Last night I attended a special presentation of Voices of Venus at the Umi Cafe: Vancouver’s own Barbara Adler happened to be in the neighbourhood with her newly created band Fang, consisting of herself on accordion and James Meger on upright bass. The songs and poems were about saints riding bears, cats chasing mice, communism in Czechoslovakia, teenage girls, the weather, fantasies of park rangers, and having sex with mimes. Often the songs would encourage audience call-and-response, and we were ready and eager to participate.
I know Barbara from the spoken-word music group The Fugitives, and I’ve been an avid fan of hers for the last five years. I can honestly say that, more than anyone else, she has influenced the way in which I want to write poetry. I love her enthusiasm, her capacity for storytelling, her mild self-deprecation, and the fact that she can spin spectacular metaphors out of real life experience. I once sent someone one of her love poems, explaining: “I wish I could have written this poem for you.” She is a strong, confident female voice.
That’s what I love about this series. I’ve never considered myself much of an essentialist (as in, believing that women have essential features that separate them from men – since I do think that gender is such a fluid thing, and that we all have elements of both male and female, however you might define those words), and yet I find it so comforting, so pleasing, so familiar being in an environment where women are placed in the spotlight. Believe it or not, I am shy about performing: and this series has given me the confidence to seek out performance opportunities, to continue to write and to improve and to share.
For that, I would like to highlight two special Ottawa women who are accomplishing awesome things this particular Friday in February. Also, I wanted to show off these pictures from our recent photo shoots!
You may know Lauryn Kronick from practically every single event that ever happens in this city. A fellow artsy socialite, Lauryn has worked as a journalist in Europe and Africa, and she is the main reason I’m never at home in the evenings. Tonight is the opening night of The Vagina Monologues at the National Gallery of Canada, and Lauryn is doing the “moaning monologue.” Yes, that one. It’s also her birthday today!
Playwright-actor-poet-blogger extraordinaire Nadine Thornhill launches her sex-advice column entitled “Dirty Laundry” today with online arts and culture magazine Apartment 613. In addition to her artistic endeavours, Nadine works as a professional sexual health educator with Planned Parenthood. She is open-minded, open to discussion, and speaks openly about the wonders of masturbation. Send in your questions!
Are there any awesome people in this community that you think we should know about? Feel free to post a comment and express your admiration for someone who is doing something artsy, inspiring, revolutionary… or just plain fun.