Blog: entries tagged with "lgbt"

2007 wrap-up

The dust’s settled on 2007 at last, and does it ever feel like a new year now. Here’s a few highlights, including some stuff I didn’t write about the first time round:

Props from the shootJanuary: Spinglobe moves into a brand new office in a neat building in the east end. One of the first projects is a music video for the Mahones. It’s a takeoff on that Fellini scene where la Saraghina dances the rhumba on a Mediterranean beach - except it’s January, on Ashbridge’s Bay, and the warm spell of the previous week is most definitely over. We should have called the production Minus 8½. We freeze our collective asses off, but the video ends up looking pretty darn fine.

February: Played in the band for a musical revue put on as a fundraiser by some friends - my first time playing Broadway style is a fun challenge; I stress way about it more than I have to. Reconceived long-running audio drama idea as a podcast; later in the year would reconceive it again as a comic. Expect it to morph into a novel, a musical extravaganza and finally a series of haiku in 2008.

March: In the studio with Ellen Carol to record bass tracks for her new CD, produced by Don Kerr. Restarted work on Flickershow CD; we get some solid demos done and some cool results on a trip-hoppy new song called “Hold Up Donny”. It doesn’t last, however; I end up firing myself as producer later in the year. If all goes well we’ll be recording with Don in 2008.

May: Played with Flickershow at the Sammy Sugar Day Festival, the kickoff for Ellen’s fundraising bike tour of Eastern Canada. Finally launched a site for Presonance, a collaboration with Rezo Largul.

June: Attended OpenCities, an “unconference” about the convergence of civic engagement and the open source movement. Among the topics are the waterfront revitalization, public space, DIY electronics and public art, dancing in the streets. Coincidentally, the next day, Flickershow played at Pedestrian Sundays, a monthly car-free event in Kensington Market (other events occur in Mirvish Village and on Baldwin Street); our first outing with keyboard player Rich.

Trees downLater in the month, Sean’s mom comes up from Pennsylvania for a visit. Tuesday we’re at work while she takes it easy; she’s out having a smoke on the front porch when lightning strikes a tree two doors down, and a gale-force gust of wind tears off branches for several blocks. We return home to find our street a maze of police tape, tree limbs and downed power lines. Neighbouring streets are almost unaffected. “I didn’t do it,” she pleads.

July: Played Newmarket and Brampton - our only out-of-town gig prior to this was our TVO appearance taped in Parry Sound. First steps toward developing an analog-to-MIDI interface using that splendid new toy, the Arduino.

August: Cottage outing with co-workers. Lots of laughs, plenty of good food and drink, and some cool photographic exploration of natural forms and painting with light.

October: A week from hell. Two or three clients go through reorganizations, and a number of key projects go on indefinite hold. Contractors removing a cellular tower break a sprinkler pipe and flood part of our office. None of this registers, however, because our co-worker’s 21-year-old brother has just died in his sleep. Things are very quiet for several days.

IMAGENovember: Two good friends of ours invited us to play a song at their crazy cabaret-style lesbian wedding. The only question was what to wear. (As MC for the evening, Sean had no such dilemma, since they’d put him in a rather lovely kilt and feather boa.)

At the end of the month, a beautiful, awe-inspiring, mad trip to Marrakech with Sean, his mom and stepdad, and a new friend, the irrepressible and energizing Katie. We stayed in the heart of the medina, a maze of winding alleyways full of people, tiny shops, mopeds and stray cats. A handful of local kids kept asking for money; Sean juggled for them instead (years ago he did it for a living in Dallas) and became an instant hit. Later, we drove through the Atlas Mountains to ride camels into the desert and sleep in a tent. Beautiful country, lots of wonderful people. And occasional strange family moments.

December: The partners make the tough decision to sell the company to a bigger firm. Some of us move over, the video business splits off (taking on the name Robotnik Films), and I start looking for work. I’ll miss the place, and I’ll miss working with the Spinglobe crew. But it’s a huge opportunity, both to find work in a field that’s important to me and to have some actual free time again. Here’s to the new year!

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Rerun: Five things

That “five things you might not have known about me” meme is going around the blogs lately, so what the heck - here are my answers, previously published elsewhere (except for #4).

