30 April 2005

ACHTUNG! Bloooggg... Suuucckiiinggg.... Mee..... IINNNNNNN.

ladies and gentlemen of the internet, it's an Addiction, let's face it.
i'm taking a few days off to indulge in some significant real life encounters to ensure that i'm still socially acceptable as a functioning human being.
not to mention my Drawing, dear reader(s)! my Drawing!
but soon i will rejoin you (well,your computer screens) with finely tuned thoughts on naked lady blogs and a (hopefully less Venomous than it is now) review of the sex-doll documentary Barker and i saw on Friday night.
Too much fun. so safe, so cyber, so Bloggy. i mean, Come on, dear citizens of the internet, it's a SATURDAY NIGHT! WHAT am i DOING?!!?!
forsooth! my pencil and papers beckon. sigh. would that i had some ice cream too.

29 April 2005

September Songs and the Glory of the Grotesque.

saw September Songs tonight with my dear mum, and it was quite exciting to me that she loved it as she did. she is an Utter Addict of Good music (classical, predominantly) and this strange little doc was more a series of cabaret-style ad-hoc music videos with the likes of PJ Harvey, Mary Margaret O'Hara, William S. Burroughs, and other diverse and edgy musicians, who modernized bits of his music in a frequently unorthodox fashion, (in a Huge old warehouse in Toronto actually, at lansdowne and dupont back in 1994, now demolished, of course).

thoughtful as a whip, she pointed out that this love of the grotesque,cabaret, burlesque, was a stark overcompensation for the despair and ruin that Germany found itself in after the war. an almost therapeutic swing of the proverbial scales.
i had never considered this, evident though it may be; that there is nothing left to do in the wake of such intense violence, poverty and destruction, but overemphasize the ridiculousness of it all, to live the life of excess; with debauchery, drugs, alcohol, anything to counterbalance the effects of the cultural evisceration.
and then the 50's came along and the scales swung back...abolition, reassessment, restrictions, re-structure.
and then the 60's...questioning those constraints again, flying in the face of them...and so on and so on.

well, whatever to the debauchery and the drugs. that's adolescence to me. these genres, however, are aesthetically captivating. The key to them is a different kind of Largesse, one that doesn't involve self-immolation. the drag, the costumes, the makeup, the exaggerated gestures...perhaps the only ways left to Effect people (who want to Live, that is).
could it be that this is Why this stuff is making its way back into the public eye (or so i would hope?) not, you understand, as a counterbalance to war and ugliness, (not directly, anyhow), but because there is such a Glut (of everything), that the only stimulation one can hope to get is through profound Exaggeration?

there is also, if i may be so bold, a constituent satire to much cabaret (which is, incidentally, the french word for coffee-tray, which lends further credence to my philosophy that coffee houses are the gardens of all cultural genius), grotesque, burlesque...all of which indicate to me a love of Folly which i must confess i share Whole-heartedly.

looking up related topics for kicks, i took a moment to consult my OED on the subject of burlesque, and was (as usual) somewhat surprised: definition of Burlesque: (OED,1980; i know, it's old.) imitating derisively; bombastic, mock-serious, caricaturing or parodying (esp. literary or dramatic work)
far cry (and somewhat richer) from how we define it these days...at least in this city.
and yet, not really that off-base, in some context.

incidentally, i have just found my new favourite website Ever in the Universe. jahsonic.com . be still my blogging heart.


i first encountered this painting at a Felicien Rops exhibit in Venice about a thousand years ago. tonight i rediscover it on my cyber-meanderings in a search for thoughts on the Grotesque, and it Delights me once again. yay yay Yay.

"My Pornocratie is complete. This drawing delights me. I would like to show you this beautiful naked girl, clad only in black shoes and gloves in silk, leather and velvet, her hair styled. Wearing a blindfold she walks on a marble stage, guided by a pig with a "golden tail" across a blue sky. Three loves - ancient loves - vanish in tears (...) I did this in four days in a room of blue satin, in an overheated apartment, full of different smells, where the opopanax and cyclamen gave me a slight fever conducive towards production or even towards reproduction".
Letter from Rops to H. Liesse, 1879.

followed by some further thought on the piece from www.jahsonic.com

"For some the pig with the golden tail represents the image of luxury and lucre steering the woman, whose only excuse is her blindness; for others, it is the image of man, bestial and stupid, kept in check by the woman. This image of the pig, as well as those of the puppet and the pierrot are shared by many of Rops’ contemporaries.

Pornokrates heralds the advent to the art world of the contemporary woman which Rops glorified. She is characterised by her arrogance, her composure and her ruthlessness."

