not going to forget this year, you people won’t let me

“It’s been believed in the past that the camera steals souls. I once thought this preposterous. Now I think it’s self-evident.

This is why we photograph. The fear of oblivion, ours and our worlds. We will inevitably die, but our photographs, if they’re honest, if they show our lives with clarity, unafraid, our photographs will preserve us. Our souls at least. Who we were inside, and the things we saw. Our images? Particles of light that have been traveling forever bounced off our subjects, were focused through our lens into the tender tissue of our eye, and our brain, and our film. Now, those very same shapes, made by those very same particles, the same ones we saw, others can see. Forever, they can see that fraction of a second we saw.

That’s immortality.” -Clayton Cubitt, 2005

Scientists discover exotic quantum state of matter.

May is quickly waltzing into being, every day one delicate step closer, bringing with it spring and, with that, my birthday. Fragile, the social ties holding me to it. Already people have started asking about a party, as I worked through my birthday last year. So once again, and this year I mean it, does anyone know of an appropriate venue for my birthday party at the end of May? My apartment is far too small to hold the 100+ people who will wander through during the course of the day and outdoors, really, is never an option I care for. It’s impossible to foster the security of the microcosm we call a kitchen party in a park.

What I’m hoping for is the kind loan of a house with a yard for a BBQ that won’t mind if we go over-night, preferably with crash space, that won’t mind if we cook breakfast in the morning. Last time our resident Stephen was kind enough to lend us his place, but it has since been partitioned and rented out to people. (I think Frankie‘s girlfriend’s sister or something now lives in the basement, like, just to go to show how small this city really can be.) It was perfect, big, two yards, just off the Drive.

It came out unscathed, too, minus a large pile of dishes in the kitchen we cleaned up the next day, two snapped guitar strings, and, I think, one broken glass. The people I know tend to be remarkably tidy when it comes to parties, we’re not hard-drinking bar-stars with anything to prove, more the sort of argue films and physics over spanish guitar on the porch. Profit: fifteen dollars in returnable bottles, a set of car and house keys no one ever claimed, (I still have them, people, identify them and they’re yours), and some wonderfully embarrassing arm-wrestling photos.

So, please, if this sounds remotely feasible, drop me a line if you’ve got a place or know of one. Let’s see if we can’t work something out.

edit: so far we’ve got the foxy house. anyone else?

working a temp job from nine to five

Researchers at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa compared the feet of people from different cultures plus 2,000 year old skeletons. The skeletons had the healthiest feet (at least when they were alive), followed by the modern population that normally goes barefoot.

“Natural gait is biomechanically impossible for any shoe-wearing person,” wrote Dr. William A. Rossi in a 1999 article in Podiatry Management. “It took 4 million years to develop our unique human foot and our consequent distinctive form of gait, a remarkable feat of bioengineering. Yet, in only a few thousand years, and with one carelessly designed instrument, our shoes, we have warped the pure anatomical form of human gait, obstructing its engineering efficiency, afflicting it with strains and stresses and denying it its natural grace of form and ease of movement head to foot.” In other words: Feet good. Shoes bad.

Justifying, wonderfully, what I’ve been telling everyone since I was at least six years old. Never again will I attempt to look meek when someone berates me on my lack of footwear, instead I shall raise my head high and declare quite gladly that science is on my side. I have citation!

the only theme I could find is black

Sidewalk Psychiatry graffiti.

365 day one hundred & eight: have a nice day

This is a story: ink hair, Queen street, where the roots are, I walked barefoot, crucified by how beautiful he was, how beautiful he could be, I was unknown, achingly young, it was perfect enough for me. Learning the boundaries of narrative, learning the theme and flow of biography. Another: ink hair, on stage in love, wings as wide as geometry, meeting, a lobby, a lost book, a romance of hotel rooms and late night cameras, smoked with his passions, it was more than it seemed to be, and sometimes less. Summaries, diagrams, lists. An old project is percolating in my head with a newer idea, photographs, coloured string.

He doesn’t like it when I chew gum, but he watches me take out my hair pins as if the act carries the same intimacy as removing my clothing.

Being constructed naturally of disciplined angles, his only defense was to move with a maximum of constant, weightless grace.

Chapter headings in the shape of their hands, page count off how much poetry I can wring from their skin. Something is taking shape: ink hair, a familiar bar, an unfamiliar feeling of awe, music parallel to skill, traveling the next day, his unmatchable grin, every day always too far away, a myth, circling the world twice to end everything thirty feet from where it began. If I took a photograph of every one and layered them, there might be details submerged, but perhaps a clarity for all of that. It looks like: ink hair, eyes meeting, singing in the street, a miracle, his poetry, his children later on the phone, impossible, the sweetest thing.

Digital culture-inspired oil paintings.

