Archive | March, 2019

Revolt Don’t Vote

24 Mar

#burnitdown #takemetoprom #gonewriting #endcapitolism #revoltdon’tvote #blackcats #nojusticenopeace #respectuntoothers

As you can see from the hashtags, this post is going to be an impromptu road trip and I am in charge of the music.

A person’s taste in music says a lot about them, at least it does to me. It tells me if they are clinging to their glory days, alt-right, rigid, trying desperately to be young, explorers, sexually free, hungry for knowledge or following in their parents footsteps.

My musical tastes are so varied there would never be enough room to list them all and they grow every day.

I got my first radio when I was 5. My mother covered it in this vinyl, that looked like white marble shot with gold, to go with my room, and tuned it to CHUM, the #1 Toronto rock station of the time. My favourite song was Bachelor Boy by Cliff Richard. Now I listen to Hendrix, Japanese punk (Phew, Aunt Sally), film soundtracks, classical, jazz, traditional Arabic, OG Rap,Indie music and much, much more.

With the exception of most contemporary gay men, I can talk about music with almost anyone in the world. Which leads me to something I recently realized and consider really important.

I believe, with everything in my being, that it is vital that we find out everything we can about the culture of every country, especially those constantly in the news or alternative news sources. With music, it doesn’t matter necessarily, if you understand the words, many times you get the emotion from the music and singer. There is a library website called Kanapy that has thousands of films and documentaries that you can watch for free, if you have a library card, I search for books, whenever I go to the library, that are written by authors from all over the world, writing about their cultures and histories and I google and research places and people. It also helps that I live in a culturally diverse city so I have many opportunities to talk to people and experience food, music, art etc. from everywhere. I want to live in a big world, I want to see and experience this world any way I can.

And since I started doing this, I realized that I no longer see the world as “us and them”. When I hear news about Iran, Beijing, Zimbabwe, Lebanon, Russia, the Philippines, the Inuit or other First Nations people, I have an empathetic connection.

A year and a half ago, or maybe it just feels like that, I took part in a documentary directed by an incredibly brilliant, young director named Andrew Moir. It’s called Take Me To Prom https://youtu.be/IQy3pxI-UX8.

I am incredibly proud of this short doc and thrilled that it is premiering at Toronto’s Hot Docs festival. But even more importantly, working with such a professional group of young film makers and artists was mind opening and has given me a reason to hope.

My generation has been blamed for the destruction of the world. For a while I took this quite personally because I was a Hippie; Abbie Hoffman, The Black Panthers, Angela Davis, Che Guevara, Mike Mitchell and all the other Mohawk rebels that took the Cornwall bridge and fought so that First Nations people would never pay tolls, all influenced my life and even to this day, belief system. I marched against Viet Nam, sheltered draft dodgers, stood up against racism, and fought for every aspect of freedom, from the individual to the masses. I have never been or supported capitalism, the police and have always believed that our school system is primarily a tool to brainwash us into perpetuating white supremacy and capitalism.

My point here is that the Boomer generation was at war with itself. And I believe that it is the same in all generations. I don’t know why we find the need to label and pigeonhole everything and everyone. Millennials are not all needy, whiny, dependent, with no attention span. Gen. X are not all Yuppies who only cared about the investment value of everything. For every single generation, there was, and is, and will be, an opposing side. Ever since the dawn of time, we have been trying to define and label everything in the simplest of terms and it doesn’t work. We can’t control existence through dogma, there will always be millions and millions of us that defy definition. And that is a fucktabulous thing.

I am working on a show right now that deals with labels, generations, toxic masculinity, gender evolution, the tyranny of political correctness, empathy etc. in a dark comedy for two people. Each actor gets to play about nine characters each. Writing it is challenging but I am finding, that when I’m most challenged, the universe steps in and shows me someone who is exactly the embodiment of a certain character, or the perfect situation to play with an issue.This is one of three projects, I have on the go. There is a book of short stories following the adventures of two women outlaws, fighting to bring the world back from the ashes of the oligarchy, set in the near future. And a really experimental piece, a friend and I are writing, that pretty much defies any kind of description, that involves the supernatural and masks.

My best friend is a black cat named Sid. In November, we suffered a huge loss, when my other best friend,, and Sid’s brother Mick died. In case you are wondering Sid (Vicious) Mick (Jagger). Sid and Mick had been together since birth so I was really concerned about Sid, when Mick passed suddenly from pulmonary oedema, caused by an undetected heart condition. I didn’t know if Sid would be depressed by Mick’s loss, if he would want a friend. I knew he would look for him, so I left every door, cupboard, drawer open, in the apartment for three days.

