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Archive for the ‘Ottawa’ Category

Sidesteps

Apologies for the serious lack of updates. There are occasional sidesteps to recovery, which occasionally include a crippling fear of failure whenever I sit down to write a blog entry. And believe me, I’ve had enough fodder for several. But there’s a time and place for everything, and sometimes it’s best to keep personal thoughts confined to diary entries found in private word documents, stored in hidden folders generously titled ‘Poetry’ and similar.

I’ve been thinking a lot about community, and how easy it is to feel like you can’t go back once you’ve left, or feel you’ve been forced to leave. And talking about this is incredibly difficult without naming names or pointing fingers or taking advantage of a public medium to expose hypocrisy, even if it is accurate and true.

I think I just needed to write this to get myself back on track. You’ll hear more about London and related awesomeness as soon as I can find joy in writing again.

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#1

One sweet day in autumn, the leaves crunched beneath our feet. I walked double-time to catch up with his longer legs. I wished I’d brought mittens; I wished he would hold my chilled hand; I hoped we wouldn’t run into one of my mum’s friends or something. Farther we went along the pathway into the Rocket park, on our way to meet up with his street hockey friends;  talking about a movie he had just seen. Suddenly he changed the subject: “Have you ever been kissed by a boy before?” Our pace slowed. I watched my feet as I stumbled over a pebble in the road. My heart was pounding as I replied: “Um, you mean other than my family…?”

#3

Do all adolescent kisses happen at the movies? Winona Ryder usually holds my attention on screen, but his face was just so close to mine, I could feel his warm, clean breath. Underneath the blanket, he took my hand and kissed my fingers one by one, pushing his firm lips against them. With my other hand I fingered his collared shirt, his smooth freckled neck. When we kissed I felt like, yes, this is how it’s supposed to be. I heard my friends giggle and didn’t really care.

#12

Do you want to play?

What do you mean?

You know: play.

What about my…?

He doesn’t have to know.

#26

Poker night. My first time, but we were playing for keeps. He looked over my shoulder once in awhile, checked my cards, smiled. Smiling back, I said: “I don’t need your help, thank you!” Playing footsy under the table. Making eyes between friends. Had we ever considered this before? Why did everything suddenly feel so cheeky and new?

He made an excuse and walked upstairs. I made another excuse and followed him. I think we must have enjoyed being so transparent.

I could make some lame analogy about the king of hearts, but suffice it to say, I stayed over.

#57

Major’s Hill Park. Past midnight. We climbed the largest tree and balanced in the branches.

I stopped him mid tongue lashing and said ‘I thought you didn’t like me!’

He replied ‘I don’t, but this is fun.’

#10

Jazz played on the radio while she painted and I scribbled. We were mostly silent, being conscious of each other’s close company was enough. My mind had been running restless ever since our last encounter at Cafe Nostalgica; those weekly visits of downing cups of coffee until past my curfew had been growing in intensity. All we had to do was look at each other to feel this buzz of electricity, this romance that until that point had been foreign to me. I found myself at her place, this small room – essentially an artist’s studio with a mattress – in a house where the tenants shared a kitchen and a bathroom. Wanting to be a good hostess, she cooked a pot of plain white rice and scattered spices and salt on top. It was delicious.

It was getting late. We crawled onto the mattress and she found one of her favourite childhood books about cannibalistic sheep. Lying on her back, she read it aloud to me, while I lay curled up in a fetal position close beside her, mere inches away from her body. When the story was finished she closed the book and placed it to the side. There was a comfortable silence. I ruined it quickly by rising up, pecking her on the lips, then diving face-down into the pillow.

When I looked up, she was still lying there motionless. Then she grinned, punched her fists in the air and proclaimed ‘woo hoo!’

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a twist in the road

It’s comforting to know that I adapt well to new environments. Within days of arriving in Walthamstow, this neighbourhood already felt like home. I quickly found my way to the high street and marketplace and established the fastest route to walk to work. For once I have a job that I don’t need to take home with me: I work in an office for several hours, interacting with people and completing tasks, and then I move on to other things. To writing, to reading, to attending protests and fashion shows and theatre performances and meetings with theatre professionals. I know my way around London, certainly by underground, and now getting to know certain landmarks and main streets, and as long as I can see my way to the river Thames, I know I’ll be alright.

