13 August 2008

Rehearsing for the Majlis

Last night was the first of two rehearsals for this Friday's Figure of Speech event. This whole concept of Tricia Postle's seemed sorta abstract to me until we got to the space on Walnut Street. The dancer — Norma Araiza — and I had met in person once and had a telephone meeting as well, where we hashed out the kinds of things we wanted to do, and what kinds of texts might work best. I spent much of yesterday creating one new poem and expanding two existing poems for a suite of list poems that will provide the basis for most of the first set.

It was great to meet Jeff Burke, the bassoon player, and Andrew Frost, the guitarist, and to see percussionist Steve Lederman again. Jeff and Andrew had worked together before, but it was the first time they'd met Steve. I always feel very intimidated in the presence of musicians, so it took a while before I could step in and join their improvisation and Norma's compelling and often comical dance (Tricia did say she was part clown, part dancer). We spent a couple of hours trying out different things, and I was amazed at how quickly the musicians were able to read each other's minds. It also became apparent that, even without rehearsals, we likely would have been able to take the stage and do interesting things for our 90 minutes.

Tricia has based this event on the "Majlis," an Arabic word that means a "sitting." It can refer to sitting rooms, a parliament (the Iranian parliament is called the Majlis), and parties. And then this form of entertainment, in which a variety of different artists perform for an audience, solo and in collaboration; it's a bit like a workshop at a folk festival.

After we'd rehearsed, we sat down and ironed out the "structure" for the evening. There's going to be a lot of improvisation; and in my case, although some of the pieces I read are planned, I'll be choosing others on the spot, riffing off of what's happening with the improvised music and dance.

The Walnut Street space is pretty wild, and there's a lot of work to be done on it before Friday. The stage is indoors, in front of a set of full-wall windows that open out onto a courtyard, where the audience will be sitting under a canopy (in case it rains).

We were all pretty enthusiastic about it after our rehearsal, and Steve is already plotting our world tour.

Over and out.

12 August 2008

Virus Reading in Niagara Falls on Thursday!

I've been buried in work. Lots of editing work. And a rewriting of a novella I wrote in 1990. And preparation for Sunday's Poetry Boot Camp. And for Friday's bassoon/gong/guitar/dance/poetry extravaganza.

And Thursday ... Thursday I'm reading for the first time in Niagara Falls. I was almost born in Niagara Falls, but my family moved to Toronto before that could happen.

A little posse of us are making a road trip early, and we'll catch the Falls, and visit a wax museum, and buy trinkets.

And then this, organized by Jordan Fry, the guy who used to do the Grey Borders series in St. Catherines:

Thursday, August 14, 2008 at 7:00pm


Terry Trowbridge (St. Catharines)
Tanis Rideout (Toronto)
Stuart Ross (Toronto)
and Maggie Helwig (Toronto)

The Book Nook
4555 Queen Street
Niagara Falls

Come for 7pm to see Fa Crowned perform.
8pm for poetry and other fictions.
Admission by donation (at the door or the hat)

See you there. Bring your own barrel.

Over and out.

09 August 2008

Figure of Speech: This Friday in Toronto

This Friday, I'm taking part in an intriguing — and daunting — series organized by Tricia Postle. It's called Figure of Speech and the poster below says it all. I'll be reading my work and collaborating with the dancer Norma Araiza and three musicians, including Steve Lederman, with whom I once worked together on the Angry Shoppers project (Steve was the drummer) and later on as a duo.

In a few hours, I'm meeting with Norma for the first time, and we're gonna figure out what the hell we're gonna do!

Over and out.

08 August 2008

I got interviewed, and I'm so goddamn efficient

Evie Christie, who is a very fine writer, interviewed me for the online Mondo Magazine, which is not related to Mondo Hunkamooga.

Therein, I talk about my new book, Dead Cars in Managua, I talk about my Poetry Boot Camps, and I talk about the source of applause.

Also, my new blog, the one where I review All My Goddamn Poetry Books. Well, it got off to a slow start. But it'll happen.

Over and out.