Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Lady of the Moon


Lady of the Moon. I sewed this simple robe from a swath of beautiful lilac shantung silk for my private Goddess worship rituals in the 90s. I'd surround myself with a circle of pebbles from my cottage, and candles. I had an altar with spirals and sacred stones and Green and White Tara figurines, and the four elements - sand, incense, water in a shell, a burning candle in a 5-pointed star holder - behind which I hung my painting of the Sri Yantra. I followed rituals from books, both Western and Eastern, and I'd meditate and commune with the angelic forces... Bringing the robe out from the back of the cupboard flooded me with memories today. Perhaps we all pass through spiritual currents of one sort or another in our lives. This robe saw me through a particularly spiritually rich time. The memories make me smile inwardly.

I took the photo to show my fellow poets at our Performance Poetry evening tomorrow night as a possibility for a costume for some minimalist dance/creative movement to go with one of the readings. We are rehearsing tonight, and so will decide what works and what doesn't.

John and I already met for a jam to see how his music and my poetry might go together. Then I thought to offer some movement or dance to his reading in return. He thought that was okay. Yesterday morning, we each read through our poems and recorded them and sent each other the recordings along with the full text of our pieces so that he could think of what sounds to use with my poems and I could get a grasp of the images, image patterns, emotional undercurrents and the expressed emotions, as well as the heady stuff for moving creatively to/ dancing to his poems. Tonight we are meeting with Luciano to see if John's playing and me doing a minimalist, stuttering, shoulder-oriented dance (that centres around the larynx) in the lilac shantung robe with the split mask might also work to add a performative element to Luciano's poem. The actor who was going to perform with Luciano during his feature is out of town, so I am hoping to create something else so that our poems and their presentations adhere to the theme of the Poetry Salon: A Poetry Performance evening.

While unrelated to the Poetry Performance evening, as I was writing this post, I thought of a video I made, Shadow Cave, a dance with a voiceover based on one of the meditations I did in the 90s and which I wrote of in detail in my journal at the time. I thought you might be interested to see what sorts of things I got up to when I wore that robe:

direct link: Shadow Cave

And it is interesting that in the vision a woman is cave painting, and now the experts are saying that the hands on the caves of paleolithic and neolithic peoples are small, and likely womens'. (That said with a chuckle!)

___

 brendaclews.com

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Poetry Performance Evening on Jan 29th @ Urban Gallery featuring Luciano Iacobelli, John Oughton and Brenda Clews

Featuring: Luciano Iacobelli, John Oughton and Brenda Clews.

Luciano is a poet, visual artist and publisher. His work transgresses borders, edges, finds places where definition is bare. While his pared-down poetry is rich with literary and philosophical reflections and echoes for those who wish to delve into layers and meanings, it is always passionate.

Luciano is performing a piece entitled THE STUTTER NOTEBOOK: The piece employs a stylized stutter to reinforce the idea that all communication is stutter, all language is an attempt at arriving at fluid communication, but the attempt is destined to fail. Language itself is a faulty tool, unstable and full of hesitations. The best anyone can do is stumble to their meanings. The stumble has its own peculiarities, it's own beauty and rhythm. and the determination and drive behind the stumble is poetry.

John has worked as writer, musician, photographer, and performer. He was part of Toronto's improvisational dance/performance art scene, as performer, moving prop, musician and scriptwriter. He has staged his writing with slides, music, video, dancers, and even a battery-powered toy robot. His poetry also is hard to pin down, morphing from comic and satirical approaches to meditations on the presence of science, technology and nature in everyday life, and elegies.

Brenda is a multi-media artist who dances poems in hand-made masks that often find their way into paintings. Thirteen paintings from her Poempaintings Series are currently on show at Urban Gallery. She will be performing in full gear at this Poetry Salon - expect masks, creative movement, rich and sensual poetry - and to see the poempaintings hanging on the walls in a new light.

(PWYC, suggested minimum donation $5.)

Bios:

LUCIANO IACOBELLI is a poet, publisher and visual artist. He is the author of numerous chapbooks and 3 full length books of poetry. His book The examined Life is being published by Guernica Editions in 2016. He is the co-owner of Quattro Books, and the publisher of Lyricalmyrical press.

Born in Guelph, JOHN OUGHTON has lived in the Middle East, Japan, and Nova Scotia, but always seems to return to Toronto. He completed a BA and MA at York U., where he studied with Irving Layton, Miriam Waddington and Eli Mandel, and also was a "graduate assistant" to Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. He is the author of five books of poetry -- most recently, Time Slip from Guernica Editions-- and several chapbooks. His first novel, Enough of Hate, will be published by Neopoiesis Press around the end of 2014. John is also a photographer with three solo exhibitions to his credit. He works as Professor of Learning and Teaching at Centennial College.