1879, ladies and gentlemen. 1879.

first off for the evening and Most Excellent.

i'm trying to think what this reminds me of...i'm not very musically literate...but it's kind of like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole with an electronic keyboard trying to record everything she passes as she falls.
or something.
Check this tune out. you won't regret it.

26 April 2005

attention: what follows is excessively wordy and very likely pointless. but that's why you come to this blog, isn't it?

so it's been your average couple of days in (on?) this caste of the independent left-leaning world. you know, stress, deadlines, no money, bad business sense, too much email, not enough reading, Definitely not enough drawing, caring badly for myself...

except for ice cream, of course. there has been ice cream.

a few interactions with people that have perhaps been commonplace, but coupled with my Rampantly overactive synapses, have also prompted much philosophizing that i intend to besiege you, dear reader(s) with, now.

in fact, i was so ravaged by thought yesterday that i am transcribing this from jotted notes (it's True! pen and paper (thumpa thumpa) still exist! Bless Them! Bless Them! Bless Them!) scribbled during stolen moments (blush) during my shift at work, standing in the foul cold that is supposed to be springtime in this great city.

so. i guess i started with a question. surprising Absolutely No one, namely, how does one feel Objectively and feel Strongly about something at the same time?

my answer? i don't know that one can.

let's backtrack for a moment.
when one is involved with something one must be Fully involved. Whatever it is. work, love, friendship, family, volunteering, Art.
so okay. here i am, in whatever it is, let's call it Monday (we can all relate to a Monday of some sort or another...so it's a safe generalization) and i'm Involved with it. i've had my orange juice, i've had my tea, (not all at once, of course) and off i go.

now. the problem is that once one has been involved with anything for any length of time (hours, days, months, years...), one gets Comfortable. let's face it, humans are creatures of habit, aren't we? it is an empirical fact that our synapses develop (literally/physically) grooves of well-tuned patterns through which energy travels, which compel us to do things repetitively. this is how we get so good at them. good at a certain kind of work, a certain kind of communication, a certain kind of relationship.

it has been my experience that the Ego, ah yes, the mortal human Ego, is the cursed spawn of satan that ruins all good (and often comfortable) things.
not unlike Faust, Ego comes along and says "yeah, yeah, been there, done that, this is getting Boring...How Can I Have More?!?"
let's face it, ladies and gentlemen, things get boring. there must be some important 18th century french philosopher that had a pithier way of putting it, but i'm convinced that this is the core of all dissent, war, and evil in the world; the human psyche's sudden need, after a certain familiarity has been established, to ask: "what's in it for me? what's in it for me?"
and so the Ego insinuates itself into the nether regions of our future plans and begins to spawn doubt and push at walls.

now pushing at walls, in a fundamental way, is a Good thing. growth, change, yes, yes, how lovely.

but imagine for a moment, dear reader(s), if i may use a Brash and Hippy example, if trees had Egos. (that's right, trees.) what if every time they settled down and started growing roots they decided that the earth wasn't quite right, the temperature was a bit off, the view was shamefully insufficient, and they got up and started wandering around looking for a new place to settle.

dear reader(s), it just isn't rational. and definitely a cause for concern.

i heard a story today about a man who had recently left his partner and child after a long-term committed relationship, and something about the story made me Profoundly melancholic, in a way that, alas, hasn't abated for a few days now.
how odd. i have no partner, no child, and no interest in anyone beyond my navel-gazing self at the moment. not to mention that these stories are a dime a dozen. this must be the third of this sort i've been exposed to in a fortnight.
i mean, it's a hypothetical water cooler story!
(well, the story isn't hypothetical, i don't think, but the water cooler definitely is.)
(i work in a very small office.)
(we're on a budget. )
(if worse comes to worse we drink out of the toilet bowls.)
(ok, just kidding.)

as a person who has contemplated at least 27 different careers, at least that many different cities on this planet to settle in, and about a dozen suitors at some point or another, i'm in no position to make comments about other peoples' sense of doubt or tendencies to stray.
but i do question it. these days i Do.
perhaps people who leave their families, their homelands, their partners, reach a point of philanthropy and serving the world (so to speak) when their sense of mortality and autobiography takes over. perhaps the shared story, the narrative they built in tandem with their surroundings, becomes insufficient....Ego steps in and says "NOT SUFFICIENT! NOT SUFFICIENT! NOT SUFFICIENT!" and thusly do things begin disassembling.

it's only the ego that recognizes compromise.

comfort is a condition where people overlook details, forget about (or willingly ignore) the little things.
and then suddenly all those Little things that you've ignored have made a modest exit for more attentive suitors, and whatever they added up to, namely the proverbial "Big Thing", is gone, is nothing, and so of course you go looking for that Next Big Thing— the new job, the new lover, the new life.

one may have the skills to build from scratch on a search like this, but can one safely build a stable structure on top of ruins?

my vote is No.
Nothing stands if the foundation Sucks.

sigh. yes, dear reader(s) dark and wordy (and very possibly useless) intellectual ponderings on a tuesday evening. i wonder if this is 'coz i haven't had a chance to draw creepily in the past couple of days.

it's a Strange brain in here.

t-shirts, oh how i Love them.

sometimes...when i'm alone...i google myself.

