“He shook me awake saying, The most horrible thing has happened. The most horrible thing has happened! Y- just sucked N-‘s dick. I took a video.” The porch was crowded with people sharing cigarettes and thin beer in red disposable plastic cups. The woman telling the story shook her head, laughing a little, her black tank top beginning to slip from one shoulder. “And then he showed it to me, the video, right there on the little screen.” Her audience, a woman with short blue and silver hair and matching make-up, pretty like she just sucked down an electric milkshake, nodded as if she wasn’t quite sure what she’d just gotten into then looked over to Y-. A strong, swarthy man, dark haired and handsome in a rough sort of way, Y- is an incredible creature, a literal tomcat, endlessly affectionate, but with a streak of easy, distractible violence when he’s been drinking, a living testament to Hunter S. Thompson’s writing. When he talks, he sounds just like Tom Waits. “Why would you do that?” the blue woman asked him, incredulous, but wary, tight, as if she didn’t want to admit she was curious or maybe about to laugh. He shrugged, as expressive as a train-wreck at a thousand frames per second, and replied, very matter-of-fact, “Because N- said I could have sex with her if I sucked her boyfriend’s dick and then they gave me a yellow pill that they said was ecstasy and it made me gay.”
Friday morning was also a trial, though I crept out of it like a cat. I still had work, so I had to skip the symposiums, which hurt, but I made on-line plans from there with Alan to meet at the Science World party that night. So after, once I’d gone home and showered and changed into new clothes and did all the things regular people do when they’re about to go seriously crash the largest science conference in the western hemisphere, I packed a duffel to bring to the hotel after the party, so I wouldn’t have to return to the apartment again until the conference was over. (Could have done it the day before, but whatever. Dinner! Whales! Plus Science World has a significantly better coat check that the Aquarium.)
Once there, the only question was finding my people in the crush of people pointedly lingering next to the open bars and clumping in the areas where the waiters would cruise by with tasty nibbles. It all came together eventually, but I spent the first twenty minutes completely on my own, wandering through the exhibits, going from table to table, attempting to find the promised non-fish based food, as well as scouting for my clever partner in crime. The trick, apparently, was to stop looking for the shortest gregarious person and instead make for the tallest, Erik, as naturally they would be speaking together.
I didn’t know Erik, but it was instantly clear that I should. He was funny, eloquent, and involved in his topics in a way I utterly envy. Truly, there may never be a group of people I immediately get on with more than journalists. There’s just something about a profession that attracts the intelligent, literate, and perpetually curious that gets under my skin in the best kind of way. He wasn’t selling his story to Cosmos that night, though. It wasn’t quite the right fit, even though I found it personally fascinating. Even so, we all walked up the ramp together to the massive dome of the IMAX Theater, for the Kavli Foundation Awards, just in time for me to somehow lose everyone all over again at the door.
Just my luck, I almost sat alone for the show, stranded in the empty seats I tried to save. Thankfully a very nice woman from Berlin came and sat with me, social orphans together. I have regretfully misplaced her name, but she was wonderful company, telling me about her goth days back in Germany, about her lab, about her adorable daughter. She saved me as easily as grabbing the keys to the car on the way out the door. We stayed together downstairs for nearly the rest of the night, playing on the exhibits, sitting on spinny things and climbing the hollowed tree in the nature room. If we’d been children we would have been running through the yard, thrown together by chance but making the best of it, playing tag by the overpass.
Originally we were going to spend Halloween in Seattle again, but this year it’s Vancouver that’s got the parties. Here’s our schedule:
A very Drive flavoured dance party, featuring BlackBerry Wood, The Creaking Planks, Timothy Wisdom, and Little Woo’s shadow-puppet fairytale “The Silent Kingdom”. Show up in costume, preferably by bicycle, dance until you drop. Commercial Drive Legion, 2205 Commercial Drive. 8 pm – 2 am. $10, or $8 if you arrive with Critical Mass. Facebook link.
Public Dreams will be hosting an interactive celebration at Britannia Community Centre. Start there to discover the location of the walks. At a mysterious locale, only to be revealed on the day, (though I remember a map floating around a few weeks ago, can anyone explain it?), the Dusty Flowerpot crew will be enticing you into back alleys, streets, and open spaces to awaken our neighbourly spirits, (likely art, shows, and fire performances). Note: no fireworks, no street closures. 5 pm – 9 pm. Facebook link.
