Posts Tagged ‘capital slam’

You told me once “Don’t pout. It’s unbecoming”

And I cried for a week

You told me I should develop a thicker skin

And I wondered why you felt the need to teach me that lesson

When it was you who seemed to value my skin for its softness

And my lips for their sweetness

And my body for its tendency

To let you in


In this sometimes harsh world, is it any surprise

That kind words are desperately sought after

Even if they’re not always sincere

Even if it’s just a ploy to get ahead

To get me into bed

Because then, hey,

At least I’m getting laid


I will soak up your sweethearts and lovers’ talk

Like syrup on pancakes

I will sacrifice my working hours

For some quality time and late-morning showers

Even if, in the end, my efforts are not matched

And the result is frustration, disappointment, distress…


When my mother finds me grieving over yet another seething injustice

She says to me, fondly

“You’ve been this intense since you were five years old”

And while I’m not entirely sold on the idea

That our personalities are determined at such a young age

It gratifies me to realize that I haven’t yet passed that stage

Because the truth is

I don’t want to develop a thicker skin

I don’t want to win arguments based in unfair fashion

Or use my passion to formulate malicious attacks

Or pack my slate full of anger and hate

Because while I’ve been hurt

I’ve not yet been broken

And while I’ve spoken my mind about the kind of lovers I’ve known

The kind who’ve shown themselves unworthy of the title


My tone, I believe, has always been mischievous, playful, without regret

And I begin each new love affair full of unabashed optimism

Yes, it’s a constant struggle

But each new person is different

And each new person has the potential

Has the essential elements that make it possible to feel something


And with a thicker skin, I’m afraid I might not be able to sense your soft eyelashes brush my face

Or your careful fingertips along the sides of my neck

Or your gentle lips pause against the backs of my knees

I never want to close myself off or shut myself up or turn my face away

To protect myself from what you might say

Because what you might say might be beautiful

You see

Sometimes I can feel my heart beat

And I never want to lose that feeling

Written by Jessica Ruano

September 2010

Read Full Post »

Why do people constantly feel the need to compare Ottawa with Montreal? Is it really necessary? Does it have something to do with  insecurity, bitterness, regret? Or are they simply determined to be miserable living in this city?

I’m always so thrilled when the Ottawa XPress focusses on a local event, organized by local artists, featuring a wide range of talent. Tina Hassannia covered ‘Scribology’ recently, and one reader decided to take this open-forum opportunity to express how little he knows about Ottawa’s poetry scene and how much he prefers the scene in Montreal.

Fair enough. Here is my response (I could have been snarkier) :

Here we go again, making the assumption that Ottawa simply pales in comparison to Montreal, just because we haven’t done the research.

Fine, fine: I’ll do it for you.

Capital Poetry Collective
This group hosts slam poetry competitions once or twice a month at the Mercury Lounge. $7 cover, and the shows have been selling out minutes after the doors open.

Bill Brown’s 1-2-3 Slam
12 poets slam it out in 3 rounds of 1 minute, 2 minute and 3 minute poems. Third Thursday of every month at the Umi Cafe. $5 Cover.

Dusty Owl Reading Series
Every other Sunday at Swizzles Bar: features celebrity poets and writers, as well as provides a stage for open mic. Free event, with donations lovingly accepted.

Also look up: A B Series, New Stalgica, Tree Reading Series, Bywords, Ottawa International Writers Festival… or, you know, just look up Ottawa poetry or something. You’ll find plenty.

Read Full Post »

Happy New Years, arts fans!

Welcome to 2009. Whatever that means. Is this a special year for some reason? Perhaps the year the Earth was supposed to explode into hundreds of thousands of space particles? If that’s the case, then we might as well celebrate by attending lots of arts events. And no, I never get tired of cheesy segues.


The Grand Reopening of the Mayfair Theatre – Friday, January 2

I know people were horrified when there was the possibility of the Mayfair closing. This theatre has been a staple in our community for years, an especial favourite on Halloween with its presentation of cult-favourite The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In fact, I believe I had one of my first dates there… Anyway, fear no more because the Mayfair is back – and better than ever! New management, new programming, new seats, and Dolby Digital Sound. Don’t miss the fancy opening starting at 7pm. Admission is free and refreshment will be served.

The Capital Poetry Collective presents ‘Truth Is…’ – Saturday, January 3

Don’t miss Ottawa’s favourite slam poetry competition, this time featuring Toronto Poet ‘Truth Is…’ This prizewinning poet has competed thrice in the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, The Rustbelt Regional Slam and has had several of her pieces aired on Canadian-based radio stations. She is known as a great leader and a powerful public speaker. Mercury Lounge doors open at 7pm; cost is $7, unless you sign up to perform!

The Dusty Owl Reading Series presents Luna Allison – Sunday, January 4

Catch another amazing poetry lady the following afternoon at Dusty Owl’s home base, Swizzles! Luna Allison reads short fiction from her new chapbook “bitter sour salty sweet” and performs some brand-new spoken word pieces. Accompanied by percussionist Devin Johnstone. Show start at 2pm: there is no cover, but donations are lovingly accepted.