On recommendation from D.G. I’m reading 84 Charing Cross Road, in which a woman who always loved London finally visits London and suddenly all these places she’s known from literature, films, poetry are appearing before her, nonchalantly, unassuming, just as they have always been.

I’ve been here just over a month, but it feels like much longer. I wake up in a bed that feels safe, move into the ‘lounge’ to do a morning yoga practice (or just a few stretches), make breakfast in my odd little kitchen, then, on some days, wander over to work around 10 o’clock. It takes 15 minutes to walk leisurely from my door step to the reception desk. I walk down three streets marked in intervals by a fish&chips shop, a reassuringly labeled ‘Weak Bridge’ lined with reproductions of paintings by children from Willowfield School, a grand church, a twist in the road, a couple of bright red post boxes, a small empty trailer that says ‘not for sale’, the main intersection, and l’Hirondelle, the preferred local coffee and pastry shop.

Truthfully I don’t yet miss Ottawa, the city. Though I do (sometimes desperately) miss the people in it. I’m glad to receive the occasional letter in the mail, the occasional sweet text message, and track updates through various forms of social media. I feel very fortunate to have these two worlds that are both fulfilling and kind to me.

I suppose no matter where I go, I’ll always be missing someone.

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Over the last couple of months, I’ve managed to tick a few things off my poorly-neglected 1001 list written last summer. This past year may not have been conducive to new pursuits, but, thankfully, I still have another couple of years to complete the list – though I may change a few of the items that seem now a bit frivolous or cannot be concretely achieved, such as ‘practice good posture’ (as I write this blog post, slumped comfortably in my bed).

23. bike in London without killing myself

Surprisingly, not too difficult. I biked through Hyde Park one afternoon on one of those Barclay’s rental bikes. Only £1 a day! And there are a number of nice bike routes along the river, with lanes as wide as any car lanes. And riding through the city isn’t so bad, as long as you’re constantly checking behind you and sticking to the quieter streets when possible.

40. live with roommates

Three of them, to be exact. But two of them (one who travels for work, the other who works long hours) are rarely home, and the third keeps pretty much to himself. So it’s almost like living alone, except once in a while I can hear the soothing sounds of a guitar being played in the room across from mine. And sometimes I’ll meet one of my flatmates in the kitchen for a brief chat. It’s nice to know someone else is around, actually, and it’s nice, for once, to have a set of stairs separating my bedroom from the kitchen. What luxury! Plus, I think it helps that there aren’t any ‘significant others’ frequenting the house, and all that goes along with that. You know what I mean.

50. clean out my bedroom

The one at my parents’ house, that is. It is now sufficiently designed as a guest room with a few of my personal touches remaining. I do, however, still have a number of boxes in my parents’ basement, which hopefully I can leave for another time…

57. have a yard sale

This was achieved on September 3, 2011 with Bronwyn Steinberg. It was a very successful and enjoyable endeavour, complete with lemonade and snacks and friends, and we both made over a hundred dollars! B is in Greece right now for a conference, and I really wish I could be there with her xx

Yard Sale

Sassoon style

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

99. take part in a fashion show

Even better, a hair fashion show! I had my hair cut, coloured, and styled by a member of Sassoon Academy and walked my first runway this past Thursday, October 13th, which just happened to mark my one-month anniversary living in London. Here’s a video of the show! I’m the first person to walk onstage, by the way.

More London updates to follow!

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for Jamie Hubley

Jamie Hubley (15) killed himself last Friday, in large part due to homophobic bullying he faced consistently at his school in Ottawa.

Please take some time to read the following articles printed in the Ottawa Citizen:

15-year-old Jamie Hubley’s lonely cry for acceptance

Hubley family statement: ‘Bullying was definitely a factor’

And also a letter written by Ian Capstick in today’s issue:

Coming out should be easier 

And if you really want to get personal, read Jamie’s blog, especially his heart-breaking final entry.