Also, they’re still looking for volunteers: Join in Secret Souls Walk (Parade of Lost Souls). An inspiring awakening of neighbourly souls – already neighbours are pledging their homes to the underworld. Please come along to be a helping hand on this journey! Want to operate a giant puppet, perform, or just pitch in to help out with the myriad of jobs we need covered to make it all happen? We really need your help and hey – you’ll be let in on the secrets way before anyone else! On October 30th this community collaboration will come together- it wouldn’t happen without you! We’re looking for some benevolent souls to help us with setup, set dec, performing, strike, donations, and generally creating magic in the neighbourhood of Commercial Drive. Your involvement counts in bringing the community together to make magic. To volunteer, contact Public Dreams – firstname.lastname@example.org.
This one’s confusing. We know they’re playing, but when? And where? Conflicting events claim different things.
1. Halloween Party, A benefit to celebrate the 65th Anniversary of People’s Co-op Bookstore.
Russian Hall, 600 Campbell Avenue. $10. Doors open 7:30 pm. Facebook link.
2. The Carnival of Shadows, starring Maria in the Shower, Jeff Andrews and the Crows at Midnight, and The Creaking Planks.
Cafe Deux Soleils, 2096 Commercial Drive. $10. Doors at 8 pm. Facebook link.
To celebrate the Grand Opening of the newly renovated Waldorf hotel, the new owners are throwing a gigantic, free, multi-room Halloween party to showcase the entire complex, including the hotel rooms, lobby, restaurants, salon, the freshly restored 1950s tiki bar, the Cabaret nightclub, and the Leetag Banquet hall. Rumour also says they’re setting up an outdoor dance space in the parking lot. Of everything on offer, this might be the best, biggest place to be. Facebook link.
Nursing a candy hangover? Had one too many bloody marys? Come on over and recover while snuggling into our low-key movie marathon! From noon until night, we’re going to draw the curtains, turn out the lights, and wallow in some of the best and worst that spooky cinema has to offer. We’ve got a huge list of films to choose from, or bring your own! My place, 12:00 – 9:30 pm. If you’re uncertain if you’re welcome, just ask. Facebook link.
Now that was a SPLENDID weekend.
Nicole and I hosted a pot-luck at my place on Friday, based on a delicious giant ham and a big dead bird. I also made Eight Hour Eight Bean & Lentil soup for the vegans and vegetarians, which takes more than eight hours, but involves eight hours of constant stirring, as well as potatoes, steamed broccoli, and garlic portobello mushrooms with red peppers. It was an old-fashioned feast, and about twenty wonderful people came, most with their own delightful contributions, like home-made pulled pork sandwiches or berry wine. My oven lied a little about how hot it was, so we didn’t get to eat any chicken until around 9:30, but excepting that: COMPLETE SUCCESS. We all had so much food and good company that the last guest didn’t stumble out to a cab until 2 a.m. (Tony, sadly, didn’t make it until after midnight, as work prevented him from catching an earlier bus into town, but I set aside a plate for him.) Once again, thank you to everyone!
Saturday was just as great, as it was Duncan’s Dress-Up-Like-Duncan Surprise Birthday Party and A Mad Dash for the Down & Out: Tom Waits Tribute Night! I went to his party dressed as Cake Fight Duncan, in boxer shorts with a cake crown made of a birthday card and safety pins. It was a pleasure to attend, even though we left early to make sure we would get to Tom Waits night in time to get in, and it was a pleasure to catch up with some people I hardly ever see.
The Tom Waits Tribute Night was another sort of thing altogether. Completely incredible, it was gloriously mad gypsy dirty yet soulful and sweet, like circus music dancing through love songs with boots on. Some of the acts played it sinister, sandpaper rough and intense, while others sang as if their honeyed throats were on fire, a broken hearted sound that could only be put out with poetry or glass. My heart could have burst, it was so full with joy and pride for my friends. It was an astounding show, as memorable as a favourite birthday, as inspiring as only an insanely talented trumpet player twisting out a solo on top of a hammond organ can be. I’d tell you some highlights, but I’m sure if I tried, I’d describe the whole show.
