Monday, July 16, 2007

Just For Laughs comedy festival and (self) promotion

It was a surprise to learn last week that the Homegrown Show at the Just For Laughs festival is sold out. In the past couple years, I bought tickets the day of, yet this year they were gone by last Thursday, before the festival even began.
I’m not heartbroken about it. There are far better (and pricier) shows that I can now justify shelling out the bucks for.

To be honest, the Homegrown Show is a bit of a glorified open-mic night, with similarly uneven performances. The competition aspect of it is pretty silly since comedy is so subjective. (Someone ‘wins’ a television special; a runner-up wins, um, status as runner-up? I don’t know if they win anything, maybe a few hundred bucks?) The winner and runner-up were usually at best the third ‘best’ comic of the night, I think; in fact, most were middle-of-the pack. Again, subjective, but I look for pulling off original material, or even a near-solid set with really edgy stuff, not crowd reaction alone.

That’s not the stuff that comes neatly and safely t.v.-ready, of course. Generally, the winners and first-losers were chosen mostly by reputation -often they already had t.v. exposure, hence my previous sarcasm with ‘wins’. I know I’m not the only comic with that view of the winners, and it’s pretty much universally agreed amongst us that competitions are dumb.

But hey, that’s why comics worship Bill Hicks, while the masses gobble disposable nonsense like Dane Cook (”The comic for people who think Good Charlotte is punk” -beautifully put, Nick Carter).

Nonetheless, I enjoy the Homegrown Show because of it’s unevenness, which makes the evening more interesting, and because it provides a sampler of breaking comics from across Canada, many of whom will be returning to the fest and having “Comedy Now” specials in years to come (speaking of which, tune in for my Ottawa buddy Wafik Nasralla this Sunday).

Oh, and I like that it stirs my sense of profound moral outrage.

Since you and I won’t be seeing it this year, though, you can read about the Montreal stage of the Homegrown competition here (with a bonus dose of moral outrage, natch)

My theory of why the show sold out so quickly this year is that Myspace and Facebook have made everyone their own promoter. Comics all have their own artist-specialty MySpace pages, and once everyone realized no-one reads (or even bother sending) bulletins anymore, everyone moved to Facebook, where every virtually comic has set up ‘fan club’ groups from whence they can advertise their shows far and wide.

This is a great thing on the whole, with the caveat that comics who are still doing mostly (or even entirely!) open mics at this stage of their ‘career’, have NO business with such self-indulgent tripe (the fan groups, that is, but I still join ‘em, so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings *sigh*, especially since I’m a bit of a promoter too now).

The growth of the internet has made everything easier, and may save some forest growth too. When I promoted comedy stages in Ottawa about 4 years ago, I still postered for hours each week, and when I began my own stage, I thought I was really cutting edge having an email list (in fact, some comics thought that was silly, but then again, they still live in Ottawa).

I’m starting a comedy stage at the end of the month, Comedy On St. Laurent, and I plan to use Facebook as my main avenue of promotion. Of course, I’ll press the flesh with flyers too, but postering is a waste of time, energy, money, and paper.

Has this whole post been a slow, somewhat melodramatic (the outrage) build to a shameless plug for my new comedy stage?

Yes. Yes it has.

Comedy On St. Laurent
3 Minots, 3812 St. Laurent above des Pins
Every 2nd Sunday starting July 29th, 9 p.m.

$10 pitchers! $2.50 shots! only $5 cover!
Opening show headlined by JFL vet Mike Paterson!
See ya there! (not at the Homegrown Show)

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The new Beatles record....

I was skeptical. Who couldn't be? A new Beatles record -sounds like a cash cow. Then I heard George Martin was involved, then it came out and got great reviews from everyone -and I mean even those cynical free indie weeklies.

"Love" It's fantastic. Like putting on the most trippy Beatles mixed tape you can imagine. Slow songs, rock songs, earlier songs, later songs, songs written by all four of the guys, all cheek-to-jowl and often mixing right into one another. Sometimes alternate versions too.