My friend Nadine wrote a blog post recently about how adults have a tendency to make the world more complicated than necessary for their children. She touches on the new proposed sexual education system that some people fear will corrupt their children, expose them to the world too soon. In my opinion, it’s never too early to touch on some of the basics, and it’s never too late to start.

So here’s my statement: Addressing homophobia is not a radical-political act. Not anymore.

If a child asks ‘can two men get married?’, don’t be afraid to say yes. If a teenager says ‘that’s so gay’, don’t be afraid to call them out on it. If an adult makes derogatory remarks about queer culture, claiming that its mere existence ‘corrupts’ and ‘destroys’ families, give them a piece of your mind. It’s that simple.

And I don’t care to what religion you belong, and I don’t care how you were brought up. You never know who might be listening, and it might make a huge difference to someone.

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My London wanderings have taken me through the Walthamstow marshes, along the river bike paths, and, most pertinently to this post, to St. Paul’s Church ‘The Actors’ Church’ near Covent Garden where many beloved theatre artists – Vivien Leigh and Noel Coward among them – have found their rest. Or at least where you can find their commemorative plaques.

I found my way to the front of the church where you can light a red tea light for 50p and kneel for prayer, if you wish. A rather ordinary-looking composition book with a wired spine caught my eye; it looked to be the most irreverent item in the whole church, save for perhaps the video camera being held by a rather obvious tourist near by. It was, in fact, a ‘Prayer Request Book’ in which people could write whatever they wished, relating to wishing the best for loved ones and people going through difficult times. The last sheet of lined paper had been torn in half, as though someone had ripped out a prayer better left unwritten, or maybe just needing a scrap for their own notes. I scanned the scatterings of thoughts:

Please pray for my father who passed away last year. 

Please pray for my mother who has cancer. 

Please pray for my girlfriend who is job hunting right now. 

Please pray for all the homeless people.

Please pray for my sister. We had a fight and we’re not speaking right now. But I still care about her. 

These prayers sound rather trite now that I’m typing them up on my computer, but seeing them all written in this book was a rather emotional experience: sincerity captured in a few common phrases, made exceptional by individual strokes of handwritten words, expressed earnestly, humbly, exquisitely. I’ve never had much faith in religion and I’m certainly no frequent church-goer, but I do believe in the power of the writing things down. I realized at about the age of 12 that writing things down – especially worrying things – in my journal allowed me to make sense of the jumble of thoughts in my head, to think more clearly and pro-actively. Sometimes it felt like I was sending my thoughts out into the world, thus being somewhat free of them, even if no one would ever read what I had written.

Another prayer went something like this:

Please pray for me. Sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy. I suffer from anxiety and I often have trouble getting through the day. I want to fix this, but I’m not sure what to do. 

Again, this sounds like something from a Dear Abby column, thanks to my crude paraphrasing and my laptop’s impersonal touch. But reading this written in someone’s own handwriting, a call for help, a message in a metaphorical bottle – it felt incredibly intimate and beautiful.

Owing to a number of factors, I developed a rather nasty case of anxiety over the past year. It peaked around the middle of May when, due to a particularly wretched experience, I felt the need to disappear for a while. I put a vacation responder on my e-mail account, resigned from a job that was absolutely perfect for me, and alienated myself from all but a handful of friends. I spent my days actively trying to relax: practicing yoga, going for long walks, and writing notes on my porch. But it seemed like whatever I did, whether staying home or going out, I was constantly reminded of the things that were hurting most. Sometimes I would smoke, just so I could pass out and spend less time being awake, trying to avoid yet another panic attack and fit of crying. My head throbbed relentlessly and my self-esteem was practically non-existent.

One day in mid-July, after a series of especially difficult episodes, I felt the urge to ride my bicycle into the road. I rationalized – as rational as I could be in that particular instance – that this wasn’t a suicide wish, as I was wearing my bicycle helmet, so maybe my body would only be partially mangled by the impact. I wanted only to externalize what I was feeling inside. It occurred to me very quickly, though, that this was an incredibly stupid idea. So instead I went home and booked an appointment with a psychologist in my neighbourhood.

