Photos & Video of the Nov 2015 Poetry & Music Salon

We had a wonderful poetry and music gathering at Markham House in Mirvish Village on November 29th.

Many thanks to our features - Jeannine Pitas (Janina La Papita) and Amoeba Starfish (Jeff Howard and Phil Ogison Aegidiussen) - thoroughly enjoyed every word and note of music (including dancing! Jeannine, Sharon Goodier, Norman Bethune Allan and Ariel Balevi - dancers all!)!

And beautiful open mics - wow! - Ariel Balevi (who is a well-known and beloved storyteller and shared a poem for the first time publicly), Anatol Oberhand Balaban (who wrote a terrific impromptu poem about Mirvish Village), Daniela Oana (first time sharing her poetry publicly), Sharon Goodier (who shared some of her ekphrastic poetry), Elizabeth Pollack (first time sharing her poetry publicly), Jeff Cottrill (who had us laughing with a great TTC poem) and Norman Allan (who read while Amoeba Starfish were playing).

And, of course, much gratitude and kudos to those who helped at Markham House, Deb and Joe for chairs,…

Awaiting a Title

Another photo of this drawing taken outside while spraying it with a fine art fixative. While not quite the full-spectrum-total-sunlight that I prefer, it was snapped in wan sunlight that appeared momentarily in a grey, overcast day. The colour and detail are better than the night shot I posted a few days ago.

Awaiting a Title, 2015, 13" x 24", mixed media, Canson montval 140lb cold press archival watercolor paper. I thought to call this Climate Change, but that was early in the drawing. After, I began to see many different things in it and am not sure what to call it anymore.

It needs an image or a line from a surreal poem or fantasy literature, or maybe its own poem from which a title can be drawn.

It's just a little experiment and will likely be a Christmas gift this year if the person I am thinking of likes it.

Video of my last Poetry & Music Salon is en route

It's very blue, but that's because the effects that worked in the other locations were too grungy-looking in this one and pushing the colouring into the reds created an anemic green vignette with yellows that I couldn't abide. I began at 11am and a few versions later it is finally rendering, 17 hours later. Note: I did manage to get 5 hours of sleep. This is the last one I am doing - the videos have been a place to experiment and to learn and a teaching tool for the poets and musicians who come to my monthly salons. No-one likes stark realistic video and so the overlays, colourings, flickers, borders that still have to leave my beautiful participants this side of recognisable. Dealing with low light has been very challenging. How to make my camera-person's work, Tripod is his name, his style is very static, somewhat visually interesting has been challenging. Choosing my features, composing the flyer, creating the event page, doing all the promo, hosting the wonderful …

sketch of a woman

Quick sketch of a woman, 2015, 14" x 12", willow and white charcoal on Strathmore drawing paper.

I actually did this October 12th, but only got it photographed today in wan sunlight, really a cloudy, overcast sky. Putting this in a frame on my wall, so no more attempts at photographing it.

re-finding the lifeline

I thought to call this small piece, Climate Change, but that was early in the drawing. After, I began to see many different things in it and am not sure what to call it anymore. It needs a line or an image from a Surreal poem or Fantasy story for a title. 13" x 24", mixed media, Canson montval 140lb cold press archival watercolor paper.

Doing a piece like this is fairly easy, and the kind of art I tend to stay away from. With a return to the way I did drawings and paintings before the rude interruption of Conceptualism when I did a Fine Art degree so many years ago, I find a progression of something I might have done in more rudimentary form as a teen. It's like I wiped out 30 years of domineering voices and styles and somehow returned to find my lifeline (to use a term from palmistry) and to continue it on.

Only by returning to the distant past could I continue on.