I know, this record needs another plug like I need a whole in the head. Hmmm, maybe that would help me in some regards... er, but I digress. This record is so awesome, pick it up.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Lorne "Gump" Worsley and the meaning of greatness

This was originally written as a sister piece to my Dryden article on indyish. Unfortunately, it wasn't deemed 'indyish' (indie arts), so the site editor didn't post it. So that it doesn't go to waste, here it is (I think it's a better article than the original Dryden piece too). Even if you don't know hockey (dear British readers), you can hopefully relate to some of this...

Last March 11, on the morning of the evening his # 5 was to be lifted to the rafters in Montreal, Bernard "Boom Boom" Geoffrion passed away at a hospital in Atlanta.

In an eerie echo, Lorne "Gump" Worsley passed away Friday, January 26th, just days before the number of another Canadien goaltending great is retired (Ken Dryden on January 29th).

Although they essentially followed each other in the Habs' storied crease, in many ways, Gump and Dryden were opposites.

Dryden was the man of intellectual quotes, a future author. Gump was the man with a sharp wit and quip, as this article or the obituary on the front page of Sunday's The Gazette describes.

Dryden was a towering 6'3" athlete (in an era when goalies were not generally that big). Gump was an average, even pudgily built man.

Dryden had only an 8 season career, dedicating himself to his studies before, and professional career after hockey.
Gump played 22 years in the NHL, travelling though semi-pro and farm team stops in, among other places, St. Paul, Saskatoon, and Vancouver, then playing ten years with the shoddy Rangers, before winning the Stanley Cup 4 times in only 5 years with the Canadiens.

Yet Dryden, Worsley, and Geoffrion all had love of the game of hockey, and love of our country, Canada, running through their veins. They all were studies in perseverance, dedication, and greatness.

The lesson I take from Lorne Worsley's lifestory is to chase your dream to the end, wherever it takes you.

Sometimes, as in the case of Dryden, one is blessed with a prodigal talent and steps into the right circumstance at the right time to use it to full effect. Sometimes, though, greatness is achieved, or finally recognized, simply by sticking around long enough.

Gump, you took each step, stop, and sidetrack along your way with good humour, and never lost faith in your quest. You drank from Lord Stanley's silver chalice years after most of us would have thrown in the towel.

Goodbye, and God Bless.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

a couple new articles on indyish

I’m quite proud of the Darryl Lenox comedy review. The Ken Dryden book review is not bad.

i had a weird roommate...

[that's flatmate for those in the uk]

ok, nothing new in that but he really wuz weird.

he said he never asked gurls for their numbers. if they wanted to see him after talking to him a bit, he said he figured they'd ask. if he actually saw a gurl, he wouldn't ask to do something as a follow-up; same logic.
obviously he didn't see many gurls.

he told me this the first time we went for a beer too. well at least he was comfortable w who he wuz even if he wuz a freak.

he also told me once how he pretended to be gay to make some extra coin. no really. those clinical surveys at the back of freebie papers; he did those. apparently they pay real good for gays, cuz i guess there are less and they're more 'exotic' to study. anyway, i asked if he did the drug ones. no, he couldn't fake ever doing coke.
but apparently he could fake gay. interesting.

i know, you think he wuz gay. but here's what's weird - he had a gurl eventually.
'isn't she gorgeous?' he'd say as his eyes rolled in his head. truth is she was pretty ugly.
i was like, 'yeah, you're a lucky sonovagun, you!' cuz i really wuz happy for him.
i mean, she wuz still better looking than him, so he couldn't do better. he wuz lucky at all even.

