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Wednesday, May 31, 2006



Monday, May 29, 2006

super hero art

via boing-boing: sponsors photoshop type mashup contests. This one of renaissance paintings and superheros was particularly compelling. Runs the gamut from the sublime to the sacrilegious, but all worthy of a few minutes of viewing (after work, of course). There are actually two links:

- Superhero ModRen
- Superhero ModRen 2

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Blog About Town Bonus

Been a while since my last print column in the Ottawa Citizen. There's a few notes about what's been happening in the last month or so. Plus a first of sorts - a photo. Woo hoo! My first photo published in the Citizen. It's one of Oni The Haitian Sensation in performance at the Black Sheep Inn. Check it out if you're interested.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The Invisible Cinema

Allegedly it's at 177 Lisgar Street. Or so I thought. This place sure lives up to its name I thought as I could not find it tonight. This particular address does not exist. I just took the address down and forgot to write down the name of the venue. Michael Dennis was to launch his new book tonight and I guess probably did.

[After a google search just now I came across David Scrimshaw's Blog where he writes a longish thoughtful post on Micheal's forthcoming reading. He correctly posts a map link to 319 Lisgar Street.]

Fuuuuuuuudge (ed. for mum). Especially since it took me a half-hour of tooling around to find a free parking space downtown. Busy night.

In any case on my way back to my car after a fruitless search and in a confused state I bumped in to the Big Beat on the street for a quick chat. I made my way home with a pit stop at Wendy's for an oreo cookie flurry for Julie, and a quick pop in to So. Keys Chapter's, where I picked up a copy of Aperture: Masters of Photography featuring Henri Cartier-Bresson. It was one of those photo books all wrapped up in plastic on the shelf. Feeling devious in the heat of the moment I ripped off the obscuring plastic to see what I was to (eventually) purchase. I sort of get why they put shrink wrap on books but I reeeeally don't get it. Oooooh don't remove the plastic off lest one gets an inkling of what's inside... I felt like I just ripped off the label of a matress that says under penalty of law don't you dare remove this label. Anyway, it was a great portfolio of his work and I took it home.

I also did not resist the urge while in line to pick up the new Feist CD, Open Season: remixes and collabs. Mistake - for me anyway. I really liked the catchy tune 'Mushaboom' since I first heard it last year at Canada Day celebration on Parliament Hill, but this particular CD is more like musha bomb. Incidentally, 'Mushaboom' appears four (4) freaking times in different remixes on this disc. One or two good tracks out of 15 is not my idea of money well spent. Anybody want it? Wouldn't mind trading it for her original CD. However, I did particularly like the remix of "One Evening [VV Mix]" which is perfectly mixed without straying too much from the original version. Well done and easy to listen to.

Julie and I got up real early this morning to be in the audience for the A-Channel morning show. That was a hoot. Kurt Stooooodly and his news buddy rode a suped-up lawn mower outside on the sidewalk on George Street. Got to eat a piece of a big mutha of a hamburger that was cooked on the bbq feature of the show. Snapped a few (illegal and immoral) pics of Stooooodly stuffing his maw full o'burger. Fun! Fun! My breath reaked of garlic all day. Sorry to those I spoke to. My breath was bad-ass garlicky for hours afterward.

Triple Olympic champion Mark Tewksbury was the featured guest on this morning's show. He was talking about his newly published book Inside Out: Straight Talk from a Gay Jock. Check out the rear cover for a prime beefcake author photo of a topless Tewk. In other news, Julie won the Da Vinci Code Game, much like Trivial Pursuit, in a random draw. Kind of neat but I read some of the questions, got bored and put it away. At the end of the taping everyone got a free copy of Bonnie Fuller's book The Joys of Much Too Much. Anyone else want this? I would rather have received a copy of Tewskbury's book. Unlike Oprah or Ellen Degeneres' show, unfortunately, no Segways given out as door prizes.

G'night all.

