I still remember the first day of Grade Seven so clearly. I was mature. I was womanly. I was wearing a one piece floral jumpsuit with a massive Peter Pan collar. My hair was permed. My braces were blue. Our assignment was to write about what we did on our summer vacation. I concentrated really hard on making my writing small, neat, feminine, orderly…what I perceived “grown up” writing to look like. I was certain that this would be the year that I would blossom into a beautiful maiden that the Phantom of the Opera would love to kidnap and spend eternity with. Or maybe Queen Marlena from He-Man. What can I say? Twelve was a confusing age.
I’ve neglected you, my poor poetry bloggy-blog. My precious blueberries. In the spirit of my Grade Seven perm, please accept this report on my summer’s activities.
In June, I went to Capturing Fire in Washington, D.C., an international queer spoken word summit. This Ontario, Canada gal met a lot of great people and learned the true meaning of the word “humidity”. Cheeses H. Crackers. At one point, I was performing and I was desperately certain that the audience believed I was literally peeing myself because sweat was pouring down my legs like I was an incontinent granny (not yet, suckas! not yet!).
It’s not urine, it’s liquid genius. Photograph by Dominic Berry.
While in D.C., I met a fabulous person named Brynn Possible, who has a super cool tumblr called A Guide to Dancing Naked. She saw me perform at a little show named La-Ti-Do, and did a little write up on me, saying some kind things considering I was feeling like a hot mess and in dire need of a venti triple vodka valium mocha latte, with extra whip (and chains). Anyway, you should totally learn to dance naked by reading this uplifting and positive tumblr, as well as check out Brynn’s acting and singing: A Guide To Dancing Naked.
There was no rest for the wicked upon my return: I next performed at The Cherry Park Cherry Festival in Kitchener, Ontario. I must have lived in Kitchener for over a decade before I realized cherries and cherry festivals were a thing…and at one point, I lived three blocks from Cherry Park! But truly, the Cherry Park neighbourhood takes cherries and Cherry Festivals seriously, and rightly so, because their festival is a heck of a good time! My friends on the Kitchener-Waterloo Poetry Slam team also celebrated the harvest onstage with me: Taylor Heywood, Bashar Jabbour, and Oracle Whyz…all amazing artists in their own right, and worth your investigating.
But can you *FEEL* it?!
After our performance at The Cherry Park Cherry Festival, the team and I performed at the 10th anniversary of the Latitudes Storytelling Festival, which was held in Victoria Park, in Kitchener.
Emoting, you know, like I do.
Then, it was off to Toronto to perform at The Secret Handshake Poetry Reading Series hosted by David Bateman and bill bissett. The show was really beautiful and everyone was so kind…but my favourite part of the day hands-down was watching the geese swim on Lake Ontario with fellow performer (and a true goddess of love) Honey Novick and bill bissett.
Sweatin’ to the Poetries Volume 6. I actually looked gorgeous before I got on the bus, so cram it with walnuts, Buddy!
August was born, and I shlepped to St. Catherine’s, Ontario, to feature at their slam at a lovely cafe, where I had a delicious $10 grilled cheese sandwich. Only $10? No, freaking $10 for a grilled cheese sandwich. Granted, the cheese was from local cows who lived in green pastures, the bread was artisanal, and the sammerich came with a side of organic tomato jelly (read: ketchup). Definitely a long way from the “grilled cheese” of my youth where my sister and I would microwave no-name process “cheese” slices on white bread (definitely not the artisanal kind, either). I had a grand time at the St. Kit’s slam – the people there were so warm and supportive! I laughed a lot, met some new friends, and heard a wide range of poetry.
After a very brief three hours of sleep, I was at the bus station on my way back to Kitchener to perform at a private house party in honour of someone special’s birthday. Gigs with pop and cupcakes are always the best!
A few weeks later, I facilitated a workshop I created called, “An Appetite for Poetry: Exploring Poetry Through Food”. I thought it sounded really sexy and I was super pumped to give it, but only one person showed up. Apparently, everyone was full of poetry that day!
Cue sad trombone music.
Suddenly, it was September, and I was performing at the Veritas Cafe, housed in Wilfrid Laurier University, as part of their RadWeek (the version of Orientation Week for people who don’t necessarily want to chant silly songs, run relay races, and whatever else the other kids are doing). I personally love the idea of RadWeek, and I wish it existed when I started at Laurier a trillion, billion years ago.
September 13th, I was back to Toronto, this time to feature at Lizzie Violet’s Cabaret Noir. If you are ever in the Toronto, Ontario area, you should really check this monthly show out. The variety of artists and the powerful love of the audience will have you floating in joy. I could not have had a better time, and I hope Lizzie will have me back some day.
Photograph courtesy of Mr. Zed Dulac.
Last, but not least, the slam team and I held our giant fundraiser to help us earn some moolah to get to the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Saskatoon this October. It was a hiphop/poetry mashup called “Words on the Beat, Fire on the Mic: Spoken Word & Song”. I don’t want to seem like I am bragging, but this was one hell of a show! The whole team and I did our poetry thing, while we had dC of nSRk, Chris Golden, Rooster the Computer, and our very own Oracle Whyz rock the mic in the hiphop department. I am pretty sure I fell in love with hiphop all over again, which, for me, is a big thing to say, since hiphop and my cats are the longest relationships I’ve ever had. Hiphop and I are fluid bonded.
Photograph courtesy of my bestie, Stefani.
So, in conclusion, my poetry peeps, if you are indeed out there and somehow still reading this, my summer was busy, but fun. I hope that reading my tales of adventure kept you busy until the commercial break ended.
I leave you with a music video of one of my favourite songs played at “Words on the Beat, Fire on the Mic”, called Hands Up, Don’t Shoot by Chris Golden and Oracle Whyz (formally known as YBS Frack).
It’s the sword.
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