Fast-forward almost three months, and things are feeling pretty wonderful. Anxiety still hits sometimes when I feel unsafe, or uncomfortable, or incompetent, and especially when I have flashbacks to some of the things that happened this year. But it’s a heck of a lot better than it was before. I have distance, I have perspective, and, to a point, I’ve learned how to relax – something I can only really teach myself. And I’m feeling really grateful right now. I think about a friend of mine, who, over one especially rough week, came to visit me for a couple of hours every single night after work, just to make sure I was okay. Now that’s being a good friend. And he wasn’t the only one.

So yes, I found myself a little teary-eyed reading through this Prayer Request Book. That sense of connection, even between strangers, and even indirectly, can be very powerful. And let’s face it: I’m an emotional person.

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London baby yeah

So I moved to London.

While the thought has been in my head for some time now, the actual execution of this move happened rather recently and quite spontaneously. My friend R, who used to live in Ottawa and whom I visited at her home last summer, wrote me a casual Facebook message on August 1st asking if I was still thinking of moving to London and would I be interested in joining the household. Just over  a month later, I’m sitting in her kitchen sipping very steeped tea (I always forget to remove the tea bag…) and reviewing my CV for the ongoing job hunt.

Up until recently, I had a specific reason for wanting to move to London. And that reason… well, it’s complicated. But when R offered me a place to stay, I realized that I still had other reasons for wanting to go. I needed a change; I’ve needed it for some time now. Despite my enduring love affair with Ottawa, I found my enthusiasm waning; I felt restless and craved new challenges. London’s theatre scene is nothing short of enticing, and while the job market is competitive, I’m looking forward to finding my niche here – in theatre, or perhaps in poetry, or perhaps in something completely different.

Yesterday I turned a quarter of a century. Following an amazing weekend of friends and karaoke, I jumped on a plane (one way ticket, yo) / (not literally, my travel bags were freakin’ heavy) and left the city I’ve called home for 25 years. Pretty dramatic, huh? I felt remarkably calm about the whole thing. Maybe I’ll start feeling lonely in a few days and regret having left at all. But at the time, watching the 6am sunrise glow orange over a scattering of city lights, and armed as I was with butterfly earrings from J, a protective necklace from D, a mix tape from G, and journal introduction from B, I felt confident that I was doing the right thing – and that my friends were still with me, albeit disguised as precious inanimate objects.

So what now?

Take lots of pictures and video clips and share them on this blog

Attend poetry shows and theatre performances and post reviews

Visit my grandmother in Upminster and my friends in London

… and, oh yeah: find a job!

p.s. If you have lived in London/ visited London/ think you know everything about London, please tell me about your favourite spots to wander, to sit, to explore. Thank you!

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As you may have noticed, I have not updated my blog properly for several months now. The truth is, I haven’t been writing much in general: things have been difficult, and I’m rather nervous about sharing what’s been on my mind.

So instead I thought I would share an assignment (no editing, no cuts) from my last year of high school. It made me smile, remembering this and reliving the emotions I was feeling at the time. If you weren’t part of my graduating class, you may not get all the references; but hopefully you can appreciate the existential musings from my adolescent self.

My mind wanders back to a time when these letters to you – honestly, I never thought of them as assignments – were more routine. It was always enjoyable being able to rant and ramble and express my thoughts in thousands of beautiful, descriptive words. And then, in return, I would receive sweet, concise comments from you to re-read whenever I liked. Oh, how I treasured those few words of wisdom! Even though some of them were rather clichéd, I needed something simple and clear at that time when my ridiculous teenage life made absolutely no sense. It still doesn’t seem very logical, but I’m learning to accept my life’s oddities.

For this assignment, I have been asked to discuss the thematic statement of Picnic at Hanging Rock, the usefulness of the O.A.C. production, and any self-realizations. Being the pompous, self-indulgent child I am, I’d rather talk about myself and my personal experiences more than anything else, but I promise I will complete this discussion paper as instructed. This is probably going to be the last piece of writing I will ever give you. Of course that means little to you – this is an assignment, nothing more. But to me, it kind of means the end of my life as I know it, my life as an actor.