Twelfth Night Celebration – Monday, January 5

This is one of my favourite yearly events! A Company of Fools and their thespian friends get together for a hilarious rendition of Twelfth Night (appropriately timed for the twelfth night after Christmas) at the NAC 4th Stage. The show starts at 7:30pm and tickets are $20. This sells out every year, so get your tickets fast!

The New Stalgica – Monday, January 12

I get appropriately nostalgic about Cafe Nostalgica. I used to spend my high school evenings there, wrapped in a warm blanket of poetry and music. And it’s how I met some of the amazing writers I know today. Some of those amazing writers are getting together again for a show at the old haunt, and it seems this will be something regular! Subsequent events will be on the 2nd Monday of each month, and will feature 1-2 readers followed by an open mic. Stay tuned for more details! For this inaugural event, don’t miss talented locals Jamie Bradley, Amanda Earl, John Gillies, Marcus McCann, Sean Moreland, and Sandra Ridley. Show starts at 8pm. See you there!

The AB Series presents jwcurry’s Mesagio Galore – Saturday, January 24

Yet another literary event this month! They just keep on coming. This series is a Max Middle creation, and he attracts a wide range of sound poets/performers to feature at these shows. According to their newly launched website (because they explain it much better than I ever could), “MESSAGIO GALORE is a celebratory investigation into what constitutes sound poetry, surveying its com- & ex-position through the writing & reading (& listening & rewriting & reading) of Canadian and international works. MESSAGIO GALORE take VI will be read through the lingual acrobatics of jwcurry, John Lavery, Roland Prevost, Carmel Purkis, Sandra Ridley and Grant Wilkins. It takes as its outer formal structure a 4-voice arrangement of John Cage’s ‘Lecture On Nothing’ and incorporates material by Hugo Ball, Four Horsemen, Claude Gauvreau, d.a.levy, Sam Loyd, Mike Patton and Frank Zappa.” This event takes place at the Ottawa City Hall Art Gallery; doors open at 7pm; and admission is $15.

Theatre Openings

The Great Canadian Theatre Company presents Tempting Providence – January 6 to 25

Tempting Providence is the simple and simply elegant tale of Nurse Myra Bennett, our “Florence Nightingale of the North.” She delivered more than 700 babies, extracted 5000 teeth, set broken limbs, and performed kitchen table operations by lamplight.

The National Arts Centre English Theatre presents Buried Child – January 6 to 24

Sam Shepard’s Buried Child is a powerful, funny and scathing a commentary on the dysfunctional American family set in a dilapidated farm house. Directed by the NAC’s own Peter Hinton, this production features Ottawa-connected actors Adrienne Gould, John Koensgen, and Christie Watson.

SevenThirty Productions presents The Lieutenant of Inishmore at The Gladstone – January 7 to 24

The company warns that “no cats will be harmed in this production. Just blown up.” Now that’s my kind of theatre! Yet again John P. Kelly brings tantalizing and provocative Irish theatre to Ottawa audiences. And this show promises to be especially brutal. In fact, the Broadway run famously used six gallons of fake blood every night, and scored a Best Play nomination at the 2006 Tony Awards. This Ottawa production features local stars Zach Counsil, Scott Florence, Richard Gelinas, Brenhan McKibben, Rory Lavelle, Steve Martin, Kate Smith, and David Whiteley. And don’t forget that Kelly’s other production (a real winner, that one was), The Kings of the Kilburn Highroad continues until this Saturday, also at The Gladstone.

Vision Theatre presents Life After God – January 21 to 31

Love him or hate him, Douglas Coupland (Generation X, Jpod) has pretty much defined how many of us experience modern culture. Michael Lewis MacLennon’s new play – adapted from the work of Coupland –offers a quirky and penetrating look at the first generation raised without religion. Directed by Greg Wysynski, this production features another great bunch of Ottawa actors: Riley Stewart, Jerome Bourgault, Jennifer Scrivens, Chantale Plante, Shawna McSheffrey, and JP Chartier. I was really impressed by Vision Theatre’s opening show, My Name is Rachel Corrie, earlier in the fall, and I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of their season – including a Neil Labute play in March/April.

Closing Remarks

Interested in being on film? StraightNOTNarrow.ca is looking to cast 8-10 people for Saturday, January 3. The shoot will consist of shooting the talent in front of a green screen.  Each talent will have duck tape (rigged) over their mouth.  All will be shot in close ups to help promote the StraightNotNarrow campaign.  They need variety of cast from different backgrounds, ages, and genders. Need more information? Contact Andrew Wood at hello@andy-media.com

Also, I’m going to be chatting on CHUO, Wednesday, January 7, from noon to 1, for a fantastic arts show called Audio Visual. Previously they have invited me to chat about funding cuts and the federal election. This show will be a little more light-hearted, focussing on some of our upcoming events and perhaps discussing arts related New Year’s resolutions.

Finally, check out my website at www.jessicaruano.wordpress.com for sporadic updates on the Ottawa Arts scene.

Have a wonderful time celebrating 2009!

Artistically yours,


Read Full Post »