Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Canadian Romantic- PSA

 Here is a brand new PSA about a very important topic affecting lives


Monday, January 21, 2013

Noogies Around The World


Noogies Around The World

TV ListingsEntertainment ISSUE 49•02 Jan 13, 2013 
National Geographic
8:30 p.m. EST/7:30 p.m. CST
It turns out that some countries don’t even call them noogies; they call them something else in their own language.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Drippy 6: Destroyer, Neil Wedman, Mom's TV Movies, comics....

For all you Destroyer fans, here is an interview with Dan Bejar from an old issue of Drippy Gazette. (issue 6 which when you click the link you can see it larger as well as the rest of the interview and it  has an article I did on the signs and murals of Vancouver, an interview with Neil Wedman, My Mom’s TV Movie reviews, lotsa comics!)….
This interview still cracks me up. On a related note,  the Points Gray album that Dan, Julian, and myself made around this time is almoooost at the plant and all three of us are rather excited, yay!

Pagelicker 4.2: Roddy Doyle on What It Means To Be Irish

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Pagelicker 4.0: Roddy Doyle

Here are two interviews with Roddy Doyle that I did recently for Pagelicker, a regular series of author interviews for Hazlitt that I host. Feel free to share, one's on his latest book "Two Pints", the other is on  writing from a woman's perspective:
Pagelicker 4.0: Roddy Doyle on Paula Spencer and Writing from a Woman's Perspective from Hazlitt on Vimeo.

  Pagelicker 4.0: Roddy Doyle on Two Pints from Hazlitt on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Okay, year in review

Using the end of the standard calendar year as a benchmark for reflection, I post pinpoints that may be of little use to anyone outside myself, through this act of self-indulgence I try to consider my audience and even put my filing skills to use by giving it a somewhat chronological order. At first I thought of putting these moments into a Dewey Decimal order but the library never hired me- even after accurately finishing the test in expedient time. Perhaps it was my habit of gleeful clapping upon completion of every task.

On the topic of jobs, my Toronto day-job contract was renewed, a job consisting of boring tasks, but now with the added perk of benefits package (no more wisdom teeth), it allows me flexibility to do what is important in my life and I have wonderful co-workers who gave me lots of chocolate and Christmas gifts (beautiful scarf, reindeer socks) this year. While waiting for the contract to be renewed I went to back to my old city of residence Vancouver to clear much of the wreckage from my past, I have deep roots in Vancouver. People noticed the psychic change that occurred in me. I had changed compared to the previous year in terms of ego, getting outside of myself, less resentful, developing healthier relationships with people (and animals), and as my Mother said during my last visit with her, I had grown more comfortable in my own skin. It was painful at times but things had gotten deeper. This felt good. More changes need to be made.
In Vancouver I saw (and stayed with) close friends that I missed greatly. But I also took The Canadian Romantic One Man Show there, it had previously only been performed in Montreal at Blue Sunshine. Keith Higgins at  the Pitt is  a real go-getter, he put it on with a dinner and I even made a full art book for Pitt/Publication Studios! He's put out a tonne of books....
The show was three hours long, sold out, and was mainly women in attendance.( < this last sentence is key, isn't it?)

The previous night in Vancouver, July Fourth Toilet performed for the first time in over three years. We formed in 1994 and are Canada's most unpredictable musical act ever. (fact, not boast) For this show we wanted to do a set of gnome songs, a longtime dream of Julian's and myself, but we couldn't find an adult less than four feet tall. Kim suggested the apocalyptic theme of 2012 so we did that! Andre played with us for the first time in years. It was such wonderful reconnecting with everyone and my voice had never sounded better in this act! I miss(ed) July Fourth Toilet. We performed at The Waldorf in their incredible Tiki Room which made the act of being in the now amazing, I thought of the Rainbow Room at Biba and realised that I certainly could compare the two, that amazing moments are happening all the time and these amazing moments may or may not make history, but I am in some of them. I also took the one man show to Saskatoon for nine attendees in 40 below weather and to Toronto in front of red velvet curtains at double double land. The Toronto show climaxed in my moustache getting shaved off by a lovely volunteer. My moustache is older than me, it's been around since the 90s, so this still shocks people, but I wanted to feel less encumbered. For so long I used to fancy that my look was iconic, but now I want to dissolve some visual signifiers, less for people to hang their assumptions on. I even had laser eye surgery done in 2012, it took a lot of research and thought, but it was worth it, so freeing! My 'witness protection' look and it felt good to wander around smooth faced in November.

Carousel Magazine did a series of window art shows and there was one for The Canadian Romantic that I made at Roadside Attractions which is curated by a lovely couple named Roy and Kate, they also hooked me up with the info to get winking wallet sized photos made (photos taken by Brendan Ko who made the fantasy real). The opening was a picnic in the park.

More videos of The Canadian Romantic were made, thanks to the hard work of Craig Irving who films them all, I needed to get the one about The Rapture out there in the world and I did.

The Canadian Romantic also opened for Neil Hamburger, JP Inc, Mac Demarco....fun shows full of creative risks!

I acted in a tampon ad.

