30 Jun 2008, 7:32pm

Fringe Finish

Glamour and Glory which put on Open For Business: Peacock Cabaret, Popstars, Rockstars, Everybody Dies. It was a cabaret show about a cabaret show. Fantastic singing. A little more offbeat than the average fringe we saw and a generation or two younger audience than the others. It was the last show before the troupe splits off to other acting schools.


Jem Rolls David mentions, blogging the fest is tricky because by time you mention something it may be gone again, unlike books or movies. But Jem Rolls does the whole fringe circuit and has been to Ottawa before and plans to come back next year.

Jem Rolls is a traveling bard. This year he was talking about that monster in our midst that we love, the mall. He does interesting pivots enjambing two ideas, reminding me of Karasick, such as inside a chorus in the alley, in the alley, in the alimentary canal or talking about our commercial greed phenomena, now we’re in a pickle (pause) aisle (and continuing on). Couple useful takeaway thoughts of how contempt breeds familiarity, such as songs that drive us batty, 20 years on, becoming a pleasant walk down memory lane. Hate isn’t sustainable. It boils away.

Another thought, which I can only paraphrase since I didn’t jot down the phrasing of then, came to mind as we cycled along the river past ducks. Looking at ducks he pondered along the lines of how am I using the extra capacity and powers I have by virtue of not being a duck? When standing in a queue staring blankly, not so much.

We also caught a couple others, including On the Sly from Formerly Witty Productions who are in the post fringe fest, Piggyback Fringe at Wakefield today.

Another view of the Fringe.

On the Sly
They did a new spin on Taming of the Shrew that was amusing with some breaking of the 4th wall, meta-playing, and a lot of energy.

And tomorrow is Canada Day already. Happy Canada Day! (And reserving the right to repeat that tomorrow.)

Is it just me or does Ottawa’s graffiti seem uncommonly upbeat?

Quote: “To love oneself is the beginning of a life long romance.” – Oscar Wilde

29 Jun 2008, 11:15am

Fringe Fest

Best in Fest of who get extra performances today are announced.

Crude Love Crude Love is on an 8 city tour (next stops Toronto, then Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Edmonton). The dilemma for the male lead is which is more important: what romance is developing personally, or what’s developing in the oil sands, pollution and cover-ups in the industry. It’s a comedy between an urban-boy environmental activist, and an earthy, ripe-accented Newfoundland oil sands worker. She has colorful expressions and fire and in one scene, drinks him under the table while she’s still warming up for the night. An impossible couple and yet soul mates. Will he choose the woman or the issue? Crude Love

Funnily enough both of the plays we saw in one day made digs at the bleeding-heartness of not eating meat. Is this the start of a grassroots swing away from vegetarianism? And oddly enough, we’re batting 3/3 for orgasm shouts or simulated sex in plays we’ve seen. (Is that controversial or something?) [P.S. Ended up being in 7/7 that we saw.]

Judith Shakespeare
Sword fights make for good photos but The Triumph of Judith Shakespeare came highly recommended. In this fringe fest scene, Judith Shakespeare is fighting the Muse.

Muse wears fringies for the fringe. And a cod piece. Wonder if future fashions will ever swing around to an exaggerated camel toe for female empowerment…? (Not the the OSSD play mused on that.)

Anyway, what was the play about? A dead-for-centuries-poet gets a second chance to complete her verse by joining the spirit of a modern rich girl to set her on a moral path where she can’t help but spout ethics in rhyme to her board meeting and investors. Ghosts and vices and a muse come to talk to the living as auditory delusions, perhaps, Judith posits, as a side effect of long term serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Iambic pentameter was made comic to talk in whences and hie aways and medical terms and side effects of Prozac.

Judith ShakespeareA raft of ideas. It seemed to put forward how the Muse led to women’s voices being whiney, depressed and ignored while male voices dominated. And to talk of war-slain and plague leaves the story incomplete. Superior stories are stories of transformation. If the muse becomes castrated and one’s mind and will prevails over “inspiration” one can lead, conscience can rule and bring back morality to Financial District, balance to self and society. The muse’s story of Sisyphus as helpless and condemned can be set free by finding the crack in the stone and it becoming a jewel and a success on a more significant scale than politics and cash, but success as Caring for individuals and being steward to society.

Quote: “The battle for women’s rights has been largely won.” –Margaret Thatcher (comedian, that girl ;))

29 Jun 2008, 11:12am
Comments Off on Throwndown


Fit for the fringe was the Throwdown in O-Town. It was narrated by campy announcer style Puritan guys. There was a good turnout and interesting venue with staging, lighting, sound transmitting, intro music and loads of breaks to socialize every 15 minutes or so.