25 April 2005

a thought for the self-absorbed who never want to line up at Hot Docs.

SAG (self absorbed git; invariably unattractive and whiney pitched): i bought this ticket so i wouldn't have to line up!
stef: well, you don't have to line up at all. you can go and stand across the street and stare at the line-up if you want, and chuckle to yourself that you have your ticket (just as they do) but aren't standing in line. but when you come back,you have to respect that there is a line-up. and wait 'til it's gone before going in. (pithy logic courtesy of Ron K.)

23 April 2005

temporary eclipse of my beloved blog and some conflicting views on balloon art.

ironically, someone this morning commented scathingly (i thought, or perhaps misinterpreted) on my lack of affection for conceptual balloon art in queen west galleries. near as i can tell this crashed my beloved blog ... dear uhclem was kind enough to enlighten me. i think i've fixed the problem. but i'm going to refer my dear reader(s) here to my last response to the conflict which i thought was lucid enough in the end. the link is to the whole posting, as well as all comments. of course. as always, further opinions welcome.

22 April 2005


went to the sheridan illustration show in the distillery tonight. and there was some Astonishing work. but even better, which is so frequently the case, some of the stuff that i didn't see there. Blessed Internet. case in point:

"globalize" by Dave Barnes.

and last but Absolutely NOT least for the evening.

tomorrow i go in to Coach House for my first day doing a little part-time (thumpa thumpa) production work there. Coach House, the land of ancient presses, overstuffed chairs, poetry inscribed in the driveway, and books up to the roof. and yes, for the modernists and Addicts amongst us, some very lovely macintoshes as well.
Dear reader(s), my excitement Cannot be underestimated.
with the luck i've been having of late, i have this recurring image in my head of the Gods consulting their ledgers..." s. lenk, s. lenk... by the Great Guns of Gudrun, we've got it ALL wrong! it's STEPHEN LENK who's meant for such fortuity. stop her! strike her down! quickly! before she gets to the children!

(not my children, by the way. just to be clear, dear reader(s).
they are not even a twinkle in my proverbial eye.)

a delayed response to an earlier comment and a synapse-stimulating link on the nature of Art and non-art.

this posting is in fact a shameless cut'n'paste of a long overdue response to JP's proffering of a Not Art link on an earlier posting. having finally paid the appropriate attentions to said article, i hereby respond in part with a snippit i first discovered in an article by Emily Vey Duke posted on www.goodreads.ca, which i found particulary astute in addressing the issue.

i direct you specifically about 6 paragraphs down in the article, and quote it here as well, for those of you disinclined to the non-sequitur click:

The problem is that students in art schools, especially at the undergraduate level, are taught the Duchampian paradigm 'it's art if you say it is, and saying it's art when it's not artful is itself a radical act.' They're taught to be suspicious of the beautiful and the interesting, and to follow their quirky whims regardless of the relevance they have to anyone else. They're also taught, without ever being explicitly told, that as soon as something is art, it's precious. As a result, art education creates artists who believe that they don't have to try very hard to make something of immeasurable value.

This is no service to the art world. In fact, I think it's why art is suffering such a crisis of irrelevance to the public at large. The work we're producing is just not good enough to catch the eye of the non-art-initiated viewer, let alone to hold her attention for long enough to make her care.

i'm not suggesting that this is THE definition of art. that would be like saying, there is a God, and this is what "he" looks like.
i am asserting, however, that this is an apt description of a problem endemic to much modern art practise.

i would like to temper my response, however, with a tip of the hat to our earlier IRL conversation about this, JP, when we were speaking about Dada, and it's evisceration of all that went before, and how successfully that brought forth a new perspective and a new era in art-making. and art making that i am also a great and loyal admirer of.

i think there is room in the art world (and i mean all arts here: poetry, theatre, music, etc...) for anyone who honestly wants to communicate with others. i think the ideas people wish to keep to themselves (by manifesting them in obscure and unwelcoming ways), should be kept to themselves.

