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Monday, 21 August 2006
The Long Weekend of Lit

It's been a fairly busy weekend. . . Saturday I got to hit both "Fired...On Yo' Day Off!" at the Bronson Centre, and OutSpoken at Mother Tongue, and Sunday was, of course, Mark Foss at Dusty Owl. I also had Steve Curtis and a couple of his friends staying with me for the weekend - Steve came down from Peterborough to read at OutSpoken. 

"Fired...On Yo' Day Off!" was an interesting theatre experience - rattling along on its own enthusiasm for the most part. The actors were almost all novices, and a lot of the dialogue was ad libbed, occasionally directed at the audience and occasionally not. I think that the ad lib helped the actors move more naturally on the stage, since they weren't trying to remember how to move as well as what their next lines were, and the slapstick and overlapping dialogue carried the scenes along.

The show could have used a sound and light director; the house lights were up through the show, which was disconcerting, and the curtains closed between scenes, which sort of interrupted the action (and posed a problem a couple of times when the actors got caught on the wrong side of the curtains as they were drawing closed.)

Having Q come out to do some of her poetry before the show was a nice surprise, and the poems she did were really quite beautiful, slipping between speech and song.  In the show she played an entertaining ghetto mom, waif-like child in tow, and was really quite funny. I also enjoyed Pearl James' Tourette's Syndrome-afflicted character - she was so big-eyed and soft-spoken and sweet - interspersed with bouts of bizarre shouting. The audience loved her. 

After the show we had to book to get to Mother Tongue Books for OutSpoken - a great reading, intimate and really warm, hosted by the Capital Poetry Collective and Agitate. The readers ranged from prose to poetry, and from quiet and introspective to screaming out loud. Really; Steve Curtis got at least some of the audience to scream along with him in one section of his long poem "Storm." The space is small enough that no mike is really needed, and the atmosphere was wonderful. It took a while for the shop to clear out afterwards: everyone was still standing around talking. In fact, a lot of us wound up going off to the Elgin Street Diner afterwards to keep the conversation going (without keeping Michelle Desbarats from closing up shop.) 

Sunday evening I was at the Dusty Owl (of course) to see Mark Foss read from his new collection of short stories, Kissing the Damned. It was a nice reading - shortish, and I know I was curious enough about what happened next to go buy the book. The open mike afterwards featured a rocking performance by Steve Curtis of one of his poems over Jimi Hendrix's 'Red House' (provided by the Dog of Dog and Pony Sound, who does the karaoke show right after Dusty, and who does our sound.) 

Oh, right, and then there was karaoke after the show. For the sake of general poetry-community interest: rob mclennan has a lovely singing voice.  


Posted by Kathryn Hunt at 12:31 PM EDT
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