After a month or so I noticed that Sid was actually adapting quite well to being an only cat. He obviously didn’t want a friend, but he was bored.

Contrary to popular belief cats do not just eat, sleep and ignore people unless that is the way you bring them up. So I bought him a cat tree that goes from ceiling to floor with four alternating shelves that are big enough to lie on and climb up but only take up 24 inches at their widest point, in a very tasteful charcoal grey. Now when I come home he greets me from the top of his tree and turns a couple of wild circles around it before demanding to be snuggled.

I still miss Mick a lot, he was my tv watching buddy, my sleepy time teddy bear and a unique character, but Sid and I will go it together.

At the beginning of this post I talked a lot about the activism in my past, so you may think those days are over for me. They aren’t, but the way I protest is different now. I don’t march because there are too many rules within the left, regarding marches. And there’s nothing empowering or enjoyable about being bossed around by a bunch of white, academic people. I attend and support as much theatre, art, music, cuisine etc. that is produced by and represents different culture than what I was brought up with. I try to shop in small independent businesses and never in places that have self serve cash outs. I refuse to give corporations more money by allowing them to eliminate more jobs. I vote for candidates that represent the working class and care about human rights. Granted this is getting harder and harder in North America. In all honesty I wish people would refuse to vote altogether until we have political parties that actually represent the interests of the people and not just the 1%. I do stand up to police, who I feel are harassing the homeless or POC. I will never buy government grown marijuana. I send money to animal sanctuaries. And I refused to bring a child into this world.

I don’t know what the future will bring. There are days when I believe with utmost certainty, there will be no future. I have always believed that those cave drawings of astronauts, they keep saying are proof of aliens, are actually us. That we have evolved and destroyed our world over and over again.

Most of the adults alive right now are completely fucked, however the kids are all right. I would be more optimistic if we gave all of the power to them. And let them burn away the centuries of rot we are founded on. And yes I sound cynical but truthfully I believe we could all live in utopia if we could just let go of all the brain washing and miseducation and open our hearts to the concept of respect and justice for all. There is enough to give everyone a decent life. Why do people support the rights of a few over the rights of the many? It can be whatever we want it to be. It’s our choice.

Ramble On… but not the Led Zeppelin Version

11 Mar

Is it just me, or does everybody have those moments, when they notice something they consider outrageous and wonder when it happened, only to find out it was 5 years ago?

This Friday I went to Metro to buy a few things I can’t get where I work and noticed signs at all the cash lines that actually have people… I won’t go to an auto checkout line, I will not help corporations make more money by using tech to eliminate jobs, these signs were proudly announcing that these cashiers all had their Smart Serve. I asked why? She said it was because they were selling beer and it was the law.

So my first thought was “When did Ford privatize selling beer in Ontario? And what else is he sneaking through that nobody knows about, child marriages? And the second was..”Why? They aren’t drinking in the store. It’s not like they have to cut them off.”

I found myself saying all this out loud and drawing the guy standing beside me into it. He felt that it was all part of the over certification problem plaguing modern society. I added that it was discrimination against ESL employees.

All the way home I was pissed, it is getting harder and harder for me to enjoy the world I am living in. Every time I turn around I feel like there are more rules, more certificates we need, that we have to pay for, in order to qualify for minimum wage jobs.

I get to my building and ask a neighbour when they started selling beer in grocery stores and they looked at me kind of funny and said “I don’t know, two years ago.” I looked it up, it was 2015. I burst out laughing. How the hell did I miss that? Do I insulate myself that much? Is it because I don’t drink beer?

WAS THIS A GERIATRIC MOMENT?!!!!!

Or is it just that there is so much, happening so quickly, all the time, that it is impossible to keep up?

Basically I’m okay with admitting when I’m wrong, but I am finding it disconcerting to discover that almost anything that you believed would always be a fact, can, be erased in the blink of an eye. I did not take it well when Pluto lost its planet status. And even though I think it got reinstated, it doesn’t feel the same now.

I can’t believe that after centuries of studying how our conscious and unconscious works, Freud, Jung, Adler… psychiatry in this country has been reduced to pharmaceuticals and if you need talk therapy you now see a psychologist or a social worker and you pay for it.

I thank every deity in the universe, that I had therapy before that happened. In fact it was this very thought that led me to realize that regardless of what happens to me, it always works out. I am a very lucky person.