21 April 2005

book launch frivolity and thoughts on being audience to private (and Other peoples') things.

we of course had a glorious time at Coach House's book launch last night, determining (ok, i determined) that hereafter it would be more appropriate to frequent these events as the "Brick Posse", with the staid and silent Yohannes heading up (staid and silently) puffing on his cigarette, and the rest of us following up behind with trenchcoats flowing in a wind (manufactured by hidden fans), and holding weighty tomes of literary greatness and looking tough, as poets stop reading and bohemians everywhere step back in awe and let us pass through to get first dibs on the shrimp sauce and deep fried wontons.

of course for the sake of modernity and all sense of equality and protocol, we would have to switch up the staid front-man smoker role, 'xcept the rest of us are only occasional smokers or trying to quit.

anyhow. these readings are interesting. i guess i do use the word "interesting" in it's questionable context. although by NO means do i mean this in a derrogatory sense (NONE. i am a TRUE supporter of the humble reading. TRUE TRUE TRUE.) and tonight's was actually particularly gratifying 'coz there were SO many people there. much much support.

readings in general.
books must be the utmost difficult thing to market on earth. it demands making a public event out of an inherently private habit. every passage i heard sounded fantastic, but i confess that it only harboured a desire for me to read the book so i could see it on paper. so in that sense, of course, it was an immense success! and yet... i don't know. the thing about silent slam a few weeks back that really struck me was this accomodation of art with the inherent social aspect of the event. people were allowed to talk, drink, interact, or read poetry as it was being written.
it's probably just me, but i find it hard to be audience to such a .... quiet act as reading, and still be completely caught up in it, despite white noise and distraction. and always this separation. audience/performer. and yet there must be boundaries, i think, if the intention of any work is to be clear.
i don't know.
Tonight the fine people of the Hot Docs documentary festival (welcome to my next sundry job in the world of cultural subsistence) reminded us that although there are some bigwig sponsors involved, they aren't just cutting a cheque, they want to be involved. either by attending the documentary forums, the parties, seeing the films. one could question the definition of "involvement" in this sense, and yet this is more involvement than many Canada Council members can claim once they write their grant cheque. it's a good point.
This same topic of conversation the other night talking about fundraising events, in the hopes of making them more interactive between artists and patrons, instead of just rich people standing around and watching us dance. Events where the patrons themselves dress up, get involved, get crazy in a place that has been made safe for them to get crazy in. (i'm not talking crazy in a soused mother-fucker causing trouble kind of way...YAWN to that shit...i mean in the sense of being other than who they usually find themselves forced to be due to their life choices)
all this seemed very important to me, this need to understand other peoples' need to be Involved. in whatever capacity they are capable of.

we can't all be writers.
we can't all be readers.
in an ideal world (well, in ideal world) we would all be able to do both ad infinitum.
but, of course, as someone said long ago in a poetry class i sat in on, "what would poetry be like if weall could make a living at it?"
play well with all the other children, that's really what this life is all about.

blogging,lunchtime, and strange submissions.

lunch hour. and Rebecca said something about going to my blog. then she mumbled something like "i'm in your blog....i'm eating my lunch" and i said "i didn't blog about you eating lunch!!"
and then i realized she was talking about real life.
eating lunch in real life.
right now. as we were talking.

the other day as i was trying to demonstrate something on another laptop, i grabbed Michael's cellphone and started rubbing it on the desk whilst staring at the screen, thinking it was a mouse.

i've obviously very ill.

moving on, of course... i found out later on today about Gerald Wallace Goode, an elderly gentleman who has been submitting cut up polaroids and strange tidbits of writing to Brick for 20 years. just these strange little prose pieces with sentences like "a paramount rule for us writers is to avoid being a hack and i might have broken that rule by allowing myself to get carried away by a bunch of stones stacked together as they are in that remote section of land". In issue 73 the fair editors gave this gentleman a colour insert with a collection of his strange obscure blurry polaroids of barber shopfronts and distant buildings. the polaroids look like fragments of glass that have been finely polished and washed up by the ocean, with strange remnants of other worlds inside them.

as we opened up Mister Goode's submissions file to rifle through it for a moment Rebecca suddenly exclaimed. "he's gotten a computer! oh my god! have you seen this? he's gotten a computer! his last submission is from a computer!" it seems for the past 19 years his submissions have been from an old manual typewriter, and somehow this very old man has made the leap.

it's at this juncture that i feel the need to quote Brick quoting Rainer Maria Rilke (dear Dear Blessed (thumpa thumpa) Rilke):

"Works of art are of an infinite loneliness and with nothing to be so little appreciated as with criticism. Only love can grasp and hold and fairly judge them".

Oswald Hall.

the following was written on the back of this gentleman's subscription renewal to Brick:

"you recommend a 10 year subscription.
that would end in 2015
i was born in 1908
there is a statistical possibility that i will reach the age of 207 but the probability is very remote!"

oh. Dear Dear Mister Oswald.