The after party was pretty nice too. I spent most of it on the couch, curled up by a fire, swaying into the early morning surrounded by warmth and more music, singing a little and catching up with old acquaintances I dearly adore. Tony and I were almost the last to leave, starting our walk home just before dawn, safe from the chill with each other. We lucked upon five raccoons after only a block or two, a family, maybe, playing together, foraging along the sidewalk. When we got close, we stood very still, until they got used to us as we crept along beside them. One of them, slightly braver than the rest, tiny paw raised, body tense with investigation, came up and touched my leg three times, like casting a spell. It worked, we were enchanted, and smiled all the way home.
Sunday we spent almost the entire day cuddled up in bed, exhausted from being up so late, but glad for it. We forgot completely about the live Jonsi webcast concert, so we watched movies on my laptop, (Return to Oz, Reign of Assassins, & Ghostrider), and poked at the internet until it gave us some of what we need for Halloween, content anyway. Amazon provided Laika’s dog costume trimmings, minus a collar and dogtag, and another site had actual soviet space patches covered in bad-ass rockets and lightning. The next thing we need are matching flight suits, but I’ll be in Seattle next weekend, and there’s a rather epic military surplus store there that should set us up. Aside from that, the only thing missing are my four antennae, which I expect to find at Circuit City or a Radio Shack.
Mushrooms and bok choy simmering in butter and black pepper, the windows all open, sentences running through my mind, practiced words falling off my tongue like dry, pressed flower petals, to divide fractions, invert the second fraction and multiply, to multiply fractions, multiply the numerators, then multiply the denominators, reduce all to their lowest terms, attempting a memorization of everything I can before my tests this weekend. A gift, but terrifying. I am more hopeful than I was a week ago, but I can’t stop feeling doomed. According to the website, the five tests take seven hours and twenty-five minutes to complete. Doomed.
Tests aside, this upcoming weekend looks fun. Not only is there going to be a steampunk minicon at Barclay Manor on Saturday, World Cup is wrapping up this weekend, which means my neighborhood, Commercial Drive, will be closed to cars and open to PARTY!! Flags, shouting, free food, noise-makers, facepaint, dancing, music, and thousands of people gleefully losing their minds from how utterly freaking awesome it is that some guys in ridiculous socks kicked a ball around some other guys in ridiculous socks and between some posts. Wahoo! Seriously, though, it’s epic. EPIC. People travel from as far away as Portland to celebrate here. I came out of the last celebration with a frighteningly scarlet sunburn because my trusty SPF 75 was washed off by an intensely enthusiastic restaurateur shouting ITALIA! ITALY! ITALIA! and spraying the crowd with shaken bottles of champagne. Fwish. No more sunscreen. And rainbows everywhere. Did you know champagne makes especially pretty rainbows when misted through the air? Me neither, not until that party.
Also coming up: The Vancouver Folk Festival from July 16-18th, the Celebration of Light nee The Symphony of Fire, (USA July 21st, Spain July 24th, Mexico July 28th, and China July 31st), and a castrated Illuminares Lantern Procession on July 24th for those who want to try and cram thousands of people into a small building after parading their children through Crackton.
HIVE3 was as entertaining as ever, yet in spite of the pushy blow up doll horror movie incident, the near death experience, the cupcake rape-baby incest kiss, and the skunk suicide therapy, the most epic thing I witnessed this weekend was in my apartment: late yesterday afternoon, Lung manfully inflicted a brilliant and surpassingly brave four minute lapdance upon Victoria, my very surprised mother.
Lung’s astonishing strip-tease started mildly, with slow hip swings and mild gyration, but gained momentum as clothes came off, until he was throwing pants at my head and using his belt to better capture my mother, finally finishing with a shocking yet shamefully victorous Full Monty flourish of his genitals.
No word yet on if he left on his socks.
noon – 11:30
Sunday Tea is a roving Vancouver tradition, an open-invite social event held weekly at different venues, generally from 11am-ish to 2pm-ish, depending on the hosts. Basically, if you’re reading this, you’re invited and so are all your cupcakes, cookies, and most fun friends. This tea is in honour of Ray and Tony’s birthdays, (March 16th and 19th, respectively), and goes from noon until it blends into our Sci-Fi Double Feature, (Eden’s Log & Pandorum), which starts at seven. (They knows nothing about either film, by the way, make sure not to give anything away!) There will be tea and cake! BYO-anything else. Pyjamas welcome, nudity discouraged. We urge people to bring not only the usual trappings of Sunday Tea, which are tasty snacks and good people, but also party hats, just for fun.
