M.I.A.’s new album is growing on me

Summertime folding over, evenings giving way to scarf weather, an end to bikini top afternoons, as if we ever had them here. I woke up in Kitsilano today, Vancouver’s gentrified neighborhood of sixty dollar tank tops that shred in the rain, yoga couture kitchenware, and all organic produce, lovingly handpicked in Venezuela by deliciously photo-shopped young girls with bleached laser light smiles. It’s like an expensive spiritualist camp for eco-hippies who guiltily grew up to be lawyers.

My friend’s apartment, thankfully, nestled in behind the doggie bakeries and out-sourced maternity fashion wear, is nicely anonymous. Crepe white walls, every light on a dimmer switch, it could be found anywhere in North America. I’m always glad to find myself there. Against the rest of the glimmering, heavily marketed neighborhood, it’s a haven.

Yesterday we were at the Fringe Festival, where I saw his show, The Kenny Rogers Experience, (which happens to be Jacques’ show, which happens to be Mackenzie’s show, which happens to be Paul’s show, which happens…), a semi-fictional tour of Kenny Rogers’s life. It starts with a well faked biopic of missing audio tapes he recorded with Jimi Hendrix and casually saunters into an uncanny valley of Country from there. Somehow, hand puppets are involved. Also, five wives. And a beard website. Just go.

and every time, it’s a surprise. they never used to have gray hair.

Three cats and a programmer, that’s who I’m living with. The house drips with the edges of stories we’re not quite telling. Out for dinner, up in the morning, laptop in the livingroom, random laughter talking alone. Moments I want to remember.

Sigur Ros is filming a documentary.

The Fringe Festival lounge is constantly full of people I used to spend my life with. Now I only see them this once, every year, though I miss them. It makes it a very strange place for me. Everyone is a flamboyant memory of someone I used to be. Words thunder across the room, bringing back burning flashes of the smiles I wore, the names I used to sweetly remember, but my personal mythology doesn’t have an anchor anymore. I adore these people, their theatrical grand gestures and ridiculous, rewarding turns of phrase, so much I forget how we lost each other. We hug close, damp with laughter, talk about how great it was, how great it will be, but sobering, know that we’ll just do it again next year. Wonder where we went as every week passes by at the introspective speed of light, while the days drag on, threatening rain with every mile.

Dan Mangan was playing at the Lounge when I left tonight, another note in an absent chord of friends. I wanted to stay long enough to properly say Hello, but Ray was my ride and falling asleep on his feet, so I badly scribbled the word COFFEE? on one of my cards and left it on the stage where he was singing.

As I went, I promised people I would be back tomorrow. I’m already surprised at how much I’m looking forward to it.

Fringe Fest, Thursday Sept 6th

Everyone’s favourite games-designer, James Everett, is back in town from home-sweet-home Montreal. To celebrate, I’m dragging him and as many of you as can fit into a sack to an intense night of delicious theatre on Thursday!

Yes, duckies, it’s Fringe Fest time again. Ready up your wallets and prepare to laugh.

To start, I’m thinking a piquant bit of circus, Chris Murdoch‘s first gem, The Absurdessy. (on facebook) If Brian Froud wants to see it, so should you. I did a pinch of costume design for this one, but I haven’t seen even a rehearsal. I’m looking forward to it. Grady Orchard is apparently involved somehow too. 7:30 at the amphitheater.

As a main course, Jacques Lalonde, Paul Armstrong, and Mackenzie Gray are serving up The Kenny Rogers Experience. (on facebook) Everyone involved smirks when they talk about it, so it must be good. As a bonus, Brain Barry, (somehow), is starring in it as the ghost of Jimi Hendrix. 8:45pm at the Waterfront Theatre.

For dessert, Theatre Bagger presents Apa Kabar!. I never miss a show of theirs if I can help it. What they do with masks is supremely magical. Also, hey, Tom Jones. Rock. 11:00pm at Carousel Theatre.