) and not really being able to write or even read for that matter. I had grand plans of getting lots of writing done. That wasn’t going to happen.

The roster was jam-packed for our turn as potential jurors.  On Monday, it seemed as if we were called up as soon as court started and each time we returned to the lounge, called back up again. Tuesday we spent half the day in the courtroom waiting to see if we would be selected for jury duty.  Yesterday was the only day that we spent a long bit of time in the lounge and even then, it was hard to concentrate. Each time a new bailiff, registrar or the manager walked into the room, all eyes were on them. We all wondered if we were about to head to another courtroom. Between that and the loud bantering of the two gentleman behind me, I couldn’t concentrate (which I can do with ease in a noisy coffeeshop). At least I was entertained by their conversation, on their strategy to get out of jury duty, if called up for selection.

On Wednesday when the manager came in to release us from jury duty selection, he half joked, “See you all in three years.” Personally, I hope that I’m not back there in three, four or even five years. I’ve done jury selection FOUR times now. I think they can remove my name from the pool now. (yes, I could get called again — once you are in the pool they can call you once every three years for as long as they want)

I am in the process of figuring out vlogging on and all the ins and outs of YouTube, so stay tuned for that. I am going to also be blogging a lot more often. Minimally, weekly, but am hoping to blog every other day. AND I can now livestream on Instagram, so I will do live vlogging. I’m incredibly excited to have a killer camera to use for vlogging. Part of figuring out vlogging, will be the how-to’s of software. I currently have iMovie and am also going to check out other options.

Please see all the links below. Please add me on Instagram and subscribe to my Twitter and YouTube channel. 🙂


“Oh Hi Mark” and why The Room is the best movie of all time

“There are people who have seen The Room and those who haven’t seen The Room.” Neil Traynor

*** There will be spoilers.***

I love terrible movies.  They are my happy place.  The schlockier the movie the happier I am. I show no prejudice for genres and have watched them all from horror to sci-fi to romantic; silent; film noir; b-movies; romance; expressionist; westerns and comedy. If it’s considered a badly made movie, I want to see it. My current two favourites are Plan 9 From Outer Space and The Screaming Skull.  In my heart of hearts I never thought any movie could knock either of those off the top of my list. Who could possibly beat Ed Woods and take his title? Always up for a bad movie challenge,  I was ready, willing and open to seeing if this could take the reigns.

For MONTHS now, our good friend Neil Traynor (1) has been telling us about The Room, insistent that once we watch it, we would never be the same again. Finally we were able to arrange a viewing and as Neil said, it was life changing. It might actually be the best movie of all time. How could this be, you ask? The Room has it all. Love, sex, romance,  action, violence, blood, family values, long drawn out sex scenes, drug intervention, x-files style disappearance of actors, belly button fucking, more long, drawn out sex scenes and best of all, no plot.

I’m serious.  There is no plot. None. Nada. Zilch. Zero! Not only is there no plot, I personally feel that one of the reasons this movie has become such a cult hit, is you cannot, in anyway, describe to someone what the storyline is. There is an amazing Wikipedia page that has a very thorough breakdown of the movie, the characters, many of the issues with the movie and the production of The Room.  However, even after reading the page, you still have no idea what exactly this movie is about.  You just need to watch it.

The Room is Tommy Wiseau’s directorial debut and what a debut it is.  Oh… did I mention that he also produced it, wrote it and stars in it.  Mr. Wiseau is a bit of a mystery man himself. He is famous for keeping his past and personal life secret.  Even the Wikipedia page about Tommy Wiseau, doesn’t reveal very much. Who is this mystery man? Is he even real? A figment of our imagination?  Only way to find out, is to attend one of the many Love is Blind events happening across North America.  If it comes to Toronto or even a city near here, I will be first in line to get tickets.  After all, I need to know why Tommy Wiseau wears two belts. Although… he does have his own YouTube channel, called Tommy Explains It All (https://www.youtube.com/user/TommyExplainsItAll), yet… he explains nothing.  

Social Media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook have helped The Room’s infamy grow.

There are many memes.

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Quotes 

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Montages

and videos of critique.

 

All of this is helping to keep The Room alive. You could literally spend hours, hell, even days watching the many videos being created to celebrate this cult hit.  Oh, and I can’t forget there is a Star Wars Mashup!

The Room has a huge cult following and fan-base.  It also has  a play, a book , a video game,  a Facebook page dedicated to it, a-soon-to-be-released mocumentary, a documentary called Room Full Of Spoons and there is a movie being made about it, that James Franco is producing, directing, writing and starring in.  Sound familiar! How did this movie become such a huge hit?  It rivals movies such as Plan 9 and it’s huge fan base is dedicated and steadily growing. It is a phenomena with many, many unanswered questions.  Like the ones I have, such as:

What happened to Peter the psychologist?
Where can I rent that green screen?
Where can I find that 1880’s industrial shot?
How can it be sunny and smoggy at the same time?
Where did that new guy come from?
Will Denny survive without Johnny?
Will Lisa ever find love again?
Did Claudette survive the breast cancer?