BRENDA CLEWS is an African-Canadian poet, painter, videopoet and editor living in Toronto, Canada. She has edited textbooks, written articles for newspapers, taught yoga, done temporary office work, and dog sitting, while maintaining a reclusive lifestyle of writing and painting. She has a degree in Fine Arts and abandoned a PhD in English Lit many years ago. Brenda has had solo art shows at York University (2000), Q Space (2013) and currently at Urban Gallery, and has been in a number of group art shows including 5 By 5 at The Gladstone Hotel in 2013. Her artwork has appeared in several books and as journal covers. Her poetry has been published in various books and in print and on-line journals over the years. LyricalMyrical published her chapbook, 'the luminist poems' in 2013. She has a poetry book, 'Tidal Fury,' forthcoming with Guernica Editions. She cites her early years spent barefoot, living in a compound of mud huts, with many wild animals and the wonderful Ndembu people, in the jungle of Kafue National Park in Zambia, for her deep resonance with the beauty, strangeness and brilliance of the tribal mind and the natural world.

___

 brendaclews.com

'Winter Snow Ball' Poetry Salon @ Urban Gallery

Winter Snow Ball, Jan 2014. An evening of Queer poetry/Music/Performance hosted by Philip Cairns. A wonderful line-up of extremely talented folks. TOPoet.ca (Duncan Armstrong) has written an article - http://topoet.ca/2014/01/23/winters-no-ball/ - describing the Poetry Salon at Urban Gallery. Do read it to get a sense of what the readers and performers that you see in these photos were sharing with the audience. Thank you to all the features, and to everyone who came out to the salon!

Please check out the Picasa Album (of all the photos for the duration of my show) for who is who.




___

 brendaclews.com

Monday, January 20, 2014

Split Mask paper-mâché almost done! and done!


First, I had an image of a mask. Then I went in search of a base and found something perfect at the art store. I began to make it. Took a small series of photos. Wrote a poem inspired by the mask. The painting, Split Mask, was inspired by imagery in the poem. I have spent the last few days paper-mâché-ing, sanding and painting the mask white. The mask is nearly finished. I will be performing in it on Wed Jan 29th at Urban Gallery from 7-9pm, 400 Queen St E (bet Parliament and River), John Oughton is going to accompany me on guitar; Luciano Iacobelli, the big name on the bill, is having actors perform his poetry too.


And... it's done! So glad! It fits perfectly, and is very comfortable to wear - spent hours glueing soft white cotton flannel on the inside and carefully razor blading it at the edges. Now I have to work on memorizing the poem since I will be performing in it at the Performance Poetry Salon next week!


 ___

 brendaclews.com

Sunday, January 19, 2014

We were rather a small bunch: Dance Jam Photos

Ah well, I tried, I did. Blog, website, Facebook event page -it was a free dance event- and only a few friends came, John Oughton and Jennifer Hosein, along with two musicians, Nik Beat and John Charles Daly. Josef Hochleitner came for a short while and kindly took photographs and then said he was going to Downtown Camera to burn a disc for me, which was extraordinarily generous. I thank all those who came out - despite our intimate numbers, it was a fun afternoon of dance and jokes, photographs and giggles.

Jenn and I at the dance jam 18 Jan 2014 at Urban Gallery. Thanks Nik for taking the photo! — Brenda Clews and Jennifer Hosein at Urban Gallery.

Allan Clews, my dear brother, wrote: "The man who saw meaning in the movement of a cup in the wind; the one who attended the opening of the show and claimed he was led there by the Dali Lama and the Queen just to see that picture because doing so would set in motion certain energies... would love this picture.

He said the little figure in the upper right was the Goblin King (referencing the movie The Labyrinth) and said Obama WAS the Goblin King and he was under orders from the Archangel Michael and is acting as the lawful chief policeman of the world.

However, when the man saw the painting he told me it said that the energy of the Mother was now going to make itself known as a direct balance and counterweight.
...

Here it looks like the Mother's energy forms a chalice that constrains the Goblin King in a balanced embrace."

Which kind of threw me. Many people have commented on this painting. I have a lot to say about it, but am very busy at the moment. The other photos, and they are quite silly, in the spirit of the afternoon, too.



___

 brendaclews.com