he wuz also a smiths fan, but unlike most smiths fans, he wasn't boring in a pretentious arty way, he wuz just regular boring.
he wore golf shirts, sweat shirts, glasses, khakis, fatman jeans, he looked kinda preppy, except also middle aged cuz he wuz fat and pasty and acted all disheartened about everything except his 'gorgeous' girl.
he mighta been after the inheritance, come to think of it. apparently she had a house in orleans [upper middle class 'burb of ottawa, ontario] to herself and her sister cuz her folks moved away for a long time or were dead or something. maybe he had his eye on the kid sis, the sickie.

there's another weird thing about him, but it'll seem like a letdown after the other stuff. he considered himself a film buff. you know those guys who have 200 movies but they're all crap? he wuz worse then that, they were all crap -taped off city tv [a station notorious for crappy late-night movies]. no shit, i saw the blip of commercial break intro. i mean blip cause he had enough time on his hands to edit them out. i don't think he'd ever seen a black & white classic.

and his room smelled bad, and he had a weird skin rash that he slathered on smelly cream for, and he used to work as an airtraffic controler before he went back to school. other weird stuff i can't remember now. oh yeah, my alchy roommate almost kicked his ass once.

my alchy roommate, that's another fuckin story. ho boy.

maybe i'm writing all this to feel better about myself. maybe i just look sad. maybe my roommate right now is wondering why the fuck i'm still awake. none of yer business, ya bastard.
but man, the guy really wuz a freak.

love like a child

love like a child
so pure
we luv it all so young so new
sunshine, insects, parents, life

so simple but it occured to me
when my niece gave me a finger painting
cuz she luvs her uncle dave

only question our instincts when
our hormones start to plug in

sex is confusion
all is fear and doubletalk when it enters the game

i try to recapture the novelty of life
to fuse sex & luv
in a moment
of magik

that's the butterfly we chase
thru early adulthood
maybe the rest of our lives

when u know what u want
w/out confusion
that's living each day w/out fear

& when u find it
that's the ultimate power

How we party in Montreal...

Thunderheist, Saturday night: it went OFF!!!

Picture this:

Club Lambi, capacity 200, is a tossing jam-packed dance club from 11:30 til close (and turning away people by 12:15 -that's early in Mtl).
I'm down front in the fiery corporeal mélange of guy & gurl gay & straight multihued hotties shaking their sweating bodies, writhing like they're trying to slip outta their skins (and into someone else's). My Gay Husband is laying down some awesome beats, and my shirt is already plastered to my shoulders, pecs and ribs. The girl beside me is cookin' her light olive skin in her own juices, too. I can see droplets of her wetness shining like diamonds in the ringlets of her black hair. Her white cocktail dress is clinging from her buttermilk breasts to that undefined flesh between lower ass & upper thigh (where the roundness of buttcheek becomes a tapered narrowing straightaway down to the back of a trembling knee). She flings her Mediterranean mane and thick curls of night and a waterfall mist splash into my open mouth and run down my chin. Her dark chocolate eyes catch me licking her saltwater from my pouty lower lip.

Then Thunderheist (club beats hip-hop xplosion) hit it!
Plus the Peer Pressure afterparty...

n.p.: Stones Roses - I Am The Resurrection

Saturday, January 13, 2007

My first comedy clip!

This is the middle stretch of my set this past Wedneday, january 10th, 2007 at Yuk-Yuk's in Ottawa. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

my family rocks cause we love each other

"we have a good family"
my grandfather mumbled groggily to my
aunt as she said g'bye a few mos ago
on her way back out to Vancity

