Category Archives: Performing

Flash Performance at Sawdust

“Flock of Birds” by Faisal Akram
Courtesy of WikiMedia Commons
A flock of dark-winged, white-bodied gulls flying this way and that over a marsh.


 
So! Here we are.
Last night, and despite still being in the process of fighting off a sinus/upper-respiratory infection (I hope I managed not to breath on anybody), I went to Sawdust for their Spoken Word Summer event, featuring nina jane drystek, NathanaΓ«l Larochette, and BarΓ’a Arar.
 
I enjoyed the show. The open mic – in-which I participated – was packed, which was fantastic, the room was full of queerdos, and the feature performers showcased a variety of styles, including sound poetry which is not something I tend to hear.
 
Or participate in.
πŸ˜€
 
The reason I went to this particular Sawdust event, especially given that I was sick and would likely have skipped it under different circumstances, was because I’d been contacted a scant ten days earlier by the above-mentioned nina jane drystek about taking part in a choral performance of sound poetry based on a Kimiko Murakami piece of concrete poetry.
 
Now, I’ve sung in choirs before. And group performances are at least a little familiar to me, if only as poetry slam team pieces. But I’ve never performed a group spoken piece, and definitely not one that involved pulling and twisting the syllables of an ostinato only three words long.
So I figured, what the heck, I’ll give it a shot.
 
Three rehearsals and a flurry of messages later, I and nine other local lady poets (half or more of us queers of one stripe or another, which delights me even more) interrupted[1] the “final announcements” section at the end of the show, taking the stage one by one, to become a flock of birdgirls playing with the theme of “we are here” (Are we here? Here we are!), squashing, stretching, and clipping the syllables, layering the words over each other, passing them back and forth, crescendo and diminuendo turning them into waves, into birds shoaling, letting them echo and fade.
 
It was a fun time. To be part of a storm.
It was neat to see people’s expressions, in the audience, which from where I was standing looked pretty delighted with the whole thing.
I think I would do this again. πŸ˜€
 
 
TTFN,
A.
 
 
[1] It was, in fact, planned from the get-go, and the organizers were in on it.

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FIGURES: Impressions of a Professional Naked Girl (chapbook by me)

So, as-you-know-bob, I’m doing a reading with fabulous femme Amber Dawn Writes (home page) and bodaceous butch Kalyani Pandya (Daily Xtra article by Lukayo) this coming Saturday to celebrate the launch of Amber Dawn’s latest book, Where the Words End and My Body Begins. There will be a write-in during the show, and there will of course be merch. I mean, buy Amber’s books, clearly.
But there will also be this:
 

FIGURES: Inpressions of a Professional Naked Girl

FIGURES: Inpressions of a Professional Naked Girl


 
I’m rather chuffed about the whole situation.
It’s a limitted run of fifty (except that it’s currently a limitted run of forty-nine because the printshop and the other printshop and I Had A Miscommunication… But I’ll get it sorted out).
 
Anyway. That’s my wee bit of news. πŸ™‚
 
 
TTFN,
A.

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Book Launch with Amber Dawn! I’m In It! :-D

Hey, folks!
 
So I may or may not have mentioned this back in, like, February, when this scheme was first cooked up, BUT: I’m in a show! With Amber Fucking Dawn! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€
Be still, my little femme literary heart! πŸ˜€
 
It’s a free show at 7:30pm, on Saturday, June 13th (so a week from this coming Saturday) at Venus Envy in Ottawa. The occasion is the launch of Amber Dawn’s quite awesome new book of Glosas – Where the Words End and My Body Begins – and there will be a sex-positive write-in (audience non-mandatory participation, essentially) during the show.
 
There will be love-letters to queerdom, poetry about queer history, femme identity, modeling, & sexwork, short stories told and read, and, as the flyer puts it, a whole lot of “sex, sass, humour, and healing”.
 
In short, you should all come.
 

FREE show ft Amber Dawn, Kalyani Pandya, and ME!
Saturday, June 13th, 2015
7:30pm – 9:30pm
Venus Envy (226 Bank St, Ottawa)

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Some Thoughts on Reading Aloud

So my friend, over at Metuiteme, has a post about reading aloud and, upon reading it, I felt a need to comment. And the comment ran long and has become the following post:
 
I love reading stuff aloud. I read to my wife and, recently, my sweetheart. It’s a really lovely way to share stuff – time and space, for a start, but also things like cosmology, and the beautiful secret meanings of Things that, because they live in a story you shared, take on a new significance in day-to-day life as well. Bees. Red yarn. Crow feathers. Black thorns and red, red petals.
 