So here it is - just under two months after buying Feist's re-mix CD.... (sigh) I am happy to report that much of the album does grow on you (mostly in a good way)... in fact I am listening to it right now and have been on a regular basis. Here's my summary:

Track one: Instrumental is awesome
Track two: blissful
Track three: just like original, but better
Track four: some of the best 2 minutes and 44 seconds aurally spent
Track five: environmentally pleasing
Track six: too much hype, jarring
Track seven: ambivalently okay
Track eight: surprisingly great cover. kudos. this song belongs to Feist now.
Track nine: reminds me of a track to be used in a dramatic-comedy film. gush.
Track ten: cover. but done very well. became my favourite cut not written by Feist.
Track eleven: Mushaboom on Meth... Enough said.
Track twelve: superfluous
Track thirteen: if instrumentals aren't your thing, then this track will please.
Track fourteen: filler.
track fifteen: too much boom in Mushaboom. Redundant.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The 5pt Tour

Elizabeth Bachinsky, author of Home of Sudden Service. She was on the The 5pt Tour along with Michael V. Smith (What You Can't Have) and Jennica Harper (The Octopus) at Ottawa's Collected Works Bookstore on May 21st. In Jennica's book, she penned a quick note, "Clearly a kindred sprit". I couldn't agree more.


An incendiary photo of no one in particular.

Incidental self portrait (shadow on bottom left) with August Stramm (fireworks) thanks to Gustave Morin, Angela Rawlings (Ottawa Xpress), still life of bottled water, some concrete (literal and figurative) at a Book Thug poetry reading event by Jay MillAr in front of a used bookstore in Ottawa.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Oni Photo

My photo of Oni The Haitian Sensation is featured on Ottawa mayoral candidate, Alex Munter's website. Original photo here.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Book Thuggery

Book Thugs in Ottawa... the photos.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Montreal Trio

I'd imagine it must be fun to ride in the same car with Nairne Holtz, Harold Hoefle and Barry Webster as they all head back to Montreal at 10pm. But perhaps their energy has waned now that it's late, and they have a two hour rainy drive ahead this Friday evening. But it certainly was enjoyable to listen to the trio read from parts of their stories at Venus Envy tonight. The book, Lust for Life: Tales of Sex & Love is an anthology published by Vehicule Press in my home town of Montreal.

Admittedly it was a small crowd out to the reading tonight. Weather? First day of long weekend? Despite this, I could not stifle my constant guffaws at Barry Webster's story, "Jingle Balls", a gay erotic tour de force romp of a story involving Santa Claus who hasn't had it that good in 150 years. (A story for lovers of big men in red suits and not for children's ears.) And when Nairne Holtz said she would be reading a story called 'No Parking' I immedidately thought of the book of the same name by Vehicule poet, Tom Konyves. His book (of poetry), No Parking was also published by Vehicule Press in 1978. Other familiar names in this wide ranging anthology are Tess Fragoulis (Words to Flesh) who made an appearance at the Ottawa International Writers Festival last fall, and fantasy writer Nalo Hopkinson of Toronto. If the other stories are as entertaining as tonight's crew, the book will make a bee line to the top of the book pile beside my bed.

Lust for Life : Reading

Venus Envy presents readings from the new anthology Lust for Life: Tales of Sex & Love, an orgy of all-new sensual fiction that explores with wit and insight our profound longings for each other. Heartbreaking romance,raunchy sex, and strange fantasies are all part of the fun and eclectic mix. Queer, straight, or undefinable ... there's something here for everyone excited about the lush diversity of human desire.

Published by Véhicule Press and edited by Claude Lalumière and Elise Moser. Come hear Nairne Holtz (coeditor of the lesbian CanLit anthology No Margins), Harold Hoefle (author of Spray Job), and Barry Webster (author of The Sound of All Flesh) read from their Lust for Life stories.

May 19th
320 Lisgar St. (@ Bank)

(via rob mclennan email; &

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Wayson Choy in Ottawa

Wayson Choy

Along with bill bissett, Wayson Choy is one of the most special people I've ever met at an author event. A gentleman personified.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

He is the Walrus

Ken Alexander is co-founder (along with David Berlin) and is currently the editor at The Walrus magazine. It first hit the newstands in the fall of 2003. This month, it was reported that the magazine leads with an obscene amount of National Magazine Award nominations: 49. Wow.

Tonight Mr. Alexander gave the keynote speech entitled "The Critical Role of the Fourth Estate to Our Democracy".

The focus of his speech was "on the importance of magazines in fostering a reading culture, the notion of writing as an art, the writer/editor relationship, and his view that it is actually The Walrus readers who "own" the magazine. He is working on his second book, studied philosophy at university, was a senior producer for CBC television, has travelled a fair bit, and lives happily in Toronto with his wife, Sharyn, and two children, Marcus and Claire."