1. When I was a kid, I drew quite a bit. My dad had a box of old, unused forms for tracking lab samples of plant material, which were my standard drawing paper for years. There were two sorts: white, legal-sized ones and heavy, green-tinted ones with a perforated section at the bottom (there was a serial number that you could stick in the bag with the smelly bits of collected leaves).

To me, the functional side of the paper was the blank side. And it seemed really weird to me that anyone would draw on anything else. I drew pictures of the house, the cats, and some incomprehensible comics - the detachable section at the bottom was roughly Sunday-comic sized - about talking mugs and bunnies that spent all their time falling into water and yelling at each other.

Purple2. A couple of years ago, I was Purple for Buddies in Bad Times’ Pride promo photos.

3. I talk to cats in made-up languages in addition to English. I sometimes use something like the peculiar dialect of “cat talk” spoken by everyone in my SO’s family, particularly when talking to Gomiya (her name is actually a form of address used when speaking to a cat; a more formal version is “Gohdemiya”). I think my personal cat dialect is also influenced by an old George Booth cartoon in the New Yorker called “Ip Gissa Gul” (“Ip Gets A Girl”) which was written in a made-up caveman language (I also find myself addressing dogs as “Huppy dod!” sometimes). Tarquin I talk to in something reminiscent of Inuktitut. I have no idea why.

4. My nickname in middle school was “Fish”, for reasons known only to the maybe three or four vaguely in-crowd kids who started calling me that. The only thing I can think of is that my last name has a similar rhythm to the word “mackerel”.

5. I owe a lot of my understanding of musical chords and chord progressions to a program I had for the Commodore 64 when I was in high school called Instant Music. The flip side of the disk had a whole bunch of example songs in different styles from rock history, all rendered in binky three-voice synthesis, and the book that came with it had a helpful rundown of chord types. The interface was horrible without a mouse, but I soldiered on anyway, even after my joystick died (I jammed its wires into an old calculator and used that as a controller instead).

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‘squee’, I believe is the expression

Hadn’t seen this yet: the gender-bendy video for “Sing Me Spanish Techno” by the New Pornographers. Yet another reason to love them (cooler still ‘cause I’d just worked out the chords to the song the other day and have been playing it ever since). I like the little moment where Carl wakes up. :D

There’s a higher-quality QT version at director Michael Palmieri’s site, along with a lot of other cool stuff - check out his stop-motion work!

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Pride / music

We caught most of the parade: the lead float, carrying this year’s Grand Marshal Salah Bachir, was blasting Arabic pop, which struck me as a pretty cool thing. Plenty of warm fuzzy feelings about the community groups and such - the rest was nothing terribly special, though.

At the Buddies stage, Gentleman Reg was good - he’s got a lovely voice, and I like the clever little touches, like the interlocking guitar and bass parts here and there, or the inventive sorts of grooves his drummer played. And we danced like mad to Kelly and the Kellygirls’ set. Gonna be sore and blistered tomorrow. Damn me and my choice in shoes.

On the way up to Bloor later on, we happened to pass by the stage where the Kinsey Sicks were performing: gorgeous four-part harmonies, clever songs and wicked satire (the premise tonight was that they were a gathering of Republican housewives). Must keep an eye out for them next time.

Once again, I felt myself wanting to make music that could play at Pride - either with a band/ensemble or as part of a DJ set. More on this soon… got lots of ideas that have to be organized.

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Review: Velvet Goldmine

Finally watched Velvet Goldmine last night. It’s basically a revue - there’s a thin plot about a reporter looking into the extravagant life of a vanished glam rocker reminiscent of David Bowie (complete with “Ziggy Stardust” stage persona)... but it’s mostly an excuse to do an extended music video with fey, pretty boys in glitter and makeup doing lots of posing and snogging and Oscar-Wilde-quoting amidst all the rocking out.