I didn’t start reading aloud to people until I was 30, so this is still a new and wonderful thing for me. But I’ve been writing to read aloud, if that makes sense, for much, much longer. Ursula has that essay in The Wave In The Mind about trying to find Deathless Prose and the roll of vowels and stuff that can give you something almost like an internal rhyme scheme in sentence form. I’ve been writing towards that goal since highschool, if not earlier.
 
I very definitely think it has something to do with the structure of the language. I can read Terry Pratchett (who also writes accents) out loud just fine, for example. I get the feeling that JKR wrote the Harry Potter books, particularly the first three of them, to be the kind of books that kids who were fairly new to reading novels, and also to reading silently inside their heads, would be able to devour on their own rather than have read to them. I don’t know if that was relevant to how she chose to word her prose, but it’s a thing to keep in mind. Whereas JRRT was writing a myth cycle for England, essentially, complete with poetry that was *meant* to be declaimed aloud. That and his own Classics history meaning that he’d have known Homer backwards and forwards and *that*, more than novels, would have informed his writing style. At least I suspect it would have done.
 
Reading aloud is a sensual thing. A sensory thing. So a LOT of the advice for erotica-writers, specifically, includes the suggestion to read your work aloud to yourself during the editing process. It helps you find the places where you stumble, where someone else might stumble and lose the momentum of the scene because of it. It helps you find (and fix) the pacing of a scene through word choice. I find it really effective, personally.
 
Anyway. Reading aloud is wonderful (though keep some water on hand). Give it a shot. πŸ™‚
 
 
A.

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Show! (Long Time Coming, Not Here Yet)

A poet I admire asked me if I would like to read with her.
I said yes.
We are going to do a show together in the summer, possibly with a third poet.
We will be making zero money as the door-take will be going to a local non-profit – although she and the potential third poet will have books/chapbooks to sell – but it’s a show. I haven’t done a show in over a year at this point, so I’m quite looking forward to it.
 
And, hey. Now I have an external deadline by which to be finished one, ideally two, manuscript(s). So that’s a handy thing as well.
 
 
TTFN,
A.

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PPO Insite Theatre Fundraiser – I’m Reading At It! (Friday, October 24th, 8pm – Cafe Nostalgica)

So I got an email from a friend the other day, asking if I’d be willing to perform some of my (tamer) erotic poetry and fiction at a fundraiser for the local Planned Parenthood this Friday the 24th (tomorrow). I’ve sent her a copy of my latest story – one that’s short enough to fit into my allotted time while still allowing me to include a few pieces of poetry as well – just to make sure that it’s okay for the intended audience.
I gather it’ll be a pretty vanilla crowd – though, if you’re kinky and interested in supporting Planned Parenthood Ottawa, I’d love to see you in the audience at Cafe Nostalgica (U of O Campus) at 8pm – so a story that includes choking, even self-choking, might wind up being a little too much. I sure hope not, though!
Beyond that, I’ll probably read “Teeth” (an oldy, but a goody) and a couple of short poems from my “Sweet and Sharp” chapbook. Whether or not I get paid is, alas, dependent on whether or not PPO meets their fundraising goal for the evening, but it still sounds like a fun gig, so I’m in. πŸ™‚

Tickets are $25 (available online and also from the PPO Office – 2197 Riverside, near Bank St) and include the reading, a burlesque performance (Bella Barecat) and admission to the evening’s dance party (ft DJ Caffrey). There will be prizes for best costume plus a photo booth as well.

Sexy Masquerade for PPO’s Insite Theatre
Cafe Nostalgica (601 Cumberland, U of O Campus)
Friday, October 24th
8pm-2am
Tickets $25 in advance

I’ll most likely be dolled up in my Lilith Gear. Hope to see you there, Ottawa/Gatineau Folks.