"I thought it was the last time I'd see him alive"
she said at Christmas
so did i

but he's beatin cancer
he's beatin chemo
no side effects
no codeine


he's eighty-six yrs old

i was gonna write something dumb like
'i hope i have half his balls when i'm half his age'
but i stop wonder do i have any at all
beside his still-immense shoulders broad chest huge heart
and under the dark shadow history threw across his years

i shouldn't be surprised he's winning again
he's jewish and he beat the nazis

i remember i once said firebombing hamburg sucked
he said not enough germans were killed in the war

and my german grandfather laughed ohohoho
he beat the nazis too
blew the bastards up after '22
but was smart enough to know when to get outta dodge


i pretend my life's a bit rough
i can't even fathom theirs

I love you Deda
I love you Granddad
My family is love

Monday, January 1, 2007

kickin tyres

i spend my days kickin cars tyres
going here & there over hell’s half acre
tryin 'most anything out
(booze being my drug of choice; hetero being my sex by nature)
success is found by experimenting w failure

life’s not somethin you learn in a book
its out in the world & in under yer skin
its inside you, you inside it
feel it breath ingest pulse sweat move let it in

i wander thru alleys cause its another diversion
sometimes just cause i need to take a piss
i look up like i never seen a sky before
and if you do too you know clouds are different every time

then i wonder where that black bird will land
and hope i make it that far too

it wuz a good night

whutta rush when u do it rite when it up cums together
u spend hrs craftin brunin the midnite lamp
u do
not braggin not romancin it just is the way

and so u work it work it work it babe
gimme gimme gimme fall flat on yer ass pick it up again

(u remember this blog back when "i screwed the pooch.... he is gonna get put back together again, better than ever"?)
even when i suk i believe man

an then u connect, it flows it feels goooood and relax
and they explode their mouths open eating up yer words
fukin right, Mick said it best it really is like a communal cum
laughter is so good fer the soul
i'm glad to give it
an i'm hooked on the drug, i cant quit anytime soon
dont know when ever will

tomorrow i got a hot date lined up
renewing my brit passport (cuz i gotta get back to spain already)
& i'm sending my poems to maisonneuve mag
(sat dumas concert, sun new years bro!)

it just keeps goin up from here baby up up up
even when i fall again i ll keep movin up
an if yer smart you'll cum by an catch part o the ride

that's it i'm finally gonna tryto sleeep

cant sleeeep

arrrgh cant sleeep man cant
should i lissen to dumas or joseph nxt?
arthur it is

i gots nothin to do tomororow
so nothin its like noooo-thang

nothin to do but be alive
smile share laugh eat drink
keep each other warm yeah

a sure bet is my hands gettin cold out there
it finally feels like winter its finally white

i still don know if i can get my head around christ
like, god comin down in man form flesh n bone
its nice but i dunno, his only son flesh n bone

thats quite hard man
hard like love
thats why i guess its not meant to be easy
its hard like death n love n sex the way it should be

life aint easy why should god be right?

i dunno tho still cant believe it quite

but joseph makesme wanna believe
yes i do i wanna
i wanna be one i wanna be love

peace out world

i cant wont aint gonna stop

i aint gonna stop demanding
i'm a demandng little fuk i want all the answers now
and tomorrow i'll have another head full of
questions to bounce off yer skull

i'll never stop non
cause to stop questioning is to be complacent
and to be complacent is to be dead
and i'm far from dead oh i'm very much alive babe

i never had a sister could that be why
lovers and friends but none of em felt that way
lovers often felt like a b-ball court
did she foul me or did i draw a charge?
(no refs but ourselfs)
pass you selfish fuker pass the ball
and sometimes they were i swear they
were on the opposing team

i see the appeal of drugs they dont let you down til yer too numb too know they fuked you anyway
some lovers r like that too actually

some friends almost too

but that makes me wnna get to the bottom more
an after all its just another shovel of dirt
a step into the grave
well ok but i aint takin it sittin down

questions man i need answers


cause questioning is tryin
tryin is faith
its the people w all the answers that don't have
faith yeah thats right theyre cynics
thats one thing i do know
acting all big shot sneer they got us pegged
while a few of us poke around tryin not to be half-dead

the rest i aint figured out
maybe never will but why else would god make me a little
obnoxious dick
prob never find answers here to love life n death

but i'm tryin man i'm still askin
in the meantime d'ya wanna be my sister?

[the last line sux, but what the heck]