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.

 

 

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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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True Crime Podcasts I’m Listening To

Once upon a time, I had an obsession with pulp novels and Film Noir movies… hold on… wait one darn minute… Ok. Ok! I still do. What’s with this once upon a time crap. It’s true, I love reading trashy 1940s and 50s pulp fiction and there is a beautiful satisfaction watching a femme fatale get some dark and dirty revenge on the person who wronged her. Oh. Yes. There. Is. I rarely read or watch modern books or movies, unless they independent. I’d rather drift off into another era and enjoy the masters at their craft. Give me a pre-code or film noir movie any day or a novella from the 1920s. During my commutes to work, I would always have a book to read and eventually I started getting into podcasts. I’m now obsessed with them. I am a full-time writer now and no longer take that daunting trip via transit on a daily basis any longer. The only thing I missed was that time I had to read or listen to a podcast. Now I listen to them before I begin writing. It helps to wake up my creative juices.

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Over the last few years, True Crime Podcasts have become increasingly popular. There are chatty podcasts like My Favorite Murder or ones that more news-driven, including having experts on their shows like Murder Was the Case. The beauty of a podcast is that you don’t always need access to WiFi to stream them. Many podcast apps will let you download them so you can listen to them at your leisure. I currently use PlayerFM. They have an extensive list of podcasts that pretty much cover everyone’s interests. I was thankful to have that app during my recent, fours hours both way, trip to my parent’s house.

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Whether or not you want to personally admit it, as humans, we are all interested in hearing or reading about the darker side of humanity. I honestly feel like this is the reason there has been an explosion of True Crime podcasts, blogs and YouTube channels of late. Podcasts are also an alternative to books on tape. It’s less of a commitment when the story may only take up an hour of your time.

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I have compiled a list of my favourites below. There is a mix of real life and fiction. The link will take you into PlayerFM. I’m not saying you should use that particular app, it’s just a fast way for you to access the podcast and information if you are intrigued by the title. There are descriptions of what the podcast is about for each individual podcast on their website.

What podcasts are you listening to? Do you have any True Crime Podcasts you’d like to suggest? Please let us know.

Alice Isn’t Dead

Bloody Murder – A True Crime Podcast

Canadian True Crime

Darker Projects: Night Terrors

Final Girls Horrorcast

Hollywood & Crime

Last Podcast On The Left

Murder Was The Case

Missing & Murdered: Finding Cleo

My Favorite Murder with Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark

Once Upon A Crime | True Crime

Post Mortem with Mick Garris

Serial Killer Documentary Podcast

Serial Killers

The Minds of Madness – True Crime Stories

The Serial Killer Podcast

The Strange and Unusual Podcast

This Podcast Will Kill You

True Crime Garage

True Crime Historian

Undone

Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories

Welcome to Night Vale

Owen Sound Twin Drive-in Theatre

I just found out that the Twin Drive-in Theatre, just outside of Owen Sound, is being torn down. My heart sunk a little when I saw these words, that was immediately followed by a torrent of childhood memories. Good memories. Flushed with nostalgia, I began to reminisce about hot summer nights, curled up in the back seat of the white, Pontiac station wagon, dressed in our PJs. Anticipating dusk so the movie would begin.

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In the summer and even early fall, we spent many Saturday nights at the Owen Sound Twin Drive-in Theatre. With no air conditioning at home, it was an escape from the stifling heat of the century-old, badly insulated Victorian house we lived in.  My Dad would pack up the Igloo cooler with bottles of Pop Shoppe cream soda and root beer and it would be one of the few occasions our Mom would allow us to have junk food. We grew up in a household free of it. Fresh popcorn, sugar controlled Freshie and homemade cookies were her snacks of choice for us. Occasionally, our parents would let us buy something from the concession stand.

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Before heading out for our night of movie entertainment; we were put into our pajama’s, our parents knowing we would never make it through the second movie. We tried, oh trust me, we tried.

My Dad would always try to get us there early, like many others, he wanted a prime spot.  This would mean waiting extra time for dusk and time to play in the rusting structures of the play area. How we didn’t end up with lead poison or lockjaw still confounds me. Running wild with hoards of other children, our parents hoped we’d exhaust ourselves so they’d be allowed enough peace and quiet to hear the voices through the vintage speaker mounted on the driver’s side window.

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Since 1950 and when the Owen Sound Twin Drive-in Theatre first opened up, the long line-up of cars would cruise in, set-up the speaker in their window and then make their way to the concession stand. That drive-in saw many cars filled with young lovers, families with kids in PJs, teenagers excited that they could test their new driver’s license and freedom and older couples enjoying a date night. When I think of drive-in theatres, I often imagine the voice of Wolfman Jack drifting from the radio, in sync with the crunching sounds of popcorn and the release of metal pop bottle lids.  We usually parked close to the concession stand, allowing our car to be filled with the smells of food cooking and the sounds of beverages being poured into wax-lined paper cups.
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One memory that has always stuck with me is that of being scared shitless to go to the bathroom that was attached to the concession stand. It was mere feet away. One of the movies from a double feature that particular evening was The Car. In this movie, the car was possessed and was running people down and starred the very handsome James Brolin. I was so scared of this evil vehicle that I was convinced that it was in the drive-in. I remember begging my mother to take me to the washroom. She was frustrated by this since I’ve never been scared to go on my own before that night. Oh, the 1970s. A time when you’d let your young child wander off to a public washroom all on their own.

It’s sad that drive-in’s and bowling alleys are dying away. They both have filled my heart with so many wonderful memories and I often wonder what could be done to keep them open and popular for today’s society. Would adding fun extras such as live music, trivia contests or some other events to entertain the masses, while they wait for the sun to go down, be enough?  I’m afraid it won’t be. Let’s hold onto those wonderful memories and continue to tell others our stories of hot, humid summer nights at a double feature at your local drive-theatre.
Please share your stories in the comments below.