Oh, come now! You say. Don’t be so melodramatic!

Well, it’s my assignment! I’ll reply. I can portray whichever tone I choose!

Alright, alright. I’ll quit the melodrama. But I’m going to be honest. You like that, right? I’ll proceed with my qualms on “Jessica and Acting” later.

To be surrounded with prejudice barriers, social restrictions, and sexual ignorance may induce, instead of prevent corruption and chaos. In the Victorian era, the young girls in a boarding school learned how to sip tea, darn stockings, and maintain proper posture. They looked forward to wearing their hair up, traveling the world, and getting married. Until that time, these innocent little children remained unaware of beauty, of nature, of living. Society is so very careful with its young ones for fear of losing them. Where will they go? Hanging Rock offers its thunderous answer, the one we both desire and deny. This landmark, this tip of the dark iceberg fantasy, represents our longing to escape from these cold restraints, this frigid sexuality. Instinctively, we require strong, passionate emotion and animal lust, sex and openness, and a wild freedom to scream and tear at one another. More than any of the other girls at Appleyard College, Miranda understood this crucial part of life. Perhaps it was she, the child of nature, who enticed the other girls to follow her to the rock, down into that sweet cellar door. Even the most rigid figures, Mrs. Appleyard and Ms. McCraw, were torn away from their societal restrictions by Miranda’s longings. The exact location to which they went is irrelevant; we need only know that they escaped into somewhere beautiful.

That was the theme. At the read through, some sections of the script were incredibly dull, but we made them work eventually. You had some very good ideas. I watched the movie shortly after reading the script. It was enchanting, haunting, and poetic, and I feel in love immediately. Perhaps Ms. Black was sleep deprived when she saw it. According to some of our spectators, our theme came across quite clearly through the juxtaposition of the Victorian society – those gorgeous corsets – with the Australian outback – the big rock in the center of the stage. “Maybe she is the rock!” Andrew said once, referring to Mrs. Appleyard. I had that written down in my notebook.

As well as exploring the theme through the actual show, the idea of restrictions and censorship was approached in regards to our brilliant poster. When we won – yes, we did win; it was a fight, a game, a competition, and we won it – I had never felt so empowered. We, as students, can CHANGE things. It has been proven that when irrational, excessive restraint is enforced, it will be challenged. Honestly, this direct connection to our theme would have created marvelous publicity, and I was incredibly tempted to experiment with that possibility. It matters not because we still have an entire future to continue fighting against this ridiculous oppression of youth.

The O.A.C production – which is actually the grade 12 production, now – is a necessary conclusion to the drama program. You already know this, of course, which is why you’ve continued to direct them for all these years. I’ll reinforce the facts you already know. Firstly, the production is the culmination of high school theatre experiences and allows us the chance to flaunt our learnings in a full-length show. If we are interested in a career as a costume designer, a technician, a producer, a director, or a stage manager, we can have a first hand, real life experience. Working on this kind of production does not distract us from our academic studies, but rather encourages us to work hard as a team and organize our time efficiently. Also, we make money!

Recently, I had a realization – I get those sometimes. That which brings me joy changes at times. Change and time. My dad says that the only proof of time is change. If nothing ever changed, how could we know for sure that time exists? My dad and I get along now. Have I told you that? Before we hardly spoke to each other at all, but now we do. He’s kind of brilliant; he knows all about theatre and philosophy and religion and intelligent things. Like a polymath. I’ve heard that the purpose of life is to find out what makes you happy and then keep doing it forever, thus achieving true happiness. Not many people accomplish that, but those who do are… happy, I suppose. What makes me happy? What will make me happy later on? Naturally, my desires change as I change.