Van Burlesque Fest

The Vancouver International Burlesque Festival kicked off with a bang last night.

The show those girls put on at The Red Room was unquestionably the best burlesque show I’ve ever seen. I think I have a crush on one of the performers, Whiskey Rose, she was so much fun.

Between Worlds Burlesque, billed as Genre-Hopping / Era-Dropping / Mind-Popping, was EVERYTHING IT PROMISED. It was a comedy education, a sizzling phantasmagoria of stockings, high heels, and mixed media entertainment. Every girl had a completely different show, highlights of which include a Marlene Deitrich as done by Liza Minelli, a mad punk chicken beheading, a hip-to-the-hop hardcore booty-dancing water nymph, Tristan as a bioengineered Alien Queen, and, my personal favourite, Sexy Little Red and the Raunchy Fun Wolf. Just… wow.

Lucky for everyone who missed it, there’s way more coming, so hold onto your tiny feathered hats, and run on down to check out some of the shows!

Tonight, Friday, April 25th, it’s…

The Evil Bastard International Burlesque Showcase
Start Time: Doors at 8:00, Show at 9:00
End Time: 1:00pm
Price: $20
Venue: The Grandview Legion Auditorium
Venue Address: 2205 Commercial Drive

Performers: Ana de Lara, Bella Trixx, Bettina May, Champagne Sparkles, Ember LaValle, EmpeROAR Fabulous!, Go-go Amy, Holly Peno, Jacqueline Hyde, Midori Colada, Miss Kitty Baby, Ravenna Black, Scandal from Bohemia, Shetan Noir, Slick Moorehead, Star Rising, The Baby Jessicas, The Purrfessor, Stephen Taddei, Urban Improv, and Canadian Content.

If you can’t make it tonight either, don’t fret! The festival runs from April 24th – May 4th.

Full event listings: shows, workshops.

whatever tomorrow brings

German staging of Verdi’s A Masked Ball on 9/11 with naked cast in Mickey Mouse masks

Yesterday I rushed from the apartment from a kiss at the door like a teenager caught by parents for the very first time, sneaking out the back as if dashing out a window, Black Crowes slipping out of me as I cheerfully walked barefoot, grinning, she never mentions the word addiction, in certain company.. along the alleyway to meet my friends down the street. Strangers catching my eye and smiling back, lighter. It was a nice day, though it hadn’t started out that way.

I had a fever the night before last. My body, finally exhausted, broke down into a haze of heat and hallucination. I lay drenched in a pool of quiet pain, two cats huddled over me, whiskers in my face, a plastic bottle of juice luckily next to the bed. When I could finally stand, I’d missed a job interview, couldn’t find my voice, and had to lean on the walls to take a shower. The world was pulling at my nerves, searching for signs of anyone home, but I felt invisible, as if all my senses had detached some time in the night. I bumped into edges, forgot where I’d put things down, and generally felt as if I’d suffered brain damage. By the time I was stable enough to leave, it was almost noon. Not only had I missed a job interview, I was late for Lung’s celebratory Canada Council Grant dim-sum. Ten points for surviving alone, minus several hundred for sucking at life.

(Thankfully, sort of, he and Claire had been waiting on my call, and perfectly understood once they saw me. When I look pale, I look pale.)

Everything after that was roses, however, minus a persistent, nagging bit of headache. Dim sum was excellent, the company as fun as the food was delicious, I met up with a nice young man and we seem to be coming to some sort of relationship, dinner was amusing argument that wasn’t really, visiting friends was a treat, and someone ran to meet me, something I haven’t seen in years. For the life of me, I never would have thought it possible while lying in bed the night previous, cursed, huddled with the blankets like new best friends, certain any mirror I found would shatter upon the impact of my reflection, so much was the heat radiating off my face, wondering if there was even one person in my own city I could call if I needed rescue.

Reviewing life and the real world as if it were a massive multiplayer game.

shiny shiny shiny, who’s going and to which?

KRAZYTALK! A Speaker Series held in conjunction with KRAZY! The Delirious World of Anime + Comics + Video Games + Art, May 15th – June 4th.

May 15th, 7 pm
ART SPIEGELMAN, comic artist
Centre for Digital Media, Great Northern Way Campus, 577 Great Northern Way

A major figure in the underground comics movement of the 1960s and 70s, Spiegelman is best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning comic memoir Maus, which retraces his parents story as Holocaust survivors. Formerly named one of the 100 Most Influential People of our times by Time Magazine, he continues to be a political activist and a public champion for innovative comic book work.

May 23rd, 7 pm
MICHAEL AMZALAG and MATHIAS AUGUSTYNIAK, M/M (Paris), art directors/graphic designers
Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby Street

Graphic designers Michael Amzalag and Mathias Augustyniak founded M/M Paris in 1992. Their work has been shown in art galleries and museums all over the world, most recently in the 2008 exhibition Vision Tenace at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Their projects are created in partnership with such diverse designers and artists as Stella MacCartney, Yohji Yamamoto, Douglas Gordon and Bjork.