There were 4 jocular rounds: a reach for the top-type trivia contest (on pop culture, each other, and poetry, heavy on ham and drama), a reading by each (rob from departures and Nathaniel from Let’s Pretend we never met).

Voting was by boos and cheers, with thrown pingpong balls and heckling throughout, then a formal debate (in structure but not content) on who has given more to literature, with bandied slashing insults, and then an improv-round wrestling match.

The throwdown was all aiming for over-the-top spectacle of boys at play. (Think it made it by a mile or so.) Sorta slam poetry mixed with WWF theatre (or whatever its called these days) with shades of William Shatner S’ppose a gladiatorial turn makes sense in the cultural context of “full contact hyper-masculine bowling” of Bowlbrawl, if you know the cultural reference points. (Even I who doesn’t have that caught the frying pan hidden under a shirt from some sort of 80s video-clips from ads.) Poetry, it’s always a cultural experience of one kind or another.

JohnW made a slideshow of it all including round 4. K8 describes the scenes too. It ended with Nathaniel being throwndown literally and figuratively with a defeat speech posted. rob didn’t post a victory note.

It was certainly a fresh take on poetry readings with media campaigns and video trailers. Amanda gives a more what and who of the generally dark-toned readings. For thicker skins than mine. I just found them too violent to hold my interest overall, and/or had read/heard them before. Kate Heartfield’s story from departures of waiting for bus 152, taken to absurd extremes, staying for days, rubbed my funny bone tho.

Throwdown Tonight


Throwdown in O-town will be featuring Nathaniel G. Moore & rob mclennan in debate so conclusive that afterwards that either the city of Ottawa or Toronto will have to pack up and shuffle into the literary desert as 40 year nomads.

The Puritan launch opens with readings by Darryl Berger, Christina Decarie, Amanda Earl, Matthew Firth, Kate Heartfield, Jeffrey Ross and Steve Zytveld.

Where? Babylon Nightclub, 317 Bank, 7:00 p.m.

Let the Record Video Show: The gauntlet had been thrown down, the official contract has been signed, people spoke and the gauntlet was picked up and swung yesterday. The showdown, throwdown is tonight.

Randomish Link Dump: Seen these? Living In Ottawa Host (English Television at CBC/Radio-Canada in Ottawa is looking for a dynamic and motivated individual to host a half-hour lifestyle magazine show that will run daily on CBC Ottawa, typography poster, new version, old q, Abundantly Simple: Every woman’s gratitude guide, Robert Peake on poetry process, 25 reasons to go reusuable rather than plastic bags, I am neurotic, another quirky anonymous confession site [via], pig phobic of mud gets boots from understanding farmers, NAQ (instead of FAQ, why didn’t I think of that acronym), 10 Lessons Learned in 10 Years of Publishing Zines, man-hug [via] and waterbeds and plasma TVs for cows

Testing 1, 2: Which font?, a quiz of noodling out 30 typefaces. [via] Or prefer to do an Aging Quiz of your understanding of senior realities? (G’wan, beat my score; shouldn’t be hard I got 53%)

Quote: “There is certainly no absolute standard of beauty. That precisely is
what makes its pursuit so interesting.” – John Kenneth Galbraith

26 Jun 2008, 3:42pm

Rain, Rain Keep Coming

At first when the wind came up I missed being where the fields could be wracked with it, grasses tossed to and fro in waves. Only unresponsive concrete and its bubbling puddles. Once the rain begins in earnest, the distinction between air and water and self dissolve. Visual doesn’t matter anymore. Glasses or eyes are useless as a sense.

Wish I could record the spectacular continued cracklingness of the thunder. Some of the lightning seems close. The rhythm of the rain changed from irregular sized plops to insistent and fast and steady. It was a long walk but so easy to bliss out in a downpour. The streets empty and who is left hunch under umbrellas or dash holding up newspapers and bags. And I continue along, getting soaked to the skin, happy as a frog. It’s like thoughts are dust all washed out of the cloudy thoughts. Don’t know where the particles accumulate, maybe between my toes. (checking) nope. They’re wet but unworried.

It’s funny, each mid-winter I start to look askance at my Lichen book, weigh it against shelf real estate potential use, but then summer comes and the lichen and fungi all are treasure hunts again.



Quote: “Alone, alone with God’s grey earth that seems/ pulse of my pulse…let me but wander on the shore night-stilled/Drinking its darkness till my soul is filled.” – Pauline Johnson, Tekahionwake

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