General rules for Tea are: New people are excellent, children are welcome, tasty things and interesting kinds of tea are encouraged, but no TimBits are allowed.
Allergy note: our household contains two cats and some nuts.
Shane‘s going away party.
“A city can’t be too small. Size guarantees anonymity—if you make an embarrassing mistake in a large city, and it’s not on the cover of the Post, you can probably try again. The generous attitude towards failure that big cities afford is invaluable—it’s how things get created. In a small town everyone knows about your failures, so you are more careful about what you might attempt.” – David Byrne
What surprised me most about the Tiger Lillies show is how gorgeous it was. I was expecting raucous suicide songs, but instead found their show delightful fun, but also rather haunting, as if they were playing the full weight of their twenty years together with every note. The Moore Theater is awfully pretty, which helped, but it really was something in their timbre, a sweetness that ached, sugar in a tooth during the best french kiss you’ll ever remember on the birthday you decide you finally feel old. It was blood shivering. Their best trick was to have the audience laugh to the worst, most terrible things, then to mock the laughter with more of the same. I’ve never heard such dark subject matter vivisected with so much whimsical mirth. It shone a light upon the heart, even as they sang like a house on fire, all bizarre theatrics and kicking kittens down stairs, with voices like elegant flashing sirens.
The after party wasn’t half bad either, a mad robot-themed dance review at the Can Can underground cabaret bar, (delicious food, crazy entertainment), involving two astonishingly limber girls and some not too terrible young men gyrating two feet in front of our front row table, then a set by The Bad Things, a band I crashed with once in a Bellingham squat with the Dandelion Junk Queens. (Because the world really can be that small sometimes). Most memorable, after Rainbow, the intense spinning-from-a-chandelier awe inspiring blond girl who looked uncannily like Sara, was the bachelorette unicorn lap-dance. Sounds unlikely, I know, but it was quite the experience. He whinnied, he pawed, he wore embarrassing sunglasses that matched his skintight bodysuit. It was beyond pretty great. It was, in fact, fantastic.
The next day, Saturday, was Seacompression, a Seattle burner party held in a repurposed military hanger. Burner parties are much the same wherever you go, a fun fur collision of invention, wacky art, fire sculpture, dance, music, costumes, and people hanging from the ceiling, sometimes with no clothes on. It was a good time, with good people. We drove over with Robin and Rafael, to find Frank and Claire were there, and Adam and Anna, as well as Craig, Richard, Jordan, and Stephanie, though with the crowd, it was rare to run into people more than twice. Most of everyone we found wandering around, except for Jordan, who was hanging out in the white geodesic dome full of pillows, watching as people were locked into a spinning globe machine by crystal tipped metal arms.
To give you an idea of what it was like, around front was a hacked bus with a fire sculpture on the roof, a hot-rod with a BBQ instead of a trunk, the giant flaming metal hand Tobasco and his crew made, and a pumpkin death pachinko machine. Inside, to the right of the entrance, was a photo booth and a small movie theater (complete with Marquee), and the white chill-out dome. To the left, some couches, the Wheel Of Judgment, a hammock garden, and the hall that led to the main dancefloor, a large room with a raised area in the middle made of cages. Past those, in the main space, were two bouncy ropes hanging from the ceiling, various girls dangling from the ends, tied in by experts, and a performance space behind another bus, where fire dancers were spinning fire and live music played. Mostly we wandered, content to mingle in the madness, though we danced to the EQLateral String Trio and submit ourselves to the Wheel of Judgment. (Tony got a ticket for being “too fury”. We think they meant “too furry”.) We didn’t stay to the end, exhaustion and a desire to be curled up naked won over, but it was a lovely party.
To top it off, we bought a strand of electric pussy-willows yesterday. Plugged in, they look like the future colliding with magic.
There are no easy words for how blessed I feel to have such lovely adventures in my life. Also, I had the Tiger Lillies sign my decolletage. Pictures soon.