Michael promptly insisted that Yohannes renew the man's subscription for the next 10 years, writing him a note by hand to include with the renewal: (and i'm paraphrasing somewhat in retrospect) "we received your notice and have determined that your statistical probability of survival to the year 2015 will increase significantly with your receiving Brick, so we have extended your subscription for 10 years at no extra cost to you. we hereby INSIST that you live to the age of 207."

this was my Very Favourite Part of the Entire Day.

20 April 2005

theater passe dachau.

alright. so i'm going to give all (any) of you privileged reader(s) who happen upon this the skinny on the first illustration for Passe Muraille's season brochures.

i need to preface it with a quick caveat: to anyone who may happen upon this who is a part of Passe Muraille's next season, who is affiliated with Passe Muraille or invested in it in any way... DON'T WORRY. the image you see below this is NOT going to be used to promote the grand ole' place. i post this image as part of this self-involved blogging preoccupation that constitutes my navel-gazing attempts to understand pathological inclinations.
(was that a mouthful?)
we agreed that an overall image would suffice for the May mailing brochure, due to time constraints and the need to be inclusive at this early point...not something specific to the plays of the season perse, but something indicative of ... you know... Passe Muraille, "Theatre Beyond Walls" (their mandate, for the uninitiated) etc. etc.
bandying about ideas, Sue came up with an idea i was IMMENSELY sympathetic to, namely the use of an illustration of the building (which is gloriously old, historic, iconic, and all that) with it's roof laid open and hands pushing out against the walls.
perhaps a bit literal, "theatre beyond walls" but with potential for an excellent and interesting image...and meaning i could draw (thumpa thumpa) hands Hands HANDS! (i like hands)
seems harmless enough, right? one would think, anyhow.
(sigh) behold, dear reader(s):

as Sue most aptly commented before sending me back to the drawing board: sweetheart, it's a little too Auschwitz.  "For you, it’s a light and frothy picture, for the average bear it is quite dark in tone."

SO true! SO weird! my poor performers, looking like they aren't stretching boundaries, but clammering to get out of the gas chambers!

dear reader(s), how does this happen? HOW?!?!

you will be happy to know that we have arrived at a working idea that is significantly more...optimistic in nature.

yes i'm still here and have a great deal more to say.

.... but not right now. so there.

17 April 2005

fascinating minutiae.

that's all. "fascinating minutiae".
i mean that pretty much says it all.
(sigh) thanks JP.

springtime and a saturday night.

tonight Barker and i saw a naked man running down the street at bloor and ossington, at around 9pm-ish. we were babbling away and then i said "oh look, there's a naked man across the street" and Barker said "why, so there is!" and then we kept walking.
he did pause for a moment in front of a shoe store and then raced south down ossington, figuring it was closed, i guess, so nothing would be had of window shopping.

a sure and significant sign that spring is in the air.

16 April 2005

and some pithy one-liners from the evening that followed...

on regret for past ills:
Rebecca: at what point can we stop blaming age for our mistakes?
Michael: when we're dead. "sorry i smell so bad, but i'm dead." nope. doesn't work. can't blame yourself.

on post modern art:
Rebecca (affecting the air of one of those ridiculous intellectual wankers we all love so much): oh yes the (place incongrous "art" object and ridiculous thematic explanation here) means the state of my soul... and the macaroni is just for decoration"

on tofu:
Michael: you start with the soya bean, you know, a noble enough food. then that gets turned into tofu, which is already a little dodgy, and then you do tofu-urkey, which is just dishonest. i can't eat it on a mere matter of principle. it's just a dishonest food.

stef: if i could just get rid of my ego things would go alot more smoothly for me.
Michael: have you figured out a way to get rid of your ego?
stef: i tried leaving it in your office, but it was too big to fit.

slush-pile deflowering.

i was introduced to Brick's unsolicited submissions pile yesterday...prefaced by the discovery of this quote from Russel Lynes in an earlier issue: "Every journalist has a novel in him, which is an excellent place for it."
reading it to Rebecca, her usually demure and mannered self chuckled demonically; "that's so mean ... and wonderful!" she said. Perfect.
we commiserated over the submissions, agreeing that it's so painful to go through. not just because there are alot of bad writers /photographers out there, but because there is so much hope in the submissions pile, and to be the person who has to judge it all and send stuff back unaccepted is a difficult and thankless task.

and yet how does one accomodate all aspiring artists? the 51 year old retiree's memoir about his wife and him moving house, the texan man's haikus about bulldozers, the self-portraits submitted by a profound gentleman in a baseball cap, taken in the reflection of his bathroom mirror...
with every post-it note attached marked "no", or "not appropriate for Brick", i felt my own idealistic self standing at the shooting range, having my own odds and ends subjected to cruel derision and dismissal at the hands of strangers.
more interestingly, was the realization that i have difficulty finding praise for my own work, hence the difficulty finding praise for others'. (sigh) it's shocking and unfortunate, really.