Sooooooo many questions!

Back to my opening statement about this movie possibly being the best movie of all time.  Let’s take a moment to think about this. When I say best movie of all time, what I mean is best terrible movie of all time. When I watched it, I laughed till I was laugh crying.  I was laugh crying till my stomach hurt so bad, that I thought I was going to throw up. We discussed this movie indepth, for hours afterwards, my love and I talked about it as we were going to sleep and woke up talking about it.  All of our conversations for the next several hours have been dominated by it AND we have been quoting the movie. I have spend all of my time researching the movie, Tommy Wiseau and am agonizing over what happened to the actors, needing answers to my questions and searching to find out if a “Love is Blind” event is coming to a place near us. I have been feeling all of the emotions you would after seeing a movie that blows your mind.

How does this movie compare to my current top favourites Plan 9 From Outer Space and Screaming Skull?  The Room is definitely comparable in cult status to both these movies and over the top in terrible. Does it knock either of them off the top.  No, but it definitely ties for top spot.

You have to see this movie. It was even shot so you can watch it 2D or 3D. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V10Px9xbrbU Apparently it wasn’t shot to be a 3D movie, Tommy Wiseau just decided to shoot with two cameras, because he could.  When you watch the movie, don’t forget to say hi to Mark.

(1) Neil Traynor is a Toronto born singer/songwriter guitarist/multi-instrumentalist.

spork


RockTober!

October is just a few days away!  Everyone who knows me, knows it’s my favourite month AND the month of Halloween.  A month that is chock-full of AWESOME and a whole lotta spooktacular events!

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I’m especially looking forward to October 15 and I HATE TODD‘s release of Zombie Love AND the premiere of the music video.
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My poem “Freedom and Choice” was accepted in The Quilliad magazine! They are having their launch on October 16th at Tequila Bookworm. I hope to see many of your beautiful faces there! Come out to support the arts, buy a magazine and see me read!  https://www.facebook.com/events/165885766948879/

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October 20th is Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir, featuring Monica S. Kuebler, Pandora La Glamme and Supertash!
https://www.facebook.com/events/1417045665182340/

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October 21st, I am featuring at Loose Leaf Poets and Writers.
https://www.facebook.com/events/624464360927258/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

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October 31st, I am hosting The Beautiful & The Damned for our Scream Queen’s Halloween Spooktacular!
https://www.facebook.com/events/1419484514930255/

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Other rockable events that my favourite people are putting on.

Big Name Actors at Horseshoe – Oct 3 – https://www.facebook.com/events/212312635601645/

Circle of Jerks – Oct 10 – https://www.facebook.com/events/172738849582922/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

I Hate Todd at Amsterdam Bicycle Club – Oct 14

Big Name Actors annivesary – Oct 25 @ Measure  https://www.facebook.com/events/658753184137502/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

I Hate Todd at Amsterdam Bicycle Club – Oct 31


My last show for 2012 and upcoming features in 2013

Hello all!

2012 is winding down and 2013 is revving up and I already have 3 features lined up.  BUT!  2012 isn’t quite over just yet 🙂

My final show for 2012 is…… drum roll please!!!  On December 16th at the Plasticine Poetry Fanatics.  Please come check myself and 3 other features out.  All the deets are below as well as the shows I currently have booked for 2013.  Looking forward to a brand new year.  Not to mention 13 is my favourite number 🙂

Plasticine-Poetry-Phantics

Plasticine Poetry Fanatics
https://www.facebook.com/events/525378757475355/
6 pm – 9 pm
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Paupers Pub
539 Bloor St. West, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1Y6

Featuring

DAVID CLINK
David Clink is the former Board President and Artistic Director of the Rowers Pub Reading Series, and former Artistic Director of the Art Bar Poetry Series. David co-organizes, along with Sandra Kasturi, a one-day poetry workshop, entitled “A Fistful of Poems” which has run 7 times. He has two collections of poetry published by Tightrope Books: Eating Fruit Out of Season (2008) and Monster (2010). He edited an anthology of environmental poetry called: A Verdant Green (The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box, 2010). The same publisher has recently released David’s third collection, Crouching Yak, Hidden Emu, a book of humorous poems.

LISA DE NIKOLITS
Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits has been a Canadian citizen since 2003. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and has lived in the U.S.A., Australia and Britain.Her first novel, The Hungry Mirror, won the 2011 IPPY Awards Gold Medal for Women’s Issues Fiction and was long-listed for a ReLit Award. Her second novel, West of Wawa won the 2012 IPPY Silver Medal Winner for Popular Fiction and was one of Chatelaine’s four Editor’s Picks. West of Wawa is available in bookstores and online.