I don't think I would ever put this piece in a show - it is more of a free exploration, and not for a…

Donate goods to a Syrian refugee drive at Markham House (where we are holding a Poetry & Music Salon tomorrow)

Markham House, where our Poetry and Music Salon will be late afternoon tomorrow, Saturday Nov 28th, from 4-6pm, (featuring Jeannine Pitas and Amoeba Starfish, Jeff Howard and Phil Ogison Aegidiussen, with open mic), is hosting a Syrian refugee donation drive. If you have any food, new or gently used toys, clothing or other household items to donate, bring them along when you come to the Salon, or drop off at your convenience. Westbank's owner, Ian Gillespie, as you may know, has offered a 12-unit apartment building in Vancouver for Syrian refugees awaiting settlement ( Whatever we can do, for whoever needs it, whenever we can, is good.

November Poetry and Music Salon -tomorrow!

A Poetry and Music Salon at Markham House. They will be treasured hours.

When: Saturday November 28
Time: 4-6pm
Where: Markham House, 610 Markham Street (across from Honest Ed's)
Hosted by: Brenda Clews

Our November Poetry and Music Salon features Jeannine Pitas and Amoeba Starfish, who are Jeff Howard and Phil Ogison Aegidiussen. How wonderful they are! It will be a superb late afternoon/early evening at the bright and friendly Markham House in Mirvish Village. Upstairs, there is a small art gallery; on the ground floor, a large wooden model of Westbank's proposal for Mirvish Village and a suggestion form you can fill out, well worth a visit. They'll make a large pot of coffee, and we can enjoy a warm, convivial, supportive time together. After, the Victory Café for a coffee, drink or dinner.

JEANNINE MARIE PITAS is a writer, teacher and literary translator who lived in Toronto from 2008 to 2015 and is determined to visit as often as she can afford. "She is the auth…

Drawing #1.1

An early stage of something new. A good size, 20" x 24", willow charcoal that's been set with a brush-on fixative on Canson 140lb watercolour paper. Photo taken with studio lights. When I draw at night in a darkened room... even I don't know until the next day who or what will emerge.

A moment of injury and a reflection...

I have this theory that we injure ourselves accidentally when we encounter a 'moment of emotional trauma' in our memories, feelings, emotions. When I am momentarily 'caught' (with painful memory or realization), I might nick a toe passing a corner in my apartment or trip over a step I cross every day.

So I was cutting 1cm wide strips of foam core, to tape into frames to hold drawings I did of my doggy, Keesha, hours before she passed away. The foam core a cheapy way to keep the glass off the drawings. Cutting, with x-acto knife, metal ruler and clamps, I accidentally sliced the corner of my index finger off. Yeah, yeah, I know.

It bled like crazy. Couldn't stop it. I wrapped it up in gauze and went back to the frames where I saw this little oval and thought, hmnnn. Now I have watched all of Grey's Anatomy and know if you can keep what you've lost, it's best. So I carefully picked up the little white bit and went to the bathroom and put it back on the bl…

A Kafkaesque Dream

Last night I dreamt that I was forced to stand in front of a firing squad. There were a number of men standing in a row aiming rifle-type guns at me - being the target was scary.

The worst part was that I had to stand there, waiting to be shot, if they were going to shoot me, for six unrelenting months.

Six months standing in front of a firing squad, not knowing if that second of your life was to be your last.

What hell. And yet, again, this is life as I know it. I am always in front of that firing squad and I never know what is next.

There was some indication that I would not be shot in the end, that it was a Kafkaesque exercise of raw existentialism, but my fate wasn't certain and was left as unknown. The scene was reminiscent of Goya's 'The Third of May 1808' (except it was daytime and I was a lone target, and there were no dead bodies).

The dream has been with me all day and I am taking the unusual step of writing it down in my blog.

The Thinning Veils of Samhain, Beltane, Halloween (photos of my costume)

- Halloween 2015 - making a headdress for a videopoem - something I researched for about a year before making my version of her. The line was, "Get Stoned!" Stage photos at Hirut, a restaurant in Toronto where there was a poetry and music event, taken by Jennifer Hosein, who was a Punk Witch, and who is in profile in the last photo.