The following is a short version of my life story. When I was nine I was in this play called “Treasure Island” and I played the Captain Smolett. Maya was in it, too, and she played Long John Silver. My teacher said I was really good. I found that very funny because before doing that play, I was incredibly shy. But I decided I liked acting, so I joined the Orleans Young Players and became friends with David Hersh and Alix Sideris – lovely people – then I took some courses at The Ottawa School of Speech and Drama. In middle school, I was in a musical every year. The teacher who directed them fell in love with me and said I could play any part I wanted. In the final musical, she asked me to be the assistant director. To be disgustingly honest, there was no doubt in my mind that I was going to be accepted into Canterbury and later become a world famous actress. However, upon arriving at my new school, certain aspects of this fantasyland became disagreeable because I felt I wasn’t as talented as my classmates. Perhaps I’m one of those horrid people who require constant praise to enjoy themselves. I certainly hope not. My middle school social life was rather pathetic because I was a pretentious, artsy, semi-intelligent, superior child with goals and dreams for the future. I wanted to have lots of friends, but I wasn’t going to compromise my aspirations for the sake of popularity. With this newfound high school society, the common teenage dramas arose: best friends and boyfriends, fights and love affairs – issues I never had to concern myself with before. I’m frightened at how much I’ve changed over the years. It seems nothing has remained constant.

Acting doesn’t make me as happy as it used to. I’m not completely sure why. Sometimes being on stage is glorious. I adored being in Anna Bailie’s director’s scene last year, and I loved played Katarina in Ms. Bryce’s Shakespeare class. I spent hours bouncing around as a clown at the Fringe Festival. When I have complete confidence in myself, I feel comfortable acting. But most of the time, I’d rather watch. I’d rather see the character of Mrs. Appleyard deteriorate before me, than have to invent false reaction to her moods. I’d rather watch Alex Neuman’s brilliant facial expressions, and I’d rather giggle at Wade’s awkwardness than be forced to respond to them. I had fun putting up posters, calling the Ottawa Citizen, and taking notes during rehearsal. I enjoyed asking “can I help with something?” and then being given things to do and doing them. It’s difficult for me to pinpoint exactly what I’m good at and what I can do with my life academically, socially, emotionally. I’d love someone to give me those answers. Please tell me what I can do with myself. My realization about changing holds true – I have to let events unfold before me and accept them as they come. Force nothing; prevent nothing.

I think I’m socially awkward. I don’t know how to behave around people in a casual manner. Angie says I’m “intense” and that’s why certain people have trouble being around me. I’m getting used to her blatant honesty, even though the reality is often very harsh, heartbreaking. Ms. Bryce says there are four main desires in life: money, power, love, and fame. Most of them intermix quite nicely, but one contradicts another. Love is the absence of power. To love is to be vulnerable; to be vulnerable is to be without power. Hence my internal dilemma: I can’t fall in love properly because the lack of control would be far too unbearable. Sometimes I feel like Hedda Gabler: void of logical emotion, desperate to achieve domination over her loved ones. And yet, I hate being powerful because I am afraid of hurting people. I want to be helpful, not hurtful and weak. Give me something to live for! I’ve taken it upon myself to “help people” because I want to be useful, but I always do it the wrong way. I make my own rules and ignore the rules that society has already created, thus getting myself into trouble. Furthermore, you and other people have told me I “think too much”; therefore, over the past year or so, I have become more impulsive, which also gets me into trouble. Naturally, I fall in love with people, and sometimes people fall in love with me, and I have wonderful friends, but there is always so much tension between everyone I know and in everything I do. I create this tension because, instinctively, I want to make my life complicated. I refuse to allow my life to be… common. This goal has not yet been accomplished; I cannot think of anything I’ve done that has surpassed the ordinary, anything more than teenage angst. My social life at present is nothing more than an adolescent cliché adorned with internal turmoil, false emotion, and planned reactions.

Where do I go from here? I plan to produce a fabulous director’s scene, get an incredible university scholarship, graduate, and then go off and learn things. There are lots of opportunities, and, you know, new things happen everyday. And these new things can be wonderful. Just like people – so interesting and refreshing. I’ll see what happens. I am going to be open and optimistic. Thanks, by the way. You’re an awesome director and teacher, and you’re really sweet, and I don’t think you’re scary. Sorry for not liking “Death of a Salesman”; I preferred “The Crucible”. Canterbury is a beautiful school and, gosh, I’d like to come visit, but not too often because grads who come back everyday seem kind of desperate and everyone thinks, “didn’t they just graduate last year?” I think I’ve said most of what I wanted to say. Now I’m going to attach some poems and haikus for your possible enjoyment. Maybe I’m a good writer. Like I put words down on paper, and it works sometimes.