My rock band Wet Dirt played some great shows with the Leather Uppers and Quintron and, though full of promise, broke up due to personalities outside of my control, I was powerless. And depressed. 
Then, a week later, The Canadian Romantic opened for Bobby Conn and R Stevie Moore with the talented and white-tuxedoed Chris Cummings on keys. A pair of excited fellas named Nyles and Justin were at the show and brought us into the studio to record The Canadian Romantic album which is still underway, we laugh ourselves silly at what we come up with in the studio. This tempered my depression of Wet Dirt falling apart: and this line-up had no songs recorded, though, the pretty damned cool Kevin Hainey released the previous line-up's recordings on his inyrdisk label. I did the art and art booklet which was risographed at Colour Code Printing. I got a lot of stuff risographed this year, the colours look so bold and juicy.

I did my first and last indie-go-go fundraiser campaign for the Points Gray (a one-off project of some of my more emotionally laid-bare lyrics, a three piece collaboration with Dan Bejar and Julian Lawrence) album from 1999 to come out on vinyl as all three of us are proud of it and want it out in the world. We fell short of our goal, but are still going ahead anyways, it's been a long difficult process. Raising the funds took a lot out of me (I got off the computer for two weeks after the campaign ended, I was so burnt out, probably a healthy thing to get off Facebook) and though I treated it as a pre-order the whole Indie-go-go thing feels like 'charity' right down to the 'Won't you help?' headers that they have.

My writing appeared in various places. I felt like I was on a roll really writing again, I had a karaoke column for the Toronto AV Club, but after a couple columns, head office said it didn't fit their house style, so instead of having the severe edits that made it read less writerly, more flat, see print,  I stopped. I continued submitting jokes to the Toronto Onion which closed up shop before too long. The cancellation of The Toronto Onion has led to me getting the odd joke in the regular American Onion, it allows me to keep my funny muscle flexed. In terms of writing,  after my friend Teresa loaned me some S.J. Perelman I severely want to write more, I mean, really write. Why hadn't I read his stuff before? I feel like I was influenced by him without having even read him. So many great books, shows, and records to absorb, enjoy, glean from this year! Where do I even start? I can't.

I started hosting an author interview series called Pagelicker for Hazlitt, Random House's new web mag. These are glossy filmed videos directed by Scott Cudmore and produced by Christopher Frey,  I love doing them, a unique challenge, and for research I get to read some rather good novels by Miriam Toews, Andrew Kaufman, Irvine Welsh, Emily Schultz, and Roddy Doyle and hopefully more to come.

My 40th birthday felt full of possibilities compared to my 39th and even though I have grown, I feel younger. In best Hot For Teacher Van Halen voice, "I don't feel forty."

I fell in love with a wonderful woman. Remember when I mentioned changing earlier? Now was the time to call those changes into action. And I did. I still have changes that need to be made. We shared wonder, even went to Disneyland (and my dear pals Jessica and Joe's wedding, my pal Alberto also got married in 2012: two lovely weddings).

The relationship ended amicably and maturely. And now I am single and ready. Hiya. I never sleep alone because I have a new roommate: a cat named Tommy, former feral, lover not fighter, given to me by my friend Morley. Tommy is wonderful. He's the best. Women want Tommy but they can't have him. This is a personality trait that I semi-endeavour to have.

Kier-La Janisse brought me to FilmPop/Pop Montreal to do a set of song-poems as she had been to the July Fourth Toilet song-poem tributes over the years. I collaborated musically with Malcolm Fraser and Steve Balogh, love those guys. Met the legendary Brute Force whose performance made me cry.

I had some work in art shows. Tonetta made a couple videos about me. I recently started jamming with Craig Daniels and Michael Comeau and the possibilities are exciting. I made a Santa attraction poster. I put the Canned Hamm Christmas album (that we made in 2007) up on Bandcamp. Nardwuar played a track from it on BBC 1. Drew Smith of the Bicycles approached me about making a Christmas song. The lyrics sprung out naturally affected by the recent passing of my Mother, Drew made it all sound so upbeat, he's so good.

Good Lord, that hit me. My Mother died. Still processing. I don't know where to begin. She died peacefully in her sleep. I got to say goodbye and even reflect a bit with her. I am now an adult orphan. I was told by my therapist not to make important decisions, yet I did break up with someone amicably and I feel another bold life change coming on. I try to take it easy. I thank my loved ones, my three older brothers, my one brother's wife, the minister who was there for important events in our family's lives, my close pals such as Maija and Tobey who cooked for me when the news hit me, Trish and Hamm who I spent Christmas with. I value these human relationships more than I ever did before. I made new friends and deepened some old friendships. I value this. Are you still reading? Thank you.

New year's resolution: to say 'NO' more, less people-pleasing. Hey, my parents are dead, I can do this.






Literary Holiday Parties: Jack Kirchoff and Robert Dayton, The Canadian Romantic | Open Book: Toronto

 Check it out! A list that I made which originally ran in one of my old zines from 1993! Plus: The Canadian Romantic weighs in on his Dream Party on the Open Book Toronto site, edited by Sachiko Murakami:

Literary Holiday Parties: Jack Kirchoff and Robert Dayton, The Canadian Romantic | Open Book: Toronto