later we all discussed the difference between writing for the love of writing Itself, vs. writing for the purpose of being read. i think the fundamental thing, the responsibility, is when one has decided to submit writing, to open it up to the public for consumption. a responsibility ensues: that of caring for one's audience, potential or otherwise. to respect their time by not sharing impertinent or inappropriate information, for realizing that not every personal drama we live through is relevant or important to others.

writing (indeed all artistic expression) is an act of compassion, where the writer wants to share, whether it beauty, pain, perversions, or unusual experiences in their lives that keep them getting up in the morning. and really, one must consider one's reader. not in a self-conscious "out to please and censored accordingly" kind of way, but more as an editorial tactic for keeping things focused and engaging.

i do know that as a reader i do not like to have my time flagrantly wasted. my nighttable is already sagging with countless books clamouring to get my attention.
it is important to be considerate of one's gifts before presenting them.

branding.(from the gossip flowchart of an email rambling.)

Barker suggested a few days ago that i should brand myself, he said he'd help me with my marketing campaign:
really? i said. as what?
Brand StefLenk.
of course.
Excellent. all lowercase please, with a period at the end.

only for the most worthy, erudite, and romantically inclined consumer."

i'll go all-caps when i go national so people will still be able to hear me from far away.

form vs. line.

ruminating for a short while over tea on thursday with my friend, neighbour, and photoshop guru Diana, who is the world's answer to translating age-old art concerns into the digital world. she asked me what i thought the difference was between line and form.
as someone whose drawing tends toward the form-ing of things, and mistrusts my own lines always, i didn't know that i had a satisfactory response, but here's what i came up with, and even if the logic is faulty, boy does it sound profound :

form indicates there is already an answer, while line expects that there can't possibly be one.

language doodles by a blogging neophyte.

for those of you who have been regaled by the playful ponderings of my pseudonomical commentator of misspellt and magical re-interpretations of the english language, i direct you now to her fresh born cyber-self-publication mission oatetherteaching.blogspot.com. ah, english...how much FUN you are!

father and son.

and Complete proof that i am offensive and 180 degrees shy of sane.
i really cannot figure out what goes on in the depths of my mind...honest to Gods.
unfortunately, that is half the reason i find it so fascinating, being me. anyhow. i think this little doodle puts me (for today anyhow) into the category of "latent perverts on the internet".
(sigh) oh well, nice to try new things...see our next posting for a return to more organic librarian-ism.

Dionysus' Secret.


potters wheel.

14 April 2005

stray question after an evening of dionysian excess and moments of infathomable dialogue.

if people want to live a lie why do they bother conversing with people who do not?
that was one of those questions fueled by wine and vaguaries that deserves a bit more detail, i suppose.

the evening was spent working at Passe Muraille's annual fundraiser, surrounded by Artists aplenty and "other members of the theatre community" (read: board members and rich sponsors). i see these (latter) faces just once a year for this token event, that sees our humble theatre decked out in glassware, opulent catering, and lots and lots of chatter.

overhearing peoples' critiques (about art and life) makes me wonder about the nature of criticism and the nature of honesty.

about peoples' ability to make brash and assertive statements about what is good, what is bad, what is honest– when their actions (what they do with their lives, the responsibility with which they evaluate their own actions, the compassion they have for others around them and their behaviours) are so diametrically opposed to everything they are saying.

i have trouble understanding how these people can use words like good, bad, openness, honesty, and whatever other adjectives we use to shower praise on both art and other humans, as they sit from their privileged seat as audience member, coward, or passive observer.

this is not a rant against rich people or sponsors. i include myself and my community amongst the people who have difficulty with this. i too am guilty of speaking spontaneously, of wild notions and endless pipedreams about things i want to do, the person i would be in an ideal world.

the most unwieldy challenge of being burdened with ideas is to keep up with onesself and the real world. words carry weight, but they do not supplant actions.

when people speak in the active tense, expecting their verbs to carry the burden of their inaction, those same verbs lose all their significance, and discredit the speaker.

13 April 2005

shameless marketing of a creepy song by dear Friend and fellow blogger.

