Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Congratulations Papa Smurph

Last week (boy time sure flies! um) I went to Travis Murphy's art opening. I meant to bring my camera, but I forgot it, so I can't post any photos of the show. I meant to take notes, but I don't even know what the title of the show is. Was. It's probably over by now-- I think the Little Gallery (see-- I know the location at least) has a high rate of turnover, what with all those Visual Art students vying for space. So I can't really recommend you go see it, because I bet some young turk with charcoal-stained clothes and interesting hair is already in there painting and sanding and imperiously pointing to blank spaces, friends scurrying to and fro with mixed-media trailing behind them in an effort to get the new show ready for its opening.

But I can tell you that Travis (fondly known as Smurphy, smirkingly known as Randy, and when we're abusing him, known as Louise) and his real friends Sandy Lam, Chris Ewart and derek beaulieu put up a really cool exhibit and Travis' hair was just as interesting as ever. The theme of the work (mixed media) was Travis' late lamented knuckle-- you know, the one he savagely mangled using the wood shop at the Art Department last fall. Talk about self-reflexive! Or not so flexive. Or extra-flexive, because it is a bionic joint now.

There were wax and resin casts of his (non-injured) arm and fingers, grainy and too-close x-rays of his knuckle, a photo essay of his developing bruise and healing finger, and pride of place, an examination table. The idea of the ideal was suggested by a diagram of the Golden Mean as applied to a human arm alongside a cast of Travis’ uninjured left arm and hand. The casts of fingers were laid out in a sequence of opaque wax gradually lightening to transparent resin to reveal springs and screws embedded in the knuckles. He used mouse trap springs! I liked that. I bet Jason Christie really liked that too—what with his Robot poems. I bet Larissa Lai would have found it really interesting too, since she also had a recent mechanical injury.

Well I liked it, and I did have my New Year's Conga-Line Disaster-injury to ponder on (not that that was very bad at all-- turns out those hot springs actually DO have healing properties!) And the opening was well-attended. Wine was drunk and so was I har har har. No actually I wasn’t, I left early—that is, earlier than the move of location to Ming and the exhibition that Travis apparently put on there. Something about passing out, though sitting up?

Monday, January 16, 2006

An Open Letter to Matrix:

How did you get so perfect? “The New Canadian Pornography” by angela rawlings, “The Writer’s Hobbyhorse” by Steve Luxton, featured poetry by Anastasia Jones about Betty, Veronica, etc.—all touch on stuff I am trying to write, and present (much like a baboon presenting red ass) ideas for looting—er—inspiration. Um, weird metaphor. Maybe I should go back to reading Matrix for more inspiration.

Anyway, my Stampede poetry project (so far) is aimed at exposing the absurdity of the romanticized rural, the cultural violence of the Western pastoral that Steve Luxton is interested in—though instead of writing about Western heroes like Doc Holliday and Wild Bill Hickock as Luxton does, or about Billy the Kid (my favourite book of all time, tied with XEclogue by Lisa Robertson, is The Collected Works of Billy the Kid by Michael Ondaatje), I am writing about “Cowboy Poetry” and “St. Ampede” and uh Wonder Woman. I’ve been writing a lot about sex, sexism, gender, slang and violence with the Booty MS (TWAT Team material—still no word on WHEN WHEN WHEN it will be published) and the Stampede project is a way to continue writing the good fight, but this time in context of gender modeling in a very specific place I know very well—good ol’ cowtown. So you see, the rawlings landscape pornography, the Jones treatment of comics characters’ inner lives, the Luxton discussion of the Western Romance, all give me a prod in the direction of sitting down and getting to writing the Stampede. So I will. Go write.

Thank you, I love you,


Sunday, January 08, 2006

My Alberta Beef, Ice Cream, & Haiku in the Winter

Paul and I made chapbooks to give as presents this year. (Sorry the photo's kind of crummy-- I am still having some trouble uploading photos sometimes and I couldn't upload the edited cropped and enhanced photo that I so carefully prepared. Grr.) I am also teaching a chapbook workshop on March 18th at the Alexandra Writers' Centre:

Whoever said small press was small potatoes? Sure, a chapbook rarely nets you more than beer-and-nacho money when you sell a few after a reading, but chapbooks can serve as impressive calling cards, literary ephemera to trade for other books or chapbooks, and a valuable textual link between you and a potential reader.

Bring 1-5 poems or a short short story (postcard) and we’ll use paper, scissors, glue, string, staples, typewriters, stamps and paper cutters in assembly-line-production-style to produce chapbooks under the imprint Alexandrite Press in editions of 30. Lots of examples of chapbooks will be provided for inspiration, and you’ll leave with 20 copies of your own chapbook and 10 different chapbooks from each of the participants (based on a 10 person class size)- an instant collection! While we’re working, you’ll learn lots of handy small press skills as well as tidbits and tips about being part of the small press community.

So, I guess I am back at it-- the next semi-precious press chapbook (or precious city press, as the My Alberta Beef and Ice Cream chappies were printed as-- a combo of my imprint and Paul's One Great City Press) will be a poem of Trevor Speller's that I've been meaning to do since the filling Station Blow-out in the summer.

Look for it here in the next little while!

P.S.-- anyone who has been wanting to borrow my long-arm stapler or paper-cutter, why not sign up for the chapbook workshop? I promise it will be fun. C'mon, fifty bucks is nothing for a collection of ten chapbooks! How else are you gonna spend your Saturday afternoon and your $50.00-- on the Ship & Anchor patio? Ya lushes.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Halcyon New Year's Trip of Wonders!

Breakfast at 2 pm? It's Halcyon time! (Also known as Ewart time in other places...) Paul made delicious omelettes to order and all our clothes redolent of bacon for the duration of the trip. Jordan enjoyed doing calf raises on the deck. Julia, Paul and I watched Jordan, Chris and Dan doing manly calisthenics like it was TV! (I won't post the pic of Sandy pantsing Chris as he does pull-ups.)

Halcyon New Year's Trip of Wonders...

The only two New Year's Eve photos that were clean enough (or focussed enough-- ramped up on tequila and braised in the hot hot pool with champagne, I honestly can't remember getting out of the hot springs and back to the cabin. Paul and I both misplaced our bathing suits, there was a conga-line accident, Jordan lost his water bottle. Hmmm. I recall pie-eating and someone's manly chest in some combination, but little else after midnight. What a bunch of nuts!)

Halcyon New Year's Trip of Wonders

The fun outdoors adventure that I didn't go on due to previously-mentioned conga-line disaster. Oh, let's face it, I had a migraine from excessive drinking!