He helped celebrate PWAC's 30th anniversary at tonight's gala dinner at the Canadian War Musuem. As tickets were $100 a plate, I didn't stay long. (To those keen readers of my weblog, you might notice that the background is the same as the photo I took back last November with Ottawa's current mayor and Frances Itani.)

Incidentally, here's another clue for you all, the walrus was actually Paul.


  • 1:00 pm. Prime Crime Books, 891 Bank St. Brenda Chapman launches HIDING IN HAWK'S CREEK
  • Ottawa launch for Out to Dry in Cape Breton by Anita Lahey at The Manx Pub - 5
  • Ongoing: AGM of Professional Writers Association of Canada (PWAC) More details:

Friday, May 12, 2006

at some time we all feel like this

either you're the racoon or the crow.

Library Poetry

Christopher Levenson, editor of Soundings (edited with Brian Cameron), a poetry anthology published in 2005 by Buschek Books.

On Thursday May 11th, Christopher hosted 'The Poetry Experience' evening with Sharon Hawkins and Stephen Brockwell at the Ottawa Public Library, Sunnyside branch. There was about fifteen members in the audience - quite sizeable given the warm evening weather and Sens game. Oh gosh, I mentioned the Sens... forgive me. They won by the way.

Sharon read some of her older works as she currently has taken a brief break from writing. Nothing wrong with that, Sharon. I noted that the work she read from flowed much like a narrative than verse. It was moving.

It was the first time I have heard Stephen read from his first book of poetry. I think it was released in 1988. Very smart stuff. As always, Stephen projects a sense of confidence in his work and in his presentation that satisfies on several levels. I don't know how he does it on such little sleep due to the demands of his full-time career and family.

Christopher noted that the next poetry reading at the library will be on the 25th, 7pm but David O'Meara will not be in attendance, but Peter Richardson will be one of the featured poets instead, along with Barbara Myers.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Crime night out

Capital Crime Writers (CCW) featured guest, Carleton University's Dr. Joanna Pozzulo.

Six years ago I received a registered letter that was delivered to my parent’s home that summoned me to jury duty in Montreal. As I was no longer a resident of Quebec, for three years at the point, I had to hire a notary public in Ottawa to sign an affidavit to decline this summons. Although I was initially excited to get such an invitation, I had no idea of what kind of crime was involved. Sitting on the jury could have be my chance to serve justice, if not just a few days but perhaps a few weeks off work. This romantic notion quickly wore off and I soon went about seeking legal advice to get myself off the hook from this civic obligation.

Dr. Joanna Pozzulo lectured on the topic 'eye witness identification' and 'recall memory' at the Capital Crime Writers last formal meeting of their season. Her lecture began by showing a brief videotaped “staged crime”. Pretty simple task: closely watch the crime scene unfold, mentally take note of the events which transpired, and get an accurate description of the perpetrator. The usual descriptions like gender, age, race, height, weight and distinguishing marks would all come into play as we would have to identify the culprit in a photo line up shown to us at the end of the evening's presentation. Certainly one of the six men in the rogues’ gallery was guilty of the crime we witnessed. Or was he?

Turns out that most of us in the room were wrong, myself included. All of the six men in the mock line up were indeed innocent. I picked the number four man as I was certain he was the one who committed the crime I saw. Sure, he had a similar looking leather jacket as the man who appeared in the earlier footage. Sure, he may have shaved his beard off in an attempt to fool the eye witnesses. But it turns out I may have been responsible for sending an innocent man to jail. Whoops! I was sure that at least one of the six must have been guity. Thankfully this was just a staged crime.

Barbara Fradkin, Chair of the Capital Crime Writers, said the part she liked best about Dr. Pozzulo’s background is that she enjoys watching crime shows and that she’s a dedicated fan of the original Law & Order series. Dr. Pozzulo is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of Criminology in the Criminal Justice Program at Carleton University. Her research focuses on understanding memory in an applied context. Specfically, she’s concerned with how children and adults remember crimes and criminals. To that end, she’s interested in developing police procedures to maximize the selection of reliable identification evidence and eye witness testimony.

