Tag Archives: In The Flesh

Building Community Through the Arts

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On March 1st, 2017, I will be performing at the Kitchener Public Library at an event called “Building Community Through the Arts”, presented by Wilfrid Laurier University’s Women & Gender Studies’ department. There will be lots of great local artists and juicy community conversation regarding topics related to social justice. Please come out!

Event information can be found here.

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Upcoming Events Avec Moi

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I’m a busy little Queen B these days, and over the next few weeks, there are some events taking place where you can find me, if you want to!

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First off, Precious Blueberries, you can find me facilitating two workshops at the Birth and Beyond Conference in London, Ontario from October 20th-22nd. The first is entitled, “Conceiving Your Story: Telling Tales” and the second is “Birthing Your Story: Telling Tales”.

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If you still haven’t gotten enough of me at the Birth and Beyond Conference, you can catch me hosting their Birth House event, where the birthy folk will be showcasing their amazing talents such as spoken word, dancing, singing, storytelling, and so much more! 

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What’s new, Pussycat? Whoa-oh-oh! You can find me at the Pussycat Lounge in Hamilton, Ontario, celebrating women/wimmim/womyn/womxn who love women/wimmin/womyn/womxn. No matter your gender identity, you are welcome to take in the music spun by DJ Michael Simla and the creative work of Debra Anderson and myself. It’s going to be purr-fect!

Trees, Bees, and Babies!

Peace and Blessings!

Bethy ❤

Shiver For Me…

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It’s cold! Every winter, I ask myself why I haven’t left frigid Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario for the balmy climate of Vancouver, British Columbia…and then I remember that I’m a poet, and I have no money. A gal can dream, though, and those dreams taste mighty sweet since I can remember my trip to Vancouver so clearly.

 

vancouver tree
I may have had an erotic moment with this tree.

vancouver
Commercial Drive with hippies, communists, mountains, and poets!

While I struggle through the season of chillblains (not just for Dickension characters, apparently!), let me catch you up to what I have been busy doing!

In October, the Kitchener-Waterloo Slam Team of 2015 went to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and we placed 5th in the country at the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word! Yeah! We came hard and we beat big name teams like Toronto and Guelph. I’m proud of our team’s work!

wall of bees
Queen B was very impressed with the bee theme on a Saskatoon street corner!

This poem earned me a standing ovation from the audience and some mixed reactions from my colleagues.

 In December, I performed at a fundraiser for Plan B Co-operative KW, a not-for-profit providing queer community spaces and resources for folx in Waterloo Region. It was called “Homo For the Holidays” and featured some amazing hiphop from 8th Iotomic.

In January, I performed at one of my favourite annual events – Cliterature! The show, put on by Shelley Secrett of Secrett Events, is a celebration of wimmin’s sexuality through song, dance, storytelling, poetry, and pretty much anything you can think of. Yes, there are vulva cookies. Anyway, it was a rocking good time with lots of laughter, some tears, a whole lot of kombucha, and a very generous audience.

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Pre-show selfie!

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It’s showtime! Photo courtesy of Carolina Miranda.

Next up will be a feature in Brantford, Ontario on February 5th, 2016 (it’s an anti-Valentine’s Day slam!) and my super awesome FUNdraiser, Step Up, Speak Out: A Celebration of Resistance, which is happening on February 20th! Come out! Come out and play with me!

Step Up, Speak Out: A Celebration of Resistance

resist
Legal fees? More like BEAGLE FLEAS! hyuck, hyuck, hyuck!

Other than some wicked writer’s block, that’s about all that’s new with me! I’ll leave you with a writing exercise I did today trying to inspire a poem. The task was to create a list of nouns. Here is my list:

figs, dates, earth, brown, calendula, bees, sunflowers, rose petals, bee hives, honey, alchemy, sand glass, robin’s eggs, twigs, marsh, cemetery, wildfire, smoke, barn, nettle, clover, dew drop, bluegrass, socks, trees, paint, clay, rope, anchor, salt, amber, candle, incense, lighter, crystals, ice, snow, apples, coffee, cigars, apothecary jars, beeswax, maps, books, and sextant.

I couldn’t come up with a poem out of all that, but maybe you can! Share and give me some inspiration!

Trees, Bees, and Babies!

Peace and Blessings,

Bethy ❤

What I Did On My Summer Non-Vacation

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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!).

Capturing Fire
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.

Me at Cherry Park Cherry Festival
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.

latitudes
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.

secret handshake
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!

An Appetite For Poetry
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.

Caberet Noir
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.

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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).

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It’s the sword.

Want to play with me on Facebook?

Check out my artist page!

 

Hot Damn!

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What’s the most responsible thing to do after competing in a week-long poetry competition out of province, contracting a serious cold, and engaging in three full days of workshop-teaching? Why, go to Toronto and compete in another poetry slam, of course!