May 29the, 7 pm
TIM JOHNSON, animation film maker
Centre for Digital Media, Great Northern Way Campus, 577 Great Northern Way

DreamWorks Animation film director Tim Johnson directed the 2006 computer animated comedy Over the Hedge, starring the voices of Bruce Willis and Gary Shandling. His earlier projects include the animated action adventure Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas and DreamWorks first computer animated comedy, Antz, as well as the infamous segment Homer3D from The Simpsons Halloween special Treehouse of Horror VI.

June 4, 7 pm
WILL WRIGHT, god of computer game designers
Centre for Digital Media, Great Northern Way Campus, 577 Great Northern Way

Widely acknowledged as one of the most important innovators in gaming, technology and entertainment, Will Wright is the designer of the groundbreaking computer simulation games SimCity and The Sims, the bestselling computer game of all time. Wright has received two lifetime achievement awards from Game Developers Choice Awards and was inducted into the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in 2002.

TICKETS: 604.662.4717
SERIES OF FOUR PRESENTATIONS: $85, Members and seniors $68, students $34.
INDIVIDUAL PRESENTATIONS: $25, Members and seniors $20, students $10.

strike back by passing it on

Someone scraped the contents of Darren Di Lieto’s website and published it into a 350-page book being sold online for $100. via warren.

This book — which reprints without permission several dozen artist interviews which Darren had posted on the LCS blog — transcribes these interviews word-for-word, including the artwork, and was “published” under the title “Colorful Illustrations 93°C”. The book even includes a CD with all the illustrations from the book, all lifted off the site as well.

Publishers have faked their details, resellers refuse to pull the book. The ISBN they provide is also a fake. It being nigh impossible to track down the culprits, (they seem to be located in HK, a city world renowned for copyright infringement), the only real way to shut these people down and/or make sure no one works with them again is to spread the word, create an information backlash and rub their faces in the muck so hard they’ll never get clean.

First, please re-distribute this blog post or Darren’s original post. Repost the whole thing, or part of it, in your blog, with links and tags included.

Next, use whatever social networks and news sharing sites you use every day — Twitter, Flickr, Delicious, Magnolia, Digg, StumbleUpon, Facebook — to spread the word about this overpriced book full of plagiarized and stolen content. Feel free to quote us, and remember to also include the same keywords and tags in your posts.

There’s more information on Darren’s blog as well as a gallery of photos taken of every page.

eating practically nothing but chocolate and words, a debt

365 day one hundred & two: new tomorrow

From a letter I wrote to Juan, “I wish I could mail myself to you in a great cardboard box, foolishly mark myself a gift and sleep until you found me in your kitchen. Oh look, I would say, I’m real after all. See my problems? I will give them to you like ripened apples for you to chew. They will turn sweet in travel. I thought once that if my life refused to improve, I would just begin walking, not look back, and find my way to where you live. Life did improve, though. It feels alright now, like a place to live, at least until the next thing happens.”

Edward Lorenz, the founder of Chaos Theory, died Wednesday of cancer.

My eyes slip across the street, noting where sand collected in what used to be rain puddles. I think if this moment could be collected, I have friends who I would like to send it to, who might understand the feeling of weight my blood carries in my body. Everything is heavy, even while curled on a couch, resting my head on a pile of silk pillows, my dreams full of choreographed shouting, difficult and lonely. A sheathed short sword in my hand, taken from a shelf, held in my hand, jabbed in the air for emphasis. If we’re going to do this, we’re going to do it my way, thick with mythology, mired in darkness, as pregnant with promise that only mystery can be. The tip of the black bamboo case held at his throat, keeping him still, an implied threat. Any minute I could drop it, any second, I could put it down, and wait for his hands on me. A pass, forensic, you are healed, lightning coming down layer by layer, impressed upon the landscape like a gravestone rubbing, rain falling without regret, reminding the grass to be green.

Behind my eyes, I rewind, reposition him, the stairs, the way I might reposition a tea-cup for a photograph. I attempt to find a configuration that has nothing to do with frustration or anger. I rewind, reposition, I suggest lines to the scene as if to an actor. My body lies perfectly still, except for a frown, one tiny crease. Why can’t I be dreaming of cat strange eyes? I am sent to the river. Washed of glory, he walks down the stairs again. I again gesture, upset, incontrovertible. It is a loop, queerly criminal, taken out of time as if it were stolen. My footsteps are silent, but his are not. There is no wall where I want one.

Above all, I require grace. I said it out loud in the shower the next days, the words like soap bubbles, clean, beautiful, a renewed realization of what keeps me clear.