Her third novel, A Glittering Chaos, will be launched in Spring 2013. All books published by Inanna Publications. www.lisadenikolitswriter.com

CATHY PETCH
Cathy Petch www.cathypetch.com is a playwrite, spoken word artist, performer, musician and lighting designer. She hosts the Plasticine Poetry Series, which turned 5 this year. Petch was recently published in Toronto Quarterly Magazine and Ascent Aspirations Magazine. Her book “Late Night Knife Fights” has just been published by Lyricalmyrical press. She is a member of both the 2011 and 2012 Toronto Poetry Slam Teams and of the Collaborative group PENTA. Petch is happiest onstage.

LIZZIE VIOLET
Writer, editor, poet, literary reviewer, horror know-it-all, Lizzie Violet is the dark little girl, with a crooked smile. A lover of all things creepy, including horror silent movies, she is also a well known Zombiephile. She is currently working on a novel, a poetry manuscript and the latest books she edited, Best New Werewolf Tales, Volume One from Books of the Dead Press and Fatty Goes to China by Royston Tester, can be found at Amazon.ca.

Since returning to the world of performance, she has featured at Tumultuous Tuesdays, The Beautiful & The Damned, Get Your Groove On and Wonder Women IV and V, Free Times Best of Open Stage, Pride and Nuit Blanche. Her poetry can be found various anthologies and magazines including the upcoming issue of Carousel.
For more information about Lizzie Violet, ironic anecdotes and upcoming listings please check out her blog, lizzieviolet.wordpress.com.

KickOffWonder Women Fundraiser
The Central
Markham Street, Toronto
January 12, 2013
doors open at 7:30 pm

$10Featuring
Matt Gerber, Supertash, Candice Sand, Linda Inthahack, Asleep in the Machine, Lizzie Violet, Dread Eye, Miquelon Rodriquez and Ellie Anderson and hosting by Arlene Paculan and Kat Leonard.

Invite to come soon.


q_space_collegeGaddist Poetry Series at Q Space

Hosted by Nik Beat
Q Space
382 College Street
Toronto, Ontario
January 27, 2013
7 pm

Features information and invite information to come soon.

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Secret Handshake Gallery
189 Mutual St
upstairs
February 24, 2013
Features information and invite information to come soon.

The Next Big Thing Interview

I was asked by my friend and fellow scribe Heather Wood to participate in “The Next Big Thing” project. TNBT is a way for wordsmiths to promote upcoming work. Basically, a writer answers ten questions about a new work and then get other writers to do the same. However, I’ve added a bit of a twist to my list.  I think that playwrights, bloggers and songwriters should be part of this as well, so… here are my Next Big Thing Q & A’s:


Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:

What is your working title of your book?  The Treadle

Where did the idea come from for the book? I was I was around 5 or 6 my Mom inherited her Grandma Brown’s Treadle sewing machine (made in 1889).  I became obsessed with it.  I would actually play games where I would open the drawers and pretend there were magical creatures hidden in them.  As I got older, my obsession turned to designing doll clothes, then eventually my own clothes.  I learned how to sew on it.  As I sat there running the petal with my foot I would come up with stories about the kinds of women who might have also used it.

What genre does your book fall under?  Literary Fiction.  Though there will be a bit of historical fiction in it as well, as it spans time from the early 1900’s to mid 1980’s.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 
Though they aren’t Scottish (Elizabeth is Scottish), I picture a young Elizabeth played by Kate Winslet and older Elizabeth would be Helen Mirren.  The book itself has 3 female protagonists.  Elizabeth, Carrie and Lizzie. Grandmother, Mother, Daughter.  I’m not sure who I’d cast for the rest of the characters.  Knowing me, it would be a mix of quirky Canadian and British actors.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Three women, three generations, with one very powerful object that ties them all together.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Once the manuscript is done, I will be sending it off to a publisher.  I’ve already lived through the world of self-publishing and feel this novel deserves so much more.


How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? The story has been with me since I was a kid. I finally sat down and started working on it between other projects over the last 2 years.


What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  I don’t like comparing what I’m writing to other books, because they all stand on their own, although I am inspired by many writers.  Just too many to list here.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?  A few people inspired this book.  My Great Grandma Brown, whose Treadle sewing machine I inherited, my Grandma Betty, My Grandma Carrie and my mother.  All strong women who have had a lot of influence on the woman and writer I have become.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?  Strong female characters.

And now check out The Next Big Things of these wonderful writers.
Kat Leonard
Cathy McKim
Monica S. Kuebler
Brandon Pitts
Marcy Rogers


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