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Unholy Harvest Writing Workshop – In Which I Learn Something New

So I went to Unholy Harvest last weekend. It was, as always, phenomenal in a number of ways. But this year, one of those ways was that I learned something new and helpful in terms of how to write porn.
Apparently there was this study done, with thousands of participants, which determined that, while the content of people’s sexual fantasies is broad and diverse and all over the map, all of those fantasies could be slotted into one or more of the following (only) four general categories:
Breaking taboos
Resolving ambivalence
Longing/yearning/denial
Power and domination
 
Convenient, no?
So I now have this really handy way of taking an inspirational-flash – that quick mental image that might, hopefully, lead to an actual story – and sorting out which themes to poke at in order to make the story happy cohesively and in a way that might just make it a story that other people will be able to relate to.
So that was a big light-bulb moment for me.
 
The other thing that I concluded was that, if I want to play with feelings of ambivalence in my stories – more on that in a second – I need to accept that, for the moment, those stories are going to be on the long side. Pushing “novelette” rather than the kind of thing that I can submit to an anthology.
 
So that. Yeah. I got a story idea during the workshop. One that involves a woman going to watch her long-time GF work (the GF is a peepshow dancer) and getting off on her GF’s work-persona while simultaneously feeling a lot of longing and heart-ache about her actual GF because their sexlife has been suffering lately. Throw in a dash of ambivalence and secrecy, and the need to re-connect with the beloved, and you’ve got the potential for a really neat story.
But NOT for a really neat story that you call tell in five minutes or fewer at the Erotic Open Mic.
So what I wound up writing was a happy-and-connected couple who have (i) a power exchange relationship, and (ii) a weekly ritual wherein the Property half of said diad goes to see her owner dance, and the Owner half of the diad – who is also a big masochist – uses the last song of her shift to demonstrate what she wants her sweetie to do for/to her (service-topping) when they get home.
It included a certain amount of gender-fucking, a lot of voyeurism/exhibitionism, and a good helping of tease-and-denial. Mwahahahaha.
It was – if I do say so, myself – hot, rough, and cute, and it was short enough that I could read it aloud in the five minutes allotted to me on the stage. Go me. πŸ™‚
 
So that’s where that’s at. πŸ™‚
 
Here’s hoping I can keep it up, and that I can polish this particular piece to the point where it’s good enough to be submitted to an anthology or three.
 
 
TTFN,
A.

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Live On Tape (or something)

Apparently I’m on YouTube. Who knew?
 

 

 
First video is one poem. Second video is two (shorter) poems. They’re kinda slow to load, but there you go.
 
 
TTFN,
A.

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Mutterings About my Sunday Show (Dusty Owl – October 20th, 2013 at 3pm)

So.
Life continues apace.
I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed, but that’s nothing unusual.
 
I’m chewing my nails over my show on Sunday. I have a set-list drawn up, but it’s messy. I need to print everything out, I think, and see if I can’t arrange things in a way that that flows nicely.
 
I want to include some Pagan/Seasonal stuff. I want to include some of my “activist poetry” stuff, but a lot of that is old, so… limit that end of things. I want to include some erotic and specifically kinky poetry, in part because I’m also going to be reading kinky prose and the segue would be good.
 
But I’m not sure where to go from there.
 
Wish me luck. πŸ™‚

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Feature Performance – Dusty Owl Reading Series (October 20th, 2013)

So.
I’m featuring at the Dusty Owl later this month (October 20th), and I’m working on New Material so that I have enough shiny, new, polished stuff to make it worth their while to have put me on as a feature.
 
There will be a kinky short story read (an old one, but also my most recent), and bunch of poetry that, by the looks of things, can be loosely (very loosely) themed under the heading of “women’s work”.
 
We’ll see if that them holds steady as I get closer to the date and start going through my material to fill in the gaps. But my new stuff is covering everything from canning to nude modeling, so that seems to be where things are headed. πŸ™‚
 
As a side-note, the FB Event has me listed as a “spoken word poet” but… I don’t really identify that way, even if I have a lot of “stage poet” stylistic elements in my performances. I’ll be doing on-book poetry (so “page poetry”) and a little bit of prose (also on-book) for this show. Also Zach Wells will not be my co-performer. I’ll let you know who that will be once it’s confirmed. πŸ™‚
 
Wish me luck on the 20th! πŸ˜€
 
 
TTFN,
A.

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