Barker is convinced noone is visiting his blog, and he has just posted the most Awesome little tune, that sounds something like armageddon day at the circus. jukebox of the apocalypse, dear reader(s), visit it. you won't be disappointed. and if you are, well, it could be you have no taste, we don't know who you are and won't hold it against you. :]

12 April 2005

random bits of glee and thought in a publicatory environment.

i would just like to say that i am officially ruined for any other internship (or job, for that matter) i may ever find myself in; Brick (Literary Journal, to the uninitiated) is Bloody Fantastic.
and here i find myself again with new snippits, new people... what's the protocol, blogging alumnae? names? no names? the generic and strategic third person for those of you reader(s) who have no idea who i'm talking about?
perhaps i'll just start writing and see...

to start with, the entire office was Rife with the scent of one tiny but ambitious hyacinth plant, which is blooming like some Great Blooming Thing in the window, and made cheerfulness inevitable at the start of the day.

we went to biz depot on a sundry postage mission. when we got there i elected to stay silent about this sudden (and predictable, i confess) desire to purchase all manner and copious amounts of post-it notes. this is real business, i thought; there are more important things at stake than my strange and embarrassing predilections for sticky bright paper.
as we wandered through the aisles, we came, of course, upon them. my heart galumphed for a moment, but i remained strong and walked away empty handed.
then, as we got further away from the danger zone, Rebecca (managing editor Extraordinaire) turned to me and confessed an excessive Love of office supplies that was bordering on addiction. she Too, it seems, had had a moment of reckoning when we were in the post-it notes aisle. when all was told, we revelled like two fellow sufferers finding themselves off the wagon and running amok through the office supplies.

i find things like this very edifying.
(i am, of course, easily pleased.)

later we had a discussion (whilst stuffing envelopes for aforementioned postage) about Humour as the only way to get past taking oneself too seriously. for the first time in ages i found myself thinking once again about Lear's Fool, one of my ALL-TIME favourite characters in Literature, (next to Erasmus' Stultitia in Praise of Folly) .
i Truly believe that humour is the Only way to function properly in a world where no one wants to hear the bare Truth about anything. you say everything you can possibly say, and when someone feels threatened, you pass it off with mirth and mockery.

the unwritten fact, the Glorious wonderful thing, is that if you have spoken honestly, Everyone will know it, even if you laugh it off.

laughing off honesty. heheh. comedy=denial, obviously. back to the opposite of tragedy. how excellent. of course many people cop out of telling the truth when it gets tough with stupid jokes and dismissive comments. Different from Humour. VERY DIFFERENT. that's not what i'm talking about.

everyone should have to read King Lear. sorry, all you anti-Shakespearians out there. but it's true.

what other pithy little remembrances have i got about the day's dialogues....hmm.

i happened upon a Stunning photograph of Carole Corbeil, which we agreed looks like "nostalgia personified"... and i think we all agree that nostalgia is Just Fine, thank you very much. It was really utterly captivating. and very odd, to see such a peaceful photo of someone who has passed away.

my other office cohort and boss, Yohannes, made a comment that the concept "a picture is worth 1000 words" is ridiculous. i agree Wholeheartedly. the problem with pictures/visuals (and probably the reason they are so much more coercive than copy) is that they leave nothing to interpretation. think of the following: a billboard with a photo of some skinny chick on it, and the phrase "some skinny chick" (divorced from the billboard context).
which one is more accomodating to your thoughts?

pictures can only mean 1 thing.
1000 words means... infinity.

and also, you can't airbrush a word.

of course, in addressing arts, one must (must one? yes, i guess one must) address things like those ridiculous balloon installations and whatever other post-modern art pap that should have stayed in idea form on a piece of paper amongst pretentious gits trying to outwit their viewers.
to be fair, the glorious paintings of the Renaissance were nothing short of propaganda, it's true.
but what aesthetically preferable creations to some of the wankery we see gracing gallery walls on Queen West!
you know what it is? those Renaissance paintings were Intensely Human.
balloons on a wall are just party favours.
NOT everything is Art.

11 April 2005

a day in the life of my internship.

Michael Redhill called from the road to tell us he just drove by the office of a dermatologist by the name of doctor pus.

evisceration for a new beginning.

conversing with JP today about getting oneself into self-destructive situations/relationships of All sorts, and how much that Sucks.

he pointed out that regret is pointless. destruction (or self-destructive situations) are not necessarily futile and useless. take dada.

one definition of Dada or Dadaism [French, from dada, child's word for a horse]: Nihilistic movement in the arts that flourished chiefly in France, Switzerland, and Germany from about 1916 to about 1920 [and later -ed.] and that was based on the principles of deliberate irrationality, anarchy, and cynicism, and the rejection of laws of beauty and social organization.

in order to come up with a whole new definition of art (of oneself), one has to destroy everything left standing of the old art (self).

this bears more thought, but i like it.
it is definitely possible to reach breaking points where one Finally Finally stops making the same mistakes. one breaks once too often, heals, and then Actually moves on.

09 April 2005

Shakespeare did get one thing right.

i was talking with two close friends, what, a week ago, perhaps? about the nature of tragedy. the works of shakespeare became implicit, since he kind of coined the term.

what is the opposite of tragedy?
not comedy?
comedy only means you get out alive.