Like Dr. Pozzulo I confess to enjoying crime television. I don’t know her particular attraction to this genre but for me it began with Angie Dickinson who played Sgt. Suzanne "Pepper" Anderson in the 70s TV show Police Woman who helped turn me on to watching crime TV. My enjoyment was further developed watching Jack Klugman a.k.a. “Quincy, M.E.”, who is shown, uh, examining the torso of a bikini-clad woman during the show's opening sequence of this eponymously named television program. Even today, I don’t particularly mind watching Marg Helgenberger in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

What struck me most was Pozzulo’s discussion of effective interview techniques for eye witnesses and the factors that influence recall and recognition memory. Notice the difference in the two following questions a police officer may ask an eye witness to a crime: “Did you see the weapon?” versus “Did you see a weapon?”

Upon reflection, you should see how these two simple words, “the” and “a”, can be used in a way where the first question is leading, thus misinformation may be introduced to the witness with potentially huge legal implications. The former question implies there was a weapon, while the latter is a unbiased question.

It’s guest lecturers like Dr. Pozzulo who prove to be an invaluable asset to the members of the Capital Crime Writers of Ottawa. Budding crime writers can learn and apply the “facts” which may serve as fodder for their forthcoming short stories and novels. The CCW group meets again on Monday, June19, 2006 at Patty's Place Pub at 7pm to share some of their current stories.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

About Town

Well said, Jessica Ruano. Ms. Ruano’s letter to the editor (Ottawa is hardly a ‘dead city’ for culture) appeared in the April 29 edition of the Citizen where she boosted Ottawa’s vibrant artistic scene with a suggestion: to those who think there’s nothing to do on a weekend except pop in a rented movie and sit in front of the boob tube, get out there and try something new. I, too, wish more people would embrace Ms. Ruano’s encouraging attitude towards Ottawa’s artistic community.

According to Ottawa’s official website,, our city is the fourth largest in Canada, with a total population of 865,500. (And just as a reminder, the 2006 Census is coming up this May 16th.) I’ve always thought it would be neat to see just a small fraction of this population to suddenly arrive at the door step for slam poetry reading, for example. Yikes! Wouldn’t that be exciting? Well, now’s your chance to do so on May 11th for the Capital Slam semi-finals at the Velvet Room, 62 York Street in the Byward Market. Details can be found on Proceeds from playoff slams go to sending the 2006 Capital Slam Team to the 2006 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word in Toronto.

In doing my bit, with renewed sprit from Ms. Ruano’s letter to attract attention, at least to Ottawa’s literary community, here is an exciting selection of what’s coming up this week:

There is a three-day long Canadian literature symposium in honor of the poet Al Purdy which wraps up today. In this symposium, 26 scholar-critics, writers and educators will come together appraise Al Purdy's contribution to Canada's and the world's English literature. Considering the fee for the three day event is $120 for general admittance and $60 for students, this is only for the die-hard academic and lover of Purdy’s poetry. More information can be found here:

Monday presents an interesing mix of art, music and literature presented by Wilde About Sappho. “Featured are readings by international author Felice Picano and Ottawa mystery writer Alex Brett, as well as music themed on Picano’s work by composer/pianist Peter Schaffter and singer Tom Wilkinson. Add in the erotic pop art of Juan Carlos Noria and the evening is sure to be a multi-sensory spectacle of sights and sounds.” The event takes place La Petite Mort Gallery, 306 Cumberland Street and doors open at 6pm. More information

Tueday is truly jam-packed and I only wish I could clone myself. Recently, I have been taken off the Tuesday literary circuit of late as my wife and I have been attending our month long pre-natal classes offered by the City of Ottawa. However, you may want to attend the following events that I can’t make: Feel free to support the literacy programs at St. Mary's Home in Ottawa by joining authors Joan Barfoot, Karen Connelly, Charlotte Gray, Diana Beresford-Kroeger, and Kim Ondaatje this Tuesday evening. The event starts at 6:30pm at the Library & Archives Canada. World Literacy of Canada is a non-profit voluntary organization that promotes international development and social justice. More info at

Local Ottawa poet, Terry Ann Carter is scheduled to make an appearance, also at the Library & Archives in Room 156 at 7:30pm, to launch her new book Transplanted.

If you want to check out another poet and you’ll be in the east side of town, Lisa Pasold will be launching her new book of poetry, A Bad Year for Journalists. She appears as part of the Tree Reading Series. Royal Oak II, 161 Laurier Ave. East. Start time at 7:30pm.