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MAY POETRY EVENTS

In Ottawa, poetry is everywhere. Our city boasts 14 poetry series and attracts up to 1000 participants and audience members every month. VERSe Ottawa has compiled a list of some of the upcoming poetry events for May. Enjoy!

LIPS Slam | CP Cinemas, 17 Albert Street in Carleton Place
Monday, May 2 at 6:30pm | featuring Ikenna Onyegbula aka OpenSecret
event listing on Facebook

Ottawa International Writers Festival – Ghazal Concert | Southminster United Church, 15 Aylmer Avenue
Monday, May 2 at 8pm | featuring Lorna Crozier, Rob Winger, Sandra Ridley and Robert Pinsky
http://www.writersfestival.org/events/ghazal-concert

The A B Series
Gallery 101, 301 ½ Bank Street, Unit 1
Friday, May 6 | Anne Simpson, Colin Morton and Susan Elmslie | 8:30pm | $7
&
NAC Fourth Stage, 54 Elgin Street
Wednesday, May 18 | featuring Koichi Makigami and Tokyo Taiga | 7:30pm | $20-30
&
Wednesday, May 25 | featuring Jaap Blonk with playback | 7:30pm |
http://abseries.org/

Capital Slam | Mercury Lounge, 56 Byward Market Square | 6:30pm | $10
Saturday, May 7 | Semi-Finals featuring Ottawa’s top 12 slam poets
event listing on Facebook

Sasquatch Writers Performance Series | Royal Oak II, 161 Laurier Avenue East | 2pm | FREE
Sunday, May 8 | featuring Alastair Larwill
&
Sunday, May 22 | featuring Pearl Pirie
event listing on Facebook

Dusty Owl Reading Series
Carleton Tavern, 223 Armstrong Avenue | PWYC
Sunday, May 8 | featuring Ronnie R. Brown, John Lavery, and Phillip Victor Bova | 5pm
&
Elmdale House Tavern, 1084 Wellington Street West | PWYC
Sunday, May 22 | 15th Anniversary Family Reunion, Fundraiser for the Ottawa Food Bank | 2pm
http://dustyowl.com

Voices of Venus | Umi Cafe, 610 Somerset Street West | 7pm | $5 (PWYC)
Tuesday, May 10 | featuring Ghadeer Malek
event listing on Facebook

Tree Reading Series | Arts Court, 2 Daly Avenue | 8pm | PWYC
Tuesday, May 10 | featuring Jeramy Dodds and Shane Rhodes
&
Tuesday, May 24 | featuring Kevin Matthews and Chris Jennings
www.treereadingseries.ca

Urban Legends Poetry Slam | Roosters Cafe at Carleton University | 6:30pm | $5-7
Friday, May 13 | featuring TBA
&
Friday, May 27 | featuring Oveous Maximus
event listing on Facebook

Ottawa Youth Poetry Slam | Ottawa Public Library, 120 Metcalfe Street | 6:30pm
Monday, May 16 | featuring Tanya Davis
event listing on Facebook

In/Words Reading Series | The Clocktower Pub, 575 Bank Street | 8pm
Wednesday, May 25 | featuring Claudia Coutu Radmore
event listing on Facebook

Bywords Launch of Quarterly Journal | The Manx Pub, 370 Elgin Street
Saturday, May 28 | Spring Issue and Cornerstone Fundraiser
http://www.bywords.ca/

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Also, today is Election Day. Please VOTE CULTURE!

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For more information on VERSe Ottawa and the listed events, please consult our website: VERSeFest.ca

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It’s conventional wisdom of all political parties that young people will not vote. And the parties, they like it that way … so please, if you are between 18 and 25 and you want to scare the heck out of the people who run this country, this time around, do the unexpected. Take twenty minutes out of your day and do what young people all over the world are dying to do: vote.

Thank you, Rick Mercer. I’m taking your advice to heart.

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