07 April 2005

ladies and gentlemen of bohemia...

tonight i was at a Ruddy Fantastic event, an i must comment on it for a moment or five.

the silent slam,curated by Sandra Alland and hosted by a new events company called Meniscus was unprecedented (to me, anyhow) in the world of "nights of poetry". gone were the lung cancer candidates in berets pondering from atop barstools about the states of their livers; this was a Truly modern and literary feast. yay!

but before i tell you all about it, you must let me back up for a short moment. (you must. this is my blog after all, the ultimate in late-night tv-less navel-gazing ventures.)
this posting wouldn't be steflenk worthy without a slight meandering into some sort of nostalgia. so.
it was the nomadic era, probably about 10 years ago (holy shit, i can actually say that something happened 10 years ago that i remember!) that i was wandering around in Frankfurt, Germany, looking for something cheap and entertaining to do (yes, yes, who wasn't wandering the streets of Germany 10 years ago looking for cheap entertainment?) when i saw some tattered paper sign up for the nuyorican poets, putting on a slam at some embassy or other. in english of course. i think it was the word english that pulled me over, and the word slam that baffled me just enough to head out to it. definitely, it was not a pre-meditated outing, nor was it a likely one, in a land of german-speaking-ness and backpacking poverty.
anyhow. the evening was a bunch of Awesome writers citing verse impromptu, written on the spot, singing it, moving it, hip hopping it..., and a whole lot of confused but accomodating krauts in the audience (i can say that, i'm a kraut myself, although i think i've probably misspelt the word, for some reason i find that rather funny)
the night radically shifted my view on "poetry" proper. there was stream of consciousness writing, there was formal rhyme and rhythm, but it was all kind of shaken up and real, and above all things, fathomable. in layman's language!
at the time i remember making a connection between poetry and musical lyrics for the first time, and realizing that our equivalent to the romantics of centuries past lies frequently in the lyrics of musicians, and we are in fact surrounded by the stuff.
but even after that i still remained unmoved by those tiny books of verse hovering in the peripheries of indie bookshops everywhere. (furious blush) i know. it's wrong. but, truth be told, there is some poetry i read that shakes my universe, and alot that i read that leaves me as tepid and indifferent as cold tea.
a.a milne is, to me, Poet Extraordinaire. as are lewis carroll and e.e cummings. stephen crane's poems from the "dark riders" probably tops almost all novels i proclaim to be life changing favourites. but some of that other "my love is like a great big loon from rural saskatchewan" stuff has left a sour taste in my mouth for making the forray into other lesser-known writers of verse. usually i stick with novels, to be frank, they are straight-up. perhaps i haven't been up for the challenge of poetry. who knows.


the silent slam.

two laptops were set up in a boxing ring type style in the Drake's basement, with projectors above them, connected to the computers. poets went two at a time, facing off, with a view of their own screen projected onto the opposing wall, behind the other poet. they were given two words (in round 1), one word and one painting (one of my paintings, be still my self-absorbed and eager-to-be-involved-heart) in round 2, a word and a photograph (one of three by Aviva Armour-Ostoff on auction) in round 3, and in the last round they were made to write on the subject of DJ murr's spinning, which was going on for the duration of the event.

my experience with poetry (traditionally, anyhow) is that of this immensely private undertaking, and So subjective, and often so loaded with intellectual tripe and "if you don't get this you're obviously daft" pomposity, that the mere notion of sitting down in a crowded room full of people to address it face-on makes me apprehensive and doubtful. but the way silent slam was set up, people milled about, drank, chatted, bid on auction pieces, and also watched the screens and poets as they typed away. this informal set-up took pressure off the writers to "perform", and pressures off the audience, who were still taking part in this immensely personal experience, but one which accomodated their need to exchange pleasantries with acquaintances, chat with friends, and, yes, dear bohemians, drink beer. and the work was Fantastic. FANTASTIC. i asked to be put on the list of interested buyers when they put together a chapbook of the event, not to mention finding myself seduced into coveting yet more books (of the poets involved).

watching the poets type also brought on this odd realization of the relationships many modern writers have come to have with computers: some poets were preoccupied with font type, size, placement, some pounded out stream-of-consciousness impromptu diatribes, some sat for 5 of the 10 minute time limits pondering and then carefully typed their well-chosen words in. all of them were completely absorbed in the task at hand.

sigh. HOW AWESOME for poetry. this format might be a new way to take away the stigma, the "oh-for-the-love-of-allah's -elbows-please-don't-start-on-the-poetry" feeling one gets sometimes when the P word comes up at nights out, when one is behind on one's reading, and worried about sounding clever.
which, i must confess, i sometimes do. sometimes. it's the mark of a simpleton. but it's a Glorious Glorious life.

02 April 2005


ENOUGH with the snow already. didn't anyone get the memo? springtime, powers that be. SPRINGTIME. gah.