Wednesday, you might be tempted to take in some crime. Well, not really, but you have and opportunity to sit in on Dr. Joanna Pozzulo’s crime-filled lecture. She is a professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of the Criminology and Criminal Justice Program, Carleton University. “Whether your sleuths are professionals or amateurs, they all rely to some extent on information gleaned from what other people say they saw or heard. Come to May's meeting to learn about the latest research in the increasingly tricky realm of eyewitness testimony”. The Capital Crime Writers meet on the second Wednesday of every month at the Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington Street. More information about this event can be found on

This Wednesday also has a 'coffee' and 'tea' theme: You have the option to go to Tea Party Open Mic Poetry Night at The Tea Party, 119 York Street in the Market. Or if you prefer coffee, so to speak, you might want to amble on over to see Cristian S. Aluas’ Coffeehouse Showcase And Open Stage. This event take place every 1st Wednesday at 8:00pm at the Brixton's British Pub, 210 Sparks Street. For more information go to

The Archibald Lampman Poetry Award Reading is also on this Wednesday 7:30 pm at the Beechwood Cemetary, Reception Area, 280 Beechwood Avenue. Featured poets include Ronnie R. Brown, Tony Cosier, Laura Farina, William Hawkins, Bing He, Tom MacGregor, Nadine McInnis, Seymour Mayne, E. Russell Smith and Andrew Steinmetz.

Thursday’s best bets, other than the Capital Slam semi-finals, are two featured poets of Ottawa Public Library’s ongoing “The Poetry Experience”. Sharon Hawkins and Stephen Brockwell will be at the Sunnyside branch 1049 Bank starting at 7:00pm. If you want to listen to stories, take in “When The Veil Grows Thin. Stories Of The Supernatural” as part of the monthly Ottawa Storytellers group’s performance at the NAC Fourth Stage. More information can be found at

Saturday, May 06, 2006

literary euphemistic terms

  • Detailed Has footnotes.
  • Richly detailed Has lots of footnotes.
  • Densely detailed Has footnotes, endnotes, acknowledgements, epigrams, foreword, preface, bibliography, appendices, indices, and marginalia. Translation: unreadable. qv panoramic, workmanlike, painstaking, extensively researched.
  • Edgy Any author under the age of 30, being reviewed by someone over 30, is likely to be described as edgy. The edginess factor will increase in proportion to whether the author is non-white, female and attractive, and the reviewer is white, male, and fat. Drugs, sex and racial conflict are also contributory factors. Edgy is also a synonym for glue-sniffing, necrophilia, lap-dancing and Michel Houellebecq.

    More laughs here thanks to "Last word" by Ben Macintyre:,,923-2165509_1,00.html

Friday, May 05, 2006

Brim Broom Blog

Readers of my weblog might want to take in a group blog created by Clifford Duffy: Taking the Brim _ Took the Broom. For some reason, I was invited to join this creative site as a contributor earlier this March.
No, I won't bore anyone with my poems (not that I write any), but I might subject readers with a photo type of entry. It's into its second year of existence and judging by the membership (currently 164 as of 14 June 2006), the readership is large and international. Here are a list of my peculiar photo contributions over the last little while for your information (and my pleasure - uh, yes, mostly for my pleasure):

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Dusty Owl Radio

Tonight on the Literary Landscape (Every Thursday at 6:30 pm. CKCU 93.1 FM):
Dusty Owl Organizers: Steve Zytveld, Catherine Macdonald-Zytveld and Katherine Hunt

Tulip Festival

Tulip-fest blooms in Ottawa. As of today, the city's flower beds are currently marked at 100% in bloom.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Mavis Gallant on Bravo!


"Make Believe Media is pleased to announce the world television premiere of Paris Stories: The Writing of Mavis Gallant on Thursday, May 4 at 8:30 pm ET. Selected readings, in-depth interviews and archival footage of a younger Gallant bring the author and her writing into deeper focus. Robert Fulford, Margaret Atwood, Russell Banks and others offer insight into her influences and legacy – a literary record of 20th-century Europe and North America."

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize

from the CBC: "Vancouver Walking, a poetry collection by Meredith Quartermain, was recognized with the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize."

Had you shown up to her reading in Ottawa last month you might have heard her in person...betcha you're kicking yourself now, eh?