Hot Damn Poster by Komi Olaf
Poster and artwork by Komi Olaf. © 2015

Back in March, I won a poetry slam that gave me the opportunity to compete against poets from four other cities at the Buddies In Bad Times Theatre in Toronto. As someone who had a love affair with Sky Gilbert’s Confessions of a Naked Party Girl during her undergrad, I considered it mandatory to take the opportunity to perform on the stage that he co-founded and artistically directs (could I have possibly phrased this more awkwardly? Shit. Good thing I don’t try to make a living as a writer or anything).

The evening’s feature performer was D’bi.Young Anitafrika. There quite simply are not enough adjectives in the Universe to describe the fierce awesomeness and raw talent of this artist. I cried my way through her entire set, and my tears were by turn tears of sorrow, tears of joy, tears of pain, tears of delight, and tears of love. I will remember D’bi.Young Anitafrika for the rest of my life, and so will everyone I will ever meet, because I am making it a point to tell everyone about her. P.S. She’s also a sweetheart, which is great…nothing more disappointing than when an artist you love is kind of a jerk, amirite?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSyFtzZikb0

I know WordPress doesn’t want to give you a preview of the video. Click on the URL. I promise it is worth the exercise.

I never (okay, well, rarely) go into a slam with expectations of winning, and I always try to keep my heart and mind focused on enjoying the beauty of the poetry I am taking in, and not on pesky things like points. The people competing in the finals of Hot Damn It’s A Queer Slam were the best of their cities – I knew the poetry would be juicy, juicy…and that the competition would be fierce. And it was. And it was.

But…

hot damn trophy
Yes, that’s a trophy. A trophy for poetry. A trophy for poetry that I may have won by performing a poem about a certain vibrator.
Photography by Beth Murch © 2015

That’s right – I won! I think I might be even more surprised than you are, and I know that you are surprised! Not only did I receive this fantabulous trophy, I won a trip to Capturing Fire Queer Spoken Word Summit & Slam in Washington DC! This is an international spoken word and poetry festival, Friends. I think I might need to buy a new dress. Or, you know, a lint roller to get the cat hair off the dresses I already own.

Learn More About Capturing Fire

I feel incredibly blessed that the stars aligned in such a way that I was granted this opportunity. I am grateful for Cathy Petch, the slam’s creator and organizer, and everyone else involved. It was a gift to hear from all the poets – I laughed, cried, cheered, booed, hissed, clapped, and snapped until I had absolutely nothing left inside of me, and that says a lot coming from a big gal like me!

But hey, don’t just take my word for it. TOpoet wrote a great blog post about the event that got me excited all over again. You should totally read it:

“I Speak In Cursive” (also, not going to lie: I’m super jazzed that a line from my poem “Tongue” is the title of the post!)

My heart is filled with love and hope for the future.

Frosty vs The Suitcase
This is one of the reasons that I am always covered in fur, even when I travel.

Chemda vs the suitcase
This is the other reason.

“I Come From A City of Fingers…”

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I try not to make this blog a diary, because I know that nobody wants to read about what I eat for dinner…but some cool stuff has been happening in my world, and I want to share it, since so many people have played a part in helping me to have these experiences.

From April 28th – May 3rd, 2015, I was in the beautiful city of Vancouver, British Columbia, competing in the Canadian Individual Poetry Slam, which is a part of Verses, a big poetry festival there. It was my first time in Vancouver, and I was madly in love with the mountains (and the ocean, but I really only saw that in a harbour, under a bridge, as I was speeding by in a taxi).

Mountains!
Photograph by Beth Murch © 2015

People just walk around like there weren’t mountains…MOUNTAINS!…all around them!

More Mountains
Photograph by Beth Murch © 2015

Can you spot me in this picture?

Verses Pic
Photograph by Evil Patrick Shannon © 2015

So, at the end of it all, I placed 28th out of 40 of Canada’s most talented poets…so, I won’t be repping Canada at the World Poetry Slam anytime soon, but I held my own and I dropped some super sweet poetry (not that I’m biased or anything). What a great adventure! Thank you so much to everyone who helped to make this trip possible – so many of you generously donated so that I could make this dream come true. I am profoundly honoured that you invested your time and money into me, and I hope that I made you proud.

Rainbow Dress Day
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Photograph by me, obviously. © 2015

I want to leave you with a poem performed by an East Van Slam poet, Zaccheus Jackson Nyce, of blessed memory, about the city of Vancouver. I missed my friend’s presence while in his city, and it was hard to perform without his voice in the audience, but part of me knew that he was there with us all along. Please explore his poetry – he really was someone who could have done Canada proud at the World Poetry slam.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9kxfA1lPj0

I know WordPress doesn’t want to show you a video preview. Please click the URL anyway. It’s worth the exercise, I promise.