It goes on a bit long, perhaps, but there’s plenty to recommend it if you’re a music geek and/or like watching pretty boys snogging. It’s full of references, and the soundtrack is almost all period stuff. No Bowie - that’d make the parallels too obvious, I suppose - but plenty of stuff like early Brian Eno and early Roxy Music, both in original form and covered pretty ably by the cast with help from Thom Yorke, Shudder To Think and others. Most of those musical details went over my SO’s head, but the eye candy made up for it. :D

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Pride again

Went to Pride on Sunday. It felt good (I got teary-eyed as always; this time it started with all the ‘just married’ couples)... and perhaps a little less commercial this year. Either it was the way they’d grouped things, or the fact that a number of sponsors couldn’t come through, but the floats-to-marchers ratio seemed to be down. We ducked out a bit early and had an amazing lunch at Biryani House - it relocated to a great big location on Wellesley about a year ago from its little hole-in-the-wall on Roy Square and it’s still kickass. Which makes a grand total of one restaurant along the entire Yonge Street that Sean has deemed worthy of eating at. :D

People seemed less freaky this year - fewer people in drag, fewer people in outlandish outfits. I felt a little isolated, but glad to do my part in upping the oddness quotient (faux-leather skirt, fishnets and heels, and no makeup - no attempt whatsoever at ‘passing’ like last year). Walking toward Buddies we passed a couple of high-school looking kids, one of whom muttered “Faggot” behind our backs. I didn’t feel threatened, not in that environment, and I didn’t feel hurt at all… just sad for him.

One of the signs that I’m getting older: a growing tolerance and empathy for an age cohort I never used to be able to stand. With some distance between me and the age I’ve left behind, it’s getting easier to forgive things like that, and see both my behaviour and the behaviour of other people with a lot more perspective. That kid? I doubt he’d have said anything if he’d been alone - it was merely to impress upon his friend that, fuck no, he wouldn’t have anything to do with some fag who wears a skirt; how disgusting! If it’s true that such sentiments arise from fear of one’s own desires, that kid’s setting himself up for a hard coming-out. And even if he isn’t gay, he’s got a lot of mental untangling to do. Ah, well.

Kelly’s show was a bit of a fiasco, through no fault of his or the bands. Great pre-show interview with him; they’re are all swell folks. And then, minutes before they were set to go on stage and plug in, the rain that had been threatening all day hit with gale force, leaving everyone huddled under tents. Nevertheless, they played a great four tunes before the rain started up again, and the audience really got into it, especially during the ska-inflected take on “Ball And Chain”. Heart-stopping moment mid-song as the wind caught a tarp and dumped a bathtub-load of water right onto the bass amp. No one was electrocuted, thankfully.

We headed home from there, as I was absolutely freezing and regretting my choice of footwear. We didn’t get to hang out with anyone besides the band, or go dancing or drinking… but it was pretty satisfying all the same.

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Ow, heels

The best moment from this year’s Pride: we were standing around talking to a trio of babydykes. Midway through the conversation I spoke up, whereupon the dark-haired one with the fetching nose ring blinked… stared, blinked; cocked her head to one side, blinked. I grinned and mimicked her wide-eyed expression. She cocked her head to the other side. Then: “Omigod! I’m sorry, I just saw you and thought you were a cute dyke, but you’re not, you’re a boy!” Supremely flattered.

Then one of them, apropos of some other thread of the conversation, started chanting, “What’s up B? What’s up B?” and the rest chimed in: “I’m searching the city for sci-fi wasabi…” I joined in too. “Obi Wan Kenobi’s waitim fo me!” Squeals: “You’re a Cibo Matto fan?” Cute moment.


My other favorite things about Pride: old people having fun. Radical drag queens with beards and parasols and huge foofy neon skirts. Fifty-year-old full-figured lesbians with nipple rings walking and riding down Yonge Street because they can, dammit. Cute couples of any sort kissing. People in wheelchairs, making themselves visible. People who do something different, just because. Being able to gawk at all of the above.

We returned, intending to catch Merkury Burn’s set at the “Alternaqueer” stage - their lead singer is our next-door-neighbour’s boyfriend, as it turns out. Unfortunately, we only managed to see the final two minutes… looked like a wild time, though, and the mildly gothy crowd there was the coolest - much ambiguity of gender and orientation, not to mention nifty makeup and facial adornments…

At the Village Stage on Wellesley, a brilliant DJ set by Jelo, whom we’d never heard of before, and who singlehandedly restored my faith in dance music. Blocky, electro-ish stuff, with great breaks and changeups - such a refreshing change from the usual mind-numbingly dull house… danced like a total maniac, and Sean got into it too, when he wasn’t waving a camera around.

My only regret: I didn’t get any pictures of Sean and me together. Ah well… I’m sure we’ll do this all again some time.

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